GET UP FOR FALL: A Citywide Guide to This Season’s Fun

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AMONG the many theatical offerings in town this fall at the Academy of Music: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in November. Photos courtesy Visit Philly

After the hottest, wettest summer in recent memory, we would be ready for autumn’s arrival regardless of what activities awaited our participation in the Cradle of Liberty. But, continuing a trend that has helped cement Philadelphia’s status as one of the most livable, exciting cities in America, Fall 2018 will see more things to do than you can shake a gourd at – just look at this list cultivated with plenty of help from Visit Philly!

The Best Fests

Nothing says Philadelphia fun like a festival, and this season, there seems to be at least one every weekend, including:

Puerto Rican Festival Parade: This Sunday’s parade marks the 56th anniversary of this music- and pomp-filled Puerto Rican procession of 1,500 marchers. The parade draws thousands to show island pride on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Art al fresco: Throughout October, Mural Arts Philadelphia will honor its 3,800 works of public art with trolley tours of neighborhood gardens, mosaics and a lineup of free and pay-what-you-wish events.

LGBT History Month: All next month, attractions and groups across the city will celebrate the occasion with festivals and other special events, including Outfest, the world’s largest Coming Out Day, on Oct. 7. It features 10 blocks of drag shows, games, bar crawls, music and shopping. The centerpiece of the festival is at 13th and Locust Streets with a main stage that offers a high-heel race.

DesignPhiladelphia: From Oct. 3 to 13, lovers of design can take in more than 100 creative events during this citywide celebration of creatives from industries like fashion, architecture, and art. Events include a giant kickoff party at Bok Bar, special exhibitions, panels, and showcases.

Midtown Village Fall Festival: This all-day festival returns Oct. 6 to the lively neighborhood with food, drinks, live music, games, sidewalk sales and more along a number of Midtown Village’s busiest thoroughfares, which close to vehicular traffic during the festivities. Beyond the outdoor fun on 13th Street, Brü Craft and Wurst hosts a festival of its own with tons of beer, games, and music to complement the excitement.

Revolutionary Germantown Festival: This annual historical spectacle returns Oct. 6 with costumed characters, live music, food and drink — and the main event, a reenactment of the Battle of Germantown, the only military battle ever fought within the borders of Philadelphia. Guests can head down Germantown Avenue after the “battle” for Battle Bash, the official after-party at the historic Grumblethorpe house featuring re-enactors from the battle, food, beer, live music and more.

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours: For two weekends this October – Oct. 6 and 7, and Oct. 13 and 14 – you can get a sneak peek inside the studios of some of the city’s most talented artists. More than 300 artists who specialize in everything from photography to glassblowing participate every year.

Old City Fest: Celebrates Old City’s maker population Oct. 7 with crafts, exhibitions, and demonstrations along the closed-to-traffic thoroughfares. In addition to arts events, the restaurants, bars, and shops of Old City take it outside for alfresco eats, drinks and shopping.

PHILADELPHIA’S legendary Mural Arts Program will be celebrating the city’s 3,500+ murals throughout the month of October with events.

Fishtown RiverCity Festival: This annual event, happening this year on Oct. 13, kicks off with a 5K fun run that starts and ends at the waterfront park. After the run, the real fun starts when local bands take the stage, food trucks roll up, craft beer starts flowing and local vendors begin showing off their wares.

Bloktoberfest: This multi-block Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 13 brings craft beer and fall-inspired fare to South Street West for, an annual celebration of local food, drinks and music. The festival runs from Broad to 18th streets on South Street.

Parkway 100 Celebration: The year-plus-long fête ends with a grand finale event on Friday, October 26 — the exact 100-year anniversary of the debut of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Details of the Parkway Soirée are to be announced, but plenty of celebrations are expected to be had along the museum-lined Parkway.

Just the Ticket: Movies

Philadelphia Film Festival: Critically acclaimed and thought-provoking films make up this annual festival, taking place from Oct. 18-28. It is known for showcasing award-winning documentaries, shorts and feature films, while also welcoming an impressive roster of film industry powerhouses for panels and special presentations.

Gershman Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival: This long-running event, happening this year from Nov. 3 to 18, features films from around the world that celebrate Jewish identity, culture, history and community.

Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival:
This festival, taking place from Nov. 8 to 18, aims to educate and expose the Philadelphia region to films by and about Asian-Americans via screenings and events. The festival delves into Asian-American film through screenings of documentaries and feature films, panels, discussions, parties and much more at multiple locations within the city.

Just the Ticket – Theater

Broadway on Broad Street: Three exciting Broadway productions come to the Academy of Music this fall. “Love Never Dies,” Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fantastic sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera,” takes the stage in early October, followed by celebrated classic “Fiddler on the Roof” in late October and Roald Dahl’s vibrant “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in early November.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: There are plenty of alternatives, including the 1966 animated special narrated by Boris Karloff, the Jim Carrey clunker and a new film version by the team behind the Minions. Why not see the Mean One live at the Merriam Theatre from Dec. 19 to 29 for a shot of holiday spirit?

Just the Ticket – Music

O18: Opera Philadelphia’s massive celebration of the art form has saved its best event for last, but you’ll need to hurry: The festival ends on Sunday.

LGBT History Month’s signature event, Outfest, will take place on Oct. 7 in Midtown Village.

Philly POPS: Leslie Odom Jr., who is best-known for his role in Hamilton on Broadway, helps kick off the POPS’ 40th anniversary season, which features performances with guest artists Heather Headley (October 12), Storm Large (November 9-11) and more. This weekend, Odom will join the POPS and perform a slew of classic American songs in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.

Metallica: The final event in the yearlong celebration of WMMR’s miraculous 50-year run will also be the loudest when these rockers take the stage at the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 25.

The Met reopens: On Dec. 4, the Met will relaunch with a performance by Bob Dylan. The N. Broad Street venue that first opened its doors in 1908 after being designed by William H. McElfatrick and built by opera impresario Oscar Hammerstein I, the Metropolitan Opera House is being restored to offer major live performances once again — this time, courtesy of Philadelphia-based Live Nation. The $56 million project includes full-service dining, a variety of VIP experiences and space to host large corporate events.

Exhibit A

Vikings: Beyond the Legend: The National Museum of Denmark has lent more than 600 of its treasured artifacts from Viking history, including full-size re-creations of awesome Viking ships, to the Franklin Institute. The exhibition sets sail Oct. 13 through next march.

Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now: This landmark exhibition, launching Oct. 16 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will shine brightly on haute couture, with designs by Dior, de la Renta, Balenciaga and more.

The Latest Dishes

Center City District Restaurant Week: The always-delicious event returns for 12 days this fall with more than 110 restaurants offering signature three-course dinners for $35 per person, and some offering three-course lunches for $20 per guest. New additions to the crop of eateries this season include Chez Ben Bistro, Porta, The Palm Restaurant and Casta Diva.

Night Market: The Food Trust’s giant food festival returns for its final event of the season on Oct. 4 with a food-filled event in Point Breeze. This evening festival will center around 20th and Federal streets and spread for blocks with dozens of food vendors, craft beer peddlers, live music, free activities and more.

Chinatown Night Market Ye Shi: Chinatown’s popular annual nighttime food truck fest returns Oct. 11, with plenty of food and live entertainment. Last year’s festival included delicious eats from Chewy’s, Dos Hermanos Tacos and more. Stay tuned for details about this year’s fest.

The James Beard Foundation Taste America: The renowned culinary organization’s Philadelphia event takes place Nov. 2 at The Rittenhouse and features a wide variety of fare from renowned local chefs, including a dinner menu created by three culinary masterminds: “visiting all-star” chef — and most recent recipient of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic — Jeremiah Langhorne of the Dabney in Washington, D.C.; “local all-star” chef Nicholas Elmi of Laurel, ITV and Royal Boucherie; and “host chef” Jonathan Cichon of Lacroix and The Rittenhouse hotel.

Scare Today

Terror Behind the Walls: Things at Eastern State Penitentiary get pretty scary through November, as one of the country’s most popular Halloween attractions returns for the season. At nightfall, guests can walk through six haunted attractions with different themes — including the new-for-2018 Infirmary, a nightmarish hospital — all set within the halls of the abandoned prison. Beware of the creepy zombies, deranged nurses and spooky ghouls around every corner.

EASTERN STATE Penitentiary will once again host “Terror Behind the Walls” during the Halloween season.

The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience: After a successful first event last year, this outdoor event returns to West Fairmount Park from Oct. 4 to 28 with more than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins that illuminate a trail throughout the public space. Visitors will find everything from iconic Philly attractions to Disney princesses carved on the pumpkins. Also, keep an eye out for huge displays completely made up of illuminated pumpkins.

East Passyunk Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday: This family-friendly event on Oct. 27 includes activities like pumpkin-decorating, costume contests for kids and dogs, and trick-or-treating at local businesses make this neighborhood fall fest fun for the whole family. Guests can also find live music, arts and craft vendors, and fall food and drink as they stroll the festival footprint along East Passyunk Avenue.

Be a Sport

Head of the Schuylkill Regatta: College rowers, high school crews, elite athletes and world champions take to the water for this two-day regatta Oct. 27 and 28. The sporting event regularly welcomes more than 25,000 spectators who line Kelly Drive to cheer on rowers during the 2.5-mile race, which makes for a festive environment all along the Schuylkill River.

Philadelphia Marathon: With a fast course that winds through the city’s historic attractions, past the stunning Philadelphia Museum of Art and along scenic Boathouse Row, the is one of the country’s premier — and most scenic — running events. The weekend of Nov. 16 to 18 also includes the Rothman Institute 8K race, a half-marathon, a Kids Fun Run and the two-day Health and Fitness Expo.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest: This Penn’s Landing attraction reopens its outdoor rink in November for ice skating and becomes the centerpiece of Winterfest, consisting of a lodge, arcade, confectionery cabin and more.

Dilworth Park Wintergarden: The Rothman Ice Skating Rink, the Rothman Cabin and America’s Garden Capital Maze reopen in November to form one of Philadelphia’s most popular holiday attractions. Visitors can skate around the rink, warm up with a hot beverage in the heated cabin, and stroll around the twinkling lights and seasonal plants in the garden maze from November through February.

Army-Navy Game: Are you ready for another matchup between two of the most fierce rivals in all of sports? The annual spectacle returns Dec. 8 to Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. Cadets, midshipmen, current service members, veterans and fans gather to cheer on the United States Military Academy as they take on the United States Naval Academy on the football field.

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