Fall has arrived in Philadelphia, and with it comes your last chance to catch The Fringe and O23, some of the year’s best block parties. Also time to take your first crack at Halloween and harvest-themed events. These things to do and more are on tap this week and weekend in Philly.
Planning things to do in Philly farther ahead? Check out our year-long calendar to help you become a better Philadelphia citizen.
THINGS TO DO IN PHILLY THIS WEEK
Things to do this week: Explore opera. Patronize local artisans. Go to the Fringe.
GET YOUR SMORGASBORD ON. South Street Smorgasbord is more than just a restaurant week. Snatch up dinner, lunch, and snack specials from South Street Headhouse District businesses and restaurants from September 24 – October 1. $10-$45.
GO TO THE OPERA. REALLY. Opera Philadelphia’s fifth season-opening Festival O23 promises the sort of accessible performances that appeal to all audiences. Through October 1, you can catch 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.
EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC (MART). Magic Gardens, South Street Art Mart, and BridgeSet Sound host Magic Mart, a vendor fair celebrating local artists, complete with a live DJ. September 26 from 5:30 to 8:30pm. Free, pay as you go. 1020 South Street
MAKE A PLAN FOR THE FRINGE. More than 300 separate productions — and way more performances — comprise the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, through October 3. There’s improv and interactive Tea Party at the End of the World, cabaret Auntieland, musicals for kids Sing the Rainbow, and John Jarboe in Rose: You Are Who You Eat (pictured). Ticket prices vary.
MEET ME ON SOUTH STREET. At the Night Market! Food trucks, shopping, and local creatives come together for the last South Street Night Market of the 2023 season. September 27 from 5 to 9pm. Free, pay as you go. 4th & South streets
EAT ALL THE TACOS YOU CAN. Bok’s Taco Fiesta brings together some of the best Mexican restaurants in Philly, plus desserts, giveaways, and live music. September 28 from 6 to 9pm. $65. 800 Mifflin Street
THINGS TO DO IN PHILLY THIS WEEKEND
Great things to do this weekend in Philly:
KAYAK THE SCHUYLKILL. This guided Kayak tour includes equipment rental, safety instruction, and a little over an hour out on the river. September 30 at 5:45pm. $40. Walnut Street Dock, under the Walnut Street Bridge
PARTY WITH PHILLY AIDS THRIFT. Philly AIDS Thrift Fall Fest and Block Party happens September 30 from noon to 6pm. There’s live music, food trucks, games, a pie-eating contest, and more to celebrate the shop’s 18th anniversary. Free, pay as you go. 710 S. 5th Street
GET YOUR CRAFT FEST ON. For more than a decade, The Woodlands has hosted the twice-annual West Craft Fest, featuring local makers, vendors, and performers. September 30 from 11am to 5pm; rain date: October 1. Free, donations appreciated. 40th Street & Woodland Avenue
GET TO KNOW THE ALL-STARS (OF CRAFT BEER, WINE, AND COCKTAILS). Citizens Bank Park hosts the Philadelphia All-Star Craft Beer, Wine, and Cocktail Festival for its 5th year. Voted one of the Top 10 Best Beer Festivals in the world by USA Today. September 30, 1 to 4pm and 6 to 9pm. From $49.95. 1 Citizens Bank Park Way
COME TO MIDTOWN VILLAGE’S HUGE STREET FAIR. The 16th Annual Midtown Village Fall Festival attracts thousands to South 13th Street for live entertainment, food and beverage sampling, merchant and vendor displays, crafters, and children’s activities. September 30 from noon to 8pm. Check out the festival footprint for locations.
SHOP LOCAL. The local makers of the Philadelphia Marketplace return to Dilworth Park (outside City Hall) on weekends through October 1 from noon to 6pm. Shop local crafts and art vendors, including Philly Candles, Sistah Scents, Timeless Trends, Lily Lough Jewelry, ClailyCreates, Artevolar, and Charlotte Holt.1 S. 15th Street
FUN THIS FALL IN PHILLY
(Quick! Get to these al fresco attractions as soon and as frequently as you can. Before long, we’ll be stuck indoors without outdoor things to do in Philly.)
TAKE A WALKING TOUR. All fall, PHS supplies a Spotify Playlist to accompany this self-guided 45-minute walking itinerary to Center City public gardens and landscapes. The Google Itinerary begins at LOVE Park. Free. 15 Street & JFK Boulevard
VISIT THE TIM BURTON POP-UP BAR. Craftsman Row Saloon hosts A Nightmare Before Christmas theme pop-up where Halloween decor, new menu items, and drinks are all inspired by the cult film. October 1 – 31. 112 S. 8th Street
Independence Beer Garden. Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit PhiladelphiaDRINK OUTSIDE … ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE LIBERTY BELL. Chef Michael Schulson is behind Independence Beer Garden, a popular spot for dozens of beers on tap, double cheeseburgers, everything pretzel bites, spicy Caesars, cornhole, Adirondack chairs, and many picnic tables. Open daily. 100 S. Independence Mall West
DRINK OUTSIDE AT PARKS ON TAP. Combining public beer-drinking, city parks, pulled pork (or meatball or mushroom) sandwiches, Philly’s roaming beer garden returns for the season on through October 1. Parks on Tap switches location weekly, and is usually open Wednesdays through Sundays. Check their calendar for upcoming locations.
STOP TO SMELL FLOWERS (AND HAVE A BEER). The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has opened the gates of its pop-up gardens in Manayunk and on South Street for the season. These al fresco venues combine a bar, restaurant, plants and games — seven nights a week and weekend days through October. Free entry. 1438 South Street and 106 Jamestown Avenue
PLAY PIXAR MINI GOLF. Pixar Putt comes to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, through October 1, from noon to 10pm. (Previews have already started!) Thursday through Saturday evenings (7 to 10pm), the Toy Story, Coco, Ratatouille, Incredibles, etc. attraction is 18-plus only. Tickets: $27-$32. 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
GET A HEAD START ON COMING OUT DAY. Through October 8, the PHS South Street Pop UP Garden serves up a month of Pride-centric events, backdropped by a floral display by Eric Schellack. Free entry. 1438 South Street
PLAY PICKLEBALL. Everyone else is doing it. Two pro courts pop up in Dilworth Park, through October 21, from 10am to 6pm. Open daily, weather permitting. $40 per hour; reservations required for groups up to six; paddle rentals. $6. 1 S. 15th Street
EXHIBITIONS TO CHECK OUT IN PHILLY
EXPLORE … SKIN. The Academy of Natural Sciences’ Skin: Living Armor, Evolving Identity is on display through January 21, 2024. The exhibition is full of real and multimedia versions of all kinds of all-natural body coverings — and ideas about their evolution and meaning. Adults $25-$27, ages 2-12 $21-$23. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
BE A GOOD CITIZEN ALL YEAR LONGPhilly AIDS Thrift Block Party.