Come Alive
Your guide to all things alfresco
by Leigh Stuart

Finally! As of 12:57 p.m., March 20, we officially stepped into spring … and not a moment too soon. If you’ve been looking forward to the advent of sun, flowers and flip-flops—and, more importantly, saying “so long” to shovels, shivers and snow—then we have a phenomenal collection of places to go and things to do to celebrate our collective newfound freedom. The events listed on the following pages run right up through June 21, the first day of summer. Also, almost all of the restaurants listed here will keep their patios and verandas open throughout the summer, and sometimes beyond. With that in mind, go forth and soak up all the vitamin D you’ve been missing. Photograph courtesy of Longwood Gardens

April 24 to 26
Penn Relays
Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Young athletes have been competing in these tests of speed, strength and agility since 1895.

April 30 to May 4
30th Philadelphia International Children’s Festival
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia
In addition to an array of indoor productions held within the Annenberg Center’s three theaters, the children’s festival has a “Fun Zone” held on the outdoor plaza that will feature face painting, jugglers, crafts, performers and other family-friendly entertainment.

May 2, June 6    
First Fridays
Old City, Philadelphia
The first Friday of each month, rain or shine, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., art galleries throughout Old City—a large number of which are between Front and 3rd, and Market and Vine streets—open their doors to visitors for art appreciation, mingling and good old-fashioned people watching.

May 3
Philadelphia Science Festival “Carnival on the Parkway”
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
This free event, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy family-friendly experiments, activities and games, as well as dinosaur fossils, live animals and 100 exhibitors. There will also be staff from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University on hand.

May 3        
Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival
Center City West/Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia
A family-friendly festival highlighted by fashion, food, live music and more, held on Walnut Street between Broad and 19th streets.

May 3
Headhouse District Spring Festival
South Street, Philadelphia
Held between Front and 8th streets, the festival gathers folks to enjoy food, libations, shopping, a kids’ zone and music on three stages.

May 3 to 4     
Strawberry Festival
Peddler’s Village, Lahaska
A “berry” special yearly celebration of strawberries and their many preparations, held along with a juried showing of artisans’ wares, live entertainment, children’s activities and, of course, pie-eating contests.

May 9
National Public Gardens Day
Public gardens throughout the area
Celebrating Philadelphia’s status as “America’s Garden Capital,” local public gardens including Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore and Tyler Arboretum in Media will be commemorating the day with a variety of events, tours and lectures.

May 9 to 10
Aberdeen “Dad” Vail Regatta
Schuylkill River/Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
Named for renowned and revered coach Harry Emerson “Dad” Vail, this rowing competition started in 1934 and is now the largest college regatta in North America, with 128 schools (in 2013) competing in more than 175 races.

May 9 to 11
Rittenhouse Square Fine Crafts Fair
Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia
The third annual installation of this event gathers members of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen at 18th and Walnut streets to display and vend crafts such as pottery, furniture and jewelry.

May 10 to 17
“LOVE Your Park” Week
Throughout Philadelphia
Starting with a kick-off day of service on May 10, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at parks all over the city, “LOVE Your Park” week encourages citizens to work together as a community to maintain and improve the beauty and safety of Philadelphia’s many neighborhood parks.

May 11
Radio 104.5 7th Annual Birthday Show
Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, N.J.
A concert highlighted by a collection of well-known artists including Foster the People, Cage the Elephant, Bastille, KONGOS, FOALS and Third Eye Blind.

May 11 to 18
New Hope Celebrates Pride
Throughout New Hope
This 11th annual celebration of LGBT pride in scenic Bucks County will be highlighted by a variety of events throughout the week, including a block party, parade and vendor fair on May 17.

May 15
Night Market
Old City, Philadelphia
This popular roving festival draws tens of thousands of food lovers from far and wide to enjoy epicurean delicacies from the area’s top food trucks and restaurants.

May 17
Radnor Hunt Races
Radnor Hunt, Radnor
Now celebrating its 84th year, the Radnor Hunt comprises six races featuring horses galloping over hurdles and timber fences in pursuit of winnings totaling $200,000. In addition, enjoy a tailgate picnic while helping to win the “race for open space,” with event proceeds benefiting preservation programs of the Brandywine Conservancy in Chadds Ford.

May 17
Trenton Avenue Arts Festival
Trenton Avenue in East Kensington, Philadelphia    
This free festival, organized by the East Kensington Neighbors Association, features more than 200 local arts and food vendors and helps raise money for neighborhood projects and revitalization initiatives.

May 17 to 18
South 9th Street Italian Market Festival
Italian Market, Philadelphia
An annual festival celebrating our nation’s oldest outdoor market, highlighted by live entertainment, family-friendly fun, “food, food and more food,” the annual Procession of the Saints and more.

May 22 to June 1
Devon Horse Show and Country Fair
Devon Show Grounds, Devon-Berwyn
First held in 1896, the Devon Horse Show grew to be the largest outdoor horse show in the U.S. by 1914 and carries on that legacy today as a celebration and competition focused on equestrian excellence.

May 30 to June 8
7th Annual Philly Beer Week
Throughout Philadelphia
Celebrating one of the world’s favorite beverages, Philly Beer Week offers a slew of events throughout the week, ranging from concerts to tastings to contests to parties, at various Philadelphia breweries and festive locales.

May 31
7th Annual Roots Picnic
Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia
A concert festival featuring performances by world-famous acts including The Roots, Snoop Dogg and Biz Markie, as well as Philly act The War on Drugs and many others.

May 31 to June 1
2014 Civil War Reunion
Pennypacker Mills, Schwenksville
A two-day event with hundreds of infantry, artillery and living historians that brings the Civil War to the Montgomery County estate and collections of former state governor Samuel W. Pennypacker.

June 1
Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic
Starting in Roxborough
A one-day, USA Cycling-sanctioned/UCI 1.1 classification professional 12-mile circuit race that begins and ends at the top of the “Manayunk Wall” in Roxborough.

June 7
Wine and Jazz Festival
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square
Live jazz performances on multiple stages by artists including the Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet and the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, as well as wine tastings held throughout the gardens.

June 8
Odunde African-American Festival
South Street, Philadelphia
Created in 1975, this annual celebration is one of the largest African-American street festivals in the nation, covering 12 city blocks and featuring live entertainment as well as a marketplace with hundreds of artists, craftsmen and food vendors from across the globe.
June 8
26th Annual PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival
Gayborhood, Historic Philadelphia and Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia
An annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride that offers food, drinks, dancing, contests, pageantry, sporting, live entertainment and more.

June 13 to 14
Dave Matthews Band
Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, N.J.
Two shows by rock/folk/jam band legend Dave Matthews and his illustrious band of musicians.

June 14
Stripes and Stars Festival
Historic Philadelphia
Visitors celebrate the June 14 birthdays of America’s beloved flag and army at locations throughout historic Philadelphia, including Independence National Historical Park, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and the National Constitution Center.

June 19
Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll
Baltimore Avenue in University City, Philadelphia
For this occasion, various merchants along this section of West Philadelphia’s main street offer deals for a dollar. Attendees can also enjoy live music, food trucks and street performers.

June 19
Night Market
West Oak Lane, Philadelphia
Once again, this popular roving festival draws tens of thousands of foodies from far and wide—this time to the West Oak Lane neighborhood—to enjoy epicurean delicacies from the area’s top food trucks and restaurants.

June 21 to 22
25th Annual Manayunk Arts Festival
Main Street in Manayunk, Philadelphia
Outdoor juried arts festival wherein nearly 300 artists will showcase their work, with vendors and food purveyors for visitors as well.

Dining ‘Out’ in Philly
Of the city’s countless dining options, a good number offer righteous alfresco dining. Here are some of our favorites, along with an idea of what to expect and recommendations from the menu.

Graffiti Bar
124 S. 13th Street, Midtown Village,
Cuisine: Asian fusion
Alfresco: Down a slim alley behind chef Michael Schulson’s Sampan lies Graffiti, a patio space that serves up Sampan’s signature food and drinks. Intricate art by Philly-based street artists adorns the walls, giving “Graffiti” its name. In wetter weather, patrons can huddle up beneath a section of see-through ceiling to sip and sup while waiting out the rain.
Try the … tofu taco with a side of Brussels sprouts

In Riva
4116 Ridge Ave., East Falls,
Cuisine: Southern Italian
Alfresco: This restaurant opened at the end of 2011, with the goal of providing elegant yet approachable cuisine, such as oak wood oven-fired pizza that is cooked for just 90 seconds. There are two outdoor seating areas at In Riva (short for “In Riva al Fiume,” which is Italian for “along the banks of the river”), including a 75-seat patio and a grassy picnic table area where guests can dine with their dogs.
Try the … crispy artichokes antipasti

Llama Tooth
1033 Spring Garden, Northern Liberties,
Cuisine: New American comfort food
Alfresco: Flanked by twin murals from artist Frito Bastien, inspired by the flower fields in his native Haiti, the patio area at Llama Tooth seats about 70 people. The space also features a small tiki bar and is landscaped with rose and butterfly bushes with string lights overhead.
Try the … mac ‘n’ cheese, available in an assortment of meaty and meatless varieties

Manayunk Brewery
4120 Main Street, Manayunk,
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Alfresco: Seating between 275 and 300 people, the expansive outdoor dining space at Manayunk Brewery overlooks the Schuylkill. Patrons have a variety of alfresco seating choices here, with options including cocktail tables as well as tables under the covered patio and on the deck.
Try the … St. Louis ribs

Parc Restaurant, Bistro & Café
227 S. 18th Street, Rittenhouse Square,
Cuisine: French
Alfresco: Surrounding the restaurant are more than 75 outdoor seats, many of which look directly out onto Rittenhouse Square. The restaurant’s design is meant to be reminiscent of the chic brasseries of Paris and their traditional bistro fare.
Try the … steak frites, made with seared hanger steak and served with maître d’ butter

Revolution House
200 Market St., Old City,
Cuisine: Italian-inspired American comfort food
Alfresco: The roof deck at Revolution House is actually open year-round, but during the warmer months the walls come down and the roof retracts to open the space up to the seasonally pleasant elements. Fourteen tables surround a large tree growing right in the middle of the deck.
Try the… housemade pizza, fired in a wood oven

Silk City
435 Spring Garden Street, Northern Liberties,
Cuisine: New American
Alfresco: Highlighted by colorful and eclectic décor, the garden at Silk City offers a tiki bar, as well as picnic table-style seating for approximately 65 guests.
Try the … buttermilk fried chicken

Standard Tap
901 N. 2nd Street, Northern Liberties,
Cuisine: Farm-to-table gastropub fare
Alfresco: The newly refinished rooftop deck seats 60 and is furnished with Gotham-style fixtures. Of environmentally friendly note, Standard Tap has solar arrays on its roof, a greenhouse and corresponding cistern. Additionally, because Standard Tap doesn’t sell any bottled beer, the restaurant has kept an estimated 300,000 metric tons of glass out of the recycling stream, according to manager Dominic Magliaro.
Try the … chicken pie, a thick stew of chicken, carrots, mushrooms, celery and onion, all wrapped in puff pastry

Stratus Lounge
433 Chestnut Street, Old City,
Cuisine: Light dining
Alfresco: As one of Philly’s few rooftop social-gathering destinations, Stratus is perched atop the Hotel Monaco—11 stories above the city’s most historic neighborhood. The views are breathtaking and the selections from the food menu are light and satisfying, but it’s the housemade cocktails, such as the Cherry Hill Manhattan, that truly steal the show.
Try the … roasted-vegetable thin-crust pizza

Talula’s Garden
210 W. Washington Square, Washington Square West,
Cuisine:  Seasonal farm-to-table    
Alfresco: The outdoor garden is completely open air, with 70 seats, a small bar and a fountain, explains owner Aimee Olexy. The space is truly brought to life however by the vast and vibrant collection of fresh herbs and flowers surrounding the alfresco dining area.
Try the … vast selection of cheeses, offered in a bevy of plated combinations

Dining ‘Out’ in the Suburbs
The suburbs are rife with excellent restaurants, many of which offer alfresco dining. Here are some of the best, with descriptions of what you’ll find and suggestions for what to enjoy.

19 Bella and del Prado
3401 W. Skippack Pike, Cedars,
Cuisine: Mediterranean/tapas; BYOB
Alfresco: Two restaurants at one location, del Prado (serving breakfast and lunch) and 19 Bella (serving dinner) both have access to the 50 to 60 outdoor seats. The “somewhat rustic” outdoor seating, as described by owner Grant Brown, comprises an eclectic variety, with seating available at spots including underneath the porch adjacent to the building and aside a meadow.
Try the … Brussels sprouts with almonds, bacon, balsamic glaze and provolone cheese

333 Belrose Bar & Grill
333 Belrose Lane, Radnor,
Cuisine: Contemporary/California  
Alfresco: Adjacent to the building, built in 1769, is a flagstone patio furnished with loads of flowers, plants and furniture purchased just last year. Chef/proprietor Carlo de Marco describes the outdoor space, which seats 65, as “just a nice, comfortable, quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle of Route 30.”
Try the … java pork tenderloin, a menu staple since the restaurant opened 15 years ago

Azie on Main
789 E. Lancaster Ave., Villanova,
Cuisine: Asian
Alfresco: The quiet patio seats about 40 and features a fire pit and scenic views of the nearby foliage-laden hillside. Management also plans to install a standalone tiki bar and grill soon.
Try the … house-special spicy tuna, scallion and avocado Azie roll

640 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill;
Cuisine: American pub cuisine
Alfresco: The recently renovated patio area offers two large fire pits, an indoor/outdoor bar and Amish handmade iron and gating work. The outdoor area is also quite expansive, with seating for 150 on the lower deck, plus seating for 75 on the upper deck.
Try the … pork belly grilled cheese with Gouda, sharp white cheddar and tomato jam on brioche

Gullifty’s Pizza Grille and Bar
1149 W. Lancaster Ave., Bryn Mawr,
Cuisine: American traditional
Alfresco: The “Gaarden” patio area has a full-service bar and seats 90. About 60 percent of the outdoor space offers coverage, providing alfresco guests plenty of shade if they wish.
Try the … the patio-exclusive Gaarden Nachos, grilled pita points with Asiago and artichoke spread, cheddar jack and pico de gallo

Jarrettown Hotel
1425 Limekiln Pike, Dresher,  
Cuisine:  Italian
Alfresco: The uncovered patio, which seats 60, sits directly aside the original 1840 structure. Just last year the patio tables got new mushroom-style umbrellas, imported from Belgium.
Try the … “House Special,” a pasta with crabmeat and shrimp sautéed in a vodka blush sauce

Nikolas at the Logan Inn
10 W. Ferry Street, New Hope,
Cuisine:  Casual Mediterranean
Alfresco: Nikolas offers outdoor seating for about 85 guests and what one staffer, Maggie Smith, calls “the best people-watching spot in town.” The terrace also features ample coverage and is made cozy with a colorful assortment foliage plants.
Try the … mussels, served with either marinara or white wine garlic basil sauce

Spring Mill Café
164 Barren Hill Road, Conshohocken,
Cuisine: French
Alfresco: This BYOB has been seating guests outdoors in the French country-style setting since 1978. The restaurant offers alfresco dining on both a covered porch and patio, which features garden-side mosaic tables.
Try the … seared sea scallops with sage butter

Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen
555 E. Lancaster Ave., Radnor,
Cuisine:  Chinese
Alfresco: A lovely interior garden space is landscaped with a variety of trees and bamboo plants. The eight outdoor tables can seat a total of 25 guests.
Try the … pork pot stickers, dumplings filled with pork, cabbage, scallions and ginger

La Stalla  
18 Swamp Road, Newtown;
Cuisine:  Italian  
Alfresco: Situated on what proprietor Marc Masso calls “a really nice hilltop in the heart of Newtown,” La Stalla has a stone patio that seats 75 and is surrounded by flowers, plants and grasses. Uniquely, the alfresco experience here can also include a game of bocce, as La Stalla has its own court.
Try the … Pollo la Stalla, featuring specially seasoned, oven-roasted chicken on the bone

For a Rainy Day …
Not every day will be sunshine and roses, so following are a few ideas for the spring days when the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate.

April 25, 27, 30, and May 2, 4
Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”
The Academy of Music

April 26 to 29
Philadelphia Antiques Show
Pennsylvania Convention Center

April 27
Last day of the “One Day in Pompeii” exhibit
The Franklin Institute

April 27
Opening day for the Bucks County Designer House & Gardens
Serendipity Farm

April 28
Cher, with Cyndi Lauper
Wells Fargo Center

April 29
Opening night of “I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change”
Walnut Street Theatre

May 8, 10
“Salome” presented by the Philadelphia Orchestra
Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center

May 24 to 26
Brandywine River Museum of Art Antiques Show
Brandywine River Museum
Chadds Ford

June 3 to 8
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Wizard of Oz”
The Academy of Music

June 7 and 8
Fine Art & Contemporary Craft Show         
Peddler’s Village

June 12 to 15
Pennsylvania Ballet’s “A 50th Finale”
Merriam Theater