Are you wondering what there is to do in Philadelphia in the summer? Whether you’re new to The City of Brotherly Love or have lived in Philly your entire life, you’ll find countless ways to enjoy summer in the city. From sipping a cold one at a neighborhood beer garden to taking the kids out for a cone after a day of biking, Philly has a flavor of fun for everyone.
With that said, there are so many summer activities in Philadelphia, and it can be tough to plan your day. We’re here to help you narrow your choices so you can make the most of the warm, sunny weather. We’ll explore top summertime spots to grab a bite, essential Philly festivals and other things to do to create a memorable season.
Ready to roll Philly-style? While it’s impossible to list everything, let this be your guide to summer activities in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is one of the most diverse cities in the country. One way Philadelphians celebrate their multicultural heritage is by hosting free cultural festivals all summer long. The PECO Multicultural Series is held on chosen weekends from June to September at Penn’s Landing. Head to one of the several festivals to enjoy traditional music and dance performances, taste authentic foods, shop for crafts, and more. For example, you can watch an Irish step dance performance during the Philadelphia Irish Festival, shop the market bazaar during the Islamic Heritage Festival or enjoy traditional Mexican food at the Mexican Independence Day Festival.
These kid-friendly festivals are free, and everyone is welcome to join the celebration and savor the colors, music and flavors of cultures from all over the world. If you’re in Philly over the summer, make sure to check out at least one of these festivals.
Summer is the time of year for picnics, barbecues and outdoor dining. You’ll find plenty of spots to dine outside in Philadelphia, including lovely green spaces like Rittenhouse Square. Rittenhouse Square is a peaceful, family-friendly park that sits in the heart of Center City. Planned by William Penn in the 17th century, this park is surrounded by elegant high rises and upscale restaurants, providing locals and visitors a place to recharge in one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods.
Fill a picnic basket with your favorite summertime treats, grab a blanket and head to Rittenhouse Square to enjoy your lunch in the shade. Make sure to check out the bronze sculptures and reflecting pool after dessert.
Could summer feel complete without going to a ball game? Baseball fans love Philly for Citizens Bank Park, which is one of the top-rated ballparks in the country. Get tickets to watch a game and root for the home team alongside the famous Phillie Phanatic. Want to bring the kids? Kids can play in the Phanatic Phun Zone or step into the shoes of a baseball pro at The Yard — a 13,000-square-foot interactive experience.
Of course, part of the fun of going to a ball game is enjoying the concessions, and you won’t be disappointed at Citizens Bank Park. From boardwalk-style eats to vegetarian options, you’ll have yummy choices when it comes to grub. Mark your calendar for a Phillies game and get ready to kick back, soak in the skyline and enjoy a good old game of ball.
Philadelphia was built with a love of greenery, and Fairmount Park is proof of this enduring passion. Fairmount Park was originally land purchased by the Fairmount Park Commission in the mid-19th century to protect the water supply and provide residents with a place to enjoy the outdoors. Today, the park is one of the largest urban parks in the country and offers more than 2,000 acres of trails and relaxing natural landscapes.
Visitors and locals head to Fairmount Park to escape the city bustle, and its large size means they don’t have to travel far to get there. You can take advantage of the warm summer weather at Fairmount Park, and bike, hike, catch an outdoor concert, view public art and more. Either way, you’re bound to leave your worries behind as you lose yourself in nature.
During the summer, tourists and locals alike flock to The Franklin Fountain for scrumptious old-fashioned ice cream. After you’ve experienced The Franklin Fountain on a hot day, you’ll likely agree with your neighbors — it’s worth the wait.
The Franklin Fountain, located on Market Street just a short walk away from Penn’s Landing, is not your typical ice cream joint. You’ll be transported back in time as you enjoy your frozen treat because The Franklin Fountain strives to recreate an authentic ice cream parlor and soda fountain experience. From the architectural molding right down to the homemade ice cream, you’ll quickly see why this place is special. Expect old-fashioned ice cream flavors — like Hydrox Cookie and Teaberry Gum — served by soda jerks who are dressed for the part.
Kids who grow up in the Philadelphia region can’t wait to head to the zoo on a sunny summer day. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend time with the family, or if you simply enjoy observing a wide range of animals, Philadelphia Zoo is a must-see.
As home to almost 1,300 animals, there’s much to learn and explore at Philadelphia Zoo. This world-class zoo cares about its animals and educating visitors about conservation, so you can feel good about supporting one of Philly’s top attractions. Here you’ll find exciting exhibits and new ways to observe animals up-close. For example, the zoo has a new overhead see-through animal trail that allows visitors to watch animals like gorillas and lions walking above them. The trail system, called Zoo360, is the first exhibit of its kind in the world and currently consists of five trails. There’s plenty more to see and do at Philadelphia Zoo, so make sure to allow enough time to explore it all.
You can’t visit Philly without trying an authentic Philly cheesesteak — a roll stuffed with chipped steak, onions and Cheese Whiz. Even locals need to remind themselves of their city’s most beloved food once in a while. Summer is the perfect time to bite into this satisfying sandwich and fill up for a day of urban exploration. Although there are tons of places to get a cheesesteak around the city, if you head to Jim’s South St., you’ll know you’ll be getting the real deal.
Since 1976, Jim’s South St. has been serving what they claim to be the best cheesesteak in the city. This culinary landmark is a must-try, and, as a bonus, is located on one of Philly’s hippest streets.
Philadelphia is a mecca for beer lovers. From seasonal beer festivals to countless bars and breweries, it’s never tough to find a quality brew in The City of Brotherly Love. During the summer, you can enjoy tasty beer and snacks in the open air at one of the city’s beer gardens. If this sounds like your cup of mead, head to Independence Beer Garden, located across the street from the Liberty Bell and Independence National Historical Park.
At this landscaped 20,000-square-foot beer garden, you can choose from 40 craft beer taps and tasty summer-inspired snacks like watermelon salad or a fruity popsicle. This is the place to go to enjoy conversation with friends, summer weather and great beer.
Will you be hanging around the city all summer long? If so, you can attend one of the top things to do in Philly during June, July and August. That is, shake your groove thing at free monthly outdoor concerts in University City.
The 40th Street Summer Series features concerts one Saturday per month and offers concertgoers an eclectic mix of music from singer-songwriter performances to Latin ensembles. There’s fun for the kids, too, from face painting to balloon animals. Could there be a better way to spend a summer day than enjoying quality music in the fresh air — for free?
When you think of a scorching summer day, do you instantly crave a cup of sweet fruity ice? Make sure to visit John’s Water Ice over the summer to cool down with one of the city’s most famous treats. Since 1945, people have flocked to John’s for spoonfuls of cold, refreshing water ice made with a few simple and fresh ingredients: fruit, water and sugar. Enjoy classic flavors like lemon, cherry or chocolate, or go for the ice cream. If you can’t decide between water ice or ice cream, you can’t go wrong with a gelati, which is a water ice and ice cream combo. Don’t forget to check out the flavor of the week.
Do you love a great bargain? Another one of the top things to do in Philly during the summer is to check out the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll in University City. During this unique event, participating businesses offer attendees a variety of $1 bargains. You’ll find everything from theater tickets to tacos for 100 pennies apiece, and there’s also live music and fun for the kids.
Philly locals know that Wednesday nights are the best nights for happy hour during the summer. That’s because from June to August, participating bars and restaurants in Center City offer half-priced appetizers and discounted cocktails, wine and beer every Wednesday evening. Whether you work in Center City or are just visiting, you’ll want to extend your stay in this part of town just a little bit longer mid-week.
One of the best free things to do in the summer in Philly is to relax on a hammock at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Spruce Street Harbor Park is an enchanting place to visit during the day or at night. Here you’ll find over 50 colorful hammocks for lounging in the sun. After you rest up, you can explore the boardwalk, check out the floating gardens or grab a bite at one of the vendors. This park is especially worth visiting at night because it is illuminated by hanging lights that gradually change colors. For a magical summertime experience, add Spruce Street Harbor Park to your list.
If you’re looking for a way to entertain the kids at night, you might consider a movie in the park. Philly loves to share free movies with residents and visitors during the summer. All throughout the season, you’ll find opportunities to watch movies in parks across the city. For example, over a dozen of the city’s parks will feature free summer movie nights and show kid-friendly films and blockbuster hits. You can also watch classic films like “Jaws” and “Dirty Dancing” at Cira Green – Philly’s “park in the sky.”
Although Longwood Gardens is renowned for its gorgeous horticultural displays, you can also visit the gardens to attend special events and performances, such as a fireworks and fountains show. At Longwood Gardens, summertime is the season to watch colorful fireworks explode across the sky as fountains dance to popular songs. If you want to experience this unforgettable water-and-light performance, buy your tickets, bring your most comfortable lawn chair and get ready for an illuminating evening.
It seems impossible to ever get bored in Philadelphia during the summer, or any season for that matter. The city is bursting with things to do and explore any time of the year, from museums to historical landmarks, entertainment venues to expansive green spaces and more. If you come to Philly, you’ll also find an abundance of outstanding eateries, from family-owned staples to elegant fine-dining establishments. There’s truly something for everyone in one of America’s oldest cities.
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