Flower-filled events fittingly usher in the season, like Longwood’s orchid spectacle, the Riviera-themed Flower Show, and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Fairmount Park. As springtime progresses, save room in your calendar for other blockbuster events, including the South Street Spring Festival, Ninth Street Italian Market Festival, and Odunde.
All draw thousands of people together to relish the warmer weather while enjoying food, drinks, and outdoor entertainment. And if you plan on running the popular Broad Street Run this year, be sure to make arrangements now. Registration for the lottery opened Feb. 1and closes Feb. 14.
Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza (through March 22, Longwood Gardens). Step into a rainbow of color during the annual orchid takeover of Longwood Gardens’ conservatory. As always, the greenhouse will be filled with thousands of beautiful orchids, this year spanning a wider color palette than ever before. Flower enthusiasts can look out for vibrant purple-colored Vanda, salmon-hued Phalaenopsis, golden Oncidium, and more, some of which will be hanging as part of elevated displays. On select dates, the heated conservatory hosts musical performances, too. (610-388-1000, longwoodgardens.org)
Philadelphia Flower Show (Feb. 29-March 8, Pennsylvania Convention Center). This year’s show is designed to take visitors on a journey to the Mediterranean Riviera, giving a glimpse of the sights, smells, and tastes of the horticulturally rich region. Aromatic swaths of lavender, fruit-producing citrus trees, and a variety of other Mediterranean plants will turn the Convention Center into a lush landscape. The show draws designers from all over the world, this year welcoming five newcomers, including two from southern France. (215-988-8800, theflowershow.com)
Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia (April 4, 5, and 11, various locations). Paying homage to both cherry blossoms and Japanese culture, the centerpiece of this spring festival has expanded from a one-day event to an all-weekend celebration. Come out to Fairmount Park for two days (April 4 and 5) of Japanese eats and performances, including taiko drumming, martial arts, and a fashion show. The following Saturday (April 11) brings the return of the Cherry Blossom 5K and 10K races (215-878-5097, japanphilly.org)
Philadelphia Science Festival (April 16-25, various locations). Science Carnival on the Parkway returns on April 25, drawing thousands of visitors to the Ben Franklin Parkway for live science experiments, games, and plenty of hands-on, kid-friendly activities. Leading up to the giant science street festival, the Franklin Institute has curated nine days of other interactive events at venues region-wide. Look forward to stargazing parties, science-centric food and drinks, tours through nature centers and engineering labs, and more. (215-448-1200, fi.edu/psf)
Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show (April 24-26, Navy Yard). Drawing together 60 of the nation’s top antiques dealers and fine art curators, this annual showcase, now calling itself the Philadelphia Show, includes everything from 18th-century furnishings to vintage American toys to estate jewelry to Victorian-era paintings. (thephiladelphiashow.com)
South Street Spring Festival (May 2, South Street at Front Street and nearby). Nearly 200 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 3, Broad and Fisher Streets to the Navy Yard). The lottery for this popular 10-mile run opened Feb. 1 (through Feb. 14). If you land a spot, look forward to a packed crowd — including bands, choirs, and cheerleading squads — cheering you on as you speed your way down one of Philly’s most famous (and slightly downhill-sloped) streets. (broadstreetrun.com)
New Hope Celebrates Pride Parade and Fair (May 16, 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 is the signature celebration of the PrideFest, a fair and and other outdoor entertainment add to the fun. (newhopecelebrates.com)
Ninth Street Italian Market Festival (May 16 and 17, South Ninth Street). Already a mecca of delicious eats, the Italian Market swims with street-side food vendors for two days straight at this annual fest. As you eat your way down 9th Street, don’t miss the greased pole contest at the intersection of Montrose Street, where challengers scramble their way up Crisco-covered poles. Other festival traditions: the half-ball tournament, procession of the saints, and drinks served in fresh pineapples. (215-278-2903, italianmarketfestival.com)
Devon Horse Show (May 21-31, Dorset Road, Devon). Both the oldest and largest outdoor multibreed horse competition in the country, this Main Line tradition brings plenty of equestrian competitions to watch. Also part of the fun: a Country Fair with funnel cakes and fudge, rides including a Ferris wheel and carousel, and a crowd-pleasing dog show. (610-964-0550, devonhorseshow.net)
Philly Beer Week (May 29-June 8, various locations). This hop-heavy celebration brings sudsy events citywide, including beer-paired dinners, brewmaster-led discussions, and barrel-aged showcases. Don’t miss the mega Opening Tap kickoff party. (phillylovesbeer.org)
Philly Pride Parade and Festival (June 13, Starts at 13th and Locust Street). Part of National Gay Pride Month, this annual parade brings a fleet of colorful floats and an equally colorful crowd to the heart of Philly’s Gayborhood. Follow along as it travels east toward Old City and enjoy live performances along the way. The route ends at Penn’s Landing, where a giant outdoor festival awaits. (215-875-9288, phillygaypride.org)
Odunde Festival (June 14, 23rd and South Streets, and surrounding area). You can hear Odunde’s festivities and smell the alluring street food from blocks away as thousands fill the Graduate Hospital neighborhood for the country’s largest African American street festival. Look for vendors selling African, Brazilian, Caribbean, and soul food, as well as clothing, crafts, and more. Music and entertainment keep crowds moving all day long. (215-732-8510, odundefestival.org)