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9 things to look forward to in Philadelphia in 2017

2016 is finally drawing to a close, and after a particularly tumultuous year, some may be worried that 2017 will only bring more bad news.

The year 2016 has finally drawn to a close, and after a particularly tumultuous year, some may be worried that 2017 will bring more bad news.

And, sure, it will. But here in Philadelphia, at least, we've got some great events to look forward to.

From the coming NFL draft to the opening of the Museum of the American Revolution, 2017 will be a busy year for the Philadelphia area. We've rounded up nine things to look forward to.

» READ MORE: American Watercolor in the Age of Homer and Sargent

March 1-May 14

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents this blockbuster exhibit of American watercolors, charting how the medium transformed from the domain of amateurs to a legitimized way to create great art. Look out for works by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Charles Demuth, and other masters of the genre.

» READ MORE: Museum of the American Revolution

April 19

With priceless artifacts like Gen. George Washington's headquarters tent, Peter Muhlenberg's pistols, and Patrick Henry's law books, the Museum of the American Revolution is the Philly destination for history buffs in 2017, housing 3,000 historical objects in 118,000 square feet of space just two blocks from Independence Mall. Its opening date is the 242nd anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the start of the Revolutionary War.


April 27-29

We successfully hosted Pope Francis in 2015 and the Democratic National Convention in 2016, so in 2017, we ought to be ready for something a little more substantial: the NFL Draft. Philadelphia will host the league's 82nd draft on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which the NFL will turn into "Draft Town," complete with an outdoor theater in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The event is expected to draw more than 200,000 visitors.

» READ MORE: LegoLand Discovery Center


Kids of all ages can look forward to the scheduled opening in spring of the LegoLand Discovery Center in the Plymouth Meeting Mall. Far from your standard bucket of plastic bricks, this 33,000-square-foot Lego-lovers paradise will include Philadelphia landmarks re-created in Lego form, 4D Cinema movies, a Lego-themed ride, and plenty of Lego play areas. The center will serve as the first LegoLand Discovery Center in Pennsylvania, and will replace part of the mall's food court.

» READ MORE: Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect

June 24-Sept. 17

Realist painter Andrew Wyeth died in 2009, and the Brandywine River Museum of Art will mark what would have been his 100th birthday in 2017 with "Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect." The exhibit will feature more than 100 of Wyeth's pieces for the largest display of the artist's work since 1973. Be sure to see it before it closes in September — in October, the exhibit moves on to the Seattle Art Museum.

LOVE Park reopens

Center City hasn't felt the same with LOVE Park closed for renovations. Robert Indiana's famed LOVE statue will have new digs when the park reopens. Look out for new lawns, flower beds, a tricked-out central fountain, as well as food and drinks for passersby.

» READ MORE: Wicked

July 26-August 27

The smash hit musical depicting the "real story" behind the Wizard of Oz comes back to the Academy of Music. It was last here in 2013. Based on Gregory Maguire's book, Wicked looks at Frank L. Baum's tale from the point of view of Elphaba (you know her better as the Wicked Witch of the West), explaining why she was not such a big fan of Dorothy to begin with.


Sept. 14-25

Opera Philadelphia's inaugural O17 event will bring 12 straight days of refined culture to the city. The festival will feature more than 25 operatic performances at six venues. Among the performances will be three world premieres, including Elizabeth Cree, based on the novel, and We Shall Not Be Moved, from Opera Philadelphia's Hip H'opera program. The third world premiere hasn't yet been announced, but will take place at the Barnes Foundation.

» READ MORE: Monument Lab

Sept. 15-Nov. 19

Monument Lab is expanding beyond its usual City Hall courtyard locale. The public art project that asks the question, "What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?", will include exhibitions at parks throughout the city. In addition to its larger scope, Monument Lab will include five temporary public artworks from artists including South Philadelphian Zoe Strauss, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, and UArts professor Alexander Rosenberg. Exhibitiongoers will also be able to provide their own vision of what an appropriate monument for Philadelphia would be in 2017.