Fall in Philadelphia is a visual symphony of colours as the city’s parks and streets transform into a picturesque autumn wonderland. The city’s fall calendar brims with festive events and activities. Enjoy the brisk autumn air while immersing yourself in Philadelphia’s top fall attractions.
Enjoy Halloween-themed Activities
Visit America’s most historic prison and the world’s first true penitentiary during Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary. The festival-style event features different attractions spread throughout the landmark cellblocks. Enjoy spine-chilling haunted houses, mazes, themed bars and lounges, and live performances. The annual event runs on select evenings from September through November.
If you want family-friendly spooky fun, head to the Philadelphia Zoo for Boo at the Zoo. America’s first zoo hosts the festival every October during the three weekends leading up to Halloween. Visitors of all ages can explore the zoo’s grounds for special treats, photo opportunities, and a not-so-scary extinction graveyard.
Check out Spooky Twilight Tours at Betsy Ross House for a ghostly good time. Visitors can navigate the 18th-century former home of the patriotic seamstress and learn more about Philadelphia’s macabre past. Inside, visitors will hear chilling true stories about the bloodletting horrors of living in Philadelphia during the Revolution.
Discover the eerie past of Philadelphia’s most historic sites on a Ghost Tour of Philadelphia. These candlelit walking tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you through the historic streets at night. Visit landmark houses, believed to have a spiritual presence, while hearing ghost stories and creepy tales from Philadelphia’s past.
Admire the Fall Foliage
Philadelphia is home to many visually stunning places to admire the fall foliage. Embrace the cooler temperatures in Fairmount Park, one of the world’s largest city-owned urban park systems. The 2,000-plus outdoor playground comprises individual parks, historic buildings, artworks, and the nation’s first zoo.
While in Fairmount Park, visit the historic Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, a replica of a traditional 17th-century Japanese home. Then head to the Horticulture Center, where you can explore the vast outdoors or learn more in the centre’s greenhouse. Or venture to Morris Arboretum & Gardens, a nearly 100-acre property home to some of the city’s oldest and rarest trees.
Visit Bucks Count to visit Andalusia Historic House, Gardens & Arboretum. It is the ancestral home of the Biddle family and a National Historic Landmark. This historic riverfront estate has abundant yellows, browns, reds, and greens throughout its gorgeous gardens.
Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month
National Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 through October 15. Celebrate Philadelphia’s Latino community at Feria Del Barrio. This street festival offers live music, dancing, and Latino delicacies. The festival celebrates Latino culture while promoting the work of community organizations that serve this North Philadelphia community. Artists, performers, and vendors will fill the famed El Centro de Oro (the Golden Block) for the outdoor celebration.
Or celebrate the month with traditional Latino music, poetry, and dancing during the Puerto Rican Day Parade as the event progresses through the city’s streets. This vibrant festival is held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with more than 1,500 marchers and 5,000 attendees each year.
Immerse Yourself in the City’s Sports Scene
Celebrating Philadelphia sports is always in season, but fall is arguably the best time to jump on the bandwagon.
Fall is the time to watch the Philadelphia Phillies fight their way for a spot in the playoffs. It is also the start of the season for the city’s beloved National Football League team, the Philadelphia Eagles. And as the Eagles’ season gets underway, so do the seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Philadelphia International Unity Cup is also held annually in October to give soccer fans something to cheer about. But if you cannot get tickets to a game, do not worry. Philadelphia is also home to many lively sports bars that are great places to catch a game.
Attend Seasonal Events
Get some fresh air while getting into the fall spirit by attending one of Philadelphia’s seasonal events. Head to the city’s historic district for Old City Fest. The annual event highlights the neighbourhood’s premiere arts community by showcasing local designers, restaurants, retailers, galleries, and theatres.
Or sip cider and carve pumpkins along the Delaware River for Fall Fest at Morgan’s Pier. Sit on a deck overlooking the Delaware River with unbeatable views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Oktoberfest is hosted each year by Brauhaus Schmitz, an authentic German restaurant on South Street. Enjoy live entertainment, German food, and plenty of beer. Another festive event worth attending is the Northern Liberties Night Market. Sample the vibrant neighbourhood’s best food trucks, shop from local vendors, and enjoy live music and street performances.
For movie enthusiasts, the Philadelphia Film Society hosts its annual Philadelphia Film Festival each October, featuring special screenings at theatres throughout the city. The Festival also offers a range of other activities and opportunities to interact with filmmakers, actors, and industry professionals.
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