Featured image courtesy of Albert Yee
Springtime in Philadelphia means folks are dashing outside to mix, mingle and eat all the foods at a slew of festivals and open-air events happening throughout the city.
Check out our guide to the best spring festivals and other outdoor events in Philadelphia, which offer a little something for everyone — whether you’re a foodie on the hunt for the next buzzed-about bite, a connoisseur of locally brewed suds or an art lover with a penchant for the weird and kooky.
The warmer weather can also usher in a string of irritants, like allergies and other respiratory ailments, so be sure to keep vybe on your mind if you start to feel under the weather. We’ll fix you up and have you back to festival season in no time.
South Street Easter Promenade
Image courtesy of South Street Headhouse District
Celebrate Easter in the City of Brotherly Love on April 21 with a massive — and oh-so-kooky — parade down South Street. Master of Ceremonies Henri David — who looks like a cross between The Mad Hatter and Boy George — leads the lively procession that’s packed with Easter bunnies, circus performers on stilts and local marching bands. Attendees (and four-legged friends!) are encouraged to get in on the fun, too, by coming in costume or sporting their fancy Sunday finest. The parade ends at Headhouse Square for a family-friendly festival featuring games, food and drink stations and costume contests. The parade begins at 12:30 p.m. at the corner of South Street and Passyunk Avenue, and the festival rolls on through around 2 p.m.
Parks on Tap
Image courtesy of Albert Yee
Beer lovers can’t go wrong with this traveling beer garden that moves to a different neighborhood every week from April 24 through September 29. The setup features a food stall that usually cranks out barbecue-style fare like ribs, pork sandwiches, baked beans and slaw. There’s also an outdoor bar where guests can imbibe on a selection of beer, wine, a featured cocktail or two as well as non-alcoholic beverages. Parks on Tap admission is always free, and the event gives folks a great excuse to venture outside their neighborhoods to explore parts of the city that might otherwise miss their radar. The first one happens at the lovely Azalea Garden in Fairmount Park (April 24–28) before moving on to 22 other locations around town. Catch it at Columbus Square in South Philadelphia (May 5–8), Fernhill Park in Germantown (May 15–19) and along the Schuylkill Banks (June 5–9), among other places.
Chinese Lantern Festival
Image courtesy of Jeff Fusco
From May 1 to June 30, Franklin Square transports locals to China at its annual festival that fills the historic park with nearly 30 light sculptures — like ninja warriors, mythological creatures and a magnificent 200-foot-long phoenix. Guests can also stroll through a dragon tunnel, swing on illuminated swings and see the future at a fortune-telling wheel. Hungry? A Dragon Beer Garden serves up Asian cuisine and drinks. The show begins around sundown each night and, unlike most of the festivals on this list, this one actually charges an admission fee: $18 to $20 for adults and $12 for children aged 3 to 12. Students with a valid I.D. get discounted admission of $16 to $18. Purchase tickets here.
Night Market Philadelphia
Image courtesy of R. Kennedy, of © Visit Philadelphia ®
A caravan of local food trucks line up in a different neighborhood on four Thursdays throughout spring and summer for a rollicking food festival that takes place after the sun goes down. The ninth annual Night Market kicks off on May 2 from 6 to 10 p.m. at El Centro de Oro, the “hub of Latin life and culture in Philadelphia” at 5th and Lehigh streets. The event promises tons of Latin flavors, drinking stations where margaritas are sure to flow and live entertainment out in the street. If you can’t make that one, you have three other opportunities to catch Night Market in 2019: on June 20 in Overbrook, August 15 on Fairmount Avenue and October 3 in Point Breeze.
Street Festivals Galore
Image courtesy of © Visit Philadelphia ®
Three massive outdoor festivals dominate the spring events season: Mark your calendar for the South Street Spring Festival (May 4), Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival (May 18) and the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival (May 18–19). Each hoopla brings out hundreds of locals for the chance to chow down on all kinds of delicious grub, watch street performers of every stripe and shop till you drop from local vendors set up along the streets.
Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival
Image courtesy of Jeff Fusco, of © Visit Philadelphia ®
This daylong festival is essentially a parade of man-made, human-powered floats that wind their way along a racecourse in Northern Liberties, ending with a splash — and plenty of laughs — in a mud pit at the finish line. There’s at arts festival attached to the derby that brings out food and drink vendors, and a host of artists selling wares like T-shirts, handmade pottery and art. Don’t miss the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival on May 11 from noon to 6 p.m. This is Philadelphia at its absolute quirkiest.
There’s so much more…
Our list only scratches the surface of what’s going on this spring in Philadelphia. For more events worth checking out, like the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival and the Philadelphia Science Festival, go here.
And remember, if you run into any troubles — whether you ate something bad, fell down and scratched your knee or are starting to get the spring sniffles — be sure to stop into a vybe location near you for the speediest tune-up in town.