Fall fun hits a high note in October as neighborhood-wide fall festivals, Oktoberfests, special exhibitions and Halloween-inspired events all hit Philadelphia.
One of the biggest events of the month is the Midtown Village Fall Festival, a giant romp that brings an all-outdoor party to 13th Street — think live music, cold beer, easy-to-eat food and performers to boot. Just a day later, Old City welcomes a festival of its own as the arts-centric Old City Fest returns with art demonstrations and plenty to eat and drink.
As the month continues, Halloween enters the forefront as Terror Behind the Walls scares Eastern State Penitentiary guests, a festival of glowing pumpkins hits West Fairmount Park and South Street celebrates the season with a fun-for-all event featuring fall treats and crafts.
Read on for our guide to the biggest events and things to do in Philadelphia in October.
September 21 – November 10 (select dates)
Every October, Eastern State Penitentiary hosts a giant haunted house throughout its storied halls. Zombie prisoners, scary nurses and other ghouls pop out from hallways and crannies to scare guests as they make their way through the allegedly haunted attraction. Terror Behind the Walls runs nearly every single night in October — note that tickets are known to sell out.
Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
October is LGBT History Month and throughout the month, attractions and groups across the city celebrate the occasion with festivals (Outfest!) and other special events.
Where: Various events including Outfest, 1300 Locust Street
The city’s Mural Arts Program celebrates its positive impact on Philadelphia and its thousands of murals and art installations with a month full of trolley tours, mural debuts, free activities and much more.
Where: Various locations including the Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Night Market, the Food Trust’s giant food festival, returns for its final event of the season on Thursday, October 4 with a food-filled event in the city’s Point Breeze neighborhood. This fall’s festival will center around 20th and Federal streets and spread for blocks with dozens and dozens of food vendors, craft beer peddlers, live music, free activities and more.
Where: Night Market, 20th & Federal streets
Annually, more than 100 creative events make up DesignPhiladelphia, a citywide celebration of creatives from industries like fashion, architecture and art. Events include a giant kickoff party at Bok, special exhibitions, panels and showcases.
Where: Various locations including Bok Bar, 800 Mifflin Street
October 4 & 6, 2018
This October, King of Prussia’s giant beer festival returns to the town for two days of beer-drinking fun. Craft breweries from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and beyond (Victory, Yards, Troegs, Ommegang and more) serve up samples of their finest fall pours, while King of Prussia restaurants offer bite-sized treats to beer fest attendees.
Where: King of Prussia Mall, 160 N. Gulph Road, King of Prussia
After a successful first event last year, The GLOW: A Jack O’Lantern Experience returns to West Fairmount Park with more than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins that illuminate a trail throughout the public space. Visitors will find everything from iconic Philly attractions to Disney princesses carved on the pumpkins. Also keep an eye out for huge displays completely made up of illuminated pumpkins.
Where: The GLOW, 5201 Parkside Avenue
Munich-inspired festivities fill the 23rd Street Armory for an excellent beer festival presented by Brauhaus Schmitz. The now-annual festival promises authentic Bavarian food, German brews and live oompah music.
Where: 23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd Street
The all-day Midtown Village Fall Festival returns to the lively neighborhood with food, drinks, live music, games, sidewalk sales and more along a number of Midtown Village’s busiest thoroughfares, which close to vehicular traffic during the festivities. Beyond the outdoor fun on 13th Street, Brü Craft and Wurst hosts a festival of its own with tons of beer, games and music to complement the excitement.
Where: Midtown Village Fall Festival, 13th & Chestnut streets
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A post shared by Funtober - Rob & Jayne (@funtober) on Oct 1, 2016 at 11:23am PDT
The Oktoberfest spirit hits Roxborough on Saturday, October 6 for Roxtoberfest, a neighborhood celebration featuring food trucks, beer from Yards Brewing Company, traditional German music, folk dancing and more. Children’s activities include a pie-eating contest, face painting, an obstacle course and a giant inflatable slide. In the beer garden, the 21-and-over crowd can find games like Jenga, Connect Four and beer pong.
Where: Roxtoberfest, Ridge Avenue between Lyceum Avenue and Leverington Avenue
The history of the city’s Germantown neighborhood gets a festival of its own as the Revolutionary Germantown Festival returns with costumed characters, live music, food and drink — and the main event, a reenactment of the Battle of Germantown, the only military battle ever fought within the borders of Philadelphia.
Where: Revolutionary Germantown Festival, 6401 Germantown Avenue
For two weekends this October, Philadelphia dwellers can get a sneak peek inside the studios of some of the city’s most talented artists. More than 300 artists who specialize in everything from photography to glassblowing participate in Philadelphia Open Studio Tours.
Where: Various locations including 3rd Street Gallery, 45 N. 2nd Street
The Schuylkill River welcomes racers of all levels for the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival, an annual celebration of ancient Chinese dragon boat racing. Dozens of colorful boats, bedecked with dragon heads and tails, are manned by teams of up to 20 paddlers that compete against each other in several heats throughout the day.
Where: Schuylkill River Trail
The country’s largest National Coming Out Day celebration fills the Gayborhood streets with drag shows, bar crawls, festival-ready food, shopping, live music and more as Outfest returns to Philadelphia with epic celebrations and plenty of rainbow flags to boot.
Where: Philadelphia OutFest, 13th & Locust streets
Every fall, Old City Fest celebrates Old City’s maker population with crafts, exhibitions and demonstrations along the closed-to-traffic thoroughfares. In addition to arts events, the restaurants, bars and shops of Old City take it outside for alfresco eats, drinks and shopping.
Where: Old City Fest, N. 3rd & Arch streets
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A post shared by Philadelphia Flyers (@philadelphiaflyers) on Jan 18, 2018 at 9:08pm PST
Cheer on the Philadelphia Flyers as they take on the San Jose Sharks at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers’ home arena. The Tuesday night game kicks off the hockey team’s season in Philadelphia.
Where: Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street
Local food trucks join Chinatown’s restaurants for alfresco dining in the neighborhood as Chinatown Ye Shi Night Market returns. Guests of the evening-long festival can look forward to delicious fare from mobile food vendors, spirited performances and the chance to explore one of the city’s most bustling neighborhoods.
Where: Chinatown Ye Shi Night Market, 10th Street from Arch Street to Vine Street, Race Street from 9th Street to 11th Street
October 11-21, 2018 (select dates)
Shakespeare’s classic tale of Romeo and Juliet is transformed into a ballet this October when the Pennsylvania Ballet brings the story to life on the Academy of Music stage. The show opens on October 11 and runs on select days through October 21.
Where: Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
From October 12 to 14, impressive artwork surrounds Rittenhouse Square for the fall edition of the Rittenhouse Fine Craft Fair. Presented by the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, the festival features works by 140 presenting artists who exhibit everything from jewelry to glassworks.
Where: Rittenhouse Square, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
For the first time in decades, Rube Goldberg and his influential works will be featured in a comprehensive exhibition that celebrates Goldberg’s profound impact on the art world. Goldberg was a figure in the 20th century who was known for his cartoons, inventions, books and more.
Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Ml E.
Classic Philly fare is the theme of the day at the Philly Cheesesteak and Food Fest, which is not only home to plenty of its namesake (cheesesteaks), but also roast pork sandwiches, water ice, soft pretzels and hoagies. Tickets are required for entry into this food-filled fest.
Where: 2300 Arena, 2300 S. Swanson Street
The Fishtown RiverCity Festival kicks off with a 5K fun run that starts and ends at the waterfront park. After the run, the real fun starts as local bands take the stage, food trucks roll up, craft beer starts flowing and local vendors begin showing off their wares.
Where: Penn Treaty Park, 1301 N. Beach Street
A multiblock Oktoberfest celebration brings craft beer and fall-inspired fare to South Street West for Bloktoberfest, an annual celebration of local food, drinks and music. The festival runs from Broad to 18th streets on South Street.
Where: Bloktoberfest, South street between Broad and 18th streets
This October, The Franklin Institute opens a major exhibition that delves into the world of the Vikings who made their home in modern-day Scandinavia. The exhibition explores the Vikings’ way of life, their complex societies and planned-out invasions through 600 artifacts, parts of an original Viking ship, replicas, activities and more.
Where: The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street
Peddler’s Village gets in on the Oktoberfest spirit with a full weekend of events inspired by the German tradition. Guests can enjoy cold beer, bratwurst, live entertainment and shopping at the two-day event.
Where: Peddler's Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope
Fashion fans, take note. This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art debuts a comprehensive exhibition of haute couture from its impressive costume collection. Guests can browse pieces by influential designers like Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga and more.
Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Critically acclaimed and thought-provoking films make up the annual Philadelphia Film Festival, which is known for showcasing award-winning documentaries, shorts and feature films, while also welcoming an impressive roster of film industry powerhouses for panels and special presentations.
Where: Various locations including the Prince Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street
After an exciting last season, the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Chicago Bulls in a highly anticipated home opener at the Wells Fargo Center. Cheer on Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Reddick and more as they start up what is sure to be another exciting season.
“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.
Where: Eakins Oval, 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
This fall, the Barnes Foundation explores the influence, power and works of Berthe Morisot — a Parisian avant-garde artist — who succeeded among her contemporaries (Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and more) despite challenges she faced as a woman.
Where: Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Toward the end of October, the classic Broadway show Fiddler on the Roof makes a stop in Philadelphia for a nearly week-long run at the Academy of Music. Guests can watch performances of famous songs like “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “If I Were A Rich Man” while watching the story of family and love unfold on the Academy of Music stage.
The fall-blooming chrysanthemum is the focal point of Longwood Gardens’ Chrysanthemum Festival, which returns with more than 17,000 colorful chrysanthemums formed together to create orbs, columns and more. Also returning this year? The festival centerpiece, the Thousand Bloom Mum, a plant made up of more than 1,500 meticulously arranged yellow flowers.
Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square
Radio station Power 99 FM’s POWERHOUSE 2018 concert returns to the Wells Fargo Center with a stellar lineup of R&B stars and hip-hop heavyweights, including Meek Mill, SZA, Lil Uzi Vert and G-Eazy. Tickets go on sale on Friday, September 7 at 10 a.m. and each ticket purchased online comes with a digital copy of Meek Mill’s soon-to-be-released album.
The year-plus-long Parkway 100 Celebration ends with a grand finale event on Friday, October 26 — the exact 100-year anniversary of the debut of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Details of the specific events are to be announced, but plenty of celebrations are expected to be had along the museum-lined Parkway.
Where: , Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Travel back in time through interactive elements, games and special artifacts that tell the story of Alexander Hamilton’s profound impact on the country and how that impact carried through to daily life in Philadelphia. Access to this exhibition is included in the price of general admission to the museum.
Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
Headhouse Square’s fall festival is a day of shopping, live music, seasonal bites and brews, a straw bale maze, circus performances, horse and wagon hayrides, and face painting. Children 12 and under can also trick-or-treat along South Street.
Where: South Street Headhouse District, 200 Pine Street
College rowers, high school crews, elite athletes and world champions take to the water for the two-day Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. The sporting event regularly welcomes more than 25,000 spectators who line Kelly Drive to cheer on rowers during the 2.5-mile race, which makes for a festive environment all along the Schuylkill River.
Where: , Kelly Drive and Fountain Green Drive
This year, the Philly Farm and Food Fest moves to the Navy Yard where folks can spread out on the grass and enjoy samples from area farms, munchies from local food trucks, beverages from regional drink producers (beer, whiskey and more) and shopping from a 200-vendor farmers market.
Where: Philadelphia Navy Yard, 4701 Intrepid Avenue
There is plenty of fun to be had throughout October as Halloween festivities begin popping up in the city and across the countryside, too. Check out Halloween-night parties, pumpkin picking, creepy movie screenings, haunted houses and so much more all throughout the City of Brotherly Love.
Where: Various locations including Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
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.