25 Magnificent Things To Do In Philly This Week, September 17-23

O18 Festival, Terror Behind the Walls, Center City District Restaurant Week and more...

It’s shaping up to be a big week in Philly, with seasonal events, attraction openings, cultural festivals and more taking place all over the city.

Halloween season officially starts this week when Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls — one of the country’s most popular Halloween attractions — opens its haunted halls to scare the living daylights out of thrill-seeking attendees.

For those who prefer beer to fear, PHL Oktoberfest 2018 in Fishtown, Oktoberfest! Live at XFINITY Live! in South Philly and South Street Oktoberfest at Brauhaus Schmitz all go down in the days ahead.

And performing arts events are everywhere this week as well, with the Fringe Festival’s contemporary and avant-garde shows continuing through Sunday and Opera Philadelphia’s hotly anticipated operatic festival, O18, kicking off on Thursday.

Other big events coming up include El Centro de Oro’s celebration of Latin culture Feria del Barrio, the deal-filled Center City District Restaurant Week and free museum days at the Penn Museum, The Academy of Natural Sciences and more participating institutions for Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day.

Check out all of our picks for this in week in Philly, below.

Philly Vegan Restaurant Week

Restaurants around the city unite to serve their best vegan dishes during Philly Vegan Restaurant Week. The official launch party on Monday at Tattooed Mom on South Street features free admission (note that attendees must be 21 or older) and a pay-as-you-go vegan-baked-goods sale. Restaurants participating in the inaugural week-long event include Martha in Fishtown, Cantina Los Caballitos in East Passyunk and Porta in Center City.

Philly Vegan Restaurant Week

When:Through Saturday, September 22
Where:Various locations including Front Street Cafe, 1253 N. Front Street
Cost:$25 and $35

www.phillyvrw.com

Last Chance: Fringe Festival

Ruckus Dance: KnockOut | Photo courtesy Ruckus Dance

The last week of the Fringe Festival promises dozens of outstanding contemporary performances and forward-thinking arts events at venues across the city. Don’t miss an improv show inspired by the feelings of audience members, a visual art exhibition about heartbreak, a comedic show examining the issues facing many theater artists today and more in the final days of this beloved arts showcase.

Last Chance: Fringe Festival

When:Through Sunday, September 23
Where:Various locations including FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Varies by event

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Spruce Street Harbor Park

People hanging out at Spruce Street Harbor Park in PhiladelphiaPhoto by M. Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

There are only two weeks left to check out this beloved beer garden and relaxing waterfront hangout! Come out to lounge in colorful hammocks or Adirondack chairs, sip on a refreshing beverage, enjoy a variety of boardwalk eats before the seasonal attraction closes. On the next two Saturdays at the attraction, Art Star curates a handmade craft market and Greensgrow Farms sells fresh local produce and plants.

Spruce Street Harbor Park

When:Through Sunday, September 30
Where:Spruce Street Harbor Park, 301 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Free; pay-as-you-go food and drink

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Concerts in Philadelphia

Exciting musicians land at venues across the city throughout this week. At the Wells Fargo Center, Donald Glover’s musical alter ego Childish Gambino performs with hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd on Tuesday and Grammy-Award-winning crowd-pleaser Bruno Mars follows with two shows on Wednesday and Thursday. Also on Thursday: Sting and Shaggy make a stop at The Fillmore for their joint-album tour and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne takes the stage at the Mann Center.

Concerts in Philadelphia

When:Dates and time vary
Where:Various locations including the Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street
Cost:Varies by event

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Outdoor Movie Nights in Philadelphia

People watching an outdoor movie at The Piazza in PhiladelphiaPhoto courtesy The Piazza

Outdoor-movie-screening season may be winding down, but there are still a few alfresco flicks to catch this week, including Pitch Perfect 3 at The Piazza (Thursday) and The Good Dinosaur at Bartram’s Garden (Friday).

Outdoor Movie Nights in Philadelphia

When:Dates and times vary
Where:Various locations including The Piazza, 1001 N. 2nd Street #21
Cost:Free

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Philadelphia Phillies vs. the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park

The Phillies — whose postseason hopes are hopefully not slipping away! — meet the New York Mets this week for a three-game series. Designated theme nights at Citizens Bank Park during this series include the Irish Heritage Celebration presented by Aer Lingus on Tuesday and Dominican Day presented by Dominican Republic on Wednesday. Note that specific theme-night tickets are required to take part in the promotions.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park

When:September 17-19
Where:Citizens Bank Park, 1 Citizens Bank Way
Cost:Varies by game

www.MLB.com

Constitution Day at the National Constitution Center (with Free Admission!)

Signers' Hall at the National Constitution Center in PhiladelphiaPhoto by A. Wendowski for Visit Philadelphia

This Monday, the National Constitution Center commemorates Constitution Day — the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution across Independence Mall at Independence Hall — by offering free admission, make-and-take craft projects, lawn games and more fun activities all day long. At lunchtime, visitors to the museum are invited to sing “Happy Birthday” and enjoy birthday cake. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are expected to make cameos at the celebration as well.

Constitution Day at the National Constitution Center (with Free Admission!)

When:Monday, September 17, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Where:National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Cost:Free

www.constitutioncenter.org

Sittin’ In at the Kimmel Center

The exterior of the Kimmel Center in PhiladelphiaPhoto by P. Meyer for Visit Philadelphia

Vocal-powerhouse Lady Alma brings her eclectic blend of funk, soul and house music to the next edition of Sittin’ In, the always-entertaining concert series that showcases both up-and-coming and established talents. See the free show this Wednesday at Commonwealth Plaza, the laid-back, club-like venue inside the Kimmel Center.

Sittin’ In at the Kimmel Center

When:Wednesday, September 19, 9 p.m.
Where:Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Free

www.kimmelcenter.org

Parks On Tap at Pretzel Park in Manayunk

Parks On TapPhoto courtesy Fairmont Park Conservancy

Roving beer garden series Parks on Tap pops up from Wednesday through Sunday in Manayunk's Pretzel Park  to provide patrons with fresh-air brews and tasty bites. Events at this stop include a charitable happy hour to benefit the park on Wednesday and a free yoga class on Thursday. Cheers!

Parks On Tap at Pretzel Park in Manayunk

When:September 19-23
Where:Pretzel Park, 4300 Silverwood Street
Cost:Pay-as-you-go food and drink

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O18 Festival

O18 FestivalPhoto courtesy Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia refers to this 11-day festival as a “civic experiment” made up of operas and performances all over the city, including Ne Quittez Pas the Theatre of Living Arts on South Street and Lucia di Lammermoor at the historic Academy of Music.

O18 Festival

When:September 20-30
Where:Various locations including the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
Cost:$20 and up

www.operaphila.org

iLuminate at the Merriam Theater

A group shot of iLuminatePhoto courtesy the Kimmel Center

The dancers that make up the iLuminate dance company — known for appearing on America’s Got Talent in 2011 — sport glow-in-the-dark suits and wow crowds with high-energy choreography and illusions. The troupe takes the stage at the Merriam Theater for two shows this week.

iLuminate at the Merriam Theater

When:September 21-22
Where:Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad Street
Cost:$32.50 and up

www.kimmelcenter.org

Opening: Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Terror Behind The Walls at Eastern State PenitentiaryPhoto by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

Beginning this Friday, things at Eastern State Penitentiary get pretty scary as Terror Behind the Walls — one of the country’s most popular Halloween attractions — returns for the season. At nightfall, guests can walk through six haunted attractions with different themes — including a new-for-2018 nightmarish hospital setting entitled Infirmary — all set within the halls of the abandoned prison. Beware of creepy zombies, deranged nurses and spooky ghouls around every corner.

Opening: Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

When:September 21 - November 10 (select dates)
Where:Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
Cost:$19 and up

www.easternstate.org

Opening: A Dream Deferred PHL Exhibit: Redlining Past, Present, Future

Opening Friday, this free interactive art and media exhibit explores redlining — the discriminatory practice that denies services to residents of specific, often racially associated communities or neighborhoods — and how race and policy influence the broader landscape of Philadelphia and its inhabitants. On view at the exhibit: digital maps, timelines, a multimedia installation and a documentary film. A complementary community panel series takes place on select dates this fall.

Opening: A Dream Deferred PHL Exhibit: Redlining Past, Present, Future

When:September 21 - November 17
Where:Arts + Crafts Holdings HQ, 600 Spring Garden Street
Cost:Free

www.adreamdeferredphl.org

Artist Bash: Fierce Women at the Barnes Foundation

People dancing at the Barnes FoundationPhoto courtesy Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation’s latest Artist Bash features choreographer Annielille Gavino, drummer LaTreice Branson, singer Vessna Scheff and many other talented women performing powerful works that touch on immigration reform and artistic improvisation. The evening also includes performances by Cambodian American Girls Empowering (CAGE) and Tangle Movement Arts. Guests have the opportunity to take part in a milonga (a social tango) as well.

Artist Bash: Fierce Women at the Barnes Foundation

When:Friday, September 21, 8-11 p.m.
Where:Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:$10

www.barnesfoundation.org

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

The African American Museum in PhiladelphiaPhoto by Visit Philadelphia

Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day gives museum-goers who register online for free tickets a full day to explore 25 museums and attractions in the area (!) for no cost. Museums taking part in this year’s event include The African American Museum in Philadelphia, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Penn Museum and many more. See the full list of participants and get a free museum day ticket here.

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

When:Saturday, September 22
Where:Various locations including The African American Museum, 701 Arch Street
Cost:Free (ticket required)

www.smithsonianmag.com

The Great Tour of Philadelphia

Spend up to 12 hours (!) exploring nearly 100 historic and iconic city locations on The Great Tour of Philadelphia. Join the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides for this walking tour from river to river and from Vine Street to Pine Street and explore historic sites like the Liberty Bell, Elfreth’s Alley, City Hall and more. The Great Tour is split into four two-and-a-half-hour segments, and attendees can partake in as many or as few segments as they'd like.

The Great Tour of Philadelphia

When:Saturday, September 22, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Where:Various locations including the Independence Visitor Center, 599 Market Street
Cost:$20; pre-purchased tickets; $25, walk-up fee

www.phillyguides.org

Philly AIDS Thrift Block Party

Philly AIDS Thrift Block PartyPhoto courtesy Philly AIDS Thrift

Philly AIDS Thrift throws an action-packed 13th anniversary block party in Queen Village on Saturday, complete with live music by DJ Robert Drake and The Cheddar Boys; a celebrity dunk tank with Stefanie Jolles and MacKenzie Moltov; family-fun activities like a moonbounce and face painting; carnival games; food-truck fare and tons more.

Philly AIDS Thrift Block Party

When:Saturday, September 22, noon - 6 p.m.
Where:Philly AIDS Thrift, 710 S. 5th Street
Cost:Free

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Asian Americans United 23rd Annual Mid-Autumn Festival

Asian Americans United’s 23rd Annual Mid-Autumn Festival, a cultural and community celebration, takes over 10th Street in Chinatown on Saturday. The day-long event features a carnival, music, dance and martial arts performances, a mooncake-eating contest and more. At 7 p.m., a traditional dragon dance, a lion dance and a lantern parade proceed through Chinatown, creating a brilliant spectacle.

Asian Americans United 23rd Annual Mid-Autumn Festival

When:Saturday, September 22, noon - 7:30 p.m.
Where:117 N. 10th Street
Cost:Pay as you go

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10th Annual South Street Oktoberfest at Brahaus Schmitz

South Street OktoberfestPhoto courtesy Brauhaus Schmitz

South Street’s popular German eatery Brauhaus Schmitz brings the Oktoberfest spirit to Philly with this massive annual block party on the 700 block of South Street. Attendees enjoy a day packed with German oom-pah music, dancing, kids’ activities and — of course — a bevy of German food and 10 German beers on draught. VIP tickets include additional perks, including a Bavarian buffet.

10th Annual South Street Oktoberfest at Brahaus Schmitz

When:Saturday, September 22, noon - 8 p.m.
Where:700 block of South Street
Cost:Pay as you go

www.brauhausschmitz.com

PHL Oktoberfest 2018 in Fishtown

German beer flows steadily through the day and night when German biergarten Frankford Hall teams up with neighboring BBQ joint Fette Sau for this popular Oktoberfest bash in Fishtown. Highlights include mouth-watering German fare, a ceremonial keg tapping with Mad Beatz Philly drumline and live performances from the GTV Almrausch dancers and others. For families, there's an area for kid-friendly entertainment, face-painting, balloon-twisters and pony rides.

PHL Oktoberfest 2018 in Fishtown

When:Saturday, September 22, noon - 10 p.m.
Where:Frankford Avenue between Girard Avenue and Thompson Street
Cost:Pay as you go

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Oktoberfest Live! at XFINITY Live!

Photo courtesy Xfinity Live

More than 250 seasonal craft beers await unlimited sampling at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia’s Oktoberfest shindig. The event takes place both indoors and outdoors of the restaurant/bar complex, providing ample space for sipping brews, dancing to live music and snacking on food from XFINITY Live!’s many venues and food trucks parked outside.

Oktoberfest Live! at XFINITY Live!

When:Saturday, September 22, 3-7 p.m.
Where:XFINITY Live!, 1100 Pattison Avenue
Cost:$45 and up

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Dynasty GayBINGO! at Congregation Rodeph Shalom

GayBINGOPhoto by J. Fusco for AIDS Fund Philly

AIDS Fund puts on the monthly can’t-miss GayBINGO!, which returns for a new season of themed shenanigans and sassy card callouts — all for a great cause. The recently rebooted ’80s soap opera Dynasty serves as the theme for this month’s event, so prepare to see a lot of fabulous drag queens sporting shoulder pads.

Dynasty GayBINGO! at Congregation Rodeph Shalom

When:Saturday, September 22, 7 p.m.
Where:Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad Street
Cost:$36 and up

www.aidsfundphilly.org

Rights to Ricky Sanchez Live: Dario Is Coming Over at Underground Arts

Popular 76ers podcast "Rights to Ricky Sanchez," hosted by Spike Eskin and Michael Levin, tapes its third live show in front of an audience full of process-trusters at North Seventh — the venue formerly known as the Electric Factory — on Saturday. This edition features a hotly anticipated extended interview with Dario Saric, the 76ers’ starting forward.

Rights to Ricky Sanchez Live: Dario Is Coming Over at Underground Arts

When:Saturday, September 22, 8 p.m.
Where:North Seventh (formerly Electric Factory), 421 N. 7th Street
Cost:$29.99 and up

www.electricfactory.info

Feria del Barrio

Feria Del BarrioPhoto courtesy Taller Puertorriqueño

Philadelphia’s El Centro de Oro is home to the annual Feria del Barrio, a festival that celebrates Latino culture. The event features authentic dance performances, traditional fare, craft shopping and more.

Feria del Barrio

When:Sunday, September 23, noon - 5 p.m.
Where:N. 5th Street from Lehigh Avenue to Cambria Avenue
Cost:Pay as you go

www.tallerpr.org

Center City District Restaurant Week

Diners at SOUTH Kitchen and Jazz Parlor on North Broad Street in PhiladelphiaSOUTH | Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

The fall edition of Center City District Restaurant Week returns beginning this Sunday for 12 days of meal deals (three-course dinners for $35 per person, three-course lunches for $20 per guest at select spots) at more than 110 restaurants. New additions to the crop of eateries this season include Chez Ben Bistro, Porta, The Palm Restaurant and Casta Diva.

Center City District Restaurant Week

When:September 23 - October 5
Where:Various locations including SOUTH Kitchen & Jazz Parlor, 600 N. Broad Street
Cost:$35, three-course dinner; $20, three-course lunch; plus tax and gratuity

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