Philly: Great Stair Hall Rivals Rocky Steps at Museum of Art

Before I went to St. Maarten for two weeks, we checked out the Art After Five event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Every Friday from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., bars are set up and live music rings out in the Great Stair Hall, providing members and guests the chance to kick off the weekend with some wine and culture.

Art After Five: Every Friday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I was disappointed that you could not bring your drink along as you perused the art – you have to drink it in the central area of Great Stair Hall where the band is – although I suppose I understand. Last thing they want is for someone to stumble and unload half a glass of red wine onto the canvas. Still, it’s a shame – I think it would make the experience more intimate, as if I was at a small gallery with local artists.

Then again, I wasn’t: The Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the largest museums in the country, with over 227,000 objects in its collections. My recommendation would be that you don’t go to Art After Five on a mission – it’s more about socialization and browsing than it is exploring the entire museum (only select exhibits are open). To be honest, it’s very easy to attend this event and not see any art. Great Stair Hall is quite a pleasant atmosphere on its own – an indoor compliment to the infamous Rocky steps.

Go, hang out, sit on the large staircase and have a drink, listen to the band, eat a few appetizers, wander through the exhibits in between. I felt like I was in some sort of temple, a large building with high ceilings that made me feel small, large columns that seemed to evoke power – the backbone of the museum, if you will.

This is a great spot for a walk-and-talk date or an after-work gathering with the crew. Be prepared for the entry fee (although members get in for free) and city-priced drinks ($8-$10 for a glass of wine), but it’s a great start to the weekend – a unique way for first timers and regulars alike to see a different side of the museum. My friends and I went simply for a change of pace – it’s so easy to slip into the same routine and frequent the same places.

Cheers to Julia Keim of Free People for the photographs:

Great Stair Hall
Great Stair Hall
Great Stair Hall
Great Stair Hall
Yours truly and friends at the top of Great Stair Hall.

Wine and cheese on the steps!

The view of the Philadelphia skyline as you leave the Art Museum.
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