Los Angeles Times

Music, museums and mummers

Philadelphia offers a striking array of cultural options. From the elegance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the emotional experience of the new National Liberty Museum, you can hardly turn a corner in Philadelphia without running into art and culture.

This is, after all, the city with the world's largest collection of outdoor artworks. Philadelphia boasts an outstanding mural-arts program, along with such famed public art pieces as Robert Indiana's "Love," August Rodin's "The Thinker" and Claes Oldenburg's "Clothes Pin."

It's impossible to see all of Philadelphia's cultural offerings in just one visit. But to help you choose, here's a list of some of the major institutions. Call in advance to see if there are any performances or exhibits scheduled for when you plan to visit.

African American Museum in Philadelphia. Dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the intellectual culture of African-Americans in greater Philadelphia.

Art in City Hall, second and fourth floors, City Hall. Changing exhibits and collections.

Curtis Institute of Music. Musical performances throughout the year.

Fabric Workshop and Museum. Exhibitions about fabric and fashion.

Freedom Theatre. Pennsylvania's oldest African-American theater company.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania. A repository for some of the most important historical documents in America.

Independence Seaport Museum. Interpreting the Philadelphia area's maritime heritage with family-friendly exhibits.

Institute of Contemporary Art. An exhibition space devoted exclusively to contemporary art and artists.

Interact Theatre Company. Theater company devoted to new and contemporary plays exploring social, cultural and political issues.

Mummers Museum. Historical artifacts and costumes belonging to the group that always takes part in Philadelphia's New Year's Day parade.

National Liberty Museum. A museum dedicated to defusing bigotry and violence by honoring our country's diverse heritage.

National Museum of American Jewish History. Artworks, artifacts and exhibits dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of Jews in America.

Painted Bride Art Center. A multidisciplinary arts center offering poetry, jazz, dance, music, performance and more.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The nation's first art museum and school of fine arts has collections from the 18th through 20th centuries.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. More than 300,000 objects in an integrated presentation of painting, sculpture, crafts and design. Includes such 20th-century icons as Marcel Duchamp's "Great Glass (The Bride Stripped Bare of her Bachelors Even)" and "Bicycle Wheel," along with outstanding Indian temple sculptures and continuing special exhibits.

Philadelphia Orchestra. One of the world's premier orchestras. Concerts offered throughout the year.

Rodin Museum. The largest collection of Auguste Rodin's sculptures, plaster studies and drawings outside of Paris.

Rosenbach Museum and Library. Devoted to preserving and collecting rare books, manuscripts and decorative arts. Collection includes the original manuscript of James Joyce's "Ulysses."

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Artifacts from around the world.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Fabulous Freebies

    Places to go and thing to see that won't cost you a cent! Congress Hall Elfreth's Alley Museum Fairmount Park Reading Terminal Market Independence Hall Italian Market Liberty Bell Pavilion Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (free most Wednesdays from 5-7:30 p.m.) Old City Hall Penn's Landing (free...

  • A full schedule of festivals

    Among the major tourist attractions in Philadelphia are the city's many and varied festivals. This multiethnic, culturally diverse town loves to put on a show. Whatever your interest, Philadelphia probably has a festival to match it.

  • Kudos for kid-friendliness

    With all of its chic restaurants and elegant shopping, Philadelphia seems to be geared more for grown-up visitors than kids. Maybe it is, but it's also one of the most child-friendly places to visit.

  • Shopping around

    Shopping in Philadelphia can be a cultural experience. From the downtown counter-culture of South Street to the elegant refinement of Rittenhouse Square District, whatever your taste, you'll find something to satisfy it somewhere in Philadelphia.

  • Where the old and new unite

    The riches of history contrast with the institutions of modern life everywhere in Philadelphia. Here you can see artifacts of our nation's birth and avant-garde artworks nearly side by side. Eighteenth-century buildings sit next to 20th-century mural art. Even food gets in on the act: Restaurants...

  • Root, root root for the home teams

    Philadelphia is a sports fan's town. The city boasts all manner of sports teams, and three venues where you can catch the pros at play. Whatever the season, you can find a professional or collegiate sporting event to attend in the city.

  • In the 'hoods: haute and hip

    From its founding 300 years ago as William Penn's planned "greene countrie towne," Philadelphia has been a city meant to be lived in. The neighborhoods of Center City (what natives call "downtown" Philadelphia) and beyond all have their own quirks and personalities.

  • A terrific town for night owls

    Philadelphia has a concentration of "gentlemen's clubs" that tend to dominate the billboard advertising leading into the city. While these clubs (strip joints, actually) are a major part of the city's nightlife, there are plenty of offerings for those seeking more mainstream activities in the evening.