2017 looks to be another blockbuster year for Philadelphia, giving people plenty of new reasons to visit and explore the raved-about city. Still pumped from the excitement of a visit by Pope Francis in 2015 and the Democratic National Convention in 2016, Philadelphia will continue to bask in the national spotlight when the NFL Draft takes over the town for three days of star-studded events this spring. Additional highlights include the opening of the new Museum of the American Revolution, the largest retrospective of works by Andrew Wyeth since the 1970s at the Brandywine River Museum of Art and the debut of an annual opera festival O17.
Here’s a look at what’s in store for Philadelphia in 2017:
- Here’s one that will please history lovers and outdoor fans. The new year brings the opening of the new Bartram’s Mile, a 1.1-mile addition to Schuylkill Banks recreational trail. The 15-foot-wide multi-use path will extend along the western bank of the Schuylkill River through the grounds of historic Bartram’s Garden, frequented by Washington, Jefferson and other boldface names from history. Selfie alert: The new plaza at the 56th Street access point offers great skyline views. Winter. Grays Ferry Avenue to south of 56th Street, schuylkillbanks.org
- The Museum of the American Revolution opens its doors this spring in the Historic Philadelphia district, just steps from Independence Hall and in the heart of a city that served as the headquarters for the Revolution. Through immersive exhibitions and priceless artifacts, the museum traces the evolution of the colonies from the earliest days of unrest through a legendary war and the improbable victory that led to a new nation. Highlights include General Washington’s original headquarters tent, Revolutionary War weapons, centuries-old military documents and hundreds of other authentic objects. April 19. 101 S. 3rd Street, (215) 253-6731, amrevmuseum.org
- Score one for Philadelphia, landing the 82nd NFL Draft for the first time in more than 50 years. During three days of festivities—all taking place outdoors—fans can enjoy interactive experiences, get autographs from current and former players, take pictures with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and much more. April 27-29.Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Sports fans rejoice: The Penn Relays, the oldest collegiate track meet in the nation, also take place this weekend at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field.
- Block by block, LEGOLAND® Discovery Center will unlock imaginations as wannabe builders dive into an interactive world of hands-on play. Iconic Philadelphia landmarks created from millions of LEGO bricks in MiniLand, Play Zones with an almost unlimited supply of LEGO bricks, a kid-friendly ride and 4D cinema will keep children and parents entertained for hours at this indoor playground. Spring. Plymouth Meeting Mall, 500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, legolanddiscoverycenter.com
- LOVE Park, which got some love of its own in the form a major makeover, is getting ready to show off its new look. Redesigned sloping lawns, colorful new flower beds and a large central fountain are the backdrops to Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE sculpture, offering stellar sightlines of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for photo ops. The iconic round visitors center will also sport a new look and will offer food and beverage service. Spring/Summer. 15th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, phila.gov
- Not since 1973 has an exhibition so deeply explored Andrew Wyeth’s work. That changes this summer when the Brandywine River Museum of Art celebrates the 100th anniversary of his birth with Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect, featuringmore than 100 of the artist’s works on canvas and paper. June 24-September 17. 1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700, brandywine.org
- After delighting crowds for more than 85 years, Longwood Gardens’ fountains are undergoing a $90 million makeover. Enhanced by 21st-century technology, dramatic new lighting and a variety of newly choreographed fountain shows featuring jets that shoot more than 175 feet in the air will elicit ooohs and aahhhs. New seating areas, a grotto, trestle bridge and landscaped paths offer guests lots of photo-worthy scenes. Summer. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org
- The city’s musical profile hits a high note when Opera Philadelphia introduces O17, a new opera festival that will mark the start of the company’s season. O17 will thrill audiences with some of the genre’s glittering stars featured in more than 25 performances, including three world premieres, the exclusive East Coast appearance of an internationally renowned production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, commissioned works and must-see, one-time-only performances. September 14-25. Various locations, (215) 732-8400, operaphila.org
- What makes a monument in the 21st century? Monument Lab will attempt to answer this question for Philadelphia with an eight-week city-wide public art and history exhibition co-produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia and curators Paul M. Farber, A. Will Brown and Ken Lum. Monument Lab, a series of temporary installations by local and international artists accompanied by interactive pop-up laboratories for creative conversations. September 15-November 19. Various locations. (215) 685-0750, muralarts.org