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Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences


Meredith Klein, director of the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, and Pablo Garcia Gomez, an Argentine native, dance at Love Park during a performance to welcome Pope Francis

Meredith Klein, director of the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, and Pablo Garcia Gomez, an Argentine native, dance at Love Park during a performance to welcome Pope Francis

There are thousands of things to do and learn in the Philadelphia region, and every one of them could be a great gift. This year, create some memories: Laugh in the kitchen with a face full of flour, make a gift that you can’t wait to give away, or explore a place you’ve always wanted to go with your family and friends at your side. 

Take the kids to a children’s show at the Arden or do downward dog at Heavy Metal Yoga; try out ice skating or cheese making (just not at the same time!). These classes and passes are some of Grid’s favorites, and while they cover a wide spectrum of interests, they are all guaranteed to make great memories.


Beginner’s Tango
For the dance floor destroyer in your life, give the gift of new moves with beginner tango classes from the dance school whose motto is “Tango for All.” At these casual Thursday evening drop-ins, dancers will learn the fundamentals, including improvisation with basic steps, leading and following, and more. $10 per class, eight classes suggested at Philadelphia Argentine Tango School • Kensington • Thursdays, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., no partner required

Mozzarella Pulling
Book a class for the couple who always has the best cheese plates at their parties. Chef Rebecca Foxman will guide them through making fresh mozzarella. They’ll also get a history lesson and—of course—a cheese tasting. $75 per person for fewer than 10 people at Valley Shepherd Creamery, Reading Terminal Market • Market East • Individually scheduled dates and times after January 2016

Two Books in Two Hours
Lapsed zinesters will renew their DIY publishing spirit with a two-hour session at this cozy maker-education space. Participants will learn to make pamphlet-style books, including versatile, elegant and staple-free long-stitch binding. $50 at Craft Foundry • Fishtown • Dates throughout early 2016

Intro to Forging and Welding
How better to banish the winter blues than by joining pieces of metal with force or heat? Both of these classes, taught by experienced artisans, require no former experience in metal work. $120 for Forging I (one 2.5-hour class), $250 for Welding I (three two-hour classes) at Philadelphia Sculpture Gym • Fishtown • Multiple dates throughout early 2016 

Making Victorian Valentine Watercolors
Would a true romantic rely on a store-bought card to profess their love?
Heavens no. This workshop, appropriately held in a stately old mansion, will teach watercolor techniques and Victorian aesthetic principles (naked cherubs optional). $30, materials included at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion • West Germantown • Jan. 31, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Basic Beading
With so many gorgeous materials out there, both new and vintage, why doesn’t everyone make his or her own jewelry? Because the process can be mystifying. This 90-minute class will cover basic tools, techniques and design. $40, includes materials at Beadworks • Queen Village • Saturdays from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

Heavy Metal Yoga
“Heavy Metal Mondays” might sound like a DJ night at your neighborhood hipster bar, but at Palo Santo Wellness, it’s a yoga class. Yup, heavy metal and yoga, together at last. $110 for a 10-class pass at Palo Santo Wellness Boutique • East Passyunk • Mondays, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Studio Pottery for Kids
Creativity and motor skills come together in the pottery studio, the perfect place to let a child’s imagination run wild. During these classes, designed for ages six to 13, students will get their hands dirty in the best way. $175, includes instruction, materials and all firing at Neighborhood Potters • Fairmount • Saturdays, Jan. 23 to March 7, 1:30 to 3 p.m.      

Making Music with Babies and Toddlers
Forget the itsy bitsy spider. These weekly music classes acquaint little jammers and their caretakers to folk songs from around the globe. Drums and shakers delight the kiddos, and geographical and historical info keeps the grown-ups engaged, too. $175 for 11 weeks of 45-minute classes at All Around This World • Various days, times and locations

Wine 101
A great place to start for the aspiring wine enthusiast. This 20-year-old institution fuses fun and facts into its programming for a decidedly non-snobby foray into the study of vinology.  $39.99 at the Wine School of Philadelphia • Logan Square • Jan. 16, 2016, 5 to 7 p.m. 


The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia
Tucked away in a historic townhouse on Delancey Place is a bibliophile’s dream: a small but comprehensive library and museum devoted to all things literary. Members enjoy reading groups, special events and exhibition previews. Membership, $55 • Rittenhouse

Co-Working at the Hive
Calling all Lady Bosses! Most self-employed, freelance types agree: Working from home can be a real drag. Enter the co-working space, surely one of the smartest workplace trends going. The best of the best congregate at the Hive, a women-only space in Old City. $100–$300 per month • Old City

Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust
Perfect for casual hikers, Pennypack comprises 11 miles of trails, ponds, meadows and woodlands, all verdant and gorgeous enough to make even the most stalwart urbanist rethink some life choices. Luckily, it’s just a quick jaunt from the city. Family membership, $50 • Huntingdon Valley

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Insects, dinosaurs, reptiles and all the other awesome/gross things that little naturalists love exist under one roof at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Membership includes a laundry list of perks, like discounted parking and special access to collections. Family membership, $99 • Logan Square

Theater Tickets for Kids
Think the smartphone-savvy youth of today can’t sit still for an hour? Think again. The reimagined fairy tales in The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales will keep young audiences totally entranced. $18–$36 per ticket at Arden Theatre • Dates April through June 2016 • Center City

Indoor Playground
For a caretaker stuck inside all winter, could there be a more heartening phrase than “indoor playground”? Tots can burn off a week’s worth of energy (there is a ball pit!), while adults relax and sip coffee. 10-visit pass, $65 at Lulu’s Casita Ardmore • Passes never expire

Camden Children’s Garden
Treat a family to a springtime frolic. At Camden Children’s Garden, they will marvel at thousands of butterflies, romp through Storybook Gardens, climb up the Tree House and much more. Bonus points if you throw in a few $2 Garden Carousel and Arrow River Train tickets for the tykes. $6 per person, children two and unde
r are free • Open Wednesdays through Sundays • Camden

University of Pennsylvania Class of 1923 Ice Rink
Indulge an ice queen or king’s figure skating fantasies with a 10-pack of passes to this conveniently located, well-appointed ice rink. Tag along sometime to let them show off their jumps and twirls. 10-Pass Discount Book, $45 • University City

Rock Climbing Gym
Whether climbing by hand (bouldering) or using a rope, any rock climber would be stoked to receive a pass to the largest rock climbing gym of its kind of the East Coast. Five multi-pass adult coupons, $86 at GoVertical • Northern Liberties

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