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26 awesome things to do in Philadelphia this weekend

By
Josh Middleton
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Your choices for what to do this weekend don’t have to be Halloween-related, though there’s certainly enough of that to go around (see our full guide to the best Halloween events here). We're guessing the most widely attended event will be Philly Free Streets, which closes seven miles of local roads from Old City up into North Philly on Saturday. For a more festive atmosphere, check out the South Street PumpkinFest or the East Passyunk Fall Fest, both happening on Saturday as well. If you're in the mood for comedy, big names standup acts like Jersey boy Michael Ian Black will be at Helium Comedy Club all week long, and 30 Rock alum Tracy Morgan will have crowds blushing during a one-night only performance at Tower Theater on Saturday. See our full list of the best weekend to-dos below.

Friday, October 27

Mischief at the Mütter Museum; 6:30pm; $50–$208
While the Mütter Museum is scary enough on its own (we’re looking at you, Soap Lady), the popular hall of medical oddities is amping up the creepy factor this Halloween with the third annual Mischief party. General admission tickets include access to the museum, an open bar and snacks while VIP tickets include a 13-course themed dinner at the museum’s one-night-only secret supper club that promises “delectably devious dishes and myriad mysterious performers” with lots of scary surprises along the way.

Michael Ian Black at Helium Comedy Club; 7:30, 10pm; $20–$28
New Jersey–bred comedian Black has several TV and film appearances under his belt, and he’s hosted a couple podcasts and even penned seven children’s books. His next project is a series on TBS called Moon Cruise, which has been described as “The Love Boat but set in space.”

Stay Dead: An Improvised Horror Comedy at Adrienne Theater; 7:30pm; $10
At Philly Improv Theater’s Horror Comedy show, you can sit, stay and watch the city’s finest comedians play dead—all with seriously hilarious results. Every show is a unique experience as the troupe acts out classic horror film tropes mixed with audience suggestions that can run the gory gamut from axe murderers to zombie apocalypses.

Blood Wedding at the Wilma Theater; 8pm; $30
The Wilma Theater reimagines this searing Spanish classic, which picks up with a young bride on the morning of her wedding day. Things take a turn for the chaotic when a former lover—and an enemy of the bride’s family—swoops in and convinces her to run away with him. Suddenly a family feud is reignited, and the whole town is thrown into a tizzy—one that has destructive consequences.

Halloween Party at Maison 208; 9pm; $30–$60
Halloween goes glam at Maison 208 this year. The newly opened Washington Square West rstaurant and bar, in all its retractable roof glory, is hosting a tequila-infused costume party with specialty cocktails made with Casamigos Tequila, passed hors d’oeuvres, prizes and music you can dance to.

Saturday, October 28

Philly Free Streets at various locations; 8am; free
On Saturday, seven miles of Philadelphia streets—from 3rd and Chestnut in Old City all the way up to 5th and Indiana in Fairhill—will close to vehicular traffic for the second annual Philly Free Streets event. Roads will be open from 8am to 1pm for pedestrians, bikers, joggers and general gadabouts to stroll freely without the fear of any motorized disturbances, and local organizations and businesses, such as the Bicycle Coalition, will host events along the route throughout the day. Stroll the length of the route to experience a variety of diverse neighborhoods—from Historic Old City and Kensington along Germantown Avenue to the end point, El Centro de Oro, a thriving Latino commercial district. For a map and more information, including what to know if you usually park a car along the route, go here.

Healthy Halloween at Smith Memorial Playground; 10am; $10
Come Halloween, your little monster’s going to have a big enough stockpile of candy to sustain a sugar high for weeks. You might as well try to throw an apple or an orange in the mix. To help, Fairmount Park’s Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse hosts its annual health-centric All Hallow’s Eve bash, rife with wholesome treats, carnival games and a six-and-a-half-acre playground for ample running. The massive on-site playhouse will also be open.

East Passyunk Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday at Singing Fountain; 11am; free
With “spirited” cocktails for the adults, dog treats for the pets and candy for the kids, East Passyunk Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday has something scary-fun for everyone. Pumpkin decorating, arts and crafts, live music, costume contests are also on tap. Businesses between the Singing Fountain and Mifflin Triangle will be open to trick-or-treaters—so don’t forget to dress up the kiddos.

Day of the Dead Celebration at Penn Museum; 11am; $15
Ditch the dark side of Halloween and head to the Penn Museum for a festive Dia de los Muertos celebration. Together with the Mexican Consulate in Philadelphia and the Mexican Cultural Center, the museum is hosting a kid-friendly day of sugar-skull painting, tissue paper flower making, puppets, face painting, costume contests and gallery tours. Anyone dressed in traditional Day of the Dead garb can walk in the parade. Sample traditional sweet “pan de muerto” buns and spicy hot chocolate. Don’t miss the Ballet Folklorico Yaretzi performing traditional Mexican folk dances and Radio Jarocho & Zenen Zeferino for “the skeletons come to the fandango.”

Ardmore Halloween Spooktacular at Downtown Ardmore; 11am; free
It’s a win-win in Ardmore this Halloween weekend. While parents shop at the cute boutiques, kids can stockpile treats at each. Pick up a bag at Schauffele Plaza and follow the “trick-or-treat trail” to McShea’s, where all the little ghouls and goblins will get a special treat. Stick around for the mini-parade, crafts and costume contest, too.

South Street PumpkinFest at Headhouse Shambles; noon; free
See South Street in the light of day for once and head out to their annual PumpkinFest. The South Street Headhouse District will host an all-day block party complete with live music, a straw-bale maze, circus performances, horse and wagon rides, face painting, shopping and lots of seasonal treats and brews. Kids under 12 can also trick-or-treat at neighboring businesses so bring those pillowcases.

Japas Horror Story at Yakitori Boy; 5pm; pay as you go
The only thing better than singing karaoke at Yakitori Boy is winning free bottle service and gift cards for your hype Halloween costume. The beloved izakaya karaoke bar is hosting two nights of costume parties, $7 drink specials, and tasty snacks. The folks at Captain Morgan will be on hand to award complimentary bottle service to the best dressed Captain on Saturday night.

Attack of the Gogozilla Halloween Dance Party at the Trestle Inn; 7:30pm; $10–$15
Party monsters take note: the Trestle Inn is the place to do the Monster Mash this Halloween. Their annual disco dance party comes complete with a free King Kong vs. Godzilla screening, a complimentary cocktail, costume contest, Go Go by Trestle Specials Connie Love and Ruby Tuesday, and DJs lil' dave and Billa spinning disco all night long.

Tracy Morgan at Tower Theater; 8pm; $47–$125
The irreverent 30 Rock star and SNL alum comes to Philadelphia on the heels of his recent Netflix comedy special, Staying Alive. If this show follows that format, you can expect hilarious video montages, song snippets and tons of F-bombs alongside stories about his recovery following a serious car crash in 2014.

Masquerade Affair at aMuse; 8pm; $45
If you’re searching for “an air of mystery and elegance” this Halloween, your search ends here. aMuse is hosting a DJ dance party, costume contest, themed cocktails (the Smashing Pumpkin, a vodka, pumpkin spice, passion fruit and anise concoction sounds particularly dangerous), small bites and complimentary masquerade masks. Gift certificates will be awarded to the sexiest, funniest, most original and best overall costume, so dress to impress.

Jacky Bam Bam’s Monster Mash Ball on the Spirit of Philadelphia; 9pm; $40
Set sail on the spooky seas aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia this Halloween weekend. The city’s premier cruise ship is rocking a late-night dance party hosted by WMMR’s favorite DJ Jacky Bam Bam. Indulge in a moonlight buffet, fully stocked cash bar and scariest costume contest. You’ll get killer views of the Philly skyline and a chance to win prizes all night long.

HALLOQUEENS at FringeArts; 10pm; $12–$15
The beloved Halloween bash returns for a 4th year and promises to be more extra than ever. This year, the globally recognized dance party is taking over the entire FringeArts building, complete with LGBTQ DJs, drag, burlesque, live music, a photo booth and, of course, OOT Halloween costumes all night long. You must be 21-plus.

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.

Sunday, October 29

Fall Fest at Shady Brook Farm; 9am; $10
Over in Yardley, Shady Brook Farm throws a seasonal shindig when the leaves start to turn. Called Fall Fest, the event welcomes families to its pumpkin patch for jack-o’-lantern picking and other activities that seem to nod to Charlotte’s Web. (Spiderweb climbing and pig races, anyone?) Starting September 30, the farm throws open the doors to its haunted attraction just for tykes: Barn of Horror Jr.

A Revolutionary Halloween Weekend at the Museum of the American Revolution; 10am; $17
Halloween and history go hand-in-hand at the Museum of the American Revolution this year. A three-day-long celebration includes kid’s Revolutionary costume parades (and $2 off admission), ghost stories wtih a costumed museum educator, crafts and candy. There’s also a collaborative symphony project with composer Tod Machover and a Halloween Day lunch lecture called “What to do with a Dead Hessian,” a cheeky look back on what citizens did with the dead during the war.

Last chance: 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.

Last chance: Philadelphia Film Festival at various locations through Oct 29
Must-see independent and foreign flicks from around the globe get screentime in Philadelphia during this two-week film festival, now in its 26th year. The itinerary comprises a variety of formats—from feature-lengths and short films—shown at some of the best movie theaters Philadelphia has to offer. Overwhelmed by the 110 offerings? We’ve narrowed down the list to 14 of the movies you can’t miss here.

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.

Ongoing

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.

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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