Learn about what’s new or coming soon to Philadelphia, including awards and accolades, new hotels, restaurants, museums, recreation spaces, and more.

Top publications regard Philadelphia as a must-visit destination

Following National Geographic’s 2020 accolade listing Philadelphia as one of the publication’s top 25 destinations for 2020 (the only U.S. city to make the list), Condé Nast Traveler has added the city to its 2021 Gold List, joining only seven other destinations around the world. Condé Nast editor Betsy Blumenthal remarks that “There’s really something special about Philadelphia,” while citing the sprawling Fairmount Park and the city’s “Italian Market and its small world of vendors, about the mosaics glinting in the sun, the digestible chaos of Chinatown,” as a few of the characteristics that elevate Philadelphia to a destination worthy of the world’s attention. Philadelphia also lands on TIME’s World’s Greatest Places list for 2021, which spotlights the new experiences on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a diverse culinary scene that is “vibrant as ever.” Travel + Leisure also named Philadelphia as one of 11 cities for Must-see Pieces of Public Art Around the World, citing iconic sculptures such as LOVE and Rocky, as well as the work done by Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Association for Public Art.

Additional Philadelphia praise comes from travel guide Frommer’s, which includes Independence Hall as one of their top places to visit in 2021, remarking on the tales shared by national park rangers that reveal mistakes, goals, and debates of the Framers and their ability to compromise for the sake of the founding of the nation. Fodor’s Travel likens Philadelphia’s history, culture, and food (and the city’s many pubs) to experiences found in London, perfect for U.S. travelers seeking a global experience in 2022 without leaving the country. Travel + Leisure’s December 2020 print issue featured a nine-page spread that highlighted Philadelphia’s many diverse neighborhoods and the cultural experiences that they offer, with perspectives from some of the city’s chefs, restaurateurs, and small business owners. As voted on by USA Today 10Best readers, the Schuylkill River Trail was named one of the top riverwalks in the nation and the historic Reading Terminal Market was named the best public market in the United States.

Philadelphia’s food scene also continues to receive high honors, with Eeva being named one of Eater’s 11 Best New Restaurants in America in 2021. Local chef, poet, and historian Omar Tate and his pop-up, Honeysuckle, received Esquire’s Chef of the Year and Pop-Up of the Year honors in 2020. Chef Tate was also recognized on Time Magazine’s Time100 Next List for 2021. Condé Nast Traveler has included Laser Wolf — an Israeli grill from the team behind the acclaimed Zahav — on their 2021 Hot List, naming the Fishtown eatery as one of the best new restaurants in the world.

New hotels are open in Philadelphia, with other properties undergoing renovations

The Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia opened just steps from picturesque Rittenhouse Square in October 2020. Photo courtesy of the Hyatt Centric Center City Philadelphia.

Philadelphia welcomed several new hotels over the past couple of years, including the Hyatt Centric and Canopy by Hilton, while several existing properties received high honors – the Four Seasons (and its spa program) received Forbes’ prestigious Five-Star ranking, as well as a AAA Five Diamond Hotel Designation and The Rittenhouse was named the top hotel in the mid-Atlantic by Condé Nast Traveler. Other hotels underwent renovations to deliver guests an updated experience, including the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown, Windsor Suites Philadelphia, Courtyard Philadelphia South at Navy Yard, and Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.

The W Philadelphia is now open at 1439 Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of W Philadelphia.

Travelers can also enjoy new hotel options that have debuted in 2021, including the Live! Casino & Hotel in the South Philadelphia sports complex. In Center City, the new Element Philadelphia and luxurious W Philadelphia are now open, sharing a building and 45,000-square-feet of meeting and event space along Chestnut Street, just steps from popular downtown attractions. For more updates on Philadelphia’s hotel community, click here.

New restaurants make their debut, including a taproom along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Philadelphia’s celebrated restaurant scene is poised to welcome several new dining and drinking experiences to its portfolio in 2022, including the return of local favorite Bridget Foy’s to South Street following a fire that forced the temporary closure of the restaurant in 2017. Doylestown-based Victory Brewing Company opened their first location within Philadelphia city limits with the debut of a new brewery and taproom along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Other appetizing developments include a new Baja Mexican restaurant in Fishtown from restaurateur Stephen Starr, a massive Italian fine dining restaurant and pizzeria in Northern Liberties, and a new home for Rex 1516 inside the historic Royal Theater on South Street. For a list of new restaurants now open in Philadelphia, click here.

New late-night restaurant Frame now open in Old City

Inspired by the unknown, Frame offers a nostalgic late-night menu, seasonal dinner options, and smart cocktails. Photo courtesy of Frame.

With edgy food and drink options, Frame blends art, history, and culture through American fusion cuisine in Old City. From vegan offerings to late-night bites, Frame’s menu offers seasonal dishes centered around locally sourced ingredients that are inventive yet also nostalgic. Guests will get a blast from the past while savoring reimagined childhood favorites like PB&J and grilled cheese sandwiches, but with a twist. Inside this sultry social hub, guests will find an intimate venue and alluring dining space decked out with booth seating, velvet adorned brick walls, and a wrap-around bar. “Frame reflects a sense of consistent change, reminiscent of the evolving city and people of Philadelphia,” said designer Jeff Low, “the intentional design reminds us that change is inevitable, how we frame ourselves and experiences is ever-changing, and that growth is meant to be discovered and celebrated amongst friends.” Frame is open for dinner Wednesday – Sunday from 6:00 – 10:30 p.m. and offers unique extended late-night menu hours on Friday and Saturday 11:00 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Liberty Point, Philadelphia’s largest restaurant in modern history, coming to the waterfront this April

A rendering of Liberty Point, set to make its debut April 2022. Rendering Credit: Tim Sienold 3D and Architectural Rendering.

Currently under construction, Liberty Point is set to make its debut on the Philadelphia waterfront in April. The 28,000 square foot restaurant (25,000 square feet of space outside and 3,000 square feet of space inside) will be adjacent to and wrapped around the waterfront side of the Independence Seaport Museum. The giant indoor-outdoor space will be able to host up to 1,400 people at a time. The design includes three main levels for food, drinks, and live entertainment, along with smaller sub-levels, a stage for live music, five bars and breathtaking views of the water. Liberty Point is the latest endeavor of FCM Hospitality and its Owner Avram Hornik. Craft Hall on Columbus Boulevard – also owned by Hornik – is currently Philadelphia’s largest restaurant. Once Liberty Point is completed, Hornik will have six permanent, seasonal and pop-up concepts along the Philadelphia waterfront, including the two largest restaurants in the city: Liberty Point and Craft Hall, as well as Unleashed Bark and Beer, Morgan’s Pier, River Beer Garden, and The Garden at Cherry Street Pier.

The Cauldron Philadelphia opening in the spring

Set to open this spring in the City of Wizardly Love, The Cauldron Philadelphia will welcome witches and wizards to immerse themselves in a world of magic inspired by the imagined worlds from their childhood. This fantasy-inspired bar and restaurant will open its doors at 1305 Locust Street in Washington Square West. Guests will be invited to participate in an interactive Potion Making Experience complete with robes and working magic wands to show off their skills as they concoct their very own cocktails. All food and drinks served at the magical pub will have elements that appear to be straight out of a mystical fairytale.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art opens 90,000 square feet of new space

The North Vaulted Walkway, facing north. Photo by Steve Hall © Hall + Merrick Photographers, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art 2021.

After two decades of planning, design and construction, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has unveiled 90,000 square feet of new and reimagined public and exhibition space as part of the Frank Gehry-led Core Project. Included in the project are a reimagined West Entrance and Lenfest Hall, as well as a new multilevel Forum space which rests in the center of the museum, beneath the iconic Grand Stair Hall. A Vaulted Walkway has also been restored and runs the length of the building, north to south. 20,000 square feet of new gallery space is also now on view, including new early American art and modern and contemporary galleries — marking the largest installation of new exhibition space since the building opened in 1928.

Independence Visitor Center opens a new kiosk in LOVE Park

The stand-alone LOVE Park Visitor Center kiosk is now open in the heart of downtown. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

The Independence Visitor Center has opened a new location in one of Philadelphia’s most popular parks, the iconic LOVE Park in Center City. Open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., this stand-alone kiosk in the southwest corner of the park serves as a convenient resource for visitor information, tickets for local attractions and museums, and Philadelphia-themed gifts in the heart of downtown and just steps from the Pennsylvania Convention Center and other nearby attractions. To learn more about the new LOVE Park Visitor Center kiosk, click here.

A museum dedicated to neon is now open to the public

Neon Museum of Philadelphia. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Adding to Philadelphia’s vast collection of art museums and innovative public art, the Neon Museum of Philadelphia offers permanent exhibits of historical and cultural information as told through this eclectic artform. The museum is currently open for tours on select days and times, with tickets available to reserve online. Inside, visitors will be able to admire over 120 vintage neon signs and artwork from some of Philadelphia’s most iconic businesses, including McGillin’s Olde Ale House and Pat’s King of Steaks, while learning more about the city’s history. The museum is also home to a small library filled with neon-themed literature, games, a gift shop, and rotating exhibitions featuring work by local artists.

The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center is now open along Independence Mall

The Liberty gallery at the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

A new museum dedicated to examining how faith helped foster some of the nation’s core values is now open just steps from where the Declaration of Independence was signed in America’s most historic square mile. The American Bible Society’s Faith and Liberty Discovery Center invites visitors from all backgrounds to explore its six immersive galleries on a personalized, self-guided tour where they will use a handheld lamp will interact with exhibits and collect inspirational content along the way. Tickets for the museum are available to purchase online. The Faith and Liberty Discovery Center has also introduced a new Faith & Liberty Trail App, which features 13 themed trails that guide visitors to over 80 historic and religious sites throughout Philadelphia.

Longwood Gardens currently undergoing massive conservatory expansion project as it prepares to host sprawling Light exhibition in 2022

Longwood Reimagined Site View from West. Rendering courtesy of Longwood Gardens.

One of Philadelphia’s most treasured countryside destinations and winner of Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice in 2021, Longwood Gardens is currently undergoing a major, $250 million expansion project. The expansion is set to transform 17 acres of the current conservatory grounds and introduce new public spaces, such as an outdoor Bonsai Courtyard and a new home for the popular Cascade Garden, as well as a new private event space, new restaurant, and new education center. The centerpiece of the project is a completely reimagined 32,000-square-foot West Conservatory space, which will be encased in a stunning glass crystalline structure that will appear to “float” over water and will house Mediterranean-inspired gardens. Longwood Gardens hopes to debut the completed project in the fall of 2024. To learn more about Longwood Reimagined, and to watch a video detailing all of the upcoming enhancements, click here. Longwood Gardens remains open during renovations and is currently welcoming guests to explore Winter Wonder on view through March 27, 2022.

Field of Light, Sensorio, USA. Copyright © 2019 Bruce Munro. All rights reserved. Photography by Serena Munro.

From June 30 through October 30, 2022, Longwood Gardens will host Light: Installations by Bruce Munro — a garden-wide exhibition featuring eight installations both indoors and outdoors. Among the installations are Field of Light, which consists of 18,000 illuminated stemmed orbs along Longwood’s Large Lake, as well as an installation inside the East Conservatory where 1,820 recyclable bottles form a massive geodesic sphere that radiates light. Tickets for Light are available beginning March 7, 2022.

Museum of Illusions Philadelphia coming to Old City

Get ready to see double, maybe even triple at Museum of Illusions Philadelphia. Opening March 12, 2022 in Old City, this mind-bending museum is designed to shock your senses and puzzle your perceptions of reality. Visitors will have the chance to engage with more than 60 exhibits featuring holograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms. The museum strives to combine education and entertainment, encouraging its guests to have fun while learning about the mechanisms behind each illusion.

Recreational updates continue along the Delaware River waterfront

A new section of the Delaware River Trail is just one part of an ongoing transformation along the Delaware River waterfront, which will eventually include a large green space spanning interstate 95 and Columbus Boulevard.

Currently under construction and projected to be completed by the fall of 2021, the central section of the Delaware River Trail will offer a protected lane for biking, walking, jogging, and running along the eastern side of Columbus Boulevard. Stretching from Spring Garden Street to the north all the way to Washington Avenue to the south, this section of the trail will connect and add to the accessibility of top waterfront destinations including Race Street Pier, Cherry Street Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park, and Penn’s Landing. The trail is just one part of a larger project being undertaken by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which will eventually include a new park spanning interstate 95 at Penn’s Landing as well as the transformation of “Graffiti Pier” in Port Richmond into a recreational park.

US Squash opens a premier facility in University City

Arlen Specter US Squash Center. Rendering courtesy of US Squash.

The Arlen Specter US Squash Center now serves as the new headquarters for US Squash, founded in Philadelphia in 1904 and based in the city from 1978 until 2006. Located within the 33rd Street Armory building on Drexel University’s campus, the nation’s premier squash facility also houses the US Squash Hall of Fame. The 65,000-square-foot space adds 20 courts to existing Drexel courts and those available at the University of Pennsylvania, bringing the total number of courts within a 3-block radius in University City to 37. A Learning & Innovation Center is also part of the project, focusing on engaging and educating the local community via its award-winning SquashSmarts program.

To learn more about the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, click here. For more new sports facilities in Philadelphia, click here.

The nation’s first esports campus is now open in downtown Philadelphia

Localhost at The Block, NEC 2021 Tournament. Photo by Steve Belkowitz, courtesy of Nerd Street Gamers.

Philadelphia-founded esports infrastructure company Nerd Street Gamers has opened The Block, a 40,000 square foot esports campus — the nation’s first — along North Broad Street, just a short walk from City Hall, the Pennsylvania Convention Center and other downtown attractions. Housed in the historic, 12-story Terminal Commerce Building, the campus serves as Nerd Street’s headquarters and is home to the company’s broadcast and content creation studios. The Block is also home to Localhost, Nerd Street’s dedicated esports arena, which will be accessible to the public for hourly gameplay and will host local and national, amateur and professional esports events. The facility is available to rent for private events, such as receptions, team outings and other corporate events.

For more new sports facilities in Philadelphia, click here.

An event space from the team behind the acclaimed Zahav opens in the spring of 2022

Lilah Rendering. Courtesy of CookNSolo.

Restaurateurs Steven Cook and James Beard Award-winner Michael Solomonov, whose CookNSolo restaurant group includes acclaimed Philadelphia restaurants such as Zahav, K’Far and Laser Wolf, have announced plans to open a new private event space in the heart of Philadelphia’s popular Fishtown neighborhood. Named Lilah — Hebrew for “Night” — the event space will occupy a former industrial warehouse totaling 7,000 square feet and will be able to accommodate up to 250 guests. The venue will feature on-site catering by CookNSolo, with customizable tasting menus featuring salatim, fresh pita, hummus, skewers and kabobs, Chef Solomonov’s borekas, and other dishes showcasing CookNSolo’s take on Jewish cooking. Lilah is slated to open in the spring of 2022 and will also include the fourth location of CookNSolo’s fast-casual restaurant concept Goldie, specializing in falafel sandwiches, salads, and Tehina shakes.

To stay up to date on the latest developments in Philadelphia, be sure to follow the PHLCVB on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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