Newest Things To See and Do in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia’s attractions are as iconic as they come — think the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Rocky Statue and Art Museum Steps, and cheesesteaks, among others — making it a bucket list destination for families, history buffs, movie fans, foodies, and others.

Newest Things To See and Do in Philadelphia
Photo: M. Edlow for GPTMC

While a classic destination in every way, Philadelphia happily welcomes invention and reinvention, new and renewed, and that’s what these attractions will deliver in 2021.

Philadelphia's Newest Attractions For 2021

The Franklin Institute

Philadelphia’s beloved science museum begins the year with a world-premiere exhibit: Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition. This state-of-the-art experience helps guests hone problem-solving skills and fosters creativity. Visitors will put their creative skills to action by testing solutions to problems based on current scientific research, including designing a ball that works for astronauts in low gravity, building a sustainable neighborhood, and restoring sea life to coral reefs. February 13-July 18, 2021.

Faith and Liberty Discovery Center

This $60 million, 40,000square-foot immersive experience is the latest development in a decades-long transformation of Independence Mall. It will explore the nation’s founding tenets shared in the S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and the Bible. Space will include interactive galleries, a 3-D theater, and an education center. Among the highlighted Americans: civil rights and Baptist leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Catholic anti-war activist Dorothy Day, and Quaker William Penn, founder of colonial Philadelphia. The Center will also direct visitors to explore the Faith and Liberty Heritage Trail, including some of the nation’s early religious institutions such as Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, home to the denomination’s founding congregation, and Mikveh Israel, home to Philadelphia’s oldest Jewish congregation. May 1, 2021.

Please Touch Museum

The Please Touch Museum debuts an all-new, 5,000-square-foot permanent gallery that seeks to inspire creativity by telling the story of innovation at the Centennial of 1876, which took place in Fairmount Park right outside of the museum. The gallery’s centerpiece will be a scale model of the Centennial exposition created by dozens of artisans in 1889, depicting precisely how it looked on July 4, 1876. Spring 2021.

Valley Forge National Historical Park Visitor Center Renovation

The site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington, Valley Forge National Historical Park welcomes 2 million-plus visitors annually to explore its 3,600 acres of historic structures, objects, and sprawling grounds. A gateway to Montgomery County, the Welcome Center hasn’t seen a significant upgrade since opening in 1976. In 2021, a four-year, $14 million upgrade project is expected to be complete with a full renovation of the official Visitor Center for Valley Forge and Montgomery County, a new five-part museum exhibit and film, and an expanded trail system interpretive signage, a new shelter and overlook. Summer 2021.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

In 2021, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s much-anticipated Frank Gehry-designed master plan comes to fruition. Dramatic changes inside the iconic building include the opening up of spaces not seen by the public for decades. Among the highlights: a soaring forum, with its inaugural installation of Terecita Fernandez’s Fire (the United States of the Americas) (2017); 20,000 square feet of new gallery space to be filled with art that rethinks the story of Philadelphia and the nation; a renovated Lenfest Hall; views that show off the city skyline from inside the building; and an outdoor portico overlooking the Schuylkill River. Later in the year, the museum will partner with the Whitney Museum of American Art n simultaneous exhibitions of the work of Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror, considered the country’s most significant living artist. Originally scheduled to show in 2020, the unprecedented collaboration will chronologically show paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, books, and costumes that mirror the other’s display, creating an immersive exhibition that itself is a study in Johns’ fascination with reflections. Exhibit: September 29, 2021–February 13, 2022.