5 Fun, Free Things to Do Near Drexel’s Campus

The Paul Peck Center Gallery, which is currently showcasing "John Chapel: A Photographic Voyage."
The Paul Peck Center Gallery, which is currently showcasing "John Chapel: A Photographic Voyage."

Got an hour between classes or time to fill on your lunch break? You’re in luck. There are plenty of things to do near the University City Campus that are free, fun and easily accessible.

Go to a Concert

Every Friday, WXPN hosts its Free at Noon concert that is, yes, free and at noon. Featuring everyone from established artists to emerging bands, the concert usually takes an hour and is located at the World Café Live venue at 3025 Walnut St. This year alone has brought in Meat Puppets, Jakob Dylan and Cat Power, Craig Finn from The Hold Steady and Amy Ray from Indigo Girls.

There’s also the PECO Performances at the Porch, which operates on a less frequent schedule in the space outside of 30th Street Station. The next concert is slated for July 31 featuring a salsa routine and a beginner group lesson.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Drexel Square.

If the weather is nice, you can go pretty far walking around near Drexel’s campus. There’s the Schuylkill Banks trail along the Schuylkill River to the east of University City. Cira Green, “Philadelphia’s Park in the Sky,” features amazing views of the city from 11 floors up. And you can soak in the sun at the new Drexel Square located across the street from 30th Street Station.

Take in the Arts

Drexel has several art collections on campus that you can visit. The Drexel Collection has three galleries on campus: the A.J. Drexel Picture Gallery full of portraits and 19th century landscapes, the Rincliffe Gallery and the Paul Peck Center Gallery. If you want to view the current shows at the Rincliffe Gallery, Paul Peck Center Gallery and the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, you better act fast: Matt Phillips: Inspired, John Chapel: A Photographic Voyage and Stonewall @ 50 all end July 26. The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design is showing a retrospective exhibition highlighting the work of fashion designer Nicole Miller with A Philadelphia Store-y: 25 Years of Nicole Miller Philadelphia, which is open until Aug. 30.

Don’t want to go inside? Drexel Quarterly recently put together a free public arts tour of the University City Campus if you’re up for walking and viewing outdoors.

Watch a Movie

Stick around campus at night and you could watch a free movie under the stars. At the section of the Schulkill Banks by the Walnut Street Bridge, there are several events coming up where you could bring a blanket and picnic while watching a film. You could see “Sing” on July 25; “Crazy Rich Asians” on Aug. 8; “A League of Their Own” on Aug. 22; “Romancing the Stone” on Aug. 29; and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” on Sept. 5.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.

Go to a Museum

A Drexel ID gets you into the Academy of Natural Sciences for free, and there’s a shuttle service that will bring you to the Academy for free. Located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Academy is close to both the University City Campus and the Center City Campus. While you’re there, check out those classic dinosaurs, the butterfly garden and the newest exhibit, Dinosaurs Around the World.

There’s another free museum located near Drexel’s University City Campus: the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, there are four exhibits open until Aug. 11: Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth; Colored People Time: Quotidian Pasts; Open Video Call 2019; and Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective.