Philadelphia events take you outside to celebrate spring. (Photo: Purestock / Alamy)
From the banks of Schuylkill River to historic Italian Market, Philadelphia welcomes spring with gusto and events that get locals out and about in the City of Brotherly Love. To see the springtime rituals of Philadelphians, explore these festive must-dos.
Row the River
Load your picnic basket and head to Fairmount Park for a day at the races when you attend the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, held in early May. Find a shady spot along the Schuylkill, and settle in with a cheesesteak as college rowing teams slice through the water. If you aren’t a rowing fan, bring your camera to capture Philly scenes like the downtown skyline rising beyond arched stone bridges.
With more than 125 colleges in the race, you might spot your alma mater’s colors. As you stroll through the crowd, look for alumni tents, where you can swap memories with other grads while you cheer your team to victory. Or climb the Grand Stand tiers for prime finish-line views.
Want to mingle with athletes? You can often find them at Rowers Village near the launch site. Chat as they snack or relax between heats. If you’re inspired to take up rowing (and you have room in your suitcase!), stock up on your own gear from on-site merchants.
Taste Italy in Philly
Sample Philadelphia’s international flavor at the Italian Market Festival, usually held in mid-May. Food vendors flood the street with cuisine from around the world, tantalizing with Italian antipasto or Spanish paella. For a souvenir as delicious as the festival, we recommend Cardenas Oil and Vinegar Tap Room. Choose from an international selection of oils, like garlic cilantro or pomegranatethat will add savor and season to your cooking for months.
If religious traditions intrigue you, visit the market Sunday morning for Procession of the Saints. White-clad children and members of the local parish parade through the streets, pushing carts with statues of saints. Follow festive sounds of a marching band to the stage at 9th and Washington, where a priest leads the annual Blessing of the Market.
Wield the Hammer of Hops
Philly Beer Week launches in striking style with day-long Hammer of Glory Relay. A large mallet, branded with the festival logo, travels to 20 locations by creative conveyances from pogo stick to zipline.
You can join the procession on foot, stopping for a pint at each bar. Or you can observe in style from a free double-decker bus provided by Sugar House Casino for the express purpose of trailing the hammer around town. The journey culminates at the Opening Tap ceremony, where a dignitary wields the hammer to open the inaugural keg.
Lift a glass to the historic moment, and make sure you also sample the week’s signature brew. As one of the most popular springtime events in Philly, it’s wise to purchase your tickets in advance, especially if you want early VIP admission.
The Philadelphia festival continues for another nine days with events catering to every taste. If you’re looking for beverages that complement your food, tickle your palate with beer-pairing dinners.
Brewery tours and pub crawls give you more chances to test Philadelphia’s finest flavors. If you want to home-brew your own libations, you can attend demonstrations to learn how. Just consider it an enduring perk of visiting Philly in springtime.