There are dozens of summer festivals coming to neighborhoods and waterfronts near you and we have a roundup of (nearly) all of them. (Photo credits, clockwise from top left: G. Widman for GPTMC, courtesy Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, M. Kennedy for GPTMC, M. Edlow for GPTMC)
All summer long, outdoor festivals abound in Philadelphia. To help you navigate through them all and find the ones you definitely do not want to miss, we’ve compiled our Summer Festivals roundup with all the festivals we could find taking place within the next few months.
Whether you’re looking to dance to the music of some of the finest musicians at the Made in America Festival (hello, Beyonce!), explore the great food trucks of Philadelphia at one of the numerous upcoming Night Markets, or celebrate one of Philadelphia’s great neighborhoods at smaller, neighborhood festivals, this list is for you.
Get ready to fill your summer calendar up with happenings right here in the City of Brotherly Love.
As always, you can reference our events calendar to see what’s happening on a specific day or weekend, and look out for additional coverage on a lot of these events and festivals in the days and weeks to come, but for now, start making your plans.
Some weekends are going to require careful planning to maximize the number of festivals you’ll be able to attend. (And if you know of another festival coming to your neighborhood, be sure to let us know!)
Read on for our summer festival picks.
• Hidden City Festival: The Hidden City Festival shines the light on Philadelphia landmarks that are often looked over. The festival, which lasts through June 30, welcomes local and national artists who are slated to create visual and performing arts installations at each site. Landmarks range from The Athenaeum of Philadelphia to Congregation Shivtei Yeshurun-Ezras Israel, a South Philadelphia storefront synagogue.
• Odunde Festival: Based on Yoruba traditions, the Odunde Festival on June 9 celebrates the coming of another year for African-Americans and African people around the world with a procession, ceremonial offering and African marketplace, along with live music and dance.
• Philadelphia LGBT Pride Parade and Festival: On Sunday, June 9, the 25th annual Philadelphia’s LGBT Pride Parade and Festival marches around the city and keeps prideful spirits on high. The parade begins at noon in the heart of the Gayborhood and makes it way down to Penn’s Landing. Penn’s Landing comes alive at noon with festival events for all.
• Rittenhouse Square Fine Arts Show: Rittenhouse Square’s 82nd-annual Fine Arts Show is slated for June 7 to 9. The art-packed festival boats tents all along Rittenhouse Square that showcase unique pieces of art for sale. More than 100 artists come together to present their finest work for this annual festival.
• Vendy Awards: Philadelphia’s food trucks offer some fine food, and on Saturday, June 8, indulge in all the tasty food and beer you want as the food vendors come together for a giant festival known as the Vendy Awards. Now in its third year in Philadelphia, the Penn Treaty Park festival invites some of the most loved food trucks out for a day to determine which food truck is crowned best in Philly. The annual event is also a benefit for the Food Trust. Tickets are expected to sell out, so reserve your spot soon.
• Islamic Heritage Festival and Parade: The Islamic Heritage Festival and Parade is one of the many festivals presented by the PECO Multicultural Series. The parade makes its way through the historic district, Old City and ends at Penn’s Landing where a family friendly activities, live music, an open-air market and more, abound on June 8.
• Liberty Lands Flea Market and Music Festival: For a day of treasures and live music, head out to Liberty Lands Park in Northern Liberties for its semi-annual flea market and music festival. The flea markets begins at 9 a.m. on June 8 and includes bunches of knick knacks for all to enjoy. The music festival begins at 4 p.m., and features a number of local bands set to take the stage until 11 p.m.
• Fete Day at Elfreth’s Alley: On only a few days a year, guests touring Elfreth’s Alley have the opportunity to have a peek inside some of the houses that make up America’s oldest and continuously residential street. Fete Day, on June 8, celebrates the historic street with open house tours, live music, colonial games, food and much more.
• Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll: The super popular Baltime Avenue Dollar Stroll returns for 2013 on June 13 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. From 42nd Street to 50th Street on Baltimore Avenue, area vendors will provide discounted items from their shops for just one dollar. Can you say Little Baby’s scoops for $1? We can.
• Awesome Fest: Awesome Fest, the ’80s-themed film and music festival brings Philadelphia great outdoor and indoor programming all summer long. The festival runs from June 14 to August 19, kicking off with a performance by The Psychedelic Furs at the Trocadero Theatre on June 14 at 8 p.m.
• Finns and Swedes in America Since 1638 Festival: On June 15, the PECO Multicultural Series presents a day celebrating the Finns and Swedes in the area at the annual Finns and Swedes in America Since 1638 Festival. Enjoy live music from each culture, food and family friendly activities.
• Bloomsday: James Joyce’s masterwork Ulysses serves as the focal point of Bloomsday, and the Rosenbach Museum and Library hosts the Philadelphia outpost of a worldwide all-day festival for literary enthusiasts on June 16.
• Portugese Heritage Festival: The annual Portugese Heritage Festival takes place at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing on Sunday, June 16. From 1 to 7 p.m., sample Portugese fare and Portugese beer, while taking in the sights and sounds of Portugal with live entertainment all day long. Face painting, a moon bounce and a clown entertain youngsters. The festival is presented in part with the PECO Multicultural Series. The festival kicks off with a blessing of the fleet aboard the tall ship Gazela, a Portugese ship that now calls Philadelphia its home.
• Drexel Park Film Series: As part of the Awesome Fest festival, Drexel Park hosts outdoor movies every Thursday night for the duration of the festival. The first film is the 1980s classic, Revenge Of The Nerds on Thursday, June 20 at 9 p.m. Future (and free) programming includes Adventures in Babysitting and Die Hard.
• Night Market West Oak Lane: The hugely popular Night Market returns for its second installment of the year. On June 20, pay West Oak Lane a visit to enjoy eats from more than 45 food trucks, craft beer and live music.
• Make Music Philly: Welcome the bona fide start of summer on June 21 with a day of beautiful music as Philadelphia joins in World Music Day with a free daylong, “do it yourself” festival, Make Music Philly. World Music Day, which began in 1982 with Fête de la Musique in France, came to the United States in 2006 as National Music Day, and now more than 500 cities in 110 countries around the world participate in this global celebration of the cultural impact of music. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 21, Make Music Philly puts amateur and professional musicians in the spotlight for both organized and informal performances across the city.
• Manayunk Arts Festival: Billed as the largest outdoor juried art show in the region, the Manayunk Arts Festival welcomes nearly 200,000 collectors, buyers and designers to peruse fine art and handmade goods along charming Main Street on June 22 and 23.
• PHAIR: PHAIR, a European-style, open-air market inhabits 23rd and Arch Streets every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market spans past typical farmers’ market offerings with handmade items, photography, vintage items, art, in addition to local food offerings from vendors and food trucks. A variety of vendors set up shop at PHAIR every Saturday in the summer and fall.
• Brooklyn Flea Philly: The renowned Brooklyn Flea Market makes its way to Philly for the first time ever this summer. While it may not be a farmers’ market per se, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Piazza hosts local food vendors and trucks in addition to dozens of vintage, furniture and handmade item vendors.
• Wawa Welcome America: The annual blockbuster festival, Wawa Welcome America, returns this July with its ever-impressive multiday festival lineup. From July 1 to 7, family-friendly events occur all over Philadelphia including the popular Wawa hoagie day, the super scooper all-you-can-eat ice cream festival, outdoor movie screenings, numerous fireworks shows and the 4th of July Jam. This year’s jam on the parkway will be hosted by Kevin Hart and features John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Ne-Yo, Jill Scott, J. Cole, Grace Potter, Ben Taylor and The Roots.
More July, August and September festivals, below.
• Taste of Philadelphia: The Taste of Philadelphia is part of the popular Wawa Welcome America festival, but is so big, it deserves its own shout out. Taking place at Penn’s Landing from July 5 through 7, the open-air food festival welcomes Philadelphia’s favorite restaurants and food trucks for tastes of their popular fare. On Saturday, July 6, enjoy a live performance from Marsha Ambrosius and a fireworks show over the Delaware River.
• Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary: The 19th annual Bastille Day Festival takes over Eastern State Penitentiary on July 13. The festival is back and better than ever with a team-up with The Bearded Ladies, Philadelphia’s experimental cabaret troupe, who are slated to put on a theatrical performance of the storming of the Bastille. Following the free performance on Fairmount Avenue, Fairmount’s businesses and restaurants open their doors for a public celebration.
• Fireworks and Fountains at Longwood Gardens: On several days throughout the summer, Longwood Gardens hosts its annual summer Fireworks and Fountains extravaganza. Each fireworks show is paired with festive tunes from musicians like Elton John and Russian composer, Dmitri Shostakovich. Tickets to each show also include all day access to Longwood Gardens. Fireworks and Fountains shows are on July 3, 20 and August 17 and 31.
• QFest: From July 11 through 22, gay and lesbian film comes to the forefront at QFest, where more than 150 films will be screened along with exclusive parties, panel discussions and more. Formerly known as the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, screenings will be held at the Ritz East, the Prince Music Theatre and other venues around the city. The screenings are presented by the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance.
• Hispanic Fiesta at Penn’s Landing: On July 13 and 14, the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, Inc. hosts its annual Hispanic Fiesta, a weekend-long celebration filled with music and dancing at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. Enjoy fine food, traditional crafts and salsa, merengue, bachata, samba, cumbia, mariachi and flamenco dancing.
• Blueberries and Bluegrass Festival at Peddler’s Village: All day long on July 13 and 14, Peddler’s Village welcomes live bluegrass music and blueberries at its Blueberries and Bluegrass Festival. Enjoy a lofty lineup of live music on both days, paired with local blueberries and blueberry baked goods.
• Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival: All day on Saturday, July 20, the Powelton Village neighborhood welcomes acclaimed jazz artists for the annual Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival at Saunders Park. From 1 to 6 p.m. enjoy jazz, art and other festivities.
• Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival: On July 20 enjoy more than 30 types of beer and a plethora of tasty food samplings from local eateries at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival. In addition to food and drinks, visit the many animals of the zoo at the annual event. Pair your craft brew with the great apes and big cats of the zoo.
• Mad Decent Block Party: One of the summer’s biggest block parties returns to Philadelphia on July 27. The Mad Decent Block Party takes over the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, and features hit-makers like Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, Riff Raff and more.
• East Passyunk Avenue 8th Annual Car Show and Street Festival: More than 130 cars of all types take over East Passyunk Avenue on Sunday, July 28. Food, vendors, live music and more fill five of East Passyunk Avenue’s bustling blocks.
• XPoNential Music Festival: From July 26 to 28, Camden’s Susquehanna Bank Center and Wiggins Park hosts more than 20 musical artists at the XPoNential Music Festival presented by XPN. Renowned artists headline the musical weekend experience. Bob Dylan and his band, The Lumineers, Dr. Dog, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and John Butler Trio are only a small percent of the great artists slated for the music festival.
• BlackStar Film Festival: Celebrate the films and music videos by oft-overlooked directors, writers and producers of African decent at the annual BlackStar Film Festival. Panels, discussions and film screenings fill the city in the beginning of August at a variety of venues. The festival runs from August 1 through 4.
• African Festival: The 6th annual African Festival visits Penn’s Landing on August 3 and brings with it an outdoor concert featuring a variety of African music, African food vendors, arts and crafts vendors and more.
• 2nd Street Festival: Definitely mark your calendar for this one. The blockbuster, 2nd Street Festival makes its way to Northern Liberties for another sure-to-be hugely popular event. Food, beer gardens (yes, plural!), local art, jewelry, workshops and other vendors line 2nd Street from Germantown Avenue to Green Street. Enjoy live music at numerous stages throughout the festival. The music is once-again curated by the Philadelphia Folksong Society, so the lineup is sure to be a hit. This year’s event is on August 4 — stay tuned for more information on this citywide favorite.
• Pennsylvania Dutch Festival at Reading Terminal Market: Transport to Amish country at the annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival at Reading Terminal Market. Indulge in traditional food, and browse handmade crafts at the festival which runs from August 8 to 10. On Saturday, August 9, head outside to Arch Street for Amish buggy rides, horse drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo and live music.
• Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival: In association with the PECO Multicultural Series, the Southeast Asian Dragon Boat Festival teaches and entertains guests at Penn’s Landing on August 10. Check out dragon boat racing down the Delaware River, and for live entertainment, visit the RiverStage which will turn into a mecca for Southeast Asian culture.
• Bug Fest: On August 10 and 11, creepy crawlers of all shapes, sizes, colors and attitudes invade The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University for Bug Fest. Insect lovers can touch a furry tarantula or cheer for their favorite cockroaches during the roach race. Scientists are on hand to convince even the most disbelieving visitor that insects are important creatures, too.
• Peddler’s Village Peach Festival: Peddler’s Village invites guests to enjoy peaches this summer at its Peach Festival on August 10 and 11. Peaches are served up in a variety of ways to highlight all things peach at the fruitful weekend. Live music fills the area as well.
• Night Market South Street: The hugely popular Night Market returns on August 15 at the ever-bustling South Street. Enjoy a variety of food truck fare and local beer. Savory and sweet treats are bound to satisfy the pickiest of taste buds. Live entertainment also entertains at this awesome event.
• Festival of India: Returning for its annual event, the Festival of India entertains the masses with free entertainment, cultural events and more on Saturday, August 17. Browse art and nosh on the delectable treats of Indian cuisine.
• Philadelphia Caribbean Festival: On August 18, celebrate 14 Caribbean Islands at the Philadelphia Caribbean Festival at Penn’s Landing. Musical sounds from the assortment of islands will be present for your listening pleasure, and eats from each country will abound as well. The food lineup is drool-worthy, jerk chicken, curried goat and Caribbean slaw fill the menu.
• Philadelphia Folk Festival: The hills of Schwenksville, Pennsylvania come alive every summer with the sound of folk music during the long-running Philadelphia Folk Festival at Old Poole Farm near Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. From August 16 through 18, music is everywhere — from headline performances, to late-night singalongs, to bonfires in the festival campgrounds, this festival is a music-lover’s heaven. Dozens and dozens of performers are slated to take the stage.
• Made in America: On August 31 and September 1, the epic Made in America music festival returns to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Last year, music lovers were thrilled when Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter stood on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, alongside Jay-Z, to announce that a two-day musical extravaganza would take place on the Parkway. After an enormously successful weekend, Made In America returns to Philadelphia for year two. Acts include Beyonce, Nine Inch Nails, Public Enemy, Emilee Sande, Solange and more.
• WHYY Connections Festival: On September 7 and 8, WHYY and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation present the third annual WHYY Connections Festival, a festival of free concerts and family-friendly activities at Penn’s Landing.
• Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe: The popular Philly Live Arts and Philly Fringe Festival is back with hundreds of dance, theater, visual arts, music and spoken-word presentations performed in venues of every stripe, from traditional stages to street corners, cars, galleries, cabarets and restaurants. It’s all offbeat, daring and avant-garde and entertains Philadelphia for weeks; from September 5 to 22.
• Philadelphia Honey Festival: The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild presents the Philadelphia Honey Festival for all lovers of things sweet and local (aka everyone!). From September 6 through 8, the Wagner Free Institute of Science, Wyck Historic House and Garden and Bartram’s Garden open their doors to the honey connoisseurs of Philadelphia.
• Phoenixville Blues Festival: Numerous blues artists take the stage at the annual Phoenixville Blues Festival on September 7. The free festival keeps guests grooving all day long. Talented youth performers also steal the limelight for portions of the day. Pair the performances with fresh eats from the numerous vendors and you’re set for some late summer fun.
• Doylestown Arts Festival: The free two-day Doylestown Arts Festival takes place in the heart of beautiful Doylestown Borough in Bucks County. This annual festival has grown to include more than 150 exhibitors and a food court. Diverse entertainment is presented at numerous locations throughout the downtown area. The festival is set for September 7 and 8.
• Greenfest Philly: Honor Mother Nature at Greenfest Philly located in Headhouse Square, between Pine and South Streets on 2nd. On September 8, visit booths to learn how to preserve the earth, while enjoying bites from some of Philly’s favorite food trucks — Sum Pig Food Truck and Little Baby’s Ice Cream to name a few.
• Kennett Square Mushroom Festival: Indulge in some of the land’s freshest mushrooms at the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival on September 7 and 8. Pick up mushroom-centric souvenirs, freshly picked mushrooms and enjoy mushroom soup Masonic Lodge. The mushroom offerings over the weekend are nearly endless, click here for the full event listing.
• Global Philly 2013: From September 15 to November 12, Global Philly 2013 aims to shine the light on Greater Philadelphia’s global influences and strengths through a series of more than 55 events held throughout the City of Philadelphia and the surrounding region. Look for internationally themed affairs spanning arts and education to sports and dining.