This article is part of 34th Street's Philadelphia, Curated issue. Click here to see more of our favorite spots from all over the city.

Looking to learn a new skill? Hoping for a new hobby? Philadelphia has a myriad of interactive experiences available, some within walking distance of campus. Whether you want a new party trick or you're interested in testing out your creative prowess, there an activity for you somewhere in this list. 

Aqua Vitae Institute

Have you ever wanted to learn what goes on behind the bar? Ever been interested in knowing how to make your own drinks? Looking for a fun new activity to do with a group? Look no further than the Aqua Vitae Institute. Offering cocktail classes for groups and providing a flexible way to obtain your bartending license, this institute caters to every alcohol–related need. With its flexible scheduling and hands–on methods of teaching, don’t pass up the opportunity to learn about the beauty of spirits from some of the most specialized mixologists in Philadelphia.

Price range: Varies by class

Address: 148 N 17th St.

Hours: 

Mon–Fri: 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Sun: 12 p.m.–5 p.m. 


Pole Haus 

Pole dance your heart out at this exotic dancing studio. As the only pole dance fitness studio in Center City, Pole Haus offers a variety of class styles: from drop–in group lessons ($25) to party packages for you and your friends. There’s even an discounted introduction month of classes for $60. No matter your level of experience, Pole Haus is a great way to break a sweat in a fun and empowering atmosphere. Come here to work on your strength and flexibility. Heels optional.

Price Range: $25–$150

Address: 1719 Chestnut St. Suite 401

Hours: Mon: 2 p.m.–8 p.m.

Tues–Wed, Fri: 12 p.m.–8 p.m.

Thurs: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

Sat–Sun: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.



Painting with a Twist

Photo provided by Painting with a Twist


Bring your own beverages and snacks to Painting with a Twist’s BYOB painting class, where an instructor leads the class in creating a specific painting, one that you can take home and display afterwards. Select a two–hour painting for $35 per person or a three–hour painting for $45 per person and discover your inner artist alongside a few glasses of wine. The experience can be as raucous or relaxing as you and your friends wish, and classes are still available to those who aren’t 21 yet (though they’ll have to forego the BYO aspect). You can also book a private event if you’re feeling a wine night with your close friends. Or, hey, maybe you just want to pregame and paint—we won’t judge. 

Price Range: $35–$45

Address: 611 South St. 

Hours: Mon–Sat: 12 p.m.–5 p.m.

Sun: Closed 



Escape the Room

Test your puzzle–solving skills in one of the three escape rooms offered. Each Escape the Room experience is 60 minutes where you and a team will hunt for clues in your surroundings as you try to find the key (or code) for your escape. Difficulty levels vary depending on room selection, but if you’re stuck, you can ask for clues, and the staffers in the next room just might feed you a hint or two through the speaker. The current room selections are The Agency, where you take on the role of a special agent; The Dig, an archaeology themed room; and Meltdown, a more advanced room that looks like a nuclear power plant. 

Price Range: $28

Address: 1528 Walnut St.

Hours: Mon–Fri: 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

Sat: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Sun: 8 a.m.–8 p.m.



Go Vertical Rock Climbing Gym

Looking for a creative work out? Try rock climbing. Go Vertical Rock Climbing Gym features climbing courses that suit all age and skill levels, from beginner to expert climber. The rock walls here range in height up to 50 feet, with a separate beginners and kids learning area. Package prices vary, but the scheduling is flexible. You can just drop in to climb, but they also offer three supervised climbs for $25 and a full day pass for $19. And if you find yourself hooked, check out their membership deals. Here, you find another meaning to the term “endorphin high.”

Price Range: $19–$161

Address: 950 N Penn St. 

Hours: Mon–Wed: 12 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Thurs–Fri: 12 p.m.–11 p.m.

Sat: 9 a.m.–11 p.m.

Sun: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.


Kaya Aerial Yoga 

Photo provided by Kaya Aerial Yoga


Take your yoga practice to new heights at Kaya Aerial Yoga. Head over to Old City to try out aerial yoga and circus arts in this gorgeous state of the art studio.  Suspend from hanging swings that challenge your balance and core, increasing your flexibility and deepening your practice. If heights are not your thing, go for the traditional Vinyasa and Yin yoga sessions. Classes are offered seven days a week, circus arts twice a week. 

Price Range: Drop–in classes: $25 | Pre–booked classes: $20

Address: 225 Quarry St.

Hours: Sun–Sat: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.



Bury the Hatchet 

Looking for a thrill? Throw an axe at Bury the Hatchet. Channel your inner Viking and challenge your friends at this competitive axe throwing studio. Think of it like darts. Dangerous darts. But don’t worry trained staff members coach you in safe axe tossing technique and make sure no heads get lopped off. It’s up to you to come with close–toed shoes and an appetite for adventure. One two–hour session costs $40 per person, but they’re also available for corporate events if you decide you really want to see how your co–workers perform under stress. 

Price Range: $40

Address: 1719 Washington Ave., 2nd Floor

Hours: Mon–Thurs: 12 p.m.–9:15 p.m.

Fri–Sun: 10 a.m.–9:15 p.m.



Virtual Reality at Mad Rex 

Photo provided by Mad Rex


Immerse yourself in post–apocalyptic virtual reality at Mad Rex—the nation’s first virtual reality equipped restaurant, located in downtown Philly. Put on your goggles and escape. Skydive, watch the sunrise, attend a front–row sports game—the choice is yours. Meanwhile enjoy the eclectic menu of apocalyptic–inspired eats and insta–worthy cocktails. You can use the open virtual reality lounge for $1/minute or reserve the virtual reality chamber for $2/minute. 

Price Range: Varies by package 

Address: 1000 Frankford Ave., Suite 1

Hours: Mon–Thurs: 5 p.m.–12 a.m.

Fri: 5 p.m.–2 a.m.

Sat: 11 a.m.–2 a.m.

Sun: 11 a.m.–12 a.m.



Philly Brew Tours

Love beer? When frat houses just aren’t cutting it, go on a tour of Philadelphia’s best breweries, during which you’ll be driven around by a (sober!) driver to multiple breweries. On the Philly Original Brew Tour, which is a five–hour adventure for $99 per person, go behind–the–scenes of these locations while enjoying an assortment of 16 craft brews and a “perfectly paired” lunch. No better way to spend your weekend than getting drunk and not driving.

Price Range: $99

Address: Location varies depending on tour.

Hours: Sun–Sat: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.


Philly Dance Fitness

Photo provided by Philly Dance Fitness


Offering nearly every genre of dance, from hip hop to ballet to striptease, you’re certain to get a fun workout in at one of this studio’s group fitness classes, hosted seven days a week. Private lessons and parties are also an option. With a variety of pricing and membership options, as low as $13 for a drop–in class, you’re certain to find a class to suit your level of experience and budget. Dance your heart out—any of these classes will be certain to get it racing.

Price Range: Single Class: $13 | Ten classes: $100 | One month unlimited: $140

Address: 1624 South St. and other locations around the city

Hours: Mon: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.

Tues–Fri: 4:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Sat–Sun: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.


Chewy Philly Food Tours 

Photo provided by Chewy Food Tours


Explore the flavors of Philly on a walking food tour. Structured as a progressive lunch, you’ll get to sample over six different local restaurants. Go on the authentic Philly tour to savor the best kept culinary secrets in Philadelphia. For a limited time indulge in fall flavors on the Haunted Food Tour. Stroll along the Manayunk Canal under fall foliage and enjoy autumnal food chock–full of pumpkin, apple, and spice. Each tour runs 2.5 hours long and start at $59, but subscribe to their newsletter for a promo code to get $29 tickets. Tours operate Fridays through Sundays, rain or shine. 

Price Range: $59

Address: 4312 Main St.

Hours: Sun–Sat: 9 a.m.–2:30 p.m.


Pinot Boutique

Love to wine and dine? Pinot Boutique is just what you’re looking for. Skip the Sunset Blush and head over to Old City for an authentic adult wine tasting experience. Offering a variety of wine tasting packages from rosé to sparkling to "Wines and Beers of the Revolution," you’re sure to find one that tickles your palette. Book a tasting and enjoy 4 glasses of wine for as low $10. Feeling peckish? Check out the wine and cheese or wine and chocolate tasting. 

Price Range: $10–$20

Address: 227 Market St.

Hours: Mon: 4 p.m.–9 p.m.

Tues–Thurs: 12 p.m.–9 p.m.

Fri and Sat: 12 p.m.–11 p.m. 

Sun: 12 p.m.–7 p.m.


Bartram's Garden 

A little piece of history located on the west bank of the Schuylkill River, Bartram's Garden is a 45– acre botanical garden and arboretum that offers up stunning riverside views peeking out across a landscape of flowers and trees. As the nation’s oldest surviving botanical garden, Bartram’s Garden takes special pride in cultivating their collection of North American native parents. If you’re not into horticulture, don’t worry: the gorgeous views and sprawling gardens also make this a wonderful sanctuary when you need to sneak away from the hustle of the city. Stop by on the right day and you might just catch a glimpse of a proposal or a wedding. 

Price Range: Free

Address: 5400 Lindbergh Blvd.

Hours: Tues–Fri: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Sat–Sun: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.


Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center

Photo provided by Shofuso Japanese House and Garden


Stepping into Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center means being transported to 17th century Japan. Originally constructed as an exhibition in the courtyard of the MoMA, Shofuso Japanese Cultural Center was later moved to Philadelphia, where it now offers visitors the chance to walk alongside peaceful koi ponds pond and then meander through the Japanese villa into the tea house. If you’re planning a visit, know that shoes are required for the garden, and socks are required to enter the pagoda. The serenity of the tiered waterfalls and the stone bridges makes Shofuso the perfect place to sit and soak in the beauty of Philadelphia, even if it’s a little bit of a schlep from University City. 

Price Range: Students with ID: $8 | Adults: $12 | ACCESS Cardholders with photo ID: $2 | Members and active duty military personnel: Free

Address: Lansdowne Dr. and Horticultural Dr.

Hours: April–Oct.: Wed–Fri:  10 a.m.–4 p.m., Sat–Sun: 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Nov.–Dec.9: Sat–Sun: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.


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