Top Things to Do in Philadelphia in May 2023
South Street Fest, Disney100: The Exhibition, New Hope Celebrates PrideFest and more...
Break out the shorts and sunscreen: It may not be summer officially , but May in Philadelphia is a month packed with all sorts of warm-weather fun and summer-y things to do.
Philly’s street festival season kicks off in May with some of the city’s largest outdoor celebrations of the year, including
South Street Fest
South 9th Street Italian Market Festival
in South Philly, Center City’s
Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival
and the ever-so-quirky (and muddy)
Kensington Derby & Arts Festival.
Enjoy weekly alfresco dining during Dining Under the Stars in Media, crack open a cold beer or two at the 2023 Ardmore Outdoor Beer Fest and enjoy some of nature’s sweet treats during Strawberry Month at Peddler’s Village.
The stage is set for big-time Philly performances in May as Taylor Swift hits Lincoln Financial Field for three huge stadium shows and a Broadway production of BEETLEJUICE begins a darkly fun run at the Academy of Music.
And Disney100: The Exhibition lifts the curtain on 100 years of Disney whimsey at The Franklin Institute, offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest movies and moments in the history of the House of Mouse.
You’re doing awesome things in Philadelphia. Why shouldn’t you be rewarded? Check out our Philly Rewards program to learn how to earn great prizes just for exploring the City of Brotherly Love.
Check out our guide to the best events coming to Philadelphia this May.
Featuring both virtual and IRL events, Philly Tech Week celebrates all-things technology and innovation within the Greater Philadelphia region. Events on the docket include the Diversitech Expo at Rivers Casino Philadelphia and the Freshwave Teen Tech + Music Festival at the University City Science Center, along with other networking events, coding and gaming sessions, and, of course, parties.
May 3 – September 27, 2023 (Wednesdays only)
Alfresco dining is in style all summer long in Media as two-dozen restaurants participate in the town’s annual Dining Under the Stars event . Every Wednesday, State Street closes to car traffic from Jackson Street to Orange Street so that pedestrians can enjoy peaceful evenings of outdoor dining, drinking and shopping. This year, keep an eye out for local favorites such as Fellini Café Trattoria, Rye BYOB and Azie Asian Fusion.
Forget everything you know about ballet. Considered “ among America’s best ” by The New York Times , Philly’s premiere ballet company keeps audiences (and dancers) on their toes with modern, ever-evolving choreography. For the spring series, look forward to performances by choreographers Amy Hall Garner, Justin Peck and Trey McIntyre, plus plenty of pre-show festivities. Pack a lunch and spread out on the grass — picnics are welcome!
Philly’s own Dave Hause (The Loved Ones, The Falcon) assembles the rock and roll homecoming weekend he’s always wanted — and you’re invited. On the grounds of Manayunk’s Venice Island Performing Arts Center, the Sing Us Home outdoor music festival offers a robust music lineup including Kathleen Edwards, Drive-By Truckers, Lydia Loveless, and, of course, Dave’s own band The Mermaid. Parking is very limited, but the venue is along several bus routes and close to the Manayunk-Norristown Regional Rail station. (Maybe even grab yourself a brew along the way .)
The Brewerytown, Sharswood and Fairmount communities come together to host this annual outdoor festival . The free-to-attend family event features over 90 vendors and service-providers, food from Brewerytown restaurants, games, live local bands and even a kids zone with bounce houses.
South Street’s grandest block party ushers in the height of springtime when revelers take part in alfresco family fun, food and music, spanning Headhouse Square and along South Street. The event typically includes a giant Maypole, a few dozen musical performances, eating contests, a kids’ zone, vendors and Maifest, Brauhaus Schmitz’s German-beer-and-dancing extravaganza. Stay tuned to the South Street Headhouse District’s site for more info on this year’s event.
Where: South Street
Back in action after a mini-festival last year, the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival highlights the neighborhood’s reputation as a food and culture hotspot. Dozens of booths line Walnut Street (closed to vehicular traffic!), offering art, beauty, fashion, family fun, food, culinary demonstrations, and beer and cocktail samplings.
The centuries-old tradition of people making things and selling them on cobblestone streets continues with the Elfreth’s Alley Makers Market . Twice a year, this historic (and absolutely charming) national landmark invites artists, craftspeople and vendors of all kinds to peddle a variety of handmade goods and wares. Curious about their spring lineup? Keep an eye on social media for hints.
Where: Elfreth's Alley
Imagine taking in the sights and sounds of lush green woods as you stroll along the Delaware River. Now imagine that scene with beer . Treat your tastebuds to samples of more than 100 brews from dozens of local, regional and national breweries. Top off the experience with food vendors, a souvenir tasting glass and live music à la bagpipe rock. Proceeds go toward supporting the park’s educational and historic programming.
Move over raspberries and blueberries — it’s all about the strawbs this May at Peddler’s Village . Strawberry Month kicks off on May 6 and 7 with a free-to-attend celebration offering strawberry treats galore, live entertainment and family activities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. And each day in May, village restaurants join in the festivities with strawberry-themed food and drink specials.
There’s no better place for a home and garden event than Philly’s Garden District . Home design, garden décor, and hand-crafted furniture and accessory vendors — 150 in all — line Germantown Avenue for this annual daylong festival , creating an outdoor marketplace full of vintage goods, terrariums, garden art and much more. In between shopping, enjoy the live music or plant yourself at one of Chestnut Hill’s many eateries.
There’s nothing quite like sipping from a frothy mug to the tune of triumphant goats and brassy German Oompah music. Sly Fox’s annual Bock Fest & Goat Race is back this year with endless cold beer, food (think German brats, pretzels, cheesesteaks and pizza) and a Jumbotron with live coverage of the action-packed goat race. On tap are year-round favorites along with seasonal brews, like the Ryezenbock and Instigator Dopplebock. And after the race concludes and the G.O.A.T. is crowned, Sly Fox ’s Maibock (literally “May goat”) beer is tapped and ceremoniously named after the four-legged champion. Part of the day’s proceeds benefit Pottstown PAL and the Brandywine Valley SPCA.
The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Because she’s at Lincoln Financial Field this May. Described by Taylor as “a journey through all of my musical eras of my career,” the Taylor Swift Eras Tour marks the iconic musician’s first tour in nearly five years.
People fill the streets of Kensington and Fishtown to enjoy not only racing sculpture and art, but also live music and great food. The derby portion of the day celebrates human-powered transit as fanciful mobile sculptures parade along a three-mile urban obstacle course.
Located across the street from Ardmore Music Hall, the 2023 Ardmore Outdoor Beer Fest returns with a day of drinks, live music and local food vendors. Come thirsty because, with over 50 craft brews available to try, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Snag a limited VIP package and top off your experience with early event access, exclusive specialty brews, complimentary Liquid Death mountain water, a food voucher and more.
Who had “Met Gala” on their gay bingo card? Enjoy a night of wild entertainment, win fabulous prizes and make a difference during this monthly drag event , featuring energetic performances and new themes every month. Bonus: GayBINGO raises money to support people living with HIV.
Ah, the humble peony. This symbol of happiness, prosperity and fortune has decorated weddings, parties and gardens for centuries. But did you know that there are over 30 species and hundreds of varieties of this fragrant flower? For more floral fun than you can shake a stem at, head to the 5th Annual Festival of the Peony and frolic through peony fields of deep maroon, pastel pink, cloud white and more. (Cameras welcome, dogs not-so-much.)
Drawing more 15,000 people annually, the New Hope Celebrates PrideFest event welcomes visitors from New Hope and neighboring Lambertville (and beyond) for an LGBTQ tradition. The festival features a 700-participant-strong parade — beginning in Lambertville, crossing over the bridge and culminating in New Hope — a Pride fair, a cocktail contest and plenty of other parties.
Where: New Hope
The first-ever HBCU Festival celebrates the rich culture of Historically Black Colleges and Universities while offering a full day jam-packed with free events. Marching bands, special guest speakers, food trucks, family activities, music classes, panel discussions, a drumline battle and an HBCU college fair are just some of the many festivities on deck. Note that entry is first-come, first-served so have your ticket ready in advance.
Dust off your fanciest hat for Malvern’s 92nd annual Radnor Hunt Races . Each year, crowds gather for a day of community tailgating, elegant antique carriages and exciting thoroughbred horse racing. Funds benefit the Brandywine Conservatory’s open space and clean water programs.
Music, food trucks and craft brews? Say less. Roxborough pulls out all the stops for this springtime street festival featuring over 50 artists and crafters, food trucks from local shops, boozy and non-boozy beverage stands, kid-friendly activities and a main stage with jams by Philly-area performers.
This popular beer and music street festival returns to North American Street (tucked in between 2nd and 3rd Streets in Kensington) for its 17th year with mini-golf, live music, pay-as-you-go vendors, and some of the city’s tastiest local beer, cider, cocktails and wine. Tickets also get you a limited-edition tasting glass, access to the vendor marketplace and unlimited (yes, unlimited) drink samples. See you there.
Famous for its delectable cuisine, the South 9th Street Italian Market puts on a boisterous weekend of food and culture , including the very-Philly greased-pole-climbing contest. The real spotlight here though is on the food: homemade sausages, delicious cannoli, imported meats and cheeses, cappuccino, beef and poultry, and fresh pasta.
This free-to-attend indoor-outdoor art festival takes over Fairmount Ave to showcase a wide range of local artists and performers. Restaurants, shops, bars and other businesses host vendors, including painters, printmakers, photographers, sculptors and other media-makers, and kids can look forward to activities like crafts, face painting and sidewalk chalk.
Dozens of food and shopping vendors populate the bustling NoLibs corridor of North 2nd Street (closed to vehicular traffic) for an evening of eating, shopping, performances and all-around revelry.
The country’s oldest and largest event of its kind features equestrian disciplines, exhibitions and an old-fashioned country fair at the Devon Show Grounds.
Summer Twilight takes the historic tours, exhibits and art installations that the Eastern State Penitentiary is known for, and mixes in hands-on activities, monthly themes and new events. Cool off with drinks at the Fair Chance Beer Garden on the penitentiary’s baseball diamond, offering craft brews from Triple Bottom Brewing Co.
Every year, Paddle Penn’s Landing makes a splash with boat rentals and aquatic fun for the whole family. New this year: On select Saturdays in June and July, Paddle Penn’s Landing stays open late and boats glow bright for nighttime Starlit Paddles. If you’re not floating on the Delaware in an animal-themed paddle boat, what are you doing?
Where: Penn's Landing Basin
Film fans can find works by established and emerging Latino filmmakers at the annual Philadelphia Latino Film Festival . The lineup typically includes feature films, shorts, animations, web series and documentaries, along with workshops and discussions. Stay tuned to the festival website for scheduling details.
It’s showtime! Based on Tim Burton’s cult classic film, BEETLEJUICE follows the darkly humorous story of a ghost couple trying to haunt the strange inhabitants of their former home — of course, not without the help of a certain stripes-loving demon. Equal parts funny, heartwarming and indecent, “the ghost with the most” puts on a performance that’ll knock you dead. (Just don’t say his name three times.)
Lace up! This spring, the Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink at Dilworth Park paints the town rainbow with colorful springtime skate sessions. Vibrant overhead art and the checkerboard rink floor bring good times and retro vibes. For more fun, chow down at the Dilworth Park Café, fuel up at the Air Grille pop-up beer garden or hop your way through the Dilworth Park dancing fountain . Advance reservations for hour-long skating sessions are strongly recommended and discounted Matinee Skate sessions are offered Mondays and Tuesdays.
Through Sunday, August 27, 2023
The House of Mouse celebrates a century of dazzling audiences with a brand-new exhibition, making its world premiere in Philadelphia. Disney100: The Exhibition opens the vaults for behind-the-scenes glimpses into the creation of the company’s most popular characters, films, shows and attractions, offering 10 themed galleries with interactive installations covering everything from Snow White to Star Wars . Pro tip: Score complimentary tix to the exhibition (plus free hotel parking!) when you book the Visit Philly Overnight Package for stays through August 20, 2023.
Through Thursday, September 28, 2023 (select dates)
’Tis the season for bedlam at the Bank . With the addition of speedy slugger Trea Turner to an already stacked lineup, the Phils are sure to be a hot ticket all summer long as they look to make another deep run in the postseason. Notable May matchups include games against:
- Boston Red Sox (May 5-7, 2023)
- Toronto Blue Jays (May 9 & 10, 2023)
- Chicago Cubs (May 19-21, 2023)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (May 22-24, 2023)
Through Saturday, October 7, 2023
Doop! Following an unforgettable run to the 2022 MLS Cup, a refocused Union squad embarks on
another quest for glory
in front of their raucous supporters at Subaru Park. Some May matchups to keep an eye on include home matches against:
- D.C. United (May 17, 2023)
- New England Revolution (May 20, 2023)
- FC Charlotte (May 31, 2023)
Through Sunday, November 26, 2023
This exhibition charts the life of James Forten, a free man of African descent who fought in the war for American independence in 1781, then returned to Philadelphia to become a successful businessman, philanthropist and stalwart abolitionist. Chronicle Forten’s life and follow his family’s 100-year story from the American Revolution through the lead up to the Civil War and women’s suffrage movement.