On the to-do list this week: Plan some things to look forward to this January as the city (and country) struggles with rising COVID-19 cases. We all need something (safe) to look forward to — and are likely even looking for ways to help our communities. There are outdoor volunteer opportunities happening on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17, ways to support the Fairmount fire victims, and much more.

On my personal to-do list: I’m signing up for a MLK Day volunteer event through the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service.

We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.

Jillian Wilson

Winter toolkit

Weekend planner

Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:

🍽️ Center City Restaurant Week (Food / in-person / multiday) It’s not too late to add “try new restaurants” to your list of New Year’s resolutions. Get started at restaurant week where Center City eateries are serving up multi-course lunches for $25 and dinners for $40. Bring your vaccine card to eat in or mask up and order a to-go meal. (Jan. 9-21, restaurants throughout Center City, centercityphila.org)

🔎 Find more of this week’s events, and we even have a kid-friendly events calendar, too.

Do this

Travel may seem uncertain right now, but there are lots of places nearby that you can explore for a day trip or weekend. Just across the Ben Franklin Bridge is Collingswood, N.J., a very quaint town with a booming BYOB scene, lots of cute shops (some of which have original outposts in Philly), and plenty of downtown space for a stroll. Should you find yourself with some free time and a desire to do some local travel, here’s our guide to Collingswood, which is just 20 minutes outside of Center City and is sure to give you all the small-town feels.

If you’re looking for some more local travel, here are more of our town guides:

Plan this

Martin Luther King Day isn’t for another week and a half, but the volunteer opportunities through the Martin Luther King Day of Service are starting to fill up. Make a plan now to honor King’s legacy by signing up to volunteer on Jan. 17. The annual Day of Service is a chance to give back to the local community through food drives, neighborhood clean-ups, and some online events, too.

Here are some of the volunteer opportunities you can sign up for through the MLK Day of Service this year:

» READ MORE: Where to volunteer on Martin Luther King Day in Philadelphia

Insta inspo

Over the weekend, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts premiered on HBO Max and Harry Potter nostalgia (and fandom) was trending all over the internet. In what feels like ✨ magical ✨ timing, The Franklin Institute’s highly anticipated Harry Potter: The Exhibition opens in just a few weeks on Feb. 18. The exhibition gives you a look at costumes and props from the films, insight on how the magic happened, and the chance to explore some truly mystical scenes and scenarios.

📖 A quotable moment

Thanks for reading! We’ll be back next week with more things to do this month. But in the meantime, here’s a quote to keep in mind as we make our way through this proving-to-be-difficult month.

  • “I hope you know it’s okay if your strength looks a little different in this season.” — Morgan Harper Nichols