Your Guide To The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival 2017

More than 25 all-new, handcrafted lanterns light up Franklin Square after dark this spring...

Franklin Square is ready to glow!

This spring, more than two dozen lanterns fill the park in Philadelphia’s Historic District as part of the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival, now in its second year of brilliant festivities.


  • The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is open nightly May 9-June 18.
  • More than 25 brand-new, handcrafted lanterns illuminate all of Franklin Square.
  • Themed food and drinks is available from several outlets.
  • Tickets are required for entry after 6 p.m. and are available online.

Returning after a super-successful festival last year, this year’s grand affair runs from May 9 through June 18 and brings 29 brand-new, handcrafted lanterns — including a newly rebuilt edition of a 200-foot-long Chinese dragon — constructed by lantern artisans from China.

The festival will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 6 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Timed tickets are required for entry on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the festival.

What’s The Chinese Lantern Festival?

For five weeks straight, Franklin Square in Philadelphia’s Historic District will glow with more than 25 lantern displays, including a huge Chinese dragon lantern with an all-new design. (The 200-foot-long dragon weighs a whopping 3,000 pounds and is the length of more than three school buses put together!)

Festival-goers can look forward to snapping photos of illuminated sea animals, lions, pandas and mythological creatures, among other colorful lantern creations. More than 13,000 LED lights in total will radiate with brilliant colors throughout the park.

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square
(Photo by J. Fusco for Tianyu)

Featured Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival lanterns include…

  • A 200-foot-long Chinese dragon
  • Animals of the Chinese zodiac
  • Terracotta warriors
  • A Chinese archway
  • A sea world (shown)
  • And more…

Visitors can also check out creations from the Chinese Lantern Festival Student Design Contest. New this year, children 12 and under were invited to submit a drawing of either a Chinese zodiac monkey, rooster or dog for an artisan to turn into actual sculptures. The three winners of the contest will get to take their sculptures home after the lantern fest concludes.

While the park lights up at night, the lanterns are beautiful during the day, too. Regardless of when you go, be sure to bring your camera (or camera phone) to capture all of the beauty!

Food & Drink

This year’s festival brings a few different dining and drinking options, including tastes of Asian cuisine.

At Roe Thai and Japanese, score savory eats such as chicken satay, beef bao, soba noodle salad and grilled corn. Festival drink options here include Thai bubble tea and tea with hot milk.

Returning from last year, the pop-up Dragon Beer Garden invites guests to relax alongside the magical light displays with a beer, glass of wine or signature cocktail. The beer garden will also serve up a curated selection of Chinese-inspired food offerings for you to pair with your beverage of choice.

Meanwhile, Franklin Square’s resident SquareBurger invites families to come out and enjoy classic burgers and shakes (don’t miss the Cake Shake), along with a few special menu items available only during the duration of the festival.

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival
(Photo by J. Fusco for Tianyu)
For five weeks, Franklin Square will glow with 29 huge illuminated lantern displays of 1,500 individual sculptures featuring more than 13,000 LED lights in brilliant colors.

Live Performances

Throughout the festival, Chinese-inspired performances are scheduled to take place in Franklin Square at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. from Sundays through Thursdays and at 6:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Performances will celebrate a range of Chinese performance art and entertainment including traditional dance and song. Other highlights include acrobatics, folk dancing, a contortionist and plate spinning.

Access to the performances is included in the price of festival admission. Performances will take place on a stage located on the Great Lawn near the Race Street side of Franklin Square.

How To Get Tickets

Admission to Franklin Square will be free during the day, as per usual. However, starting at 6 p.m., the Chinese Lantern Festival becomes a ticketed event.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and military personnel and $12 for youth. Special group rates are also available for groups of 20 or more.

Chinese Lantern Festival
(Photo by J. Fusco for Tianyu)
Admission to Franklin Square remains completely free before 5 p.m. After 6 p.m., tickets are required to experience the Chinese Lantern Festival and access the park.

Permanent Attractions at Franklin Square

Throughout the festival, Franklin Square’s permanent attractions will be open and functional. That means those of all ages can access (and enjoy!) both the 18-hole mini-golf course and the carousel during the duration of the event (additional tickets required for both).

However, after 6 p.m., Chinese Lantern Festival tickets will be required to gain access to all of the attractions.

Before 5 p.m., Franklin Square’s playground will be free and open to the public throughout the festival’s run.

See you out there!

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square

When:May 9-June 18; Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 6-11 p.m.
Where:Franklin Square, 200 6th Street
Cost:$17, adults; $15, seniors and military personnel; $12, youth


Leave a comment directly on the blog


  1. We’re planning on going for the first time this week – am I right in assuming if we’re there before 6pm and inside the park we will not be charged admission? Or do they clear the square and make everyone purchase a ticket?
    Thank you!

  2. Hi There,

    If you are in the park at 6 p.m. or after, you have to buy a ticket. If you get there before 6 p.m. and leave before 6 p.m., you do not have to pay. Thanks!


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