Philadelphia Summer Guide 2019

Filed under: Featured News |

Festivals of all kinds, neighborhood parties, beer gardens and a bevy of awesome outdoor events make Philadelphia the place to be this summer.

Visitors and residents alike can look forward to relaxing on the waterfront at Spruce Street Harbor Park, sipping drinks at a Parks on Tap pop-up beer garden and enjoying carnival-style fun at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest all season long. And there are tons of opportunities to celebrate different cultures throughout the season – as you will see below.

Parks on Tap crowd eating and drinking at Clark Park — Photo courtesy Parks on Tap

Parks on Tap

Through September 29 (select dates)

There are plenty of alfresco eats and drinks to be had at Parks on Tap, the city’s roving beer garden that pops up at a different Philadelphia park each week throughout the spring and summer. Visitors can enjoy barbecue, cold beer, cocktails, wine and non-alcoholic beverages in an all-ages (and dog-friendly!) space that offers hammocks for lounging and prime park views. Locations “on tap” for this summer: the Schuylkill Banks, Fairmount Water Works, Gorgas Park, Dickinson Square Park and Clark Park.
Where: Various locations including Clark Park, 4300 Baltimore Avenue

Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest and The Midway

Through September 1
The day-to-night summer hangout on the Delaware River promises visitors a chance to skate at Center City’s only outdoor roller rink, a plethora of boardwalk-style food (think crab fries, funnel cake), a Ferris wheel, carnival rides and plenty of spots for fun in the summer sun.
Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Visitors walking around and relaxing at Spruce Street Harbor Park — Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Spruce Street Harbor Park

Through September 29
Enthusiasts of riverside chilling enjoy the hammocks, patio games, boardwalk foods, floating gardens, draft beer, cocktails and cool breezes at this wildly popular spring-into-fall destination that welcomes hundreds of thousands of people each year.
Where: Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Center City District Sips

Through August 28
Summer Wednesday nights are all about happy hour deals at multiple bars in Center City neighborhoods. Bars participating in Center City District Sips serve up discounted cocktails ($6), wine ($5), beer ($4) and half-priced appetizers to the after-work crowds.
Where: Various locations including Uptown Beer Garden, 1735 Market Street

The grassy campus of the University of Pennsylvania hosts the 40th Street Summer Series of free concerts — Photo by B. Tran for University City District

40th Street Summer Series

August 17, 2019
Outdoor concerts are a quintessential part of summer in Philadelphia and every year, University City District hosts free alfresco shows featuring local and national acts who perform jazz, inspired blends of spoken word and song, and more. Beyond music, the one-Saturday-per-summer-month event also features free refreshments and pre-show activities for youngsters.
Where: South 39th and Walnut streets

Old City Eats

Thursdays through August 29
Old City’s after-work summer happy hour series returns to showcase the neighborhood’s superb dining destinations every Thursday evening through August 29. Participating restaurants like High Street on Market, Vista Peru (new for this year!), Amada and more offer at least one half-priced small plate as well as drink specials.
Where: Various locations including Vista Peru, 20 S. 2nd Street

The Food Trust’s Market at Cherry Street Pier

Saturdays through November 16
Cherry Street Pier, the Delaware River waterfront’s newest transformative space, was developed in partnership with The Food Trust, the farmers market offers visitors fresh, affordable produce and other products from local farms, culinary entrepreneurs and independent retailers like Birchrunhill Farms, Ca Phe Roasters, Hickory Grove Gardens, Sharrah Orchards and more. The market takes place inside the multifaceted public space every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. this summer through the fall.
Where: Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

University City Dining Days

July 18-28
More than 30 eclectic University City restaurants — including Dock Street Brewery, White Dog Café, Sangkee Noodle House, Walnut Street Café and Distrito — take part in this three-course, three-price dinner promo featuring $15, $25 or $35 meals (not including tax, alcohol or gratuity).
Where: Various locations including Distrito, 3945 Chestnut Street

People enjoying themselves at The Oval+ warm-weather park in Philadelphia — Photo by A. Yee for Fairmount Park Conservancy

The Oval+ on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Opens Friday, July 19
The dynamic Oval+ pop-up park brings community programming, public art, a beer garden, special events and activities to Eakins Oval — located across from the Philadelphia Museum of Art — for a sixth summer season this July. The space is expected to stay open for a little longer than a month.
Where: 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Islamic Heritage Festival

Saturday, July 20, 2-8 p.m.
Philadelphia celebrates Islamic culture at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing every summer as part of the PECO Multicultural Series. In 2018, the festival featured a global market bazaar, giveaways, a fashion show and more.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Visitors watching a performance at the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival
— Photo courtesy Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival

Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival

Saturday, July 20, Noon-7 p.m.
Taking place at Saunders Park Greene at 39th Street & Powelton Avenue, the 13th annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival promises a day of free music and dance performances, children’s activities, marketplace shopping and more. This year’s theme is “Hometown Philly Sound.”
Where: Saunders Park Greene, North 39th Street & Powelton Avenue

Grand Opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia

Opens Monday, July 22
In July, the highly anticipated Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia opens on the top floors of the brand-new Comcast Technology Center, the tallest building in Philadelphia. Guests can expect sweeping city views from 219 rooms, a 10,000-square-foot-spa and Jean-Georges, a signature restaurant and lounge from the Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, 1 N. 19th Street

Shakespeare fills the Bowl of Clark Park every summer — Photo courtesy Shakespeare in Clark Park

Shakespeare in Clark Park

July 24-28
Shakespeare in Clark Park returns this summer with five free performances of “King Lear.” Grab a blanket and head to West Philly’s nine-acre public park for an entertaining alfresco production featuring students, professional actors and musicians.
Where: Clark Park, 4300 Baltimore Avenue

East Passyunk Car Show & Street Festival

Sunday, July 28
The annual showing of look-but-don’t-touch vintage classics, hot rods and more line South Philly’s E. Passyunk Avenue, as do food trucks and craft vendors.

East Passyunk Car Show display and crowd — Photo courtesy East Passyunk Car Show

Where: E. Passyunk Avenue from Broad Street to Dickinson Street

Franklin Square Fountain Show Opening

Opens July 31
The 180-year-old fountain and centerpiece of one of Center City’s original public squares, as envisioned in the 17th century by Philadelphia founder William Penn, gets a dramatic $2 million update. This old public square is becoming one of the city’s newest entertainment venues. Day and night, free choreographed shows will feature dancing water, lights and music from Philadelphia artists.
Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street

BlackStar Film Festival

August 1-4
Hailed by Ebony magazine as “the Black Sundance,” this film festival screens artistically excellent independent films about the global Black experience and films by people of color.
Where: Various locations including International House Philadelphia, 3717 Chestnut Street

Philly Free Streets participants walking on North Broad Street — Photo courtesy Philly Free Streets

Philly Free Streets

Saturday, August 3, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Now in its fourth year, this popular Saturday event closes down a main city thoroughfare to vehicular traffic — this year, an eight-mile stretch of North Broad Street between City Hall and Erie Avenue — so people can bike, walk and play in the street.
Where: N. Broad Street from City Hall to Erie Avenue

2nd Street Festival

Sunday, August 4, Noon-10 p.m.
Northern Liberties, the neighborhood that helped launch Philly’s craft beer craze, closes down North 2nd Street for a festival of beer gardens, food, workshops, art, street performances and two stages for live music.
Where: North 2nd Street between Germantown Avenue and Spring Garden Street

A performance at the ACANA African Festival at Penn’s Landing — Photo courtesy ACANA

ACANA African Festival

Sunday, August 4, 2-8 p.m.
The African Cultural Alliance of North America Inc. (ACANA) hosts the African Festival, an outdoor concert experience that brings artists, groups and dance troupes from around the African continent to perform. The festival provides a wide range of African entertainment, including traditional dance performances, modern Afropop and reggae musical performances. This free event also welcomes delicious African food vendors as well as vendors selling traditional clothing, modern clothing, and arts and crafts.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Jamaica’s 57th Independence Day Celebrations

Sunday, August 11
Festivities surrounding the 57th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence take place on Sunday, August 11. Giveaways, food (like jerk chicken and curry goat) and music are a smattering of the activities. Attendees can also look forward to appearances by Miss Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett, “Queen of Reggae” Marcia Griffith and more.
Where: Location TBA

The crowd at the Night Market in Fairmount — Photo by D. Tavani for Visit Philadelphia

Night Market Philadelphia: Fairmount Avenue

Thursday, August 15, 6-10 p.m.
The third Night Market of the 2019 season brings food trucks, live music and neighborhood fun to Fairmount Avenue, the Fairmount neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. The Night Market was last in Fairmount in 2013.
Where: Fairmount Avenue

Festival of India

Saturday, August 17, Noon-7 p.m.
India’s Independence Day celebrations take place during the Festival of India at Penn’s Landing, presented by the Council of Indian Organizations in Greater Philadelphia and the PECO Multicultural Series. Attendees enjoy a daylong showcase of Indian culture, including dance, art, music and more.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

A performance at the Caribbean Festival at Penn’s Landing — Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Caribbean Festival

Sunday, August 18, Noon-8 p.m.
The sounds and flavors of the islands entice thousands of people each year to the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing for the annual Caribbean Festival. Part of the PECO Multicultural Series, the festival — now in its 33rd year — includes a marketplace of Caribbean souvenirs and crafts as well as plenty of food options and performances.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Made in America

August 31 – September 1
The Made in America music festival returns to take over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway over Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia, with an epic lineup featuring Cardi B, Travis Scott, James Blake, Kaskade, Jorja Smith and more established and up-and-coming musicians.

Made in America on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — Photo by Visit Philadelphia

Where: Benjamin Franklin Parkway and North 21st Street

Labor Day Volkfest

August 31 – September 2
Every Labor Day weekend, the Canstatter German society in Torresdale hosts a three-day Oktoberfest party with crafts and lots of German food and beers in a festive environment.
Where: Cannstatter Volkfest Verein, 9130 Academy Road

Blue Corn Green and Organic Festival

FringeArts — Photo by J. Lawrence for Visit Philadelphia

Sunday, September 1, Noon-5 p.m.
The Blue Corn Lifestyle: Organic and Green Fest promotes living a sustainable lifestyle. Centered around corn, the fest combines old Mexican indigenous traditions and modern-day Mexican Farmer culture.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Fringe Festival

September 5-21
For two weeks of artistic pleasure, avant-garde performance meets street theater throughout the city during the annual Fringe Festival. Stay tuned for the full festival lineup announcement.
Where: Various locations including FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Brazilian Day Philadelphia

Sunday, September 8, 1-7 p.m.
Brazilian Day Philadelphia’s annual festival celebrates Brazilian independence by promoting Brazilian arts and culture. Music and dance performances — including showcases of the samba, forro, capoeira and the samba-reggae — are a major highlight.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Mexican Independence Day

Sunday, September 15, 2-8 p.m.
Philly’s Mexican Independence Day celebration, presented by the Mexican Cultural Center of Philadelphia, takes place each September at Penn’s Landing, complete with plenty of food, music from Mexican bands and more. The celebration is the final PECO Multicultural Series festival of the summer.
Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 – October 15
Philadelphia honors this national event with the Feria del Barrio in El Centro de Oro (September 8), a Mexican Independence Day Festival on Penn’s Landing (September 15) and the Puerto Rican Day Parade (September 29) on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, among other civic occasions.
Where: Various locations including the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Thanks to Visit Philadelphia for providing content and images.

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