Travel

Actually Cool Things to Do in Philadelphia During Quarantine

There are still so many options.

Whether you’ve been stuck at home in Philadelphia during the coronavirus pandemic or you’re looking forward to visiting one day, have faith that Philly wasted no time in making its most wonderful activities safely accessible to all. Landmarks, public art, amazing food, and handmade goods are readily available to be enjoyed without having to go outside, whether you’re really missing Gritty right now or you want to come out of quarantine with a newfound talent for juggling. Check out all the cool stuff you can (still) do, see, and eat in Philly.

Do some calming coloring during a virtual Magic Gardens tour

Free
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is a testament to the city’s rich art history, and you can still check it out from the comfort of your home. Wander through a virtual tour of Isiah Zagar’s mastery, including a “measuring mode” where you can poke around to get an idea of the space’s depth. If you want more art, go for the all-ages coloring pages for a way to clear your mind between Netflix binge sessions.

Cross some items off your Philly food bucket list from home

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This is a prime time for guilt-free food delivery. So many Philly food institutions are open for delivery and pickup, so take a look through our bucket list, as well as our ever-evolving suggestions for takeout during COVID-19, and treat yourself to some old favorites or new additions.

Build your own boozy Philly taste test

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Just as you shouldn’t let Philly’s restaurants fend for themselves, show some love to local distilleries and breweries with at-home delivery or pickup. Maybe you can even pour your goods into little cups and pretend you just ordered a flight from your favorite brewpub. That’s not sad, right?

Stop making bread and start making pizza

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Both Dock Street Brewery (Point Breeze location) and Slice are offering take-home pizza kits so you can be infinitely better than the DIY bread loaves clogging your feed. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available!

Get super into plants

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Getting the itch to spruce up your place now that you’re spending so much more time there? Add some extra life to it with a (virtual) visit to Urban Jungle, the Passyunk oasis still open for delivery whether you’re doing some elevated herb gardening or you just want to see if you can finally keep a succulent alive.

Join the circus without embarrassing yourself

Free
The Philadelphia School of Circus Arts has tons of amazing performers, but what about the rest of us who aren’t yet skilled at the art of trapeze? Now you can try from home without anyone else in the class noticing how terribly you’re doing. Classes are available for all ages, whether you’re looking for a stretch-focused class, acro and aerial conditioning, or juggling.

Read up with help from local bookstores

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Philly is home to so many independent bookstores filled with hidden treasures, and chances are they could really use some extra reader love right now. If you’re about to start reading a new book as quarantine continues, check online at local shops including Uncle Bobbie’s, Harriet’s Bookshop, Brickbat Books, Head House Books, and Big Blue Marble -- all of which are open for online ordering and delivery.

Take some relevant tours of Eastern State Penitentiary

Free
The historic former prison has introduced lots of new programming in the wake of COVID-19, including weekly live streams touring the site’s hospital block while exploring how different health crises were handled in the criminal justice system. Check out all the online programming and weekly schedules online.

Learn more about the city’s artworks with new Mural Arts programming

Free
Mural Arts is offering a lot of online content to give you a deeper view of all the city’s many beautiful murals without having to go all across the city. Throughout the pandemic, you can also expect a new muraLAB speaker series on art’s role in facing systemic issues, as well as discussions between Mural Arts director Jane Golden and different Philly artists. Stay posted on more event details online.

Treat yourself (or someone else) to a Gritty gift box

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Is the millionth day of being housebound getting you down? We Heart Philly has tons of sweet little bundles to add some cheer to your day, including a Be Gritty gift box complete with a candle, key tag, water bottle, doll, tote, and magnet all inspired by the orange king of Philly. You can also support this small business with less expensive (but equally awesome) orders of city-themed bandanas, hats, cards, and other locally inspired trinkets.

Eat your way around the world without breaking any CDC guidelines

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If you’re experiencing a serious case of wanderlust and missing your favorite international cuisine, or simply missing those evenings spent trying something new, fear not. There is still so much diverse food to try in the city, and you don’t have to wait for COVID-19 to end for you to start sampling.

Design your own custom candle for some at-home aromatherapy

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Though the BYOB candle-making shop Wax + Wine isn’t open for visitors, you can still stock up on some nice candles for your quarantine days and make them extra personal. Wax + Wine rolled out a virtual candle making process that can ship nationwide, candles going for $25 each, shipping free around Philly. There are seven different scent categories with specific fragrances under each to choose from, featuring everything from honeysuckle to citrus basil to sandalwood. Pick one or two fragrances you’d like, and Wax + Wine will custom make your candle and send it out for delivery. Contact hello@waxandwine.com for all the details. They make great gifts too!

Stream the best World Cafe sessions at WXPN

Free
Sadly the pandemic has led WXPN to cancel its annual XPoNential fest originally scheduled for this summer, but the beloved radio station is still working overtime to supply heartfelt content to pull at all your heartstrings. In addition to a feed of the Love from Philly Fest, you can browse through for a curated selection of favorite past live sessions at the World Cafe Live, from deep vault picks to missed modern classics.

Brush up on some all-too-relevant history at the Mütter Museum

Free
It’s scary and amazing that the Mütter Museum already had an exhibit running about the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic scheduled for what turned out to be the breakout of the coronavirus in Philadelphia. The museum is, of course, closed, but you can still view some of the exhibit online -- check out our story on the exhibit to learn more.

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Marielle Mondon is a writer from Philadelphia. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @MarielleMondon.