November is the month where the autumn season meets the holiday season — meaning there’s a TON going on in Philadelphia.
Can’t-miss events this month include the Philadelphia Marathon (one of the most historic races in the nation), major college-sports events (including the home opener for the defending NCAA champion men’s basketball team from Villanova University) and two big film festivals (the Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival and The Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival).
Toward the end of the month, things get seriously festive as the Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with exciting performances, giant floats and a backdrop of the city skyline and the impressive museums along the Parkway.
Once Thanksgiving hits, holiday happenings like Christmas Village, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and many more arrive for the season.
Find all of our top picks for November 2018 in Philadelphia, below.
September 21 – November 10 (select dates)
Halloween scares continue well into November at Terror Behind the Walls, Eastern State Penitentiary’s giant haunted house. To mark the end of the super-popular attraction’s run, guests who visit the prison on its final nights (November 9 and 10) will experience the Halloween-themed attraction in complete darkness. Boo!
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
View this post on Instagram A post shared by CraftNOW Philadelphia (@craftnowphl) on Sep 22, 2018 at 6:01am PDT
A post shared by CraftNOW Philadelphia (@craftnowphl) on Sep 22, 2018 at 6:01am PDT
November 1 – December 7, 2018 (select dates)
The more-than-month-long CraftNOW Philadelphia returns for its fourth year with eight events that showcase the work of the many talented and hardworking craftsman in and around Philadelphia. This year’s theme of “Making a Difference” highlights how craft can be a vehicle for change and dialogue.
Where: Various locations including The Center For Art In Wood, 141 N. 3rd Street
A decadent evening of delicious food created by incredible chefs takes place at The Rittenhouse Hotel when the renowned James Beard Foundation presents the Taste America Tour, a celebration of the country’s food scene. Guests of the dinner enjoy a meal created by Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney in Washington D.C., Philly’s own Nicholas Elmi and more. Chefs from Fork, Palizzi Social Club, Zahav, Barbuzzo and more also create dishes for the evening.
Where: The Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
The juried Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show celebrates some of the best makers in the area with a three-day craft show featuring an array of impressive handmade goods. Guests browse furniture, clothing, jewelry, glass works, paintings and more while enjoying live artist demonstrations.
Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch Street
Hawthornes Beer Cafe celebrates fall with an all-day festival featuring all-things autumn: pumpkin beers, ciders, fall lagers and comfort food. The fest also features an apple-bobbing competition, a pie-eating contest, live music and more seasonal fun along 11th Street.
Where: Hawthornes Beer Cafe, 738 S. 11th Street
Every November, Peddler’s Village dedicates a festival to fall’s favorite fruit – apples. The Peddler’s Village Apple Festival brings two days of apple-centric treats to the Bucks County attraction along with seasonal shopping, music, kids’ activities and more.
Where: Peddler's Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope
This November marks the 30th anniversary of the Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival, an event that celebrates by Jewish filmmakers and films about the Jewish experience. This year’s festival features 30 film events ranging from shorts and documentaries to feature films and panels.
Where: Various locations including Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad Street
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A post shared by Villanova Basketball (@novambb) on Mar 25, 2018 at 12:22pm PDT
After a second title in three years, the Villanova Wildcats begin another march toward excellence with their home opener against Morgan State University in early November.
Where: Finneran Pavilion, 1530 County Line Road, Bryn Mawr
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A post shared by Temple Men's Basketball (@tumbbhoops) on Dec 9, 2017 at 12:37pm PST
The Temple Owls Men’s Basketball team — led by coach Fran Dunphy — begin the run for a bid in the NCAA Tournament with a home opener on Tuesday, November 6 at The Liacouras Center with a matchup against crosstown rivals, the La Salle Explorers.
Where: The Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad Street
November 6-18, 2018 (select dates)
The tale of Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket comes to life on the Academy of Music stage as the Broadway version of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory takes residence in Philadelphia this November. Songs like “Pure Imagination” and “The Candy Man” accompany the classic children’s story.
Where: Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
The week-plus Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival puts the spotlight on films about the Asian experience and films created by Asian filmmakers to not only celebrate Asians in film, but also to educate the public on the Asian experience. The festival features a range of screenings at arts venues in Chinatown, Center City and beyond.
Where: Various locations including Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street
The Philly Holiday Festival celebrates all-things holiday in Philadelphia with weeks of seasonal fun at some of the city’s classic holiday attractions, including the Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Comcast Holiday Spectacular and so much more. Stay tuned for more info.
Where: Various locations including Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
Tens of thousands of twinkling lights kick off the holiday season at Peddler’s Village during the Grand Illumination Celebration, when Santa Claus himself flips the switch to turn on the majestic holiday lights. Throughout the season, guests can browse the light displays, enjoy festive food, visit with Santa and sho.
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A post shared by The Aspire Group (@theaspiregroup) on Aug 21, 2018 at 4:31pm PDT
Historic Franklin Field is a legendary, yet somewhat under-the-radar stadium that sits right in the shadow of Philadelphia’s Center City. The stadium dates all the way back to 1895 and served as the home of the Philadelphia Eagles from 1958 to 1970. The University of Pennsylvania has five home games at Franklin Field this fall, including their homecoming game against Harvard University on Saturday, November 10.
Where: Franklin Field, 235 S. 33rd Street
Ice skaters and winter revelerstake in sweeping views of City Hall while enjoying holiday fun at the Rothman Ice Rink and America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park. After ice skating and exploring the maze, guests can pop into the on-site Rothman Institute Cabin for hot chocolate and snacks.
Where: Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street
November 15 – December 27, 2018 (Thursdays)
Embark on a colonial pub crawl this holiday season as the Tippler’s Tour returns with seasonal beers and visits to pubs throughout the city. Along the way, a seasoned tour guide tells stories of winter 1777 — a time when the British occupied Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War.
Where: Tours depart from the Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street
Thousands of twinkling lights and a festive holiday soundtrack make up the Electrical Spectacle Light Show at Franklin Square, a favorite holiday activity in Philadelphia’s Historic District. Beyond lights and music, guests can also enjoy comfort food, local beers and hot beverages at Ben’s Sweets & Treats.
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
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A post shared by Philadanco! (@philadanco) on Jul 23, 2018 at 12:21pm PDT
Celebrated local dance troupe PHILADANCO puts on a brand-new show this November featuring works by two of the group’s resident choreographers. The pieces focus on the the choreographers’ growth throughout their time at PHILADANCO.
Where: Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Curated by beloved Northern Liberties shop Art Star, the holiday edition of the Art Star Craft Bazaar celebrates Philly’s maker scene with a two-day shopping event featuring clothing, jewelry, cards, toys, home items and more.
Where: SugarHouse Casino, 1001 N. Delaware Avenue
An expected 30,000 athletes take part in this year’s 26.2-mile Philadelphia Marathon, which winds throughout the city outskirts and into the heart of the city past the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. In addition to the main event, the weekend also features a 13.1-mile race, an 8k and a health-and-fitness expo.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, USA
This November, the Brandywine River Museum of Art opens an exhibition featuring 50 works — prints, paintings and drawings — by Winslow Homer, a 19th-century artist recognized for his impressive marine-themed art. In addition to his own works, the exhibition also includes photographs from Homer’s own collection.
Where: Brandywine River Museum of Art, 1 Hoffmans Mill Road, Chadds Ford
The Philadelphia Museum of Art celebrates the profound impact of Dieter Rams, an inventive industrial designer who simplified the design of many household products, with a special exhibition. Dieter Rams: Principled Design comprises a range of furniture, camera, radio, clocks and more that all embody his philosophies. Rams will also receive the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Collab Design Excellence Award on November 17.
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
America’s first Thanksgiving Day parade wows crowds with Disney characters, fancy floats, giant balloons, marching bands and other festive entertainment along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Benjamin Franklin Parkway & N. 21st Street
The Bavarian-inspired Christmas Village at LOVE Park opens on November 22 with a wide range of local and international vendors selling everything from delicate ornaments to winter accessories. The pop up is also home to live performances and toasty food and drinks.
Where: Love Park, 16th and Arch streets
During A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens, thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees and fragrant flowers transform the indoor gardens, where concerts take place daily; outside, 500,000 lights glitter in the trees, and fountains dance to seasonal music.
Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square
This holiday tradition shown on The Comcast Center lobby’s super high-res LED display combines the Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a magical sleigh ride over the city — with a bird’s-eye view of the new Comcast Technology Center — and a sing-along in 15 minutes of free holiday fun.
Where: Comcast Center, 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
The Morris Arboretum presents G-scale model trains running along a quarter-mile track that features 12 rail lines, seven loops and tunnels, two cable cars and nine bridges, all lit up with holiday lights and decorated with holiday cheer.
Where: Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue
The Grand Court of the historic Wanamaker department store (now Macy’s) offers a free show of dancing lights, set to the famed Wanamaker Organ. Performances run every two hours during store hours.
Where: Macy's, 1300 Market Street
When winter hits, Penn’s Landing opens its super-popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, a cold-weather-only attraction featuring ice skating, fire pits, seasonal food and drinks, a lodge, arcade, a confectionery cabin and more.
Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
One of the most-visited parks in the city turns on its holiday lights on Tuesday, November 27 and hosts a merry celebration to mark the occasion.
Where: Rittenhouse Square, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
Tax-free shopping on most clothing and shoes — need we say more? Take advantage of Philadelphia’s awesome shopping experiences, including brand-name retail destinations in Center City, charming craft bazaars and pop-up shops, independent boutique shops and top-rated shopping malls. The best time to begin shopping? Thanksgiving weekend. Not only do tons of stores offer once-a-year sales, but many Philadelphia holiday pop ups also begin that weekend — as do attractions that you can check out before or after your shopping trip!
Where: Various locations including Jewelers' Row, 115 S. 8th Street
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.