August 30, 2023 | , ,

Your Ultimate Planning Guide to 2023 CollegeFest

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Campus Philly’s CollegeFest is back on September 9 and 10, 2023, and it’s your chance to fall in love with Philly and fully experience all that the city has to offer—for FREE! Get your ticket here (if you haven’t already!).

The weekend includes free admission to 30+ museums and cultural institutions, free travel on SEPTA, giveaways and prizes, and the return of the iconic Campus Philly Block Party (more info on that below!). CollegeFest is a great way to get to know your home for the next four years, make new friends, and explore the city for FREE.

This guide is here to help you organize your day by neighborhoods, so you can better understand how to utilize SEPTA and see all of the free things Campus Philly is offering. Be sure to visit the full list of museums, historical houses, and galleries so you can explore what you want to see during CollegeFest weekend! Plus, download the Let’s Rallie app for all your wayfinding needs.

Let’s start with the basics…

It's Slippery Rail Season! | SEPTA
Via SEPTA

Getting around during CollegeFest weekend

Campus Philly has partnered with SEPTA to provide FREE RIDES on Regional Rail, subway, bus, trolley, and Philly PHLASHⓇ Downtown Loop, exclusively for CollegeFest attendees! Just show your CollegeFest confirmation email to ride free September 9 & 10, from 10am-5pm.

Register for the weekend here!

 

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Campus Philly Block Party

Be sure to visit the Campus Philly Block Party (on Saturday, September 9 from 10am-3pm!) for live performances, lots of free goodies from local vendors, and more! It’s a great place to meet up with your friends, meet people from different schools, snag sweet deals, and so much more.

THE DETAILS: Meet us on Race Street between 19th & 20th Streets on Saturday from 10am-3pm. Map it here!

The Block Party includes brands like Dunkin’, the Philadelphia Flyers, IKEA, Five Below, Citizens, SEPTA, Moore College of Art & Design, Sharing Excess, Philly Creatives, International House of Philadelphia, Let’s Rallie, American Campus, Councilperson Kendra Brooks Office, and more! Check out all the details here.

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Start your weekend at Citizens

Stop by the Citizens branch at 1835 Market Street for FREE Federal Donuts, coffee, and giveaways on Saturday, September 9, from 9am-12pm! Plus, enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see our favorite baseball team (hint hint) at their September 26 home game.

BIG NEWS: CollegeFest attendees will also have the opportunity to snap a pic with our special guest, the Phillie Phanatic, from 10:30-11:30am!

Exploring FREE Things to Do in Philly

Fairmount

If you take the subway’s Broad Street Line (BSL) to Fairmount Station, there’s a lot to explore! Fairmount is the spot for art museums and beautiful parks. Grab some brunch at the super popular Sabrina’s Cafe or some breakfast at Coffee Cream & Dreams, and then check out a number of free museums offered by Campus Philly!

CollegeFest Block Party_Jordan Harris (24)

Visit these museums for FREE with your CollegeFest ticket:

Plus, get takeout at iPho to eat lunch in Fairmount Park before taking a free tour of the Historic Strawberry Mansion (until 4pm).

Rittenhouse Square/West Center City

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetRittenhouse is one of the most beautiful and  neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Take the Broad Street Line to Walnut-Locust and walk to the Square. Or, take Regional Rail to Suburban Station or 30th St. Start the day at Citizens Bank (not the park!) to grab free Federal Donuts, coffee and other giveaway goodies! Plus, enter for a chance to win a pair of Phillies tickets and even see the Phanatic (between 10:30-11:30)

Visit the Rosenbach for free to check out historic manuscripts, architecture and free snacks. Grab takeout from Central American restaurant El Merkury (don’t forget the churros) and enjoy people watching and shade in Rittenhouse Square.

Take the subway to Race-Vine or Regional Rail to Suburban Station. From there, enjoy: 

Wagner Free Institute of Science - Campus Philly
Wagner Free Institute of Science – Campus Philly

North Philly

Take the MFL to the BSL and hop off at Cecil B. Moore! Or, take Regional Rail to the Temple University station! Grab breakfast at OWL Breakfast & Lunch or Champ’s Diner (seriously, so good)! Check out the Wagner Free Institute of Science and then get some coffee and a divine panini at Richie’s Café!

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Chinatown 

Take Regional Rail to Jefferson Station, the BSL (if you’re in North Philly) to Race-Vine or the Market Frankford Line (if you’re in West Philly) to 11th St. to get into Chinatown. Grab lunch at Dim Sum Garden and then walk over to:

Penn Museum - Campus Philly
Penn Museum

University City/West Philly

Take the BSL to City Hall, and then take the trolly from 15th to 36th St. Or, take the Regional Rail to 30th St and then the trolly to 36th St. Grab some brunch at the Walnut Street Cafe. Then, take in the:

Grab some lunch or dinner at Terakawa Ramen. Or, grab takeout from Abyssinia and eat in Clark Park to round off the day!

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Old City

Museum of Illusions - Campus Philly
Museum of Illusions

If you’re trying to get to the Old City area on Regional Rail, get off at Jefferson. If you’re on the BSL, hop off at 8th. If you’re over in West Philly, it’s super easy to get off the MFL at 5th St Independence Hall Station.

From these stations, you can easily walk on over to the African American Museum in Philadelphia to sketch with Black HippieArt (materials provided) and check out the Rising Sun (also at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art). From there, pop over to:

 

More FREE museums to check out during CollegeFest weekend

Register For the Weekend Now!

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CollegeFest FAQs

Is Philly safe?

Philly is like any city—you must be responsible and aware of your surroundings. One of the best ways to do that is by familiarizing yourself with your campus safety resources. Your campus provides safety tips and advice, phone numbers to call if there’s an emergency, and campus specific information on public safety.

How do I get to CollegeFest?

Ask your Student Activities office if there is a group trip being planned, or if transportation is being provided from campus. Remember, SEPTA is completely free all weekend long! On SEPTA’s app or website, you’ll find the Broad Street Line, Market-Frankford Line, and Green Line Trolleys all stop in Old City and Center City (where many of the museums are located). In addition, Regional Rail trains stop at Suburban Station or Jefferson Station. Yes, Regional Rail is free, too!

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SEPTA — Image by Prashanth Paravastu

How do I get my free Septa Ticket for the weekend?

Ride SEPTA for FREE all. weekend. long. with your CollegeFest ticket! Campus Philly has partnered with SEPTA to provide FREE RIDES on Regional Rail, subway, bus, trolley, and Philly PHLASHⓇ Downtown Loop, exclusively for CollegeFest attendees! 

HOW-TO: Just show your CollegeFest Confirmation email to ride free September 9 & 10, from 10am to 5pm.  If there’s not a cashier at your SEPTA station, use the Customer Assistance Phone (CAP). The manager answering the call can view you via camera, see your CollegeFest ticket, and provide remote entry.

What if I don’t have my student ID?

That’s totally okay. Drexel students, for example, may not have their ID in time for CollegeFest. Just sign up for CollegeFest and show your confirmation email on the days of the event!

Can my visiting friend from out of state attend CollegeFest?

Absolutely! CollegeFest is open to all college and graduate students—just sign up for CollegeFest and you’ll get a confirmation email with all the information you need.

I’d prefer to drive. Is there a parking garage?

There’s a parking garage in LOVE Park, which is right around the corner from most of the museums. However, since SEPTA is free, we recommend taking public transportation. CollegeFest is a great weekend to explore Philly and get to know the place you’ll be calling home through college, and possibly beyond! It can seem overwhelming at first, but using this guide and all of the free resources of the weekend means there’s really no way to go wrong. 

 

Getting your tickets

CollegeFest is a great time to get to know your new city better, but also make great memories with new friends!  This new home of yours has so much to explore, and you don’t want to miss out on all the great deals. With this special weekend, you can explore all that’s available from our Block Party, museums and partners!

Register for the weekend here!

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