City Smart – July-August 2014

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Philadelphia

The Franklin Institute is going to look a little bit different this summer. And by little, we mean a 53,000-square-foot, $41 million expansion in the form of the three-story Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, which will house the nation’s largest permanent exhibition titled Your Brain—offering more than 70 interactive experiences, including a two-story climbing structure that simulates a neural network, and real specimens contributed by scientists across the country. Also look for traveling exhibits, including “Circus! Science under the Big Top” through October, “101 Inventions That Changed the World” (from penicillin to the Internet) through December, and “National Geographic’s Ocean Soul,” a breathtaking photographic journey, through December. Dive in! fi.edu

New York City

Can’t get your nerdy spouse off the couch when “The Simpsons” are on TV? Suggest a fun intervention—a trip to NYC for the Animation Block Party, which features all genres of the latest national and international animated features from students, independent filmmakers and pros. Founded in 2004 as a single-day minifest, the event now attracts close to 3,000 attendees each summer and runs for four days with films screening at Rooftop Films and BAMcinématek in Brooklyn. This year’s opening night will feature sneak previews of shorts from MTV Other, the network’s short film channel, along with a live musical performance before the screening and a filmmaker Q-and-A to follow. July 24-27. animationblock.com

Washington, D.C.

Even at its Wonder Bread,pasteurized Kraft cheese worst, a grilled cheese is still pretty darn good. But you don’t know the iconic American sandwich’s true potential until you visit GCDC, the District’s first grilled cheese bar. The hip, one-of-a-kind restaurant serves up chic staples like the Kim-Cheese-Steak, a cheddar blend with Korean-style roast beef and kimchi for lunch, then turns swanky in the evening with fun cocktails, craft beer and an array of gourmet cheese plates and spicy meats. Perfect before or after a trip to the White House, just a few blocks away. grilledcheesedc.com

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