For those who’ve never been, Philly Free Streets isn’t easy to describe. “Oh, it’s a street festival,” said one out-of-towner recently. “We have those, too.” Not exactly. It’s not a street fair or cultural fest, not a tailgate or block party — although it has elements of all those things.
This annual event is more like a great reckoning came through Philadelphia and scooped out all the cars, but left everything else great about the city.
Back on North Broad for the second summer in a row on Saturday, Aug. 3, Philly Free Streets is about giving the pavement back to the people. Instead of cramming it full of vendor stands hawking wares, the road is left open.
Without any car traffic, people are free to walk, bike, roll and generally play their hearts out along the entire 8-mile route.
The event, organized by the city, was inspired after road closures during Pope Francis’ 2015 visit left cyclists and pedestrians with miles of Center City streets at their disposal. Though that happenstance had an eerie apocalyptic feeling, the modern incarnation is opposite.
Because while the road itself is kept clear, there’s stations and activity hubs and info spots all up and down the boulevard. This year, one of those tents will be a board game extravaganza.
Billy Penn, PlanPhilly and WHYY have joined forces with Thirsty Dice Board Game Cafe to bring Philly Free Streets some friendly competition.
Join us from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the historic Divine Lorraine at the GAMEADELPHIA tent. You’ll get to to play Jenga against your favorite journalist, try to beat the top score on the Tumbling Dice leaderboard, or take part in other family-friendly activities.
All free, all for fun.
Check out all the other Philly Free Streets programming on the map below. Look forward to seeing you out there on Saturday.