Philadelphia is a rising mecca of arts and culture, full of art galleries, studios and museums. Thanks to the many cultural associations of the city, you don’t have to pay big bucks to have cultural appreciation anymore. Check out these monthly high culture events with a low admission price if you want to experience art without blowing your budget.
Old City Neighborhood of Philadelphia between Front and Third St. and Market and Vine St.
Hours: 5-9 p.m., the first Friday of every month
The first Friday of every month, a popular Old City tradition takes over many art galleries, shops and street corners in the neighborhood. In addition to vendors peddling their independent artistic goods on the street during warmer weather, most art galleries in Old City open their doors to the public. To promote a greater appreciation for culture, many cultural events and associations host exhibits and demonstrations during the evening, complete with libations and appetizers. The best part of what promises to be a cultural experience is the price tag, which is non-existent. You can also find First Friday celebrations elsewhere in the city, like at Frankford Ave and Manayunk.
East Passyunk Ave.
Much like Old City’s First Friday, Second Saturday offers the opportunity to have a dose of culture while gazing at art from publicly open art galleries. Additions to the cultural scene include psychic readings, cocktails, and yoga classes. Shopping is a must with all the artsy, unique shops on East Passyunk Avenue. This is usually an evening art stroll, but sometimes offers extended hours, so don’t be afraid to check the East Passyunk Business Improvement District website for special events. Local businesses will also frequently offer discounted or free services, demonstrations and guest speakers, and teachers of the arts.
First Sunday at the Philadelphia Art Museum
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: Pay what you wish all day
The first Sunday of every month, the Philadelphia Art Museum cultivates a greater appreciation for the arts with an all-day pay-what-you-wish admission price. Visit the Main Building and Perelman Building for as little as nothing and immerse yourself in art exhibitions each first Sunday of every month. Additionally, consider stopping by Art After 5 on Fridays – the museum offers a jazz musician act and general admission to the museum includes music and art for extended hours, up until 8:45 p.m.
Related: Best art galleries in Philadelphia.
Museums On Us from Bank of America
Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Constitution Center, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the African American Museum in Philadelphia
Hours: Check per Institution
Price: Free Admission with Bank of America Card
If you happen to be a Bank of America cardholder, their Museums on Us program is offering free admission to several museums across the city. While most institutions don’t allow entry to special exhibits, enjoy general admission for free to five of the best cultural attractions Philadelphia has to offer. Additionally, if you find yourself traveling to another city on the first full weekend of the month, cultural institutions nationwide are participating. Choose from over 145 museums in other cities, including nearby New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Bronx Zoo.
Free At The Kimmel Series
Hours: Select Saturdays at 11 a.m. or 12 p.m.
The Kimmel Center is celebrating its tenth anniversary “season” with a series of Saturday afternoon concerts that are completely free to attend. While this program kicked off during the holidays with events like the “TubaChristmas Show,” it will also be in full swing from January to June. The concerts will offer regional artists and family programming, so feel free to bring the kids. The “Free At The Kimmel Series” will culminate on June 9, 2012 with a special Community Organ Day commemorating ten years of the Kimmel Center’s illustrious artistic performances.
Lindsay Lewis is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.