Spring is synonymous with festivals, the warmer weather brings dozens of festivals to the City of Brotherly Love, including the ever-popular Philadelphia Science Festival. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)
The longer days and warmer temperatures mean many things, including the arrival of outdoor events and (drumroll please!) the return of amazing festivals.
Philadelphia will soon shift into high gear for spring festival season, ushering in fests of all sort — food truck gatherings, music festivals, events celebrating spring blooms and much, much more.
This year, the super popular Philadelphia Science Festival returns with tons (seriously, tons) of events from April 25 to May 3 and Philly Tech Week brings a giant game of Tetris to the side of the Cira Centre on Friday, April 4.
On April 26, Flavors of the Avenue returns to foodie corridor East Passyunk Avenue for a day of neighborhood food and drinks from award-winning chefs including Nicholas Elmi of Top Chef fame.
But that’s only three of the more than 20 festivals that are on tap for April. And that’s just in a single month! Keep a look out for our full-blown guide to Philadelphia’s late-spring and early-summer festival scene in a few weeks.
For now, check out our guide to the early-spring festival season.
**UPDATE: As of Tuesday, April 22 we’ve updated our spring festivals roundup with a more comprehensive guide to the spring festival season. Click here to check out our updated guide to the festivals of spring.
• Philly Wine Week: Through March 30. Oenophiles, this one’s for you. Philly Wine Week made its debut on Sunday, March 23 and runs through this Sunday, March 30. The inaugural festival brings dozens and dozens of wine-fueled events to bars all over the city — from tastings to prix-fixe dinners to game nights and much more.
• Chestnut Hill Restaurant Month: Through March 30. Sample the fine fare of the restaurants of Chestnut Hill as it presents its annual Restaurant Month promotion. Every Sunday through Thursday through March 31, visit any number of the 24 participating restaurants for lunch and/or dinner deals. Dinner rings in at $25 and lunch costs $15, plus tax and tip.
• Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival: April 2-13. Budding trees and flowering plants will soon be a sight to see all over the city. The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival welcomes the season with open arms and nearly two weeks of programming to celebrate Japanese culture and the cherry blossoms of Fairmount Park — and the region. Over the course of the festival, look forward to culinary events, workshops, film screenings, performances and more that all promote Japanese culture.
• Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show: April 4-6. The nationally acclaimed Philadelphia Invitational Furniture Show brings the finest exhibition of one-of-a-kind home furnishings, ranging from innovative contemporary designs to adaptations of classical styles, to the 23rd Street Armory.
Celebrate the budding trees of spring at the annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, hosted by the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia)
• Philly Tech Week: April 4-12. Attracting the best and brightest from around the region, Philly Tech Week is an enthusiastic celebration of technology and innovation in the city. Organized by Technically Philly, the week-long festival features intriguing panel discussions, friendly competition and special events — even a giant game of Tetris on the Cira Centre.
• Spring Blooms at Longwood Gardens: April 5-23. Kiss winter goodbye as the first flowers of spring bloom throughout the grounds of Longwood Gardens. Take a trip to the Kennett Square botanical gardens for its Spring Blooms festival, running much of the month of April. Take in sights of tulips, daffodils and more of the season’s flowers.
• Fairmount Arts Crawl: April 6. The bars, restaurants and shops in Fairmount turn into galleries for the Fairmount Arts Crawl. This year, 37 businesses host more than 70 exhibits, in addition to live music, dancing, kids’ activities and live demonstrations.
• Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival: April 12. Food trucks flock to Manayunk for the biannual Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival, an all-day fete with more than 30 food trucks lining Main Street. Sample fare from trucks like The Cow and The Curd, Nomad Pizza, Foolish Waffles, Zsa’s Gourmet Ice Cream, Smokin Tacos and more. The full list of vendors is available right here. Also enjoy a strawberry-centric restaurant tour, shopping discounts and artisan food vendors.
• Cherry Blossom Festival at Morris Arboretum: April 12 and April 19. Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill welcomes spring with two full days of cherry blossom-themed events in celebration of the Arboretum’s blooming cherry trees — there are more than 35 varieties throughout the grounds. Embark on a walk through the cherry trees, an origami workshop, Japanese performances and more.
• Manayunk Restaurant Week: April 13-25. The Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival serves as a precursor for Manayunk Restaurant Week, slated to run from April 13 through 25. Dinner is served at 22 area restaurants that each are set to dish out three-course menus at varying price points — $15, $25 and $35.
More festivals, below.
• Philadelphia Book Festival: April 13-19. Libraries throughout the city celebrate literacy at the annual Philadelphia Book Festival. Look forward to book signings, meet-the-author events, movie screenings (of famous books, of course), storytimes and more.
• Philly Farm and Food Fest: April 13. Sample local food and drinks, watch cooking demonstrations and learn about environmentally friendly beauty products at the annual Philly Farm and Food Festival at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Back for its third year, the festival will be bigger than ever with more than 150 vendors that all aim to promote local farms, food producers, area spirits and more. General admission tickets are $20 each and are available online.
• Farm Festival at The Oval: April 17-19. The Oval, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s pop-up park that debuted for the first time ever in 2013, is set to return for 2014 with a slew of programming. The weekend of April 17 to 19, The Oval invites guests in for a Farm Festival featuring beer gardens, food trucks, live bluegrass music, hands-on activities, gardening workshops, movie screenings and more.
• Center City Jazz Festival: April 19. With a mission to introduce a new crop of Philadelphia’s best up-and-coming artists, the Center City Jazz Festival brings a variety of jazz musicians to bars and lounges around the Washington Square West neighborhood of Philadelphia. This year’s lineup this year includes Tim Warfield Jr., Thumbscrew and Justin Faulkner.
• South Street Headhouse District’s Easter Promenade: April 20. Families, celebrate Easter at the South Street Headhouse District’s annual Easter Promenade featuring a parade, live music, costume contests and even a visit from the Easter bunny. The parade leaves from South Street and Passyunk Avenue at 12:30 p.m. and makes its way down South Street to 2nd Street. Dress in your finest Easter attire for the chance to win one of 12 costume categories.
When the weather warms up, food trucks flock to tons of outdoor street festivals across the city. (Photo by D. Tavani for Visit Philadelphia)
• Philly Zombie Crawl: April 20. The undead come out for the Philly Zombie Crawl on Easter Sunday night. The first order of business is the Zombie Pre-Game for face painting and the debut of the Philly Zombie Emporium inside the TLA, followed by a nightlong crawl of South Street from 3rd to 6th Streets for drink specials and ghoulish fun.
• Philly Black Gay Pride Festival: April 20-27. The Philly Black Gay Pride Festival returns to celebrate Philadelphia’s LGBT black community through parities, a pageant speed dating, youth events, a kick-off party for the Penn Relays and much more at locations all over the city.
• The Year of the Bard Shakespeare at 450 Birthday Bash: April 23. While the festivities honoring the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare run all year, the big event falls on April 23, when the city celebrates his birthday with a party at Shakespeare Park at the Parkway Central Library. Look forward to special performances of Shakespeare’s plays, music, crafts, cake, jugglers and much more.
• The Penn Relays: April 24-26. High school, college and even professional track stars from all over the world compete at Franklin Field during The Penn Relays, the oldest collegiate meet in the nation. The festivities don’t stop on the track, either. Part of the fun is the awesome atmosphere around Franklin Field complete with an international street fair with tons of vendors selling items from across the globe.
• The Philadelphia Science Festival: April 25-May 3. For the fourth year running, the Philadelphia Science Festival unleashes nine days of exploratory exhibitions, lectures, debates and hands-on activities on campuses, museums and other venues around the city, culminating with a family-friendly science carnival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
• Filadelfia Latin American Film Festival: April 25-27. Celebrate the work of Latin American filmmakers and actors at the Filadelfia Latin American Film Festival, running from April 25 to 27. The fest presents documentaries, world premieres, short films and more that all reflect life in Latin America and life for Latin Americans in the United States.
• Flavors of the Avenue: April 26. It’s one of the hottest restaurant rows in the country, and East Passyunk toots its own gastronomic horn during Flavors of the Avenue. For a reasonable admission fee, visitors can sample food and drink from its myriad restaurants, bakeries and pubs. Tickets are required and are available online.
• Sprung on South Street West: April 26. Sprung, an afternoon bar crawl, returns to a number of Graduate Hospital bars on Saturday, April 26. From 1 to 7 p.m., visit spots including Jet Wine Bar, Tangier, the Cambridge and Doobie’s for springtime day-drinking. An $8 ticket online, and $12 on the day of the event, gets you food and drink specials at all participating bars.
• Lehigh Avenue Arts Festival: April 26. The Lehigh Avenue Arts Festival returns for its seventh year of family fun featuring food trucks, local art vendors, live music and more. The festival raises funds for the Portside Arts Center’s scholarship program.
• Philadelphia Antiques Show: April 26-29. Dealers from across the U.S. offer the finest examples of period furniture, folk and fine art, ceramics, porcelain, silver, jewelry and textiles at the Pennsylvania Convention Center during The Philadelphia Antiques Show. The event raises money for Penn Medicine initiatives.
• Philadelphia International Children’s Festival: April 30-May 4. The Philadelphia International Children’s Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts with even more family-friendly music and theater performances from around the globe, along with face-painters, jugglers and other entertainers in the Fun Zone.
And be sure to save the date for a number of blockbuster festivals coming in May and stay tuned for a full guide to the city’s spring festivals in a few weeks.
• South Street Spring Festival: Returns for its second year on Saturday, May 3.
• Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival: Returns for its 18th year on Saturday, May 3.
• Plazapalooza in Graduate Hospital: Returns for its fourth year also on Saturday, May 3.
• Peddler’s Village Strawberry Festival: Returns for its 45th year on Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4.
• Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival: Returns for its 18th year on Sunday, May 4.
• Trenton Avenue Arts Festival: Returns for its ninth year on Saturday, May 17.
• Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby: Returns for its eighth year on Saturday, May 17.
• Italian Market Festival: Returns for its 13th year on Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18.
The Penn Relays bring a ton of festive energy to the entire city every spring as high school and collegiate athletes race on UPenn's track. (Credit: Washington Post/Getty Images)