20 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend

The first-ever Philly Cheesesteak Festival, Halloween in Manayunk, Please Touch Museum's Monster Mash and more.

Our top picks for things to do in Philly this, which, thanks to its proximity to October 31st is punctuated with Halloween-centric events, like Caitlin McCormack’s exhibition of crocheted skeletons and an early Halloween in Manayunk. Not ready to get in the spooky spirit? Chomp down on a local delicacy at the first-annual Cheesesteak Festival. All that and lots more detailed below.

“Mnemosyne” by Caitlin McCormack

"Aequalis Web" by Caitlin McCormack

“Aequalis Web” by Caitlin McCormack

Starting this Friday, Philadelphia-based artist Caitlin McCormack examines the reconstruction of memory and its fragility in an exhibition of her spindling crocheted skeletons and bones that bring to mind a trip through the Mütter Museum. The work is incredibly intricate and organic, not to mention super timely for this spookiest of seasons. Through December 12th, various times, free, Paradigm Gallery + Studio. 

The Madness of Poe

Mechanical Theatre’s latest production, The Madness of Poe, recreates the tales of the legendary horror writer through the inmates of an asylum. Each tries to outdo the other with stories of their strange, mad experiences. Through October 31st, 7 pm, $20, Historic Strawberry Mansion.

Urban Bush Women

This weekend, the Urban Bush Women dance troupe blends modern dance and music with the cultures and stories of the African diaspora, to rethink the body of the woman of color. Penn professor and former troupe member Deborah Thomas and Community Education Center Executive Director Terry Shockley will also hold a talk before the final show. Through Saturday, October 24th, various times, $20-$50, Zellerbach Theatre. 

Horror Movie Double Feature: Frankenhooker and Alpha Girls

New Jersey-born actress Patty Mullen as Frankenhooker.

New Jersey-born actress Patty Mullen as Frankenhooker.

Get in the holiday mood with some weird cult horror flicks. In Alpha Girls, Alpha Beta sorority girls get more than they bargained for when they discover that their elite sisterhood is surrounded by evil. Frankenhooker is exactly what it sounds like: A woman reconstructed from the body of prostitutes begins to lust for more than her mad-scientist boyfriend. The new American Exorcist trailer will also premiere after the feature. Friday, October 23rd, 8 pm, $10, PhilaMOCA.

The Handmaid’s Tale

In this one-woman show, Margaret Atwood’s novel comes to the stage through Philly actress Isa St. Clair. In this dystopian story, a Christian theocracy overthrows the U.S. government, and Offred must become a handmaid to boost population growth. Through November 14th, 8 pm, $15-$25, Calvary Center for Culture and Community.

Manayunk Vintage Flea Market

Visit Main Street’s hub of shops and boutiques for the vintage flea market. Vendors will be selling antique furniture, jewelry, pottery, collectibles, and even food. Saturday, October 24th, 8 am, pay as you go, 4200 block of Main Street, between Rector to Pensdale avenues.

SportsZone at Franklin Institute

Kid testing out the Calorie Counter at SportsZone

Kid testing out the Calorie Counter at SportsZone

Franklin Institute welcomes its latest permanent exhibition, SportsZone, that explores the science of athleticism and the human body, while—in typical, hands-on Franklin Institute fashion–letting you put your own skills to the test. At the opening day celebration, the first 500 visitors will get free museum admission. There will be games, giveaways and meet-and-greets with local mascots. Saturday, October 24th, 9:30 am, $15.95-$19.95, Franklin Institute.

Philly Cheesesteak Festival 

The Cheesesteak. For better for worse, it put us on the map, and this weekend, for the first time ever, there will be a whole festival to celebrate its gloriousness. There will be cheesesteak samplers, cook-offs, eating contests, games and vendors, and even a Go Pro cheesesteak cam. Saturday, October 24th, 11 am, $20-$60, Lincoln Financial Field.

Halloween in Manayunk

Kick off Halloween bright and early with the kiddies this Saturday in scenic Manayunk. Children can participate in a costume parade — and so can their furry best friend. More traditional activities like straw mazes, pumpkin painting and carving contests, and arts and crafts can be enjoyed by the family. There will also be Halloween movie night for both kids and adults. Saturday, October 24th, 11 am, various locations.

Olde Time Italian Festival

This Italian culture fest was delayed because of weather, but things will be back on track this weekend at the Wildwoods. There will be good food, crafts, games and live performances. Grape-smashing and spaghetti-eating contests will be held — maybe it will remind you of the old country. Saturday, October 24th, 11 am, free, Fox Park, NJ.

Stephen Bruce Meet and Greet

California artist Stephen Bruce will be meeting with gallery visitors after the debut of his 2015 acid painting collection, inspired by his fascination with nature and metallurgy. His work has been featured on many TV shows and movie sets, like House and The Avengers. Saturday, October 24th, 4 pm, free, Bazemore Gallery

Crystal Healing Workshop

Photo by Rachel Robles

Photo by Rachel Robles

If you’re fascinated by minerals and intrigued by the potential healing powers of crystals, this two-hour workshop is for you. In the class, jewelry-maker and crystal-enthusiast Rachel Robles will shine some light on their wellness and energy capabilities, and send attendees home with their own mineral kit. Saturday, October 24th, 5 pm, $35, Palo Santo Wellness Boutique.

Please Touch Museum’s Monster Mash

DIY Halloween: Kid edition! Please Touch Museum’s Monster Mash features “Boo-It-Yourself” crafts, a museum trick-or-treat with local candy, a photo station, theater shows, and a character dance party. Come dressed in your favorite costume. Saturday, October 24th, 5:30 pm, $15-$25, Please Touch Museum.

18th Annual FirstGlance Film Festival

Sci-fi flick out of London "Superbob" is among the selections at this year's FirstGlance Film Festival.

Sci-fi flick out of London “Superbob” is among the selections at this year’s FirstGlance Film Festival.

No, the cinema festivities don’t end with the Philadelphia Film Festival. The FirstGlance Film Festival celebrates and screens independent films before their release, bringing in indie filmmakers of all different genres and styles. The 18-year-old fest invites audiences to vote for the best films, and meet the movie crews for afterparties. Through Sunday, October 25th, various times, $15-$100, Franklin Institute.

Philadelphia Film Festival

The 24th annual Philadelphia Film Festival kicked off Monday and will run through November 1st with hundreds of screenings. Need help sussing out the best of the pack? We’ve done a few roundups over the last few days you might find handy: 10 Films You Must See at PFF and 7 Local Films Playing at PFF. Happy movie-ing!

Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra

Out of the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts, this orchestra draws on ancient musical traditions from China and complements them with Western symphony performance. Both Eastern and Western instruments help to build this celebratory joining of cultures. Sunday, October 25th, 2 pm, $39-$99, Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center.

The Gala of the Royal Horses at the Wildwoods

These European royal horses are some of the strongest and most majestic breeds, acclaimed by royals, horse riders, and bullfighters. The performance will show off their extraordinary skills and prowess, as well as bring more traditional Spanish culture with flamenco dancers and music. Sunday, October 25th, 4 pm, $26-$56, Wildwoods Convention Center, NJ.