Looking to make some plans for the weekend in Philly?
On the event front, there are tons of cool-sounding things happening—including costume-centric Halloween events for kids and dogs on Saturday, and the return of the Philadelphia Zoo’s annual Boo at the Zoo hoopla.
Looking for more Halloween fun? You can find spooks of all levels throughout the weekend. Franklin Square offers spooky putt-putt, where you can knock around balls amongst spider webs, fog and spooky lights. If you’re looking for something scarier, grab a ghoulish drink at the Halloween pop-up bar in Midtown Village, then hit up Eastern State Penitentiary for its latest haunted attraction—10 acres of spine-tingling activities, including two haunted houses.
On the food front, you could try one of Philly’s amazing outdoor dining setups—truly one of the best things to come out of the pandemic. Or check out a new Italian restaurant and bar opening in Northern Liberties.
You’ll find details on all that and more in our chronological list of things to do in Philadelphia this weekend below. This list gets updated throughout the week, so stop by regularly for more ideas for how to spend your weekends in Philly.
WHAT TO DO IN PHILADELPHIA THIS WEEKEND
BOO AT THE ZOO BEGINS: The Philadelphia Zoo’s popular annual Halloween fest for tots is back starting Saturday, October 16, at 9:30am, and will continue on select weekend days through October 31. The entire zoo grounds will be decorated for fall, and kids—who are encouraged to come in costume—will love all the moving beasts on display in the massive dinosaur exhibit Big Time, which has been extended through November 1.
TRICK-OR-TREAT SCAVENGER HUNT: On October 16, from 11am to 1pm, Sister Cities Park invites kids and families to a Halloween fest, which is highlighted by pumpkin-painting opportunities, spooky storytelling, circus performances and loads of treats. Little ones are encouraged to come in costume so they can flaunt their duds in a Halloween parade.
FIT FEST IN FISHTOWN: Almanac Dance Circus Theatre hosts this daylong, art- and fitness-filled festival in Shackamaxon / Penn Treaty Park that’s meant to “celebrate public spaces as a gathering place for fitness and creation.” Happening Saturday, October 16 from noon till 10pm, the fest is highlighted by dance and movement workshops, live performances from area dance crews, and the debut of Almanac’s newest production, HAPPY HOUR.
HOWL-O-WEEN: Throw a costume on your pup and let it wobble down a red carpet at the Bourse Food Hall’s outdoor pet costume contest happening Saturday, October 16, from 1 to 3pm. Held in collaboration with Morris Animal Rescue, the event also includes music, family-friendly activities and photo ops with kitschy decor, such as a Ghostbusters car. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the entry gate.
CHRYSANTHEMUM FESTIVAL @ LONGWOOD GARDENS: Lovers of fall blooms should plan a trip to Longwood Gardens October 16 through November 14 to ogle its imaginative—and largest of its kind—display of chrysanthemums. Guests will be treated to views that range from a massive Thousand Bloom Mum to the tiniest of bonsais.
PHILADELPHIA OPEN STUDIO TOURS: Artists across Philadelphia open up their studios, workshops and galleries to give locals a behind-the-scenes look at their creative process, and what kind of art is being made in Philly these days. This weekend it’s happening in two neighborhoods: Northeast Philly (October 16) and South Philly (October 17). You can click each of those links for maps and participating artists. The event continues next weekend with tours in the Northwest (October 23) and West Philly (October 24).
AIDS WALK PHILLY: The annual event that raises funds for HIV/AIDS care and awareness in Philadelphia is back for its 35th year with an in-person walk on Sunday, October 17, that begins and ends at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Besides the walk, the day includes an aerobic warmup at 8am that anyone is welcome to attend, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display. A closing ceremony at 10am wraps up the day.
MARCUS GARVEY CELEBRATION @ CITY HALL: Lively entertainment takes over City Hall on Sunday, October 17, starting at 10am, during a celebration honoring Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican native who founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. The Jamaican Pennsylvania Association hosts the free hoopla, which promises Jamaican food, live entertainment and more.
GOAT YOGA @ WEST LAUREL HILL CEMETERY: America’s most eco-friendly cemetery and the Philly Goat Project corral a herd of Nigerian dwarf goats into the cemetery’s sun-filled conservatory on Sunday, October 17, at 11am, when they’ll join a 45-minute yoga session with guests.
NIGHT OF LIGHTS: Through October 17, historic photography and films will be projected onto buildings and in storefront windows in Chestnut Hill to offer passersby a visual history of the neighborhood’s past.
DESIGNPHILADELPHIA: It’s DesignPhiladelphia time again in Philly. The annual showcase of local design innovation is happening now through October 17 with installations at Cherry Street Pier, and events, such as workshops, symposiums, and art tours, happening daily around the city.
EAT OUTSIDE: One of the best holdovers from the pandemic is Philly’s awesome outdoor dining scene. Check out some of our favorite places to have dinner and drink under the stars and amongst seasonal plants and flowers. There’s something for every palate and in nearly every neighborhood in the city.
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.
SPOOKY PUTT-PUTT @ FRANKLIN SQUARE: The historic and bustling green space in Old City is open from 10am to 10pm during the entire month of October for Spooky Mini Golf, where the park’s mini golf course will be transformed by fog, cobwebs, eerie sounds and lights.
HALLOWEEN NIGHTS @ ESP: The already-creepy-enough prison in Fairmount is celebrating the spooky season during Halloween Nights, a festival-style event happening now through November 13. The setup contains 15 different attractions—including two haunted houses—across 10 acres of prison yards and dark 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.
CHECK OUT THE NEW HALLOWEEN BAR: Swing through Midtown Village one night to have a drink and a scare at Halloween pop-up bar Nightmare Before Tinsel. The joint 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.
FALL FUN OUTSIDE THE CITY: For peak fall-in-Pennsylvania feels, head outside the city beginning this week to visit some farms and villages throughout the region that are kicking off their seasonal activities. First off, you’ve got the 42nd 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).Header photo by Matt Stanley