The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a must. But many visitors overlook its very cool annex, across the street in a beautiful Art Deco building that was revamped to dramatic architectural effect. The Perelman Building is a clean, beautiful contemporary space with creative boutique exhibits.
Design geeks take note, the Collab Gallery hosts intimate rotating design exhibits. From Eames to Vitra, you will find it here, along with all manner of uncomfortable, whimsical chairs and tea services you can envy but never own. (Though if you have the budget, the gift shop sells some impressive design pieces.)
Revolving video installations and contemporary art fill the adjacent gallery space. The main front gallery hosts finely curated shows around particular themes, sometimes an offshoot of a major exhibit in the main museum, sometimes a small show on a specific theme, anything from Alexander Calder’s jewelry to German folk painting.
Fashion exhibits are common. Gawk at gorgeous gowns and ostentatious street fashion in the upstairs gallery, accessed by a catwalk that looks down on the sunny sculpture hall. The architecture positively sings from here!
I love the Perelman for its perfect design harmony and brilliant light. Despite its shuttle link to the main museum, few people make the 5-minute trip over, so it never feels crowded. The lower floor cafe is my favorite place to rest my eyes and feet after a spin through the galleries.
Admission is $ 10 on its own or $ 20 for 2-day access to all of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.