Get Cultured at These Philly Museums and Art Galleries (2023)

This article is part of 34th Street's Philadelphia, Curated issue. Click here to see more of our favorite spots from all over the city.

Remember "Night at the PMA"' during NSO? Here's your chance to go back and actually appreciate the art. Art history connoisseur or not, you should definitely get your culture fix at the galleries and museums (and mural miles) below. Philadelphia's the city of Brotherly Love, but it almost might be the city of fine art.

PAFA

Both a museum and art school, the is an internationally acclaimed house of the fine arts, known for its collection of 19th– and 20th–century American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. With its private studios and classrooms surrounding the exhibits themselves, PAFA has taught students to study the very masterpieces situated right within walking distance. Such works include contributions from the likes of Cecilia Beaux, Thomas Eakins, and John Sloan. For any student or visitor, PAFA is an all–encompassing institution, starting from the art’s creation to its display.

Admission: Adults: $15 | Students & Seniors: $12 | Children: $8

Address: 118–128 N Broad St.

Hours: Mon: Closed

Tues–Fri: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Sat–Sun: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Colored Girls Museum

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The Colored Girls Museum is a home and museum that honors the experience of women of color. A three story house made of rock wall, red brick, and yellow tiling, the museum displays artifacts relevant to the experience of women of color. In the past, there have been sculptures that pay tribute to the four girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing as well as murals painted in blue and orange to trace the experience of a woman of color. The only permanent exhibit in the museum is a tribute to the washer woman, who the owner refers to as foundational to the story of the Black community.

Admission: GA: $15 | Students & Seniors: $10

Address: 4613 Newhall St.

Hours: Sun–Sat: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Fabric Workshop and Museum

Situated in the heart of Center City, the Fabric Workshop and Museum was founded to stimulate creativity and experimentation with fabric. Though the medium has since evolved to extend to a variety of other materials and media, the museum is nonetheless committed to fresh work in new materials and media. Spanning more than eight floors, the museum is both a showcase of artists’ work and a studio for its renowned Artist–in–Residence program. For those creative spirits, it also hosts workshops for visitors.

Admission: Free

Address: 1214 Arch St.

Hours: Mon–Fri: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Sat–Sun: 12 p.m.–5 p.m.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Maybe, you’ve been here for that one night during NSO or maybe you come here often, excited to be in the midst of Picasso’s, Duchamp’s, and Dalí's. With over 240,000 objects, the is ranked among the top 100 most–visited art museums in the world and is ranked as one of the largest art museums by gallery space. While the museum has incredible temporary exhibits, the permanent collection is impressive on its own.

Admission: Students: $14 | Adults: $20 | Seniors: $18

Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Hours: Tues, Thurs, Sat, & Sun: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Wed, Fri: 10 a.m–8:45 p.m.

Mon: Closed

Rodin Museum

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Though administered by the PMA, has its own unique collection of sculptor Auguste Rodin’s works. Perhaps most famous of this collection is "The Thinker," which welcomes the visitors at the courtyard entrance. From there, the museum opens up to many more of Rodin’s works, such as "The Kiss," "Eternal Springtime," and "The Burghers of Calais." With its Beaux–Arts architecture, the museum transports guests to the beauty and grandeur of Paris, right within walking distance of campus.

Admission: Pay as you wish (Suggested: Adults: $10 | Seniors: $8 | Students: $7)

Address: 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Hours: Tues: Closed

Wed–Mon: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

The Barnes Foundation

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Room after room in is filled with some of the greatest Impressionist, Post–Impressionist, and early Modernist paintings—works of art created by the very painters who led the movements: Picasso, Renoir, and Matisse. Speckled in between the paintings are other forms of art, such as African art, Native American pottery and jewelry, and Pennsylvania–German furniture. The medley of art grants visitors the opportunity to view masterpieces side by side, giving them the chance to explore their visual relationships. Additionally, the Barnes also offers art classes in theory, technique, art history, and horticulture.

Admission: Adults: $25 | Students: $5

Address: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Hours: Tues: Closed

Wed – Mon: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA)

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The stands out for its ever–changing definition of what constitutes contemporary art. As a multipurpose art space, it showcases the best of underground, DIY, and alternative culture–whether that be a fashion show, an art exhibit, or a film premiere. When the famous DJ Diplo bought the building, the mausoleum saw artists, such as Christina Aguilera, Shakira, and Santigold, come to record. There’s something going on almost everyday, so make sure to keep up with the .

Admission: Varies by exhibit

Address: 531 N 12th St.

Hours: Varies by exhibit

Painted Bride

With its walls adorned in scintillating colors, looks at first like a fragment of Magic Gardens. But walk inside, and you’ll see a performance space and gallery designed to fostering creativity and constructive dialogue. As a space, Painted Bride hosts a number of events each week, from creative writing to dance parties to workshops. Though it is moving to another location (TBA) soon after October, be sure to check it out in its original location!

Admission: Varies by exhibit

Address: 230 Vine St.

Hours: Varies by exhibit

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA)

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Situated right on campus, the is your quickest way to get a culture fix in between classes. Previously home to big names such as Pollock and Warhol, the ICA is always at the forefront of innovative, contemporary art. It’s one of the few non–collecting museums that specifically spotlights under–recognized artists by dedicating entire exhibits to them. This semester, two main exhibits will be in display: “Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison” and “Cauleen Smith: Give It or Leave It.”

Admission: Free

Address: 118 S 36th St.

Hours: Mon–Tues: Closed

Wed: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

Thurs–Sun: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Woodmere Art Museum

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is a 19th–century stone mansion dedicated to the art of Philadelphia. Unlike other traditional museums, this is the place for those looking for a more scenic and natural appreciation of the arts. With its vision to bring art and nature together, the Woodmere has a number of outdoor sculptures in addition to over 6,000 works of art and nine galleries. Right next door, in a converted carriage house, the museum also offers painting and watercolor classes—all in addition to its lectures, gallery tours, and jazz and classical musical series.

Admission: Adults: $10 | Students: Free

Address: 9201 Germantown Ave.

Hours: Mon: Closed

Tues–Thurs: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Fri: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Sun: 10 a.m–5 p.m.

Little Berlin

Self–described as an “undefined exhibition space,” is home to curated monthly exhibitions in the main gallery. In the annex space, there’s an ever–changing rotation of pop–up exhibitions, poetry readings, performances, and community outreach events. As home to Philadelphia’s largest zine library, it focuses on experimental and innovative programming–both on the artist and viewer end.

Admission: Varies by exhibit

Address: 2430 Coral St.

Hours: Varies by exhibit

Paradigm Gallery and Studio

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is another art space focusing on Philadelphian artists. Though it also displays contemporary pieces from all the globe, Paradigm’s attention to local art generates a space for artists to create and exhibit, thus creating a closer sense contact with the viewers. Between sculptural works, gemstones, paintings, and a combination of many other mediums, Paradigm Gallery is a gallery to visit if you want to see boundary–pushing exhibitions.

Admission: Depends on exhibit

Address: 746 S 4th St.

Hours: Sun, Mon, Wed, & Fri: Closed

Tues, Thurs, & Sat: 12 p.m.–6 p.m., and by appointment

Indigo Arts Gallery

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Unlike many of the other museums and galleries in Philadelphia, celebrates folk and contemporary art from all corners of the world. This is where you can find the likes of Haitian paintings, sculpture, and Vodou flags, and Nicaraguan “primativista” paintings. In addition to its exhibits, it also sells a number of its pieces–from a Haitian papier maché sculpture to Peruvian retablo sculptures. Currently, it’s exhibiting “Five Cuban Artists,” a mix of work from five Cuban artists who have little in common other than their expressions of a common vision.

Admission: Depends on exhibit

Address: 1400 N American St.

Hours: Wed–Sat: 12 p.m.–6 p.m.

Sun–Tues: By appointment

Mural Mile North and South

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As one of the oldest cultural centers of the nation, Philadelphia’s art extends past bounded walls. Through the —originally designed to combat the plague of graffiti in public spaces—the city has become a work of art in its own right, with over 3,000 murals lining the city. Whether you go on a guided walking tour or explore Mural Mile South yourself, the south side of the mile takes you through Independence Mall and Midtown Village. Not only is it a great way to explore the city, you can also find specific themes running throughout the murals, themes such as “Garden of Delight” or “Pride and Progress.”

Address: South of Market St. to Lombard St. and back

Admission: Free

Hours: 24/7

The other half of the Mural Mile, the North Side, snakes through City Hall, around the Convention Center, past Chinatown, and into Franklin Square. Because of the city regions this tour half–passes through, the murals on this side tend to gravitate towards common themes. For example, there’s “History of Chinatown,” “Unifying the Neighborhoods and Cultures of Philadelphia,” and “Independence Starts Here.” It’s the perfect place to learn (and experience) the history of Philadelphia, beyond the textbook.

Address: North of Market St. into Old City, through Chinatown, and around City Hall

Admission: Free

Hours: 24/7

Love Letter Murals

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Though also a part of the Mural Arts program, the stands out in its own right as a series of 50 rooftop murals and street–level signs. Seen from above, the pieces collectively form “a love letter from a guy to a girl, from an artist to his hometown, and from local residences to their neighborhood of West Philadelphia.” The mural is best seen from the Market–Frankford line on SEPTA, offering a beautiful view from the train ride.

Admission: Free

Address: 45th–63th St. down Market

Hours: 24/7

Magic Gardens

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Have you really lived in Philadelphia if you haven’t gone to ? Resembling a scene from a fairy tale, Magic Gardens is an outdoor art installation filled with a mosaic of folk art statues, bicycle wheels, glass bottles, tiles, and glittering mirrors. Besides the art, it’s also a great place for photo ops for your next profile picture. It even hosts a number of programming events, such as Twilight in the Gardens, a BYOB after–hours experience with live music, guided art workshops, and casual mini–tours.

Admission: Adults: $10 | Students: $8 | Seniors: $8

Address: 1020 South St.

Hours: Tues: Closed

Wed–Mon: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

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