18 Anniversary
2003
18
2021

For more information:
215.525.1776
info@TheConstitutional.com

Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2018
For the third year in a row, the Chinese Lantern Festival returns to Franklin Square! Penguins! Pandas! Peacocks!  Mythical beasts! They’re all lit up and ready to make your eyes pop in this thrilling festival of light.
 
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman

 

The History

On its own, Franklin Square is a family friendly amenity in the historic district of Philadelphia. Its history dates all the way back to the foundation of Philadelphia in 1682 when it was originally called North East Publick Square. It was one of William Penn’s five original squares from his vision of a “green country town.” Since 1682 it has become an open common for grazing animals, a storage place for gunpowder and munitions during the Revolutionary War, a training ground for soldiers during the War of 1812, and even a graveyard (some graves still remain!). During the mid 20th century, the park fell into severe decline. 
 
Franklin Square in 1824. Courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia
 
From 2003 to 2006, Historic Philadelphia, Inc. (a non-profit company responsible for the Betsy Ross House and several other historical sites) refurbished the park in a $5.5 million project funded primarily by a grant from the state of Pennsylvania. Historic Philadelphia restored the fountain and cleaned up the park, aiming to bring the park back to that envisioned by William Penn. It was reopened and rededicated on July 31, 2006, coinciding with Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birthday. What a great birthday present for Philadelphia’s favorite son!
 

What to See

Today, Franklin Square’s proximity to The National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, The Betsy Ross House, The United States Mint, Benjamin Franklin’s Grave and other stops on The Constitutional Walking Tour, make it one of the most visited parks in Philadelphia.
 
Merry-Go-Round in Franklin Square - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
 
Franklin Square has a lot going for it, even without the magnificent Chinese Lantern Festival. There is a fun and Philly-centric Parx Liberty Carousel for kids (you can ride Smarty Jones!), an amazingly cute miniature golf park (with mini-golf sized replicas of Philadelphia landmarks like Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art), two playgrounds, food stands like the renowned SquareBurger, and a beautiful fountain to sit and read a book by while the kids play. For the parents, you can’t miss the beer garden in the light of the visual spectacle.
 
Now through June 30, run, don’t walk to the Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival. This is your last chance to see the third-annual event of light, color and magic. See Franklin Square in a whole new light with this visual wonderland. You’ll laugh along with the care-free family of light up pandas, be dazzled by the beautiful peacock and thrill at the massive Chinese dragon. There is even a very thoughtful endangered species gallery featuring the Hector’s dolphin, the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin. This illuminated nighttime wonderland features 1,500 hundred creations with 15,000 LED bulbs. 
 
The best part about the Chinese Lantern Festival is that this is a nighttime event. When the historic sites close and Constitutional Tour guides have all gone home, this is the perfect family event in the evening. You could even pair it up with our Spirits of ’76 Ghost Tour – two family-friendly activities to enjoy at night in Philadelphia.
 
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
 

Insider Tips

There’s more than just lights at the Chinese Lantern Festival, though. You must stick around to see some traditional Chinese theater performances on the big stage in the park, which include plate spinning, a juggler who juggles with their feet, crazy contortionists, and even an ancient Chinese dramatic art where a performer changes masks quicker than you can blink in this 300-year tradition of the Sichuan opera. The mystery is if the audience can notice the moment he changes his mask. You can also experience the wonder of Chinese folk art and maybe bring home a souvenir, like your name written in Chinese calligraphy. 
 
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman

 

How to Get There

The Chinese Lantern Festival is located in Franklin Square which is incredibly easy to access to guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour.  It is on the block directly behind the National Constitution Center where all of our tours begin and end.  If driving in, the park is located right next to both I-676 and 1-95 via exit 22.  Franklin Square is also easily accesable by SEPTA, as it is located two blocks away from the 5th Street Station of the Market Frankford Line and a short walk from Jefferson Station, which has regional rail connections to the entire Philadelphia metro.
 
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
 

Hours

Sunday – Thursday – 7PM – 11PM
Friday and Saturday – 6PM – 11PM
 

Additional Information

6th and Race Streets, Philadelphia PA 19106
 
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
 
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival - Photo Credit: Wendy Furman
 
Visit the Spirits of 76 Ghost Tours