It’s spring. It’s only natural you spend more time outdoors — and notice your city needs your help. If the new season has inspired you to become more civically engaged, then you’ve come to the right place. Here is your official Good Philadelphia Citizen Calendar for 2023. (We’ll keep updating it as new events crop up!)
Truth be told, you can be a good citizen any day of the year: Sweep your block. Donate a book to a little free library. Volunteer at any kind of shelter. Buy a a box of overpriced candy from a kid on the subway. Lend a hand to someone who could use it. Patronize a local business.
But for specific ideas, pull out your new 2023 calendar, sharpen your favorite pencil, and start marking these civic holidays and Philly-centric events to make 2023 your best citizen year yet.
May / June / July /
August / September / October / November / December
May 1: Last Day to Register to Vote Before the Primary Election
May 3: Buy a Newspaper on World Press Freedom Day
Pick up a newspaper: Maybe the Philadelphia Daily News or Philadelphia Tribune, or an Inquirer. Make a donation to a nonprofit newsroom that’s actively working to solve seemingly intractable Philadelphia problems … like, oh, I don’t know, The Philadelphia Citizen?
May 8-12: Do an Educator a Solid during Teacher Appreciation Week
Some believe a solid education, fueled by teachers and support staff who double as mentors, is the most essential solution of all. Shoutout to all the educators who look after our kids from pre-K to post-grad. Here are some ways to help teachers (and therefore students) here in Philly.
May 13: Sign up for Love Your Park Day
Like spring cleaning, except for your neighborhood park. Heck, like spring cleaning but for a park that you’ve never been to before, where you discover something new, like friends!
May 16: Vote in the 2023 Primary Election
Philadelphia being very majority Democratic, it’s more than likely that the primary election will determine who’ll be Philadelphia’s next mayor. You know what to do. Vote.
May 20: Ride (or Run, or Walk) like an Eagle at the Eagles Autism Challenge
We’ve got a whole lot to be proud of in our one-and-only NFL team. One of the many off-the-field reasons to love our Birds: The good they do in our community and around the world. The Eagles’ biggest effort: Find a cure for and improve the lives of people with autism. So far, they’ve raised millions toward this goal. Folks who fundraise enough (starting at $250) can take part in the team’s annual Autism Challenge, with options to bike, run, or take part in a sensory walk (tickets for kids ages 3-12: $25 each).
May 20-21: Climb the Greased Pole (or just watch) at the S. 9th Street Italian Market Festival
It’s loud. It’s crowded. There’s a greased pole that’s pretty much daring every post-championship pole climber to tackle it, en masse. There’s live and DJ’ed (hi, Jerry Blavat) music. And, cannoli. And giant pineapple drinks, lines out the doors of Di Bruno Bros, Claudio’s, Fante’s … It’s kinda blissful.
May 29: Honor Fallen Military on Memorial Day
Memorial Day began after the Civil War to honor members of the military who lost their lives in battle. Should you be feeling patriotic and / or grateful for the sacrifices made by service members and the people who loved them, pay your respects at Philadelphia National Cemetery in West Oak Lane at 6909 Limekiln Pike.
June 11: Do Up Odunde
This proud, woman-founded, extra lively West South Street tradition merges African and African American traditions into unbridled Black joy on the Second Sunday in June.
June 19: Celebrate Juneteenth — and Feel Great About It.
It’s been three years since President Biden made Juneteenth a federal holiday, giving all Americans the opportunity to celebrate the end of slavery. Take this opportunity to visit the African American Museum in Philadelphia, support Black-owned businesses that do good, catch a parade — or to just listen.
June 20: Help Someone New to the United States on World Refugee Day
For the moment, the United States remains a promised land for people fleeing war, poverty, crime, and abuse. Here’s how you can help refugees who’ve come to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection looking for a better life.
July 4: Catch Philadelphia Fireworks on Independence Day
The city’s tourism bureaus like to say, “The city that did it first, does it best.” Well, Phily certainly does it longest. Welcome America is a 15-day, event-filled runup to Independence Day, replete with concerts and fireworks, including the biggest of the year over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
August 4: It’s Hot Out. Have a Beer.
Go to a Philadelphia brewery that does more than brews and serves delicious pilsners, ales, and whatnot. Go to a Philadelphia brewery that does good for its community.
September 3-4: Do More than Listen at Made in America
Jay-Z’s massive Labor Day weekend concert is known for bringing the biggest names in hip-hop to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. They also bring good causes, to … Cause Village. Visit.
September 4: Give Unions a Fair Shake On Labor Day
Unions get a bad rap. Some of us blame … gangsters. But, to review some American history, workers created unions as protection against on-the-job exploitation and discrimination. Here, a union president argues why we still need them.
September 15: Do Something for Democracy Day
“Democracy,” it is often said by the smartest people at The Philadelphia Citizen events, “is not a spectator sport.” During last year’s Ideas We Should Steal Festival, The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin elaborated, “Unless you participate, it’s going to fail. Run for office. Join a campaign. Don’t just give money. Don’t just write a check. Subscribe to a newspaper. Do something. Become a political participant.”
September 24: Let Loose on Gritty’s Birthday
Wear orange. Be weird. Have fun.
October 6-8: Roam the Gayborhood during OutFest
Pride is fun, but OutFest — which lays claim to being the nation’s largest Coming Out Day celebration — feels distinctly Philly.
October 9: Honor Indigenous People
All of Philadelphia was once the domain of the Lenni Lenape. On this, the day that used to be Columbus Day, we have a chance to celebrate them. Here’s how:
October 11: Praise Your LGBTQ+ Friend for Coming Out
Coming out in 2023 might be easier than it was in 1983, but it’s still not close to easy, not for most Americans. Congratulate friends you know who’ve done it. And, consider supporting a local LGBTQ+ cause or two.
October 14, 15, 21, 22: Go on an Open Studio Tour
For two weekends, the Center for Emerging Visual Artists invites Philadelphia artists to open their work spaces to the public. Drawing back the curtain on the artistic process, makers of fine arts share their secrets and inspirations.
October 23: Hurry! It’s Your Last Day To Register to Vote before Election Day!
Pennsylvania gives eligible residents — ages 18 and over — the chance to register to vote for up to 15 days before an election. This makes, by our calculations, October 23 the last day to register. Do it.
November 1: Eat Your Veggies on World Vegan Day
Didya know that Philadelphia has one of the highest ranked vegan restaurants … in the world? Vedge sure is a treat. But you can also get your vegan on at Monster Vegan, Bar Bombón, HipCityVedge, The Tasty, LUHV, The Nile Cafe, Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Fitz on 4th, Charlie was a sinner …
November 5: Show Your Philly Pride on Jason Kelce’s Birthday
Philadelphians don’t often adopt out-of-towners as one of our own. Kelce is an exception. Dude chugged a beer with the Phanatic during the 2022 World Series. Coined the phrase, “Nobody likes us, and we don’t care!” at the 2018 Super Bowl parade — while wearing Mummers regalia. Made his teammates sing on a Christmas album and created a line of merch — to benefit Philly kids. More on that: Time and again, Kelc has proven he really, truly, deeply cares about our city and the people in it. HBD.
November 7: It’s Election Day. Vote.
If you didn’t do it earlier, do it. Now.
November 10: Thank a Vet on Veteran’s Day
More than 7,000 military veterans call Philadelphia home. Thank them by supporting those in need and supporting their businesses.
November 11: Sign up for Love Your Park Day
So. Many. Leaves to pick up. Trash, too, this being Philadelphia.
November 13: World Kindness Day
Kindness is goodness in action. Did you know it is also the key to happiness? If you do nothing else all year long, do this: Be kind.
November 23: Give Thanks By Giving
Thank those Philadelphians who are making this city a greater city for all. Then, take some time to honor those in need. Here are some ways to do that:
November 25: Shop Small Saturday in Philadelphia
We’ve got some of the best urban main streets — although few go by that name — in the country. Choose one. Or more. Buy stuff there.
December 7: Write a Letter
On National Letter Writing Day, think about someone you’ve been meaning to reach out to — a far-away friend, grandparent, sibling, anyone you’ve lost touch with — and take a few minutes to send them a card or drop them a line.
December 21: It’s Quinta Brunson’s Birthday. Respect your Teachers.
The creator and star of Abbott Elementary made us fall in love again with Philadelphia’s public schools, warts and all — but especially with Philly educators. You know what they like: Gift cards for school supplies … and coffee shops.
December 26: Join One of the Oldest Kwanzaa Celebrations in the Country. (And Bake Cookies.)
That’s here, in Philadelphia, in case you didn’t know. Listen to Tonya “Food Griot” Hopkins’ podcast about the history of the holiday in Philly. Then start the festivities in the best way: Bake Kwanzaa cookies.