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19 incredible things to do in Philadelphia this weekend

Josh Middleton

The first weekend of November brings a handful of annual, multi-day-spanning festivals such as CraftNOW Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival and the First Person Arts Fest. If you’re in the mood for a drink, check out SkyLodge, the brand new ski lodge-themed rooftop bar at Three Logan Square, or the Great Harvest Cider and Beer Fest on Saturday at Hawthornes. Need a laugh? Catch a taping of comedy podcast Hollywood Babble-On Friday night at Punch Line Philly, then roll into the Merriam Theater on Saturday for a standup gig by grizzly Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman.

Friday, November 3

craftnow philadelphia

CraftNOW Philadelphia

SkyLodge at Three Logan Square; 5–10pm; $5
SkyGarten, the Center City rooftop bar inspired by Bavarian beer halls, once again transforms into the more seasonally appropriate SkyLodge. Located 51 stories above the city, the cozy, ski lodge resort-inspired watering hole offers seasonal adult beverages while affording guests a panoramic view of the city and beyond. It’s a must-do this winter. Get more details here.

CraftNOW Philadelphia at various locations, times and prices
This month-plus event is a celebration of Philadelphia’s vibrant crafting community. Keep your eyes peeled throughout November for events that run the spectrum from hands-on craft-making workshops to parties and exhibitions at crafting hubs around town such as the Center for Art in Wood and the Clay Studio in Old City.

First Friday in Old City; 5–9pm; free
From 5 to 9pm on the first Friday of each month, Philadelphian art lovers take to the streets of Old City to browse over 40 galleries, which all stay open late to debut their latest exhibitions. Cafés and restaurants also get in on the fun, serving up food and drinks, and neighborhood boutiques put on sales for those looking to do some late-night shopping. The streets come alive with the sounds of live music, and local artisans set up makeshift booths to sell wares on the sidewalks. It’s a quintessential Philadelphia experience—and one of the best free things to do in Philadelphia.

Hollywood Babble-On at Punch Line Philly; 8 and 10:30pm; $37–$48
Director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) and actor Ralph Garman (Family Guy, A Million Ways to Die in the West) bring their popular comedy podcast to the stage. As usual, the duo pull no punches as they deliver their brutally honest analysis about movies, pop culture and the business of show.

The Gap at Azuka Theatre; 8pm; pay what you decide
This world premiere by Philadelphia playwright Emma Goidel concerns a woman named Nicole who’s convinced she was abducted by aliens. Her sister Lee thinks she’s lost her marbles but decides to join Nicole on a journey to discover the truth about the bizarre experience. The show marries performance art and dark comedy to ponder the question: Is it really better to remember than to forget?

Saturday, November 4

hawthornes beer cafe

Photograph: Courtesy Hawthornes

Great Harvest Cider and Beer Festival at Hawthornes Cafe; noon; free
Hawthornes throws a block party outside its cafe in South Philly, featuring live music, a food truck roundup and, in true Hawthornes fashion, lots of delicious beers. Look out for the Weyerbacher Sexy Mutherpucker and Conshohocken Type A IPA.

LOVE Your Park Fall Service Day at various locations; all day; free
Have a park around the corner from your house that you adore? Philly Parks and Rec and Fairmount Park Conservancy host this annual event to get folks out to their favorite green spaces to clean up trash, plant new trees and collect fallen leaves. There are meetups happening in Philadelphia parks around the city. Go here to find a spot so you can lend a hand.

The InLiquid Benefit: Everyone is a Collector at Crane Arts Icebox Project Space; 6pm; $15-$100
InLiquid, the nonprofit that works to give emerging artists in Philly a leg up, hosts this exhibition and fundraiser featuring works made by tons of local creatives. Swing by through Friday to browse everything from paintings to photography and sculpture, and place a bid at this headlining event on Saturday night. Anything you buy will benefit InLiquid’s mission—and look fabulous hanging in your living room.

Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival at various locations and various prices
If you felt overwhelmed by the Philadelphia Film Festival, the PJFF may be more your speed. It brings a doable 30 flicks over its two-week run to screens across the city, including the Gershman Y. The fest roster includes flicks that highlight the Jewish experience and includes Bombshell, a documentary that tells the story—and reveals some little-known facts—about screen goddess Hedy Lamar and The Cakemaker, an engaging full-length about a German pastry who goes to Jerusaleum to seek out the wife and son of his deceased lover. Get the full rundown here.

Nick Offerman: Full Bush at Merriam Theater; 7pm; $45.50–$60.50
The grizzly Parks and Recreation star comes to the Kimmel Center to sing folk-tinged songs that take social-media culture, body-hair etiquette and life as Hollywood’s favorite lumberjack.

The Phantom of the Opera at Academy of Music; 2 and 8pm; $20–$129
A mysterious masked phantom skulks amid the riggings, backdrops and backstage hubbub of an opera house in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless tale. This exciting production includes brand-new scenery, costumes and more, along with reimagined staging by director Laurence Connor. Watch out for the falling chandelier!

Last chance: Fright Factory at 220 S Swanson St; 7:30pm; $15–$20
Enter an eerie world of terror at this year’s Fright Factory, a 25,000-square-foot haunted attraction situated inside a creepy old building in South Philadelphia. New for 2017 are three separate haunted experiences—Industrial Nightmare, Silent Scream Asylum and Fright Factory Unearthed—that put you face-to-face with ghouls like meat-cleaver–wielding butchers, drill-happy dentists, and giant spiders and bugs.

Sunday, November 5

peddlers village

Photograph: Courtesy Visit Bucks County/Anthony Sinagoga

Apple Festival at Peddler’s Village; 10am; free
If you’re looking for a chance to escape the city for a little leaf-peeping and apple crunching, head to Bucks County for this shindig that features all kinds of apple-based treats, like pies, doughnuts, ciders, dumplings and more. If you’re feeling extra ambitious—and hungry—you can take part in the apple pie-eating contest.

First Person Arts Festival at various locations
This 14-day festival celebrates the art of storytelling and features a ton of events—including gigs by Margaret Cho, Maria Bamford and Hari Kondabolu. Get the full rundown here.

Last chance: Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards; 8am; free
This annual autumn celebration has farm activities out the wazoo. There are two mazes—one made of hay bales, the other corn—a barnyard full of animals that kids can pet and feed, and 100 tons of pumpkins on display. For the ultimate country-living experience, hop on an evening hayride around the 300-acre farm; it ends at a campfire with s’mores and apple cider.

Last chance: “Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture” at Fabric Workshop and Museum; noon; free
This major retrospective is loaded with architectural models, photographs, letters and Philadelphia architect Louis Kahn’s sophisticated pastel sketches of his designs. Philadelphia is the last city where folks can see this globe-trotting exhibition, which was organized by Germany’s Vitra Design Museum and has appeared in museums around the world.

Go apple picking near Philadelphia at various locations
It’s that time of the year again, when locals head out of town to go foraging for apples. There are several farms within an hour’s driving distance of the city that offer all kinds of delicious varietals that you can’t find in the local supermarket—and, in some cases, loads of apple-based treats like donuts and cider. See our full list of the best places to go apple picking near Philly.


Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary; 7pm; $19–$89
Haunted attraction Terror Behind the Walls involves six segments that add up to about an hour’s worth of character interaction, bone-chilling scares, prison exploration and elaborate costuming and makeup. This year’s brand-new attraction, “Blood Yard,” posits what it might be like to prepare human flesh for the tasting. Guests walk through a prison yard into a lair where a butcher and an empress await, flanked by a horde of cannibals wearing muzzles. Those who choose to interact could be asked to salt and prepare prosthetic limbs alongside the impatient flesh-hungry characters.

Monument Lab at various locations through Nov 19
A new Mural Arts Philadelphia project called Monument Lab tasks 20 local and national artists with creating monuments to the city. They will be displayed in 10 public parks around town between September 16 and November 19. The works in Monument Lab come in all shapes, sizes and formats—from a giant Afro pick at Thomas Paine Plaza to a collection of stoops in Washington Square—and are meant to give voice to overlooked communities and address current social issues facing this city. Here are five projects we’re excited about and where to find them.

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