philly winter

This is it - the end of January, the dark days of mid-winter. The holidays are but a distant and sparkling memory, and spring feels like a long, long way off indeed. These can be long, lonely days, complete with shoulder-hunched trudges to and from work, school, etc. The urge to hunker down under a blanket at sunset and not emerge until morning is very real. We understand! Some nights you've gotta stay in and indulge in whatever your ideal cozy scenario is.

But! Every night? Leaving the house now and then is good for the soul - and no, trips to the corner store to re-up on beer and those amazing salt & pepper potato chips don't count! Here are a few friendly suggestions from us (with "lazy version" options of course, for when venturing out is just not gonna happen), to help keep winter sanity in check, . 

Get rocking: There's something about being in a room with a bunch of strangers all bopping to the same song that just helps you feel human. The venue can be big or small, posh or dingy, professional or thoroughly DIY. Whatever your scene, whatever the setting, it's rare to regret the schlep to see a great live band. Plus, while we don't have scientific evidence to back this up, the vibrations from loud music must do good things for your body, right? Some places you may find rad shows: Union TransferJohnny Brenda's, DIY PHL, Ortlieb's, Chris' Jazz CafeLazy version: invite a friend over for a no holds barred two person dance party.

Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute, photo from

Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute, photo from

Get deep: Philadelphia is home to many museums, but one of the coolest is The Franklin Institute. While their regular exhibits are fascinating, getting comfy and watching pretend night skies in the Fels Planetarium seems extra winter-appropriate. The Dark Universe show sounds really intriguing: according to the website, it features "exquisite renderings of enigmatic cosmic phenomena, seminal scientific instruments, and spectacular scenes in deep space." What better to help put winter woes into perspective than remembering that our planet is but a speck on a speck in the infinite universe? Lazy version: re-watch The Cosmos with all the lights turned off.

Get cinematic: The Academy Awards are right around the corner, and while you've probably checked some of the Best Picture nominations off your "must-see" list, what about the little guys? Every year, both live action and animated Oscar nominated short films are screened at The Ritz - while it's easy to find most of the big-budget feature films at local theaters, these screenings may be the only opportunity you'll get to see these films on the big screen. Lazy version: rent last year's shorts nominees for a few bucks from Vimeo On Demand.

Get nerdy (in a cool way!): Find a new board game to while away the hours at Redcap's Corner (locations in West Philly and Powellton Village), or connect with other gamers at one of their many events, like Wednesday evening Dungeons & Dragons Encounters, Friday evening Magic the Gathering, or Sunday board game open play. Across town in Kensington, new-ish comic book shop Amalgam sells a wide variety of comics and graphic novels and, bonus, they have coffee, too! Check out a great article about Amalgam's owner Ariell Johnson over at Amy Poehler's Smart Girls. Lazy version: Delve into the new online Catan Universe, enjoy the largest online database of free Marvel and DC comics at, or explore the free and paid digital comics at Dark Horse Comics.

We hope you've found this guide to winter sanity helpful. If all else fails, you can always meet up with friends for coffee and conversation or semi-social study or work sessions. And we don't need to tell you where the best place to do that is (wink wink!). No matter what, chin up - the thaw will come one day!


Philadelphia snow photo by Dan Terzian

Movie theater photo by Sarah Ackerman