The Great Outdoors
Your guide to all outdoor entertainment for the months ahead
by Theodora Malison

There’s nothing quite like summer in the Greater Philadelphia Area. It seems there’s something special—or several somethings—going on every weekend, including an overfull lineup of events held outside. Here are some of our favorites scheduled for the upcoming months.  

On June 17 and 18, the 2016 Ambler Arts and Music Festival will offer two days of live music, more than 70 exhibitors of art and handcrafted items, and culinary delights prepared by local restaurateurs.

If the idea of enjoying a nice night of alfresco dining sounds appealing, then check out Dining Under the Stars. From May 4 to September 28, experience the joys of alfresco dining on the closed-off streets of downtown Media.

Philadelphia’s historic and eerily beautiful Laurel Hill Cemetery hosts special events through the summer, from concerts to live theater. Upcoming: “Music for the Hearing Eye: Concert atop the Crypts,” presented by the Divine Hand Ensemble, on June 4; and “Shakespeare in the Cemetery: Richard III,” on July 15, 16, 22 and 23.

On May 21, New Hope’s annual NHC Pride Parade will add a more than fitting exclamation point to a weeklong festival celebrating equality and diversity. The parade will offer colorful bands, floats and specialty troupes, among other surprises. 

Head to Eakins Oval on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway on July 15, when the space known as “The Oval” makes its official return. The Oval will feature interactive games, special events (live music, movie nights, workshops, etc.) and a rotating lineup of food trucks … and, for those who wish to partake, a beer garden. The Oval will remain open through Aug. 21.

Artists and their art will line the streets of Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood on June 25 and 26 for the 2016 Manayunk Arts Festival. Keep an eye out for festival-related specials and sales offered by local restaurants, boutiques and specialty markets.

With its floating gardens, fountains and more than 50 vibrantly colored hammocks, not to mention a boardwalk arcade, lawn games and offerings of craft beers and food from local restaurateurs, Spruce Street Harbor Park is a place like no other. This temporary space along the Delaware River Waterfront will open on May 6 and will stay open through summer’s end. 

Blobfest 2016, held July 8 to 10 at the historic Colonial Theatre in downtown Phoenixville, will offer three days of horror masterpieces—including “The Blob,” of course—as well as a street fair. On the first night of the festival, participate in “The Run Out,” a recreation of the famous scene from the festival’s namesake film in which moviegoers flee the theater—the very theater in which the original scene was shot—to escape the oozing red monster.

Alfresco dining destinations abound in both city and suburbs. The Moshulu’s outdoor bar and deck (open for the season as of Memorial Day) offers tough-to-beat views of the skyline and the waterfront.

Photograph by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia