The 13 Best fall activities in Philadelphia

August 8, 2022

Sipping cider by Independence Hall, gazing at fall foliage in Fairmount Park, or cozying up to creatures at the Philadelphia Zoo. Fall in Philadelphia is simply irresistible!

Follow along to discover the best things to do in Philadelphia in the fall.

From imbibing ale at authentic German beer gardens to marveling at Matisse and Jasper Johns at the art museum, the Cradle of Liberty is overflowing with autumnal allure.

Cover buckets of Revolutionary History, awe-inspiring architecture, and autumn festivals when you visit Philly this fall.

Cast a spell with Harry Potter, sneak a peek at the Liberty Bell, or hang out with everyone's favorite yellow Big Bird.

Ready to welcome in the fall season? The City of Brotherly Love is waiting with open arms.

Philadelphia Hotels

Uncover unique art experiences, wander through Rittenhouse Square, or sample the most succulent cheesesteaks. The Quaker City is always an inspiring escape, but come autumn, this east coast metropolis stuns. Take in the sparkling Delaware river framed by vermillion, orange, and gold leaves, or appreciate the enchantment of seasonal light shows.

Make the most of Philadelphia in the fall when you reserve first-class accommodations. Our Philadelphia hotels provide comfort, class, and convenience. Rest your head just minutes from the famous Reading Terminal Market. Or, stroll by City Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Liberty Bell Center with ease.

interior room of La Reserve Bed & Breakfast hotel room in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USAFall Things To Do in Philadelphia

Go Philadelphia All-Inclusive Pass

Craving some flexibility with your Cradle of Liberty plans? Squeeze out even more fall festivities from Philly when you reserve your Go Philadelphia All-Inclusive Pass. Choose from a 1-5 day pass and kick off your exploring. Your handy pass grants you access to over 30 of the city's premier attractions.

Related Post: Upcoming Philadelphia Events and Festivals

Scope out the Philadelphia Museum of Art, tour Betsy Ross' house, or experience underwater excitement at the Adventure Aquarium. Embrace the spooky season with a ghost tour, or wander through the creepy Eastern State Penitentiary.

There's absolutely no limit to the number of attractions you can visit each day. For example, you can have breakfast with the birds of prey at the Philadelphia Zoo and lunch at Longwood Gardens. 

The front of the historic Betsy Ross house in the daylight with a flag flying on the front of it in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

photo credit: Betsy Ross House via Facebook

Go Philadelphia Explorer Pass

Got your Philadelphia bucket list locked and loaded? The Philadelphia Multi-Attraction Explorer Pass is the way for travelers with specific tastes. Select a 3, 4, 5, or 7-choice explorer pass and dive into the most storied sights and landmarks of the Quaker City.

Go brick crazy at LEGOLAND Discovery Center, or appreciate the city's mural art scene. Adults will adore the mystery and thrill of an after-dark tour, while budding scientists will flip over a visit to the Franklin Institute. Hop on and off a barreling tour bus or swoon over sculptures at the Rodin Museum.

Feel like the thriftiest traveler in Philly when you save up to 40% on normal ticketed attraction prices. 

entrance to legoland discovery center with people browsing merchandise for sale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

photo credit: Hyatt Place Philadelphia/King of Prussia via Facebook

City Sightseeing Philadelphia

Old City, Independence Hall, and Elfreth's Alley, oh my! Make your mark on the City of Brotherly Love when you enjoy a riveting City Sightseeing Philadelphia tour. Whether you are angling for a 48 Hour Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour or a historic Franklin Footsteps Founding Fathers & Mothers walking tour, City Sightseeing delivers. Jump headfirst into the City of Firsts as you immerse yourself in Philly's food, culture, and rich legacy.

Take the city in stride as you hop on /off at your leisure. Tackle over 100 sites and 16 miles of Philadelphia as you scout out the Bourse Building in the Independence National Historical Park, or pay your respects at Ben Franklin's grave. Observe the dazzling view from the One Liberty Observation Deck, or get up close to the country's most famous crack.

Don't forget to wind down your day of revolutionary history, art, and architecture with a serene drive along the banks of the Delaware River.

Close up shot looking up at the Liberty BellSesame Place

Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird cordially invite you to the friendliest place in Philly! So learn your ABCs and catch some thrills when you hightail it to Sesame Place. Conveniently located outside of Philadelphia, this kid-friendly oasis features 16 rides, three live shows, and mountains of Grover and Grouch-induced fun.

Related Post: 12 Things to Do in Philadelphia for Kids That are Fun for Adults Too

Fly high with an Elmo Fish, or conquer the turns and drops of Oscar's Wacky Wooden Taxi Coaster. Fuel up on a Big Burger doused in honey BBQ sauce at Big Bird's restaurant, or settle in for a lively Neighborhood Street Party Parade.

Relish plenty of silly, not too spooky fun when you time your visit to coincide with the Count's Halloween Spooktacular, from mid-September through early November. Tiny tots will go crazy for trick or treating, Halloween-themed shows, and interactive Scarecrow Scavenger Hunt.

Close up of Elmo and the Cookie Monster walking with kids on Sesame Street plus Big Bird and Zoey in the background with more kids and families at Sesame Place San Diego in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: Sesame Place via Facebook

Jasper Johns Mind Mirror at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

While the Philadelphia Museum of Art more than earns its place on any Philadelphia itinerary, this fall, it garners even more artistic excitement. Jasper Johns Mind Mirror is currently on display through mid-February 2023. This critically acclaimed show features an unprecedented array of the artist's most celebrated paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints.

With a career spanning seventy years, Jasper's impact on Abstract Expressionism is unparalleled. Most known for his iconic images of the American Flag, Jasper Johns work explores color, contradiction, and cognition. Mind Mirror is an arresting retrospective that supplies a unique insight into one of the most influential artists of our time.

Shot of a hallway with white walls and a blue ceiling with several pieces of abstract art hanging in it at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

photo credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art via Facebook

Matisse, in the 1930s, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Painter, printmaker, and sculptor. Today Matisse is recognized worldwide for his startling use of color and block style. However, by 1930 this internationally acclaimed artist was in the throws of a creative slump. Matisse in the 1930s at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, explores this pivotal decade in Matisse's career.

Related Post: 23 of the Top Free Things to Do in Philadelphia

From mid-October through the end of January 2023, museum visitors can immerse themselves in the works of Matisse across multiple formats. From decorative paintings, sculptures, and drawings, this exhibit will dive into the changes that reinvigorated his work. Gaze upon 'Woman in Blue' and contemplate the mythologies, themes, and depictions of the female form that defined his style. 

photo credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art via Facebook

Light: Installations by Bruce Munro

Illuminate your fall when you witness the majesty and magic of a Bruce Munro production. Bruce Munro is returning to Longwood Gardens this fall as an international artist synonymous with spellbinding large-scale light shows and installations. Prime yourself for a night of fairytale-like wonder as you stroll through gardens lush with blooms and alive with music.

As day turns to dusk, enter an enchanted world complete with eight light installations featuring 18,000 glowing bulbs. Gaze upon the multicolored Field of Lake by the Large and Small Lake, or relish the flamboyance of 1,000 shining flamingoes. Light will be available for exploration every Thursday–Sunday evening now through October 30, 2022. 

Chrysanthemum Festival

Behold fall's most stunning flower at Longwood Gardens this October. Bulbous and bright, in shades of ruby red, orange, and yellow, Chrysanthemum takes center stage at this annual event. The Chrysanthemum Festival commences at the beginning of October and runs through mid-November.

Related Post: One Day in Philadelphia: How to Make the Most of 24 Hours

Capture the beauty of this flower in all its forms as you wander through displays and the picture-perfect Meadows Garden. Don't forget to take in the other tantalizing fall vistas at the Webb Farmhouse and galleries or gander at the family-friendly Garden Railway.

photo credit: Philadelphia Marriott Downtown via Facebook

Downington Fall Fest

Autumn flavors, ice cold beer, and football. What could be better than a local family-friendly Fall Fest? Prime yourself for an afternoon of mouth-watering eats, local crafts, and delicious Victory Beer when you attend the Downingtown Fall Fest. For 12 years, this event has entertained locals and visitors alike with live music, artisanal goods, and a bustling beer garden.

This year Fall Fest will take place in September and promises to entice thousands of attendees into Downingtown. Sample succulent offerings from Holy Smoked Meats, or chow down on Kettle Korn. Even Eagles fans will be appeased, as the festival plans to reprise their live stream of the game. 

photo credit: Downingtown Fall Fest via Facebook

OctoberFeast at Peddler's Village

Want to watch the city of Philadelphia embrace its German heritage? Whisk yourself away for some Oktoberfest-inspired fun when you head to Bucks County this fall. The annual OctoberFeast at Peddler's Village is a two-day event featuring plenty of beer, food, and live entertainment.

Related Post: Philadelphia Historic Sites: The Ultimate Visitor's Guide

Beginning mid-October, grab your lederhosen and prepare to get down with the Philadelphia German Brass Band. Try your hand at a german folk dance, sip plenty of ale from your own custom stein, or sample the many food truck offerings. Tiny kinder will have a thrill checking out the towering scarecrows on display as part of the 43rd Annual Scarecrows in the Village competition. 

photo credit: Peddler's Village via Facebook

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Accio! Grab that wand and perfect your summoning charm this fall. Find your way to the Franklin Institute in Center City, now through mid-September 18th, 2022, and reunite with Harry and your Hogwarts House. Don't miss out on this magical opportunity to tour the groundbreaking Harry Potter™: The Exhibition.

A completely immersive experience that utilizes cutting-edge design and technology, this exhibit will transport you beyond the screen into your favorite moments, locations, and scenes from the hit film series. Get up close looks at original movie props, costumes, and more.

Attempt to mix a perfect potion, get your hands dirty in Herbology, or practice your Quidditch skills. Have that camera ready, as you'll want to take advantage of the bevy of enchanted photo ops sprinkled throughout the exhibit. 

photo credit: Harry Potter: The Exhibition via Facebook

Philadelphia Fall Arts Fest

Looking high and low for some free entertainment in the City of Brotherly Love? Swing by the Kimmel Center on September 17, 2022, for a diverse array of live music, engaging activities, and local arts organizations. The Philadelphia Fall Arts Fest is an awesome way to reconnect with the arts this autumn. Dive into the programming for the upcoming season, and show some support for their world-renowned Resident Companies. 

6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade

Lucky enough to visit the Cradle of Liberty over Thanksgiving Day weekend (November 24-28th, 2022)? Participate in a true Philadelphia tradition when you attend the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country. The 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place on November 24 and promises to delight guests young and old.

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Feast your eyes on massive floats, local performers, dance groups, marching bands, and more. Glimpse at giant Bugs Bunny, Tweety, and Peppa Pig as they make their way down Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Finally, usher in the happiest season of the year with a finale from Santa himself. 

photo credit: Philadelphia's 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade via Facebook

Piping hot cups of cocoa, sampling traditional Dutch fare at Reading Terminal Market and running up the Rocky steps. The Quaker City truly hits its stride come autumn. Fall activities in Philadelphia run the gamut from eerie tours of Eastern State Penitentiary to blooming Chrysanthemum Festivals at Longwood Gardens. 

Entertain little ones with millions of bricks at LEGOLAND Discovery Center or fawn over giant scarecrows at Downingtown. Engage in an aquatic adventure at the Aquarium, or uncover Revolutionary History with your GO Philadelphia pass.

Discover light shows, wizards, authentic beer gardens, and more when you visit Philly this fall!

Tell us, What's Your Favorite Thing About Philadelphia in The Fall?

Did we miss any of the best Philadelphia fall activities? 

Leave us a comment below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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