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20 spectacular things to do in Philadelphia this weekend

Josh Middleton

Another early-autumn weekend in Philadelphia means another three days packed with all kinds of fun fall events. If you’re looking for festivals, Saturday has you covered between the Bloktoberfest on South Street, the RiverCity Festival in Fishtown and the Manayunk Harvest Festival. Kudos to those who can make it to all three. For you early birds looking to begin your holiday shopping, check out the Made in Philadelphia Fall Market at Dilworth Park and the Rittenhouse Square Fine Craft Market. They’re both happening Friday through Sunday. That only scratches the surface of what else is happening in Philly this weekend. Check out the full list in our guide below.

Friday, October 13

Made in Philadelphia Fall Market

Photograph: Courtesy CCD Parks

Made In Philadelphia Fall Market at Dilworth Park; 11am–8pm; pay as you go
Get your holiday shopping started at this three-day market under the shadow of City Hall. Local craft folks such as Bella U, Wise Owl Shop & Saffron Creations and Analog Watch Co set up tables of covetables that run the gamut from clothing and jewelry to pet goods, photography, skincare and more.

The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience; at West Fairmount Park; $16; 7pm
Glow guests can expect to see more than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins—real ones as well as ones molded from real pumpkins—in West Fairmount Park at Avenue of the Republic and States Drive. Jack’s artists have prepared single jack ‘o lanterns for guests’ viewing pleasure, featuring the likenesses of celebrities, sports icons, flowers and animals, as well as grand-scale jack o’lantern scenes in a variety of themes from prehistoric to oceanic. The carvers will be on hand to demonstrate their handiwork.

Musiq Soulchild at Electric Factory; 7:30pm; $35–$45
Philadelphia R&B/soul singer Musiq Soulchild has a way with words. It’s not just his lush, lovely, red-velvet-cupcake voice—it’s his album and song titles (see MusiqInTheMagiq, OnMyRadio, “Sayido” and “Deserveumore”). Like romance, his favorite subject, Musiq’s got a language all his own. Show up on time and catch two more of the city’s finest vocal talents: Vivian Green and Bilal.

The Sleeping Beauty at Academy of Music; 7:30pm; $31–$125
The Pennsylvania Ballet brings a classic fairy tale to life in this captivating performance of Tchaikovsky’s celebrated masterpiece. From once upon a time to happily ever after, audiences will love watching talented dancers glide across the stage, hearing the enchanting musical score and seeing the stunning scenery and costumes.

Buyer & Cellar at Plays and Players; 8pm; $28-$42
The cosmic connection between Barbra Streisand and gay men is the underlying subject of this wonderfully droll one-man play by writer Jonathan Tolins’s. It concerns an out-of-work actor (played by Dito van Reigersberg) who takes a gig tending to the private mall/antique atelier that La Streisand has built in her basement. (Really, that’s what it’s about. And believe it or not, it’s based on fact.) The diva herself checks in from time to time, so everything must always be in tip-top shape. Laughs, delicate impersonations and an abundance of witty banter ensue.

Saturday, October 14


Rittenhouse Square Fine Craft Market; 11am; pay as you go
More than 140 carefully curated craft artists from around the country cram into Rittenhouse Square so you can get your shop on. Goods up for grabs include everything from art and handmade jewelry to quilts, furniture and home goods.

Manayunk Harvest Festival at Pretzel Park; 11am; pay as you go
A short detour off Main Street Manayunk takes you to this annual fall fest, replete with live music, shopping, a community mural-making workshop, pumpkin carving and a curious activity called peanut butter face painting. Hey, YOLO.

Bloktoberfest at 18th and South streets; noon; pay as you go
Several blocks on the western side of South Street close down every October for an afternoon of local music, craft beer and portable bites from the corridor’s restaurants and guest food trucks. Best of all, all of the proceeds from the outdoor bars go to neighborhood charities.

Fishtown RiverCity Festival at Penn Treaty Park; pay as you go
Head to one of Philly’s up-and-comingest hoods for this autumnal soiree that’s heavy on local suds and grub and all kinds of entertainment, such as live music, activities just for kids, a 5K and shopping from area vendors.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown outdoor screening at the Schmidt's Commons; 7pm; free
The change of season also means we‘re due for a string of classic, nostalgia-inducing Peanuts movies rolling out now through the holidays. Catch this Halloween version on the Jumbotron at the Piazza in NoLibs, as part of the venue’s Family Movie Night.

West Side Story in Concert at the Kimmel Center; 8pm; $39–$151
In honor of Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, the Philadelphia Orchestra presents the music of West Side Story. The Romeo-and-Juliet story follows Maria and Tony, two star-crossed lovers from different worlds trying desperately to be together against the odds. A cast of Broadway vocalists accompanies the orchestra on some of musical theater’s greatest one-word-named tunes including “Maria,” “Tonight” and “Somewhere.”

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.

Sunday, October 15

aids walk philly and aids run philly

AIDS Walk Philly and AIDS Run Philly at Philadelphia Museum of Art; 9am
Show up at the Art Museum to cheer on walkers and runners taking part in this annual event that raises funds for local HIV/AIDS organizations. Now in its 31st year, this walk in Philadelphia was one of the first of its kind in the nation, and has served as a model for many others.

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours at various locations; noon; free
Get a behind-the-scenes peek into the workspaces of dozens of artists throughout Philly during this premier event. This is the second weekend of the event, taking place in studios in the northwest and west sections of Philadelphia. Download a map available at and get to touring!

Sunday Night Supper Club at Barbuzzo; 6pm; $75
Midtown Village restaurant moguls Chef Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran are transforming their second-level private event space above Barbuzzo into a one-night-only supper club. Turney is whipping up a massive four-course Italian-style spread that will be served family-style to guests. On top of the food, the night will be punctuated by the vocal stylings of local singer Karen Gross. She’s debuting a brand new comedic cabaret that promises “iconic and unexpected songs… with a side of playful, sassy humor.”

Dilworth Park Octoberfest; noon–8pm, pay as you go
The open-air park outside City Hall gets in on the Oktoberfest fun all weekend long with a menu of Bavarian-inspired Philly food staples, like the South Philly schnitzel, a sauerbraten cheesesteak, Germantown dumplings and more. There will also be seasonal beers at the bar and a DJ.

Visit pumpkin patches near Philadelphia at various locations
Have you found your jack o’lantern yet? City supermarkets are packed to the brim with pumpkins this time of year, but choosing one is so much more fun if you pluck it from the ground yourself. Come fall, farms surrounding the city begin to sprout with gourds and the eventual pumpkin-flavored cakes, ciders and treats that come with them. Take a road trip with pals—or the family—to any one of the rural wonderlands in our guide to the best pumpkin patches near Philadelphia.


DesignPhiladelphia; various times and various prices
The largest and oldest event of its kind, Design Philadelphia celebrates innovations in design—whether it be architecture, fashion, multimedia or urban planning. More than 120 events are planned throughout the two-week run, where you’ll have a chance to mingle and learn from 400 local and nationally recognized designers. The activity roster runs the gamut from lectures and workshops to cocktail gatherings. Find the full schedule here.

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.

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.

“Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor” at Franklin Institute; 9:30am; $35
Head to the Franklin Institute to check out the only East Coast showing of this exhibition that features a small army of 2,000-year-old clay statues that once stood outside the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuangdi. The 10 sculptures are shown here alongside other ancient Chinese artifacts like weapons, jade pieces and golden trinkets.

Monument Lab at various locations
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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