Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937, and for some, it means a welcome three-day weekend each October.
In Philadelphia, visitors and residents can take advantage of awesome events — including festivals, museum happenings, pre-Halloween fun, sporting events and more — going down throughout the city from Friday, October 5 to Monday, October 8, 2018.
The weekend starts off with First Friday events in neighborhoods across the city and continues with the giant Midtown Village Fall Festival, OutFest, Old City Fest and so much more.
Check out our full list of happenings below to pack your holiday weekend with tons of fun.
Those looking for quintessential autumn fun — pumpkin picking, apple cider, hayrides, corn mazes — should visit one of the many harvest festivals happening in the Philadelphia region. Fall fans can visit Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards, FallFest at Shady Brook Farm and more throughout the weekend.
Where: Various locations including Shady Brook Farm, 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley
Philadelphia’s impressive mural collection gets a full month of festivities as Mural Arts Month returns to the city with free happenings, pay-what-you-wish events, special tours and more. Over Columbus Day weekend, the Mural Arts Month events officially start with an opening party at the Barnes Foundation on Sunday, October 7. Attendees can look forward to music from DJ King Britt, lawn games, Dock Street Brewery beer, art-centric activities, a speaker series, special temporary installations and more.
Where: Various locations including the Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Love Never Dies — the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera — fills the stage at the Academy of Music for a nearly week-long run with a dramatic love story set to a moving score. The show runs through Sunday, October 7, with two shows per day on both Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
October 4 & 6, 2018
Fine fall beers are the focal point at King of Prussia’s popular Beerfest Royale, a two-day event featuring suds from Brooklyn Brewery, Sly Fox Brewing Company, Two Roads Brewing Company and more. In addition to beer, a number of distilleries and wineries serve up sips while King of Prussia restaurants dish out bite-sized food.
Where: King of Prussia Mall, 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia
This Columbus Day weekend, the Museum of the American Revolution partners with the Oneida Indian Nation for a celebration of indigenous people featuring crafts demonstrations, performances by the Oneida Indian Nation dancers, a presentation about the exhibition housed within the Oneida Indian Nation Atrium and a panel discussion.
Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
DesignPhiladelphia celebrates the city’s creative forces with panels, parties, exhibitions and more that focus on industries like fashion, architecture and art. Events over Columbus Day weekend include a design crawl in Old City on Friday, October 5, a tour of homes along Elfreth’s Alley from October 5 to 7, a cultural cocktail crawl on Saturday, October 6 and more.
Where: Various locations including Elfreth's Alley, 124 Elfreth's Alley
October 4-28, 2018 (select dates)
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 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.
Where: Catholic Total Abstinence Fountain, Avenue of the Republic
On the first Friday evening of every month, the streets of many neighborhoods in Philadelphia fill with arts lovers of all kinds who wander among the numerous art galleries, studios, shops, restaurants and attractions. On the Friday of Columbus Day weekend, Old City, Fishtown, Christ Church, World Cafe Live, the Barnes Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative and The Piazza all have First Friday festivities planned.
Where: Various locations including Old City, North 3rd Street and Cherry Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by ✨Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy (@angelik.wiki) on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:01pm PDT
A post shared by ✨Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy (@angelik.wiki) on Apr 2, 2018 at 2:01pm PDT
Roberto Lugo, a North Philadelphia artist, is the subject of an artist reception on Friday, October 5 at Taller Puertorriqueño. BORICUA, BARRIO, BARRO (Puerto Rican, Neighborhood, Clay), the free-to-attend show, features ceramic items that the artist created at Taller.
Where: Taller Puertorriqueno, 2600 N. 5th Street
Munich-inspired festivities fill the 23rd Street Armory for an excellent beer festival presented by Brauhaus Schmitz. The now-annual festival promises authentic Bavarian food, German brews and live oompah music.
Where: 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd Street
September 21 – November 10 (select dates), including October 5-6, 2018
Thrill-seekers celebrate the Halloween season by testing their nerves at Eastern State Penitentiary’s annual haunt, one of the country’s most popular, inside an abandoned prison. From zombies to mad scientists to evil inmates, more than 200 costumed performers terrify visitors across the 11-acre complex thanks to Hollywood-quality special effects and lighting, digital sound, animatronic creatures and custom props.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
October 5-28 (select dates)
Franklin Square’s Philly-themed mini-golf course turns creepy on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights this October during Spooky Mini Golf, where players take a spin around the links in the dark surrounded by lights, fog and cobwebs.
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
Colorful boats filled with enthusiastic rowers take to the Schuylkill River for the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival, a celebration of Chinese dragon boat racing. Spectators can watch the race from Kelly Drive.
Where: Along the Schuylkill River, Kelly Drive between Strawberry Mansion Hill and Fountain Green drives
The Oktoberfest spirit hits Roxborough on Saturday, October 6 for Roxtoberfest, a neighborhood celebration featuring food trucks, beer from Yards Brewing Company, traditional German music, folk dancing and more. Children’s activities include a pie-eating contest, face painting, an obstacle course and a giant inflatable slide. In the beer garden, the 21-and-over crowd can find games like Jenga, Connect Four and beer pong.
Where: Ridge Avenue
The all-day Midtown Village Fall Festival — one of the biggest festivals of the year in Philadelphia — returns on Saturday with food, drinks, live music, games, sidewalk sales and more along a number of the lively neighborhood’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.
Where: 13th and sansom
On Saturday of Columbus Day weekend, the Philadelphia Union welcomes Minnesota United for an exciting soccer game at the gorgeous Talen Energy Stadium in Chester.
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, 1 Stadium Drive, Chester
October 6-7 & 13-14, 2018
For two weekends this October (including Saturday and Sunday of Columbus Day weekend), residents and visitors 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.
Where: 3rd Street Gallery, 45 North 2nd Street
Celebrations of Old City’s art, design, fashion and food scene are the theme at the annual Old City Fest, a multi-block festival in the heart of the neighborhood. Events include fashion shows, live music, circus arts performances, giveaways, shopping and tons of food and drinks to boot.
Where: 100 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA
The world’s largest Coming Out Day features drag shows, games, bar crawls, music and shopping within 10 square blocks. The centerpiece of the festival is at 13th and Locust Streets with a main stage that offers a high-heel race. The fest is just one of a number of events taking place during LGBT History Month in Philly. Also over Columbus DAy weekend: the Philly Trans March 2018 at LOVE Park on Saturday, October 6.
Where: 13th and locust streets, philadelphia
The history of the city’s Germantown neighborhood gets a festival of its own as the Revolutionary Germantown Festival returns with costumed characters, live music, food and drink. The main event is a reenactment of the Battle of Germantown — the only military battle ever fought within the borders of Philadelphia — that goes down on Germantown Avenue and on the grounds of Cliveden. 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, beer from Evil Genius Beer Company and more.
Where: Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Avenue
On the first Sunday of every month, the Barnes Foundation offers free tickets to its impressive collection on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests can stroll the galleries and enjoy an always-changing roster of special events. On October 7, the Barnes Foundation hosts a slew of art and music events centered around music (specifically drumming) to complement the free admission.
Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is pay what you wish on the first Sunday of every month. Guests can explore the expansive museum for a discounted price all day long on Sunday, October 7.
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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A post shared by Pizzeria Stella (@pizzeria_stella) on Sep 5, 2018 at 1:01pm PDT
Pizzeria Stella celebrates its ninth anniversary with an activity-packed street festival. Guests of all ages can enjoy the corn stalk maze, candy apples, pumpkin painting and other kid-friendly fall fun at the Shambles in Headhouse Square. Specials include $9 seasonal cocktails and antipasti, and a $5 beer and sangria garden. The Phillie Phanatic makes a special guest appearance.
Where: Pizzeria Stella, 420 South 2nd Street
Exhibitions covering everything from high fashion to Vikings take the spotlight at Philadelphia’s museums this fall. Check out our full guide to great fall exhibitions in Philly.
Where: Various locations including The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.
Grand openings, seasonal celebrations, arts showcases and more come to Philly this fall