Calling all cannoli lovers…cheese fiends, charcuterie enthusiasts or general food-curious folks!
A food lover’s mecca, the 9th Street Italian Market Festival throws down this weekend with tons and tons of tasty eats.
9th Street Italian Market Festival Fast Facts
- The two-day festival runs May 21-22, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., rain or shine.
- Nearly 100 food, drink and artisan vendors will set up booths outside.
- The action spans 8 city blocks along 9th Street, from Fitzwater to Wharton streets.
- The festival celebrates the nation’s oldest continuously operating market (100+ years!)
- A family fun zone, a dog-designed play area, music and other entertainment will also fill the streets.
Find signature Italian dishes and other food options from around 30 area merchants and street-side vendors set to fill the eight-block festival. Drinks, music, games and more will also help to keep this bustling neighborhood more alive than ever.
The festival, honoring the nation’s oldest continuously operating outdoor market, welcomes 70,000-plus visitors each year and remains an annual Philly favorite.
As one of the city’s most popular block parties, the entire neighborhood directs their attention towards the festival for the weekend. Tons of vendors and local businesses set up booths along 9th Street, which will be closed to traffic from Fitzwater to Wharton streets.
The eateries and businesses that line the Italian Market will also open their doors and plenty of crafters and artisan vendors will flock to the area.
A family fun zone will be set up at 9th and Montrose streets, as will a “Wish Wall” containing wishes made during Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia.
New this year, a pet area designed especially for your pooch can be found near 9th and Christian streets, and a main music stage will host DJs and live acts at 9th and Washington streets. Three other performance stages will be set up at various locations throughout the festival.
What To Eat and Drink
On any given day, the Italian Market transforms into a melting pot of cultures and a paradise of every food imaginable, including fresh produce, meats and seafood (check out the full list of market vendors here).
On Saturday and Sunday during the festival, prepared foods take precedence with a variety of vendors dishing out various signature, street-side eats. The incredible diversity of both the Bella Vista and East Passyunk Avenue neighborhoods will be on display, as merchants showcase everything from roast pork sandwiches to Italian pastries to authentic Mexican tacos to fresh seafood on-the-go.
Restaurant vendors include local and longtime favorites such as Isgro’s, Lorenzo’s and DiBruno’s and newcomers like Triangle Tavern.
Four beer garden areas will serve up microbrews and classic Italian Peroni, while a wine garden area will pour prosecco, Italy’s sparking wine. Neighborhood restaurant Blue Corn will host a margarita stand, with options sourced from fresh, house-made juices.
Festival-goers can also find fun, non-alcoholic coconut cocktails served in a fresh pineapple and topped with whipped cream.
Other Festival Highlights
Beyond food, shopping and live entertainment take center stage at the annual festival.
Shopping and Entertainment
Music fans can look forward to performances from an array of bands and DJs on four different stages. Plus, the annual John Marzano Halfball Tournament goes down off of Christian Street with a lineup of top players competing in one of the city’s favorite street games.
The Family Fun Zone at 9th and Montrose streets will offer crafting materials, music, designated story times, a bounce house and other kid-friendly activities.
And on the shopping side of things, you can find everything from handmade mugs to metal-made jewelry to plant-filled terrariums from an array of artists stationed throughout the festival.
The full list of participating artisan vendors can be found here.
The Procession of Saints
A Roman-Catholic tradition, the annual Procession of Saints is held every year on the third Sunday of May. St. Paul Parish in the Italian Market holds a procession where parishioners carry statues of saints throughout the neighborhood. Children who have recently made their first holy communion attend, too, donning their white first communion attire.
The procession starts at 11 a.m. at the historic Saint Mary Magdalen Church at 7th and Montrose streets, and pauses for the Blessing of the Market at 9th and Washington streets. The procession ends at Saint Paul Catholic Church at Christian Street.
Public transportation is generally your best bet for getting to the Italian Market.
Festival-goers can take the Broad Street line and get off at either Lombard or Ellsworth and walk a few blocks to the Italian Market.
Should you drive, parking lots include those at Christian and 8th streets and Kimball and 8th streets.
Check out the complete festival map below!