The Best Spring Philly Street Fairs
Stop traffic, and head to our favorite spots to celebrate, eat, and play all season long.
Break out your calendars, everyone, because we have entered peak street fair season. Every weekend that it’s nice out, it seems some major Philly thoroughfare is shut down to traffic and full of people living it up in the sunshine. But how to choose? Which ones are best for families? Will there be a taco truck? Almost definitely. Will there be music? Of course! Will there be robots? Sometimes!
Before we get started, just a word of advice: if you’re bringing kids, a lot of these fairs get more crowded as the day goes on, so coming early is the way to go. Also, double-wide strollers are just roadblocks for tipsy selfie-takers to trip over, so exercise some judgment, OK?
Let’s get started!
April 28, 10 am — 4 pm
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
The Philadelphia Science Festival ends with a free day of family-friendly entertainment, live performances, experiments, demonstrations, and so much more by more than 150 partners filling the Parkway. There are activities for all ages, including some specifically for kids. For little ones, there’s a special Tot Lot by PNC Grow Up Great, with live music from the Lara and Joe Show and storytimes where each science-themed book will come to life with additional opportunities for hands-on exploration.
Practically every university, hospital, research facility, and cultural institution you can imagine from the Philadelphia area will be in attendance, asking important scientific questions ranging from “What does DNA look like?” to “What do safe, sustainable streets look like?” to “How do sumo-fighting robots control themselves?” There is truly something for everyone. Also, foodtrucks galore, because it’s not a carnival without plenty of good eats.
April 28, noon — 4 pm
Fairmount Avenue (from 17th Street to 25th Street)
This free art festival features more than 40 exhibits in a wide range of media. Philly Art Center (2501 Olive St.) will once again set up their Kids Art-Making Fest with hands-on art stations, a baby zone, music, and face painting. Kids can also participate in craft-making activities near the bulldog statue at 25th and Fairmount. There will be live performances — both of music and art creation — throughout the festival as well.
April 29, 11 am — 5 pm
East Passyunk Avenue
East Passyunk Avenue will bring out its best with five blocks of street food, seasonal sips, craft beer, live music, sidewalk sales, and free family fun. Over two dozen of the region’s best restaurants will be offering pay-as-you-go small plates specially priced between $3-$6, so you can try a little of everything. In addition, there will be live bands and entertainment throughout the festival, and over 80 of the region’s top makers and crafters will also line the streets.
The street fair will offer free family friendly activities, including a kids’ art and activity zone (at the Singing Fountain) by Lume, a typewriter station at Dickinson, kids’ moon bounce and giant inflatable slide at the East Passyunk Gateway, crafts with Frame Fatale, and outdoor games for kids and adults of all ages. Additionally, boutiques and businesses along the avenue will host more activities and family fun inside their spaces. We’re especially excited to play Stikball at Tildie’s Toy Box!
May 5, 11 am — 8 pm
South Street (between Front and 8th), and along Headhouse Plaza (between South and Lombard)
A giant, all-ages outdoor block party takes over South Street with over 30 restaurants serving outside, live music all day, and artists selling their creations. Outside of Atomic City Comics, look for free giveaways and superhero sightings, celebrating Free Comic Book Day! There will also be the South Street Family Zone with fun games and play areas for little ones.
In conjunction with the festival, Brauhaus Schmitz will host its 6th annual Maifest, with German beers, dancers, music, food, flower headbands, and even a Maypole.
May 19, noon — 5 pm
Walnut Street, from Broad Street to 19th Street
Live music, shopping, and plenty of delicious food and drinks fill Walnut Street all afternoon. There are so many Stephen Starr restaurants, they get their own block in the festival! Cannoli are filled to order at Termini Bros! There are also lots of fun activities and photo ops. We love this particular festival because you can basically walk down the street curating your own little fleet of paper boats filled with goodies and end up in the park for a picnic!
May 19, noon — 6 pm
Trenton Avenue (from Norris to Hagert)
The centerpiece of this festival is the “derby” portion, where teams drive their human-powered parade floats through a three-mile obstacle course that includes challenges like a mud pit! Prizes are awarded for categories like Best Costume and Best Engineering. The festival also features over 200 local arts vendors, food trucks, and live performances.
May 19—20, 11 am — 6 pm
South Ninth Street
This festival is just too big to limit itself to one day, so it goes all weekend, offering every Italian delicacy possible, art vendors, live entertainment, a family fun zone, and more. There’s even a Grease Pole Climbing Competition so you can gear up for the Eagles’ next Super Bowl win!
June 9, 11 am — 7 pm
Broad Street, from City Hall to South Street
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts culminates in a fantastic street fair that shuts down the Avenue of the Arts with dozens of innovative performances throughout the day, food vendors, and even rides (including a giant Ferris wheel) right on Broad Street!
Lead photograph courtesy of East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.