Top Things to Do in Philadelphia in September 2017

Multi-sensory exhibitions, multicultural celebrations, music-filled festivals and so much more

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September not only ushers in the last day of summer and the first day of fall, but it also brings awesome events of all kinds to Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

From notable public art installations and productions like Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Monument Lab to arts and cultural festivals like the highly anticipated annual Fringe Festival and the PECO Multicultural Series‘ three(!) September festivals, this month brings no shortage of entertainment to take in and experience.

The month is also filled with events for lovers of food (read: all of us), including Center City Restaurant Week and the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival. And, of course, September weather begs for a few evenings spent outdoors in one of the city’s many great beer gardens and rooftop bars and restaurants.

Also take note, September brings the final few days to go visit Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and the last full month to chill out in Spruce Street Harbor Park.

Read on for all of the top things to do in September this year.


Center City Restaurant Week

Score deliciously discounted, multi-course meals at more than 100 restaurants during the fall edition of Center City District Restaurant Week. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

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 Center City Philadelphia’s popular restaurants.

Where: Harp & Crown, Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA, United States

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Made in America Music Festival

September 2018

The Budweiser Made In America Festival is a massive musical celebration that takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway during Labor Day weekend. This summer, JAY-Z, J. Cole and The Chainsmokers will headline the two-day festival, which also features an array of other artists curated by JAY-Z.

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Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia brings the opportunity to take advantage of three full days of fun at places like Spruce Street Harbor Park, the Barnes Foundation and more. — C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia hosts a set of awesome happenings over Labor Day weekend. Enjoy a free art excursion during First Friday — which fills the streets of Old City and Fishtown — and during Free First Sunday at the Barnes Foundation and the almost-free Pay-What-You-Wish First Sunday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Monday also brings the last chance to ride the 60-foot Ferris wheel at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest. And, of course, the holiday weekend also makes an ideal time to simply lounge in a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park or chill out with a beer at one of the city’s many outdoor beer gardens.

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Spruce Street Harbor Park

It’s a super relaxing way to spend time by the river. — Photo by M. Stanley for DRWC

Through October 1, 2017

September marks the last full month to enjoy the beloved, hammock-filled haven of Spruce Street Harbor Park. Be sure to carve out some time to hang in its beer garden, enjoy delicious food from its floating restaurant or boardwalk-style eateries and play games – ping pong, shuffleboard and more – along its waterfront boardwalk.

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Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

Boy looking at the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at The Franklin Institute Boy looking at the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at The Franklin Institute
— Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

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.

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Museum of the American Revolution

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia


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.

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Final Days for Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest aerial view Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest aerial view
— Photo courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

Through September 4, 2017

September brings the last few days to enjoy the fun-filled Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, so be sure to get out to the Delaware River waterfront destination and take advantage of Philly’s first outdoor roller skating rink. While you’re there, play a round of mini-golf, try your luck at the arcade, enjoy a variety of eats and drinks and check out the Midway, Summerfest’s carnival-style amusement park featuring rides (including a 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel), games and more!

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Beer Gardens in Philadelphia

The PHS Pop Up Garden on South Street is one of the many awesome beer gardens to explore in Philadelphia this month. — Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

Through Fall 2017

September is prime beer garden season in Philadelphia. 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 beyond. Head to a classic hot spot (Frankford Hall, Morgan’s Pier) or check out one of the city’s newer additions (Bok Bar). Click the button below to learn about more than 35 great beer gardens open this summer in Philly.

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Outdoor Movie Screenings

Through Fall 2017

Outdoor movie screenings are a quintessential part of the warm-weather season in Philadelphia. September brings flicks like Pete’s Dragon to Starr Garden, The Secret Life of Pets to the Shot Tower Playground, The Philadelphia Story (1940) to Spruce Street Harbor Park and more. Grab a blanket and settle in for an evening of entertainment under the stars.

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Rooftop Bars and Restaurants

Philly's a lot cooler — literally — from a rooftop bar or restaurant like Bok Bar — above

Through Fall 2017

From the bird’s-eye views of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Assembly Rooftop Lounge at The Logan Hotel to the sweeping sights from Bok Bar atop a former vocational school in South Philadelphia, Philadelphia’s skyward hospitality has reached new heights. While the weather’s still warm, take advantage of Philly’s growing roster of restaurants and bars that deliver up-in-the-atmosphere drama and enjoy a bounty of delicious eats and drinks as you work your way through our rooftop restaurants and bars list.

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Parkway 100

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway celebrates its centennial birthday with special events, exhibitions and more. — B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

September 8, 2017 – November 16, 2018

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia’s impressive cultural boulevard, celebrates its centennial this year with a slew of special events, exhibitions, community discussions and more during Parkway 100, kicking off this month. Throughout the duration of the celebration, visitors can interact with installations set up along the Parkway and also enjoy themed exhibitions at cultural institutions like Eastern State Penitentiary and the Philadelphia Mormon Temple.

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Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Ever take a ride in a lit pedicab sculpture? You will in the fall. — Rendering courtesy the Association for Public Art

September 14 – October 8, 2017

The Association for Public Art (aPA), working with guest curator Lance Fung of Fung Collaboratives, lights 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.

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O17 Festival

Academy of Music Academy of Music
— Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

September 14-25, 2017

The city’s musical profile hits a high note this month 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.

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Fringe Festival

The annual Fringe Festival brings performance art of all kinds and subject matters to venues citywide for more than two weeks. — Photo by Sarah Bishop Stone for Fringe Festival

September 7-24, 2017

Avant-garde performance meets street theater during the Fringe Festival, which brings more than two weeks of artistic pleasure to viewers at various locations throughout the city.
 Events range in price and a variety of them are free.

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PECO Multicultural Series

The <a href="">PECO Multicultural Summer Festival Series</a> takes place during weekends throughout the summer at Penn’s Landing. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Blue Corn Organic and Green Festival: September 3, 2017
Mexican Independence Day Festival: September 10, 2017
Brazilian Day Philadelphia: September 17, 2017

Three different events go down in September as part of the PECO Multicultural Series, featuring lively soirees that take place at Penn’s Landing. This month, celebrate Mexican Independence with live music, food and more, engage in the traditions of Brazil during a dance and food-filled affair and check out a new edition to the annual PECO series, the Blue Corn Organic and Green Festival.

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Kennett Square Mushroom Festival

September 9-10, 2017

Kennett Square, the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” puts the fun in fungi during a weekend of food, music, parades, contests and other activities that are all part of the annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival. From mushroom cook-offs to a car show to a street fair filled with rides, the festival brings something for everyone to enjoy – including lots and lots of tasty treats!

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Feria del Barrio

Feria del Barrio Feria del Barrio
The annual Feria del Barrio brings one of the city's largest celebrations of Latino arts and culture to Northeast Philadelphia this September. — G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

September 17, 2017

Serving as one of Philadelphia’s largest celebrations of Latino arts and culture, the annual Feria del Barrio brings together thousands of community residents from throughout the Philadelphia region for a free, all-ages event featuring some of the world’s most renowned musical artists. Look forward to Latin music and dancing, authentic bites to eat and handmade arts and crafts for sale.

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Monument Lab Installations

A post shared by Monument Lab (@monument_lab) on

September 16 – 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. Monument Lab will be a series of temporary installations by local and international artists accompanied by interactive pop-up laboratories for creative conversations.

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Philly Music Fest

An all-local lineup hits two stages for two days of Philly music at World Cafe Live this month. — Photo courtesy World Cafe Live

September 22-23, 2017

Show support for Philadelphia’s amazing music scene with this two-day festival at World Cafe Live showcasing local bands — like Works Drug, Abi Reimold, Strand of Oaks and Steve Gunn — along with regional food trucks, local chefs (including James Beard Award-winner Michael Solomonov), craft beer and spirits and visual arts. Proceeds go to local music education charities.

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Philly Fashion Week

September 18-23, 2017

Dilworth Park becomes one big runway during Philly Fashion Week, set to feature eight different high-end fashion and couture designers from around the world. Come dressed to impress and settle in for a night of decadent designs and trend-spotting.

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Must-See Exhibitions This Fall

Artist Martin Puryear’s 40-foot-high work Big Bling is just one of more than 30 exhibitions or pieces of art on view this fall in the region. — Photo by James Ewing Photography, courtesy Association for Public Art


Philadelphia’s museums make for an awesome indoor hang this September. All sorts of topics can be explored at exhibitions around town this September, including Magic in the Ancient World at the Penn Museum and Backyard Adventures at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, both of which close-out this month. Click the button below to view all of the must-see exhibitions for you to check out.

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Summer Concerts

Crowd at a concert at Festival Pier Crowd at a concert at Festival Pier
Festival Pier — Photo courtesy Festival Pier


From Katy Perry to Lady Gaga, top artists take to the stages this month at venues across Philadelphia. Plus, September brings the annual Made in America festival, featuring a robust lineup curated by Jay-Z.

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Grand Opening of Philadelphia Assembled at the Perelman Building

After a several-month-long display at locations citywide, Philadelphia Assembled culminates in a grand exhibition at Raymond G. Perelman this month. — G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

September 10 – December 10, 2017

How can we reimagine our tomorrow? That’s the question that several activists, artists, community members and more have tried to answer through a series of installations, conversations and events throughout the city over the past few months. Philadelphia Assembled culminates with an exhibition, opening this month, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building.

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40th Street Summer Series

Head to the September edition of the 40th Street Summer Series to catch Banda Magda, a group that merges South American rhythms with jazz improvisation. — Photo courtesy University City District

September 16, 2017

September marks the final edition of the 40th Street Summer Series, filling the al fresco space at 40th and Walnut streets once a month every month throughout the summer with free music. This month’s concert will be led by Greek-born composer, orchestrator, singer and accordionist Magda Giannikou, part of the eclectic ensemble Banda Magda. Listen as the band moves from samba and French chanson to Greek folk tunes, Colombian cumbia and Afro-Peruvian lando.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Live music pumps up runners along the route of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, which also includes 5K and 10K options. — Photo courtesy Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

September 16-17, 2017

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, 5K and 10K returns in September, bringing together fitness and music for the eighth year that the nationwide series hits the pavement in Philly. All along the way of the 13.1-mile, 6.2-mile and 3.1-mile races, runners will be greeted with live music from some of Philly’s favorite bands.

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Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival

The Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival brings more than 150 artists from across the country for a day of outdoor shopping and entertainment. — Photo by W. Concannan

September 24, 2017

Each year, Chestnut Hill welcomes autumn with the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival, a day of art, music, food, boutique shopping and fun for the whole family. More than 150 talented artists from throughout the country display and sell items ranging from watercolor paintings to jewelry to pottery. Live entertainment, children’s rides and al fresco dining round out the excitement during this free event.

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Greenfest Philly

More than 150 exhibitors and vendors head to Queen Village for Greenfest Philly, an all-day celebration of sustainability. — Photo courtesy Greenfest

September 10, 2017

Held in Queen Village on Bainbridge Street between 3rd and 5th streets, Greenfest Philly is the largest environmental festival in the Philadelphia area. With over 150 exhibitors and vendors, the festival presents a prime place to learn about living sustainably, with opportunities to shop for Philly-made green wares, enjoy local bites to eat, listen to live music, attend demonstrations and more.

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Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show

The Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show, the nation's oldest outdoor original artwork show, returns for a three-day weekend in Rittenhouse Square. — Photo courtesy Rittenhouse Row

September 15-17, 2017

Celebrating its 90th year, the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show has the long-running distinction of being the nation’s oldest outdoor original artwork show. More than 100 selected artists from across the country will fill the area in and around Rittenhouse Square with art representing all types of subject matters and mediums.

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Campus Philly CollegeFest

Campus Philly CollegeFest returns this September to bring a citywide day of discounts and entertainment for college students. — Photo courtesy Campus Philly

September 9, 2017

Philadelphia welcomes back thousands of college students during its annual Campus Philly CollegeFest, a citywide day of discounts, giveaways, entertainment and free admission to a dozen different museums and attractions. The festival is centered at Dilworth Park, where you can grab a bite to eat from one of the food vendors and meet with an array of local businesses. A student ID is required to obtain the wristband needed to participate in many of the festival’s activities.

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Philadelphia United Jazz Festival

September 16, 2017

Now in its fifth year, the Philadelphia United Jazz Festival brings a celebration of jazz to South Street between 15th and 16th streets. Visit the event’s official website to stay up to date on the schedule as it’s released.

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Supper Sessions on the Avenue in Mt. Airy

Grab a table along Germantown Avenue and dine out under the stars during Mt. Airy's weekly Supper Sessions, unfolding every Tuesday night. — Photo courtesy Mount Airy

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.

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Scarecrow Festival at Peddler’s Village

Enjoy a variety of autumn-oriented activities, including scarecrow workshops and pumpkin painting, at the Peddler's Village Scarecrow Festival. — A. Sinagoga for Visit Philadelphia

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.

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Downingtown Fall Fest

September 24, 2017

The eight annual Downingtown Fall Fest welcomes thousands of guests for a day of live entertainment, delicious eats, shopping and craft beer from Victory Brewing Company. Listen to live music, hang out in the beer garden, enjoy a bite from one of the 12-plus food vendors and more at this free-to-attend autumn festival.

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Doylestown Arts Festival

Head to the Doylestown Arts Festival to peruse works of art from more than 100 different artists stationed alongside an array of food vendors and live music for festival-goers to enjoy. — Photo courtesy Doylestown Arts Festival

September 9-10, 2017

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Doylestown Arts Festival returns to Bucks County with 100-plus artists, live music, food and fun for the entire family. Expect live music to be streaming throughout the weekend and plenty of tasty food options from which to choose.

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Hotel Deal

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

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.

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