The year 2018 is a big one for Philadelphia!
A ton of blockbuster events will fill every month of the calendar, and more than a handful of grand openings usher in some major attraction debuts this year.
Red ribbons will be cut on the Rail Park, the Bourse Philadelphia, Cherry Street Pier, the Comcast Technology Center and the Fashion District Philadelphia, and the fully restored LOVE Park — complete with a restored LOVE sculpture — will also come to life.
Other notable happenings include mega outdoor festivals, art shows, film screenings, sporting games and food-centric events, bringing lots to look forward to for everyone.
The events below are some of the biggest happenings coming to the city in 2018 – drawing tens of thousands of people. But these mark just a sampling of the hundreds of events that take place in Philadelphia every season. For more comprehensive lists of events and festivals coming to Philly this year, check out our Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter guides.
The free, outdoor Winter Fountains exhibition illuminates the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this winter with a stunning nighttime display of surreal, glowing videos projected onto four large domes. The dazzling works — inspired by the Parkway’s grand fountains — are a centerpiece exhibition of Parkway 100, the city’s 14-month celebration commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the avenue’s groundbreaking.
Where: Various locations on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway including the Spring Garden Triangle near The Oval
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. Films will screen across a seven-day span at a selection of city venues.
Where: Various locations including Plays & Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Place
The ever-expanding Philly Wine Week now features hundreds of events in 50-plus 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 Root Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1206 Frankford Avenue
Spring 2018 (TBA)
Fully restored, the LOVE sculpture returns to its redesigned home of John F. Kennedy Plaza, better known as LOVE Park. The city will fete the square’s new look, complete with modern fountains and lighting, a refurbished mid-century modern Welcome Center and newly planted lawns and gardens.
Where: LOVE Park, N. 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard
This year marks the 20th anniversary of this springtime tradition, which re-opens Shofuso Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park for the season amid a week of citywide cultural celebrations, film screenings, kimono dressing, a 10k race and demonstrations of nihon buyo traditional dance and martial arts.
Where: Various locations including Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, Lansdowne and Horticultural drives
With hands-on events for kids, sophisticated activities for adults and a carnival, the citywide Philadelphia Science Festival demonstrates the role science plays in everyday life during a more-than-week-long celebration.
Where: Various locations including The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
Opens April 25, 2018
Concession trucks meet permanent parks during the warm weather Parks on Tap series. The traveling program takes advantage of green spaces throughout the city and Philly’s wealth of mobile suppliers to bring two trucks at a time (one food, one craft beer and other adult beverages) to rotating locations throughout the area.
Where: Locations to be announced for 2018
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
Always coinciding with the Penn Relays, Philadelphia Black Pride is a pioneering multi-day gathering of people of different races, ethnicities and sexual orientations. With a diverse array of events, the celebration is known to bring together thousands of members of the African-American and LGBT communities.
Where: Various locations including Woody's, 202 S. 13th Street
Throughout Philly Tech Week, more than 25,000 business leaders, tech geeks and even the technically challenged participate in more than 100 events, including a variety of programs, interactive activities and workshops that celebrate and highlight emerging trends, advances and innovating uses of technology.
Where: Various locations including the Comcast Center, 1701 Arch Street
South Philadelphia’s vibrant pre-Cinco de Mayo procession El Carnaval de Puebla showcases folk traditions from the Mexican state (which is the home of many Philadelphians) through a colorful parade and street fair featuring dancers in ornate costumes and oversized masks representing historical figures and folk dramas.
Where: Washington Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Opens May 1, 2018
The long-awaited development of the three-mile Rail Park commences with the opening of the former Reading Viaduct. This four-block (about a quarter mile) segment of no-longer-used elevated track will become a planted, permanent, activated greenway stretching between Broad and Callowhill Streets, crossing 12th and 13th Streets.
Where: The Rail Park, 1398 Noble Street
Nationally acclaimed journalists, writers, singers and performance artists head to Philadelphia each year for the Celebration of Black Arts. The event, which includes a gallery exhibition, literary and arts conference and awards ceremony, is one of the oldest African-American literary events in the nation.
Where: Various locations including Art Sanctuary, 628 S. 16th 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 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
Opens May 11, 2018
The Delaware River Waterfront becomes a seasonal wonderland each summer during Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. Guests can enjoy boardwalk-style games and rides, 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, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
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
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 most renowned restaurants.
Where: Walnut Street from Rittenhouse Square to Broad Street
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
Philadelphia celebrates Memorial Day weekend with a four-day festival featuring 12 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
Spring, Summer and Fall 2018 (TBA)
Food trucks galore fill Philadelphia’s charming neighborhoods during the city’s popular street food festival Night Market Philadelphia presented by The Food Trust. The roving festival of street eats, live music and neighborhood pride attracts tens of thousands of hungry visitors each season. Each pop up brings the Night Market to a different part of the city.
One 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.
Where: Various locations including the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts returns to Broad Street. Collaborative, innovative performances are the hallmark of the 10-day, art-filled festival and street fair along Broad Street, also known as the Avenue of the Arts. Another highlight: French performance troupe Trans Express returns, this time for the world premiere of Crystal Palace, a 30-foot chandelier — made of 50 air acrobats and dancers — and a recreation of the history of dance from the waltz to disco.
Philly Beer Week, the 11th annual celebration of Philadelphia’s vibrant beer culture, takes over the city and region for 10 days. Events range from tastings to lectures to beer-pairing dinners where sudsy cheersing is encouraged.
Where: Various locations including Frankford Hall, 1210 Frankford Avenue
Philly’s own The Roots bring together artists from various genres for the 11th annual Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing. Look forward to a day-long festival of music.
Where: Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, 601 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
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
Hundreds of artists from around the nation set up shop for the two-day Manayunk Arts Festival, the region’s largest outdoor juried arts festival. From jewelry to ceramics to woodworks and sculptures, pieces stemming from all mediums are available to peruse and purchase.
Where: Main Street in Manayunk
Wawa Welcome America! celebrates the nation’s birthday for the 26th year in a row with a multi-day party of free events for all ages throughout the city, including outdoor concerts, museum days, a patriotic parade, block parties and fantastic fireworks.
Where: Various locations including Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
The PECO Multicultural Series on the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing celebrates the diverse cultures that make Philadelphia a distinct city. The free festival series includes the Hispanic Fiesta, Islamic Heritage Festival, Irish Festival and Brazilian Day Philadelphia, among others.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Summer 2018 (TBA)
The city’s most spectacular new skyscraper rises 60 stories above the streets of Center City, creating a new home for media and technology giant Comcast’s growing workforce, NBC 10/Telemundo 62, tech upstarts and, high atop it all, the landmark Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, scheduled to open in September. (Comcast Center, the company’s global headquarters, remains nearby.) Lord Norman Foster designed this $1.5 billion, 1,121-foot building, the tallest between New York and Chicago. The Four Seasons will occupy floors 48 to 60, offering a sleek, minimalist design, 360-degree views throughout and exceptional luxury. Chefs Greg Vernick and Jean-Georges Vongerichten will have restaurants at the bottom and top, respectively.
Where: The Comcast Technology Center, 1800 Arch Street
The Historic District’s circa-1895 commodities exchange transforms into an artisan market in the style of Chelsea Market. The burnished, Victorian-era member of the National Register of Historic Places across the street from Independence Mall was most recently a food court. The Bourse’s new incarnation promises an experience befitting Philadelphia’s current and centuries-old reputation as a city of makers.
Where: The Philadelphia Bourse, 111 N. Independence Mall East
When things happen along the Delaware River Waterfront, they happen fast — and in fantastic fashion. The newest case in point: the forthcoming $4 million makeover of the 55,0000-square-foot Municipal Pier 9 into Cherry Street Pier, an accessible, egalitarian, mixed-use space for artist studios, shopping, performances, dining (and drinking), working and relaxing in an innovatively designed public space. Cherry Street Pier will be a permanent addition to seasonal riverside attractions Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and Summerfest and Spruce Street Harbor Park.
Where: Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Columbus Boulevard
Eastern State Penitentiary’s Bastille Day consists of re-enactors and audience members playfully recreating the storming of the Bastille. Emceed by “Edith Piaf,” Philly’s version of this historic event includes experimental cabaret performances, dancing baguettes and Marie Antoinette tossing 3,000 or so Tastykakes to the crowd.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
The free, outdoor, alt-Latin music festival NuevoFest, a production of WXPN’s Latin Roots Live series, features acts from San Juan to Chile to L.A. This year’s fest will be hosted at FringeArts.
Where: FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
WXPN, the public radio station of the University of Pennsylvania, brings together musical legends and new performers — this year’s lineup includes The War On Drugs, Preservation Hall Band and Sturgill Simpson — along the Camden Waterfront for the XPoNential Music Festival.
Where: 2 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ
Hailed by Ebony magazine as “the black Sundance,” the BlackStar Film Festival screens artistically excellent independent films about the global black experience and films by people of color.
Where: Various locations including International House Philadelphia, 3717 Chestnut Street
Coming into its sixth year, the Budweiser Made In America Festival is a massive musical soiree that takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The festival, complete with dozens of top performers and multiple stages, is one of the year’s can’t-miss events. Stay tuned for more details as they’re announced.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Historic Aronimink Golf Club hosts the penultimate event of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup, with the Tour’s top 70 players vying for the 30 qualifying spots in the season-ending Tour Championship. Founded in 1896, the Delaware County course has recently been restored to its original, 1928 Donald Ross American parkland design, right down to its signature, amoeba-like tee boxes. Past winners of the BMW Championship include Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, and, in 2017, Marc Leishman.
Where: Aronimink Golf Club, 3600 St. Davids Road, Newtown Square
Kennett Square’s 33rd annual Mushroom Festival puts the fun in fungi during a weekend of music, food, contests, exhibits and activities in the “Mushroom Capital of the World.”
Where: 101 South Union Street, Kennett Square
For two weeks of artistic pleasure, avant-garde performance meets street theater throughout the city during the Fringe Festival.
Where: Various locations including FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard
Fall 2018 (TBA)
Thrill-seekers celebrate the Halloween season by testing their nerves at Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls, one of the country’s most popular haunted houses, inside an abandoned prison.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
OutFest, part of the National Coming Out Day Festival, is the largest event of its kind in the world. The 10-block Gayborhood party packs in the fun with drag shows, games, bar crawls, music, shopping and a main stage featuring live entertainment — including a high-heeled race.
Where: Locust and S. 13th streets
Exactly one century to the day of the debut of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the culture-packed, museum-lined, park-pocketed boulevard fetes its centennial in grand, to-be-announced style (which will certainly include cake). Leading up to that finale, major public art projects and exhibits spanning City Hall, the Parkway Central Library, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Rodin Museum and the Barnes Foundation explore and honor the corridor’s history and future.
Where: Various locations including the Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Rowers and landlubbers look forward to the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, one of the nation’s largest and most festive rowing events featuring athletes of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to Olympic-level racers.
Where: Kelly Drive and Fountain Green Drive
October 2018 (TBA)
The entire city celebrates DesignPhiladelphia, the nation’s oldest festival of its kind, with over 85 events that highlight local to global designers. The Center for Architecture and Design hosts exhibitions, lectures, workshops and demonstrations focused on architecture, interior design, industrial design, multimedia and urban design at venues all around town.
Where: Various locations including the Center for Architecture and Design, 1218 Arch Street
The wizards of Hogwarts take over during the Harry Potter Festival, where historic Chestnut Hill transforms into a mini-Hogsmeade with a costume parade, Horcrux Hunt, Dumbledore’s Powers Maze, Potter Pub Crawl and more. It all culminates with Quidditch teams competing for the Golden Snitch.
Where: Various locations throughout Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia
The 27th Philadelphia Film Festival showcases the best in independent and foreign cinema in theaters and venues around Philadelphia. Attendees take in short films, feature-length films, animated movies and special guest appearances.
Where: Various locations including Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street
With music, food, sidewalk sales and other festivities, the Midtown Village Fall Festival takes the neighborhood block party to an ultra-fun level.
Where: 13th and Sansom streets
Artists, makers, designers, entertainers, restaurateurs and historians all come out to celebrate the neighborhood’s creative spirit during the Old City Festival. Throughout several blocks along North 3rd Street and Arch Street, activities, exhibitions and programs appeal to families as well as the over-21 crowd.
Where: N. 3rd and Arch streets, Philadelphia
Center City East’s former “Gallery mall” gets new life as a shining retail, entertainment and dining complex stretching over three city blocks. Adding to current anchors Century21 and Burlington will be a 38,000-square-foot H&M — the region’s largest — and a “dine-and-recline” movie theater.
Where: Fashion District Philadelphia, 821 Market Street
With a fast course that winds through the city’s historic downtown, 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.
Where: Race starts at Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
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 the JFK Boulevard and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Where: Parade runs along John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Are you ready for another match up 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.
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way
November and December 2018
The City of Brotherly Love wholeheartedly embraces the most wonderful time of the year, hosting a festive array of iconic holiday attractions. Whether you’re looking to skate at the Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park, shop the popular German-style Christmas Village or take in the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s, the region is sure to get you into the holiday spirit. Don’t miss some of the most popular wintertime highlights that the city has to offer, including the Comcast Center’s festive film experience Comcast Holiday Spectacular and the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, featuring ice skating, food and drink, shopping and family fun on the waterfront. And as the year comes to a close, the Sugarhouse Casino Fireworks brings two grand displays over the Delaware River waterfront to ring in 2019!
Where: Various locations including Rothman Institute Ice Rink, 1 S. 15th Street
Sit down to a fantastic meal without breaking the bank during the always popular Center City District Restaurant Week. Diners can enjoy a three-course lunch for $20 (at select restaurants) or a three-course dinner for $35 at some of the best restaurants in the city, including Abe Fisher, Barbuzzo, Harp & Crown, Scarpetta and many more.
Where: Various locations including Harp & Crown, 1525 Sansom Street
Explore the automotive industry’s newest creations at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the 2018 Philadelphia Auto Show. More than 700 concept, classic, luxury and exotic cars will be on display over a 700,000-square-foot area. The best part? A select number of cars will be available to test drive.
Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Throughout February, major attractions across the city offer special programming to celebrate Black History Month. Stay tuned for a complete guide to events like live dance performances, arts workshops, film screenings and more.
Where: Various locations including the Penn Museum, 3620 South Street
This February, the Chinese New Year arrives with events that celebrate deities, ancestors and the year ahead, which is the Year of the Dog. The holiday officially falls on Friday, February 16, but Philadelphia is sure to commemorate the occasion in the weeks leading up to the official date. Find celebrations at places like the Independence Seaport Museum and the Penn Museum and in the heart of Chinatown with spirited parades and events from the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation.
Where: Various locations including the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard
As Center City’s iconic railway terminal turned epicurean haven, Reading Terminal Market boasts a century and a quarter of feeding foodies. The venue is gearing up for a grand period gala — Victorian costumes, penny-farthings and all — for the date it opened in 1893 (February 22) and a public party the following Saturday, February 24. Other plans for the yearlong celebration include a multicultural Diamond Day in June and indoor-outdoor festival the Taste of the Market on a to-be-announced date in September.
Where: Reading Terminal Market, North 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA
The 2018 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, Wonders of Water, will celebrate the beauty and life-sustaining interplay of horticulture and water. The world’s largest indoor flower show draws top floral and garden designers from across the country, who will create tropical jungles, temperate forests, native woodlands and arid landscapes filled with beautiful plants of all sorts to represent each environment.
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through June 15, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as a $25 We ♥ 13th Street restaurants gift card, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, a $25 gift card to R2L, a free cheesesteak from Campo's and a $10 Lyft credit.
LOVE Park re-opening, the Rail Park, the Philadelphia Bourse, Cherry Street Pier, the Comcast...