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Fall for ONLY-IN-PHILLY Attractions & Exhibits This Fall

Valley Forge National Historical Park. Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia®

The leaves will soon be turning red and dropping, along with the temperature. The new season brings a host of new exhibits to the Philadelphia region. Here's a preview of the most exciting things happening in the area this fall.

Attraction Openings & Renovations:

  • Valley Forge National Historical Park Visitor Center Renovation - In June, Valley Forge National Historical Park (VFNHP) opened its refurbished welcome center. This fall, VFNHP will unveil new interpretive exhibits that covers the 6-month period of the 1777-1778 winter encampment. The $12 million upgrade project is the park's first since opening in 1976. A renovated theater will open in early 2022.

  • Delaware River TrailThe central portion of the Delaware River Trail (between Washington Avenue and Spring Garden Street on the east side of Columbus Boulevard) will open this fall providing a protected lane for walkers, joggers and cyclists. The trail will feature a curb-separated, bi-directional asphalt bicycle path and separate pedestrian sidewalk plus landscaping, pedestrian lighting and street furnishings. The trail will link waterfront destinations including Race Street Pier, Blue Cross RiverRink, Spruce Street Harbor Park and the Washington Avenue Pier. Fall 2021.

  • ContraFuerte – In late September, Artist Miguel Antonio Horn, a native Philadelphian, will turn a nondescript alley into a thought-provoking meeting spot when he unveils a monumental piece of public art. The sculpture consists of eight gigantic figures — four on each side — clustered around a bridge that spans Cuthbert Street off 12th (near Reading Terminal Market). Its title, ContraFuerte, or counterforce, plays on the idea of pushing and pulling, striving for balance and, ultimately, collective action against a greater force.


100 Things To Do In Philadelphia - Philly's #1 Travel Guide

100 Things to Do in Philadelphia provides the inside scoop on well-known attractions and hidden gems plus tips on snagging reservations at trendy restaurants, scoring discounts, and getting the most out of each experience. Includes fun, safe activities that even long-time Philadelphians might not know about. And makes a great gift. To get a signed copy, click here. Use promo code TheCityPulse for free shipping.



  • Gideon Mendel: Drowning World - This exhibit at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is a stark portrayal of flooding and the human condition within the context of overwhelming climate events around the world. The show features 37 photographs, two found-object displays and a video by Mendel, a leading contemporary photographer and a native of Johannesburg, South Africa. Through October 17, 2021.

Photo courtesy of the Mutter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
  • Designing Motherhood - The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia exhibit focuses on the political, economic and social implications of how the world has medicalized reproduction. The exhibit tells five stories: Means of Reproduction, Midwives, Parturition, Exam and Milk. Through May 8, 2022.

  • Crayola IDEAworks: The Creativity Exhibition - This world-premiere exhibit at the Franklin Institute helps guests hone problem-solving skills and fosters creativity. Visitors 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. Extended through November 28, 2021.

  • Pool: A Social History of Segregation - This multi-disciplinary exhibition at the Fairmount Water Works explores the history and implications of segregated swimming in America. The exhibit, which will be situated in the former Kelly Pool within the National Historic Landmark, investigates the role of public pools in the United States with the goal of deepening understanding of the connection between water, social justice and public health. Opened September 3, 2021.

  • Downstream This exhibit at the Science History Museum takes visitors on a watery journey of history and science, exploring more than 200 years of water analysis and water protection in the United States. The display features installments depicting the process of water filtration, historical fights against waterborne illness, new innovations in ocean-cleaning technology and more. Opened September 14, 2021- end date to be determined.

  • The Stories We Wear - The Penn Museum will showcase 2,500 years of style and adornment. The exhibit reveals how clothing and accessories offer powerful expressions of identity, examining the purpose and meaning behind what people wear. The exhibit explores how people around the world have dressed for 5 themes: Ceremony, Performance, Battle, Work and Play and Rule. September 25, 2021-June 12, 2022.

By Suzanne Valadon. Photo courtesy of the Barnes Foundation.
  • Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel - The Barnes Foundation is presenting the first major U.S. exhibition dedicated to self-taught artist Suzanne Valadon. The French artist and model challenged behavioral codes with her art and lifestyle, breaking new ground with unapologetic portraits and nudes. September 26, 2021-January 9, 2022.

  • Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror - The Philadelphia Museum of Art partners with the Whitney Museum of American Art on simultaneous exhibitions of the work of Jasper Johns, considered the country’s most significant living artist. The unprecedented collaboration chronologically features paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and books that mirror the other’s display, creating an immersive exhibition that itself is a study in Johns’ fascination with reflections. September 29, 2021-February 13, 2022.

  • America’s Impressionism: Echoes of a Revolution - The Brandywine River Museum of Art, the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens co-organized this exhibit which explores a redefinition of American Impressionism as a practice less intent on mimicking the French style than on creating an equally independent movement in the U.S. It tells the story of American artists coming to terms with a new style of art through more than 50 works drawn from public and private collections across the country. October 9, 2021-January 9, 2022.

  • Liberty: Don Troiani’s Paintings of the Revolutionary War - The Museum of the American Revolution puts on this exhibit of work by nationally renowned historical artist Don Troiani, who draws from painstaking research to create paintings that capture the drama and reality of all aspects of life during the American Revolution. More than 40 of Troiani’s paintings and dozens of artifacts from his personal collection — most on public display for the first time — plunge visitors into some of the most pivotal moments of America’s fight for independence. October 16, 2021-September 5, 2022.

  • Invisible World of Water - The first project in the Academy of Natural Sciences' yearlong focus on water, this exhibit renews water appreciation through artworks that combine the marvel and insight of both scientific and artistic inquiry. Centered around snow crystals and diatoms, the exhibition presents two parallel histories of observation and shows the interplay between the micro-cosmic and macro-cosmic. See rare historical Victorian-arranged diatom slides by Harold Dalton and others, microphotographs by Ukichiro Nakaya, contemporary ceramic sculpture by Margarita Hagan and stop-motion imagery by physicist Kenneth Liebbrecht. November 13, 2021-February 13, 2022.

There is lots to see and learn in Philadelphia in the fall of 2021, whether you're interested in the climate, art, history, fitness or all of the above.


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? Click here for signed copies of books. Use promo code TheCityPulse for free shipping.

For more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including information about new attractions, restaurants and retailers: click here.

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