Although Philadelphia often finds itself overshadowed by its more flashy neighbor to the east, New York City, the City of Brotherly Love has an impressive array of art and culture experiences to enjoy. Opera, musical theatre, live music, and art are all in fine form in Philadelphia — especially in and around Midtown Village, which stands as one of the city’s creative hubs.
The Kimmel Center isn’t just the heart and soul of Philadelphia. It’s one of the nation’s top performing arts centers, hosting world-class touring musicians, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Broadway Philadelphia, The Philly Pops, and much more. Located in several stately buildings lining Broad Street, Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, the Kimmel Center recently played host to Bob Dylan. If you can’t make it to a show at the center, at least stop by Volver, the new restaurant from Iron Chef star Jose Garces, serving tasting menus and upscale cocktails.
The Wilma is an irreplaceable piece of the Philadelphia performing arts scene and a well-respected member of Broad Street’s “Avenue of the Arts” lineup. The theater often presents challenging and less-mainstream material, including 2015 performances of plays such as “The Body of an American” and “Rapture, Blister, Burn.” The Wilma is Philly’s answer to New York’s off-Broadway scene — and in some ways, it’s better.
Billed as America’s oldest theatre, the Walnut Street Theatre opened in 1809. In the ensuring 206 years, many of America’s greatest actors have graced the stage below the Walnut’s signature 80-foot dome: Will Rogers, Audrey Hepburn, Robert Redford, and William Shatner, to name just a few. The theatre isn’t just a historic relic — the stage is as alive as ever, hosting performances like Mary Poppins, Memphis, and Disney’s Alice in Wonderland in the past year alone.
It’s name may sound strange, but Milkboy’s pedigree is serious. This bar and cafe doubles as one of Center City’s best music venues. The space has a decidedly independent feel, hosting shows by local bands and under-the-radar touring acts, all of which you can enjoy with a carefully crafted cocktail in hand. Milkboy’s sterling reputation among those in the know is burnished by its sister endeavor: Milkboy the Studio, where multi-platinum stars like Kanye West and John Legend — along with local favorites Dr. Dog — have recorded albums.
As the official home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre hosts a number of forward-thinking plays and musicals each season. Recent productions include the playful murder mystery musical “Murder for Two,” the Obie Award-winning play “Detroit,” and the beautifully lyrical “brownsville song (b-side for tray).” The Suzanne Roberts Theatre is the place to see the work of up-and-coming directors in Philadelphia.