The hater’s guide to fall in Philly

Because apple-picking is the worst.

Pumpkins on the SSHP 'boardwalk'

Pumpkins on the SSHP 'boardwalk'

Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn
anna

Apple-picking sucks. So does playing around in a pumpkin patch. Hayrides are the worst. And haunted houses are kind of a ripoff.

I don’t mean to hate on fall. Big fan of sweaters right here! Spiked apple cider is a delicious way to get whiskey-drunk. And Halloween might be the greatest of all the meaningless holidays. But can we all agree that fall activities are generally terrible?

Hear me out.

Maybe my York County roots are showing here, but paying to pick my own produce out of a field is generally unappealing and seems like a fantastic scam created by a brilliant farmer somewhere who just didn’t feel like getting the apples out of his or her own field one year. Seriously, the honeycrisp apples at Acme are really good right now, just go buy them there. Screw picking shit. And screw sitting in a bed of animal feed being pulled by a loud, smelly tractor! And screw paying to be scared.

There are approximately one million better ways to spend your fall in Philadelphia, according to me. I am convinced that I am not the only person in Philly who wants to sip a PSL and wear a flannel in a place that isn’t scary or dirty. Here are some ideas for other things to do this fall (that won’t require you drive to New Jersey to pick fruit):

Hike the Wissahickon

The varied terrains along Wissahickon Creek, located on the edge of Center City, challenges hikers of all levels.

The varied terrains along Wissahickon Creek, located on the edge of Center City, challenges hikers of all levels.

Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC

The Wissahickon Valley Park is located in Northwest Philadelphia, and is one of my favorites hikes around. Bring a dog, a friend or a few beers (the last one is probably not technically allowed but whatever, forgiveness over permission is usually how I tackle that one) and walk through the 50 miles of trails in and around the gorge. And with the leaves turning? It’ll be *chef’s kiss.*

Check out the new Museum of the American Revolution

Scenes from the grand opening of the Museum of the American Revolution

Scenes from the grand opening of the Museum of the American Revolution

Ed Newton / Billy Penn

Haven’t been yet? Philadelphia’s new Museum of the American Revolution is a can’t-miss (and surprisingly woke) experience that received high marks from even national critics. There are a whole bunch of events coming up, and an adult ticket to just see the museum — we recommend booking online ahead of time — is $19. But here’s a tip: The museum has special ~after hours~ prices. That means that the third Tuesday of every month, you can pay just $10 for admission if you go between 5 and 8 p.m. Score.

Go to one of the zillion events and festivals

The Midtown Village Fall Festival is a highlight of Philadelphia’s busy fall festival season.

The Midtown Village Fall Festival is a highlight of Philadelphia’s busy fall festival season.

Photo J. Fusco for GPTMC

There are dozens of both indoor and outdoor events and festivals throughout the city through November, and our friends at Visit Philly have come up with a pretty comprehensive list. Here are five highlights:

  • Midtown Village Fall Festival: This Saturday in Washington Square West, you can enjoy food, drinks and other outdoor fun all along 13th Street.
  • AIDS Walk/ Run: Join thousands of participants on Oct. 15 in the 5K walk or run that raises money to provide emergency financial assistance to people living with HIV and organizations that provide HIV/AIDS services.
  • The Philadelphia Film Festival: From Oct. 19 to 29, join 35,000 others as the Philadelphia Film Society hosts critically acclaimed short films, feature-length films and animated movies.
  • The Harry Potter Festival: The weekend of Oct. 20 and 21, make your way to Chestnut Hill for the Harry Potter-themed festival that attracts wizard-lovers from across the country. There will even be a Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament.
  • Philly Free Streets: On Oct. 28, there will be no cars allowed on seven miles of roads from North Philly to Old City. Grab your bike or just your walking shoes and enjoy Philly’s streets — traffic-free.

Take a free tour of the foliage

Independence Hall in autumn

Independence Hall in autumn

Photo by M. Edlow for VISIT PHIL

While the Wissahickon is truly dope, you don’t need to drive all the way out there to see some great foliage if that’s your thing. There are plenty of other places in walking or public transit distance to enjoy a brisk walk in the fall, and thankfully Curbed Philly has GOT YOU here. They put together this handy dandy map that shows the best places to see fall foliage in Philly, all the way from the Morris Arboretum to Pennypack Park in the Northeast to the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum in Southwest. Bless you, Curbed.

Eat fall food at Morgan’s Pier

morganspierfall2017-creditdanyahenninger-04

Donuts, pizzas and bloomin' onions will be on the Fall Fest menu at Morgan's Pier.

Danya Henninger

Yes, I am recommending you go to Morgan’s Pier. The place you either know as a beer garden with a nice deck or a rowdy party on the river will be open well into the fall this year with a delicious menu that’s chock full of autumnal offerings. Chefs-in-residence Michael Griffiths and Kevin D’Egidio of Helm restaurants will be serving their new Fall Fest menu through Oct. 28, and it features dishes like bratwurst flatbread, a fried chicken sandwich, apple cider donuts and a PERSONAL SIZE BLOOMIN’ ONION.

Celebrate LGBT History Month

Crosswalks in the Gayborhood

Crosswalks in the Gayborhood

Bobby Chen/Billy Penn

October is LGBT History Month, which means there will be a whole bunch of events. In addition to the Annual AIDS Walk/Run that we mentioned earlier, there will also be an “Out and Equal Workplace Summit” that’s taking place next week at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, as well as an event with the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus at the Loews hotel tomorrow night. Here are a whole bunch of other ideas for how to explore LGBT Philadelphia, including events, dining and more.

Go to the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site in Philadelphia

The Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site in Philadelphia

Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC

If you’re just DYING for some scary shit, then at least go somewhere to learn a li’l something. I recommend the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Northern Liberties(ish), a totally under-appreciated attraction here in Philly. While Baltimore gets all the Poe cred, the writer did live in Philly for like a year! And you can tour the three-story home where he lived. Spooky.

Take a food tour of a new neighborhood

McMenamin's Tavern in Mt. Airy

McMenamin's Tavern in Mt. Airy

Danya Henninger

While fall activities are decidedly the worst, fall food might actually be the best. That’s why I recommend making like our Culture Editor Danya Henninger and taking a food tour of a neighborhood you haven’t spent much time in before. Maybe you’ll take after her and trek around Mt. Airy to experience the neighborhood’s diversity and great restaurants. Maybe you’ll walk around West Philly for some of the best ethnic foods in the city. Or maybe you’ll head to Port Richmond for some downright delicious Polish cuisine.

Drink on a roof while you still can

The view from Bok Bar

The view from Bok Bar

Anna Orso

There are very few weekends left when you’ll be able to bear the temperature on a rooftop, but there are a whole bunch of great elevated spaces to drink on in this city. It’s hard to beat the view from Bok Bar in South Philly, but there are more than a dozen other rooftops to drink on throughout the city. Make sure you check ‘em all out before that snow starts falling. (And if you’re against heights, here are the grounded beer gardens you can hit up. You’re welcome.)