If you’re visiting Philadelphia, you definitely need to go to historical places like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but there’s more than just the main tourist sights! The city has some pretty awesome festivals (including Cheesesteakfest!), and one of the most unique ones is the annual Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival! 🙂
I’ve failed at exploring Philadelphia’s Chinatown before (it was a crazy cold and icy January day), but the past year I’ve ventured over there more and it’s a really interesting area! I did a food tour with some other local bloggers, and Jamie from Philly Food Adventures gives AMAZING Chinatown food tours! I ate so many different kinds of delicious food on that tour that I had never heard of before.
Right outside of Chinatown at Franklin Square is the annual Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival. I walked by it quite a few times since I moved to Philly, and I finally went last year when a friend got some free tickets. If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience in Philly, the lantern festival is work checking out!
As you can see, there’s still some daylight in these first few photos. My motto for sightseeing is always to go as early as possible to beat the crowds, but that doesn’t work for a lantern festival! If you want to get the best photos, wait to go after the sun goes down, but be aware that it means it’s going to be more crowded. If the only time you can go is when the sun is still up, the lanterns are still worth seeing!
The bird was one of my favorites 🙂
The seesaw even moved!
We got to see acrobats and dancers from China perform! The acrobats were doing some CRAZY moves that I could never in my life do, so it was a pretty cool performance. If they’re scheduled to perform this year, you should definitely go see them!
I have no idea how they bend like this
They were spinning real ceramic plates the entire time!
The 200 foot dragon is there every year!
I loved all the jellyfish!
The details are amazing!
Some of the lanterns stay the same each year (like the giant dragon), but most of them change so you get to see something new every year! The Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival is open May 1-June 30, and it’s open 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. You can buy tickets and get more information at Historic Philadelphia. Tickets are a little expensive at $18 for adults (which is why I didn’t go until I got a free ticket), but it’s a pretty cool experience if you’re looking for something new to try in Philadelphia! 🙂
I love how festive and colorful Chinese holidays and events are. I had never heard of this festival, even though I lived in neighboring NYC for 12 years! Wish I had a chance to see this – next time 😉
I bet NYC would have something similar! I want to explore Chinatown there next!
Great post, Julia! This festival looks incredible, the nighttime pictures are especially gorgeous but they still look amazing in the day too!
Thank you! 🙂
So bright and colourful! I love Chinese lanterns for their reddish glow.
Yes I love the red colors!
Wow, the lanterns look gorgeous at night! This is a beautiful festival, I would love to see something like that. My favourite display is the pandas, so adorable! It is definitely not cheap, but considering that it’s not something you can see very often, it’s definitely worth it I would say 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
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The pandas were definitely one of my favorite parts! 🙂
How do the people bend like that? That is amazing, I went a few years ago and loved seeing all the lights at night. The Lantern Festival makes for a great night out.
I don’t know, they were bending in some crazy positions!
Looks absolutely amazing! Wish I lived closer.
It’s definitely worth the trip if you’re ever near Philly!