14 Cool Things to Do in Philly This Fall
Oktoberfest celebrations, creepy haunted houses, and more fall fun.
The air is crisp, the leaves are changing colors, and everyone in Philly puts on their best sweaters and beanies. Yes, you heard it here first: It’s fall in the City of Brotherly Love.
While some may embrace Meg Ryan Fall, around these parts we subscribe to Gritty Autumn, full of chaos and orange-hued shenanigans. The next few months have plenty of spooks in store thanks to haunted attractions. Or, if you’d rather avoid jump scares, there’s more than enough whimsy and fall beer from local breweries to go around. Arguably the best social season (not too hot, not too cold), Philly turns it out this fall.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Thursday, September 15 – Saturday, October 15
All month long, Philadelphia will celebrate Hispanic culture and history. There’s Dine Latino Restaurant Week from September 19-23 when you can get a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two meals. Plus, a Latin American book fair taking place at LOVE Park on September 23, the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on September 25, and a musical performance featuring music from Cuba on October 6.
Cost: Varies per event
Lean into Oktoberfest season
Saturday, September 24 – Saturday, October 29
Philly’s a beer-drinking town, so it’s only natural to celebrate fall beers in a big way. Local Oktoberfest celebrations are scheduled all season long, with Fishtown Fall Festivale bringing Bavarian pretzels and beer to Frankford Avenue on September 24. Continue your Oktoberfesting on South Street for oompah music and German food and beer at the 14th annual Oktoberfest on October 1; get the Munich festival tent experience at the two-day Armory Oktoberfest on October 7 and 8; sample beers in the parking lot of the King of Prussia Mall at KOP Beerfest Royale on October 8; and sip while overlooking the Delaware River on October 29 at Washington Crossing Brewfest. Prost!
Cost: Varies per event
Now through Sunday, November 6
Media’s Linvilla Orchards is fully transformed into an autumn lover’s dream for Pumpkinland. Between activities like hayrides around the farm and a corn maze to explore to all the apples and pumpkins you can pick, there’s plenty of fall goodness to go around. Top it all off with a cup of apple cider, and you have yourself a perfect fall day.
Get spooked at creepy venues all over town
Now through Saturday, November 12
The Philly area is full of frights, thanks to some truly terrifying local haunted attractions. From classics like the Eastern State Penitentiary and Pennhurst Asylum to hayrides, haunted houses, and creepy corn mazes that pop up for the season like Sleepy Hollow Huanted Acres, Fright Factory, Bates Motel, and Night of Terror at Creamy Acres Farm, there are plenty of chances to get your heart racing around Philly this fall.
Cost: Varies per event
Monday, October 10 – Saturday, October 15
Philly Music Week is jam-packed with six nights of locally billed shows featuring all different genres. Each show takes place at a different independent venue around the city, so it’s also a chance to explore legendary stages. Lineup faves include Mt. Joy, Mannequin Pussy, Low Cut Connie, Ron Gallo, Screaming Females, Shamir, Stereo League, and more.
Become a patron of the arts
Now through Sunday, December 4
Arts season is on the upswing this fall, beginning with this year’s Fringe Festival, where hundreds of innovative theatrical performances grace stages and makeshift stages across the city until October 2. The Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Broadway Series kicks off with a six-night run of Annie at the Miller Theater October 11-16 and continues with Les Miserables from November 2-13 and Tina - The Tina Turner Musical from November 22-December 4, both at the Academy of Music. Philadelphia Theatre Company’s 2022-23 season opens with a world premiere of The Tattooed Lady, a new musical exploring the lives and legacies of a century of tattooed ladies from the 1880s through the 1980s, running October 28-November 20. Among the Philadelphia Orchestra’s fall slate is Grammy-winning violinist Hilary Hahn performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto October 13-15 at Verizon Hall. Plus, a Philadelphia premiere of the two-hander a hit dog will holler, where an online political commentator must examine her own legitimacy when agoraphobia prevents her from physically engaging in the very activism she boasts about online, playing November 2-20 at The Drake.
Cost: Varies per performance
Wednesday, October 19 – Sunday, October 30
Philadelphia Film Center, PFS Bourse Theater
For the 31st year, the Philadelphia Film Festival will bring a slate of acclaimed features, documentaries, shorts, and more to the city. Throughout the 12-day festival, look out for screenings, panel discussions, actor and director Q&As, and plenty of parties.
Price: $175-1500 for badges, TBD for individual film screenings
Root, root, root for the hometeam
Now through December
Lincoln Financial Field, Wells Fargo Center
Yay, sports! The Eagles play at home on September 19; October 2, 16, and 30; November 14 and 27; and December 4 this fall. Or you can head to the Wells Fargo Center to watch the Flyers take on the Devils on October 13 on home ice. If you’d rather be courtside, the Sixers’ home opener is on October 20 against the Bucks. And finally if you can’t score tickets, you can always tailgate or hang at a sports bar.
Fest your way through fall
Now through Saturday, October 29
If you thought summer was the time for festivals, you thought wrong. Fall is where the city really hits its stride with outdoor jubilation and loads of pumpkins. On the docket for this year is Chestnut Hill’s Fall For The Arts Festival where hundreds of arts vendors line up along Germantown Avenue on September 25; the first-ever South Street Fest, complete with tons of food and shopping vendors on October 1; the epic return of Midtown Village Fall Festival on October 1; pumpkin carving and beer at Dilworth Park’s Harvest Weekend October 7-9; a week of design and architecture-focused events during DesignPhiladelphia kicking off on October 12; and the always delightful Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday on East Passyunk where visitors can shop, eat, trick-or-treat, and grab pumpkins on October 29.
Thursday, November 3 – Sunday, November 13
A number of AAPI filmmakers and storytellers will share work spotlighting the Asian experience during the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. Hang tight for official film selections and event lineup for the 10-day festival.
All season long
Maybe you’ve always wanted to bake your own apple pie from scratch using fresh apples. Or maybe you just love the crunch of a perfectly harvested Sun Crisp. Take your pick from any dozen local orchards for a pick-your-own adventure. Make sure your pickin’ arm’s ready.
Cost: Varies per location
Now through September 4
Eastern State Penitentiary
Sure, you could tour Eastern State by day, but there’s something a little more spooky and atmospheric when you do it at twilight. All summer long, the prison offers evening tours giving guests the chance to see Al Capone’s cell and listen to Steve Buscemi narrate the audio tour as the sun sets. Afterward, grab a beer at Triple Bottom Brewery’s Fair Chance Beer Garden within the penitentiary’s walls.
Now through Sunday, October 30
Extending through the fall, artist Bruce Munro’s Longwood Gardens dazzling installation, “Light: Installations by Bruce Munro” is the perfect place to get in those last outdoor nights in before it gets too cold. Expect a field of 18,000 glowing bulbs, three 15-foot diameter structures which cast reflections onto the Small Lake, and 1,000 illuminated flamingoes. Take your time, you’ll want to take it all in.
Now through late October
There are few things more pleasant than throwing on a light jacket for an outdoor happy hour with friends in the fall. Head to the top of the Bok building in South Philly as Bok Bar’s seventh season winds down. Hang out with friends at a picnic table outside Philadelphia Brewing Company for great beer and chill vibes. Keep heading northeast for German beer garden vibes at Cannstatter Volksfest Verein. Relax in Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s urban gardens on South Street or in Manayunk, packed with flora and fauna, plus beer. Move over beer gardens, sip in style at Jet Wine Bar’s Wine Garden also on South Street. Or if you’re looking for something more spacious, the brand new 1,400-seater Liberty Point will allow you to stretch out while taking in riverfront views over a drink or two.
All season long
Less than an hour away by car, Wilmington is the perfect destination if you want to celebrate the changing seasons with a change of scenery. With a food scene that rivals our own, a picturesque riverfront walking trail, and tons of museums (including former estates of the uber-rich), this Delaware city offers plenty to do, see, and taste.