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Coming Soon: Museum of Illusions, Restaurants & More

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Illusions Philadelphia.

Can’t believe your eyes? Believe it! A Museum of Illusions is opening in Philadelphia.

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Illusions Philadelphia.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Museum of Illusions. It's opening this fall at 401 Market Street in Old City. The museum will hold 80 visual and educational exhibits including holograms, stereograms and optical illusions. It may sound like all fun and games but it’s educational too. Visitors will learn about vision, perception, and the human brain and they’ll see first-hand how the eyes can trick the mind. The hands-on, immersive experiences in this 5,000-square-foot exhibit are designed to tease the senses and bring out playfulness. It's appropriate for all ages.

There are more than two dozen similar museums around the globe. Maybe the museum’s arrival in the City of Brotherly Love is due to Rob Cooper, who sits at the helm of the museum’s parent company, LOL Entertainment. He’s a native Philadelphian who attended Penn State and then Villanova.

More to watch for:

Ice Cream

If you scream for ice cream, you’ll be hysterical when you hear the scoop about these ice cream parlors opening in the area.

Photo courtesy of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is opening at 19th & Chestnut in Rittenhouse and 1332 Frankford in Fishtown. Jeni’s is known for using direct and fair trade ingredients and milk from family dairy farms. You won't want to miss flavors like Wedding Cake, Cold brew with Coconut Cream, Lemon Bar and Skillet Cinnamon Roll, plus daily-free flavors such as Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream is opening in the location that used to be Capogiro at 13th & Sansom in Midtown Village. Van Leeuwen started as a food truck in NYC and is now rolling into Philly with flavors like Carrot Cake Doughnut, Peanut Butter Brownie Chip and Earl Grey Tea. Van Leeuwen also offers vegan ice cream, cashew milk ice cream and oat milk ice cream. It's hoping to open in August.


Here's what's brewing around town.

Victory Brewing Company. Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia.

Victory Brewing is opening a large brewpub at 1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where the TGI Fridays used to be. The 14,000-square-foot brewpub will have 2 inside bars, 1 outside bar with sidewalk seating and a rooftop patio. A mid-summer opening is planned. And the icing on the donut, is a Federal Donuts opening behind it.

More on tap: Cartesian Brewing, a local origin brewery, plans to open around Labor Day in South Philly, just across from Pat’s and Geno’s and Aristaeus Craft Brewing Co, an open concept nano-brewery, in Langhorne. In Perkasie, Mystic Ways Brewing plans to open in the late summer and, in the fall, Van Lieus Brewing, by a father/son team.

Pennsylvania Libations will sell products from more than 20 Pennsylvania distilleries, wineries and ciders at Reading Terminal Market. It will be the only local outlet for such labels as Brother Monk Ciderworks, CJ Spirits and Liberty Pole Spirits. Pennsylvania Libations will be open 7 days a week starting this summer. Now you'll be able to shop for your entire meal -- from cocktails to dessert -- at Reading Terminal Market.


A taste of the many new restaurants opening soon around in the region.

PA Libations isn't the only new kid on the block at Reading Terminal Market. El Merkury and Sweet T's Bakery opened earlier this summer. Tambayan, a Filipino-fusion restaurant offering breakfast, all-day specials, and desserts, will open in late June. Look for items made with ube, a purple yam native to the Philippines that claims a myriad of health benefits. For more about what's new at Reading Terminal Market, click here.

The Ironworks at Pencoyd Landing is already home to The Landing Kitchen, a new restaurant by Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi and will soon be home to a second restaurant. Elmi's second restaurant on the site, Lark, will be an upscale Mediterranean coastal eatery with a rooftop terrace. It will open this summer.

Star & Lantern, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar with an important mission, is scheduled to open in Kennett Square in the fall. The bar aims to shine light on the Underground Railroad, local abolitionists and the African American struggle for freedom. It does this with its beautifully-

appointed underground space, Southern and local cuisine on its small plate menu and its cocktails, which honor Tim Bullock, a formerly enslaved man who published one of the country's first cocktail books in 1917. Update: Opening is now planned for the Spring of 2022.

Photo courtesy of The Borscht Belt Deli.

The Borscht Belt Delicatessen, a New York-style deli, is expected to open momentarily in Stockton, New Jersey. Think fresh lox, bagels, pickles, matzo ball soup, piled-high pastrami sandwiches and Jewish baked goods. Jewish American goodies brought to you by Nick Liberato (Paramount Network's Bar Rescue, Netflix's Restaurants on the Edge) and Michael Dalewitz (The Mindful Mentor), in partnership with Steve Lau.

Sor Ynez, a new restaurant by Jill Weber and her team (Jet Wine Bar, Rex 1516, Cafe Ynez), is poised to open. It's located in the NextFab Building, a cool makers space in West Kensington that is also home to the new Neon Museum. Executive Chef Alex Tellez will serve vibrant Mexican dishes with a focus on a modern sustainable future. The menu is vegetarian-friendly and the bar is mezcal-heavy.

Revival Pizza Pub is about to open in Chester Springs. The large, stylish restaurant will have a big, bright interior and a large outdoor cafe. In addition to pizza, the menu features pastas, sandwiches and salads including gluten-free and vegan options and has a full bar.

They're having a soft opening at General Tsao's House, 1720 Sansom Street. Now through June 30, diners get 10% off. And instagram followers get a free order of ShengJian Bao (Pan Fried Pork Buns).

For more on restaurant openings, click here to see Michael Klein's comprehensive list from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

There are many new things to do in Philadelphia -- the Faith & Liberty Discovery Center, Neon Museum, a cookie speakeasy and more -- and lots more is coming soon. The fun never stops in Philadelphia.


by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. Both books are full of tips. Visit for more tips. Looking for fun things to do? Need gifts? Go to the website for signed copies of books. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse.

For more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including a list of the sweetest places for sweets, new attractions, and information about pop-up beer gardens: click here.

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