After a long, cold winter, Philadelphians gladly welcome the return of warm temperatures and sunshine. Spring in Philly is a busy time, full of special events and the return of annual programming. Whether you’re a new resident, a long-time resident or just passing through, use this guide to find out what you can do in Philadelphia in the spring.
List of Things to Do in Philly in the Spring
While some events in Philadelphia only take place over a weekend or a week or two, there are plenty of springtime programs that run throughout the season, giving you plenty of opportunities to check them out. Many programs that return in the spring also run through the summer and into the fall, so if you don’t get a chance to get out from March to early June, you’ll still have plenty of time to go. Some of the best things to do in Philadelphia in the spring are:
Stroll through Spruce Street Harbor Park: Locals and visitors alike wait for the return of Spruce Street Harbor Park each year. Located on the banks of the Delaware River, the park opens in May and remains open through September. Whether you want to laze about in a hammock, play some over-sized versions of Connect Four or Jenga or enjoy a drink and a snack, there are lots of things to do at the park.
Grab a drink at Parks on Tap: A traveling beer garden, Parks on Tap heads to a new park in the city each weekend from spring through early fall. Since the beer garden visits a new park each week, the odds are likely that it will be in a neighborhood near you at least once — if not twice — during the spring and summer.
Shop at a Farmer’s Market: Another thing to look forward to in the spring in Philadelphia is the return of farmer’s markets. Although some are open all year, their offerings are greatly reduced during the winter, when certain fruits and vegetables aren’t in season. Come spring, markets around the town are full-to-bursting with fresh produce, flowers, locally made bread and other treats. Some markets worth checking out include the Headhouse Farmer’s Market and the Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market.
Events in Philadelphia in the Spring
Another way to welcome spring in Philly is to head to one of the many “catch ’em while you can” events. Philly is home to myriad festivals, and spring is the start of the festival season. Whether you’re into flowers, science or the performing arts, there are plenty of events to keep you busy in spring, including:
Philadelphia Science Festival: Every year, the Franklin Institute organizes the Philadelphia Science Festival, a 10-day event that aims to educate and engage the public. Programs vary each year but typically include hands-on activities designed for kids and adults. The festival wraps up with a day-long Science Carnival along the Ben Franklin Parkway.
The Cherry Blossom Festival: Every Spring, plenty of people travel to Japan to watch the cherry blossoms bloom. Did you know Philly is also home to plenty of cherry trees and that you don’t have to go far to see their beautiful flowers in the spring? The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in early spring at the Horticultural Center, tucked away in Fairmount Park. Programming during the weekend-long event includes a sake garden, films and sushi-making workshops. Runners are also invited to participate in the Cherry Blossom 5K and 10K races, which take place the weekend following the festival.
South Street Spring Festival: South Street has evolved over the years, but one thing that’s remained the same about it is its community spirit and uniqueness. Every spring, residents of the South Street/Headhouse District and visitors gather for a day-long festival. Vendors line South Street from Second to Eighth street, selling everything from crafts to food and drink. Live music performances also take place up and down the street.
Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival: Another can’t-miss spring festival in Philly is the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. It’s a one-day event that takes place in mid-May, rain or shine. The festival stretches along Walnut Street from Rittenhouse Square to Broad Street. It’s one of the only times in the year when Walnut Street is closed to cars and other vehicles. Activities during the festival include beer and wine tastings, cooking demos, live music and shopping.
Italian Market Festival: If you haven’t yet been, the Italian Market, on Ninth Street in South Philly, is worth a visit. You might want to head over to it on the third weekend in May, for the South Ninth Street Italian Market Festival. Highlights of the annual festival include a grease pole contest, during which people try to shimmy up a greased telephone pole, a procession of saints and a half-ball tournament. Since the festival takes place in the midst of one of the city’s most famous outdoor markets, there will also be plenty of delicious things to eat and drink.
The Broad Street Run: Every May, around 35,000 people dash from one end of Broad Street to the other during the Broad Street Run. The event is the biggest 10-mile race in the U.S. If you’re new to the city and hoping to run in the race, it’s an excellent opportunity to see many of Philly’s noteworthy landmarks and historical sites, all at a pretty fast clip. Of course, you don’t have to run in the race to participate in the fun. You can choose a spot on the sidelines and cheer people on as they speed by.
High Pressure Fire Service:High Pressure Fire Service, or HPFS, is a performance series presented by Fringe Arts — the organization that puts together the Fringe Festival in the fall. During April and May, HPFS presents the work of several Philadelphia-based performing arts companies. The series is meant to help local performing artists create new art while also pushing the boundaries of their art form and exploring topics that are socially relevant.
Art Star Craft Bazaar: The Art Star Craft Bazaar has become a mother’s day weekend tradition in Philly. For more than 15 years, the craft fair has set up shop on Penn’s Landing, by the Delaware River, on the second weekend of May. Whether you’re into handmade jewelry, funky ceramics or creative clothing, you’ll likely find a vendor selling something that interests you at the bazaar. Along with crafts for sale, there are also raffles, live music and “make and take” craft sessions throughout the weekend.
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