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Macy's Christmas Light Show

Center City

CREDIT: G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Christmas Village

LOVE Park

CREDIT: M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Penn's Landing

CREDIT: Delaware River Waterfront Corp.

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The 50 Essential Holiday Events In Philadelphia For 2015

The best seasonal celebrations throughout the region

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — especially in Philly, where iconic traditions and new festivities add sparkle to the season.

This year the city’s hosts a number of beloved holiday traditions. The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers outdoor ice skating and nighttime fun at Penn’s Landing while the Dilworth Park laces up its skates for fun with the Rothman Ice Rink. Get into the spirit of the season with the long-running Macy’s Christmas Light Show in Center City and cross off your holiday shopping at the traditional German-inspired Christmas Village in LOVE Park.

It all leads up to an explosive end to 2015 with the spectacular New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Delaware River Waterfront followed by the must-see Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day.

With pop-up shops, annual celebrations and more holidays lights than you can count, Philadelphia and the Towns of the Countryside are bursting with things to do this holiday season. For more fun ideas to celebrate the season, browse our guide to the Top Holiday Events below.

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North Pole Express at New Hope & Ivyland Railroad

New Hope, Bucks County

November 21 - December 31, 2015

All aboard the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad for a family-friendly holiday train ride with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Lasting between 60 and 90 minutes, the holiday excursion features live music, refreshments and more holiday fun for everyone.
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Christmasland at Linvilla Orchards

Media, Delaware County

November 22 - December 23, 2015

For the holidays, Linvilla Orchards transforms into the North Pole — farm style. Get into the holiday spirit by cutting your own Christmas tree and doing a little shopping at the market that’s stocked with tasty holiday treats like hot mulled cider. On Saturday evenings in December, visitors can sing along during Caroling Hayrides, complete with live music and apple cider.
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Santa's Express at West Chester Railroad

West Chester, Chester County

November 27-29, Weekends only December 5-20, 2015

Take a scenic, 90-minute holiday train ride through the Chester Creek Valley during Santa's Express on the West Chester Railroad. Families can celebrate with Santa himself, pose for pictures, enjoy live music and more.
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Byers' Choice German Christmas Market

Chalfont, Bucks County

November 1 - December 31, 2015

The traditional German Christmas Market at Byers' Choice boasts plenty of gifts for holiday shoppers (think gingerbread houses, advent calendars, handcrafted caroler figurines and toys) in addition to spirited events throughout the season.
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Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia

Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 5 p.m.

During the holidays, Rittenhouse Square boasts one of the largest Christmas trees in the city. Every year, locals and visitors pack the popular park for the ceremonial lighting of the Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree, which is typically more than 30 feet tall. Throughout the season, Rittenhouse Square is aglow with thousands of colorful globes making a cheerful sight for holiday shoppers amongst the popular stores along Rittenhouse Row.
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City Hall Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Spectacular

Philadelphia

Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 5 p.m.

One of the biggest tree lighting events in the city, the annual holiday celebration and tree lighting celebration at City Hall takes place in early December every year. Afterward, lace up your skates at the Rothman Ice Rink, located on the west side of City Hall.
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East Passyunk Tree Lighting Party

Philadelphia

December 3, 2015

Philadelphia's East Passyunk neighborhood will be decking the avenue during the annual Tree Lighting Part at the famous Singing Fountain. Join festive carolers, student musicians and local businesses for the celebration leading up to Santa lighting the tree. Afterward, be sure to visit the stores and businesses along East Passyunk Avenue for great holiday sales and treats.
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Chestnut Hill Circle of Trees

Philadelphia

November 21, 2015

Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season in Chestnut Hill at Woodmere Art Museum’s Circle of Trees event. The free annual tree lighting will be followed by live music, hot chocolate and cookies.
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Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade in West Chester

West Chester, Chester County

December 4, 2015

West Chester welcomes Santa Claus to town during the popular 2015 Mars Drinks Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade presented by QVC, a one-mile loop through the historic district featuring marching bands, spectacular floats, giant character balloons, dance teams, antique vehicles and much more. The traditional holiday parade will be shown to millions with a broadcast on QVC on Christmas Day.
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A Christmas Story, The Musical at Walnut Street Theatre

Philadelphia

November 10, 2015 - January 10, 2016

The Walnut Street Theatre invites audiences to join in the laughter when the Tony Award-nominated Broadway hit A Christmas Story, The Musical makes its Philadelphia debut. Fans of Ralphie and his lovably oddball family will howl with glee when the oversized pink bunny pajamas, the longed-for Red Ryder BB gun, the “fra-gee-lee” kooky leg lamp, the world’s crankiest Santa and other icons turn up in this song-and-dance version of the quirky holiday classic film held at America’s oldest theater.
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Free Holiday Events at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Philadelphia
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

December 2015 (select dates)

The Kimmel Center is hosting a handful of free holiday events this December including musical performances, international traditions and Tuba Christmas, featuring more than 100 tubas in Commonwealth Plaza. Mark your calendars for Christmas Posada on December 10, two performances of Tuba Christmas on December 20 and a New Year's Day Celebration on January 1.
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Deck the Alley

Philadelphia

December 5, 2015

America's oldest street, Elfreth's Alley, will once again Deck the Alley for the holiday season. Residents of the historic street will open their homes to the public on December 5 as carolers and colonial reenactors create a festive mood for the holiday celebration. Families can enjoy holiday decorations, carolers, refreshments and visits from Benjamin Franklin and Dolley Madison.
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Victorian Christmas Celebration at Pennypacker Mills

Schwenksville, Montgomery County

November 24, 2015 – January 10, 2016

Bask in Christmas of holidays past at Pennypacker Mills, the home of Pennsylvania’s late Governor, Samuel Pennypacker. Through January 10, 2015, the home welcomes an array of Victorian holiday decorations like glass ornaments, a magnificent vintage-inspired Christmas tree, holiday greens and more.
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Holiday Tours at the Historic Homes of Fairmont Park

Philadelphia

Thursdays through Sundays, December 3-20, 2015

Every holiday season, the six historic homes of Fairmount deck their halls for the festive season. Self-guided tours are available throughout the month of December with guided trolley tours available on December 10 and 13. This year, you can experience A Fairmount Christmas Carol from December 16 and 18. Also, don’t miss Holly Trolley Day on Saturday, December 5 and 12, featuring special activities and performances along with FREE transportation from Lloyd Hall to each of the historic homes from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
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Zoo Noel at the Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia

December 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 2015

What’s the season like for animals in the rainforest, in the outback and on the farm? For three weekends in December, the Philadelphia Zoo hosts Zoo Noel, showcasing life-size renditions of Mr. Claus as he explores his role in animal habitats around the globe. Guests warm up at the holiday hot chocolate bar, browse the Little Elves’ Gift Shop and meet Santa in the Treehouse.
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Arctic Ave. in East Passyunk

December 12, 2015

East Passyunk Avenue gets cool on December 12 with its first-ever Artic Ave. celebration. Live ice-sculpture carvings run all day long up and down the main drag accompany live music, refreshments, holiday sales, the Holiday Crafty Balboa show and more. After dropping the kids off at home, end the night with Reyka Vodka holiday cocktail specials at 15 participating bars and restaurants.
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Parade of Lights

Philadelphia

December 12, 2015

Head to the Delaware River waterfront for the 6th annual Parade of Lights, a lighting celebration unlike any other in the city. This boat parade features both pleasure boats and working vessels decked out in fabulous decorations and lights. Before the parade, head to the Independence Seaport Museum, which is hosting the parade, for holiday activities and festivities. (Tip: The best view for the parade is from the second floor balcony of the museum.)
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Tippler’s Tour Yuletide Cheers & Beers

Philadelphia
Tippler

Thursdays, November 12 - December 17, 2015

Where can you enjoy a pint, learn about history, and raise a glass alongside a Red Coat soldier? On the Yuletide Cheers & Beers bar crawl. The holiday pub tour is back for the season starting today, November 12.
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Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park

Philadelphia

November 21 - December 27, 2015 (closed Christmas Day)

New this year, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market showcases the work of local artists, crafters, confectionaries and designers. Shoppers can purchase goods from local artists like Philly Word Art, designers like Beaucycled and Saffron Creations and crafters like soap maker Mahogany Essentials and Candlemaker Accent Aroma. Also available: Philly foods galore in the form of macaroons and cannolis from T Bake Shoppe, gourmet chocolates from Tradestone Confections, flavored kettle corn from Philly Pop Kettle Corn and other favorites. Note that the market will be open with a limited number of vendors from December 3 through 9.
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Holiday Shopping at Philadelphia Flea Markets

Philadelphia

Saturdays from November 21 to Decmeber 19, 2015

Philadelphia Flea Markets, organizers of the largest indoor/outdoor markets in Center City, will have plenty of opportunities for holiday shopping this season. On December 5 and 19, the market will feature dozens of vendors at its Spring Garden location, offering antique & mid-century modern furniture, estate jewelry, vintage clothing, pottery, artwork and much more. On December 12, vendors will be on hand in the courtyard of the Morris House Hotel for a special holiday market in conjunction with the hotel's and M Restaurant's tree lighting ceremony.
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Punk Rock Flea Market

Philadelphia

December 11-13, 2015

The holiday Punk Rock Flea Market lands in Callowhill on Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Browse the goods of more than 200 tables of vendors selling old records, clothes, art, music, food, junk, bicycles, stereo equipment, instruments, automobiles, tools, posters, furniture, computers, skateboards and lots of other stuff. For this holiday edition, Punk Rock Flea Market runs for two days, and the $3 entry donation provides access throughout the whole weekend.
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Go West! Craft Fest

Philadelphia

December 13, 2015

This year, the Go West! Craft Fest will have triple the number of vendors for its holiday showcase at its new location at The Rotunda in West Philly. Find treasure after treasure as you browse through the candles, cards, hand blown glass, jewelry, gift baskets and more. The array of items at the craft fest will satisfy your shopping need and the immense talent is bound to impress you, too.
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Annual March of the Continental Army Commemoration at Valley Forge

King of Prussia, Montgomery County

December 19, 2015

Celebrate the anniversary of December 19, 1777 when General George Washington and his Continental Army set up their winter quarters at Valley Forge and began their difficult six-month encampment. The evening event features a recreation of the continental camp, 18th-century music and refreshments as well as George Washington himself.
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Being [ ] at Christmas

Philadelphia
National Museum of American Jewish History

December 25, 2015

On Christmas Day, the National Museum of American Jewish History invites families to fill in the blank during Being [ ] at Christmas. The event invites families from every background to join in its annual day of family fun with music, games, children’s activities and more.
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Kwanzaa Family Celebration at the Johnson House

Philadelphia
The Johnson House

December 27, 2015

The Johnson House in Historic Germantown celebrates the principles of Kwanzaa with an evening of African storytelling, drumming, arts and cultural foods from 6-8 p.m.
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Fancy Brigade Finale and MummersFest

Philadelphia

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year's tradition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the Philadelphia Mummers Fancy Brigade Finale is an elaborate display of costumes, sets, music and choreography. Families can get a photo with the Fancies during Mummersfest then watch the Mummers strut during a matinee at noon. The Fancy Brigades bring their best as they compete during the main judged competition at 5 p.m.
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