Spring 2018 in Philly opens with the annual favorites. For flower lovers who can't wait for warmer weather, there's Longwood Gardens' orchid extravaganza and the Philadelphia Flower Show, this year with a rainforest theme.
Then come the upper-crusty shows that anchor the seasonal calendar — the Philadelphia Furniture Show, the Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show, the Devon Horse Show — and the monster street fests on South Street and at the Italian Market.
Special this year are a Memorial Day weekend visit by the Sail Philadelphia Tall Ships, last seen in 2015, and the return of the biennial Philadelphia International Festival of Arts. End the season with Philly Beer Week, and summer will be along before you know it.
Longwood Gardens Orchid Extravaganza (through March 25, Longwood Gardens). Walk among beautiful, fragrant displays during the annual orchid orgy. New this year are orchid-wrapped columns in Exhibition Hall. The marquee 17-foot high orchid curtain returns. And mark your calendars: Longwood turns on its fountain garden for the season May 7. (610-388-1000, longwoodgardens.org)
Reading Terminal Market's 125th Birthday (Feb. 22, Reading Terminal Market). Hit up Philly's most famous public market for a throwback celebration, complete with period costumes, high-wheeling penny-farthing riders, and Victorian decor. The best part? Merchants will ring bells throughout the day, dropping prices of certain items to what they were in 1893. (215-922-2317, readingterminalmarket.org)
Philadelphia Flower Show (March 3-11, Convention Center). Inspired by rain forests and stumping for conservation, this year's show features waterfalls aplenty, lush tropical greenery, even a rope bridge. Come peep at the blooms on a weeknight to avoid crowds. (215-988-8800, theflowershow.com)
Philadelphia Furniture Show (April 13-15, 23rd Street Armory). If you're in the market for some new home decor, the Philly Furniture Show is the place to snap up a finely crafted glass-top coffee table or a rocking chair carved from exotic wood. (207-781-2982, philadelphiafurnitureshow.com)
Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show (April 20-22, Navy Yard). Browse the paintings, books, jewelry, and porcelain arrayed at the Navy Yard for this high-quality showcase — one of the longest running antique shows in the country. You'll find silver, textiles, and furniture, as well, from all historical periods. (215-573-2247, philadelphiaantiquesandartshow.com)
South Street Spring Festival (May 5, South Street at Front Street and nearby). Celebrate the arrival of warm weather with live music, outdoor games, and street food and drinks. (215-413-3713, southstreet.com)
Italian Market Festival (May 19-20, South Ninth Street). Indulge in broccoli rabe, cannoli, spumoni, and all your favorites, plus entertainment galore. The traditional Procession of Saints follows Sunday's 10 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi. (215-278-2903, italianmarketfestival.com)
Devon Horse Show (May 24-June 3, 23 Dorset Rd., Devon). Come for the adorable pony-class competitions, the exciting Grand Prix, and the traditional country fair vibes. Don't be surprised if your children are begging for a horse by the end of the day. (610-964-0550, devonhorseshow.net)
Sail Philadelphia Tall Ships (May 24-28, Delaware Riverfront). Catch a glimpse of gorgeous vessels from the United States and abroad during the opening-day Parade of Sail up the Delaware. With the ships in town for deck visits and "sail away" excursions, Memorial Day weekend should be extra memorable. (sailphiladelphia.org)
Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (May 31-June 10, Kimmel Center and other locations). PIFA comes around every two years, this year with a brand-new version of the "human chandelier" from the French performance troupe Transe Express. This year, they'll hoist the chandelier on the banks of the Schuylkill and lead a dance party there. The popular PIFA Street Fair on Broad Street is scheduled for June 9. (215-893-1999, pifa.org)