The summer season brings a bevy of events and festivals to Philadelphia.
From the relaxing waterfront oasis at Spruce Street Harbor Park and the energetic roller-skating rink and carnival at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest to the Philadelphia Night Markets, pop-up beer gardens and outdoor music and arts festivals, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Philly during the summertime.
New events and attractions — like the Summer Sounds in the Historic District concert series and the opening of the Rail Park’s first stretch of new public green space — offer fresh experiences to be had all over the city.
As always, a ton of awesome (and free!) Fourth of July events — including the massive Wawa Welcome America free party, concert and fabulous fireworks show on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — come mid-season to attract locals and visitors alike.
Read on for all of our top events and festivals to check out this season below.
One of the best warm-weather spots in Philadelphia, Spruce Street Harbor Park welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The beloved temporary park invites residents and 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. Columbus Boulevard
A five-minute walk from Spruce Street Harbor Park, Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest offers a roller rink, a boathouse-styled lodge, a play area for kids, carnival-style fun, food and drink options and events throughout the season. Returning this year is The Midway, which brings rides (including a 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel!) and carnival games to the waterfront destination.
Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
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A post shared by Nero (@nero_one) on May 25, 2018 at 4:21pm PDT
Check out Photo Pop Philly — a new, interactive pop-up exhibit that showcases the creative work of local artists — in a once-vacant Center City space. The exhibit, which is presented by VISIT PHILADELPHIA and curated by Philly PR Girl, features red-white-and-blue themed rooms filled with original, Instagram-worthy art, murals and installations.
Where: The Philadelphia Building, 1315 Walnut Street
Parks on Tap, the city’s super-popular traveling beer garden series, is in the midst of its third and longest-ever season of bringing alfresco food and drinks to a different Philadelphia park every week. This summer, the ongoing event brings barbecue and beer to Belmont Plateau, Schuylkill Banks, Shofuso Japanese House & Garden, Lemon Hill, Penn Treaty Park and many more.
Where: Various locations including Schuylkill Banks, 2501 Walnut Street
Tippler’s Tour: May 31 – September 1, 2018 (select dates)
Independence After Hours: June 1 – October 20, 2018 (select dates)
Historic Philadelphia, Inc.’s summer programming delights Historic District visitors and locals alike. On the ongoing Tippler’s Tour, guests are ushered through some of Philadelphia’s most historic watering holes, complete with drinks, bites to eat, colonial songs and more. And popular walking-tour series Independence After Hours offers attendees dinner at City Tavern as well as after-hours access to Independence Hall for a special visit with some of our Founding Fathers.
Where: Various locations including Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut Street
The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival returns for a third year of illuminating Franklin Square with grand, artistic creations. For two months, the square at 6th and Race streets comes 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. Also on tap: cultural performances, the Dragon Beer Garden and more.
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
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.
Where: Various locations including Caplan Recital Hall at Terra Hall at the University of the Arts, 211 S. Broad Street
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, numbering more than 100 in 2018, range from tastings to lectures to beer-pairing dinners. Sudsy cheersing is encouraged.
Where: Various locations including The Fillmore Philadelphia, 29 E. Allen Street
The Kimmel Center’s Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) returns with 11 full days of collaborative, innovative performances, plus a live art-filled festival and street fair along Broad Street, also known as the Avenue of the Arts. Another highlight: French performance troupe Transe Express returns, this time for the world premiere of Cristal Palace, a 30-foot chandelier — made of 50 air acrobats and dancers on the banks of the Schuylkill River — and Taylor Mac’s inimitable recreation of the history of dance, from the waltz to disco.
Where: Various locations including the Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
This summer, visitors to Philadelphia’s Historic District can enjoy 50-plus live musical performances as part of Summer Sounds in the Historic District, a series of long-popular concerts and new programming curated by VISIT PHILADELPHIA. Jazz, DJ tunes, Latin grooves and even the sweet sounds of symphony will fill the parks, patios and plazas at more than a dozen locations from FringeArts located along the Delaware River waterfront to the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent on 7th Street.
Where: Various locations including the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
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. Columbus Boulevard
Take a rare look inside the homes along the nation’s oldest continuously inhabited 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 festivities.
Where: Elfreth's Alley, 124-126 Elfreth's Alley
June 6 – August 29, 2018 (Wednesdays only)
Planning post-work, mid-week drinks is a piece of cake thanks to Center City District Sips. The wildly popular happy hour series returns for its 15th summer with hard-to-beat happy hour specials ($4 beers, $5 wine, $6 cocktails) every Wednesday evening at over 90 bars and restaurants across Philly’s Center City area.
Where: Various locations including Independence Beer Garden, 100 S. Independence Mall W
Thursday, June 7 and Thursday, September 13, 2018
Looking for a bargain? During University City’s Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, local restaurants and businesses offer attendees bites to eat and other goods for the incredibly reasonable price of $1.
Where: Baltimore Avenue between 43rd and 52nd streets
Bring the whole family to West Fairmount Park for an awesome day of live music and dance performances, public art, craft goods and more during West Park Arts Fest. Attendees can enjoy food and drink from local vendors, take a historical trolley tour of the area, watch talented local artists perform on stage and more at this free celebration of Philadelphia’s cultural diversity and thriving arts scene.
Where: S. Concourse Drive between 41st and E. Memorial Hall Drive
The East Coast’s largest and the country’s longest, continuously running African-American street festival returns for its 43rd year, with organizer Bumi Fernandez at the helm and thousands in attendance. The annual commemoration of the Yoruba New Year includes a noontime spiritual procession to the Schuylkill River, and continues with live music and dance, 100 arts and craft and food vendors and more.
Where: 23rd and South Streets, Philadelphia
The city’s 30th annual LGBT pride festival begins with a parade from the heart of the Gayborhood to Penn’s Landing, where there’s live music, food, drink — and headliner Margaret Cho.
Where: Parade starts at 13th and Locust streets
The shining, shimmering, splendid Broadway stage adaptation of the hit Disney film Aladdin soars into Philly this June for a limited time. Hear all the incredible songs from the film — plus some new ones! — performed live by the terrific touring cast at the Academy of Music.
Where: Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
Celebrate the birthday of the American flag in the birthplace of the nation at institutions all across Philadelphia’s Historic District. The annual Stars and Stripes Festival features different activities — like flag raisings, a patriotic parade and more — throughout the day on Thursday, June 14 at the Betsy Ross House, the National Constitution Center and Independence Hall. Over at the Museum of the American Revolution, George Washington’s rare Commander-in-Chief’s Standard — the flag that marked his place on the battlefield — will be on display all weekend in honor of Flag Day.
Where: Various locations including National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
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: Broad and Noble streets to 11th and Callowhill streets
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, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
The Islamic Heritage Festival and Parade 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.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Live music, creative art, flavorful bites and more come to Clark Park in West Philly for this annual festival celebrating the start of summer, the neighborhood community and local music and art. This year’s festival features performances by Grandchildren, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, EDO and more musicians, a pop-up art gallery showcasing work by local artists, and over 50 craft vendors and food trucks.
Where: Clark Park, 4300-4398 Baltimore Avenue
Historic Germantown honors the ratification of the 13th Amendment with a parade along Germantown 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
Celebrate the first day of summer with some delicious eats at Night Market. The traveling food festival heads to the Gayborhood in Midtown Village in June, bringing with it a ton of food truck fare, live music and more.
Where: 13th and Locust streets
June 21 – August 30, 2018 (Thursdays only)
Start working up an appetite, Philly! Old City Eats kicks off in June to bring half-priced appetizers and drink specials to patrons at participating bars and restaurants in Philadelphia’s Historic District from 5-8 p.m. every Thursday this summer.
Where: Various locations including The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar, 138 Market Street
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 toward Penn’s Landing. 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
Celebrate the start of summer at the first-ever Summer Food & Music Festival in Peddler’s Village. A weekend full of scrumptious food, live music and loads of family fun awaits.
Where: Peddler's Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope
For the 29th year, dozens of artists specializing in fiber, paint and drawing, jewelry, glass and ceramics, wood and sculpture and more set up open-air galleries along the canal neighborhood’s Main Street for 200,000 guests to take in. It’s the region’s largest juried outdoor art show.
Where: Main Street
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A post shared by University City District (@universitycity) on May 17, 2018 at 12:23pm PDT
June 23, July 14, August 18 & September 15, 2018
University City’s popular 40th Street Summer Series returns for 2018 on one Saturday each month from May through September. Crowds gather on the open lawn behind the Walnut Street Library for live performances, activities, free giveaways and more. Check here for the schedule and performers for each date as they become available.
Where: 40th and Walnut streets
The Philadelphia Irish Festival, part of the annual PECO Multicultural Series of summer festivals, brings a day full of traditional Irish dance performances, Irish fare like bangers & mash and shepherd’s pie, vendor shopping and more to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Note that this event has been rescheduled from Sunday, June 3 to Sunday, June 24 due to inclement weather.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Philadelphia’s popular celebration of America’s birthday, Wawa Welcome America!, kicks off its 26th year of festivities on Thursday, June 28. The multi-day party consists of free events for all ages throughout the city, including outdoor concerts (like a free show from Pitbull on July 4!), museum days, a patriotic parade, block parties and two fantastic fireworks shows.
The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” Concert & Fireworks at Penn’s Landing is an annual tradition on the Delaware River waterfront. For the 8 p.m. concert, expect a set list full of patriotic classics, contemporary hits and old standards, then sit back and take in a grand fireworks display.
One of the oldest African-American literary events in the nation comes to Philadelphia each year, bringing conferences with performing and literary artists — including acclaimed journalists, writers, singers and more — from across the United States.
Where: Various locations including Art Sanctuary, 628 S. 16th Street, Philadelphia
Live music, street performers, food trucks, a beer garden and more entertainment comes to Independence Mall for Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party. The fourth annual celebration also marks the reopening of the historic and newly-renovated Bourse building and the new food, drink and retail vendors that occupy it.
Where: 5th and Market streets
Kick off Independence Day at the free Party on the Parkway and enjoy musical performances, food trucks, games, a kids’ zone and more. Stick around for the Wawa Welcome America epic grand finale: a free concert starring Pitbull, Heather Headley and the Philly POPS Big Band followed by a massive fireworks show.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway
This year’s fireworks show on Benjamin Franklin Parkway promises to be Wawa Welcome America’s biggest in more than a decade! The stunning event — which follows the Wawa Welcome America concert featuring Pitbull, Heather Headley and the Philly POPS Big Band — is totally free and open to the public.
El Concilio’s two-day Hispanic Fiesta draws over 15,000 people to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing each year. Now in its 38th year, the festival celebrates the vibrant cultures of several Latin American countries through music, food, dance, crafts and more.
Dining Days returns to University City for 10 days of prix-fixe meal deals at eateries in the neighborhood. Score three-course meals for $15, $25 or $35 dollars a pop at both established and hot new restaurants that are part of University City’s diverse and delicious dining scene.
Where: Various locations including Distrito, 3945 Chestnut Street
The masses storm the castle on Eastern State Penitentiary, as reenactors and audience members playfully recreate the storming of the Bastille at the historic building that is considered the nation’s first modern prison.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
Live country and bluegrass music and berries combine for a weekend-long midsummer celebration at the summer festival at Peddler’s Village in lovely Bucks County.
Presented by WXPN and AfroTaino Productions, the free alt-Latin music festival, a production of WXPN’s Latin Roots Live series, at World Cafe Live features acts from New York to San Antonio to Spain.
Where: World Cafe Live Philadelphia, 3025 Walnut Street
This July and August, the public space at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — known as Eakins Oval — transforms into an eight-acre pop-up park for a fifth season. On tap this year: a new art installation, mini-golf, a water mister, a giant sandbox and themed programming, including “Wellness Wednesdays,” “Arts & Culture Thursdays,” “Friday Food & Flicks,” “Game Day Saturdays,” and “Sunday Family Fundays.”
Where: The Oval, 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Critically acclaimed and up-and-coming jazz musicians from a variety of different backgrounds and concentrations showcase “Different Shades of Jazz” at the 12th Annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz & Arts Festival. The beloved community event also brings food trucks, artisan vendors and plenty of activities for kids to Saunders Park Greene on 39th Street and Powelton Avenue.
Where: Saunders Park, 3827 Powelton Avenue
Shakespeare in Clark Park returns this summer with five free performances of Twelfth Night. Grab a blanket and head to West Philly’s nine-acre public park for an entertaining alfresco production featuring both students and professional actors and musicians.
Hosted by public music station WXPN, this three-day event features established and emerging artists on the Camden waterfront. The lineup this year includes David Byrne, The War on Drugs, Sturgill Simpson and dozens more performers.
Where: BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Boulevard, Camden
The annual showing of look-but-don’t-touch vintage classics, hot rods and more line South Philly’s East Passyunk Avenue, as do food trucks and craft vendors.
Where: 1904 E. Passyunk Avenue
Hailed by Ebony magazine as “the black Sundance,” this event showcases artistically excellent independent films about the global black experience and films by people of color.
Where: Various locations including International House, 3717 Chestnut Street
Northern Liberties, the neighborhood that helped launch Philly’s craft beer craze, closes down North 2nd Street for a festival of beer gardens, food, workshops, art, street performances, two stages for live music and family-fun activities.
Where: Second Street & Poplar Street between Germantown Avenue and Spring Garden streets
The African Cultural Alliance of North America Inc. (ACANA) is proud to host the African Festival, an outdoor concert experience that brings artists, groups and dance troupes from around the African continent to perform. The festival provides a wide range of African entertainment, from traditional dance performances to modern Afropop and reggae musical performances. This free event also brings delicious African food vendors as well as vendors selling traditional clothing, modern clothing and arts and crafts.
This August, Night Market — The Food Trust’s popular street food festival series — heads to Frankford Avenue and York Street in Kensington to showcase the neighborhood food scene, culture and community. Expect loads of food trucks, live performances and more.
Where: Frankford Avenue and York Street
Pedestrians, cyclists and more can enjoy vehicle-free, free activity-chocked passage along North Broad Street — an eight-mile round trip route — from City Hall to Erie Avenue during Philly Free Streets.
Where: City Hall to Erie Avenue
Philadelphia’s answer to Woodstock attracts musicians, storytellers and craftspeople for a weekend of song and merriment at Old Poole Farm in Schwenksville.
Where: 1323 Salford Station Road, Schwenksville
Celebrate India’s Independence Day at the Festival of India at Penn’s Landing, presented by the Council of Indian Organizations in Greater Philadelphia as part of the PECO Multicultural Series. Enjoy a daylong showcase of Indian culture, including dance, art, music and more.
The sounds and flavors of the islands entice thousands of people each year to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing for the annual Caribbean Festival. Part of the PECO Multicultural Series, the festival includes a marketplace of Caribbean souvenirs and crafts, plenty of food options (think roti, curried goat and more) and performances showcasing genres like reggae, hip-hop and more.
The Brandywine Valley’s multi-day country music festival features country music stars Alabama, Toby Keith and Brad Paisley and includes Western-themed attractions, scrumptious food and an array of drinks.
Where: 5 Nantmeal Road, Glenmoore
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.
The Blue Corn Lifestyle: Organic and Green Fest promotes living a sustainable lifestyle. Centered around corn, the fest combines old Mexican indigenous traditions and modern-day Mexican farmer culture.
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 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
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
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: Kennett Square Mushroom Festival, 101 S. Union Street, Kennett Square
Brazilian Day — part of the PECO Multicultural Series — celebrates Brazilian independence by promoting Brazilian arts and culture. Music and dance performances — including showcases of the samba, forro, capoeira and the samba-reggae — are a major highlight.
Philadelphia honors this national event with Feria del Barrio in El Centro de Oro, Mexican Independence Day Festival on Penn’s Landing, and the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, among other civic occasions.
Where: Various locations including Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The final PECO Multicultural Series festival of the summer, Philly’s Mexican Independence Day celebration — presented by the Mexican Cultural Center of Philadelphia — celebrates Mexico’s independence with plenty of food, face painting, music from Mexican rock bands and more at Penn’s Landing.
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.