A Sneak Peek at Cherry Street Pier
From art to ice cream, here's everything your family can look forward to at this new Waterfront attraction.
Cherry Street Pier is the newest public space reinvigorating our city and reactivating a dormant historical space. This Delaware River Waterfront spot—formerly known as Municipal Pier 9—will be a mixed use community space, combining shopping, food, workspace, the arts, and a place to play.
Like the new Rail Park in Callowhill, and The Discovery Center at Strawberry Mansion Reservoir, this is yet another story of the city taking a long-inactive space and transforming it for public use, while honoring its history. “This is a true example of a transformation – from a vacant industrial pier to thriving public space and creative hub,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.
The revitalized public space opens the evening of October 12, and will celebrate with an arts festival across three consecutive weekends (October 13–28). The pier will be open all year round, and will feature art space, restaurants, recreation, and more. Here’s everything you’ll want to do at the new Cherry Street Pier.
For three consecutive weekends (October 13—28), Cherry Street Pier will celebrate its opening with a massive arts festival featuring participatory programs, musical performances, sculptures, installations, visual arts, and more. You can view the full schedule here.
Kids will especially have fun playing on Impulse, an installation of giant seesaws! And they’ll also like spinning Prismatica, an installation of colorful prisms that will glow at night, both at Cherry Street Pier and extending to Race Street Pier. Both of those installations will be on view and able to be played with for the full two weeks of the festival.
Eat and Drink
The pier will feature local food vendors in colorful converted old trolley cars. Cooperage will serve “comfort food with a healthy twist,” from salads to pizza. Meanwhile, Hardena/Waroeng Surabaya, local family-run Indonesian restaurant will feature signature dishes like satay and rice plates. On weekends, Reading Terminal Market’s Birdie’s Biscuits will serve up delicious homemade biscuits and toppings, both sweet and savory.
And kids will be very happy to see Little Baby’s Ice Cream in the outdoor park space! They’ll be serving up ice cream, non-dairy desserts, and milkshakes in their rotating unique flavors like Earl Grey Sriracha and Birch Beer Vanilla.
For the grownups, Cherry Street Pier will also have a bar featuring local breweries, cideries, and distilleries. Signature cocktails have names that pay homage to the Philly space and its history, like the Cherry Street Mule and the Pier 9 Punch—and both cocktails include Philadelphia-based liquors. They’re also working to create a draft wine system!
Play and Learn
Walk to the end of Cherry Street Pier, and you’ll be in the Garden area with outdoor green space, spectacular views of the river, and even remnants of the rail line for a little history of the location. There’s also lots of seating in this area to grab a snack or just relax and take in the views.
Because this space is shared with artists, it’s also a great place to learn about art in its many forms. The artists’ studios take up two levels, and are made from converted shipping containers with large glass windows—the studio spaces were created to be completely public facing so that visitors could see how art is made, and so that the artists could meet and interact with new audiences.
Special Events, Shopping, and Holiday Fun
More family-friendly events are planned, like Playfest2018 presented by PopUpPlay on November 4. This free festival will include upcycled games and activities from PopUpPlay, and activities from visitors like the Franklin Institute, the Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, the Free Library, Smith Memorial Playground, Sticklets, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and iFacepaint.
Shane Confectionery is also planning to visit on select weekends in November and December to sell their homemade confections, and hold candy-making demonstrations!
As the year goes on, the pier hopes to host free movie nights, craft markets, art exhibits, holiday fireworks viewing, and much more. Philly Flea is still setting their dates for an antique and vintage market at the pier, but we’ll keep you posted about that. Meanwhile, in December, you can do holiday shopping with Punk Rock Flea Market (December 8—9) and the fabulous Art Star Market (December 15—16), which will also include photos with Santa, a gift wrapping station, and make-and-takes.
And while you’re shopping for holiday gifts, you can also get your tree! The Christmas Tree Stand will be at Cherry Street Pier seven days week, starting on Black Friday (November 23) and running until Christmas. Trees can be purchased on-site and brought home that day or delivered, and you can buy ornaments there too.
Finally, you can plan your own special events at Cherry Street Pier—they are working on birthday party packages, including the option to collaborate with resident artists for a hands-on workshop as part of your celebration.
Cherry Street Pier is located at 121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard in Philadelphia. The park is free and open to the public year-round. The park opens at 11 am daily, and the restaurants will open at 4 pm on weekdays and 11 am on weekends.
Parking lots can be found on Vine Street, Market Street, and Columbus Boulevard. The waterfront is also accessible via various SEPTA bus lines—Route 25 runs along Columbus Boulevard and stops in front of the pier. If you’re taking the subway, ride the Market-Frankford Line to the Second Street stop and walk the rest of the way. Cherry Street Pier also accommodates bike parking.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.