For those of you staying on campus this fall break, 10 days of unstructured, minimal-obligation free time can come as a daunting realization. Sure, you can sleep in or watch trashy reality shows, or a fun combination of the both; but believe it or not, there’s actually a lot to do. By a lot to do, I mean I scoured Facebook for free-to-low-cost events and found at least one per day in or around Swarthmore. By “in or around Swarthmore,” I mean Philadelphia. Here’s what your week is looking like:
Day 1: Thursday, Oct. 12.
“Chinatown Night Market Yè Shì”
Suprise! You thought this calendar would start on Friday, but Thursday is the new Friday when you make the beautiful decision to take classes only four days a week (sorry underclassmen). To kick off your break, catch that off-peak SEPTA to Jefferson Station around 7 p.m. and head to 10th Street between Arch and Vine. The host, the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, promises “an endless amount of food, arts & crafts, and entertainment that will keep guests going all night.”
Day 2: Friday, Oct. 13.
“Made in Philadelphia Fall Market”
Embrace the season in Center City with friends at this all-day Dilworth Park event. Local crafters will be selling “art, photos, accessories and jewelry, skincare, glassware, wood craft and more.” Treat yourself to some artisanal woodcraft! You worked hard this first half-semester!
Day 3: Saturday, Oct. 14.
“Hill Creek Farm Pumpkin Festival”
Okay, now really embrace the season and befriend a person with a car to take a 30-minute ride to New Jersey. Before you skip reading about this day because no one ever reasonably wants to go to New Jersey, take note that it takes place on a farm. You’ll feel like you never left Pennsylvania. This festival will likely be full of small suburban children and parents cooing at them to look at the camera, but where else can you find a pick-your-own apples, a giant Batman bounce house, hot fresh foods, live music, face painting, choose-your-favorite-pumpkin, pumpkin games (?), fresh goodies from the bakery, tractor rides, a playground, barrel train rides, free Whacky Duck racing, and gemstone mining?
Day 4: Sunday, Oct. 15.
“From Mali to America.”
A $15 student ticket won’t get you from America to Mali but it will get you “From Mali to America;” a new dance, drumming, hip-hop, spoken word show presented by Kulu Melew. This one-time-only show takes place at the beautiful Kurtz Center for Performing Arts, and will likely inspire you to update your Spotify playlist with beats beyond Mike WiLL Made-IT.
Day 5: Monday, Oct. 16.
“Indian Food Festival”
Plug into your favorite podcast and jump on NJ Transit to finally take that New York day trip you’ve been planning since orientation. Apparently, this event will make you interact with Times Square and all of its inhabitants which is never advisable — but, for this day only, there will Indian food. Like a ton of Indian food. Its description is nothing short of poetic: “Let your nose guide you through layers of spices while savoring wonderful dishes; surround yourself with incredible colors, lose yourself in music and enjoy the spectacular dances.” There will be over 50 local vendors and restaurants, accompanied by live music and dance. Sorry kiddos, this one is 21+.
Day 6: Tuesday, Oct. 17.
“Muhammad Yunus | A World of Three Zeros”
Thought you were headed back to Swarthmore? Wrong. Buy that greyhound or megabus ticket ASAP and make your way to our nation’s capital to dismantle capitalism. Or, at least, to hear Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus talk about dismantling capitalism. Yunus will present his new book and propose a call-to-action at my favorite bookstore, Politics & Prose. The talk starts at 7 p.m. and is free.99 but seats will be on a first come, first served basis.
Day 7: Wednesday, Oct. 18.
“Kali Uchis at World Cafe Live Philadelphia”
And we’re back — Philly nightlife is a thing. Enjoy it with Colombian-American indie pop soulstress Kali Uchis, and have the chorus to “Tyrant” stuck in your head for the remainder of break.
Day 8: Thursday, Oct. 19.
“Gabrielle Union at the Philadelphia Free Library — We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, & True”
The event title says all there is to convince you to attend. Oh, plus it’s free. See you there.
Day 9: Friday, Oct. 20.
“Howl-O-Ween at the Ellicott City Historic District”
It’s the 20th of Halloween, and there will be a literal parade of dogs dressed up in silly costumes for the occasion. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. hang out with puppies that don’t belong to you and participate in donation-based events that will support the Houston SPCA’s hurricane efforts. One catch — it’s in New Jersey. Am I telling you to go to New Jersey to watch a halloween dog parade? Quite possibly.
Day 10: Saturday, Oct. 21.
“Harry Potter Festival”
The entire community of Chestnut Hill is transforming into the wizarding world of Harry Potter for a weekend. We’re talking literary events, Quidditch matches, and spellcasting tutorials. This annual celebration is always a fan favorite; head over to visitphilly.com for a much more robust Hogwartsian itinerary.
BONUS! Day 11: Sunday, Oct. 22.
Do all the work that you told yourself you’d finish by the first weekend of break.