11 Philadelphia museums to visit at night

Avoid the tourist crowds and see your favorite exhibits in a whole new (moonlight!) light.

Visit the Franklin Institute’s rooftop observatory on a special nighttime science museum tour / Photo courtesy of the Franklin Institute

Philadelphia Museum of Art, spring garden
Did you know? Every Friday night, Philadelphia’s grande dame of museums stays open until 8:45 p.m.

The Insectarium, Holmesburg
Monthly evening beer gardens include museum access, butterfly releases (!), games and, of course, beer (next: August 19). Advance tickets recommended.

The Rosenbach, Rittenhouse
Once or twice a season, the famed museum and library hosts “Bibliococktails in the Garden” in its backyard, complete with house entry, themed literary programs, and cocktail parties. Registration required.

The Betsy Ross House, Old City
Monthly movie nights on the first Friday from June to September offer outdoor screenings of original films in the backyard (BYOB) and admission to after-hours tours of Betsy’s house. Arrive early; the yard fills up quickly.

philadelphia museum barnes foundation art

The Barnes Foundation / Photograph by R. Kennedy courtesy of Visit Philadelphia

first fridays at The Barnes Foundation, Circle Logan; and Institute of History of Science, Old City
In honor of First Fridays, these spots stay open late on a monthly basis. Check their websites for details.

Sphinx at the Penn Museum / Photograph by Eric Sucar

first Wednesdays at Penn Museum, University town; and Please touch the museum, Fairmont Park
Meanwhile, on early Wednesdays, the Penn Museum and PTM keep their doors open late.

The Franklin Institute, Circle Logan
The quarterly adults-only Science After Hours event features cash bars, access to all exhibits, and live performances. Next: October 28. Registration required.

Eastern State Penitentiary, Fairmont
Night Tour: Summer Twilightwhich runs Thursday through Sunday through September, includes a tour of the historic jail, interactive exhibits and access to the Fair Chance beer garden run by Triple Bottom Brewing. Advance tickets recommended.

Eastern State Penitentiary / Photograph by John Van Horn

Independence Seaport Museum, society hill
Two options here: Newly extended hours mean you can visit the cruiser Olympia and submarine Becuna until 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday until Labor Day. Or take the “Pirate Rum Challengewhich involves cocktails, board rides, cannon shots and plenty of sea shanties. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; for adults only.

>> Click here to return to the ultimate Philadelphia travel guide.

Published as “150 Ways to Do Philly Like a Tourist: Nights at the Museum” in the July 2022 issue of philadelphia cream magazine.

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