Welcome to the "Beyond the Bell" calendar page! Indian Summer and Halloween are right on our doorstep. Thanksgiving Day and the holiday season follow. Believe it or not, we have them all covered! There are also a number of ongoing events. While it's still warm (and even when it's not), you can enjoy the various outdoor activities.


News Flash ...

Second Bank Has Re-Opened

It has been a long time in coming, but the renovations that closed the Portrait Gallery at the Second Bank of the United States have been completed and the building and its priceless paintings are once again open to the general public. Happy days are here again!

Second Bank of the United States
Chestnut Street, between 4th & 5th
Daily 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

November 2016

Starting Thursday, November 10th

An Electrical Spectacle in Franklin Square

Franklin Square lights up nightly with the light of over 50,000 lights! The lights, accompanied by the recorded music of the Philly Pops, combine to create a series of alternating thirty-minute shows that will make the square a prime destination for everyone's holiday celebration.

Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
4:30 - 8 pm
Electrical Spectacle

Friday, November 11th

Veterans' Day Ceremony

The Independence Seaport Museum will host a memorial celebration to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Additionally, the museum will offer all veterans and active duty military free admission to the museum and historic ships from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Independence Seaport Museum
Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd. & Walnut St.
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Veterans' Day Ceremony

Starting Thursday, November 17th

Tippler's Tour: Cheers and Beers

After Halloween, the haunting spirits of the Tippler's Tour are put to rest and the spirit of the holiday season takes their place for the rest of the year. Raise a glass and celebrate Yuletide Cheers and Beers!

Tippler's Tour
departing from the Independence Visitor Center
6th & Market Streets
5:30 p.m.
Cheers and Beers

Friday, November 25th

Opening Weekend

Outdoor ice skaters rejoice! The Blue Cross RiverRink on the Delaware River waterfront opens for the 2016-17 winter ice skating season on Friday, November 25th, with celebratory activities scheduled throughout the post-Thanksgiving weekend.

Blue Cross RiverRink
Columbus Boulevard & Market Street
Riverrink Re-opens

December 2016

Thursday, December 8th

Midcentury Christmas

Many of our most time honored Christmas traditions are really no older than the oldest TV in our parents' (or our grandparents') living room, dating back to the Grinch and Charlie Brown, incorporating spindly Christmas trees and shiny new aluminum ones, and extending outward to commercially sponsored parades and shopping mall Santas. Join with historian Sarah Archer for an interesting discussion of the explosion of wealth, pop culture, and material desire that not so long ago created a brand new, all-American way of celebrating Christmas. (This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.)

American Philosophical Society
Benjamin Franklin Hall
427 Chestnut Street
5:30 p.m. (reception) 6-7 p.m. (lecture)
Midcentury Christmas

Saturday, December 10th

Parade of Lights

Working boats parade up and down the Delaware River decked out in their best and most festive decorations and lights. Before the parade, visitors to the Independence Seaport Museum can spend the day inside the (warm) museum enjoying a variety of family-friendly holiday activities and entertainment.

Independence Seaport Museum
Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd. & Walnut St.
5:30 p.m.
Parade of Lights

Thursday, December 15th

Bill of Rights Day

Celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and enjoy a special, reduced $5 admission fee at the National Constitution Center (courtesy of Macy's, in case you were curious). Featured programs include a public reading of the Constitution's first ten amendments (popularly known as the Bill of Rights), a Bill of Rights Birthday cake, appearances by "James Madison" (author of the Bill of Rights), and much, much more! While you're there, take a look at one of the 12 surviving copies of the original Bill of Rights.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Bill of Rights Day

Saturday, December 31st

New Year's Eve Fireworks

The Independence Seaport Museum stays open late for a family-friendly celebration allowing visitors to ring in the New Year early with noise makers, party hats and a sparkling cider toast before the waterfront lights up with a 6 o'clock fireworks show.

Independence Seaport Museum
Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd. & Walnut St.
5 - 7 p.m. (fireworks start at 6)
New Year's Eve Fireworks

Ongoing Events and Outdoor Activities

Starting Saturday, January 30th

Women, Work and the Revolution

A new interactive experience at the Betsy Ross House highlights the process of doing the daily domestic chores in the 18th century, a long time before any of our modern labor-saving appliances were even imagined, let alone invented.

Betsy Ross House
239 Arch Street
Women's Work

Now thru December 2017

Constituting Liberty

Opening on Bill of Rights Day (December 15th), 2014 and continuing through almost to the end of 2017, the National Constitution Center will be featuring the founding documents of our great republic. Starting with a first edition stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence, the exhibit includes a rare copy of the first public printing of the U.S. Constitution, and rounds it out with a special display of one of the 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights.

National Constitution Center
525 Arch Street
Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights


Outdoor History and After Hours Tours

Historic Philadelphia offers outdoor history tours, after hours events, and pub crawls. All of the details are on our Shows and Tours page.