Major Events And Festivals Hitting Philadelphia This October

From wizards to Terracotta Warriors, Fireflies to epic street fests and more...

Heads up, Philadelphia: This October is full of amazing, can’t-miss events.

It’s fall festival season in Philly, which means every weekend is packed with great street and food fests. Philly Free Streets returns for another day of car-free recreation, Night Market Philadelphia closes out its season in the Italian Market and the city’s major annual events — including the Midtown Village Fall Festival, Outfest, Old City Fest and the Harry Potter Festival — all return to offer excellent food, fun entertainment and good times.

From the 20 temporary installations that have popped up around the city as part of Monument Lab to the major Terracotta Warriors now on display at The Franklin Institute, these are the must-see events and festivals this October in Philadelphia.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Fireflies pedicabs on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in PhiladelphiaPhoto by J. Fusco for Association for Public Art

It's the last week for the Association for Public Art's installation Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, which has temporarily altered the way Philadelphians and visitors see the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at night. The art is interactive: Participants can hop onboard one of 27 free lit pedicabs to ride on a special route along the Parkway. Rides are available via walk-up or by reserving tickets online. And look for the Parks on Tap Jr. pop-up beer garden at Shakespeare Park in front of the Parkway Central Library during the installation.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

When:Through October 8, Thursdays-Sundays, 6-10 p.m.
Where:Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:Free

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Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Exterior of Eastern State PenitentiaryPhoto courtesy Eastern State Penitentiary

The country's biggest haunted house is a prison, actually. This Halloween season, the famous, shuttered, Gothic former fortress that is Eastern State Penitentiary hosts Terror Behind the Walls, where guests can achieve the perfect level of fright at six attractions, including the new-for-2017 Blood Yard. Purchasing tickets in advance online is suggested.

Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

When:Through November 11 (select dates)
Where:Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
Cost:$19 & up

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Monument Lab

Photo courtesy Monument Lab

Temporary Philadelphia monuments by more than 20 local and international artists have popped up in public spaces all around the city. These free exhibits aim to challenge viewers to think about representations of our history, memory and future. Organized by Mural Arts Philadelphia, Monument Lab includes interactive laboratories to encourage conversation and a hub at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which displays public monument proposals generated during the run.

Monument Lab

When:Through November 19
Where:Various locations including the Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street
Cost:Free

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Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute hosts select stoic members of this 2,000-year-old army of clay statues that guarded the tomb of China’s First Emperor until they were discovered in 1974. Philly is the sole East Coast venue for this traveling exhibition.

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

When:Through March 4, 2018
Where:The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
Cost:$35, daytime admission for non-member adults; $30, daytime admission non-member children; $20, evening admission for non-member adults; $15, evening admission for non-member children; $10, members

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Night Market Philadelphia: Italian Market

Crowds at the Italian Market in PhiladelphiaPhoto by L. Bercky for Visit Philadelphia

This Thursday night, Night Market Philadelphia concludes its seventh year as one of the best celebrations of street food and city neighborhoods in Philly. The food truck frenzy heads to the Italian Market, a South Philly area already known as one of the best places to score delicious eats. Adding to the area's existing taco spots, Italian family-owned restaurants and pasta shops and other food boutiques, the Night Market will bring a wealth of food trucks, vendors and live entertainment for the perfect foodie fall night.

Night Market Philadelphia: Italian Market

When:Thursday, October 5, 6-10 p.m.
Where:Italian Market, Washington Avenue & S. 9th Street
Cost:Pay as you go

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DesignPhiladelphia

People at a DeisgnPhiladelphia event in PhillyPhoto courtesy DesignPhiladelphia

Taking place each fall, DesignPhiladelphia is the largest and oldest festival of its kind in the nation, with 120 events representing 400 nationally recognized designers. Venues all over the city will host exhibits, lectures, workshops and demonstrations to highlight architecture, fashion, furniture, multimedia and urban planning.

DesignPhiladelphia

When:October 5-14
Where:Various locations including Dorrance H. Hamilton Building, 1001 Locust Street
Cost:Pay as you go

www.designphiladelphia.org

23rd Street Armory Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest at 23rd Street ArmoryPhoto courtesy 23rd Street Armory

The castle-esque 23rd Street Armory gets a makeover this Columbus Day weekend, transforming into an authentic Munich festival tent for one serious (and fun) Oktoberfest celebration. Bavarian blues and whites will paint the ceilings, while authentic festival tables and benches imported from Germany will furnish the floor along with a lofted stage area for live bands to play. Hofbräuhaus will supply the beer and authentic German fare will be flow from the kitchens. Buy tickets for one, two or all three festival days!

23rd Street Armory Oktoberfest

When:October 6-8
Where:23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd Street
Cost:$35 and up

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Revolutionary Germantown Festival & Battle Bash at Grumblethorpe

Reeanctors at the Revolutionary Germantown Festival in PhiladelphiaPhoto courtesy Revolutionary Germantown Festival

History goes on full display during the Revolutionary Germantown Festival, a day-long festival featuring costumed characters, live music, food and drink, culminating in a reenactment of the Battle of Germantown, the only military battle ever fought within the borders of Philadelphia. Head down Germantown Avenue after the "battle" for Battle Bash, the official after-party at the historic Grumblethorpe house featuring reeanctors from the battle, food, beer from Evil Genius Brewing Company, live music and more.

Revolutionary Germantown Festival & Battle Bash at Grumblethorpe

When:October 7; Revolutionary Germantown Festival: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Battle Bash at Grumblethorpe: 4-8 p.m.
Where:Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Avenue
Cost:Pay as you go

www.freedomsbackyard.com

Midtown Village Fall Festival

Midtown Village Fall FestivalPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

With music, food, sidewalk sales and other festivities, the Midtown Village Fall Festival takes the concept of block party to an ultra-fun level. Spend the afternoon strolling through the neighborhood while enjoying eats from the many surrounding restaurants, shopping from the numerous boutiques that line 13th Street and browsing the festival vendors set up on the street.

Midtown Village Fall Festival

When:Saturday, October 7, noon-8 p.m.
Where:Broad to 11th Street and Market to Spruce streets
Cost:Pay as you go

www.midtownvillagephilly.org

Old City Fest

Photo courtesy Old City District

Old City transforms from quiet cobblestone thoroughfares into a hot spot for entertainment and alfresco eating during Old City Fest this Sunday. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., several blocks along North 3rd Street and Arch Street will be closed down to traffic to showcase local designers, creative firms, restaurants, retailers, galleries and theaters as well as the neighborhood's culture, history and architecture.

Old City Fest

When:Sunday, October 8, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where:3rd and Arch streets to 5th Street and Indiana Avenue
Cost:Free

www.oldcitydistrict.org

OutFest

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The country’s largest coming-out party transforms the Gayborhood into an urban carnival, with an outdoor lounge hosted by Woody’s, an outdoor dance party hosted by Tabu, performances on the main stage, rock climbing, a mechanical bull, food and beverages and more.

OutFest

When:Sunday, October 8, noon-6 p.m.
Where:13th and Locust streets
Cost:Pay as you go

www.phillygaypride.org

Bloktoberfest

BloktoberfestR. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Several neighborhood organizations partner with local businesses to produce Bloktoberfest, an all-ages celebration of beer, food and music that stretches across the afternoon and along four blocks of South Street. For a full eight-hours, find a thriving block party filling South Street West with entertainment and plenty of opportunities to let loose.

Bloktoberfest

When:Saturday, October 14, Noon-8 p.m.
Where:South Street between Broad Street and 18th Street
Cost:$15, beer bracelet; $25, bonus beer bracelet

www.bloktoberfest.com

Harry Potter Festival

Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

Wands at the ready!The massive (and massively popular!) Harry Potter Festival is set to return to 12 full blocks in the charming neighborhood Chestnut Hill in Northwest Philadelphia. The biggest Harry Potter Festival in Chestnut Hill to date will feature Wands and Wizards Night on the Avenue, Magical Make and Take Zones, the Eighth Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament at Chestnut Hill College, Harry Potter quizzo, a Deatheater’s dance party, potion making, wizarding demonstrations, a muggles read-a-thon, the popular straw maze at Woodmere Art Museum and so much more.

Harry Potter Festival

Where:Germantown Avenue between Cresheim Valley Drive to Chestnut Hill Avenue
Cost:Free Admission

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Philly Free Streets

Philly Free StreetsPhoto courtesy Philly Free Streets

The vehicle-free event inspired by city street closures during Pope Francis’ 2015 transforms 3.5 miles, from 3rd and Chestnut Streets in the Historic District to 5th and Indiana in El Centro De Oro, so that pedestrians, cyclists and more can stroll down the middle of typically busy blocks, stopping along the way to enjoy pop-up arts and cultural activities.

Philly Free Streets

When:Saturday, October 28, 8a.m.- 1p.m.
Where:3rd and Chestnut Streets to 5th Street and Indiana Ave
Cost:Free

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For more October events and festivals in Philadelphia, check out a full guide on visitphilly.com.

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