As spring arrives, the region’s events calendar ratchets up, enticing you out of winter hibernation.
Catch early blooms at Longwood Gardens’ Orchid Extravaganza and the Flower Power-themed Philadelphia Flower Show. Eat and drink the day away during the Italian Market Festival and Philly Beer Week. Or dive into spring cleaning before sprucing up your house with finds from the Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show.
This year, the city will spend two weeks celebrating the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birthday (May 31). But don’t forget annual festival favorites, like New Hope Celebrates PrideFest, South Street Spring Festival, and the 9th Street Italian Market Festival.
Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza (through March 24, Longwood Gardens). Each year, thousands of orchids shower the gardens’ conservatory, cascading from walls, planters, and even the ceiling. New this year are six 8-foot-tall wood panels filled with vibrant monochromatic displays of climbing flowers. On select dates (Feb. 9, March 14 and 22), the heated conservatory hosts musical performances. (610-388-1000, longwoodgardens.org)
Philadelphia Flower Show (March 2-10, Convention Center). This year’s edition of the world’s oldest and largest indoor horticulture event is all about “Flower Power,” a nod to ‘60s/‘70s culture as well as the impact of flowers on everyday life. Pay particular attention to the Entrance Garden, featuring displays from the Interflora World Cup, a prestigious competition that pits florists from 23 countries against each other in design challenges (which Flower Show audiences can watch March 2 and 3). (215-988-8800, theflowershow.com)
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (April 6-14, various locations). A celebration of both beautiful cherry blossoms and Japanese culture, this nine-day festival spreads across the city with music, art, food, events, and more. It culminates in a massive “Sakura Sunday” festival at Fairmount Park (April 14), featuring live taiko drumming, a pet parade, cosplay, a fashion show, and Japanese eats of all sorts. (215-878-5097, japanphilly.org)
Philadelphia Science Festival (April 26 - May 4, various locations). Science experiments take to the streets at the free keystone event — Science Carnival on the Parkway — of this Franklin Institute-curated festival, which draws thousands of visitors. To build up to the main event on May 4, stargazing parties, science-centric food and drink events, and kid-friendly programs will take place in nature centers, parks, engineering labs, bars, and more all over the Delaware Valley. (215-448-1200, fi.edu/psf)
Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show (April 26-28, Navy Yard). Whether you’re searching for an art nouveau couch or some antique porcelain, you’ll find plenty to peruse at this annual showcase, bringing 60 of the nation’s top antiques dealers and fine art curators together in one spot. (philadelphiaantiquesandartshow.com)
South Street Spring Festival (May 4, South Street at Front Street and nearby). Hundreds of local vendors and thousands of visitors fill South Street and the surrounding area at this all-ages celebration. Activities beyond shopping and eating include live music, a kids’ zone, and the annual German Maifest party — featuring dancing, a beer tent, and a Maypole — held outside of Brauhaus Schmitz. (215-413-3713, southstreet.com)
Broad Street Run (May 5, Broad and Fisher Streets to the Navy Yard). Registration opens Feb. 1 for the annual 10-mile run down the city’s main drag. Drinks, snacks, and entertainment await runners at the finish line, while spectators can enjoy the bands, cheerleaders, and drill teams that are encouraged to rally around the race route. (broadstreetrun.com)
New Hope Celebrates PrideFest (May 18 and 19, New Hope and Lambertville, N.J.). Watch as colorful floats, costumed performers, decked-out drag queens, and a 100-foot-long pride flag cross the bridge from Lambertville, N.J., to New Hope. While the lively parade marks the signature celebration of the PrideFest, a fair and a cocktail contest add to the fun. (newhopecelebrates.com)
9th Street Italian Market Festival (May 18 and 19, South 9th Street). Chow down on cannoli, fresh pasta, homemade meatballs, and more at this annual two-day fest, which fills the Italian Market’s already-crowded sidewalks with even more vendors. As you eat your way through the nation’s oldest continuously operating outdoor market, look forward to the famous grease pole contest, the half ball tournament, and other festival traditions. (215-278-2903, italianmarketfestival.com)
Devon Horse Show (May 23-June 2, 23 Dorset Rd., Devon). Watch show jumping, delight in fudge at the Country Fair, take a ride on the Ferris wheel, and more at this family-friendly equestrian event. (610-964-0550, devonhorseshow.net)
Walt Whitman Bicentennial (May 24-June 9, locations vary). May 31 marks what would have been the 200th birthday of America’s “poet of democracy,” a free-spirited cultural icon who spent his last two decades residing across the Delaware River — over his namesake bridge — in Camden. Events and exhibits will celebrate the occasion all year long, but the highlights will take place in the weeks surrounding Whitman’s actual birthday. Catch Patti Smith and her daughter performing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (May 30), a Whitman reading and cake cutting at City Hall (May 31), and more. (whitmanat200.org)