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Grand openings, seasonal celebrations, arts showcases and more come to Philly this fall
The fall season brings crisp air, changing leaves and a ton of awesome festivals and events to Philadelphia.
Neighborhoods across the city celebrate the arrival of sweater weather with community-centric fall festivals (Midtown Village Fall Festival, Old City Fest, Fishtown RiverCity Festival), where residents and visitors alike can enjoy seasonal food and drink, family-fun activities, live music and more.
Fall also means it’s Oktoberfest season in Philly. The 23rd Street Armory Oktoberfest in Center City, Roxtoberfest in Roxborough and Bloktoberfest on South Street are just a few of the many German-inspired block parties and Oktoberfest events worth checking out around the city.
A few big attractions are set to open this season, too, including the year-round, multifaceted space Cherry Street Pier; hotly anticipated bed-and-breakfast Akwaaba Philadelphia; restored concert and events venue The Met Philadelphia; and artisan market The Philadelphia Bourse.
Check out our top picks for fall events and festivals below.
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Roving beer garden series Parks on Tap brings cold drinks and tasty food to public spaces across the city through September 30. Throughout the final month, the pop-up visits Clark Park, Pleasant Hill Park, the Fairmount Water Works, Pretzel Park and the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.
A hammock-filled haven on the Delaware River waterfront
Spruce Street Harbor Park, a favorite seasonal attraction on the Delaware River waterfront, remains a city hotspot through September 30. The park is home to events like music nights and shopping markets, in addition to cold craft beer, boardwalk-inspired food, games and plenty of space to lounge in the sun.
All Season Long
Prost! With fall comes Oktoberfest season in Philadelphia. The beer-fueled festivities turn up in all corners of the city (and into the countryside, too). Annual favorites include 23rd Street Armory Oktoberfest in West Center City, Roxtoberfest in Roxborough and Bloktoberfest on South Street.
August 29 – October 10, 2018 (Wednesdays Only)
Mt. Airy’s alfresco dining series Supper Sessions on the Avenue returns this fall to highlight the neighborhood’s thriving dining scene. Every other Wednesday, 10 restaurants serve up delicious eats alfresco for guests to enjoy along with live music, kids’ activities and more programming along the 7100 block of Germantown Avenue.
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The sixth of Monique Greenwood’s bed and breakfasts furthers the hotelier’s focus on African-American history and guests. Akwaaba Philadelphia — “akwaaba” means “welcome” in the language of Ghana, West Africa — welcomes guests to six suites within an 1879 Victorian mansion in West Philadelphia’s tree-lined Powelton Village neighborhood, in University City this fall. Each glamorously appointed suite will have a Philly musician or musical legacy as its theme.
Immediately following Labor Day, golfing giants Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman, Justin Rose and 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed are among the 70 top PGA TOUR players expected to tee off for the penultimate event of the FedExCup Playoffs at the Donald Ross-designed Aronimink Golf Club.UltraDry Brown TobaccoSlate Dried Chili Trek Magnet Vasque Pepper Talus gHxZqnE
City-wide celebration of though-provoking progressive performing arts
Every year, the Fringe Festival (presented by FringeArts) brings the best of contemporary performances and forward-thinking arts events to venues across the city. This year, the festival runs from September 6 through 23 with dozens of exciting shows.
All things mushroom celebrated in “The Mushroom Capital of the World”
Fun fact: The “mushroom capital of the world” is just a short jaunt outside of Philadelphia. Visit Kennett Square’s excellent annual Mushroom Festival in September for two full days of mushroom-themed food, music, exhibits and activities for the whole family.
More than 100 tons of pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and hues are just one part of this annual months-long celebration of all things fall. Harvest hayrides, a corn maze, apple picking, live music, a jack-o’-lantern exhibit and fall treats — like apple cider donuts and caramel apples — round out the fun to be had at this attraction.
Brazilian traditions are the theme of the day at the PECO Multicultural Series’ Brazilian Day Festival, which celebrates Brazil’s independence. Traditional Brazilian food, music and merchandise fill the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing for a full day of fun.
The Pennsylvania Convention Center hosts the first-ever Keystone Comic Con, a new convention for fans of comics, cosplay and all things pop culture. Meet cast members from shows like “The Office” and “True Blood” along with comic book creators, cosplay models and more entertainers. Interactive games, contests, musical performances and more take place on the Keystone Live! Stage each day of the convention.
The PECO Multicultural Series wraps for the season with the giant Mexican Independence Day celebration at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Throughout the day, local vendors and performers come together to celebrate Mexico’s independence through food, music and crafts.
More than 100 restaurants offering three-course meals for $20 to $35...
Center City District Restaurant Week returns for 12 days this fall with more than 110 restaurants offering signature three-course dinners for $35 per person, and some offering three-course lunches for $20 per guest. New additions to the crop of eateries this season include Chez Ben Bistro, Porta, The Palm Restaurant and Casta Diva.
An opera festival to kick off Opera Philadelphia's new season
Opera Philadelphia refers to its groundbreaking second 11-day festival as a “civic experiment” made up of operas and performances all over the city, including Ne Quittez Pas at South Street concert space the Theatre of Living Arts and Lucia di Lammermoor at historic opera house the Academy of Music.
September 21 – November 10 (select dates)
Things at Eastern State Penitentiary get pretty scary in September, as Terror Behind the Walls — one of the country’s most popular Halloween attractions — returns for the season. At nightfall, guests can walk through six haunted attractions with different themes — including the new-for-2018 Infirmary, a nightmarish hospital — all set within the halls of the abandoned prison. Beware of the creepy zombies, deranged nurses and spooky ghouls around every corner.
Philly’s most fashionable don their finest attire for Philly Fashion Week, which returns from September 24 to 30. The event brings pop-up runways, shopping events and special fashion showcases to venues across the city.
This year marks the 56th anniversary of this music- and pomp-filled Puerto Rican procession of 1,500 marchers. The parade draws thousands to show island pride on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Leslie Odom Jr., who is best-known for his role in Hamilton on Broadway, helps kick off the POPS’ 40th anniversary season, which features performances with guest artists Heather Headley (October 12), Storm Large (November 9-11) and more. From September 28 to 30, Odom will join the POPS and perform a slew of classic American songs in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.
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October is LGBT History Month and throughout the month, attractions and groups across the city celebrate the occasion with festivals (Outfest!) and other special events.
There is plenty of fun to be had throughout October as Halloween festivities begin popping up in the city and across the countryside, too. Check out Halloween-night parties, pumpkin picking, creepy movie screenings, haunted houses and so much more all throughout the City of Brotherly Love.
October 2018 (Date TBA)
The Historic District’s circa 1895 commodities exchange transforms into an artisan market in the style of Chelsea Market. The new incarnation of the burnished, Victorian-era member of the National Register of Historic Places promises an experience befitting Philadelphia’s current and centuries-old reputation as a city of makers. Among the 29 tenants in the mix: Mighty Melt (grilled cheese), Scoop de Ville (ice cream), Bonatsos Flower Shop, Bluebird Distilling, Prescription Chicken (soup), Chaat and Chai (Indian) and Chocodiem (chocolate).
Three exciting Broadway productions come to the Academy of Music this fall. Love Never Dies — Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fantastic sequel to The Phantom of the Opera — takes the stage in early October, followed by celebrated classic Fiddler on the Roof in late October and Roald Dahl’s vibrant Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in early November.
Philadelphia’s annual city-wide celebration of design and innovation
Annually, more than 100 creative events make up DesignPhiladelphia, a citywide celebration of creatives from industries like fashion, architecture and art. Events include a giant kickoff party at Bok, special exhibitions, panels and showcases.
Philadelphia’s favorite street food festival coming to a neighborhood near you
Night Market, The Food Trust’s giant food festival, returns for its final event of the season on Thursday, October 4 with a food-filled event in the city’s Point Breeze neighborhood. This evening festival will center around 20th and Federal streets and spread for blocks with dozens of food vendors, craft beer peddlers, live music, free activities and more.
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After a successful first event last year, The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience returns to West Fairmount Park with more than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins that illuminate a trail throughout the public space. Visitors will find everything from iconic Philly attractions to Disney princesses carved on the pumpkins. Also keep an eye out for huge displays completely made up of illuminated pumpkins.
Food, drinks and outdoor fun on 13th Street
The all-day Midtown Village Fall Festival returns to the lively neighborhood with food, drinks, live music, games, sidewalk sales and more along a number of Midtown Village’s busiest thoroughfares, which close to vehicular traffic during the festivities. Beyond the outdoor fun on 13th Street, Brü Craft and Wurst hosts a festival of its own with tons of beer, games and music to complement the excitement.
A special day to discover America’s history along Germantown Avenue
The annual Revolutionary Germantown Festival returns with costumed characters, live music, food and drink — and the main event, a reenactment of the Battle of Germantown, the only military battle ever fought within the borders of Philadelphia. Guests can head down Germantown Avenue after the “battle” for Battle Bash, the official after-party at the historic Grumblethorpe house featuring reenactors from the battle, food, beer, live music and more.
October 6, 7, 13 & 14
For two weekends this October, Philadelphia dwellers can get a sneak peek inside the studios of some of the city’s most talented artists during Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. More than 300 artists who specialize in everything from photography to glassblowing participate every year.
A free street festival in Philadelphia’s historic district
Every fall, Old City Fest celebrates Old City’s maker population with crafts, exhibitions and demonstrations along the closed-to-traffic thoroughfares. In addition to arts events, the restaurants, bars and shops of Old City take it outside for alfresco eats, drinks and shopping.
The world’s largest Coming Out Day features 10 blocks of drag shows, games, bar crawls, music and shopping. The centerpiece of the festival is at 13th and Locust Streets with a main stage that offers a high-heel race.
Chinatown’s popular annual nighttime food truck fest returns in the fall with plenty of food and live entertainment. Last year’s festival included delicious eats from Chewy’s, Dos Hermanos Tacos and more. Stay tuned for details about this year’s fest.
The revitalization of once-vacant public spaces continues in Philadelphia this fall with the opening of Cherry Street Pier on October 12. The $5 million makeover transforms the 55,0000-square-foot Municipal Pier 9 into an accessible, egalitarian, year-round, mixed-use space for artist studios, shopping, performances, dining, drinking, working and relaxing in an innovatively designed public space, including an open-air park at the pier’s end.
October 13-28 (Weekends Only)
This fall, brand-new waterfront attraction Cherry Street Pier and the neighboring Race Street Pier host a new dynamic arts festival produced by Philadelphia Contemporary called Festival for the People. Visitors can explore a range of creative works and attend events and programs that focus on subcultural themes and art forms for three weekends in October.
Annual riverside celebration of the Fishtown neighborhood
The Fishtown RiverCity Festival kicks off with a 5K fun run that starts and ends at the waterfront park. After the run, the real fun starts when local bands take the stage, food trucks roll up, craft beer starts flowing and local vendors begin showing off their wares.
An epic celebration of food, music and beer in Graduate Hospital every fall
A multi-block Oktoberfest celebration brings craft beer and fall-inspired fare to South Street West for Bloktoberfest, an annual celebration of local food, drinks and music. The festival runs from Broad to 18th streets on South Street.
Critically acclaimed and thought-provoking films make up the annual Philadelphia Film Festival, which is known for showcasing award-winning documentaries, shorts and feature films, while also welcoming an impressive roster of film industry powerhouses for panels and special presentations.
The fall-blooming chrysanthemum is the focal point of Longwood Gardens’ Chrysanthemum Festival, which returns with more than 17,000 colorful chrysanthemums formed together to create orbs, columns and more. Also returning this year? The festival centerpiece, the Thousand Bloom Mum, a plant made up of more than 1,500 meticulously arranged yellow flowers.
The year-plus-long Parkway 100 Celebration ends with a grand finale event on Friday, October 26 — the exact 100-year anniversary of the debut of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Details of the Parkway Soirée are to be announced, but plenty of celebrations are expected to be had along the museum-lined Parkway.
An exciting, two-day race that draws fans from around the world
College rowers, high school crews, elite athletes and world champions take to the water for the two-day Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. The sporting event regularly welcomes more than 25,000 spectators who line Kelly Drive to cheer on rowers during the 2.5-mile race, which makes for a festive environment all along the Schuylkill River.
Activities like pumpkin decorating, costume contests for kids and dogs, and trick-or-treating at local businesses make this neighborhood fall fest fun for the whole family. Guests can also find live music, arts and craft vendors, and fall food and drink as they stroll the festival footprint along East Passyunk Avenue.
Headhouse Square’s fall festival is a day of shopping, live music, seasonal bites and brews, a straw bale maze, circus performances, horse and wagon hayrides, and face painting. Children 12 and under can also trick-or-treat along South Street.
Museum-quality handmade jewelry, textiles, and mixed media are on display and for sale during this annual event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The James Beard Foundation brings award-winning chefs to 10 cities across the nation to cook dinners and take part in cooking demonstrations for its Taste America series. Philadelphia’s event takes place this fall at The Rittenhouse and features a wide variety of fare from renowned local chefs, including a dinner menu created by three culinary masterminds: “visiting all-star” chef — and most recent recipient of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic — Jeremiah Langhorne of the Dabney in Washington, D.C.; “local all-star” chef Nicholas Elmi of Laurel, ITV and Royal Boucherie; and “host chef” Jonathan Cichon of Lacroix and The Rittenhouse hotel.
The Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival features films from around the world that celebrate Jewish identity, culture, history and community. Stay tuned for more on this year’s festival schedule.
The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival aims to educate and expose the Philadelphia region to films by and about Asian-Americans via screenings and events. The festival delves into Asian-American film through screenings of documentaries and feature films, panels, discussions, parties and much more at multiple locations within the city.
One of the most historic races in the country
With a fast course that winds through the city’s historic attractions, past the stunning Philadelphia Museum of Art and along scenic Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Marathon is one of the country’s premier — and most scenic — running events. The weekend also includes the Rothman Institute 8K race, a half-marathon, a Kids Fun Run and the two-day Health and Fitness Expo.
The nation’s first Thanksgiving Day Parade keeps the tradition going every year. The parade, produced by 6ABC and sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, wows the crowds with fancy floats, giant balloons, talented marching bands and other festive entertainment along JFK Boulevard and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
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November 2018 (Date TBA)
This Penn’s Landing attraction opens its outdoor rink for ice skating and becomes the centerpiece of Winterfest, consisting of a lodge, arcade, confectionery cabin and more.
November 2018 (Dates TBA)
The Rothman Ice Skating Rink, the Rothman Cabin and America’s Garden Capital Maze make up the attractions within the Dilworth Park Wintergarden, one of Philadelphia’s most popular holiday attractions. Visitors can skate around the rink, warm up with a hot beverage in the heated cabin, and stroll around the twinkling lights and seasonal plants in the garden maze from November through February.
December 2018 (Date TBA)
The North Broad Street venue that first opened its doors in 1908 after being designed by William H. McElfatrick and built by opera impresario Oscar Hammerstein I, the Metropolitan Opera House is being restored to offer major live performances once again — this time, courtesy of Philadelphia-based Live Nation. The $56 million project includes full-service dining, a variety of VIP experiences and space to host large corporate events.
Are you ready for another matchup between two of the most fierce rivals in all of sports? The Army-Navy Game returns to Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. Cadets, midshipmen, current service members, veterans and fans gather to cheer on the United States Military Academy as they take on the United States Naval Academy on the football field.