15 fun things to do in Philly this weekend

Get ready for Autumn Wonderland at Morgan's Pier this weekend. | Provided


The Swallowing Dark
Oct. 4 through Oct. 11, various times
The Drake
302 S. Hicks St.

Lizzie Nunnery’s “The Swallowing Dark” is a look at the bureaucratic immigration system of the United Kingdom, as a family of Zimbabwe refugees undergo interrogation and deal with the “leave to remain” residency policy. The play is described as poetic and, of course, particularly relevant.

1812 Productions: Buyer and Cellar
Oct. 5, 8 p.m.
Plays & Players Theatre
1714 Delancey St.

Cheeky and delightful, this comedy starring Dito Van Reigersberg—best known as Martha Graham Cracker by night—evokes mirthful laughter in this story about an underemployed actor who finds himself doing a job in the basement of Barbra Streisand. Things get even wackier when she wanders downstairs to bond.

2.5 Minute Ride
Oct. 6, 8 p.m.
Theatre Horizon
401 DeKalb St.
Pay what you decide

Running with a “Women Who Dare” theme for its new season, “2.5 Minute Ride,” written by Lisa Kron, tells the story of a queer Jewish woman who very suddenly takes a deep dive into the story of her father’s Holocaust survival when she finds out he’s dying. The opening night only is pay what you decide.


23rd Street Armory Oktoberfest
Oct. 6 through Oct. 8, various times
23rd Street Armory
22 S. 23rd St.

The 16,000-square-foot armory undergoes a transformation for the weekend as part of this three-day Oktoberfest with traditional German foods from Chef Jeremy Nolen, beer from Hofbrauhaus and a performance from headlining act and Grammy nominee Alex Meixner. General admission grants access, a glass liter mug and the first beer free.

Mad Rex Grand Opening Party
Oct. 6, 5 p.m.
Mad Rex
1000 Frankford Ave.
Pay as you go

The totally over-the-top, post-apocalyptic-themed Mad Rex opens its doors in a big way, with the “VREX” virtual reality lounge, hula-hoopers and a performance from a firebreather. Oh—and drinks and dinner.

Annual Russian Festival
Oct. 6 through Oct. 8, 11 a.m.
Saint Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Church
335 Fairmount Ave.
Pay as you go

A showcase of Russian culture, the Saint Michael parish organizes this collection of Russian folk music, dance, foods, teas and crafts—truly, Russian tradition encapsulated in one event. Be sure to stick around for a performance from the Kovriga Balalaika Orchestra, known for its inclusion of a three-stringed wooden guitar.

BRU Fall Festival
Oct. 7, 12 p.m.
1300 Chestnut St.
Pay as you go

Headed by BRU Craft & Wurst and U-Bahn, this eight-hour festival features 38 standard and seasonal beers—see: Victory’s Black Forest Cake Stout–a stage with a rotation of musical acts and a menu of pulled pork, pretzels and other turn-of-the-season indulgences. DJ Reed Street spins beats for a dance party in the final two hours of the event.

Old City Fest
Oct. 8, 11 a.m.
Third and Arch streets
Pay as you go

A family-friendly festival in a sea of Oktoberfests, Old City Fest presents a runway fashion show, pop-up street performances, live music, crafting and plenty of vendors for shopping—more than 100. Presented by Old City District, this is a representation of the best the neighborhood has to offer in the arts, design and retail.

Adult Trick or Treat
Through Oct. 29, various times
Chaddsford Winery
632 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford

The suburban winery pitches up five “Wine and Treat Pairing Stations” for costumed adults to explore, munch and imbibe in. It’s not all wine, though: Station Three offers spiced wafers with mini cremes, paired with Lancaster Brewing Company’s Baked Pumpkin Ale.

Autumn Wonderland
Through Oct. 28
Morgan’s Pier
221 N. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
Pay as you go

Defined mostly by activities like pumpkin carving and seasonal specials like an apple-spiced toddy, the riverfront bar’s wonderland—with heat lamp fixtures, for those wondering—is only open after 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the month of October. Live acoustic sets are planned for Sunday afternoons.


Oct. 5, 9 p.m.
Johnny Brenda’s
1201 Frankford Ave.

The Minneapolis band, a combination of a vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist and drummer, recorded their self-titled first album in Philadelphia. Now, the synthy band, which tends to put instrumentals front and center with a variety of midtempos, locally tours their second LP, As Far as Gardens Go.

Barnes Ensemble
Oct. 8, 7 p.m.
The Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Inspired by The Barnes Foundation’s own approach to thoughtfully presenting art, the Barnes Ensemble debuts a curation of 21st-century sounds with the JACK Quartet. The performance is the focal point of a nine-day festival that introduces 20 fellows chosen to play chamber concerts, attend workshops and participate in master classes.


A Tale of Two Sister Cities
Through Oct. 20
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine St.

Tianjin, China, and Philadelphia have been sister cities for the better part of four decades. Taking a closer look at the connections between the two, the Free Library exhibits 60 original images that explore the cultural threads between the two—in culture, design and humanity.

Oct. 6, 7 p.m.
The Rotunda at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
118 N. Broad St.

Mural Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts jointly celebrate Monument Lab, the public sculpture project that’s brought socially engaged works to 10 sites around the city. The event includes food, drink, painting with artist Steve Powers and beats spun by Questlove.


Bird and Windows Lecture
Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m.
Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Professor of Ornithology and Conservation Biology Daniel Klem, Jr., addresses the oft-ignored conservation struggle to protect birds in an environment filled with windows and walls. Klem teases out 40 years of progress in studying the issue while also explaining his own work and what people can do to help.

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