Top 15 Things to Look Forward to in Philadelphia in 2015

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Only-in-Philly projects, exhibitions, anniversaries and celebrations will give locals the chance to champion their hometown, first-time visitors incentives to make that return trip and return visitors reasons to come back yet again.

So what’s on the calendar? Tons.

The Tall Ships Challenge Philadelphia Camden 2015, showing off a dozen historic ships on the Delaware River Waterfront; Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, featuring more than 80 works by a who’s who of painters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and a special exhibition at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland.

Of course, all eyes will be on Philadelphia when thousands of families from around the globe — and Pope Francis! — gather for the eighth World Meeting of Families.

Here are some of the major happenings taking place throughout Philadelphia in 2015.

1. Pope Francis to visit Philadelphia

September 22-27, 2015. Tens of thousands of people from around the globe will converge on Philadelphia for the eighth annual World Meeting of Families. Throughout the week, approximately 100 speakers will lead panel discussions and workshops at the Pennsylvania Convention Center focused on the theme “Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive.” There is talk that Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States (and the first visit to Philadelphia by any pope since Pope John Paul II in 1979) to say a public mass during the event. MORE INFO

Parkway

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway will fill with tens of thousands when Pope Francis holds a public mass on the Parkway in September 2015. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)

2. Philadelphia Bike Share to launch

April. Pedal power hits Philadelphia with the launch of the city’s Bike Share program. Cyclists will be able to rent more than 600 bikes located at more than 60 stations throughout Center City and beyond. Day, monthly and annual passes available. MORE INFO

Bike Share

Mayor Michael Nutter has made way for Philadelphia Bike Share to roll this spring. (Photo by Mitchell Leff for the City of Philadelphia)

3. One Liberty Place to debut an observation deck

Summer. Instagram lovers, rejoice! The Liberty One Observation Deck is set to offer breathtaking, picture-perfect skyline views 57 stories above the ground starting this summer. Montparnasse 56 (M56) — a Parisian-based company that operates observation decks in Chicago’s John Hancock Tower and Paris’ Montparnasse 56 Tower — is building the stunning attraction on the 57th floor of One Liberty Place in downtown Philadelphia. MORE INFO

Observation Deck

One Liberty Place will soon be home to a brand-new observation deck and cafe, offering up an amazing bird’s-eye view of Philadelphia. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)

More major happenings in 2015, below.

4. Blockbuster Impressionism exhibit to visit Philadelphia Museum of Art

June 24-September 13. Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Paintingcelebrates the ambitious and visionary Parisian art dealer who supported and helped elevate a new style of painting. On view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition will showcase more than 80 works by Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Degas, Manet and others to trace Durand-Ruel’s role in the development of impressionism. MORE INFO

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art welcomes more than 80 Impressionist works of art for the Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting exhibit. (Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art)

5. Tall Ships Challenge to hit the Delaware River

June 24-28. Billowing sails will waft in the breeze when the Tall Ships Challenge Philadelphia Camden 2015 pulls into port. Visitors can tour the ships, which will dock at Penn’s Landing and the Camden Waterfront. Headlining the dozen-ship fleet will be L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the fledgling United States during the Revolutionary War. MORE INFO

Tall Ships

The Delaware River will teem with tall ships this summer. (Courtesy of Draw Events)

6. Pier 68 Park to become the newest public space on the Delaware River

Late spring/summer. When the new Pier 68 Park opens, it will provide a southern trailhead for the continually growing Delaware River Trail. Built as a place for passive recreation, the $1.7 million park will be an angler’s delight with a dedicated space for casting lines and built in fish-cleaning stations. Native trees and plants will provide shade in the picnic grove and a cutout in the pier surface will allow visitors to watch the tide rise and fall. MORE INFO

DRWC

Pier 68 opens this summer as part of the Delaware River Trail. (Image courtesy Studio Bryan Hanes/DRWC)

7. Opera Philadelphia to celebrate its 40th anniversary

Through June 14. Bravo to Opera Philadelphia, celebrating its 40th anniversary with a season of premieres and casts that possess an unprecedented roster of operatic firepower. The acclaimed Lawrence Brownlee will star in the world premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. The East Coast premiere of Oscar will feature David Daniels, hailed by The New York Times as perhaps the greatest countertenor of all time. And Eric Owens will return to his hometown to perform in Don Carlo. MORE INFO

Academy of Music in Philadelphia

A number of shows celebrating opera Philadelphia’s 40th anniversary will take place at the Academy of Music. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)

8. The 50th anniversary of one of the first gay rights protests

Reenactment, July 4; Exhibition, June-October. In honor of the 50th anniversary of one of the nation’s first gay rights demonstrations, the William Way LGBT Community Center, in partnership with the National Constitution Center (NCC), will mount and exhibit about the gay rights movement in the United States in the 1960s. On view at the NCC, the exhibit will address the Reminder Day demonstrations outside of Independence Hall and the impact the demonstrations had on the gay rights movement. The anniversary event will also feature programming at museums and attractions throughout the city, including a reenactment of the original July 4 demonstrations on Independence Mall. MORE INFO

Philadelphia celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the first gay rights protests with an exhibition at the National Constitution Center (above) and a reenactment on Independence Mall, opposite the museum. (D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia)

Philadelphia celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the first gay rights protests with an exhibition at the National Constitution Center (above) and a reenactment on Independence Mall, opposite the museum. (D. Cruz for Visit Philadelphia)

9. The 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland at the Rosenbach

October 14-spring 2016. When Alice fell down the rabbit hole 150 years ago, the world rushed to follow her adventures in wonderland. The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia will celebrate the sesquicentennial of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with a host of exhibitions and programs that explore the literary classic. Exhibitions will follow the story of the book itself from inspiration to publication. An interactive gallery will invite visitors of all ages to channel their inner Alice and showcase the author and mathematician’s games and puzzles.MORE INFO

Rosenbach

Celebrate 150 years of Alice in Wonderland at the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. (Courtesy of the Rosenbach)

10. The Brandywine River Museum of Art to showcase Horace Pippin

April 25-July 19Horace Pippin: The Way I See It is the first major exhibition of the artist’s works in the country in more than two decades. The Brandywine River Museum of Art will feature 60 works that capture Pippin’s bold, colorful and candid paintings reflecting life in the African- American community and commenting on race, religion, war and history. MORE INFO

Brandywine River Museum

The Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford will host a blockbuster exhibition of African-American painter Horace Pippin in 2015. (Rick Echelmeyer for the Brandywine River Museum of Art)

11. Mural Arts Program to launch Open Source

May-NovemberOpen Source, presented by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and curated by Pedro Alonzo, will culminate in November 2015 with public art projects throughout the city by a dozen local and international artists. Each artist will work in residence within an existing area or social concern of the organization, and their projects will explore the intersection of street art, contemporary art and public art. The program will include numerous public activities, including tours, panel discussions, opening events and more. MORE INFO

Mural Arts Program

A dozen artists will engage in public art projects around the city in Open Source. (Photo courtesy Mural Arts Program)

12. Genghis Khan exhibit to come to The Franklin Institute

Opens May 9. The treasures and stories of Genghis Kahn’s 13th-century Mongol Empire debuts in Philadelphia when the Genghis Khan exhibit opens at The Franklin Institute. Visitors enter into the greatest empire the world has ever known to discover the amazing genius of the Mongolian conqueror, learn how this unsophisticated warrior nomad had such a profound impact on world politics and on creating an empire that led the world into the modern age. MORE INFO

The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute saw a major expansion in 2014, and will host a major exhibition in 2015. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

13. Spruce Street Harbor Park to return to the Delaware River Waterfront

Summer. Although the exact dates haven’t been officially confirmed, Spruce Street Harbor Park is expected to return to Penn’s Landing in summer 2015. The park along the Delaware River had such a successful 2014 that its season was extended by a full month. We can’t wait for riverside lounging to resume. MORE INFO

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park was one of the coolest Philadelphia parks had ever seen, with a boardwalk with arcade games, a hammock lawn, a bocce court, a floating restaurant, a beer garden and so much more.(Photo by Matt Stanley courtesy Delaware River Waterfront Corporation)

14. The Philadelphia craft brewing scene to expand even further

Ongoing. Philadelphia’s world-class beer scene will only get better in 2015. Come March, Ardmore’s Tired Hands will expand its eccentric beer list to a larger location not too far from its original spot on the Main Line. The latest Victory Brewing Company outpost — Victory at Magnolia — will open its doors in Kennett Square, complete with outdoor seating. And Brewerytown will welcome the return of brewing within its borders with the opening of Crime and Punishment Brewing Co. on Girard Avenue. Check out the guide to breweries and brewpubs in the Philadelphia area, which will be updated with new additions as they open. MORE INFO

Victory

Victory Brewing Company’s Downingtown location, pictured above, is awesome. Its latest expansion to Kennett Square should offer something completely different: a brewpub with outdoor seating in Kennett Square. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

15. The Philadelphia dining scene to grow even greater

Ongoing. With newcomers like Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, Volvér and La Peg, it’ll be hard to beat the 2014 additions to Philadelphia’s dining scene. But 2015 is shaping up to be another awesome year for food in Philly, with new spots from Jose Garces and Marc Vetri, culinary imports from all over the world and much more. MORE INFO

Pizzeria Vetri

Marc Vetri’s unstoppable march across Philly continues with a new edition of Pizzeria Vetri on the way in Rittenhouse Square on Chancellor Street in spring 2015. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

Read original article by Kristina Jenkins for uwishunu here.

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