12 Things to Do Before Summer’s Over

August 5, 2013
by Danya Henninger

August already? Though the sun dips below the horizon earlier and earlier every night, there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of summer in Philadelphia. From burgers to bike rides and picnics to patios, here are a dozen things to check off your must-do list before the season ends.

Eat a Liquid Nitrogen Burger at Morgan’s Pier

Even if you don’t want a perfect cheeseburger (really?), make sure you stop at this riverside deck and sample chef George Sabatino’s upscale picnic menu (the lobster and bibb salad is a great alternate option). Sabatino has plans to open his own spot, so not telling whether he’ll return after the venue closes for the season.

Do Yoga on the Race Street Pier

Get inspired by the striking presence of the Ben Franklin Bridge overhead at the weekly free yoga class on the Race Street Pier. Each Sunday at 9:30 AM, Dhyana Yoga leads an open-air class, and when you’re done soothing your soul, it’s just a short walk down Columbus Boulevard for a killer chicken cutlet hoagie from Shank’s.

Play Mini Golf at Franklin Square

One of William Penn’s original town squares, this park is fun-central during the summer, with a carousel for kids and a mini golf course for all. After you knock the golf ball around, rejuvenate with a burger and cake shake from Stephen Starr’s on-site food shack, SquareBurger.

Bike to In Riva for Pizza on the Patio

Bicycling down Kelly Drive is a great experience (just be careful as you weave through the rollerbladers), but during summer it gets even better. Turn off the main path right before the East Falls Bridge and lock your bike next to the patio at Arthur Cavaliere’s Italian, then munch on Neapolitan pizza with a view of the Schuylkill before you turn around and head home.

Drink Margaritas Outside Cantina Los Caballitos

The triangular space next to this East Passyunk restaurant provides a mini trip to Mexico during the summer, with crowds of happy drinkers enjoying margaritas in the sun. Go for traditional or get crazy with tangerine, mango or prickly pear, and tame the buzz with the complimentary bowl of chips and salsa that lands on your table with the pitcher.

Slurp a Huge Cup of John’s Water Ice

This ice stand has been refreshing Italian Market visitors and residents since 1945, but the water ice season is a short one. Before it goes into hibernation, step up to the red counter at Seventh and Christian for a cup of fresh-fruit-infused cool - if you go for the large size, get ready for some serious brain freeze.

Float Over Philly in the Zoo Balloon

The Channel 6 hot air balloon at the Philadelphia Zoo offers a breathtaking view of the city from above. If the skies are clear, pick up a ticket at the zoo entrance ($15 per person or $50 for a family of four) and then get ready to lift off. Afterwards, cross over into Brewerytown and pick up a sandwich and a beer at Rybrew.

Catch a Flick at The Oval

Friday nights are movie nights at the new public space in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Look for family-friendly showings like Rocky IV and Ghostbusters to start at sundown (around 8-9 PM), and pick up way-better-than-concession eats from the variety of food trucks that gather on-site.

Eat a Hot Dog at Memphis Taproom

Make an effort to get out to Kensington and spend a few hours (or a whole day) at the beer garden next to this neighborhood taproom. Cans of craft beer are cheap, the Phillies are showing on the projection TV, and hot dogs are available from the on-site food cart. Pick up a mixed six on your way out to continue the party at home.

Listen to Smooth Jazz on Penn’s Landing

Each Friday in August, a free concert takes place at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, and starting at 7:30 PM, you can gaze out over the Delaware River as the smooth sounds of jazz emanate out over the pier. After the fireworks finale, stroll over the bridge to Front Street and score a pint of beer at The Victoria Freehouse or a glass of wine at Ristorante Panorama.

Eat Lunch at The Porch at 30th Street

Take a midweek break and spend at least one Wednesday eating lunch at the umbrella-covered tables next to Philly’s grand train station on the Schuylkill. The food truck lineup changes week to week, but expect to find pizza, burgers, hot dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese and tons more, from all your favorite vendors.

Picnic on the Belmont Plateau

The Fairmount Park field made famous in Will Smith’s “Summertime” may not be the hot pickup spot it once was, but during the day it still makes a perfect place for a picnic. Stock up with grab-and-go goods from Di Bruno Bros. or Talula’s Daily, and enjoy lunch in front of a gorgeous Philly skyline view.