Outside the Oreo

Lauren Piro

With the long anticipated coming of the balmy temps and UV rays last weekend, I felt like I had let out the huge sigh I had been holding all through the frigid winter – “finally.” Spring is here in full effect, no longer just in name, and with this season of morning dew and cherry blossoms comes, of course, spring flings, wings and other things to the Philly area.

I stopped by one of these events last week – the Kimmel Center’s own Spring Fling concert series. Through May 8, the concert hall will be hosting casual music performances in their plaza each evening – and all for free. Plus, the center is only a short walk from Suburban Station, which instead of paining me like it might have a month ago in the post-winter freeze, I now welcomed and even enjoyed.

One glance into the audience loosely congregated at tables with friends or sprawled out on couches in pairs and it was easy to see that everyone had the same idea for this evening as I did – calming and de-stressing, mirrored by the warm breezes and setting sun around us. I found an empty seat on one of the plaza’s modern and funky orange couches and nestled in to enjoy Ryah Minyon, the singer for the evening. She bills her music as a mix of R&B, gospel and jazz, “blending the soul and authenticity of yesterday’s music with the edge and limitless possibilities of today.” To put it less pie-in-the-sky, she had a pretty voice and happily engaged the docile crowd in her own renditions of classics ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Michael Jackson.

As listeners snacked on spicy noodle salad, vegetable dumplings, or chorizo empanadas (all for only three bucks-choose the noodles for the largest portion), the music eventually created more background ambiance then anything else – most attendees met up and chatted with friends or mingled by the bar. 

Yes, the event was perhaps a bit more subdued than I was expecting, but perhaps upcoming acts like the Matt Davis’ Aerial Photograph (April 27) or the Geator Dance Party (May 5) will pack a livelier crowd. I would recommend going to unwind after a long day at your internship in the city or as a relaxing prelude to a night out with friends – or, at least, bring a magazine (as I ended up reading toward the end). 

What else can you do in Philly now the weather’s nice? Don’t forget to check these out:

Tyler Arboretum

Get your fill of outdoor beauty and history at this nearby 650-acre expanse of wildlife. Tyler is known for its trails and guided tours of its historic landmarks and gardens – including the Meadow Maze and Butterfly River. The arboretum also offers weekly events – this weekend volunteer at the annual Arbor Day plant sale or take an outdoor flow yoga class next Tuesday. 

Phillies 2009 season

Clearly, I would expect you to find this suggestion obvious as it is hard to ignore the presence of World Series champs. However, don’t forget to check out the Phillies’ community calendar when planning your visit – this spring there are many opportunities to stretch your baseball experience a little further. April 29 is Stich n’ Pitch night – at least one of you out there must be interested in knitting, right? Free tote bag! 

Philadelphia Zoo

It’s the zoo’s 150th anniversary this year, so expect extra excitement and events from now through the rest of the year. Go on an adults-only Twilight Tour (no grubby toddlers to keep you from seeing your favorite animals) for a more peaceful trek around the zoo after closing time.