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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.