Fall is at its peak right now in Philadelphia. Trees are turning along the Schuykill and bars are filled with local Oktoberfest brews. And some of the city’s best events are autumnal ones, from an insane haunted house to community mural painting to a marquee regatta. Here’s a run-down.
Philadelphia Film Festival, Oct. 16-26
Choose from over 100 movies from 35 countries in this packed annual showcase, organized by Philadelphia Film Society. Parties and screenings of Birdman and Wild bookend the festivities, with an array of indies, docs, classics and foreign films in between. Late-night “Graveyard Shift” screenings keep movie buffs entertained after midnight.
Oktoberfest at Dilworth Park, Oct. 18 and 25
Activate the city’s newest public space over two Saturdays of boozy merriment. Rosa Blanca Café hosts a beer garden for the 21+ crowd, but there’s also live music, art installations and pumpkin-painting for all.
Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, Oct. 25 and 26
Thanks to Thomas Eakins, rowing is Philadelphia’s iconic sport. The Schuylkill River is packed with scullers all season long, but never so busy as this weekend. Open to a range of athletes from college to professional level, it’s an exciting event to watch. Gather by the Three Angels Statue a mile from the finish to get in the spirit.
Mural Arts Month, through Nov. 1
With over 3,000 murals, Philadelphia is effectively an outdoor art gallery, but many locals barely notice them. This month, they’ll be hard to miss thanks to paint-related activities citywide, like the Philly DJ Mural Block Party, a community paint day and mural-inspired music. If this whets your appetite, you can also hop on one of the Mural Arts Program’s tours year-round.Eastern State Penitentiary. (Courtesy of trevor.patt)
Terror Behind the Walls, through Nov. 8
The Eastern State Penitentiary is pretty creepy all the time, what with the bone-chilling solitary cells and gothic design. But it’s nothing like visiting the historic prison at night when the lights are off and figures lurk in the shadows. With special effects and 200 performers spread out over the 11-acre site, this is the rare haunted house that’s genuinely frightening.
The Philadelphia Craft Show, Nov. 6-9
Now in its 38th year, the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show was here long before the maker movement. And it’s a lot more impressive than your neighborhood craft fair. Nearly 200 of the country’s best artists, selected from 1,000 applicants, exhibit their work for some classy early holiday shopping. Look for Kiwon Wang‘s gorgeous eastern-inspired jewelry and Claudia Mills‘ hand-woven rugs.
Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards, through Nov. 9
A trip out to this 300-acre Delaware Country farm is a fall tradition for many Philadelphia families. Linvilla ticks all the seasonal boxes: apple picking, hay rides, corn maze, piles of pumpkins and cider doughnuts. There’s also an apple sling, which lets you chuck rotted fruit at targets set in a large field—thereby fertilizing the soil for next year’s crop.Marathoners on the Ben Franklin Parkway. (Courtesy of AmandaD_TX)
Philadelphia Marathon, Nov. 23
Runners love this cool, late-season race for the flat terrain, beautiful views and enthusiastic spectators. Passing through historic downtown streets and Fairmount Park, it ends with a sprint up the Ben Franklin Parkway towards the Art Museum. The weekend also includes a half-marathon, an 8K and a kids’ fun run. What better way to earn your Thanksgiving dinner?
Rowers on the Schuylkill River. (Courtesy of Michael W Murphy)