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Top Things to Do in Philadelphia in September 2018

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Spruce Street Harbor Park Photo by Matt Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation
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Get ready: September starts off with a fun-filled long weekend (Labor Day!) and continues with a slew of special events all throughout the month.

One of the biggest events of Labor Day weekend is the giant Made in America music festival, which this year features live performances from Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, Zedd and more. The festival hits the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for two days of live performances in the heart of the city.

Toward the end of the month, more than 100 Center City restaurants offer up deals on prix-fixe feasts for the neighborhood’s hugely popular Restaurant Week. Make your reservations!

September also marks the start of Oktoberfest season in Philadelphia, which means German beer, oompah music and plenty of authentic fare at neighborhood festivals in Fishtown, along South Street and elsewhere.

Also this month? Major concerts, countryside festivals, arts festivals, fascinating exhibitions and more.

Read on for a guide to the biggest events hitting Philly this September.

01

Summer Sounds in the Historic District

Summer Sounds at Spruce Street Harbor Park Summer Sounds at Spruce Street Harbor Park
— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

June 1 – September 7, 2018 (select dates)

Live music and dance parties abound throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District during the VISIT PHILADELPHIA-curated Summer Sounds free concert series. September marks the final month of the event, which includes performances at Franklin Square, the Independence Visitor Center, Spruce Street Harbor Park and more.

Where: Various locations including Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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02

Dining Under the Stars in Media

Dining Under The Stars Dining Under The Stars
— Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Wednesday nights are for alfresco dining, drinking and shopping in Media as its Dining Under the Stars promotion continues till the end of September. Media’s most popular restaurants set up along State Street (which closes to vehicular traffic) for a full evening of summer fun in the quaint town.

Where: State street from Jackson Street to Orange Street, Media

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03

Spruce Street Harbor Park

A hammock-filled haven on the Delaware River waterfront

Spruce Street Harbor Park Spruce Street Harbor Park
— Photo courtesy Spruce Street Harbor Park

Spruce Street Harbor Park, a favorite seasonal attraction on the Delaware River waterfront, remains a city hotspot all month long. The park is home to events like music nights and shopping markets, in addition to cold craft beer, boardwalk-inspired food, games and plenty of space to lounge in the sun.

Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Columbus Boulevard

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04

Parks on Tap

Parks On Tap Parks On Tap
— Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

April 26 – September 30, 2018 (select dates)

It’s the final month for the roving beer garden series Parks on Tap, which has brought cold drinks and tasty food to public spaces across the city this year. Throughout the month of September, the pop up visits Clark Park, Pleasant Hill Park, the Fairmount Water Works, Pretzel Park and the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.

Where: Various locations including Clark Park, 4300-4398 Baltimore Avenue

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05

PHS Farm for the City

— Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

This Pennsylvania Horticultural Society urban agriculture project has created a 2,000-square-foot working farm atop the Thomas Paine Plaza of the Municipal Services Building across from City Hall, transforming the site for public forums, gardening workshops and artistic performances — and generating produce for Broad Street Ministry.

Where: Thomas Paine Plaza, 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

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06

Supper Sessions on the Avenue

Supper Sessions on the Avenue Supper Sessions on the Avenue
— Photo courtesy Mt. Airy USA

Every other Wednesday, August 29 – October 10, 2018

Mt. Airy’s alfresco dining series Supper Sessions on the Avenue continues on two Wednesdays (September 12 and September 26) in September. Ten restaurants serve up delicious eats alfresco, complete with live music, kids’ activities and more. Bonus: The Quintessence Theatre group performs Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein at the Supper Sessions event on September 26.

Where: 7100 Germantown Ave, 7100 Germantown Avenue

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07

Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia

Spring Garden Bridge Skyline Spring Garden Bridge Skyline
— Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Labor Day weekend arrives in Philadelphia with an assortment of special events to entertain visitors and locals alike all throughout the long weekend. Happenings include free museum admission at the Barnes Foundation, major festivals across the city, the final days of Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and so much more. And long weekends are the BEST weekends, so don’t forget to book a hotel package and make the most of it!

Where: Various locations including the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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08

Made in America Festival

Labor Day weekend festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway returns

Made in America Festival Made in America Festival
— Photo courtesy Made In America

The Made in America Festival, one of Philadelphia’s biggest music festivals, hits the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for another year of live music from some of the biggest names in hip-hop, EDM, rock and pop. The festival runs throughout Labor Day weekend with performances by Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, Diplo, Zedd, Alessia Cara and more.

Where: Various locations including Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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09

Blue Corn Lifestyle: Green and Organic Fest

Cultures from all over the world are celebrated at the Green and Organic Festival at Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. The festival serves as a cultural celebration and a promotion for sustainable living, and includes performances, music and food.

Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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10

BMW Championship

BMW Championship BMW Championship
— Photo courtesy BMW Championship

Come September, Newtown Square’s Aronimink Golf Club is home to one of the biggest events in the golf world, the BMW Championship golf tournament. During the event, 70 of the PGA Tour’s top golfers compete in the penultimate event of the FedExCup Playoffs.

Where: Aronimink Golf Club, 3600 St. Davids Road, Newtown Square

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11

Fringe Festival

FringeArts FringeArts
— Photo by J. Lawrence for Visit Philadelphia

Every year, the Fringe Festival (presented by FringeArts) brings the best of contemporary performances and forward-thinking arts events to venues across the city. This year, the festival runs from September 6 through 23 with dozens of exciting shows.

Where: Various locations including FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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12

Illuminated Fountain Performances at Longwood Gardens

Fountain performances at Longwood Gardens Fountain performances at Longwood Gardens
— Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens

September 6-28, 2018 (select dates)

Longwood Gardens continues its popular annual Illuminated Fountain performances in September. Throughout the month, the must-see shows feature music from Motown, a special birthday tribute to Leonard Bernstein, selections from Carmina Burana and more.

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

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13

Campus Philly CollegeFest

— Photo by Chris Kendig

College students can kick off the school year at Campus Philly’s annual CollegeFest, a celebration that welcomes students to the City of Brotherly Love. Festivities include an alfresco festival at Dilworth Park and free admission to some of the city’s most popular attractions (Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute, Eastern State Penitentiary and more).

Where: Various locations including Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA

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14

Philly Naked Bike Ride

The Philly Naked Bike Ride returns, bringing with it hundreds of scantily clad cyclists who make their way around the city without much (if any) clothing in sight. The ride ultimately aims to bring awareness to bike safety and body positivity.

Where: Various locations including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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Kennett Square Mushroom Festival

All things mushroom celebrated in “The Mushroom Capital of the World”

Did you know that the “mushroom capital of the world” is just a short jaunt outside of Philadelphia? Kennett Square is also home to an excellent, two-day Mushroom Festival every September full of mushroom-themed food, music, exhibits and activities.

Where: 101 S. Union Street, Kennett Square

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16

Brazilian Day Festival

Brazilian Day Philadelphia Brazilian Day Philadelphia
— Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

Brazilian traditions are the theme of the day at the PECO Multicultural Series’ Brazilian Day Festival, which celebrates Brazil’s independence. Traditional Brazilian food, music and merchandise fill the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing for a full day of fun.

Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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17

Greenfest Philly

More than 100 local vendors and exhibitors come together in the name of sustainability for the all-day festival Greenfest Philly. The environmental event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bainbridge Green and offers opportunities to learn about green living through food, demonstrations, activities and shopping.

Where: Bainbridge Street between 3rd and 5th streets

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18

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll
— Photo courtesy University City District

Deals abound along Baltimore Avenue this September for the popular Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll. The Thursday-night festival promises $1 deals from neighborhood hot spots like Dock Street Brewery, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Dahlak, Aksum and more. Beyond food and drinks, performers and local businesses take to the street for even more deal-fueled fun.

Where: Baltimore Avenue from 43rd Street to 52nd Street

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19

Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show

More than 140 artists from across the country showcase their finest wares at the annual Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show. Vendors peddling everything from photography and sculpture to prints and acrylics line Rittenhouse Square during the three-day art fest.

Where: Rittenhouse Square, 1848 Walnut Street

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20

40th Street Summer Series

Free monthly outdoor concerts in University City

40th Street Summer Series 40th Street Summer Series
— Photo by Ben Tran

University City District’s free summer concerts wrap up for the season on Saturday, September 15 with a grand finale concert featuring New Sound Brass on the green space behind the Free Library of Philadelphia — Walnut Street West location . New Sound Brass fuse  gospel, funk, R&B and rock to create a high-energy performance and an exciting sound. Free giveaways and activities round out the fun.

Where: 40th & Walnut streets

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21

Philadelphia United Jazz Festival

On Saturday, September 15, the Philadelphia United Jazz festival hits the 15th & South streets for a sixth year of free performances. This year, the event features live jazz from Jeff Bradshaw and the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble as well as a showcase by the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble.

Where: 15th & South streets

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22

Scarecrow Festival at Peddler’s Village

— Photo by A. Sinagoga for Visit Philadelphia

Fall arrives at Peddler’s Village with the two-day Scarecrow Festival, a full weekend of autumnal events at the Bucks County attraction. Events include scarecrow-making workshops, pumpkin painting, live music and seasonal shopping. Guests can also peruse the grounds and vote for their favorite scarecrow at the Scarecrow Competition and Display.

Where: Peddler's Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope

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23

Rock ‘N’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Live music serves as the backdrop for the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, which returns to Philly on September 15 and 16 with more music and community events than ever before. The running events — comprised of a half marathon, a 5K and a 10K — are open to athletes of all levels.

Where: Various locations including The Oval, 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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24

Hispanic Heritage Month

A month-long celebration of food, music and culture

Feria del Barrio street festival. Feria del Barrio street festival.
The annual Feria del Barrio on North Fifth Street — Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Hispanic culture is celebrated with festivals, special events, food-fueled happenings and so much more during Hispanic Heritage Month. Two highlights of the month-long celebration of Latino pride and Hispanic heritage: the Feria del Barrio (September 23, 2018) and the Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival (September 30, 2018).

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25

Mexican Independence Day Festival

Mexican Independence Day at Penn's Landing Mexican Independence Day at Penn's Landing
— Photo courtesy Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

The PECO Multicultural Series wraps for the season with the giant Mexican Independence Day celebration at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Throughout the day, local vendors and performers come together to celebrate Mexico’s independence through food, music and crafts.

Where: Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard

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26

Chester County Restaurant Festival

The finest restaurants of Chester County take to the streets this September for the street-closing Chester County Restaurant Festival. Comprised of more than 65 restaurants, the festival also features a local-beer-and-wine garden, arts vendors and live music.

Where: Gay & Matlack streets, West Chester

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27

Festival O18

Opera Philadelphia refers to its groundbreaking second 11-day festival as a “civic experiment” made up of operas and performances all over the city, including Ne Quittez Pas at South Street concert space the Theatre of Living Arts and Lucia di Lammermoor at the historic Academy of Music.

Where: Various locations including Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street

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28

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary
— Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

September 21 – November 10, 2018 (select dates)

Things at Eastern State Penitentiary get pretty scary in September as Terror Behind the Walls — one of the country’s most popular Halloween attractions — returns for the season. Guests can explore the abandoned halls by nightfall while creepy zombies, nurses and ghouls pop out from around the attraction.

Where: Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue

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29

Oktoberfests in Philadelphia

Beer, brats and block parties all season long

23rd Armory Oktoberfest 23rd Armory Oktoberfest
— Photo courtesy Brauhaus Schmitz

September and October 2018 (select dates)

Prost! September is the start of Oktoberfest season in Philadelphia. The beer-fueled festivities turn up in all corners of the city (and into the Countryside, too). Two of the biggest events: South Street Oktoberfest (presented by Brauhaus Schmitz) and PHL Oktoberfest (presented by Frankford Hall), both slated for Saturday, September 22, 2018.

Where: Various locations including Brauhaus Schmitz, 718 South Street

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30

Feria Del Barrio

Philadelphia’s El Centro de Oro, a hub for Latino culture, is home to the annual Feria del Barrio, a festival that celebrates Latino culture. The event features authentic dance performances, traditional fare, craft shopping and more.

Where: Feria del Barrio, N. 5th Street from Huntingdon Street to Somerset Street

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31

Center City District Restaurant Week

More than 100 restaurants offering three-course meals for $20 to $35...

Amada — Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Restaurants like Harp and Crown, Barbuzzo, High Street on Market, Ocean Prime and more offer up meal deals for the fall edition of Center City Restaurant Week. The foodie promotion is the perfect opportunity for city dwellers and guests to check out some of the finer dining establishments in the city for a discount: $35 for three-course dinners and $20 for three-course lunches.

Where: Various locations including Amada, 217-219 Chestnut Street

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32

Philly Fashion Week

Philly’s most fashionable don their finest attire for Philly Fashion Week, which returns from September 24 to 29. The event brings pop-up runways, shopping events and special fashion showcases to venues across the city.

Where: Location to be announced

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33

FEASTIVAL

FringeArts’ annual fundraiser returns with great food, delicious drinks and exciting performances, but this year, the menu gets a little more flavorful as participating chefs are challenged to create food that signifies their assigned neighborhood — think Italian food for South Philly and Caribbean fare for West Philly. Cheers!

Where: FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard

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34

Philly Music Fest

The Philly Music Fest celebrates its namesake (Philly music!) with a full weekend of shows at three of the city’s most popular music venues — Johnny Brenda’s, World Cafe Live and Milkboy. The lineup consists of Philly-only bands and performers who will perform everything from jazz to rock.

Where: Various locations including Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Avenue

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35

Leslie Odom Jr. Celebrating the POPS 40th Anniversary

Leslie Odom Jr., who is best-known for his role in Hamilton on Broadway, helps kick off the POPS’ 40th anniversary this September. Odom will join the POPS and perform a slew of classic American songs in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.

Where: Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street

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36

Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival

Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill shuts down to traffic and opens up to alfresco art for its much-loved Fall for the Arts Festival. Every year, the festival welcomes thousands of arts fans who peruse the wares from more than 150 artists along the avenue. In addition to art, the festival also features music, food, crafts and more.

Where: Germantown and Rex avenues

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37

Puerto Rican Festival Parade

More than 1,500 people parade down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the annual Puerto Rican Festival Parade. Year after year, the parade celebrates Puerto Rican culture with poetry readings, live performances, tons of music and tasty street food.

Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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38

Summer Exhibitions

Race cars, modern art, Leonard Bernstein, video games and more

X-Treme Bugs exhibit at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University X-Treme Bugs exhibit at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
— Photo courtesy Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

As summer comes to a close (tear!), so do a number of the city’s major exhibitions. Make plans to check out exhibitions like Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music exhibition at the National Museum of American Jewish History, Renoir: Father and Son / Painting and Cinema at The Barnes Foundation, Game Masters at The Franklin Institute and more before they end their run in September.

Where: Various locations including The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

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Summer Sounds in the Historic District
Dining Under the Stars in Media
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Parks on Tap
PHS Farm for the City
Supper Sessions on the Avenue
Labor Day Weekend in Philadelphia
Made in America Festival
Blue Corn Lifestyle: Green and Organic Fest
BMW Championship
Fringe Festival
Illuminated Fountain Performances at Longwood Gardens
Campus Philly CollegeFest
Philly Naked Bike Ride
Kennett Square Mushroom Festival
Brazilian Day Festival
Greenfest Philly
Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll
Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show
40th Street Summer Series
Philadelphia United Jazz Festival
Scarecrow Festival at Peddler’s Village
Rock ‘N’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon
Hispanic Heritage Month
Mexican Independence Day Festival
Chester County Restaurant Festival
Festival O18
Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary
Oktoberfests in Philadelphia
Feria Del Barrio
Center City District Restaurant Week
Philly Fashion Week
FEASTIVAL
Philly Music Fest
Leslie Odom Jr. Celebrating the POPS 40th Anniversary
Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival
Puerto Rican Festival Parade
Summer Exhibitions
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