Philadelphia Museum of Art
Perched above the Schuylkill River, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a work of art in itself. Inside, the 200 galleries don't disappoint either, with some 227,000 pieces from all of the VIPs. On view this fall is "Shipwreck: Wilson Homer and The Life Line," an exhibit examining images of rescue-at-sea in American art. If you're in town on the first Sunday of the month, admission is pay-what-you-wish.
The Institute of Contemporary Art
Although probably not on the average tourist's short-list, the ICA is an overlooked gem on the University of Pennsylvania's campus -- and admission is always free. On view now is conceptual artist Jeremy Deller's first mid-career survey, "Joy in People," an ambitious and playful exhibit featuring most of Deller's major works, as well as a re-creation of his childhood bedroom. While you're in University City, pay a visit to Penn's Museum of Archeology and Anthropology (www.penn.
museum), which is home to, among other artifacts, a massive mummy collection.
The Barnes Foundation’s world-class collection of Impressionist and Modernist masterpieces recently moved to Philadelphia from a posh suburban outpost after years of fighting between board members, donors and various ghosts of galleries past. Be glad you missed it and simply get to enjoy the new location on the Ben Franklin Parkway, a stunning approach to exhibiting the foundation’s impressive treasures.
Home to the Guinness Book of World Records’ largest collection of pizza memorabilia, the newly opened Pizza Brain is part museum, part pizza parlor. It’s kitschy, sure, but the team behind this quirkball gem is dead serious about the collection and the power of pizza to make us happier. It’s also a good opportunity to visit the city’s Fishtown section, which is becoming a destination for its left-of-center galleries, serious beer bars and, yes, pizza action figures.