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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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Guide to the Top Holiday Events in Philadelphia

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 welcomes new attractions and bigger and better holiday traditions. The expanded Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers outdoor ice skating and nighttime fun at Penn’s Landing while the brand-new 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 2014 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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Christmas Spectacular by the Philly POPS!

Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular

December 5-20, 2014

Join the Philly POPS for the Christmas Spectacular, a festive evening of holiday favorites featuring more than 300 musicians, local choirs and Broadway vocalist Hugh Panaro all led by celebrated conductor David Charles Abell. Families can sing-along with beloved holiday tunes and expect a few surprises during the return of Philadelphia's musical holiday tradition.
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North Pole Express at New Hope & Ivyland Railroad

New Hope and Ivyland Railroad

November 21-December 31, 2014

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

December 1-31, 2014

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. Santa makes a guest appearance every Saturday and Sunday in December, and on select afternoons, 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

November 28-30, Weekends only December 6-21

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

November 1-December 31, 2014

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. Note that the holiday market is closed on major holidays.
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Adventure Aquarium Christmas Celebration

Adventure Aquarium

November 28, 2014-January 1, 2015

Enjoy the magic of the holiday season during Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration. Get into the yuletide spirit with Scuba Santa and his elves, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — and, of course, plenty of sharks, fish, sea turtles and more.
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Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square

December 1, 2014, 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 5,000 colorful globes making a cheerful sight for holiday shoppers amongst the popular stores along Rittenhouse Row.
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Stag and Doe Nights in Chestnut Hill

Wednesdays December 3, 10, 17

On the Wednesdays leading up to Christmas, Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill transforms into a winter wonderland for the annual Stag & Doe shopping nights. From 6 to 9 p.m., Chestnut Hill shops will be full of holiday spirit. Shopkeepers will help you figure out what to get picky gift receivers with gift suggestions, all while you’re enjoying treats from each shop. As you travel from shop to shop, carolers will serenade you with favorite Christmas carols.
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East Passyunk Tree Lighting Party

December 4, 5-7 p.m.

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. Be sure to visit the stores and businesses along East Passyunk Avenue for great holiday sales and treats.
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Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade in West Chester

December 5, 2014

West Chester welcomes Santa Claus to town during the popular 2014 Mars Drinks Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade presented by QVC, a one-mile loop through the historic district featuring regional marching bands, elf hats, floats, celebrity appearances and much more. Attracting more than 35,000 people each year, the traditional holiday parade will be shown to millions more with a live broadcast on QVC.
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Deck the Alley

Elfreth

December 6, 2014

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 6 as carolers and colonial reenactors create a festive mood for the holiday celebration. Families can enjoy carriage rides, story telling and take pictures of the alley's upside-down Christmas tree.
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Sister Cities Park FrostFest

Sister Cities Park

December 6, 13, 20

For three Saturdays in December, Sister Cities Park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will celebrate the holidays during FrostFest. Families can enjoy science demonstrations from the Franklin Institute, live ice carving, music, free carriage rides and meet Santa himself during the weekend festivities.
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Victorian Christmas Celebration at Pennypacker Mills

Through January 5, 2015

Bask in Christmas of holidays past at Pennypacker Mills, the home of Pennsylvania’s late Governor, Samuel Pennypacker. Through January 5, 2014, 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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PHS Holiday Pop-Up Shop in Chestnut Hill

Through December

In Chestnut Hill, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society produces yet another crowd-pleasing attraction this month with the launch of its annual PHS Holiday Pop Up Store. The temporary holiday shop situated right on Germantown Avenue deals in a lovely range of goods for the kitchen and garden savvy during the holiday season through December.
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Franklin Flea Holiday Market

Franklin Flea

Saturdays from November 15-December 20, 2014

The Philadelphia-centric Franklin Flea Holiday Market returns for six Saturday shopping days, November 15 through December 20 in the former home of Strawbridge & Clothier. At the wintertime market, shoppers can expect a finely tuned selection of around 50 vendors set up amid the antique chandeliers and marble columns of the historic space, selling everything from fine antiques and vintage clothing to handmade decorative arts and gourmet street food.
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Holiday Tours at the Historic Homes of Fairmont Park

December 3-31, 2014

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 12 and 14. This year, you can experience A Fairmount Christmas Carol from December 12-13. During the festive weekend, each of the homes will be decorated with a special theme with free transportation available aboard the Holly Trolley.
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Zoo Noel at the Philadelphia Zoo

December 6-7, 13-14, 20-21

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, meet Santa in the Treehouse and watch as the jolly man himself feeds his favorite zoo animals.
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Nutcracker Holiday Market

December 10-14, 2014

Shoppers stock up on one-of-a-kind, artisan-made gifts at the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Nutcracker Market at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. More than 70 selected artists and craftsmen offer hand-made American crafts and gifts, including ornaments, jewelry, photography and dance-inspired pieces. Shoppers can also enjoy interactive activities, visits from the characters of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and more.
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Punk Rock Flea Market

December 13-14, 2014

The holiday Punk Rock Flea Market lands in Callowhill on Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, December 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Browse the goods of more than 300 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

Go West! Craft Fest

December 14, 2014

This year, the Go West! Craft Fest will have dozens of Philadelphia based vendors many of which based right out of 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

Valley Forge

December 19 , 2014

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

National Museum of American Jewish History

December 25, 2014

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

The Johnson House

December 27, 2014

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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Macy's Family Fun Day at AAMP: Kwanzaa Celebration!

African American Museum of Philadelphia

December 27-28, 2014

The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosts a weekend of family-friendly fun in celebration of the art, history and culture of people from the African Diaspora. Families can learn the "Seven Princples" of Kwanzaa while enjoying music, dance, storytelling, craft projects and more.
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Fancy Brigade Finale and MummersFest

January 1, 2015

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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