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Historic Fun at Franklin Square

Photo Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Franklin Square is starting its 15th season with a splash! Franklin Square, one of the original squares included in William Penn’s design for the city, is located at 6th & Race streets in the Historic District. New this year is a beer and cocktail garden plus a whirlwind of free activities.

Photo by K Huff for PHLCVB.

The new Beer & Cocktail Garden at Franklin Square sports a rustic chic decor accented with chandeliers and shaded by a translucent tent. Enjoy food, drink and games such as corn hole and Connect4. The food, provided by Cescaphe includes sliders, flatbread pizza, calamari, charcuterie plates, arancini and crispy jumbo shrimp. At the bar, you'll find prickly pear margaritas, spiked blackberry lemonade, hard seltzers, beer, wine and more. It’s open on Wednesdays through Saturdays through August 28.

And that’s not all, the Square will be enlivened with free classes and live music.

Yoga classes -- Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m.

Bring a yoga mat and join the instructor for a guided journey to wellness. Register in advance at Free.

Dance classes -- Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

Concierge Ball Room will teach a different genre each week. July 14: Swing Dance; July 21: Hip Hop; July 28: Tango; August 4: Jazz; August 11: Salsa; August 18: House Dance; August 25: Hustle. Free

Live DJ -- Thursdays from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

Listen for live DJ music by Philly DJ Robert Drake (WXPN), a longtime fan of Franklin Square. Free.

Photo by Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Live music -- Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9:30 p.m.

A variety of live music from local acoustic artists. July 16: Kinyon Lanier; July 17: Wynton Alan Huddle; July 23: Jeremy Savo;

July 24: Ryan Tennis; July 30: Kinyon Lanier; July 31: Danah Koch; August 6: Dion Paci; August 7: TBD; August 13: Danah Koch; August 14 Rachel Andie; August 20: Miss Cantaloupe. Free.

In the center of Franklin Square is the majestic 181-year-old fountain. It is one of the oldest public fountains in the country and one of the most exciting with a free music and light show every 30 minutes. Fountain jets and LED lights seemingly dance to six beloved songs -- “Gonna Fly Now” by Bill Conti, Theme from Rocky; “Beautiful Day” by U2; “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong; “Motownphilly” by Boyz II Men; “Firework” by Katy Perry; “Under the Sea” by Howard Ashman from The Little Mermaid. Shows run daily from noon until closing through October 31. Free.

The fountain is surrounded by even more family-oriented activities -- Philly Mini Golf featuring miniature Philadelphia tourist attractions as obstacles (ticketed), an old fashioned carousel (ticketed), and Once Upon a Nation Storytelling benches where uniformed storytellers share 3-to-5 minute stories about the country’s history on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (free), two playgrounds (free), SquareBurger, known for its Cake Shake made with TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpets ® plus burgers, fun foods, ice cream and shakes.

Upcoming Special events at Franklin Square

Storytime in the Pavilion presented by the Independence Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia

In English: July 15, July 22 and July 29

In Mandarin and English: July 8 and July 22

11 a.m. - 12 noon


Griot Tale Saturday: Music & Stories with the African American Museum in Philadelphia

July 24 and August 28

1-2 p.m.

A griot is an African oral historian who passes on their culture through storytelling. Family-friendly.


Photo by Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

National Carousel Day

July 25

Starting at 10 a.m.

Free carousel rides for the first 100 guests.


Franklin Square 15th Birthday Celebration

July 31

12 noon - 4 p.m.

Fifteen activities for the Square’s 15th birthday. Family fun, dance lessons, crafts, storytelling and more.

Hansel and Gretel presented by Opera on Tap Philadelphia

August 21 and August 28

1 p.m.

Opera on Tap Philadelphia presents Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel on the Great Lawn of Franklin Square. The classic children’s fairy tale will be sung in English. Family-friendly.


Coming in the Fall: Spooky Mini Golf (October 1-31); Pumpkin Patch (October 23), Trick or Treat Street (October 30), Winter Festival with Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show (November 18-December 31).

Franklin Square is funded, managed and operated by Historic Philadelphia, Inc., a non-profit organization.

With all this, Franklin Square is the place to go for historic fun this summer.

2021 Franklin Square Operating Hours:

Through September 6: daily, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

September 7 – 30: daily, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

October 1 – 31: daily, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

November 1 – 17: daily, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

November 18 – December 31: daily (closed Nov. 25 & Dec. 25), 10 a.m. - 9 p.m., Fri & Sat until 10 p.m.


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 pop-up beers gardens, the newly-open Neon Museum and the Museum of Illusions (opening soon): click here.

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