18 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in September in Philadelphia

A miniature world of trains, dancing fountains and a night for a musical legend

September in Philadelphia kicks off with a slew of events you don’t want to miss. Live music? Check. Boundary-pushing theater? Check. Kid-friendly fests and shows? Yup. Here’s what we’re looking forward to in September.

‘Garden Railway’

Through Sept. 2

The University of Pennsylvania’s miniature world has model trains and cable cars moving through seven loops and tunnels across a quarter
of a mile of tracks. This year’s exhibit takes on lighthouses, with replicated structures including ones from Cape Hatteras in North Carolina to Philly’s own Turtle Rock on Boathouse Row. Morris Arboretum, 215.247.5777

‘Garden Railway’

Fringe Festival

Sept. 5-22

Philly’s FringeArts once again hosts its wide-ranging showcase of more than 1,000 boundary-breaking theatrical productions, sure to leave audiences talking. Various locations, 215.413.1318


Kennett Square Mushroom Festival

Sept. 7-8

The “mushroom capital of the world” in Chester County toasts the fungi with a parade and dancing in the streets. www.mushroomfestival.org

Kennett Square Mushroom Festival

‘Making Astronauts’

Through Sept. 8

Artifacts reveal the Naval Air Development Center’s role in the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. Mercer Museum, 215.345.0210

Bobby Lee

Sept. 12-14

The standup and comedic actor has audiences laughing during this special appearance. Helium Comedy Club, 888.643.8669

Meek Mill & Future

Sept. 13

Philly’s Meek Mill shares the spotlight with fellow rapper Future on their “Legendary Nights” tour. BB&T Pavilion, 800.745.3000

Meek Mill

Welcoming Week

Sept. 14-24

Events around town engage immigrant communities for Hispanic Heritage Month. www.phila.gov/spotlight/welcoming-week-2018

Center City 
Restaurant Week

Sept. 15-27

Eateries in the happening zone offer tastes at a discount. Reserve online www.centercityphila.org/explore-center-city/ccd-restaurant-week

Constitution Day

Sept. 17

Dramatic readings, crafts and birthday cake celebrate this important founding document. National Constitution Center, 215.409.6700

Shawn Colvin

Sept. 17

The singer-songwriter marks the 30th anniversary of her debut album, “Steady On” with an acoustic show. World Cafe Live, 215.222.1400

Shawn Colvin

Festival O19

Sept. 18-29

Opera Philadelphia puts their unique spin on four operas and a classical concert. Various locations, www.operaphila.org

‘Terror Behind the Walls’

Sept. 20-Nov. 9

The historic prison puts on one of the country’s best fright nights. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, 215.236.3300

Eastern State Penitentiary


Sept. 21

Leafy Manayunk welcomes fall with live music, family-friendly activities and shopping along the main street. www.manayunk.com/events/harvest-festival.html

‘One Night with Janis Joplin’

Sept. 24

In this rockin’ show, audiences go back in time to hear one of the greatest women vocalists of all time wail on classics like “Piece of My Heart,” “Me and Bobby McGee” and more. Merriam Theater, 215.893.1999

‘One Night with Janis Joplin’


Sept. 28

Beer, music and food help raise needed funds for community organizations. Washington Avenue, from Broad to 17th streets, www.bloktoberfest.info


‘Sugar Skull!’

Sept. 28

A candy skeleton shows a young girl the true meaning of the Day of the Dead. Annenberg Center, 215.898.3900

‘Sugar Skull’

Festival of Fountains

Through Sept. 29

Fireworks and dancing fountains kick off fall among lush foliage. Longwood Gardens, 610.388.1000

Creatures of Habitat

Through Sept. 30

A dozen vignettes made of Lego bricks illustrate the lives of animals and the issues they face. Philadelphia Zoo, 215.243.1100

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