As the warm weather slowly slides in, so does the festival season here in Philadelphia. From celebrations of food to science to jazz and more, April holds a heavy lineup of outdoor entertainment. Plus, athletes and fans from across the world will convene this month for the Penn Relays, one of the largest track and field events in the U.S.
It's time to break out of hibernation and enjoy some fresh air with the following major events unfolding through the next few weeks.
Bask in the beauty of spring and celebrate both traditional and contemporary Japan at Philadelphia's Cherry Blossom Festival. The weeklong event features martial arts sessions, drum and dance performances, sushi-making classes, and more, culminating on the final day with Sakura Sunday, the main feature of the festival. Held outside of the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, Sakura Sunday brings a day full of alfresco performances, ranging from a fashion show to a pet parade to an anime and cosplay showcase. Bring a picnic, and settle in for a taste of arts and culture beneath the area's (hopefully blooming) cherry blossoms.
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia: April 7-15, locations and prices vary per event, 267-348-0250, subarucherryblossom.org
Sakura Sunday: April 15, Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park, 100 N Horticultural Drive, $12-$15, 267-348-0250, subarucherryblossom.org
Manayunk's Main Street turns into food-truck central during the neighborhood's annual spring food festival. More than 70 vendors are participating this year, serving up cannolis, cupcakes, tacos, waffles, BBQ, ice cream, biscuits, dumplings, and other delightful eats. Live musical performances will take place across three separate stages, and a small selection of crafting vendors will set up shop, too. The festival is the start to two more weeks of foodie fun in Manayunk, which hosts a spring restaurant week(s) in the days that follow, April 16-27.
April 15, Main St. from Shurs Lane to Green Lane, pay-as-you-go, 215-482-9565, manayunk.com
Science-based entertainment sweeps the city during the nine-day Philadelphia Science Festival, bringing more than 80 events to venues across the area. Curated by the Franklin Institute in collaboration with hundreds of the region's premier science, cultural, and educational establishments, the festival's lineup features everything from a Science of Distilling night to a Future of Food discussion to stargazing parties at 20-plus locations. On the festival's final day, a Science Carnival takes over Benjamin Franklin Parkway to create a gigantic, and free, celebration full of games, live science experiments, and other entertainment.
Philadelphia Science Festival: April 20-28, locations vary per event, prices vary per event but many are free, 215-448-1200, fi.edu
Science Carnival: April 28, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 222 North 20th St., Free, 215-448-1200, fi.edu
Take your mark, get set, go! As many as 100,000 fans will flock to the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field to watch track sprints, milelong races, pole vaulting, javelin throws, and more at the 124th annual Penn Relays. The meet attracts some of the top high school and collegiate track and field athletes from around the world, as well as post-collegiate competitors aspiring toward Olympic dreams. Head out for an afternoon of cheering or opt for the three-day ticketing package, allowing you to catch every part of the action.
April 26-28, Franklin Field, 235 S. 33rd Street, $21-$124, 215-898-6145, thepennrelays.com
It's not often that you can spend $20 and see 20 bands play live. Yet, the annual Center City Jazz Festival, part of Philadelphia Jazz Appreciation Month, enables you to do just that. The lineup of artists will play at Franky Bradley's, Chris' Jazz Cafe, Fergie's Pub, Milkboy Philadelphia, and TIME Restaurant, all Center City venues within walking distance of one another. Go from venue to venue and enjoy an entire, six-hour afternoon of soulful tunes.