Philly gets a spring awakening each year as extended daylight hours and warmer weather sets off numerous outdoor openings, alfresco events and daytime festivals.
From music (Roots Picnic) to sports (Phillies’ home opener) to food (Flavors on the Avenue) and drinks (Philly Beer Week) and a ton of tried-and-true Philly traditions (9th Street Italian Market Festival), events of all kinds fill the season with nonstop action.
Outdoor escapes like Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest also come alive, bringing more opportunities than ever to get outside and explore.
Check out our top picks for spring events and festivals below.
March marks Women’s History Month, a time when attractions and venues across the city welcome guests for special events, tours and presentations oriented around the month-long celebration. Programming includes special activities at the National Constitution Center, an afternoon of activities at Laurel Hill Cemetery and more.
Where: Various locations including the National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
The Israeli Film Festival, Philadelphia’s annual showcase of the best in Israeli film, is back with a powerful lineup of documentaries, dramas and more. Click the button below to stay up to date on screening times and details.
Where: Various locations including Lightbox Film Center, 3701 Chestnut Street
The annual qFlix Philadelphia festival celebrates all genres of film that pertain to or were created by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. For the 2018 fest, attendees can look forward to more than 35 full-length films and collections of shorts at venues clustered along and near the Avenue of the Arts: Kimmel Center, Plays and Players Theatre (which is serving as festival headquarters) and University of the Arts.
Where: Various locations including the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
The ever-expanding Philly Wine Week now features more than 100 events in more than 65 restaurants and bars across the city. From tastings to dinner parties to educational sessions, vino-filled opportunities of all sorts await.
Where: Various locations including Amada, 217 Chestnut Street
This premier event for beer-loving locavores brings the Mid-Atlantic regions’ top chefs, farmers, food artisans, brewers, distillers and winemakers to the Kimmel Center for an outstanding local food and beverage pairing festival. Participating local establishments include High Street on Market, Prohibition Taproom, Evil Genius Beer Co., Philadelphia Distilling and many more.
Where: Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
The free, annual African American History and Culture Showcase at the Pennsylvania Convention Center includes private exhibits that have never been shown in museums, living legend history makers, documentary films, historical reenactments, panel discussions, lectures, workshops, visual artists and crafters, poetry readings, theatrical performances and historical musical concerts.
Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street
April is Jazz Appreciation Month in Philadelphia, and a number of arts venues and performance groups celebrate Philly’s jazz history and jazz future with special events and concerts throughout the month. Events range from jazz brunch to concerts in major performance halls to the day-long Center City Jazz Festival (April 28). One of the most hotly anticipated performances is a show featuring Wynton Marsalis and Chick Corea at the Academy of Music on April 8.
Where: Various locations including the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
View this post on Instagram A post shared by South Street Headhouse Dist. (@officialsouthst) on Mar 27, 2016 at 8:34am PDT
A post shared by South Street Headhouse Dist. (@officialsouthst) on Mar 27, 2016 at 8:34am PDT
Sunday, April 01, 2018
On Easter Sunday, the South Street Headhouse District hosts its annual Easter Promenade, a celebration featuring a parade down South Street, live music, Easter brunch deals, a costume contest (for those wearing their Easter best!) and more.
Where: Parade runs from Passyunk Avenue and South Street to Headhouse Square
Spring arrives in Philadelphia in the form of the Philadelphia Phillies’ home opener. The fun starts with a pre-game opening day block party, which promises a Ferris wheel, live entertainment, food and more. After the party, the Phillies take on the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.
Where: Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way
One of the first signs of spring (the cherry blossom tree!) gets a festival of its own as the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia returns to the city. From April 7 through 15, Japanese culture is honored through special performances, traditional crafts, food and drink events (including the brand-new Sake Garden, which runs all week), Sakura week at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden and more. The festival closes out with the annual Sakura Sunday celebration on Sunday, April 15, where guests can enjoy live performances, traditional food and crafts among the beautiful cherry blossom trees of Fairmount Park.
Where: Various locations including Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, 5070 Lansdowne Drive
Handmade furniture by craftspeople from across the nation fills the 23rd Street Armory for the Philadelphia Furniture Show. The show starts on Friday, April 13 with a special preview party and continues throughout the weekend with showcases of impressive craftsmanship, an art installation by the Center for Emerging Visual Artists and more.
Where: 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd Street
Food Truck Pop-Up: Saturday, April 14, 2018
Dining Out for Life: Thursday, April 19, 2018
Nearly 200 restaurants help raise funds for a good cause as Dining Out For Life returns this April. Participating restaurants (including Barbuzzo, Mission Taqueria, Stargazy, Tria, Pod and Loco Pez) donate 33 percent of the day’s sales to an AIDS service organization. In addition to the main event on April 19, a food truck pop-up event to benefit AIDS service organizations hits Midtown Village on April 14.
Where: Various locations including Mission Taqueria, 1516 Sansom Street
Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival: Sunday, April 15, 2018
Manayunk Restaurant Week: April 16-27, 2018
Food trucks converge on Main Street in Manayunk for the spring edition of the neighborhood’s Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival. The six-hour long fest on Sunday, April 15 promises eats from more than 50 local food trucks — think barbecue, cupcakes, tacos, burgers, pizza and more. Also on tap? Live music, shopping and specials from Main Street eateries. The next day, the neighborhood continues the food-filled celebrations with a week-plus-long restaurant week featuring $15, $25 and $35 meal deals.
Where: Main Street, Manayunk
The Museum of the American Revolution plans to celebrate its first anniversary in a big way. Kicking off four days of festivities, the museum will offer free admission on April 19 from 3-8 p.m. as part of the its “History After Hours” evening series. Guests can check out the museum’s exhibits, partake in trivia games and attend a happy hour with food and drink specials at the museum’s Cross Keys Café. Other weekend activities include a performance from The Philadelphia Orchestra, a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s creation, a birthday cake (shaped like George Washington’s war tent!) and more.
Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
Sixty art and furniture vendors make their way to the Navy Yard in South Philly for the Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show this April. Guests can browse colonial furniture, trendy mid-century modern furniture, antique silver, textiles, Native American art, jewelry and more.
Where: The Navy Yard, 4747 S. Broad Street
Hands-on activities, 21-plus science nights, a giant Science Carnival (April 28) and more make up the week-plus-long Philadelphia Science Festival, an annual celebration of all-things science, engineering and technology. The festival returns from April 20 through 28 with events all across the city (and beyond!).
Where: Various locations including The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
Celebrations of black culture are the theme of Philadelphia Black Pride, an annual spring festival that coincides with the Penn Relays. The weekend-long event welcomes people of different genders, races and sexual orientations for parties at popular bars, fashion shows, happy hours and more.
Where: Various locations including Woody's, 202 S. 13th Street
High school, college and professional track stars compete at Franklin Field during the Penn Relays Carnival, the oldest and largest collegiate meet in the nation. With an average of one race every five minutes, it’s the most action-packed, too.
Where: Franklin Field, 235 S. 33rd Street
April 26-September 30, 2018 (Wednesdays through Sundays)
This spring, summer and fall, the popular Parks on Tap brings barbecue and beer to 23 different Philadelphia parks, including Azalea Garden (the season opener!), Belmont Plateau, Schuylkill Banks, FDR Park, Clark Park and many more. A partnership between Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy and FCM Hospitality, a portion of all proceeds goes directly back to to Philadelphia parks.
Where: Various locations including Schuylkill Banks, 2501 Walnut Street
Technically Philly presents Philly Tech Week, a week-long festival featuring more than 50 events in a number of categories — dev, creative, media, civic, access, business and sciences.
Where: Various locations including the Science History Institute, 315 Chestnut Street
Sesame Place opens for the season on Saturday, April 28 with a special Opening Day parade featuring Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster and more of everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends. Later this spring, adventurous guests can join Oscar the Grouch on a wild ride when the theme park opens Oscar’s Wacky Taxi, its first roller coaster.
Where: Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne
Classic folk traditions of Mexico fill South Philly streets for El Carnaval de Puebla, a giant celebration of Mexican culture on Sunday, April 29. The celebrations consist of a parade, a street fair and performances by dancers in traditional Mexican garb.
Where: Washington Avenue, Philadelphia
One of the city’s most bustling foodie corridors brings its giant street festival back for a multi-block-long event featuring festival-ready eats from East Passyunk Avenue’s most popular spots, including Cantina los Caballitos, Bing Bing Dim Sum, Townsend, ITV, Noord and more. Beyond food, drinks (margaritas, beer, cocktails and more) will be available for purchase along the avenue.
Where: Various locations including the Singing Fountain, S. 11th Street and E. Passyunk Avenue
The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival returns for its third year of illuminating Franklin Square with grand, artistic creations. For two months, the square at 6th and Race streets will come alive with 15,000 LED lights strewn across 28 different displays featuring 1,500 works of art. The dazzling 200-foot-long Chinese dragon and whimsical panda constructions from previous years are back, but all other original creations are brand new.
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
Thousands of revelers take part in alfresco family fun at the South Street Spring Festival. At Headhouse Square and along South Street, the annual event includes a giant Maypole, a few dozen concerts, eating contests, a kids’ zone and 100-plus vendors. It also includes Maifest, Brauhaus Schmitz’s German beer and dancing extravaganza.
Where: South Street from Front Street to 8th Street and along Headhouse Plaza
Gaining popularity every year, the Broad Street Run takes participants along a flat 10-mile stretch of one of the city’s main arteries. Spectators line the sidewalks of Broad Street to cheer on the wave of runners from North Philadelphia, around City Hall and to the finish line in South Philadelphia.
Where: Broad Street from W. Fisher Avenue to the Navy Yard
Opens May 11, 2018
One of the best warm-weather spots in Philadelphia, Spruce Street Harbor Park will celebrate its fifth season in 2018. The beloved temporary park — which welcomes 750,000 people each year! — invites visitors to lounge on colorful hammocks, enjoy delicious food from its floating restaurant, cool off with drafts from the beer garden and hang out and play games – ping pong, shuffleboard and more – along its waterfront boardwalk.
Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
The Delaware River Waterfront becomes a seasonal wonderland each summer during Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and The Midway. Guests can enjoy boardwalk-style games and rides (including a Ferris wheel), try their luck in the arcade, take in waterfront views with drinks and food and take a spin around the city’s first outdoor roller rink.
Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and The Midway, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
The Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta is the largest collegiate regatta in the United States, attracting more than 3,000 competitors from 125 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. The Olympic-length racecourse spans 2,000 meters on the beautiful Schuylkill River. Rowing fans fill the grandstand and line the east side of the river to cheer on their favorite crew teams from the banks.
Where: Schuylkill River along Kelly Drive from Huntington Park Avenue to the Columbia Bridge
May 12-November 25, 2018 (select dates)
Climb, crawl and zip around Fairmount Park this spring when Treetop Quest makes its debut in Philly. The aerial adventure park for thrill-seeking kids and adults features six courses, 40 sky-high obstacles and 18 zip lines ranging from 30 to 200 feet in length.
Where: Treetop Quest Philly, 51 Chamounix Drive
Over Mother’s Day weekend, shop for mom or bring her along forcraft hunting and live music at the 14th annual Spring Art Star Craft Bazaar. As many as 125 vendors will be in attendance at the two-day pop up, selling everything from handmade pottery to jewelry to pet accessories and so much more.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Start working on your appetite, Philly! Night Market, The Food Trust’s popular street food festival, heads to Cottman and Rising Sun avenues in Burholme in Northeast Philadelphia. Expect a ton of food truck fare, live music and more.
Where: Cottman and Rising Sun avenues
Now in its 15th year, the three-day New Hope Celebrates’ Pride Festival is best-known for its Pride Parade (May 19) that brings the world’s largest rainbow flag from the New Jersey side of the Delaware River in Lambertville to the New Hope & Lambertville Bridge to New Hope, Bucks County, for a fair featuring international entertainers and family fun.
Where: New Hope, PA
The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival transforms the Rittenhouse neighborhood into a come-one, come-all street fest. Residents and visitors enjoy a day of music, outdoor shopping, fashion events, international entertainment and food from some of the city’s top restaurants.
Where: Walnut Street from Rittenhouse Square to Broad Street
People fill the streets of Kensington and Fishtown for the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival, enjoying not only racing sculpture and art, but also live music and great food. The derby portion of the day celebrates human-powered transit as fanciful mobile sculptures parade along a three-mile urban obstacle course.
Where: Trenton Avenue from Norris to E. Hagert streets
Everyone’s Italian at The South 9th Street Italian Market Festival, featuring live entertainment and activities, a bounty of international foods (including homemade sausages, imported meats and cheeses, fresh pastas and cannolis) and specialty cookware. Two must-see events: the Procession of Saints and the greased pole-climbing contest.
Where: South 9th Street from Fitzwater to Wharton streets
Celebrate spring at the annual Strawberry Festival at Peddler’s Village, where festive foods, children’s activities, pie-eating contests and a lively lineup of family entertainment are just some of the weekend’s exciting attractions. Culinary highlights include strawberries served fresh and unadorned, dipped in chocolate and deep-fried in fritters, sliced atop shortcake, baked into assorted pastries and blended up into fruit smoothies.
Where: Peddler's Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope
Chestnut Hill’s Germantown Avenue comes alive every year with vendors, entertainment and more for the Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival. Attendees can chat with gardening experts, check out landscape and flower displays, enjoy live music and more during an alfresco afternoon fit for all ages.
Where: Germantown Avenue from 8000 Germantown Avenue to 8600 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia celebrates Memorial Day weekend with a four-day festival featuring 11 Tall Ships docked along the historic Delaware River waterfront. This official Tall Ships America event includes public tours, day sails and loads of riverside fun.
Where: Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Equestrians and horse-lovers from around the world flock to the Devon Show Grounds for the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. The event — which is the oldest and largest of its kind in the country — features hunters, jumpers, Saddlebreds, four-in-hand coaching, exhibitions and an old-fashioned fair.
Where: 23 Dorset Road, Devon
Head to Downingtown at the end of May for the Downingtown Fine Arts Festival, where you can catch a bunch of local artists and leisurely peruse their work. The event is free and usually features other entertainment in addition to the fine art each year. Be sure to check here for details as more become available.
Where: 202 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown
Opens Wednesday, May 30, 2018
When the weather warms up, the city will fete the square’s new look, complete with modern fountains and lighting, a refurbished midcentury modern Welcome Center and newly planted lawns and gardens to go alongside the newly restored LOVE sculpture.
Where: LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts returns to Broad Street this June. Collaborative, innovative performances are the hallmark of the 11-day, art-filled festival and street fair along Broad Street, also known as the Avenue of the Arts. Highlights include noted theater performer Taylor Mac’s epic performance art concert A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (which will be presented in two 12-hour parts) and the return of French performance troupe Transe Express for the world premiere of Cristal Palace, a 30-foot chandelier made of 50 air acrobats and dancers.
The first weekend in June features films by established and emerging Latino and Latin American filmmakers at the Latino Film Festival. The lineup includes feature films, shorts, youth films, animations and documentaries, in English or Spanish with subtitles, along with workshops and discussions.
Now in its 90th year, the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show is the nation’s oldest outdoor art show of its kind. The area in and around Rittenhouse Square fills up with 100-plus artists (professionals and students) from across North America, bringing works of all different types of subject matters and mediums to peruse.
Where: Rittenhouse Square, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
Eight hard-hitting collegiate teams from the premier rugby programs in the country will try to out-tough the competition as they vie for the nation’s top spot at Talen Energy Stadium this June at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.
Where: Talen Energy Stadium, 1 Stadium Drive, Chester
Philly Beer Week, the 11th annual celebration of Philadelphia’s vibrant beer culture, takes over the city and region for 10 days this June. Events range from tastings to lectures to beer-pairing dinners. Sudsy cheersing is encouraged.
Where: Various locations including Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Avenue
Philly’s own The Roots bring together artists from various genres — and host Dave Chappelle — for the 11th annual Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing. Look forward to a day-long festival of music featuring Lil Uzi Vert, Dirty Projectors, The Diplomats, 2 Chainz and more.
Where: Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, 601 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Take a rare look inside the homes along the nation’s oldest residential street during Fete Day on Elfreth’s Alley. For one afternoon, residents open their doors to the public to showcase how generations have lived and preserved the homes on the historic block. Food, crafts, live music and colonial games add to the day’s festivites.
Where: Elfreth's Alley, 124-126 Elfreth's Alley
Sunday, June 3, 2018
The Irish American Festival kicks off the PECO Multicultural Series at Penn’s Landing every year in June. Festival-goers can look forward to live music, traditional Irish dance and bagpipe performances in celebration of Irish culture. Vendors selling eats, like bangers and mash, and various Irish merchandise will also set up within the area. Check here for more information about the events in the series as it becomes available.
The 43rd annual Odunde Festival holds the designation of the largest African-American street festival on the East Coast. After a week of events leading up to the festival, the day begins with a spiritual procession to the Schuylkill River to ring in the Yoruba New Year, followed by music, dance and vendors along South Street.
Where: 23rd and South streets, Philadelphia
The annual PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival takes place during International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and features live music, DJs, food, drinks and a festive parade that runs from the Gayborhood to Penn’s Landing.
Where: Various locations including the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Opens Thursday, June 14, 2018
The greening of Philadelphia continues as the first phase of the Rail Park — Philly’s hotly anticipated elevated park and recreational pathway — opens this summer. A quarter-mile stretch of new urban greenspace, stretching from Broad and Noble streets and up to the Reading Viaduct overhead before ending above the 1100 block of Callowhill Street, will feature lush plants and trees, public art by local artists, plenty of seating and space for gathering, bench-style swings and first-rate elevated city views.
Where: The Rail Park, 1398 Noble Street
Opens Friday, June 15, 2018
This urban agriculture project, created by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, brings a 2,000-square-foot working farm to the Thomas Paine Plaza of the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall. The farm — a site for public forums, gardening workshops and artistic performances — will produce 1,000 pounds of produce to be donated to Broad Street Ministry.
Where: Thomas Paine Plaza, John F. Kennedy Boulevard
The Islamic Festival at Penn’s Landing kicks off with the Unity in Diversity Citywide Community Parade, featuring community organizations and schools, drill teams, youth organizations and other groups in a proud showcase of togetherness and diversity. Afterward, the day-long fest includes live entertainment, vendors, a health fair, games for kids and more.
Historic Germantown honors the ratification of the 13th Amendment with a parade along the Avenue, and a day of historical reenactments, tours, children’s activities and food and drink at the Johnson House Historic Site.
Where: Johnson House Historic Site, 6306 Germantown Avenue
Mark African-Americans’ emancipation from slavery with the two-day Philadelphia Juneteenth Musicfest and Parade in Center City and at Penn’s Landing. Festivities on Friday, June 22 include a wreath-hanging ceremony and cultural caravan tours at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. On Saturday, June 23, a parade through Center City kicks off at noon from 15th Street and JFK Boulevard and proceeds towards Penn’s Landing. On Saturday after the parade, the celebration continues at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing with performances, an African children’s village, a cultural marketplace and more.
Where: Various locations including The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street
Through October 2018
Parkway 100 — the city’s 14-month soiree in honor of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s 100th birthday — continues throughout the spring both inside the venerable institutions that line the mile-long street and outside among its fountains, gardens and public art. Highlights include the Barnes Foundation’s special exhibition about the history of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Academy of Natural Sciences’ fun-filled after-hours events and more.
Where: Various locations along the Parkway including the Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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.
A month-by-month guide to the biggest, can’t-miss events coming to Philly this year