This post lists some of the best things to do in Philadelphia in May including free events, things to do at night and family-friendly activities, updated for 2020.
For more ideas, take a look at our Things to Do in Philadelphia post.
TOP 13 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN MAY
This section covers our top activities list for May.
For even more ideas on popular tourist activities, be sure to check out our popular posts:
Keep in mind that some of the attractions below are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
1. Go to a Concert
Philadelphia is home to multiple great music and event venues. This means there will be several great artists and bands here this May.
- Goose | May 1
- KT Tunstall | May 5
- Mika | May 6
- Alec Benjamin | May 9
- Joan Shelley | May 10
- The Darkness | May 12
- Fetty Wap | May 14
- Asking Alexandria | May 24
- Indigenous | May 24
You can find all the concerts in the city here.
2. Go to a Game!
Spend an evening cheering on one of Philadelphia’s pro sports teams.
May is a great time to catch the Stanley Cup Playoffs - if the Flyers make it - or some regular-season baseball!
You can find all the professional sporting events in Philadelphia here.
3. Enjoy the Theatre
There are several great theatrical productions running in Philadelphia. You can find all of them here.
The Bodyguard brings the events from the Whitney Houston movie to the stage, including the famous song, I Will Always Love You.
- Dates: May 12 - 31, 2020
- Find The Bodyguard tickets here.
Waitress is a now-beloved new musical about a struggling waitress who pours her emotions into baking pies at the diner where she works.
- Dates: May 12 - 17, 2020
- Find Waitress tickets here.
Dear Evan Hansen took Broadway and the Tony Awards by storm. It tells the story of a teenager with social anxiety who accidentally sets off an unforeseen chain of events.
- Dates: April 7 – May 3, 2020
- Find Dear Evan Hansen tickets here.
4. Taste Some Italian
Discover the nation’s oldest continually operating outdoor market at the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival on May 16 & 17, 2020.
This annual block party is all about food. Wander through the many vendors and local businesses for homemade sausages, fresh pasta, imported meats and cheeses, and more!
While the focus is food, there are plenty of events in which to participate. There will be a greased-pole climbing contest, face painting, and an interactive dance exhibition.
NOTE: If you can't make it to this festival but still want to try some of the best food in Philly, there is a delicious Secret Food Tour!
5. Take a Sightseeing Tour
May's sunshine and warm days make it the perfect time to take a walking tour.
Your guide will take you through the cradle of American Democracy entertaining you and revealing hidden secrets, fun trivia, and light-hearted anecdotes.
You should also look into the different bus tours of Philadelphia for hop-on-hop-off and guided bus tour options as a complement to our walking tours and take the chance to see all the neighborhoods of Philly.
6. Save Up to 50% Off with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
Visitors who are working with a budget should think about getting a Philadelphia tourist pass. These services provide heavy discounts at some of the most popular attractions in the city.
Here are a few of the sites you can visit with various discount passes:
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
- Adventure Aquarium
- Longwood Gardens
- National Liberty Museum
- National Constitution Center
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Franklin Institute Science Museum
- Academy of Natural Science
- Museum of the American Revolution
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center
These are just a few of the activities you can enjoy.
If you plan to visit even a few of these attractions, you could easily end up saving a lot of money over general admission prices.
7. The Philadelphia Children’s Festival
The annual Philadelphia Children’s Festival is a wonderful way to immerse your whole family in the arts. In 2020, it takes place from May 7-9.
There is free fun at PlazaMania where there will be interactive, hands hands-on activities. See the event schedule and information here.
Also during the festival, you can see several different performances, though these are tickets events. Story Pirates, Magic Shadows, Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus, The Queen's Cartoonists, and others.
8. Philly Tango Fest
The annual Philly Tango Fest takes place from May 22-25, 2020. The festival brings teachers from around the world to showcase and teach.
You can listen to live music, watch the performances or participate yourself and learn from the best.
9. Race Along Philadelphia’s Historic Broad Street
On May 3, 2020, nearly 40,000 runners will gather for the annual Blue Cross Broad City Run, the country’s largest, fastest, and most popular 10-mile race.
The race begins in the northern edge of the city and takes participants through the historical parts of Philadelphia, ending at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
If you’re not a runner, there are plenty of places along the route to spectate and cheer. The 10-mile run takes place strictly down Broad Street so stand anywhere along this road to cheer on the runners!
10. Commemorate Memorial Day
Philly is an excellent place to spend Memorial Day. There are several free events to check out!
The Museum of the American Revolution pays tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in the Revolutionary War.
Special flag ceremonies will be running at the National Constitution Center all weekend.
Laurel Hill Cemetery will also host a recreation of the first Decoration Day (the predecessor to Memorial Day).
Keep an eye out for festivities in whichever neighborhood you're exploring!
11. Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival
From May 1-July 5, 2020, you can see the annual Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in Franklin Square.
The square will be lit with hand-crafted lanterns strung with thousands of LED lights.
This festival celebrates Chinese lantern artisans in the Philly area and is expected to bring in 90,000 visitors from all around the world.
After seeing the lanterns, be sure to visit the Dragon Beer Garden. It is open nightly during the festival and offers a variety of drinks and food for the whole family.
12. Peddler’s Village Annual Strawberry Festival
From May 16-17, 2020, enjoy two days of sweet treats in the Peddler’s Village Annual Strawberry Festival.
Treat yourself to locally grown berries, jams, pastries, and more.
Come for the strawberries and stay for the craft show, live entertainment, and kids’ activities. Admission and parking are free, and the event takes place rain or shine.
13. Rittenhouse Row
On May 9, 2020, from noon t0 5 pm, join the festivities at Rittenhouse Row during their spring festival.
Walnut Street explodes with live music as you peruse the outdoor shopping, attend fashion events and sample food from celebrated restaurants.
National and local retailers will be waiting for you, so get ready to revamp your spring wardrobe.
- Where to Store Your Luggage
- Tourist Attraction Discount Passes
- Philadelphia Walking Tours
- Philadelphia Bus Tours