The arrival of 2016 brings along plenty of reasons to be psyched about what’s on the horizon right here in Philadelphia. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)
Recently named the first World Heritage City in the United States, Philadelphia looks forward to an action-packed 2016 filled with attraction openings and expansions, only-in-Philly events and not-to-miss exhibitions — all happenings that will complement the immensely walkable city’s buzzed-about dining scene, vibrant art offerings, plentiful parks and public spaces and history galore.
2016 is a year that will see Broad Street turned into a sprawling street festival for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), the A.M.E. Church celebrate its 200th year in the city where it was founded and the groundbreaking of a long-time-coming renovation to iconic LOVE Park.
Of course, all eyes will be on Philadelphia in July when Democrats nominate their candidate for president during the Democratic National Convention.
Here are the top 10 reasons to visit Philadelphia in ’16.
1. Democratic National Convention
Next summer, Philadelphia will host the Democratic National Convention for the first time since 1948. Delegates, elected officials and citizens from around the nation will in the City of Brotherly love, where the Democratic Party will selects its nominee for president of the United States. No matter the nominee, the birthplace of American democracy will be abuzz with special events and activities throughout the city leading up to and during the four-day event.
A large-scale fire-and-sand performance, a circus built on a foundation of yarn, a traveling symphony performed in water fountains and a sprawling street fair on Broad Street can only mean one thing: the return of PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts). With 60 performances embodying the curatorial vision We Are What We Make, PIFA weaves together a variety of art forms and genres by local and international artists in an arts extravaganza.
When: April 8-23, 2016 Where: The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and citywide MORE INFO
This new, 1.1-mile stretch will expand the pedestrian-friendly Schuylkill River Trail, which will now stretch from Grays Ferry Avenue to 56th Street. The $6-million section of path will connect Southwest Philly residents with the Schuylkill River Trail, increase access to parks and green spaces, and make it easy to explore Bartram’s Garden, the nation’s oldest botanical garden. Whether you’re interested in running or cycling, days with the family or romantic evening strolls, wait for the Bartram’s Trail experience starting in the fall.
When: Fall 2016 Where: Schuylkill River Trail in Southwest Philly MORE INFO
Greater Philadelphia’s multi-use trail network, the Circuit, meanders along the Schuylkill River bearing more than 20,000 runners, walkers, bikers and commuters every year. Soon, that trail will extend even further to connect the region. (Image courtesy Andropogon)
4. PHS Pop Up Garden: An Exploration of the Philadelphia Rail Park
The Philadelphia Rail Park at the Reading Viaduct, Philadelphia’s answer to the High Line, saw a great deal of significant investment in 2015 towards the completion of the Phase 1 portion of the Center City District-run project. The Rail Park spur will green a quarter-mile section of the unused rail line from Broad Street southeast across 13th and 12th Streets to Callowhill Street, and this summer, public installations will draw new visitors to the area around the Rail Park to continue to garner support. To give visitors a destination around the still-developing site, thePennsylvania Horticultural Society will install its ever-popular Pop-Up Garden in the area in summer 2016. With all of this investment, we can’t help but expect news of an official groundbreaking on phase 1 of the Rail Park itself to come any day.
When: Summer 2016 Where: Callowhill neighborhood MORE INFO
This design rendering depicts what the Rail Park could look like once complete, with seating, landscaping and more. (Image by Studio Bryan Hanes/courtesy PHS)
More things to look forward to in 2016, below.
5. Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazόn Cultural Center
When the doors to Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazόn Cultural Center swing open, visitors will discover the largest Puerto Rican/Latino-based arts and cultural facility in the state of Pennsylvania. Ten years in the making, the 25,000-square-foot centerpiece of El Centro de Oro neighborhood will house a multipurpose 200-seat theater, exhibition and gallery spaces, education facilities, an enclosed playground, gift shop and cafe.
When: Fall 2016 Where: 2600 N. 5th Street MORE INFO
After a 10-year planning and development period, the El Corazón Cultural Center will soon open. (Image courtesy Taller Puertorriqueño)
6. 200th Anniversary of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2016, andthe core festivities will take place in Philadelphia, the city where the church was founded. Bicentennial events include a major gospel concert; a social justice forum; a tribute to Sarah Allen, the church’s founding mother; and an ecumenical worship service. In July, congregants head to Philadelphia for the AME’s general conference — complete with an unveiling of the Bishop Richard Allen Memorial Courtyard and a new mural dedication.
When: Bicentennial events, April 7-10, July 3-5, 2016; conference, July 6-13, 2016 Where: Various locations throughout the city MORE INFO
Founded by the Reverend Richard Allen in 1787, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church is the mother church of the nation’s first black denomination. The current church building was constructed in 1889 and stands on the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African-Americans. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)
7. Multiple Targets Open
This summer, Center City Philadelphians will finally have access to the joys of Target shopping. The retailer has announced three stores will open in Center City in summer/fall 2016. The first store will open at 19th and Chestnut Streets in Center City’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, and the second will open at 12th and Chestnut in the Center City’s Midtown Village neighborhood, just a block from Market East. Both stores will be much smaller than a typical suburban-style Target, with a pedestrian-focused vibe that caters to both residents and visitors. The just-announced third store will go in at 22nd Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Hamilton Street.
When: Summer/Fall 2016 Where: 19th and Chestnut streets; 12th and Chestnut streets MORE INFO
Target is finally coming to downtown Philadelphia next year with two boutique-sized stores meant to serve Philly’s continuing surge in residents and visitors. (Image via Target)
8. King of Prussia Mall Expansion
King of Prussia Mall is expanding and connecting The Court and Plaza, solidifying the sprawling retail mecca’s place as the largest mall on the East Coast and the second largest shopping center in the United States. The estimated $150 million expansion and renovation will bring the mall’s current 2.65 million-square-foot layout to a whopping 2.8 million square feet.
A huge expansion of King of Prussia mall will ultimately connect the Court and the Plaza, the campus’ two sections. (Image courtesy Simon Property Group)
9. Copa America Centenario
Score one for Philadelphia. On June 11, the United States Men’s National Team will play at Lincoln Financial Field, making the City of Brotherly Love one of the country’s 10 host cities to welcome the Copa America soccer tournament, which will be played outside of South America for the first time in its 100-year history in 2016.
When: Saturday, June 11, 2016 Where: Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way MORE INFO
For the first time ever, the , the Copa America soccer tournament will be played outside of South America and one game will hit Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy Lincoln Financial Field)
10. Picasso at the Barnes and Other Blockbuster Art
Philadelphia museums and attractions overflow with amazing art and culture to see in 2016. Huge art exhibitions and cultural events not to miss include an important show of Pablo Picasso’s work at the Barnes Foundation; the year-long examination of race, class and community inHistoric GermantownElephants on the Avenue; the electoral show Headed to the White House at the National Constitution Center; The Science Behind Pixar at The Franklin Institute; the multisensory Dinosaurs Unearthed at The Academy of Natural Sciences; and, next fall, the groundbreaking Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism 1910-1950 at thePhiladelphia Museum of Art.
In the coming year, the Barnes Foundation hosts a huge exhibition of the works of Picasso, and that’s just one of the awesome art shows in store for 2016. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)
For even more reasons to look ahead to 2016, check out