There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Philly this week if you’re looking for a fun night (or afternoon) on the town.
New for the week is the launch of Dine Latino Restaurant Week, which offers deals at some of the best Latino-owned restaurants around town. Pick something new from the hefty list of eateries and give it a try. You may just find a new go-to.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is also throwing one of its popular garden party soirees on Wednesday, and you shouldn’t miss a chance to explore the ancient relic-filled Penn Museum with a gaggle of local drag queens and performance artists.
Looking to do something Halloween-y? Grab happy hour at the creepy new Midtown Village pop-up bar Nightmare Before Tinsel, then Uber over to Eastern State Penitentiary’s massive new haunted attraction to explore acres upon acres of frightful activities, including two haunted houses.
A perfect week this fall in Philadelphia also includes checking out some of the best outdoor dining in Philly, playing a round of spooky putt putt at Franklin Square, or lounging in a park around changing leaves as you make plans for things to do this weekend in Philly.
Find details on all that and more in the chronological list of to-dos below.
This list gets updated almost daily, so be sure to stop by regularly for more ideas about what to do this week. Is there anything I can do to make the list better? Email me at [email protected].
WHAT TO DO IN PHILADELPHIA THIS WEEK
DINE LATINO RESTAURANT WEEK: This five-day restaurant week event—happening now through October 15—is a great way to explore all the amazing Latin-owned eateries around Philly. Here’s the deal you get: Diners will receive one free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two dinner entrees. You can find the list of participating restaurants here.
READING PROMISE WEEK: Read by 4th’s family literacy festival, happening now through October 17, is a citywide, community-organized event featuring all kinds of free, educational events meant to encourage A-plus literacy skills among our youngest readers. Check out the schedule here to find something going on near you. Community leaders are hosting nearly four dozen events—from storytelling to arts and crafts workshops to book giveaways.
GARDEN PARTY AT MAGIC GARDENS: Spend a late-summer evening at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on Wednesday, October 13, from 5 to 8pm, during a garden party that features live DJs, beers, wine and cocktails, and arts workshops on how to make sun catchers and Shrinky Dinks. Tickets are $25.
PHILLY BALLET @ PERFORMANCE GARAGE: The newly named Philadelphia Ballet kicks off its latest season with The Spark, a program of “bold, contemporary ballets,” at the Performance Garage in the Spring Arts District. The limited-run program is inspired by the notion that art can lift us up—be a spark, if you will—even in troubled times. The program includes three works, including two world premieres, that I’m told are “are deeply reflective of our contemporary moment.” Catch its debut on Wednesday, October 13, at 7:30pm, or catch it later running on select days through October 30.
DRAG TOURS @ PENN MUSEUM: Two of Philly’s most Drag Race-worthy queens—and a cast of their wackiest pals—are leading hilarious, whimsical tours around the Penn Museum every Thursday night at 6pm through October 28. Lili St. Queer and Eric Jaffe (pictured above in the red and blue wigs) lead the charge through the galleries, delighting guests with witty banter and surprise pop-up performances from special guests.
FREE PIZZA ON FRIDAY: Northern Liberties is getting two new neighboring restaurants beginning this weekend: Figo Ristorante, a full-service Italian restaurant, and Figo Pizzeria, a more casual affair serving up fresh-made pies and hoagies for lunch and dinner. To celebrate, they’re offering a free slice of pizza to anyone who stops by on Friday, October 15, from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Combined, the two eateries will comprise the largest restaurant space along NoLibs Restaurant Row, with 10,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor dining space, and room for 250+ diners.
HALLOWEEN NIGHTS @ ESP: The imposing prison fortress is Fairmoung gears up for Halloween wit a festival-style event called Halloween Nights, happening now through November 13. Fifteen different attractions—including two haunted houses—are spread throughout 10 acres of prison yards and spooky hallways. The experience is enhanced with state-of-the-art sound and light shows, live performances, and no less than four themed bars and lounges.
FALL FEST @ MORGAN’S PIER: Waterfront beer garden Morgan’s Pier rounds out its open season with a five-week-long fall festival, happening now through October 30. The fest finds the breezy oasis decked out in haystacks, seasonal flowers and foliage, and autumn-perfect brews galore. For $5 to $10, you can even head into the Pier’s Pumpkin Patch to grab a gourd that you can carve while you sip your adult beverages.
CHECK OUT THE NEW HALLOWEEN BAR: The owners behind last winter’s holiday-themed cocktail bar Tinsel just opened a new pop-up Halloween bar known as Nightmare Before Tinsel. The concept is more of a bar-haunted house hybrid, with spooky rooms and hallways to explore, encounters with grim reapers and gory art displays. The menu features 10 beers on draft and in cans, and eight themed cocktails, including the glowing Ecto Cooler Shot, with Crystal Head vodka, Midori, pineapple juice and gummy-fied brains.
DESIGNPHILADELPHIA: It’s DesignPhiladelphia time again in Philly. The annual showcase of local design innovation centers around a host of installations at Cherry Street Pier, but tons of other events are happening around the city through October 17. Check the DesignPhiladelphia schedule to find tons of things to do, including workshops, symposiums, and art tours.
MURAL ARTS MONTH: October is Mural Arts Month in Philadelphia. The theme of this year’s observance is “Resilience,” with an emphasis on recognizing “the power of art to keep Philadelphia inspired and moving forward.” Mural Arts Philadelphia is hosting several events throughout the month, including the dedication of two important new murals created by artists who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.
FALL FUN OUTSIDE THE CITY: For ultimate fall feels, head outside the city to explore some farms and villages that are hosting seasonal activities You’ve got the annual Scarecrows in the Village festival at Peddler’s Village, running from now through October 30, where you can rub shoulders with hundreds of local-made scarecrows and enjoy seasonal drinks and food. You can do some pumpkin- and apple-picking, hay-riding and more at Fall Fest at Shady Brook Farm (through Oct. 31) and Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards (through Nov. 7).
ONGOING ACTIVITIES AT PHILADELPHIA ATTRACTIONS
Some of Philly’s most iconic attractions are open for fall with fun, socially distant activities during Covid-19. Here’s some stuff worth checking out:
BARNES FOUNDATION: Besides its astounding permanent collection of world-famous impressionist and post-impressionist artworks, the Barnes is hosting a special exhibition that includes paintings by groundbreaking French artist Suzanne Valadon in “Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel (through Jan. 9).
BOK BAR: South Philly rooftop destination Bok Bar, with gobsmacking views of the Philadelphia skyline (and then some), is operating with a diverse new slate of weekly activities, such as restaurant pop-ups, drag brunches, rooftop yoga sessions, maker workshops and tons more. You can find the full schedule here. Plan ahead; reservations are required in lieu of Covid safety protocols.
CHERRY STREET PIER: There’s always something fun going on at Cherry Street Pier—from art shows to food markets to just sitting back, beer in hand, and gazing at the monstrous Benjamin Franklin Bridge looming above you.
DILWORTH PARK: You could stop by Dilworth Park any day of the week for lunch or dinner at the Air Grille, watch kids playing in the fountains, try an outdoor fitness class (Mondays and Tuesdays, 6pm), hear live music at lunchtime (Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon–1pm), outdoor movies (Thursdays, 8:15pm) and check out evening arts performances (Wednesdays, 5–7:30pm).
FRANKLIN SQUARE: The popular park in Old City is extending its hours throughout the month of October for Spooky Mini Golf, which transforms the park’s putt-putt area into a haunted attraction, filled with fog, spider webs, eerie music and lights. Guests can also take a ride on the historic carousel and ogle a music fountain show that happens every 30 minutes from noon to close.
PARKS ON TAP: You can find Philly’s roving pop-up beer garden Parks On Tap operating at Water Works behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art through October 30 (weather permitting). Besides idyllic views of the water, the breezy setup offers a menu of snacks, sandwiches and sweets, plus beers, wines and specialty cocktails. For more, including safety protocols and hours of operation, go here.
PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART: PMA teamed up with the Whitney in NYC for its current special exhibition, “Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror,” running now through February 13. The massive retrospective of the American painter is spread across nearly 30,000 square feet of gallery space between the two museums, and features more than 500 works of painting, sculpture, drawings and prints.Header photo: Las Cazuelas is one of dozens of restaurants taking part in Dine Latino Restaurant Week | Photo by Neal Santos / Visit Philadelphia