Top Summer Festivals in Philadelphia
Get outside and celebrate with festivals, fireworks, concerts and more
All summer long, outdoor festivals abound in Philadelphia. To help you navigate through them all and find the ones you definitely do not want to miss, we’ve compiled our Summer Festivals roundup with all the festivals we could find taking place within the next few months.
Whether you’re looking to dance to the music of some of the finest musicians at the Made in America Festival, explore the great food trucks of Philadelphia at one of the numerous upcoming Night Markets, or celebrate one of Philadelphia’s great neighborhoods at smaller, neighborhood festivals, this list is for you.
Get ready to fill your summer calendar up with happenings right here in the City of Brotherly Love.
Read on for our summer festival picks organized by month, below:
Shakespeare in Clark Park
Dates: July 30-August 3
Clark Park welcomes the crowds for Shakespeare in Clark Park, free theater performances from July 30 to August 3. This year, Henry IV: Your Prince And Mine takes the stage at the West Philly park.
BlackStar Film Festival
Dates: July 31-August 3
Dubbed “the black Sundance” by Ebony, the BlackStar Film Festival gathers filmmakers and cinema lovers for screenings and workshops that illuminate the global black experience. This year’s multi-day festival runs from July 31 through August 3
Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party
Dates: August 2, September 13
For a monthly dose of free music alfresco, look no further than the Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party series. Catch an array of free concerts at to-be-determined locations this summer including Neon Trees on July 12, Bleachers on August 2 and Grouplove on September 13. All all concerts run from 3:45 to 7 p.m. and, yup, all are totally free.
Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival
Date: Saturday, August 2
In association with the PECO Multicultural Series, the Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival teaches and entertains guests at Penn’s Landing on August 10. Check out dragon boat racing down the Delaware River, and for live entertainment, visit the RiverStage which will turn into a mecca for Southeast Asian culture.
Iron Hill Twilight Criterium
Date: Saturday, August 2
Whether on two wheels or two feet, the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium is all about speed. Runners and bikers of all ages and abilities participate in a variety of races all leading up to the marquee event in which nationally ranked pro cyclists compete to qualify for the USA CRITS invitational. No bike, no problem. Just enjoy the accompanying street fair.
ACANA African Festival
Date: Sunday, August 3
The 7th annual African Festival visits Penn’s Landing on Sunday, August 3 and brings with it an outdoor concert featuring a variety of African music, African food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and more.
2nd Street Festival
Date: Sunday, August 3
A block party sponsored by the businesses of Northern Liberties, the 2nd Street Festival showcases live music programmed by the Philadelphia Folksong Society, workshops, art, shopping and the very best local eats and drinks. The festival also promises beer gardens (yes, plural!).
Pennsylvania Dutch Festival at Reading Terminal Market
Date: August 7-9
Be transported to Amish country at the annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival at Reading Terminal Market. Indulge in traditional food, and browse handmade crafts at the festival which runs from August 7 through 9. On Saturday, August 9, head outside to Arch Street for Amish buggy rides, horse drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo and live music.
Bassmaster Elite Tournament
Dates: August 7-10
A series of nine tournaments throughout 2014, the Bassmaster Elite Series Professional Tournament welcomes the world’s top anglers to Philadelphia this summer to cast their lines during four days of competition. Held on the Delaware River, the four-day, catch-and-release match is Philadelphia’s first-ever major pro fishing tournament. The Delaware River venue, the seventh stop in the Bassmaster Elite Series, promises fishing fans plenty of activities, vendors and prime views of the action.
Mad Decent Block Party
Friday, August 8
One of the summer’s biggest block parties returns to Philadelphia on Friday, August 8. The Mad Decent Block Party takes over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, and features hit-makers like Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, Riff Raff and more. Tickets, $47, are available online
Dates: August 9-10
On August 9 and 10, creepy crawlies of all shapes, sizes, colors and attitudes invade The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for Bug Fest. Insect lovers can touch a furry tarantula or cheer for their favorite cockroaches during the roach race. Scientists are on hand to convince even the most disbelieving visitor that insects are important creatures, too.
Night Market Lancaster Avenue
Date: Thursday, August 14
Food trucks flock to the Night Market festivals, recurring events in different parts of the city. Attracting thousands of visitors from around the region, the preeminent celebration of street food features dozens of the city’s best food trucks and restaurants along with live entertainment from local musicians, artists and more.
Philadelphia Folk Festival
Dates: August 15-17
The hills of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania come alive every summer with the sound of folk music during the long-running Philadelphia Folk Festival at Old Poole Farm near Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. From August 15 through 17, music is everywhere — from headline performances, to late-night singalongs, to bonfires in the festival campgrounds, this festival is a music-lover’s heaven.
Fireworks and Fountains at Longwood Gardens
Dates: August 16, 30, September 13
On numerous days throughout the summer, Longwood Gardens hosts its annual summer Fireworks and Fountains extravaganza. Each fireworks show is paired with festive tunes from the likes of Tchaikovsky, The Beatles and Broadway. The series begins with a patriotic-themed show in celebration of the 4th of July. Tickets to each show also include all day access to Longwood Gardens.
Festival of India
Date: Saturday, August 16
Returning for its annual event, the Festival of India entertains the masses with free entertainment, cultural events and more on Saturday, August 17. Browse art and nosh on the delectable treats of Indian cuisine.
Dates: August 16
The Franklin Flea takes it outside this summer when it sets up shop at the schoolyard of the General Gorge A. McCall Elementary and Middle School on 7th Street between Spruce and Pine streets on Saturday, August 16. Look forward to an ever-changing lineup of super high-quality vendors, food trucks and live music.
Philadelphia Caribbean Festival
Date: Sunday, August 17
On August 17, celebrate the Caribbean Islands at the Philadelphia Caribbean Festival at Penn’s Landing. Live music from the islands will flow throughout the fest for your listening pleasure, and eats from each country will abound as well. The food lineup is tempting ; jerk chicken, curried goat and Caribbean slaw fill the menu.
Made in America
Dates: August 30-31
The Budweiser Made In America Festival is a massive musical celebration that takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Labor Day weekend. With dozens of top performers and multiple stages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the two-day music festival is one of the year’s can’t-miss events. New this year, the Made in America Festival is going bi-coastal with simultaneous festivals in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. This year’s lineup in Philadelphia is pretty darn incredible, and includes the likes of Kanye West, Kings of Leon and The National.
The Awesome Fest Film Series at The Oval
Dates: Fridays, July 18-August 15
The Oval, the pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, gets in on the Awesome Fest action with movie screenings on Fridays from July 18 to August 15. The Oval hosts the centerpiece event on Friday, July 18, a screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a performance by Macaulay Culkin’s band, Pizza Underground and a giant pizza party. In addition to the centerpiece event, stop by for free screenings of School of Rock and Wayne’s World. This summer, The Awesome Fest’s programming is presented under the subject of “The Soundtrack of Awesome,” a rock and roll theme.
The Awesome Fest Film Series at Clark Park
Dates: Thursdays, June 26-August 14; Except July 31
The Awesome Fest begins its outdoor movie series on Thursday, June 26 with a screening of Riot on the Dance Floor, a documentary about the now shuttered punk music venue, City Gardens, at Clark Park. Beyond the opening night screening, look forward to screenings of The Wizard of Oz, Jingle Bell Rocks and more. Clark Park continues to host outdoor movies on Thursday evenings through Thursday, August 14 — with the exception of July 31. This summer, The Awesome Fest’s programming is presented under the subject of “The Soundtrack of Awesome,” a rock and roll theme.
The Awesome Fest Film Series at Liberty Lands Park
Dates: Saturdays, June 28-August 16; Except July 19
Liberty Lands Park in Northern Liberties welcomes Awesome Fest festival-goers for free movie screenings on Saturday from June 28 through August 16 — with the exception of July 19. The series kicks off with a screening of Positive Force: More Than a Witness on June 28. Also look forward to screenings of Dazed and Confused and Pulp. This summer, The Awesome Fest’s programming is presented under the subject of “The Soundtrack of Awesome,” a rock and roll theme.
40th Street Summer Series
Dates: August 30, September 27
Live music fills the alfresco space at 40th and Walnut Streets for the annual 40th Street Summer Series. Once a month every month this summer, talented musicians and performers perform an array of acts for attendees at the series of free outdoor concerts. The series kicks off on Saturday, June 28 with performances by Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and Music Over Matter. The full rundown of concerts is available here.
Philadelphia Honey Festival
Dates: September 5-7
The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild presents the Philadelphia Honey Festival for all lovers of things sweet and local (aka everyone!). From September 5 through 7, the Wagner Free Institute of Science, Wyck Historic House and Garden and Bartram’s Garden open their doors to the honey connoisseurs of Philadelphia.
Phoenixville Blues Festival
Date: Saturday, September 6
Arrive early to snag a seat or bring your own lawn chair to the Phoenixville Blues Festival, a day-long celebration of some of the region’s most popular bands and food by local restaurants and food trucks. Located in Reeves Park, look forward to a day of grooving.
Kennett Square Mushroom Festival
Dates: September 6-7
The mushroom is elevated to rock-star status during the annual Mushroom Festival. The Mushroom Capital of the World puts the fun in fungi with a weekend of culinary events, amusement rides, mushroom farm tours, a street fair, entertainment, an antique car show and more.
Doo Wop in the Park
Date: Saturday, September 6
In Lions Waterfront Park in Bristol, the era of bobby socks and poodle skirts is alive, well and jitterbugging at Doo Wop In The Park. Thousands turn out for the daylong 50s flashback with top-name groups performing the tight harmonies that topped the charts.
Date: Sunday, September 7
Honor Mother Nature at Greenfest Philly located in Headhouse Square, between Pine and South Streets on 2nd. On September 8, visit booths to learn how to preserve the earth, while enjoying bites from some of Philly’s favorite food trucks — Sum Pig Food Truck and Little Baby’s Ice Cream to name a few.
Doylestown Arts Festival
The free two-day Doylestown Arts Festival takes place in the heart of beautiful Doylestown Borough in Bucks County. This annual festival has grown to include more than 150 exhibitors and a food court. Diverse entertainment is presented at numerous locations throughout the downtown area. The festival is set for September 13 and 14.
Street Fare in Mt. Airy
Date: Thursday, September 18
Foodies come out in big numbers for the annual Street Fare: Sip, Savor Stroll, featuring some of the city’s best restaurants and gourmet food trucks, artisans and entertainers—all turning Germantown Avenue into a giant party. The foodie fest runs form 6 to 10:30 p.m.
Dates: Through Sunday, June 29.
Solo performances of all sort are embraced at the annual SoLow Festival, a citywide event that calls on performers to create one-of-a-kind performances at theaters and unexpected spaces across the city. Venues include Garage, private homes and Studio X. The full list of acts is available right here.
Liberty Block Party
Date: Saturday, June 28
The Shops at Liberty Place and the surrounding streets kick off Wawa Welcome America with a street-closing block party on June 28. Expect plenty of live entertainment, shopping and food samples from some of the city’s favorite restaurants and food trucks. The festivities run throughout the Shops at Liberty Place and on the surrounding streets, too. Stop by from noon to 10 p.m. to start the July 4 party.
POPS! On Independence
Date: Thursday, July 3
POPS! On Independence, one of Wawa Welcome America’s most popular events, returns with maestro Larry Blank conducting the orchestra in an evening of patriotic and other tunes. Concertgoers pack a picnic basket, bring a blanket or lawn chair and settle in for a delightful evening of free family entertainment in the shadows of Independence Hall.
Philly 4th of July Jam
Date: Friday, July 4
The blowout Wawa Welcome America celebration and Philly 4th of July Jam, one of the biggest annual events in Philadelphia, returns to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day this summer. Annually, the Philly 4th of July Jam concert draws tens of thousands to rock out on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Philadelphia’s own hometown heroes The Roots are back again to curate a killer lineup and, for the second year, VH1 has partnered up with Wawa Welcome America to provide a high-definition nationwide broadcast of the Philly 4th of July Jam. The 2014 music lineup features great names like Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Aloe Blacc and, of course, The Roots.
Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival
Dates: July 4-6
On a hot summer day, nothing beats the Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival. Participants make a donation, which supports childhood leukemia research, grab a spoon and enjoy an unlimited amount of the frosty, yummy, worth-every-calorie treat.
Independence Day at Fonthill Castle
Date: Friday, July 4
It doesn’t get any more hometown than Fonthill Castle’s hometown Fourth of July celebration. On the grounds of Henry Mercer’s landmark castle in Doylestown, families enjoy old-fashioned Independence Day festivities such as watermelon-eating contests, sack races, bucket-brigade relays and live bands playing rousing patriotic music.
Dates: July 11-13
Phoenixville, the town where segments of the campy 1950s horror-sci fi flick The Blob were filmed, invites humans and aliens to join in the wacky Blobfest, a three-day horror extravaganza complete with screenings, themed competitions, a street fair and the recreation of a pivotal scene where hundreds of scared townspeople flee the Colonial Theatre.
Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary
Date: Saturday, July 12
Wigs are welcome at the Bastille Day celebration at Eastern State Penitentiary, where a reenactment of the French Revolution includes a Marie Antoinette re-enactor yelling “Let them eat Tastykakes,” followed by more festivities and French dinner specials at local restaurants.
Bastille Day in Media
Date: Saturday, July 12
The Eiffel Tower in the middle of State Street is the first inkling that the Bastille Day celebration in Media holds plenty of fun and surprises. Professional theater presentations, live music, dancing, art exhibits, plein-air painting activities and the storming of the Bastille make for a day of revelry.
Hispanic Fiesta at Penn’s Landing
Dates: July 12-13
On July 12 and 13, the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, Inc. hosts its annual Hispanic Fiesta, a weekend-long celebration filled with music and dancing at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Enjoy fine food, traditional crafts, and salsa, merengue, bachata, samba, cumbia, mariachi and flamenco dancing.
Bluegrass and Blueberries Festival at Peddler’s Village
All day long on July 12 and 13, Peddler’s Village welcomes folks for its annual Bluegrass and Blueberries Festival. Enjoy a solid lineup of live music on both days, paired with local blueberries and a slew of blueberry baked goods.
Dog Days of Summer in Chestnut Hill
Date: Sunday, July 13
Fido will woof with delight at the Dog Days of Summer, a day of canine-centric events and activities, including a pet parade, pet photos and more all along Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.
University City Dining Days
Dates: July 17-27
This summer, University City District makes sampling the wide array of flavors in the neighborhood a cinch with the return of University City Dining Days, now celebrating its 10th anniversary. Beginning on Thursday, July 17 and running through Sunday, July 27, more than two dozen University City restaurants open their doors to serve discounted dinners for the annual University City event. At each participating restaurant, three-course feasts are dished for $15, $25 or $35 depending on the restaurant.
Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival
Date: Saturday, July 19
All day on Saturday, July 19, the Powelton Village neighborhood welcomes acclaimed jazz artists for the annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival at Saunders Park. From 1 to 6 p.m. groove to live jazz, browse art and take part in other festivities.
The Dog Days of Summer on South Street
Date: Saturday, July 19
Under the historic Headhouse Shambles, 20 local restaurants will whip up their most impressive hot dog with inventive toppings in hopes of taking home a cash prize at the Dog Days of Summer event. Members of the public are invited to compete, too. Check here for more information about showing off your own hot dog cooking skills. Food and drink tickets vary in price, but start at $5.
Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival
Date: Saturday, July 19
Enjoy more than 40 types of local craft beer and tons of tasty food samplings from a number of on-site food trucks at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival. In addition to food and drinks, visit the many animals of the zoo at the annual event and groove to live music.
Puerto Rican Day Festival in Bristol
Date: Saturday, July 26
The town of Bristol in Bucks County salutes its Puerto Rican heritage with traditional music, costumes, dances and cuisines that celebrate the culture at the annual Puerto Rican Day Festival. The festivities take place at Lions Waterfront Park.
XPoNential Music Festival
Dates: July 25-27
Experience three amazing days of great music and family fun during the annual XPoNential Music Festival on the Camden Riverfront. The fest is held at two locations – the Susquehanna Bank Center and Wiggins Park, a venue selected by WXPN for its spectacular waterfront views, lush open green spaces and array of local attractions. The main attraction must be the tunes, though, and in 2014, the headliners include Beck, Ryan Adams, Band of Horses, Jenny Lewis, Dawes and The Districts.
East Passyunk Car Show and Street Festival
Date: Sunday, July 27
Muscle car enthusiasts show off their Turtle Waxed best at the East Passyunk Car Show and Street Festival, where vehicles in multiple categories are on display for the judging. Street eats and live entertainers round out the offerings.