Fall in Philadelphia means cooler weather, amazing fall foliage and festivals galore. From September through November, find events of every kind beckoning you to enjoy the delights of the season.
Highlights for fall 2017 include the giant centennial Parkway 100 celebration of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, must-see fall exhibitions (including the opening of the blockbuster Terracotta Warriors exhibition at The Franklin Institute), a slew of Oktoberfests and fall harvest festivals, Halloween in Philadelphia and so much more.
Read on for the top events and festivals to check out in Philadelphia this fall.
Through November 16, 2018
Philadelphia’s cultural powerhouse and preeminent boulevard, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway begins its 100th birthday celebration this fall. Parkway 100 is the city’s 14-month celebration taking place both inside the venerable institutions that line the thoroughfare and outside among its fountains, gardens and public art. Some of the most anticipated Parkway 100 events are pop-up public art installations, including Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, which allows folks to ride (for free!) in one of 27 playfully designed pedicabs up and down the Parkway.
Through October 1, 2017
One of the best warm-weather spots in Philadelphia, Spruce Street Harbor 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. And don’t miss the park’s Fall Festival from September 14-24, featuring live music, apple cider pressing with Greensgrow Farms, a small petting zoo, pumpkin carving and flower crown demonstrations.
The drama unfolds exhibit by exhibit at the brand-new Museum of the American Revolution. Just two blocks from Independence Hall — the command center for the Revolution — the newest addition to America’s most historic square mile documents the strategic wins, crushing losses and world-altering consequences of the war for We the People. Visitors learn stories of well-known and everyday people who experienced the tumult through galleries, engaging films and a collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, diaries and works of art.
Through October 1, 2017 (select dates)
Concession trucks meet permanent parks during the Parks on Tap 20-stop series. The program takes advantage of lush extant spaces and Philly’s wealth of mobile suppliers to bring trucks serving up light fare, craft beer and other adult beverages to spots like Pretzel Park, Burholme Park, Powers Park and more.
Many of Philly’s excellent beer gardens continue into the fall. The open-air hangouts are perfect for a night out with friends, a happy hour with co-workers, dinner and drinks with the family and more. Head to a classic hot spot (Frankford Hall, Morgan’s Pier) or check out one of the city’s newer additions (Uptown Beer Garden, Haas Biergarten). Click the button below to learn about the dozens of great beer gardens open in Philly.
Philadelphia’s art scene is more colorful than ever this fall. Celebrate the 100th birthday of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway during Parkway 100 (see above). The stunning new Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor brings 10 of the famed sculptures — and more than 170 related artifacts — to The Franklin Institute for a sure-to-be-blockbuster exhibit. And a number of exhibitions tackle political and social issues, from what makes an appropriate monument for Philadelphia to revisiting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech. Click the button below for our full guide to must-see exhibitions this fall.
From the bird’s-eye views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Assembly Rooftop Lounge to the sweeping sights from Bok Bar atop a former vocational school in South Philadelphia, Philadelphia’s skyward hospitality has reached new heights. Explore Philly’s growing roster of restaurants and bars that deliver up-in-the-atmosphere drama along with delicious eats and drinks by clicking the button below.
With the arrival of cooler weather comes an influx of lively beer festivals in and around the city. Events cater to all sorts of sud-seekers looking for rich stouts, hazy IPAs and more, and often include an array of other fun perks and entertainment, including live music, food truck fare and al fresco relaxation. Click the button below for our complete guide to beer festivals in the Greater Philadelphia area.
Through November 2017
Artist Martin Puryear’s 40-foot-high work Big Bling — made of wood and chain-link fencing with a bright gold shackle at the top — evokes a range of reactions. A first-time collaboration of the Association for Public Art and Madison Square Park Conservancy, the sculpture greets fitness enthusiasts along Kelly Drive.
September 5, 12, 19, and 26, 2017
This September, set aside your Tuesday evenings for Supper Sessions on the Avenue, a series curated by Mt. Airy USA that will transform Germantown Avenue every week. The food-centric event closes the 7100 block of Germantown Avenue to traffic, enabling you to grab a table under the stars and enjoy the autumn weather over food and drinks from one of the block’s nine different restaurants and bars. Live music will accompany the experience and a number of area business and organizations will welcome visitors with extended hours.
September 7-24, 2017
An annual smorgasbord of performing arts, the Fringe Festival brings more than 1,000 performances by hundreds of artists to the city during the 18-day fest, which takes place at venues ranging from the usual to the unlikely in every corner of Philly. Now in its 21st year, the entire extravaganza comes together thanks to FringeArts, a year-round organization presenting unconventional performing arts by locally, nationally and internationally renowned creators.
September 9 – November 5, 2017
Pumpkins, apples and scarecrows, oh my! Linvilla Orchard’s annual Pumpkinland is filled with festive fall fun with activities that include a corn maze, a pumpkin ring toss game, apple picking and, of course, lots of chowing down on seasonal treats, like apple cider donuts. October 20 to 30 also brings a massive jack o’lantern display, which gets lit after 6 p.m. each night.
September 10-19, 2017
Center City District Restaurant Week returns this fall with delicious, budget conscious meals at more than 100 restaurants for a price of $20-35. Get ready to treat yourself to a fantastic – and affordable – meal at one of Philadelphia’s popular restaurants.
September 14-25, 2017
The city’s musical profile hits a high note with Opera Philadelphia’s brand-new festival of glittering stars in more than 25 commissioned works, one-time-only performances and world premieres. Also included: the exclusive East Coast appearance of an internationally renowned production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
September 15 – October 8, 2017
The Association for Public Art (aPA), working with guest curator Lance Fung of Fung Collaboratives, will light up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, an interactive artwork consisting of 27 luminous, kinetic sculptures in the form of free pedicabs. Participants can take a ride inside the moving sculptures, which will travel in a route between Sister Cities Park and Iroquois Park connecting the iconic institutions along the parkway.
September 15 – November 19, 2017
What makes a monument in the 21st century? Monument Lab will attempt to answer this question for Philadelphia with an eight-week city-wide public art and history exhibition co-produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia and curators Paul M. Farber, Ken Lum and A. Will Brown. Monument Lab will be a series of temporary installations by 20 local and international artists accompanied by interactive pop-up laboratories for creative conversations.
September 16-17, 2017
Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a scarecrow? Now’s your chance to do so at the Scarecrow Festival at Peddler’s Village, offering workshops alongside live entertainment and pumpkin painting! Stroll through the village to see all of the area’s scarecrows on display and enjoy live entertainment, food and more while you’re there.
September 17, 2017
Brazilian Day Philadelphia celebrates Brazilian Independence Day and shares the wonderful culture and traditions of Brazil. Vendors offer an abundant variety of authentic traditional foods and merchandise, and performers light up the stage with the contagious rhythms and dances of Brazil.
September 22 – November 11, 2017 (select nights)
The country’s biggest haunted house is a prison, actually. The famous, shuttered, Gothic former fortress that is Eastern State Penitentiary offers six attractions where guests can achieve the perfect level of fright. Purchasing tickets in advance online is suggested.
September 30, 2017 – March 4, 2018
In 1974, a farmer digging a well in China struck one of history’s most significant archaeological discoveries: thousands of life-sized warrior sculptures that had been guarding the tomb of China’s first emperor since 210 B.C. Ten of the mysterious structures and 170 related artifacts, including weapons, jade and gold ornaments and ceremonial vessels, travel to The Franklin Institute for an exhibition that examines the story, craft and science behind the terracotta army. Philadelphia is one of just two cities hosting the exhibit.
October 1, 2017
On Sunday, October 1, Federal Donuts will throw a delicious and free block party right on Sansom Street in Center City, home to Federal Donuts’ flagship shop and four more members of the CookNSolo restaurant family. Get ready for free eats, live music, $5 beer and multiple donut walls — that is, pegboards lined with donut upon donut upon Federal Donut.
Each October, Mural Arts Month honors the Mural Arts Program’s 3,800 works of public art in different ways. Look forward to walking and trolley tours of neighborhood gardens, mosaics and more as well as a roster of free and pay-what-you-wish events. Click the button below for more info about event details as they’re released.
All Month Long
October marks LGBT History Month, bringing a ton of events to Philadelphia. In addition to Outfest (see below), find other major events like the Annual AIDS Walk/Run Philly, a 2017 Out & Equal Workplace Summit and the Fall Ball with the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus at the Loews Philadelphia.
October 3-8, 2017
Winner of six Tony Awards, Broadway’s Kinky Boots heads to the Academy of Music this month for live performances full of high-heeled song and dance. Featuring songs by Grammy and Tony Award-winning icon Cyndi Lauper, the joyous musical takes its viewers from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan.
October 4-14, 2017
The largest and oldest festival of its kind in the nation includes 120 events representing 400 nationally recognized designers takes place each fall. Venues all over town host exhibits, lectures, workshops and demonstrations to highlight architecture, fashion, furniture, multimedia and urban-planning.
More about Design Philadelphia
October 5, 2017
Night Market Philadelphia continues in its seventh year as one of the best celebrations in Philly of street food and city neighborhoods. This October, the food truck frenzy heads to the Italian Market, a South Philly area already known as one of the best places to score delicious eats. Adding to the area’s existing taco spots, Italian family-owned restaurants and pasta shops and other food boutiques, the Night Market will bring a wealth of vendors and entertainment for the perfect foodie fall night.
October 6-29, 2017
Over 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins are set to fill West Fairmount Park this month as part of The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience. Each weekend through the end of October, lanterns — ranging from famous Philly icons and sports figures to superheroes and princesses — will illuminate a trail for visitors to stroll along throughout the park adjacent to the Mann Center for Performing Arts. Advanced tickets are required and start at $16.
October 7, 2017
The Asian Arts Initiative’s Pearl Street Block Party is an annual neighborhood arts festival that celebrates the rich diversity and artistic community of Callowhill. Come out for a day of music, art and interactive entertainment, all taking place on the 1200 block of Pearl Street.
With music, food, sidewalk sales and other festivities, the Midtown Village Fall Festival takes the concept of block party to a blockbuster level. Spend the afternoon strolling through the neighborhood while enjoying eats from the many surrounding restaurants, shopping from the numerous boutiques that line 13th Street and browsing the festival vendors set up on the street. It’s one of the city’s not-to-miss fall fests.
History goes on full display during the Revolutionary Germantown Festival, a day-long festival featuring costumed characters, live music, food and drink, culminating in a reenactment of the Battle of Germantown, the only military battle ever fought within the borders of Philadelphia. Head down Germantown Avenue after the “battle” for Battle Bash, the official after-party at the historic Grumblethorpe house featuring reeanctors from the battle, food, beer from Evil Genius Brewing Company, live music and more.
October 7 – November 19, 2017
The ultimate color crescendo hits Longwood Gardens this fall with the annual Chrysanthemum Festival, sweeping the gardens’ indoor grounds with a rainbow of floral shades. The centerpiece of the show is a Thousand Bloom Mum, made up of more than 1,500 meticulously arranged yellow flowers on one plant. Tickets are free with garden admission.
October 7-8 and 14-15, 2017
The Center for Emerging Visual Artists presents the 18th annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, a behind-the-scenes look at a day into the life of visual artists. Hundreds of studios and community partner spaces open over two weekends in four distinct parts of the city, covering more than 20 Philadelphia neighborhoods.
October 8, 2017
Artists, crafters, designers, entertainers and restaurateurs come out to celebrate the Historic District neighborhood’s creative spirit along several blocks. Activities, exhibits and programs appeal to families, as well as the over-21 crowd.
The world’s largest coming-out day — now in year 26 — features 12 blocks of drag shows, vendors, games, bar crawls, music and shopping. The heart of the festival is at 13th and Locust Streets, site of a main stage — and the start of the high-heel race.
October 12, 2017
Head to Chinatown for a festive, four-hour food truck affair during the Chinatown Night Market Yè Shì on October 12. Many of the area’s top food trucks will gather together, while an array of live bands, artists and performers fill the area with entertainment for a fun and lively night.
October 14, 2017
Fall festivities come to Fishtown’s gorgeous Penn Treaty Park for the 10th annual RiverCity Festival. With a lineup full of local brews and food, live music, kid-centric activities, a 5K run and plenty of shopping from vendors, the free, annual afternoon-long festival brings together the entire neighborhood and attracts more than 10,000 visitors to join in the fun.
Several neighborhood organizations partner with local businesses to produce Bloktoberfest, an all-ages celebration of beer, food and music that stretches across the afternoon and along four blocks of South Street. For a full eight hours, find a thriving block party filling South Street West with entertainment and plenty of opportunities to let loose.
October 15, 2017
Over 10,000 uniformed cadets and civilian fans are expected to pack Talen Energy Stadium, the home of the Philadelphia Union, to cheer on military academy collegiate soccer squads as they face off for the Army-Navy Cup. The rivalry between the two service academies brings a ton of energy to the arena.
“Getting to Zero” – zero new HIV/AIDS infections, zero deaths and zero stigma – is the awareness-oriented goal that the 31st annual AIDS Walk Philly and AIDS Run Philly seeks to achieve. Join thousands of participants in the 5K walk or 5K run, kicking off at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
October 16, 2017
Established in 1998 to commemorate the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, the Liberty Medal is awarded by the National Constitution Center to individuals who strive to secure liberty for people all over the world. Recipients include men, women and organizations responsible for shaping and guiding the world, with this year’s recipient named as U.S. Senator John McCain, who will be celebrated at a ceremony and gala.
October 19-29, 2017
Each October, the Philadelphia Film Society puts on 10 days of cinematic splendor — attracting more than 35,000 dedicated movie lovers and scores of talented filmmakers. Leading up to the event, a team sets out to scour the world’s most prestigious film festivals – from Sundance to Berlin, Cannes to Toronto – to pull together a Philly festival filled with critically acclaimed and thought-provoking short films, feature-length films, animated movies and special guest appearances.
October 20-21, 2017
Wands at the ready! Chestnut Hill’s massive (and massively popular!) Harry Potter Festival is set to return to 12 full blocks in the charming neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia. The biggest Harry Potter Festival to date will feature Wands and Wizards Night on the Avenue, Magical Make and Take Zones, the Eighth Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament at Chestnut Hill College, Harry Potter quizzo, a Deatheater’s dance party, potion making, wizarding demonstrations, a muggles read-a-thon, the popular straw maze at Woodmere Art Museum and so much more.
October 28-29, 2017
One of the nation’s largest rowing events includes competitions among all ages of novice to elite scullers. Hundreds of spectators watch the races on the river’s eastern bank along Kelly Drive.
October 28, 2017
The vehicle-free event inspired by city street closures during Pope Francis’ 2015 visit transforms 3.5 miles, from 3rd and Chestnut Streets in the Historic District to 5th and Indiana in El Centro De Oro, so that pedestrians, cyclists and more can stroll down the middle of typically busy blocks, stopping along the way to enjoy pop-up arts and cultural activities, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Halloween is just one day of the year, but Philly has events, parties, celebrations and frights all month long. Whether you’re looking for activities for pint-sized trick-or-treaters or terrifying attractions for brave grown ups, festivities are in high supply in neighborhoods across the city.
November 1-12, 2017
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical romance brings the fictional drama of unlikely love at the Paris Opéra to the Academy of Music.
November 5-18, 2017
Every November, folks from all walks of life come together to share their stories on stage during the First Person Arts Festival. This year, the festival spans 14 days and brings a dozen different storytelling-themed shows to check out. Participants include Margaret Cho, Maria Bamford, Hari Kondabolu and more.
November 9-12, 2017
Handmade textiles, jewelry and housewares of the highest quality are on view and for sale at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show.
November 9-19, 2017
The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival aims to educate and expose the Philadelphia region to films about Asian Americans and by Asian Americans via an abundance of awesome screenings and events. Multiple films are shown at different locations throughout the city during the more than week-long festival – all for an affordable price.
November 19, 2017
One of the country’s premier — and most scenic — running events courses through historic downtown, past the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Boathouse Row. The weekend includes an 8K race, half-marathon, a Kids Fun Run and the Health & Fitness Expo.
Late November 2017
LOVE Park is getting ready to show off its new look. Redesigned sloping lawns, colorful new flower beds and a large central fountain are the backdrops to Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE sculpture, offering stellar sight lines of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for photo ops. The iconic round visitors center will also sport a new look and will offer food and beverage service.
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through September 3, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the Museum of the American Revolution, free tickets for a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, free mini-golf and a carousel ride at Franklin Square, free passes to ride the PHLASH Downtown Loop and a $10 Lyft credit.