Fall in Philadelphia can feel brief. Best to jump on all of these things to do in Philly while the weather’s still crisp, and the energy is high. Big-deal-every-fall arts events include Philly Fringe, Philadelphia Film Festival, O23, and anything and everything related to the Philadelphia Eagles, including home games. Of course, there’s loads more weekend fun.
It’s the start of the season for major arts and cultural institutions: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Ballet, and exhibition openings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation … Tis also the season of neighborhood festivals — we call ’em block parties — and last chances for outdoor beer, wine and cocktail gardens.
Pace yourself for all these …
THINGS TO DO THIS FALL IN PHILLY
MAJOR ART AND MUSEUM EXHIBITS IN PHILADELPHIA THIS FALL
- Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and African American Museum in Philadelphia, through October 8
- The Artist’s Mother: Whistler & Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, through October 29
- Black Founders: The Forten Family of Philadelphia, Museum of the American Revolution, through November 26
- El Origen de la Noche (The Origin of Night), Philadelphia Museum of Art, September 7, 2023 – February 2024
- Determined to Be: The Sculpture of John Rhoden, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), October 5, 2023 – April 7, 2024
- The Shape of Time: Korean Art after 1989, Philadelphia Museum of Art, October 21, 2023 – February 11, 2024
- Marie Laurencin: Sapphic Paris, Barnes Foundation, October 22, 2023 – January 21, 2024
THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER 2023
From September 6
Informational interactive displays and important artifacts tell the story of the First Amendment — the one protecting speech, assembly, religion and press — in a new, permanent, 1,500-square-foot gallery at the National Constitution Center. $14.50, discounts for students, seniors, etc.; 525 Arch Street
September 7 – 25, times vary
More than 300 separate productions — and way more performances — comprise Philly’s intimate take on the iconic Edinburgh, Scotland festival. There’s improv and interactive Tea Party at the End of the World, cabaret Auntieland, musicals for kids Sing the Rainbow, circus The Sculpture Gallery, and so much experimental theater. Venues include the MAAS Building, Fidget Space, the Icebox, Theatre Exile, the Ruba — all over. Ticket prices vary.
September 7 – October 8, hours vary
In the lead-up to National Coming Out Day (October 11), PHS’ South Street Pop UP Garden serves a month of food, drink, live music, a Pride-centric floral display by Eric Schellack, and LGBTQ+ events: Sips City Mixer, September 7 from 6 to 9pm; Garden Party and concert with Astral Artists, September 17 from 12:30 to 2:30pm, and a performance from Lady Geisha, October 8. Free entry. 1438 South Street
September 7 – October 21, from 10am to 6pm
Have you ever wanted to play a tennis-sized game of ping-pong? Dilworth Park features two outdoor professional PickleRoll pickleball courts operating daily, weather permitting. $40 per hour; reservations required for groups up to six; paddle rentals, $6. 1 S. 15th Street
September 7, from 4 to 7pm
The Navy Yard’s Central Green hosts an evening of food trucks (GiGi, Thai It Up, Barkley’s, El Tlaloc), drink vendors (Two Robbers, City Winery), makers and retail vendors, live music, a bounce house, yard games, ping pong, face-painting … Pre-register here. Rouse Boulevard & Normandy Drive
September 8 – 17
The City of Philadelphia contributes to this national holiday through the Office of Immigrant Affairs. Events planned include a Global Craft Market (September 9 from noon to 5pm, 301 S. Columbus Boulevard) an Indonesian Festival outside Fleisher Art Memorial (September 10 from 11am to 5pm at 700 Catharine Street) Celebrate Asia festival, and a visit from Little Amal (September 13 – 14), a giant puppet who represents half of all refugees — children. Free.
September 9, from 10am to 4pm
Ride the ferry. Paddle a kayak. Explore both sides of the Delaware River with waterfront activities, all gratis, as part of this festival. 101 N. Columbus Boulevard, and 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ
September 10, from 2 to 8pm
Penn’s Landing hosts an all-afternoon celebration of Mexican culture, including cuisine, dancing, crafts, and music. Free. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
September 10 – 23
The two-week tradition of discounted prix fixe meals throughout Center City turns 20 this year. Nearly 95 restaurants participate, serving $20 lunches, $60 dinners and other price points in between.
September 15 – 17, from 11am to 6pm (until 5pm on Sunday)
You can find artists making — and selling — their work almost anytime in leafy Rittenhouse Square. But this is one of two yearly weekends when juried artists from the region set up tented booths to display and offer their work.
September 21 – October 1, times vary
Contemporary storytelling and fresh voices mark Opera Philadelphia’s fifth annual, season-opening festival. Don’t miss 10 Days in a Madhouse, recitals from Curtis Institute of Music and Academy of Vocal Arts alums, or The Bearded Ladies Cabaret show, Late Night Snacks. Ticket prices vary.
September 22 – 24
It’s the 30th anniversary of the Xponential Music Festival in Camden’s Wiggins Park. The long-weekend lineup features 88.5FM luminary-regulars: Old Crow Medicine Show, Margo Price, Tegan and Sara, The Hold Steady, and Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, among two dozen acts. Passes available for individual days or the whole weekend. One-day pass, $75. 1 Riverside Drive
September 23, from 10am to 4pm
Edgely Field in Fairmount Park hosts two world-class polo players — and all the pomp that goes along with this elegant, horse-centric sport. This includes: picnicking, carriage parading, fancy dressing, and divet stomping. Benefits Work to Ride. From $35. Reservoir Drive
September 23, from 11am to 3pm
The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus hosts a preview of the upcoming live arts season, then a free concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra at 3:30pm. (Reserve tickets in advance.) 300 S. Broad Street
September 23, from noon to 7pm
West Passyunk hosts its annual block party starring processed meats, local beer and craft whiskey. Also there: a makers market and antiques vendors. Proceeds from drink ticket sales benefit Newbold CDC’s street cleaning initiative. Free (pay as you go). 1400 W. Passyunk Avenue
September 23, from noon to 8pm
Frankford Ave becomes a street party, with dozens of food and drink vendors — making hearty brisket, burgers, pretzels, local cocktails and beer — plus a dunk tank, carnival games, artists, retailers and lots of music. Free. (Pay as you go.) Frankford Avenue between Girard Avenue and Palmer Street
September 24, from noon to 3pm
With 1,500 marchers and thousands more lookers-on, El Concilio’s annual parade celebrates Latino culture in and beyond Puerto Rico along the Ben Franklin Parkway. Free.
September 30, from noon to 6pm
DJ Robert Drake provides the soundtrack to a joyful block party outside one of the city’s biggest, best long-standing thrift shops. Expect sideshow acts, a dunk tank, a pie-eating contest, face-painting and loads of vendors. Free. (Pay as you go.) 710 S. 5th Street
September 30, from 1 to 4pm and 6 to 9pm
The home of the Phils hosts a ginormous, two-party beer festival that also has live music, wine, and cocktails. A ticket buys you unlimited samples of some 250 drink options. $45 – $55. 1 Citizens Bank Park Way
September 30, from noon to 8pm
This extra-large Center City neighborhood block party closes streets to vehicles (roughly 12th Street to Broad Street, Locust to Chestnut) and turns its businesses inside out. It’s an all-ages affair, but a mostly cocktail-y crowd. Free. (Pay as you go.) S. 13th and 12th streets
THINGS TO DO IN OCTOBER 2023
October 4 – 15, times vary
Philadelphia’s design centers — the Center for Architecture and Design, Cherry Street Pier, The Braid Mill, Made Institute — host workshops, lectures, exhibits and open houses during this 10-day festival.
October 6 – 8, from noon to 8pm (Sunday until 6pm)
City Hall’s front yard offers pumpkin carving, bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels, beer, circus performers, live musicians and a hay maze. The Philly Goat Project pops by Friday evening. Saturday afternoon there’s a stein-hoisting contest. Free. (Pay as you go.) 1 S. 15th Street
October 8, from 11am to 5pm
This artsy block party has lots of food and family fun along Belgian-blocked, tree-lined Germantown Avenue, between Willow Grove and Rex avenues. Free. (Pay as you go.)
October 8, from 11am to 6pm
Hay bales and art vendors replace parked cars during this annual stroll through historic Old City. Free. (Pay as you go.) N. 2nd and N. 3rd Street from Market to Arch Street
October 14, from 7am to 12:30pm
The City closes down 20 miles of streets so that cyclists can ride from the Ben Franklin Parkway, past City Hall, Reading Terminal Market, Independence Hall, the Italian Market and back to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. $75; discounted rates for students
East of Broad: October 14 & 15; West of Broad: October 21 & 22, from noon to 6pm
Hundreds of Philadelphia artists open up their workspaces to the public two weekends per year. Free.
October 19 – 29
Like Sundance, except not quite, because … Philadelphia. If you’re lucky, Bradley Cooper will show up. If not, maybe Jamie Kennedy. Badges from $158. Individual tickets and student discounts available. Various locations in Center City
October 28 & 29
One of the biggest crew competitions in the world, this regatta welcomes 9,000 rowers and 30,000 spectators to the waters and banks of the Schuylkill River. Free to attend.
PumpkinFest, Head House Square
October 28, from noon to 4pm
Pumpkin decorating, costume competing, trick-or-treating. It’s Halloween, only early and before dark, just north of South Street. Free. 2nd and Pine streets
THINGS TO DO IN NOVEMBER 2023
November 2 – 12
Our city hosts one of the country’s largest Asian American film festivals.
November 3 – 5
This juried show is known as one of the best in the nation. $20, PA Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets
November 19, from 7am
An epic run past the sites and then some of Philadelphia, sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, starts at 22nd Street and Ben Franklin Parkway.
Thanksgiving Day Parade
November 23, from 8:30am to noon
Bundle up and go in person, or watch the country’s oldest continuous Thanksgiving parade on 6ABC. Free. Starts at 2600 Ben Franklin Parkway
MORE EVENTS TO ENJOY IN PHILADELPHIA
PHS Pop Up Garden at South Street.