The best time to visit Philadelphia is from the beginning of March to the end of May. The spring season offers tourists the perfect balance between good value (with lower pre-season rates) and good weather with moderate temperatures.
As a four-season destination, Philadelphia is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year. But depending on what you value most on a vacation, certain seasons and months might suit your travel plans better—and they may not line up with the general recommendation of visiting during the spring. From travel budgets and climate to time-limited attractions and events, several factors play into choosing the right time of year to travel to Philly.
Unsure about when to book your upcoming holiday? Decide when to go to Philly with this complete Philadelphia weather guide, including a climate breakdown by season and month, as well as seasonal events.
Weather in Philadelphia
Spring in Philadelphia lasts from March until May and is, generally, the best time to go to Philly for a few different reasons. For starters, you’ll no longer need to trudge through any winter snow. The first half of the spring season brings a deep thaw and the city heats up quickly to a comfortable moderate temperature range.
One of the other big reasons to choose spring for your Philadelphia holiday is to see the cherry blossoms. Beautiful cherry trees are planted in several places throughout the city, especially in Fairmount Park.
If you happen to catch the cherry blossoms in full bloom, you’ll be treated to a lovely fragrance filling the streets of Philadelphia, as well as some wanderlust-worthy photo ops.
Especially since Philadelphia has a reputation for its many outdoor festivals and events, summer is the most popular time to visit the city. The summer months of June, July, and August make up the peak tourist season.
The reasons to visit in summer are obvious, between the warm temperatures and uptick in exciting events. Nonetheless, you’ll find that the crowds are much larger in summer, particularly at the most popular Philadelphia tourist attractions, while flights and hotel prices are much higher.
It’s also worth noting that while rainfall remains relatively consistent throughout the year, summer is Philadelphia’s rainiest season, with its maximum precipitation falling during these months.
Fall in Philadelphia sits between September and November and is a season of constant change. At first, you’ll find the summer warmth sticks around, and you can easily have an outdoor-centric Philadelphia itinerary.
After the short warmer burst, an initial cool-down period will start where light jackets, autumn colors, and pumpkin spice become all the rage. Finally, as the fall season comes to a close, you’ll start easing into the winter weather and may even experience some snow. Month-over-month, fall is a bit of a mixed bag of weather.
With peak tourist season winding down for the year, you may start to find some better deals on the most popular Philadelphia hotels and airfare during the autumn season.
Winter in Philadelphia does bring some snow, but thanks to temperatures that don’t often dip too far below the freezing point, it doesn’t always stick around for long.
From December to February, you’ll want to plan for the winter weather with warm coats and boots, but you won’t need to avoid travel for fear of blizzards and transportation difficulties.
Winter also presents an opportunity to take advantage of off-peak pricing and a much smaller tourist volume. Whether you’re working with a smaller budget or would like the opportunity to “live like a local” for a while, this season is a great time to visit. You may even discover some indoor attraction hidden gems that sometimes get overlooked during the warmer months.
January is the coldest month of the year in Philadelphia. Temperatures are generally expected to reach lows of 28°F (-2°C) and just barely rise above the freezing point for an average high of 41°F (5°C). Precipitation in January falls in line with the average throughout the winter season, with about eight days of snow/rain showers.
The month of January is a wonderful time for foodies to plan their visit to Philadelphia, as it’s time for Center City District Restaurant Week.
During this annual 9-day event (January 15th to 28th), you can eat your way through some of Philly’s top-notch restaurants. Participating venues will showcase the best of their menus with Prix-fix three-course dinners, gourmet lunches, and even some to-go options.
February brings only a slight increase in temperatures, with average highs sliding up to 45°F (7°C) and lows gaining a couple of degrees at 30°F ( -1°C). Intermittent snow and rainfall are expected to continue, with seven days of mixed precipitation on the radar.
February’s premier event is the Light Show in Franklin Square. Every single night, a Benjamin Franklin-inspired show is ready to dazzle you by the fireside, and the surrounding area comes to life. From fun street food vendors to the Parx Liberty Carousel, this special event is a surefire way to keep the party going after dark.
As average temperatures in March make a decent jump to 54°F (12°C) and 37°F (3°C), respectively, the snow starts to melt, and the spring thaw begins.
You may not need to bring your winter boots, but March travelers should be sure to pack an umbrella, with 97mm of rain expected to help wash the snowbanks away. Between the runoff and the rain, March can be a bit wet in Philly.
If you love gardening, you may want to play your holiday around the Philadelphia Flower Show. This multi-day convention (March 4th to March 12th, 2023) celebrates modern gardening and horticulture. Here, you’ll gain inspiration from top floral designers, landscapers, and more with live demos, themed entertainment, and of course, thousands of brilliant blooms.
In April, the temperatures make a big leap towards summer weather, with comfortable highs of 66°F (19°C) and lows of 46°F (8°C). This will likely have the locals breaking out shorts and t-shirts after the winter chill, but you’ll want to bring some sweaters and light jackets to keep cozy, especially through the cooler evenings.
April showers are certainly in the forecast, though intermittent. About 89 mm of rainfall is expected over eight days throughout the month.
Smack dab in the middle of the best season to visit Philadelphia, April is a month jam-packed with special events. Here are a few of the most popular:
- The Phillies Home Opener: Though the date changes year to year, the first home game of Philidelphia’s resident MLB team falls in the month of April. Not only is this a great opportunity for visiting sports fans, but it’s also an event that comes with lots of perks, like ballpark giveaways and a fireworks show.
- Annual South Street Easter Promenade: Sunday, April 9, 2023. Every year, thousands of city residents and tourists gather on South Street dressed in their finest Easter Garb to celebrate the holiday. Kids can hunt for treats, and visit the Easter Bunny, while all-ages entertainment includes musical performances and a contest for the best dressed.
- Cherry Blossom Festival: April 15 to 16, 2023. When the many cherry blossoms in Philadelphia finally bloom, the whole city celebrates with a spring festival in Fairmount Park. At the event, hosted by the iconic Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, you’ll enjoy displays of beautiful blooms, live music and dance, cultural workshops, and even a beer garden!
May is sunny, with average temperatures of 75°F (24°C). If you’re looking for a toasty but comfortable time to travel to Philadelphia, this is it. You won’t need to contend with huge amounts of humidity or totally sweltering heat, but you’ll be warm enough to break out your summer sandals.
Even the evening cool-downs stay relatively warm, hovering around the 57°F (14°C) mark. May does see a fair amount of rain, with 99mm expected over ten days, but this remains consistent throughout the late spring and summer months. With the warm temperatures, May is a great month to check out some of the most popular Philadelphia day trips.
Looking for some family-friendly fun? The South Street Festival (on Saturday, May 6, 2023) is one giant annual block party that’s always hit with everyone ages 0 to 99.
With its giant Maypole, free concerts, a designated kids’ zone, and even a few eating contests, a day at this festival will be brimming with moments you’ll never forget.
June marks the beginning of Philadelphia’s true summer temperatures, with highs of 84°F (29°C) and lows of 66°F (19°C). You’ll also find that while the amount of rainy days is roughly the same, the volume decreases to 84mm throughout the month, meaning it’s less likely to cause significant disruption to your holiday.
Did you know that Philadelphia is home to the biggest African-American street festival in the United States? From June 4th to 11th, the ODUNDE Festival brings multiple live performances and hundreds of street vendors to the city, celebrating black culture.
July is both the hottest and the wettest month of the year in Philadelphia. Though neither of these indicates extreme weather conditions by any stretch of the imagination, it’s worth taking into consideration.
Around 112mm of rain is expected over eight days, and daily highs can reach 90°F (32°C). Unfortunately, nighttime won’t offer you much respite from the heat either, with lows staying above 72°F (22°C).
These daily forecasts might not deter travelers who want a classic summer vacation and time spent by the waterfront, but you’ll need to be comfortable with the idea of a rainy day or two. As long as you pack a good sunhat and have an indoor activity kept in your pocket, you should be good to go.
For a little bit of cultural tourism, check out July’s premier event: the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival at Franklin Square in Center City.
August’s weather is fairly reminiscent of July, though things do cool off a couple of degrees. Highs of 86°F (30°C) and lows of 70°F (21°C) accompany about 97mm of rainfall. All in all, it’s not a bad time to visit for a sunny summer getaway.
In the height of the summer heat, you’ll want to keep the Smack Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest on your radar. This waterfront event spans multiple months and brings in roller rinks, a Ferris wheel, and plenty of other summery activities to the streets for everyone to make the most out of their vacation.
September temperatures can be a bit of a mixed bag, though as a whole, it’s still a very warm month, with summer dragging into early fall. Daily averages maintain a high of 81°F (27°C), and even the lows stay around 63°F (17°C). Rainfall is almost static with August’s projections. If you’re hoping to take advantage of the nice weather without being overwhelmed by the heat, September is a pretty good choice.
Love outdoor concerts? Spend warm September evenings at the XPoNential Music Festival in Camden. Broadcasted by the University of Pennsylvania, WXPN is one of Philly’s greatest radio stations, and they put on this legendary festival each year to unite music lovers all over the city. At Wiggins Waterfront Park and Freedom Mortgage Pavilion (formerly the BB&T Pavilion), you’ll find both rising local talents and hot, big-time performers on the lineup.
October remains surprisingly warm as fall comes marching in. The biggest change in temperature you’ll notice is overnight, where the cool-off becomes more significant. In fact, the daytime highs are nearly cut in half, with 68°F (20°C) turning into 52°F (11°C) after the sun sets. There’s also a large decrease in rainfall, with only 70mm expected throughout October.
If the spooky season is your favorite time of year, you’ll want to get your haunts at Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary. Though these cellblocks are open from September through to November, October is the best time to visit the haunted houses and soak up the creepy interactive experiences.
Alternatively, art lovers can embrace their inner critic at the Philadelphia Film Festival. Running from October 19th to 29th, 2023, this annual showcase of local and foreign indie films is not to be missed. Whether you take in a single screening or jam-pack your itinerary with cinema-hopping escapades, you’re sure to leave feeling inspired.
With the beginning of autumn remaining quite warm in Philadelphia, November weather can seem to change very quickly. Suddenly, leaves are changing color as the temperatures drop rapidly, with highs barely reaching 55°F (13°C) and overnight lows slipping to 41°F (5°C), leaving the occasional layer of frost on the ground. As you near the end of the month of November, you might even catch the first snowfall, though snow will not be a part of the regular forecast.
Starting to get in the holiday spirit? Get ready for the Thanksgiving season by acquiring a freshly baked apple pie from the Apple Festival at Peddler’s Village.
Complete your holiday plans by hitting the streets to watch Philadelphia’s 6abc Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade.
True winter weather returns to Philadelphia in the month of December. In this month, the snow will make its final reemergence, and highs/lows will dip rather drastically to 46°F (8°C) and 34°F (1°C). That said, since the temperatures still hover above the freezing mark most of the time, the snow may not cling to the ground for long stretches.
Though there aren’t many large festivals and events happening during the month of December, The whole city transforms into a winter wonderland in preparation for the holiday season. As you walk down the streets, you’ll find city squares aglow with twinkling lights, pop-up Christmas markets, and multiple outdoor skating rinks.