From the banks of the Delaware River to the picturesque views of Fairmount Park, Philadelphia offers many beautiful places to take a break from city life. With these places comes outdoor amphitheaters like the famous Mann Center or the general admission River Stage at Penn’s Landing. If you’re looking for a new venue to try, here are the best places in Philly to catch an open-air concert.
The Dell Music Center
Ridge Ave. and Huntingdon St.
Philadelphia, PA 19132
The Dell Music Center is located in East Fairmount Park and formerly was the Robin Hood Dell before it moved and turned into the Mann Center. The Dell seats 5,284 and has room for 600 people on the lawn. With that said, this open-air amphitheater presents its “Essence of Entertainment Concert Series” every summer on Thursday nights. This year’s concerts will include musicians Fantasia, Roberta Flack and the festival Funkfest (The Bar-kays, the Average White Band and more). Tickets for each show cost $25, $40 or $60, but many people choose to invest in a season ticket ($400 or $300 for eight concerts). The Dell also hosts other performances throughout the summer, including the free Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra concert on June 21 and the Gospel concert with Mary Mary on August 1.
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
The 45 minute drive from Philadelphia to Kennett Square’s Longwood Gardens is definitely worth it for the gardens alone. But you can also explore one of the most beautiful and intimate venues in the area, the Open Air Theatre. Debuting in 1914, the theater seats 1,500 people and features fountains built into the stage and a 10-foot water curtain. Longwood Gardens’ summer concert series is back this year to help celebrate the Open Air Theatre’s 100-year anniversary with multi-genre shows every week. Many of the events, like the Carillon concerts and the Summer Soirees, are free with a Longwood Gardens admission ticket. The ticketed events include the wine and jazz festival, Cajun band the Pine Leaf Boys, Rufus Wainwright and Rosanne Cash.
121 N. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Philadelphia founder William Penn first touched land at the area now known as Penn’s Landing, hence the name. Today, Penn’s Landing is a meeting place for Philadelphians during the summer and the area features many cultural festivals, movie nights, dance shows, musicals, concerts and more along the Delaware River Waterfront. The Great Plaza is home to the tiered amphitheater and River Stage. The River Stage hosts free concerts and events throughout the summer, including the “Smooth Jazz Summer Nights,” held every Friday night in August. Down the street is the newly remodeled Festival Pier, a general admission venue with room for up to 8,000 people and fantastic views of the Delaware River. Many popular musical acts are playing there this summer, like the Fray, O.A.R. and Phillip Phillips.
The Mann Center for the Performing Arts
5201 Parkside Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19131
The picturesque Mann Center is located in Fairmount Park and is one of the best outdoor venues in the country. Its capacity is approximately 14,000, with about 4,700 seats undercover and more than 8,600 outside, both as seats and on the lawn. Tickets are available for many shows throughout its season, including rock, pop, classical and orchestral concerts. This venue makes the arts accessible for all by donating 50,000 tickets every year to charitable organizations throughout the region. The Mann Center introduced the Skyline stage last year, a general admission stage at the top of the hill featuring great views of the sky and city skyline.
221 N. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Morgan’s Pier is an outdoor beer garden that’s only open during the warm months. Located on the Delaware River waterfront, Morgan’s Pier features different DJs every weekend and on certain Wednesdays during the summer, R5 Productions presents free concerts (with an RSVP) at the pier. Other shows throughout the summer cost very little ($5 or $10). Morgan’s Pier has a 300-person capacity and the bar serves a large variety of craft beers, cocktails and wine. It also has a full menu with burgers, fish, ribs and many vegan and vegetarian options.
Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.