For the first time since 2019, the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is back. Beginning June 21, the 200-foot-long dragon will welcome visitors to Franklin Square. Crowd favorites like the bamboo forest and wisteria tunnel will return. But this year, the lanterns are new and there will be more than 30 giant displays, including an interactive kaleidoscope selfie spot.
Looking to attend this celebration of light and culture? Here’s what to expect:
The 2022 Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival will illuminate Franklin Square (at Sixth and Race Streets) from June 21 to Aug. 7. You can visit any day of the week between 6 to 11 p.m., and it’s open rain or shine.
You can see the lanterns for free during the daytime. Tickets are required after 6 p.m., and all kids under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult.
You can buy a limited number of tickets on-site, but it’s recommended to purchase them in advance. You can get them online at the Historic Philadelphia website: historicphiladelphia.org.
You can reschedule timed tickets with at least 24 hours notice.
Children (3-12): $12. Kids under 2 are free.
Youth (13-17), seniors (65+), and active military with I.D.: $18
You can stay as long as you want, but once you leave, there is no reentry.
Friday and Saturday tickets:
The weekend is the festival’s busiest time, so timed tickets are required. Each ticket gives you an hour to enjoy the festival.
Children (3-12): $12. Kids under 2 are free.
Youth (13-17), seniors (65+), and active military with I.D.: $21
Activities and installations
After a pandemic hiatus, the 2022 Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is back in full force with lights, performances, sculptures, and more:
Lanterns: The lanterns are new this year, and most of them were brought from China for the festival. They are handmade of silk, with over 20,000LED lights. This year, there are 32 installations, including arches, corridors, a temple, and mythological animals, such as the 200-foot-long dragon (longer than three school buses). Four installations, like the kaleidoscope displays, are interactive and you can change the light colors for pictures.
Entertainment: Each night, there are three 30-minute performances, free with admission. The entertainers are from China, including Ran Pei, Kuo Jiang, and Osmani, and will perform between 6:30 and 10:15 p.m. Performances include the ancient Chinese dramatic art called face-changing, where artists change their masks quicker than the blink of an eye, elaborate tricks with a circus prop derived from a Chinese yo-yo called a diabolo, rolling and juggling porcelain bowls with their feet, ballet and classical folk dances, and an acrobatic performance called cube art.
Activities: With your festival ticket, you will be able to pay less for some of the park attractions. You can play mini golf ($10) and hop on the carousel ($2.50) at a discounted price, use the park playgrounds, or be part of the festival scavenger hunt to win free tickets.
Food and drink
If you are hungry during the show, the festival has three restaurants for you to grab a bite:
Sang Kee: Located near the Wisteria Corridor, you can find small plates, combo platters, and beverages. If you want to try Dan Dan noodles, steamed meat dumplings, General Tso’s chicken, or pineapple smoothies, this is the place.
Oishii: Located in the Dragon Beer Garden, Oishii serves full plates (vegetarian options included) and desserts, including Korean meatballs, veggie kebabs, fried ice cream, and funnel cakes.
SquareBurger: If you are looking for burgers, hot dogs, cheesesteaks, grilled cheese, kids combos, or ice cream and treats, SquareBurger has it.
For folks over 21, the Dragon Beer Garden has cocktails, mocktails, wine, and beer. It’s operated by Cescaphe and closes at 10 p.m. You can get imported beers, bourbon lemonade, a pink lady, a green tea cocktail, and more for $8 to $12.
Both the Broad Street and the Market Frankford subway lines will get you close to the festival. If you take the Market Frankford line, exit at Fifth Street Station, and walk about 7 minutes. For a shorter walk, take the Broad Street Line to Chinatown, and walk for 4 minutes. SEPTA bus Routes 17, 33, and 48 can also get you there.
You can find parking nearby at PPA Auto Park in Independence Mall or at the National Constitution Center.
Where does the money go?
A portion of the proceeds goes to the nonprofit Historic Philadelphia, which operates Franklin Square, for maintenance and funding free events for the community.