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September 01, 2017

A guide to celebrating the centennial of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

A year's worth of activities during Parkway 100

Festivals Centennials
Carroll - City Hall and Benjamin Franklin Parkway Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Philadelphia City Hall from the Parkway.

This year, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway turns 100. Philly is celebrating by hosting Parkway 100, which will last for 14 months.

There will be public art installations, special museum exhibits, concerts, lectures, family-friendly activities and other events from Sept. 8 through Nov. 16, 2018, in honor of the centennial of one of Philly's most-used spaces.

Check out some of the biggest attractions during Parkway 100 below, or view the ever-growing list of events here.


RELATED: Travel 100 years into history and back with these then-and-now Philly photos


"We Are Connected"

To kick off the celebration, there will be a festival on Sept. 8. There will be 100 family-friendly activities throughout the Parkway Museum District from 4-10 p.m.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Barnes Foundation, Eastern State Penitentiary, The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Rodin Museum will offer free or pay-what-you-wish admission during the festival – as well as extended hours.

Free activities outside and around the museums will include giant connect-the-dots puzzles, the unveiling of a mural, tango lessons, walking tours, a kid-friendly "Dino Dance Party" and musical performances. 

It wouldn't be a festival without food & drink, too. Look for pop-up beer gardens and mobile food vendors. Saint Benjamin Brewing Co. will be debuting the Parkway Centennial Pale Ale.

"Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies"

NoneThom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Artist Cai Guo-Qiang rode a completed pedicab around an outdoor space in Kensington during the massive assembly process where 900 lights were affixed to 27 pedal-powered carts. The art exhibition is being produced for the upcoming centennial of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.


An interactive art exhibit will run from Sept. 15 through Oct. 8, 2017. 

Artist Cai Guo-Qiang affixed around 900 LED lanterns to 27 pedicabs, which will swarm the Parkway. 

Philadelphians can take free rides in the moving sculptures from Sister Cities Park to Iroquois Park. The rides will be available Thursdays through Sundays from 6-10 p.m.


RELATED: Photos – Swarm of "Fireflies" to take over the Parkway


"Winter Fountains"

NoneJennifer Steinkamp/Proposal for Winter Fountains, 2017

“Winter Fountains for the Parkway,” by artist Jennifer Steinkamp, was commissioned by the Parkway Council with the Association for Public Art for Parkway 100 and with major support from the William Penn Foundation.


Later in the year, another public art exhibit will pop up on the Parkway.

Five architectural domes will be covered with glass beading, which will shimmer during the day, but the "wow factor" really comes once it gets dark. The domes will be illuminated by video projections that relate to the Parkway's museums and history.

The exhibition will open Dec. 1 and run through March 2018.

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