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Start the summer off right | Things to Do

This weekend, explore Brewerytown’s cat cafe and delicious food, see the unveiling of a John Legend mural, scope out great Shore bars, and stay up to date on what’s open and closed on Memorial Day.

Atlantic City,  May 17, 2023.
Atlantic City, May 17, 2023.Read moreTom Gralish / Staff Photographer

It’s Memorial Day weekend and I am ready for long summer nights, sunny beach days, and laid-back cookouts. For many in the region, all summer roads lead to the Shore. As a Jersey girl, I’ve loved being so close to the beach for most of my life, even if that meant suffering through sticky heat on the train, miles of traffic on the parkway, and that long period of nonstop jokes about the dreadful New Yorkers on The Jersey Shore. (Some stereotypes never die.) Still, making time to get on the boardwalk and bask in the sun has always been my top priority — I love the beach. Do you have any fun Shore summer traditions? Let me know!

This weekend, explore Brewerytown’s cat cafe and delicious food, see the unveiling of a new John Legend mural, scope out great Shore bars, and stay up to date on what’s open and closed on Memorial Day.

— Rosa Cartagena (@_RosaCartagena, Email me at

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Your guide to the Shore

Beach days and boardwalk fun await! The Inquirer has everything you want to know about the Jersey Shore, covering where to eat and drink, the best concerts to see, how to get there on any budget, new rules you need to know, and whether you can smoke weed legally. For boardwalk breakfasts, seafood shacks, Shore hacks, and more, check out our full guide. (Have you signed up for our Down the Shore newsletter yet?)

Your weekly social calendar

ℹ️ Need to know: Memorial Day brings a lovely three-day weekend for many of us, so you might be wondering what’s open or closed for the holiday — we’ve got answers.

🖌️ Girard gets the green light: John Legend began his musical career singing at open mics across Philly venues like The Fire. A new mural of the star has a dedication ceremony today and tonight The Fire hosts a Legend tribute show.

🎥 Search for talent: Philly’s Japanese Breakfast bandleader Michelle Zauner is looking for someone to play her in the upcoming Crying in H Mart movie based on her novel. Is that person you?

👠 Mona Lisa comes to town: The fabulous Billy Porter performs his upcoming album Black Mona Lisa at The Met next Thursday and he talked to my colleague Elizabeth Wellington about fashion, R&B, and his Philly memories.

🚨 This is not a drill: Though Diddy dropped out of next weekend’s Roots Picnic lineup, his replacement is….drumroll pleaseUsher, baby!

🐱 Take a walk: Cat cafes, thrift stores, Ethiopian bars and, of course, breweries are just the beginning of what to explore in Brewerytown.

🖼️ An intimate look: You probably know the famous painter Andrew Wyeth. A new exhibit examines how much of his work would’ve gone unseen without his wife, Betsy Wyeth. 🔑

🦞 One night only: Tonight, check out the Northern Liberties Night Market, a festival featuring dozens of food trucks. Try tacos from Calle del Sabor, doughnut-fried oreos from East Coast Mini Donuts, pierogis from Mom Mom’s Polish Food Cart, and more tasty bites.

📅 My calendar picks this week: Check out tap dancing on Cherry Street Pier, watch a movie under the stars in West Philly, and try a rosé wine tasting.

The thing of the week

The legendary Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll Tina Turner died at 83 yesterday. The powerhouse singer and performer produced groundbreaking hits and remade her career after experiencing years of abuse to solidify her position as a superstar. A music and fashion icon, Turner empowered herself to keep creating, keep dancing, and keep sharing her enormous talent with the world. I’m grateful to her for charting that path and providing some of the best albums of all time, like my personal favorite Private Dancer. I’ll be blasting it all weekend in her honor.

What to read: Inquirer pop music critic Dan DeLuca wrote about one of Turner’s biggest shows at Philadelphia Live Aid in 1985, where more than 1.5 billion people watched Turner perform alongside Mick Jagger and others.

What to watch: It’s worth seeing HBO’s five-part documentary, Tina, which feels like her way of saying goodbye while simultaneously taking control of her undeniable legacy and examining her unfailing resilience. And of course, Angela Bassett’s stellar portrayal in What’s Love Got to Do With It. The actor paid tribute to Turner on Instagram, writing: “Her final words to me — for me — were ‘You never mimicked me. Instead, you reached deep into your soul, found your inner Tina, and showed her to the world.’” May we all find our inner Tina.

Hot Philly summer starts now

🏖️ Sex on the beach: Not a thing to do! I’m talking about what you can drink. We’ve got a roundup of 16 great Shore bars with something for everyone, from old-school dives to flashy newcomers.

🎸 Shore concert lineup: Some of the coolest acts will be heating up Shore stages from Atlantic City to Cape May, including Jazmine Sullivan, Paramore, CupcakKe, and so many more. 🔑

🦀 Get crackin’: If you’re headed to the beach, you’ll want to check out the best seafood shacks at the Shore.

🇺🇸 Look out for the fireworks: Wawa Welcome America’s free July 4 concert will feature Demi Lovato and Ludacris as headliners.

🐶 Cool treats for those good doggos: Pup cups are great but to really cool your pet down this hot Philly summer, we have vet-approved recommendations.

🍦 Cool treats for you: Nothing beats ice cream on the boardwalk, so we rounded up the best ice cream spots on the Shore.

🍷 Rosé all day: Also at the Shore, there are great wineries to explore, here’s where we suggest you stop to sip the rosés.

📥 Your next read: Can’t get enough Shore content? Get my amazing coworker Amy Rosenberg’s award-winning Down the Shore newsletter! She’s your go-to guide for Shore food, events, gossip, and hacks. Sign up here!

❓Pop quiz❓

How many years ago did the first episode of The Jersey Shore air on MTV?

A) 14

B) 9

C) 11

D) 16

📮 To let me know which of the above is correct, write me back.

This week, I caught up with the second season of the podcast La Brega, where each episode centers on a different song essential to Puerto Rican culture, from the love letter to Black Boricuas, “Las Caras Lindas (De Mi Gente Negra)” to the feminist freestyle of “I Wonder if I Take You Home.” What podcast are you vibing to these days? Let me know!