April showers bring May flowers and festivals galore.
As warm weather slowly begins to scatter the calendar, festival season descends upon Philadelphia. The major, mostly al fresco, events cater to a wide range of interests, including celebrations that center around food, music, science, tech, gardening, and more.
Read on to learn about all of the biggest festivals unfolding across the next two months in the City of Brotherly Love and the region.
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia
Bask in the beauty of spring and celebrate both traditional and contemporary Japan at Philadelphia’s Cherry Blossom Festival. The week-long event features martial arts sessions, drum and dance performances, sushi making classes, and more, culminating on the final day with Sakura Sunday, the main feature of the festival. Held outside of the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, Sakura Sunday brings a day full of al fresco performances, ranging from a fashion show to a pet parade to an anime and cosplay showcase. Bring a picnic, and settle in for a day of arts and culture beneath the area’s (hopefully blooming) cherry blossoms.
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia: through Sunday, locations and prices vary per event, 267-348-0250, subarucherryblossom.org
Sakura Sunday: Sunday, Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, 100 N Horticultural Drive, $12-$15, 267-348-0250, subarucherryblossom.org
Manayunk StrEAT Food Festival
Manayunk’s Main Street turns into food-truck central during the neighborhood’s annual spring food festival. More than 70 vendors are participating this year, serving up cannolis, cupcakes, tacos, waffles, barbecue, ice cream, biscuits, dumplings, and other delightful eats. Live musical performances will also take place across three separate stages, and a small selection of crafting vendors will park themselves for the day, too. The festival kicks off two more weeks of foodie fun in Manayunk, which hosts a spring restaurant week in the days that follow, April Mondays through April 27.
April 15, Main Street from Shurs Lane to Green Lane, pay-as-you-go, 215-482-9565, manayunk.com
Philadelphia Science Festival
Science in its most entertaining form sweeps the city during the nine-day Philadelphia Science Festival, bringing more than 80 events to venues across the area. Curated by the Franklin Institute in collaboration with hundreds of the region’s premier science, cultural, and educational establishments, the festival’s lineup features everything from a Science of Distilling night to a Future of Food discussion to stargazing parties at 20-plus locations. On the festival’s final day, a Science Carnival takes over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a gigantic, and free, celebration full of games, live science experiments, and other entertainment.
Philadelphia Science Festival: April 20-28, locations vary per event, prices vary per event but many are free, 215-448-1200, fi.edu
Science Carnival: April 28, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 222 North 20th St., Free, 215-448-1200, fi.edu
Center City Jazz Festival
It’s not often that you can spend $20 and see 20 bands play live. Yet, the annual Center City Jazz Festival, part of Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Month, enables you to do just that. The lineup of artists will play at Franky Bradley’s, Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Fergie’s Pub, Milkboy Philadelphia, and TIME Restaurant, all Center City venues within walking distance of one another. Go from venue to venue and enjoy an entire six-hour afternoon of soulful tunes.
April 28, six locations throughout Center City, $20 in advance, $25 day-of, ccjazzfest.com
Philadelphia Black Pride
An annual festival coinciding with the Penn Relays, Philadelphia Black Pride brings events of all sorts to venues citywide in celebration of African American culture. Happenings include dance parties, fashion shows, roundtable discussions, a parade and rally, and more. Check the Philadelphia Black Pride Facebook page to stay up-to-date on individual event details as they are released.
April 26-29, locations and prices vary per event, phillyblackpride.org
Philly Tech Week
A tech-takeover emerges across the city as Philly Tech Week unfolds with nine full days of events. From Dev Happy Hours to a women in tech soiree to a discussion on cyber security to an entrepreneur expo with 100 local startups, the options span an array of topics all focused on different aspects of the tech world. Tickets for each are available on 2018.phillytechweek.com.
April 27-May 5, locations and prices vary per event, 2018.phillytechweek.com
El Carnaval de Puebla
Red, white, and green spreads across South Philly in this annual celebration of Mexican culture. Festival-goers can look forward to a spirited parade and a street fair featuring an array of authentic eats. Dancing and other entertainment from those dressed in colorful, traditional Mexican attire are all part of the fun, too.
April 29, 1112 S 9th St., free, carnavaldepuebla.com
Flavors on the Avenue: A Street Festival
Lined with award-winning restaurants, East Passyunk Avenue temporarily closes off a multi-block stretch to traffic each year for the one-day Flavors on the Avenue. Featuring street food and signature dishes from two dozen of the area’s popular eateries, this year’s festival spans Broad to Dickinson Streets. Craft beer, wine, and seasonal drinks will be available to sip on while strolling through the five-block event, filled with live music and family-friendly entertainment, too. Adding to the fun, area boutiques and sidewalk sales will invite all to partake in an afternoon of local shopping, a perfect activity to break up all of the delicious sampling opportunities.
April 29, East Passyunk Ave. from Broad to Dickinson Streets, pay-as-you-go, visiteastpassyunk.com/events
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival
More than 15,000 LED lights will illuminate Franklin Square as the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival unfolds for its third year, returning with its signature 200-foot Chinese dragon and beloved panda, along with dozens of other all-new creations. In total, 28 groupings of more than 1,500 individual works of art will take over the park. Look forward to tropical birds, a fairy tree, a walk-through great white shark tunnel, a bicycle-powered elephant lantern, and other colorful designs, all crafted from artisans from China. Live performances, including juggling and contortion art, will also take place each night, and a Dragon Beer Garden will be open daily and run through 10 p.m.
May 1-June 30, Franklin Square, 200 6th St., $18 for adults, $12 for youth, historicphiladelphia.org/chineselanternfestival
South Street Spring Festival and Maifest
A massive outdoor block party takes over South Street for the area’s annual springtime festival. This year’s event features 12 blocks of entertainment, dozens of restaurants serving up eats and drinks, and more than 100 vendors. Plus, three stages will host 30 live bands, and a Philly Taco Eating contest will pit a bunch of hungry competitors in a challenge to devour a Jim’s Cheesesteak wrapped inside a Lorenzo’s pizza slice. In conjunction with the South Street Spring Festival, Brauhaus Schmitz will host the sixth annual Maifest outside of its 700-block location with German beers and food, flower headbands, and a Maypole dance.
May 5, South and Front Streets, pay-as-you-go, southstreet.com/things-to-do
Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival
Calling all gardeners, the Chestnut Hill Home and Garden Festival brings together 150 vendors to historic Germantown Avenue to cultivate a day full of plant-based fun. Heirloom vegetable plants, flowering baskets, and other items will be for sale, while garden sculptures and displays will be available for enthusiasts to admire. Meanwhile, a variety of arts, crafts, handmade furniture, and quilts will be available for purchase, as will a ton of delicious eats from a variety of area restaurants. Enjoy it all while also taking in the tunes coming from live bands playing across two stages throughout the afternoon.
May 6, 8000 to 8600 blocks of Germantown Ave., Chestnut Hill, free, chestnuthillpa.com/events
New Hope Celebrates Pride Festival
Special events, dance parties, concerts, and educational activities, take over Bucks County during the annual New Hope Celebrates Pride Festival. The highlight of this multi-day festival is undeniably the colorful Pride Parade that takes hundreds of visitors from Lambertville across the bridge into New Hope on Saturday, May 19. Floats, marching bands, and a 100-foot rainbow equality flag will cruise through the streets, creating a spirited experience that welcomes all to join in. Check the festival’s website to view details about all of the upcoming events, including a high heel drag race and a week-long cocktail contest.
May 12-20, parade begins at N. Main Street and Arnett Avenue in Lambertville, N.J., and ends near 111 New St. in New Hope, free, newhopecelebrates.com/pridefest
Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival
More than 50,000 people descend upon Rittenhouse Square for this annual celebration of local food, fashion, and art. Culinary demonstrations, cocktail tastings, and live music are all part of the fun, as are family-friendly activities and shopping opportunities at 100 vendor booths. The festival will span across Walnut Street between Broad and 19th Streets, and on and 17th and 18th Streets from Sansom to Locust.
May 19, 18th and Walnut Streets, pay-as-you-go, rittenhouserow.org
Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival
Perhaps the city’s quirkiest festival, the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival features a parade full of human-powered floats that stroll through the streets of Kensington sans electricity or motors. At the end, the colorful floats must traverse a messy mud pit, one of many obstacles along the route. Beyond uniting creative engineers from across the city, the festival also draws together more than 200 local art and food vendors, and an array of food trucks roll into the festival, too.
May 19, E. Dauphin and Blair Streets, free, kensingtonkineticarts.org
The South 9th Street Italian Market Festival
Feast on cannolis, pizza, roast pork, and more at the annual South 9th Street Italian Market Festival. Beyond a wide spread of food, the festival also features several signature events, including the procession of the saints, a grease pole climbing contest, live music, and a half-ball tournament. Spread across two weekend days, be sure to save plenty of room as you head to the area where the nation’s oldest outdoor market continues to thrive each day.
May 19-20, 9th Street between Fitzwater and Wharton Streets, pay-as-you-go, italianmarketfestival.com
A dozen tall ships sail into town over Memorial Day weekend for a four-day festival docked at Penn’s Landing. All tickets to the event include admission to the Independence Seaport Museum, while additional options exist that enable you to tour the ships as well as set out on a cruise. On land, food vendors, live music, and beer gardens will fill the area with entertainment, as will programming designed for those of all ages.
May 24-28, Penn’s Landing, 101 N. Columbus Blvd., tickets start at $7 for adults and $5 for youth, sailphiladelphia.org
Devon Horse Show and Country Fair
As the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States, the Devon Horse Show draws competitors — and horse lovers — from around the world. In between cheering on the stallions out in the arena, a massive country fair welcomes you to meet the horses, enjoy classic fair eats, and take a ride on the ferris wheel and/or carousel. Tickets for the 10-day event can be purchased online.
May 24-June 3, 23 Dorset Road, Devon, tickets start at $15 for adults and $7 for youth, devonhorseshow.net
Wildwood International Kite Festival
The largest kite festival in the North America flies over the beaches of Wildwood during Memorial Day weekend. Kite-makers from across the world will gather to showoff and give height to their most colorful creations. On Saturday and Sunday of the festival, the East Coast Stunt Kite Championships will unfold each day beginning at 9 a.m., and kite exhibits and workshops will also welcome all to learn more about the sport.
May 25-28, Wildwood’s beach, Rio Grande to Burke Avenues., Wildwood, N.J., free, skyfestivals.com/events.html
Hoagie Nation Festival 2018
After a successful debut last year, the Hall & Oates-headlined Hoagie Nation Festival returns for round two of live music at Festival Pier. Others on the concert lineup this year include Train and Fitz and the Tantrums, as well as local bands Tommy Conwell & the Young Rumblers and Mo Lowda & the Humble. Those who arrive early will score free samples of hoagies from 20 Philadelphia-area delis, and a hoagie-eating contest will go down, too.
May 26, Festival Pier, 601 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, $40 and up, hoagienation.com
Downingtown Fine Arts Festival
Fine artists from across the region converge in Downingtown for a free, two-day festival of the arts. From painting to printmaking, sculpture to jewelry, mixed media and more, media of all kinds will be showcased. A variety of food vendors will flock to the area, too, to keep you fueled as you wander through the festival.
May 26-27, 02 E Lancaster Ave, Downingtown, free, downingtownfinearts.com
Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts 2018
Gaze up at a human chandelier during the Cristal Palace Aerial Dance Party, laugh at the jokes of Bassem Youssef, a YouTube sensation dubbed the “Jon Stewart of the Arab World,” take part in an interactive theater piece called The Fever, and more during the 11-day PIFA festival. Bringing creative events to venues citywide, the festival celebrates music, dance, comedy, and performance art through a wide range of happenings. Don’t miss the grand Street Fair unfolding on the second to last day of the festival (June 9), creating a huge outdoor party full of performances right on Broad Street, from City Hall to South Street.
June 1-10, locations and prices vary per event, kimmelcenter.org
Philly Beer Week
Celebrating the sudsy Philadelphia, a city rich with breweries, drinking holes, and beer culture, Philly Beer Week brings 10 days of events to venues citywide. The annual Opening Tap event kicks things off, drawing 50-plus breweries to The Fillmore for an evening of sampling, music, and more. Throughout the remainder of the festival, events of all sorts unfold, ranging from tap-takeovers to quizzo nights to beer and boats on the Schuylkill River.
June 1-10, locations and prices vary per event, phillylovesbeer.org
This year’s Roots Picnic gets a dose of comedy added to the musical mix as Dave Chappelle is set to take to the stage to play host of the massive outdoor concert. Including The Roots, 20 artists will perform throughout the day, ranging from the Dirty Projectors to 2 Chainz to Brandy and more. Meanwhile, a designated podcast stage will welcome the likes of Drink Champs and other known podcasters, while a lifestyle-themed stage will host a fashion panel, an art panel, a hustle panel, and more. The outdoor music-fest kicks off at noon, rain or shine.
June 2, Festival Pier, 601 N Christopher Columbus Blvd, $75, rootspicnic.com/philly
The Odunde Festival, the largest African-American street festival on the East Coast, draws up to 500,000 people to the Graduate Hospital neighborhood each year for a day of shopping, dancing, eating, and more. More than 100 vendors will set up shop along a 14-block radius stretching across both South Street and Grays Ferry Avenue. The fragrant Caribbean eats, colorful African fabrics, handmade jewelry, and other festival goods are all pay-as-you-go. Simply show up, and be prepared to navigate a large but spirited crowd.
June 10, 23rd and South Streets, pay-as-you-go, odundefestival.org
PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival
Dozens of drag queens will strut their way through Midtown Village en route to Old City, as will 20,000-plus visitors who show up to walk alongside the high-heeled divas and other parade participants during the annual PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival. Performances will unfold all along the approximately 1.5-mile route, ending at Penn’s Landing with a large festival. The concluding event costs $15, which includes six hours of entertainment and 150 vendors set up along the waterfront.
June 10, Starts at 13th and Locust Streets and ends at Penn’s Landing, parade is free, festival is $15, phillygaypride.org