The Best festivals and fairs in Philadelphia

by Paul Joseph  |  Published February 10, 2020

Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia is not quite as well known as some of its urban neighbours such as Washington DC and New York, but anyone who’s visited will attest to its array of historic landmarks, rich sports scene, and top class restaurants. Whether it’s visiting the exact spot where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed, or savouring a slice of the city’s iconic cheesecake, there’s something to suit every taste and whim.

Visitors perched on the grass at the Philadelphia Folk Festival (Photo: Michael Stokes via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Philly also plays host to a huge number of festivals and fairs throughout the year, each celebrating a different aspect of the city’s cultural or social heritage. If you’re planning a visit and would like to know what’s on during your dates of travel, we’ve created a list of the 20 best festivals and fairs taking place here throughout the remainder of 2020.

Center City District Restaurant Week

Dedicated foodies visiting Philly in January are in for a treat, with the City Centre District playing host to its annual Restaurant Week. Held over almost two weeks (contrary to its misleading name), a number of the city’s best restaurants offer heavily discounted three-course lunches and dinners, spanning every type of cuisine under the sun. The event gives local chefs the chance to showcase their talents as well as provide a boost to Philadelphia’s restaurant industry.

LOCATION Venues across Philadelphia DATES 12-24 January 

Diners throng a local Philly eatery during the Center City District Restaurant Week (Photo: Center City District)

International Conference & Festival of Blacks in Dance

Hosted by the Philadelphia Dance Company, this event sees more than 40 emerging and established Black dance companies from around the country put on eye-catching performances in front of large audiences at theatre venues across the city, all underpinned by an ambition to entertain and educate about Black dance history and techniques.

LOCATION Venues across Philadelphia DATES 14-19 January 

Philadelphia Auto Show

Get up-close and personal with the newest models soon to be at dealerships around the region, with hundreds of concept, classic, luxury and exotic cars on display, and every major car maker represented. Visitors are invited to hop inside most of the cars on show and some select models are even available for test drives. There are also live music performances and celebrity meet-and-greets.

LOCATION Pennsylvania Convention Center DATES 8-16 February 

A vintage car on display at the Philadelphia Auto Show (Photo: Jon Seidman via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

National Jazz Festival

The first ever edition of the National Jazz Festival comes to Philly this February, promising some of the best high and middle school jazz musicians in the county. Created by instrumental and vocal jazz directors, parents, musicians, and avid jazz fans, the event is designed to make up for the notable lack of a major national jazz festival with an educational philosophy. Thanks to its creation, thousands of students can now share their talents with their peers from around America in a mix of both competitive and non-competitive categories for large and small ensembles. Highlights will also include a performance by the US Jazz Ambassadors and a Jazz Educator Awards ceremony.

LOCATION Pennsylvania Convention Center DATES 15 February 2020 

A band set to perform at the first edition of the National Jazz Festival (Photo: National Jazz Festival

Philly Craft Beer Festival

Regularly featured on lists of America’s best beer festivals, the Philly Craft Beer Festival returns for 2020 promising to be bigger and better than ever. Showcasing more than 50 of the best local and national craft breweries, who together will serve an incredible 150 different beers, the hugely popular indoor event is a veritable mecca for beer lovers who come from far and wide for the occasion. General admission tickets are priced at $49, or if you’re happy to push the boat out for a more exclusive experience, there are VIP tickets that include a souvenir glass taster, unlimited beer sampling (including special VIP-only beers), an additional preview hour, VIP-only bathrooms, and more.

LOCATION The Navy Yard DATES 7 March 2020 

A stall holder hands over a drink to a visitor at Philly Craft Beer Festival (Photo: Philly Craft Beer Festival)

Philly Chocolate, Wine & Whiskey Festival

Enjoy chocolate in a multitude of decadent presentations, quench your thirst with Champagne, Prosecco, wines, whiskies and craft beers, and pick up a range of delectable treats to take home with you at this gastronomic extravaganza. Included in your ticket price is a tasting glass to sample unlimited wine and whiskey throughout the event.

LOCATION 23rd Street Armory DATES 28 March 2020 

Some of the delectable fare on offer at the Philly Chocolate, Wine & Whiskey Festival (Photo: Philly Chocolate, Wine & Whiskey Festival)

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia

Celebrating Japanese culture throughout the region, the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival comprises a diverse collection of events, with everything from sushi making classes to taiko performances on offer. Among the highlights is the festival’s Sakura Sunday, featuring live performances, art & crafts, tea, fashion, flower arranging and plenty more. For more active types, there are also Cherry Blossom 10K and 5K Races.

LOCATION Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia DATES 4-5 April 2020 

A picture-postcard scene at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (Photo: GPA Photo Archive via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Philadelphia Science Festival

More than 70,000 people flock to over 80 science-themed lectures, debates, hands-on activities, special exhibitions and a variety of other science-themed events andexperiences for all ages at venues across the city. The festival culminates with a giant Science Carnival, with previous highlights including the chance to meet live animals from Philly Zoo, explore the inner workings of robots, and watch robot Sumo wrestlers taking to the mats.

LOCATION The Franklin Institute DATES 16-25 April 2020 

The Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show

This hugely popular shows is one of America’s longest running events of its kind, with more than 100 exhibitors from across the world gathering for a stunning showcasing of international antiques and art. Among the attendees peddling their wares will be dealers from Europe and Asia, giving art and antique lovers the chance to pick up some truly exotic pieces with which to adorn their homes.

LOCATION Navy Yard DATES 24-26 April 2020 

One of the myriad of art pieces on display at the The Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show (Photo: The Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show)

Philly Tech Week

A week-long celebration of technology and innovation, Philly Tech Week is arranged into several categories, including arts, gaming, medtech, software and professional development, each one curated to include relevant events and activities. Visitors can join in with workshops, trainings, and consultations, enjoy exhibitions and concerts, or listen to entrepreneur stories, all centred around the growing role of technology in our societies and our lives.

LOCATION PhillyTech DATES 1-9 May

Dad Vail Regatta

Said to be the largest collegiate regatta anywhere in the United States, with 100 colleges and Universities from the U.S. and Canada taking part, the Dad Vail Regatta sees thousands of students gathering to compete on the waters of the Schuylkill River. For spectators, the best place to watch the action is from the Grand Stand, and for refreshments head to the Food Court where you’ll find a great selection of food and beverages, including Philly favourites like cheese steaks and hoagies.

LOCATION Schuylkill River DATES 8-9 May 2020 

Rowers work their oars in union at the Dad Vail Regatta (Photo: Michael W Murphy / CC BY 2.0)

LGBT Pride Parade & Festival

More than 25,000 people and 150 vendors take part in this annual Pride Day celebration that culminates with a colourful parade down Broad Street. Along the route participants stop and perform for the thronged audiences – not to mention judges who will honour the best paraders for their efforts. At the end of the parade at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, there’s dancing areas, family activities, food and drinks tucks, and more.

LOCATION Broad Street & Penn’s Landing DATES 14 June 2020

Manayunk Arts Festival

One of the biggest outdoor arts festivals in the region, the Manayunk Arts Festival draws more than 200,000 visitors every year to the trendy Philadelphia neighbourhood for two days of fine arts, crafts, music, food and more. Hundreds of local and national artists from around the country head to the annual event to sell handmade items of all sorts, with the activity centred around historic Main Street.

LOCATION Main Street DATES 27-28 June 2020 

Crowds amble through the Manayunk Arts Festival (Photo: Manayunk Arts Festival)

BlackStar Film Festival

This annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global indigenous communities is a popular event on Philadelphia’s cultural calendar, offering a chance for BAME film-makers from around the world to showcase their works. During the festival various prizes are awarded in categories including Best Feature Narrative & Documentary and Best Experimental.

LOCATION Venues across Philadelphia DATES 30 July-2 August 2020

Philadelphia Folk Festival

The hills of Schwenksville come alive each summer with the sound of folk music during this long-running festival. Thousands of revellers sprawl out on the hillside to enjoy the music that fills the pastoral landscape emanating from multiple stages. Meanwhile a jam packed line-up of workshops, activities and events for all ages, not to mention tons of food and drinks, ensure everyone is kept entertained and well refreshed.

LOCATION Old Pool Farm DATES 13-16 August 2020

Made in America Festival

Taking over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway each Labor Day weekend, this huge musical celebration features dozens of high quality hip-hop, EDM and R&B performers across several stages, all curated by iconic producer Jay-Z – who sometimes even takes to the stage himself. As well as top tunes, there are also interactive activities, gourmet food trucks, and more.

LOCATION Benjamin Franklin Parkway DATES 4-6 September 2020

A performer on stage at the Made in America Festival (Photo: Made in America Festival)


Over ten full days each October, Philadelphia’s vibrant design community comes together to demonstrate to the public the impact, power and potential of top class design to transform towns, cities, countries and lives. Throughout the festival, exhibitions, tours and workshops take place across the city, all designed to highlight Philly’s long-standing reputation as a hub for design excellence.

LOCATION The University of the Arts DATES 7-18 October 2020

Guests mingle at DesignPhiladelphia (Photo: DesignPhiladelphia)

Philadelphia OutFest

Taking over Philadelphia’s ‘Gayborhood’, OutFest celebrates the city’s LGBTQ+ history and community with parties, drag shows, games, bar crawls, music and shopping. The main stage hosts live entertainment all day long, with high-heel races, belly dance shows and award ceremonies among the quirky performances on display. Food and drink stations, entertainment areas and designated activity zones are also scattered throughout the festival.

LOCATION 12/13th & Locust Street Station DATES 11 October 2020

Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend

One of America’s most historic races, the Philadelphia marathon course winds through the city’s historic attractions and scenic outdoor spaces, passing along the streets that line the Delaware River before eventually arriving near the leafy pathways of the Fairmount Water Works. Spectators can cheer on the runners from various viewing spots along the route, with live music on offer at several.

LOCATION Across Philadelphia DATES 20-22 November 2020

A costumed runner at the Philadelphia Marathon (Photo: Chris Waits via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

Ring in the New Year twice during the New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront, with breath-taking fireworks shows along the Delaware River at both 6pm and midnight. Get yourself a front-row view by pitching up at a variety of vantage points, including the Blue Cross RiverRink WinterFest or Penn’s Landing, then kick back and enjoy the magic.

LOCATION Delaware River Waterfront DATES 31 December 2020