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A Complete Day-By-Day Guide to Thanksgiving Week
in Philadelphia 2016

Make the most of the holiday weekend from Wednesday, Nov. 23 — Sunday, Nov. 27

Philadelphia goes big for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend with a spectacular citywide celebration.

After soaking up Philly’s nightlife on Thanksgiving Eve, officially kick off the holiday season with the 97th annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade — the oldest parade of its kind in the nation. The 1.4-mile parade down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway features gigantic balloons, celebrity appearances, local performers and festive floats.

You can also give thanks to Philadelphia’s fantastic restaurants, as many are offering delicious Turkey Day dinners to help you avoid the stress of cooking and cleaning for the holiday.

Then, of course, the day after Thanksgiving means the official start of the winter holidays. Stay in the city with the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package to explore the city’s holiday lights, pop-up shops and traditional holiday attractions to create a full weekend of festive fun.

Read on for our official guide to the Philadelphia fun to be had all Thanksgiving weekend long.

Wednesday, Nov. 23 | Thursday, Nov. 24 |
Friday, Nov. 25 | Saturday, Nov. 26 | Sunday, Nov. 27


Wednesday, November 23, 2016 — Thanksgiving Eve

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

Before you hit the town for the evening, consider swinging by one of the most exciting Center City holiday attractions: the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at the Dilworth Park at City Hall. The rink will be open during regular hours on Thanksgiving Eve from noon to 9 p.m. Admission is $3 for kids 10 and under and $5 for everyone else, and skate rentals are $10 per pair.

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Rothman Institute Ice Rink

Spend the day skating right beneath City Hall at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. (J. Fusco For Visit Philadelphia)

Franklin Square Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

Festive lights, winter treats and holiday cheer fill historic Franklin Square for its all-ages (and completely free!) holiday festival and light show. The main feature is the Electrical Spectacle light show, which utilizes thousands and thousands of twinkling lights and a dynamic holiday soundtrack. The seasonal outdoor attraction rounds out the ongoing festivities with a winter beer garden and seasonal eats from SquareBurger, Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train rides around the square and a handful of other fun-filled events.

more on franklin square holiday festival

America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park

New this year, Dilworth Park hosts a popup maze-meets-garden created in partnership with Greater Philadelphia Gardens. Wander through the holiday-inspired America’s Garden Capital Maze where you’ll find a variety of seasonal shrubbery and decorations. Adjacent to the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, consider going for a skate after touring the gardens and snapping a few festive photos.

more on America’s Garden Capital Maze

Tree Lighting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

You won’t find many better photo ops this holiday season than the public tree lighting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The evening begins at 4 p.m. with seasonal treats and live holiday music before the countdown to the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Afterward, head inside the museum, which has pay-what-you-wish admission every Wednesday evening.

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Thanksgiving Eve Nightlife

With most people off from work on Thanksgiving, the night before has become one of the biggest days to go out of the entire year — and that’s definitely the case in Philadelphia. Whether you seek to reunite at a favorite spot with friends home for the holidays or wish to check out a special Thanksgiving Eve party, there’s plenty to do all over the city. Be sure to read our blog at uwishunu.com for up-to-date info on the evening’s events, parties and more.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016 — Thanksgiving

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

The 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest in the country and a true Philadelphia tradition. The city streets (including the Benjamin Franklin Parkway) make way for massive floats and giant balloons, plus local performers from choirs, dance groups, marching bands and more. Santa himself arrives in grand fashion, ushering Philadelphia into the holiday season. Look forward to other special guests, too, like Mickey and Minnie, Disney’s newest princess Elena of Avalor, several members of the “Toy Story” cast from Disney on Ice, characters from the upcoming “Mamma Mia!,” “The King and I” and “Dirty Dancing” productions at the Kimmel Center, “Wizard of Oz” characters from the Walnut Street Theatre performance and Ginger Zee from Good Morning America. Musical guests Drew Lachey from former-98 Degrees and R&B singer Estelle will also be in attendance. In case you’re still not convinced, click here to learn why seeing the parade in person is so awesome.

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Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, which takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, is a true Philadelphia tradition and the oldest parade of its kind in the U.S. (M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)

Official Opening Day of Christmas Village and Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park

This year, the European wonderland known as Christmas Village moves to City Hall while LOVE Park undergoes renovations. Modeled after traditional European open-air Christmas markets, the outdoor oasis holds more than 80 wooden booths with vendors of all kinds. Also as part of Christmas Village, a holiday-themed carousel debuts in the City Hall courtyard. The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market will lay just steps away in Dilworth Park, featuring local artisans, designers, crafters and confectionaries. If you’re looking for a one-stop spot to do all your holiday shopping, these joint venues are a can’t miss!

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Opening Day of The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

Visitors gather in front of the Comcast Experience video wall, one of the world’s highest resolution LED displays, to catch the magic of The Comcast Holiday Spectacular. Throughout the free 15-minute show, dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet move to music from The Nutcracker, a magical sleigh floats over the Philadelphia countryside and actors from the historic Walnut Street Theatre perform — all to a seasonal soundtrack presented by a 64-piece orchestra. Shows kick off on Thanksgiving Day!

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Comcast Holiday Spectacular

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is a must-see holiday tradition in the lobby of the Comcast Center, the tallest building in Philadelphia. (M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Opening Day of A Longwood Gardens Christmas

The holidays go red, white and green at Longwood Gardens during A Longwood Gardens Christmas, featuring 500,000 twinkling lights, colorful fountains and beautifully adorned trees.

more on a longwood gardens christmas

America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park

New this year, Dilworth Park hosts a popup maze-meets-garden created in partnership with Greater Philadelphia Gardens. Wander through the holiday-inspired America’s Garden Capital Maze where you’ll find a variety of seasonal shrubbery and decorations. Adjacent to the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, consider going for a skate after touring the gardens and snapping a few festive photos.

more on America’s Garden Capital Maze

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

If you need a break from shopping or are just looking for a reason to get out of the house (with or without your family), hit up the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park at City Hall. The park will be open from noon to 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 10 and under. Those who do not have their own ice skates can rent a pair for $10.

more on rothman ice rink

Rothman Institute Ice Rink

Spend the day skating right beneath City Hall at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. (J. Fusco For Visit Philadelphia)


Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday: Why to Kick Off Your Holiday Shopping in Philadelphia Over Thanksgiving Weekend

In addition to tax-free shopping on most clothing and shoes, take advantage of Philadelphia’s awesome shopping experiences, including retail destinations in Center City like Century 21, Nordstrom Rack and Uniqlo, charming craft bazaars and pop-up shops, independent boutique shops and top-rated shopping malls. The best time to begin shopping? Thanksgiving weekend. Not only do tons of stores offer once-a-year sales, but many Philadelphia holiday attractions also kick off at this time, meaning you can check them out in between shopping. Click the button below for our guide to holiday shopping in Philadelphia.

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Holiday Shopping in Philadelphia

Philadelphia’s neighborhood business corridors offer awesome local shopping opportunities. (J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Opening of Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Offering majestic views of both the Delaware River and the Ben Franklin Bridge, Blue Cross RiverRink returns for its 23rd year and its fourth year as Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, a winterized riverfront park that delights the entire family each winter. Winterfest houses an Olympic-size skating rink, a ski chalet-style lodge, a decorated holiday tree, rustic furniture, fire pits, warming cabins and thousands of lights that illuminate the space in style. Come cruise along the rink and stay to relax in the festive riverside enclave.

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Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest features ice skating, food and drink, shopping and family-fun on the waterfront. (Photo courtesy DRWC)

Opening of Macy’s Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Center City

More than 100,000 bright, energy-efficient LED lights come together to create whimsical holiday images during the Macy’s Holiday Light Show, housed in the historic Wanamaker Building. Watch snowflakes, ballerinas and reindeer float beyond the four-story-high velvet curtain of the Grand Court atrium while enjoying music from the world-renowned Wanamaker Grand Organ. Don’t miss out on this Philadelphia holiday tradition, which dates back to 1956!

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Macy's Christmas Light Show

A perfect family outing, the Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy’s is a Philadelphia holiday tradition that dates back more than half a century. (G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park

New this year, Dilworth Park hosts a popup maze-meets-garden created in partnership with Greater Philadelphia Gardens. Wander through the holiday-inspired America’s Garden Capital Maze where you’ll find a variety of seasonal shrubbery and decorations. Adjacent to the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, consider going for a skate after touring the gardens and snapping a few festive photos.

more on America’s Garden Capital Maze

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

If you need a break from shopping or are just looking for a reason to get out of the house (with or without your family), hit up the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park at City Hall. The park will be open on the Friday after Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 10 and under. Those who do not have their own ice skates can rent a pair for $10.

more on rothman ice rink

Rothman Institute Ice Rink

Spend the day skating right beneath City Hall at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. (J. Fusco For Visit Philadelphia)

Thanksgiving Weekend at the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center holds Thanksgiving near and dear for a special reason — when Congress passed the Bill of Rights, it also pushed through a request that President George Washington proclaim the national holiday of Thanksgiving, which he did. Throughout the weekend, the museum hosts a slew of celebrations including a school supply drive on Friday, a show about Thanksgiving traditions in the White House, corn husk doll crafts and more.

more on National Constitution Center

NCC"

All weekend, the National Constitution Center celebrates Thanksgiving with crafts, a show and more. (M. Kennedy For Visit Philadelphia)

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place is a fun celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends. The park is transformed into a Christmas wonderland with millions of twinkling lights, festive decorations and whirling rides. Get into the holiday spirit with special Christmas shows, savory Christmas menus, super holiday shopping and a visit with Santa in his Furry Workshop.

more on a very furry christmas

Christmas in Peddler’s Village

With more than 60 specialty shops and seven restaurants, Peddler’s Village in beautiful Bucks County is perfect for holiday shopping. The village often offers extended shopping hours throughout the holiday season to give you even more time to take in the village’s beautiful, festive decorations.

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Christmas at Peddler's Village

Wander through more than one million holiday lights on display at Peddler’s Village during the holidays. (Photo courtesy Peddler’s Village)

Opening Day of the Reading Terminal Market Holiday Railroad

Beyond serving as an incredible spot for food, the Reading Terminal Market – where you can score everything from soul food to Asian and Middle Eastern dishes to authentic Philly Cheesesteaks to traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare – always dresses up for the holiday season, offering entertainment for the whole family. Kids and adults alike will delight in its 500-square-foot model railroad display, featuring 17 train lines that run along a track close to a third of a mile in length.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Free Meter Parking on Saturdays

Philadelphia, one of the country’s most walkable cities, is incredibly easy to navigate either by foot or by public transportation. That just leaves the question: Where to park the car? During the holiday season, no meter parking limits will be enforced on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day. Plus, meter parking is free every Saturday after 11 a.m. from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day. Click the button below for more information.

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Small Business Saturday

For those who prefer to keep it local, Small Business Saturday is a national initiative spearheaded by American Express that devotes the Saturday after Thanksgiving Day to supporting the local small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. This year, do so right here in Philadelphia on business corridors in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods like Midtown Village, Queen Village, East Passyunk, Old City and Northern Liberties.

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Holiday Shopping in Manayunk

Great news: In Philadelphia, there’s no sales tax on necessities like clothing and shoes. (J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration

Join Mayor Jim Kenney and the Office of the City Representative on November 26, 2016 for the free Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration, which officially unwraps the holiday season in the city with the flick of a switch. Gather at the 38-foot-tall Philly Holiday Tree at its new home in Dilworth Park and enjoy a festive, family-filled evening with holiday cheer, live entertainment, free hot chocolate and a few surprises. The Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration, which kicks off at 4 p.m. with a 5:30 p.m. tree lighting, is free and open to the public.

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America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park

New this year, Dilworth Park hosts a popup maze-meets-garden created in partnership with Greater Philadelphia Gardens. Wander through the holiday-inspired America’s Garden Capital Maze where you’ll find a variety of seasonal shrubbery and decorations. Adjacent to the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, consider going for a skate after touring the gardens and snapping a few festive photos.

more on America’s Garden Capital Maze

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

If you need a break from shopping or are just looking for a reason to get out of the house (with or without your family), hit up the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park at City Hall. The park will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 10 and under. Those who do not have their own ice skates can rent a pair for $10.

more on rothman ice rink

Rothman Institute Ice Rink

Spend the day skating right beneath City Hall at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. (J. Fusco For Visit Philadelphia)

Thanksgiving Weekend at the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center holds Thanksgiving near and dear for a special reason — when Congress passed the Bill of Rights, it also pushed through a request that President George Washington proclaim the national holiday of Thanksgiving, which he did. Throughout the weekend, the museum hosts a slew of celebrations including a school supply drive on Friday, a show about Thanksgiving traditions in the White House, corn husk doll crafts and more.

more on National Constitution Center


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Offering majestic views of both the Delaware River and the Ben Franklin Bridge, Blue Cross RiverRink returns for its 23rd year and its fourth year as Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, a winterized riverfront park that delights the entire family each winter. Winterfest houses an Olympic-size skating rink, a ski chalet-style lodge, a decorated holiday tree, rustic furniture, fire pits, warming cabins and thousands of lights that illuminate the space in style. Come cruise along the rink and stay to relax in the festive riverside enclave.

more on blue cross riverrink wintefest

Macy’s Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Center City

More than 100,000 bright, energy-efficient LED lights come together to create whimsical holiday images during the Macy’s Holiday Light Show, housed in the historic Wanamaker Building. Watch snowflakes, ballerinas and reindeer float beyond the four-story-high velvet curtain of the Grand Court atrium while enjoying music from the world-renowned Wanamaker Grand Organ. Don’t miss out on this Philadelphia holiday tradition, which dates back to 1956!

more on macy’s christmas light show

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

Visitors gather in front of the Comcast Experience video wall, one of the world’s highest resolution LED displays, to catch the magic of The Comcast Holiday Spectacular. Throughout the free 15-minute show, dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet move to music from The Nutcracker, a magical sleigh floats over the Philadelphia countryside and actors from the historic Walnut Street Theatre perform — all to a seasonal soundtrack presented by a 64-piece orchestra.

more on comcast holiday spectacular

Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

Festive lights, winter treats and holiday cheer fill historic Franklin Square for its all-ages (and completely free!) holiday festival and light show. The main feature is the Electrical Spectacle light show, which utilizes thousands and thousands of twinkling lights and a dynamic holiday soundtrack. The seasonal outdoor attraction rounds out the ongoing festivities with a winter beer garden and seasonal eats from SquareBurger, Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train rides around the square and a handful of other fun-filled events.

more on franklin square holiday festival

Franklin Square Holiday Light Show

Winter nights are joyfully brighter this holiday season with Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square. (J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia)

America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park

New this year, Dilworth Park hosts a popup maze-meets-garden created in partnership with Greater Philadelphia Gardens. Wander through the holiday-inspired America’s Garden Capital Maze where you’ll find a variety of seasonal shrubbery and decorations. Adjacent to the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, consider going for a skate after touring the gardens and snapping a few festive photos.

more on America’s Garden Capital Maze

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

This winter, don’t miss the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. The rink will operate seven days a week (including holidays) and will feature a warming tent as well as a whole host of to-be-announced seasonal programming and holiday happenings. Sunday’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

more on rothman ice rink

Rothman Institute Ice Rink

Spend the day skating right beneath City Hall at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. (J. Fusco For Visit Philadelphia)

Thanksgiving Weekend at the National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center holds Thanksgiving near and dear for a special reason — when Congress passed the Bill of Rights, it also pushed through a request that President George Washington proclaim the national holiday of Thanksgiving, which he did. Throughout the weekend, the museum hosts a slew of celebrations including a school supply drive on Friday, a show about Thanksgiving traditions in the White House, corn husk doll crafts and more.

more on National Constitution Center

A Longwood Gardens Christmas

The holidays go red, white and green at Longwood Gardens during A Longwood Gardens Christmas, featuring 500,000 twinkling lights, colorful fountains and beautifully adorned trees.

more on a longwood gardens christmas

Christmas Village and Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park

This year, the European wonderland known as Christmas Village moves to City Hall while LOVE Park undergoes renovations. Modeled after traditional European open-air Christmas markets, the outdoor oasis holds nearly 100 wooden booths with vendors of all kinds. Also as part of Christmas Village, a holiday-themed carousel debuts in the City Hall courtyard. The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market will lay just steps away in Dilworth Park, featuring local artisans, designers, crafters and confectionaries. If you’re looking for a one-stop spot to do all your holiday shopping, these joint venues are a can’t miss!

more on christmas village at love park

A Very Furry Christmas

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place® is a festive, family-friendly celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street® friends. The park is transformed into a one-of-a-kind Christmas wonderland with millions of twinkling lights, festive decorations and whirling rides. Get into the holiday spirit with special Christmas shows, savory Christmas menus, super holiday shopping and a visit with Santa in his Furry Workshop.

more on a very furry christmas

Why to Kick Off Your Holiday Shopping in Philadelphia Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Philadelphia is packed with awesome shopping experiences, including brand-new retail destinations in Center City, charming craft bazaars and pop-up shops, independent boutique shops and top-rated shopping malls. One of the best times to begin shopping? Thanksgiving weekend. Not only do tons of stores offer once-a-year sales, but many Philadelphia holiday attractions also start the season the weekend following Turkey Day. Click the button below for the top 10 reasons to kick off your holiday shopping in Philadelphia this Thanksgiving weekend.

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Holiday Shopping

The best time to begin shopping? Thanksgiving weekend. Not only do tons of stores offer once-a-year sales, but many Philadelphia holiday attractions also start the season the weekend following Turkey Day. (J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

Holiday Markets, Seasonal Pop-Ups, Craft Bazaars and Shopping Events

Holiday shoppers looking to purchase creative and sure-to-be-coveted gifts this season have plenty of special markets, bazaars and pop-up shops to choose from in Philadelphia. Pop-up holiday markets and events are cropping up all over town. Here’s a look at where shoppers can get in on the holiday pop-up shopping action, at both ongoing markets with multiple shopping days and special shopping events that come around just once a year.

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