franklin_squareMom’s big day is this weekend, so it’s time to plan for a celebration of the woman who gave birth to you. Why not celebrate in the birthplace of the nation, my hometown of Philadelphia? There’s always so much going on in the City of Brotherly Love that it’s a perfect family vacation destination. But if you’re in town for Mother’s Day – or if you’re lucky enough to live locally – special Mother’s Day events will allow you and mom to paint the town red, white and blue.

My favorite way to celebrate my mom – who died of cancer in 1998 – is to grab my favorite girlfriends and head to the Art Museum to join in the Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure. I’m no runner, but doing a good healthy morning walk with my girls puts Mother’s Day on the right track. And the expo before and after the race will feed the inner shopper in any mom. Best of all, of course, is that it’s all for a good cause – to find a cure for breast cancer. If you didn’t preregister, don’t panic – you can sign up the day of the race for $40.

If you head to Arch Street by Second in Old Town, you’ll find yourself at the Betsy Ross House. The legendary seamstress’ home is a popular stop to those seeking out history, and its special programs (like the star-spangled flag raising and the history makers onstage) make the colonial era come alive for even the youngest guests. But Mother’s Day is celebrated with more than stars and stripes – there’s also tea and crumpets! Yes, you can treat your mom to a tea party this Saturday, May 7, right at Betsy’s homestead. The event will include delicious bakery items from City Tavern and a visit from Ms. Ross herself. Call for reservations 215-629-5801 x 221.

Is your mom the outdoorsy type? Then skip the tea time (or head out afterwards) and go to the city’s family playground. It opened on April 1 this year, and the weather on Mother’s Day should be pleasant enough to allow for a ride on the city-themed carousel and a round of mini golf through such iconic Philly sites as boathouse row and (of course) the Liberty Bell. All moms golf free this Sunday with the purchase of a kid ticket – so this is one gift that would be easy on the allowance. On Saturday and Sunday, 215-629-4026.


If you’re like me and your favorite place is the shore, then head to the coast Saturday night to enjoy the Mother’s Day Music Festival in Atlantic City. This year’s offerings feature soul and R&B sounds, including live performances by The Whispers and Charlie Wilson. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

The next day, spend some time on Gillian’s Wonderland Pier in Ocean City, just south of the big AC. The amusements have been open to Easter and appeal to kids of all ages. Best of all, mom rides free on her special day!