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Aug 29 2016

Philadelphia Fetes Community And Culture This Fall

Major Art Exhibitions, Street Festivals, Dinosaurs, Murals and More Invigorate The Season

With the opening of a new center for Latino arts and culture (El Corazόn Cultural Center), a day of car-free city streets (Philly Free Streets) and oodles of festivals celebrating everything from fungi to films to first-person storytelling, Philadelphia coasts into autumn with a calendar chock full of fun.

More time to stay means more time to play. To maximize the season’s offerings, visitors can book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, featuring free hotel parking, at

What’s New:

  • Urban Axes introduces the newest craze from Canada to Philadelphia with the opening of the nation’s first indoor competitive axe-throwing center. After coaching sessions with axe-throwing experts, groups compete in round-robin tournaments in two enclosed throwing lanes. The bring-your-own food and beverage facility also offers walk-in sessions and pick-up groups for practice and training. Open September 13, 2016. 2019 E. Boston Street, (267) 585-2937,
  • In addition to offering groundbreaking world premieres this fall, Azuka Theater is introducing an innovative ticketing plan—wherein audience members pay what they wish after each performance, all season long. September 21, 2016-May 21, 2017. 302 S. Hicks Street, (215) 563-1100,
  • Approximately nine miles of Center City streets will be closed to traffic for Philly Free Streets. Inspired by the car-free zone that took place in the city during Pope Francis’ visit in September 2016, the day-long event aims to inspire new ways to walk, bike, skate, celebrate and simply enjoy city living. Specific street closures to be announced. September 24, 2016.
  • The black, red and yellow will be flying high and proud when the folks from the authentic German restaurant and beer hall Brauhaus Schmitz stage the region’s first major Oktoberfest celebration. Throughout the weekend, beer lovers will be immersed in all things Deutschland with traditional German customs, music, dance, decor and, of course, beer. Lederhosen optional. October 7-9, 2016. 22 S. 23rd Street, (267) 909-8814,
  • Philly’s Food Fest plans an afternoon of noshing on the city’s best-known, best-loved fare. More than 50 vendors will serve samples of roast pork sandwiches, hoagies, soft pretzels, water ice and, naturally, cheesesteaks. South Philly event also includes a beer garden, carnival games and an appearance by another Philly original, the Phillie Phanatic. October 15, 2016. Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Park Way,
  • After 10 years of planning, Taller Puertorriqueño is about to open its new El Corazόn Cultural Center, the largest Puerto Rican and Latino-based arts and culture facility in Pennsylvania. The 25,000-square-foot centerpiece of the El Centro de Oro neighborhood will house a multipurpose, 200-seat theater, exhibition and gallery spaces, education facilities, an enclosed playground, gift shop, café and event spaces. November 2016. 2600 N. 5th Street, (215) 426-3311,

Museum Exhibits:

  • In its only East Coast appearance, Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution brings more than 200 objects from Graham’s legendary career to the National Museum of American Jewish History. Tracing his life as a refugee from Nazi Germany through his work as a music impresario and cultural influence, the exhibition features Janis Joplin’s tambourine, a handwritten note from Donovan, Pete Townshend’s guitar from a Tommy performance, scrapbooks and original artwork from iconic Fillmore concert posters. September 16, 2016-January 16, 2017. 101 S. Independence Mall East, (215) 923-3811,
  • Interpreting the celebrated choreopoem by author Ntzoke Shange, the African-American Museum in Philadelphia’s exhibition i found god in myself displays more than 40 paintings, textiles, sculptures and other works by such artists as Danny Simmons, Deborah Willis and others exploring African-American and LGBT culture. Films, programs and readings by Notzake herself will supplement the exhibition. October 1, 2016-January 2, 2017. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380,
  • The Barnes Foundation presents its first-ever photography exhibition in Live and Life Will Give You Pictures: Masterworks of French Photography, 1890-1950. More than 170 black-and-white photographs document the rise of modern French life—as captured by the lenses of Edgar Degas, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Ilse Bing, Brassaï, Many Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson and more masters of the medium. Nearly a third of these vintage prints have never before been exhibited. October 8, 2016-January 9, 2017. 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7200,
  • Philadelphia is the only U.S. city to host Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism: 1910-1950, a large-scale exhibition of paintings, prints, books, broadsheets and many works relating to major mural projects. A first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Mexico City’s Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, the show includes pieces from legends Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and important contemporaries such as Dr. Atl (Gerardo Murillo) and María Izquierdo. October 25, 2016-January 8, 2017. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100,
  • Dominated by John Singer Sargent’s seminal work Gassed, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ World War I and American Art is the first major museum exhibition to revisit the unprecedented global event through the eyes of more than 80 U.S. artists. More than 150 works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Carl Hoeckher, Horace Pippin, Man Ray, Claggett Wilson and more reflect on the violence and impact of this major world war. November 4, 2016-April 9, 2017. 118-128 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600,
  • The prehistoric denizens of Isla Nublar come roaring into The Franklin Institute with the North American premiere of the 15,000-square-foot exhibition Jurassic World. Fans of the Jurassic Park movie series can explore the mysterious island and come face-to-face with animatronic versions of the 25-foot-long Brachiosaurus, 24-foot tall T._Rex, Stegosaurus and other lumbering beasts. While the movies are fiction, the exhibition is based on true science. November 25, 2016-April 23, 2017. 222 N. 20th Street, (215) 448-1200,

The Sporting Life:

  • Fun and fast. That’s the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Live music along the 13.1-mile route pumps up runners through the finish line. A post-race concert featuring Guster and other bands is open to both 5K and half-mile competitors. September 17-18, 2016.
  • Rowers and landlubbers head to the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, one of the nation’s largest and most festive rowing competitions. The contest features athletes of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to Olympic-level racers. October 29-30, 2016. Kelly Drive, (215) 280-0483,
  • The Philadelphia Marathon offers distance runners a fast course that winds through Historic Philadelphia, past the stunning Philadelphia Museum of Art and along scenic Boathouse Row. Established in 1994, the race has grown to include an 8K, half-marathon, kids’ fun run and health and fitness expo. November 18-20, 2016. (215) 683-2122, 

Autumn Arts:

  • For two weeks of artistic pleasure, avant-garde performance meets street theater throughout the city during the 20th Fringe Festival. Stages small and large and iconic settings such as the Barnes Foundation and the Philadelphia Museum of Art host regional and international artists. This year, Philadelphia’s Nichole Canuso, whose work appeared in Philly’s first Fringe, returns to debut of technologically-infused Pandæmonium. Aussies Brett Bailey and Third World Bunfight collaborate with Opera Philadelphia for the North American premiere of Bailey’s controversial adaptation of Verdi’s Macbeth, set in the Democratic Republic of Congo. September 9-24, 2016. (215) 413-1318,
  • Each October, Mural Arts Month honors the Mural Arts Program’s more than 3,800 works of public art in different ways. In addition to walking and trolley tours of the Ninth Street Stock Exchange project, neighborhood gardens, mosaics and more, a roster of free and pay-what-you-wish events includes a one-night-only sound and light installation in the tunnels under the in-development Rail Park with composer Nadia Botello and visual artists Matthew Suib and Nadia Hironaka, the unveiling of Mural Arts’ first rotating outdoor gallery and festivals in South Philly, Bartram’s Garden and along Spring Garden Street Bridge. September 30-October 31. 323 N. 11th Street, (215) 685-750,
  • DesignPhiladelphia is the nation’s largest and oldest design festival, wherein, this year, the city hosts 100 events and 400 nationally recognized designers. Many exhibits, lectures, workshops and demonstrations on architecture, fashion, furniture, multimedia and urban planning take place at The Center for Architecture and Design, as well as at universities, retailers, civic associations, retailers and startups. October 6-14, 2016.
  • On two separate weekends, the 16th annual Philadelphia Open Studio Tours invites connoisseurs and novices to visit dozens of artists in studios throughout the city. West of Broad Street, October 8-9, 2016; east of Broad Street, October 22-23, 2016; (215) 546-7775,
  • The 25th Philadelphia Film Festival won’t just showcase the best in brand-new independent and foreign cinema in theaters and venues throughout Philadelphia. The ten-day event will also offer a retrospective of film festivals past, and set up its own pop-up lounge in Old City at a to-be-announced location. October 20-30, 2016. (267) 239-2941,
  • Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show fills the Pennsylvania Convention Center with textiles, jewelry and housewares made by 195 artists—many of whom are onsite to discuss and to sell their pristine wares. Among the selection of emerging artists is a booth of University of the Arts craft students. Among the highlights of the four-day event is a fashion show displaying clothing, accessories and jewelry from the show at noon Friday. November 10-13, 2016. 1201 Arch Street, (215) 684-7930,

Feeling Festive:

  • Kennett Square’s 31st annual Mushroom Festival, a weekend-long street festival, seals the town’s reputation as the “Mushroom Capital of the World.” A parade, a Saturday evening Mason Porter concert, 250 food and craft vendors, and contests galore—fried mushroom eating, mushroom soup, baby photos, and, new this year, a cook-off that’s a qualifying event in the recipe category for the World Food Championships—put the fun in fungi. September 10-11, 2016. 101 S. Union Street, Kennett Square, (610) 925-3373,
  • The 37th annual Scarecrow Competition and Display at Peddler’s Village features more than 150 larger-than-life scarecrows shown throughout the Bucks County destination. The display’s high point: Scarecrow Festival weekend, complete with scarecrow-making workshops, pumpkin painting, live entertainment and pie-eating contests. Display, September 12-November 1, 2016; festival, September 17-18. Routes 202 & 263, (215) 794-4000,
  • Artists, designers, techies, crafters, merchants, restaurateurs, families and partyers celebrate Philly’s creative spirit during the Old City Fest. Interactive and multi-block, the event shows off the neighborhood’s rich food and arts scenes. October 9, 2016. N. 3rd Street between Market & Arch Streets and Arch Street between 2nd & 4th Streets, (215) 592-7929,
  • OutFest, part of the National Coming Out Day Festival, is the largest event of its kind in the world. For the family-friendly Gayborhood block party, restaurants cook outdoors, bars organize street-side dance parties, and there’s an activity for every interest: a wall to climb, mechanical bull to ride and contests in bagel-eating, hula-hooping and high-heel racing. October 9. 13th & Locust Streets, (215) 875-9288,
  • All of historic Chestnut Hill transforms into Hogsmeade during the Harry Potter Festival. A festival first: The leafy neighborhood plans to detour traffic along cobblestoned Germantown Avenue so that participants—many who arrive via SEPTA’s Hogwarts Express train—can stroll the street and enjoy a costume parade, Horcrux Hunt, Dumbledore’s Powers Maze, expanded Potter Pub Crawl and dozens of Quidditch teams who compete for the Golden Snitch. October 21-22, 2016. Germantown Avenue,
  • Peddler’s Village 43rd annual Apple Festival honors the autumn fruit. Visitors indulge in old-fashioned country apple butter, apple cider, apple dumplings, apple fritters, caramel-dipped apples and apple pie-eating contests. November 5-6, 2016. (215) 794-4000,
  • Venues across the city host the 15th Anniversary First Person Arts Festival, the only festival of its kind dedicated to presenting art across all genres that is inspired by real life experiences. This year’s lineup features storytelling shows, theater, dance and new works in performance. November 7-19, 2016. (267) 402-2055,
  • A Wild Wizarding Weekend awaits would-be wizards at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Spellbinding activities include magic wand making, meet-and-greets with live beasts that inspired favorite wizarding tales and Bunny and Broomsticks games. November 25-27, 2016. 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 299-1000,

Holiday Delights:

  • Thrill seekers take to the spooky season at Eastern State Penitentiary by visiting Terror Behind the Walls, America’s largest haunted house, in an abandoned, crumbling prison. The six-attraction nighttime fright invites souls to walk through, and, if they choose, get grabbed, separated from their group or sent into hidden passageways. Visitors can dare to take on the Hex Challenge, which involves secret rooms, zombie collaborations and prison escapes. September 16-November 5, 2016. 2027 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3300,
  • Aficionados of the afterlife alight on the historic, bucolic—and still active—Laurel Hill Cemetery in greater numbers as Halloween approaches. Performances of Death is a Cabaret, Ol’ Chum, The Dead Milkmen in concert, True Tales from the Tomb tours and even purposely less spooky family days are among the autumnal offerings on 78 acres of rolling hills overlooking the Schuylkill River. 3822 Ridge Avenue, (215) 228-8200,
  • The nation’s first Thanksgiving Day Parade keeps the tradition going year after year. The parade, sponsored by local broadcaster 6ABC and Dunkin’ Donuts, wows the crowds with fancy floats, talented marching bands and holiday entertainment along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. November 24, 2016. (215) 581-4502,

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.


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