The 19 Best Things to Do Around Philly in October

Our highly curated, strongly opinionated guide to this month’s best events.

things to do in october

Seeing Greta Van Fleet at the Met is one of many great things to do in October. Photograph by Travis Shinn


Hugh Jackman
Singing songs from Les Misérables and The Greatest Showman. Sadly, he won’t be transforming into Wolverine for the occasion. October 2nd at Wells Fargo Center.

Davina & the Vagabonds
Blues, jazz, soul, gospel and R&B mix with Davina’s one-of-a-kind voice for a real New Orleans sound. Order the jambalaya and a Sazerac for a fully immersive experience. October 4th and 5th at Chris’ Jazz Café.

Chance the Rapper
Hot on the heels of his studio debut, The Big Day, a concept album about his recent wedding. Yes, a rap album about a wedding. Chance made music history in 2017 when he became the first artist to win a Grammy for a release that was solely available by streaming. October 4th at the Wells Fargo Center.

things to do in october

Chance the Rapper. Photograph by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Carrie Underwood
Nearly 15 years after winning American Idol (remember that show?), she’s country-pop royalty, for whatever that’s worth. October 5th at the Wells Fargo Center.

Sheer Mag
Check out one of their latest singles, “Blood from a Stone,” for a taste of this South Philly punk and rock-and-roll outfit — but really, it’s all about their high-energy shows. October 10th at Union Transfer.

Greta Van Fleet
If you’re a huge Led Zeppelin fan, you’ll probably enjoy this newish band that sounds a helluva lot like your idols when they were in their 1970s prime. Robert Plant wishes he could still hit the high notes like this. October 15th and 16th at the Met.

The Guardian described these L.A. rockers as “blending the sludgy, doom-laden riffs of Black Sabbath with the urgent pop-punk of the Runaways” — as apt a description as any. October 26th at Boot + Saddle.


Haochen Zhang
The 29-year-old Chinese piano prodigy, who trained at Curtis, returns to perform Rachmaninoff with the Philadelphia Orchestra. October 4th and 5th at the Kimmel Center.

Don Quixote
The Pennsylvania Ballet’s take on the classic farce/romance. An excellent introduction for those who’ve never experienced ballet — so much better than, ugh, Nutcracker. October 10th through 20th at the Academy of Music.


Bianca Del Rio
This hilarious drag queen won the sixth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. October 2nd at the Perelman Theater.

Martha Graham Cracker With Strings
The beloved local performer, backed by a band that includes yours truly, joins forces with some of Philly’s best string players. When was the last time you saw a drag queen with her own string quartet? October 24th at FringeArts.

things to do in october

Hamilton. Photograph by Joan Marcus


Did you know that a $10 ticket lottery opens online two days before each performance? Good luck! Through November 17th at the Forrest Theatre.

A Small Fire
Bebe Neuwirth — yes, Frasier’s ex-wife — stars as a woman in control of every aspect of her family’s lives, until the day she starts losing her physical senses. October 18th through November 10th at Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

Come from Away
A heartwarming musical about the true story of air passengers stranded amid the chaos of 9/11 — and the strangers who cared for them. October 22nd through November 3rd at the Academy of Music.

Dance Nation
According to artistic director Blanka Zizka, this 2019 Pulitzer finalist about a competitive teen dance troupe is “hilarious, tender, ferocious and insightful.” October 22nd through November 10th at the Wilma Theater.


Richard Vague
Worried about your 401(k)? The Philly venture capitalist will talk about his new book, A Brief History of Doom: Two Hundred Years of Financial Crises, with state treasurer Joe Torsella. October 7th at the Central Library.


Notorious RBG
Supreme Court superstar Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets her own exhibit.
October 4th through January 12, 2020 at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

things to do in october

Terror Behind the Walls. Photograph by Daryl Moran


Terror Behind the Walls
One of the coolest haunted houses ever. Just pray you don’t join the small percentage of guests who literally pee themselves. Through November 9th at Eastern State Penitentiary.

The Phantom of the Opera
Andrew Lloyd Webber wrecked this French tale with his despicable musical. Yes, it’s the longest-running Broadway show in history. But there’s also a long wait for a table Cheesecake Factory on a Friday night, so … Fortunately, the 1925 silent movie is a true wonder of filmmaking, and with Philly organ great Peter Richard Conte accompanying live on the Kimmel’s majestic pipe organ, a real winner. October 31st at the Kimmel Center.

Published as “The Hit List” in the October 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.