Duration: Two days and two nights
Robert Indiana's famous LOVE statue sums it up pretty nicely: there's a lot to love about art in Philadelphia. Making its Philadelphia debut, the Barnes Foundation opens its doors to reveal one of the most impressive collections of Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings in the world. Of course, the Philadelphia Museum of Art (and its famous "Rocky" steps) is a must-see as well as the seemingly endless museums and galleries. But the city's art extends beyond the interior walls to murals and gardens as well - making the entire city a wealth of art to discover.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway may very well be the most artistic mile in the country. And there's no greater support for that than the opening of the Philadelphia campus of the Barnes Foundation. Sitting on 4.5 acres of beautifully landscaped property on the north side of the Parkway, the Barnes houses one of the most impressive art collections in the world - including the largest collection of Renoirs in the world and more Cézannes than all of France.
Started in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, a chemist who used his pharmaceutical fortune to amass his collection, the Barnes' mission has always been to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of fine arts." Celebrated for its works by some of the greatest European and American masters of impressionism, post-impressionist, and early modern art, as well as African sculpture, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American textiles, metalwork and more. One of the Matisse's works of dancers was created specifically for the main gallery space. It's a collection that you have to see with your own eyes to truly believe its grandeur.Read More >
Just a short walk away (and a quick jog up the famed "Rocky" steps), sits the Philadelphia Museum of Art. With more than 227,000 objects in 200 galleries, the Museum is one of the largest art museums in the United States. The collections of the Museum span from the third millenium BC to the contemporary world. The collection of arms and armor is the second largest in the United States. And the American collections range from fine examples of revolutionary-period furniture to the paintings of Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins. As if the extensive permanent collection weren't enough, the Museum also brings in some of the best exhibitions in the country.Read More >
A day full of such masterpieces deserves a meal as worthy. Table 31 serves Chef Chris Scarduzio's contemporary interpretations of Italian staples like handcrafted pastas, thin-crust pizzas, steaks and chops. The restaurant is located just off the Parkway in The Comcast Center, Philadelphia's landmark building and the nation's tallest green structure.Read More >
Philadelphia is recognized as the world's largest outdoor museum due to its vast collection of outdoor sculptures and murals. So now is the time to take to the streets and off-the-beaten paths to discover art outside the gallery walls.
Beginning at a number of locations throughout the city - including Independence Visitor's Center, Love Park and Boat House Row - guided tours offer a variety of ways to experience the city's expansive outdoor art pieces. Hop on a trolley to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the city's lesser-known gems. Take the Love Letter Train Tour and see 50 rooftop murals that collectively express a love letter from a guy to a girl. Or hit the ground walking on the Mural Mile. No matter what tour you sign up for, an expert guide will fill you in on the history, techniques and insight behind the pieces.Read More >
Now it's time to see what the artists of today are up to. Head to Old City, walk along 2nd and 3rd Streets and pop in the galleries that interest you. With 40-plus galleries, there's plenty to attract a variety of tastes. On the first Friday evening of every month, the galleries stay open late and art lovers of all kinds can wander amongst the different galleries. So put your art shoes on and get ready to be amazed.
"Magic" truly is the only way to describe it. Located on South Street, Philadelphia's Magic Gardens is an art environment, gallery and community arts center all rolled into one. Artist Isaiah Zagar started working on the Magic Gardens in 1994 in the vacant lot near his studio. Wanting to beautify the South Street neighborhood, he constructed a massive fence to protect the area from harm. Then he spent the next fourteen years excavating tunnels and grottos, sculpting multi-layered walls, tiling and grouting the 3,000 square foot space to transform it into his largest artwork. Today that area includes a fully-tiled indoor space and a massive outdoor mosaic sculpture garden that spans half a block. Inside, you can see folk art statues, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, Zagar's handmade tiles and thousands of glittering mirrors.Read More >
With all the glitter and metal salvage seen at Magic Gardens, it seems fitting that Fork be your dinner stop. Located at 3rd and Market, this nationally acclaimed New American bistro offers delicious food that is seasonal, fresh and inventive. The menu is printed daily and reflects influences from around the world. Part of Fork's allure is its hip, stylish, sophisticated interior. A perfect end to a day that was exactly that.Read More >
A LEED Gold Certified luxury hotel, the Hotel Palomar is a testament to comfort and sustainability. Because it was designed with the environment in mind, your conscience can rest just as easily as you do.
Between museums, wander over to Boathouse Row. Located along the east bank of the Schuylkill River, Boathouse Row consists of 15 boathouses made to house social and rowing clubs and their racing shells. From the oldest continuosuly existing club in the United States to the oldest women's club, each house has its own history and backstory.
Located at the intersection of 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Center City, John F. Kennedy Plaza serves as the gateway to Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Museum District. The park earned the nickname LOVE Park because of Robert Indiana's famous LOVE sculpture located there.
Across the street from the main building of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Fairmount and Pennsylvania Avenues, the Perelman showcases some of the Museum's most colorful and cutting-edge collections within its grand Art Deco facade.
Located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, this museum includes over one hundred sculptures and bronze casts from Auguste Rodin. The largest outside of Paris, this collection features bronze casts of the artist's greatest works, including "The Thinker," "The Burghers of Calais" and "The Gates of Hell."