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Tree lined street in Philadelphia covered in orange fall leaves

Top Fall Activities in Philadelphia

Date January 10, 2024

Top Fall Activities in Philadelphia

Tree lined street in Philadelphia covered in orange fall leaves

Visiting Philadelphia in the fall? The city’s autumn calendar is full of festive events and activities.

Enjoy the crisp cool air while exploring the top things to do in Philadelphia this fall.

Enjoy Halloween-themed Activities

Philadelphia is beckoning you to celebrate spooky season in the city. Visit America’s most historic prison and the world’s first true penitentiary during Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary. The festival-style event features different attractions spread throughout the historic cellblocks. Enjoy spine-chilling haunted houses and mazes, themed bars and lounges, and live performances. The annual event runs on select evenings September through November.

A woman dressed in a flapper costume stands, holding a fan, as she leans forward appearing to coax the camera toward her. There is a purple glow behind her.

Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary. Photo by E. Davis.

If you’re looking for family-friendly spooky fun, head to the Philadelphia Zoo for Boo at the Zoo. America’s first zoo hosts the festival every October during the three weekends leading up to Halloween. Visitors of all ages can explore the zoo’s grounds for special treats, photo opportunities, and a not-so-scary extinction graveyard.

Spooky Mini Golf at Franklin Square is another great family-friendly activity full of frightful delight. Every October, the historic square’s miniature golf course, which features miniature iconic city landmarks, gets an eerie makeover. Putt your way through 18 holes surrounded by ghosts, creepy cobwebs, and other spooky seasonal décor.

A miniature golf course is shown. There are lime green and purple lights lighting up the course. There are spooky, Halloween decor spread throughout. The small houses are covered in cobwebs.

Spooky Mini Golf at Franklin Square. Photo by J. Fusco.

For a ghostly good time, check out Spooky Twilight Tours at Betsy Ross House. Visitors can navigate the 18th-century former home of the patriotic seamstress and learn more about Philadelphia’s macabre past. Inside visitors will hear chilling true stories about the bloodletting horrors of living in Philadelphia during the Revolution.

Discover the eerie past of Philadelphia’s most historic sites on a Ghost Tour of Philadelphia. These candlelit walking tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will take you through the historic streets at night. Visit historic houses, believed to have a spiritual presence, while hearing ghost stories and creepy tales from Philadelphia’s past.

A woman dressed in costume stands holding a lantern. It is dark outside. A tree is behind her. The lantern glows a yellowish orange.

Both guests and costumed guides for Ghost Tour of Philadelphia are required to wear masks throughout the tour. Photo courtesy of Ghost Tour of Philadelphia.

Admire the Fall Foliage

Philadelphia is home to many visually stunning places where you can admire the fall foliage. Embrace the cooler temperatures in Fairmount Park, one of the largest city-owned urban park systems in the world. The 2,000-plus outdoor playground is made up of individual parks, historic buildings, art works, and the nation’s first zoo.

While in Fairmount Park, visit historic Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, a replica of a traditional 17th-century Japanese home. Then head to the Horticulture Center, where you can explore the vast outdoors or learn more in the center’s greenhouse. Or venture to Morris Arboretum & Gardens a nearly 100-acre property home to some of the city’s oldest and rarest trees.

A walkway is shown leading toward an array of bright colorful trees. The fall foliage is breathtaking. There is a large tree with bright orange leaves to the left. There are bright green trees next to it. A bridge is shown off to the right near a yellow tree and a pinkish red tree.

Seven Arches during fall at Morris Arboretum. Photo credit B. Schultz.

Visit The Countryside of Philadelphia to admire even more fall foliage. Flowers and fountains await at Longwood Gardens, a world-renowned 1,077-acre estate blooming with memorable gardens and a breathtaking conservatory. Don’t miss Longwood Gardens’ annual Chrysanthemum Festival, which honors fall’s favorite flower, more commonly called a “mum.”

Take a trip to Bucks Count yo visit Andalusia Historic House, Gardens & Arboretum. This is the ancestral home of the Biddle family and a National Historic Landmark. This historic riverfront estate has abundant yellows, browns, reds, and greens throughout its gorgeous gardens.

The view from a riverfront estate is shown. There is a structure in the middle. It is surrounded by colorful fall foliage on either side. The river is shown beyond it. The sky above is a bright blue. The grass is a bright green.

Photo courtesy of Andalusia Historic House, Gardens, and Arboretum.

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 through October 15. Celebrate Philadelphia’s Latino community at Feria Del Barrio. This street festival offers live music, dancing, and Latino delicacies. The festival celebrates Latino culture, while promoting the work of community organizations that serve this North Philadelphia community. Artists, performers, and vendors will fill the famed El Centro de Oro (the Golden Block) for the outdoor celebration.

Or celebrate the month with traditional Latino music, poetry, and dancing during the Puerto Rican Day Parade as the event makes its way through the city’s streets. This vibrant festival is held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with more than 1,500 marchers and 5,000 attendees each year.

Floats, festive dances, local celebrities, youth groups and more than 1,500 musicians spice up the action on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway duringthe Puerto Rican Day Parade. The annual procession is the city’s largest and oldest outdoor event celebrating Latino and Puerto Rican heritage.

Puerto Rican Festival Parade. Photo courtesy of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Immerse Yourself in the City’s Sports Scene

Celebrating Philadelphia sports is always in season, but fall is arguably the best time to jump on the bandwagon.

Fall is the time to watch the Philadelphia Phillies fight their way for a spot in the playoffs. It’s also the start of the season for the city’s beloved National Football League team, the Philadelphia Eagles. And as the Eagles’ season gets underway, so do the seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Philadelphia International Unity Cup is also held annually in October to give soccer fans something to cheer about.

A large American flag is stretched out across the field at Lincoln Financial Field. The stands are packed with fans. The sky above the stadium is mainly white with clouds.

Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Photo by J. Geliebter/Philadelphia Eagles.

Attending a live sporting event is a great way to get a taste of the city’s renowned sports culture. But if you can’t get tickets to a game, don’t worry. Philadelphia is also home to many lively sports bars that are great places to catch a game.

Attend Seasonal Events

Get some fresh air while getting into the fall spirit by attending one of Philadelphia’s seasonal events. Head to the city’s historic district for Old City Fest. The annual event highlights the neighborhood’s premiere arts community by showcasing local designers, restaurants, retailers, galleries, and theaters.

Or sip cider and carve pumpkins along the Delaware River for Fall Fest at Morgan’s Pier. Sit on a deck overlooking the Delaware River with unbeatable views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Oktoberfest is hosted each year by Brauhaus Schmitz, an authentic German restaurant on South Street. Enjoy live entertainment, German food, and plenty of bier. Another festive event worth attending is the Northern Liberties Night Market. Sample the vibrant neighborhood’s best food trucks, shop from local vendors, and enjoy live music and street performances.

A woman is shown carving a ring into a pumpkin on a picnic table. Her phone is on the table to the left of the pumpkin. A bucket is off to the right of the pumpkin.

Carve pumpkins at Morgan’s Pier Fall Fest. Photo by Morgan’s Pier, FCM Hospitality.

For movie enthusiasts, each October the Philadelphia Film Society hosts its annual Philadelphia Film Festival, featuring special screenings at theaters throughout the city. Every year, the society scouts the globe’s top-tier film festivals, seeking out the year’s most eagerly awaited, critically acclaimed, and stimulating films to bring to Philadelphia. The Festival also offers a range of other activities and opportunities to interact with filmmakers, actors, and industry professionals.

Looking for more activities in Philadelphia? Check out our things to do page.