Article

30 Things to Do With Kids During the Holidays in Philadelphia for 2017

Celebrate the holiday season with the entire family at these fun events and performances

1 of 1
1 of 1

Don’t let the arrival of winter keep you and your family cooped up indoors. The holiday season is a great time of year to get out and about with wee ones in tow.

There are so many things to do — many of them for free! — with those of all ages this holiday season in Philadelphia, so we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best things to do with the pint-sized set to make the most of the chilly season in the city.

Enjoy our comprehensive guide to holiday fun with the family in Philadelphia for 2017, below.

01

Dilworth Park Wintergarden, Christmas Village and the Holidays at City Hall

Three months of ice skating right next to City Hall, November through February

Spend the day skating right next to City Hall at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Dates vary by attraction

The heart of Center City is packed with holiday pop ups, including the brand-new, nightly KLIP Collective creation, Deck the Hall Light Show at Dilworth Park. The outdoor Rothman Institute Ice Rink & Rothman Institute Cabin offer ice skating, skate rentals, twinkling lights and indoor space to warm up and fill up on snacks and hot drinks (and cocktails and beer for the adults), while America’s Garden Capital Maze is a living labyrinth of seasonal plants and lights. Philly’s official tree overlooks North Broad Street, as does Craft Hall, an indoor bakery and barbecue featuring Lost Breads and smoked meats. Within the open-air courtyard, the carousel returns, along with the Hernhut stars-topped stalls of the Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market of independent local vendors. Across the street at LOVE Park (in the midst of renovations) is Christmas Village, the annual German-style holiday shopping hot spot.

Where: 1 S. 15th St Philadelphia, PA 19102

Read More
02

Christmas Light Show at Macy's Center City

A Philadelphia holiday tradition since 1956

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The Grand Court in the National Historic Landmark Wanamaker Building has hosted a Christmas Light Show since 1956. The department store revives the tradition of sugarplum fairies, dancing snowmen and more with a 100,000-light show narrated by Julie Andrews and accompanied by the famed Wanamaker Organ. Free performances take place every two hours during store hours. Between shows, visitors often tour the second floor’s vintage Dickens Village, setup of animated dolls retelling A Christmas Carol; each free walkthrough ends in a chance to meet and get photos with Santa.

Where: 1300 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

Read More
03

Franklin Square Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

Brilliant bright display inspired by the imagination of Benjamin Franklin

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

During the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show makes this park twinkle, with free shows every 30 minutes between 4 and 8 p.m. on weeknights and 4 and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Among the 50,000 lights set to music are a giant, illuminated kite and key. Festivities include #FranklinSquareFridays; Saturdays with Santa; Seasonal Sounds on Sundays; rides on the holiday train and carousel; treats such as make-you-own s’mores, hot doughnuts, local beer (for the adults) and hot beverages (served in a warming tent or around fire pits in a beer garden) and mini-golf.

Where: 6th and Race Streets Philadelphia, PA 19103

Read More
04

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Seasonal wintertime park on the Delaware River Waterfront

The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is a can't-miss winter attraction on the Delaware River waterfront. — Courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest brings a riverfront enclave of activities for those of all ages. The winterized park houses the only Olympic-sized skating rink in the city, which overlooks the Delaware River. In addition to ice skating, families can look forward to arcade games, fire pits and a ski chalet-style lodge serving up perfect post-skate treats, such as hot chocolate and an array of seasonal eats.

Where: 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19106

Read More
Advertisement
Advertisement
05

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

A must-see holiday tradition in the lobby of the Comcast Center

Comcast Holiday Spectacular Comcast Holiday Spectacular
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is a 15-minute screening on the Comcast Experience video wall that takes visitors on a festive, musical journey. — M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

November 23, 2017 – January 1, 2018

For a magical experience of a different sort, gather up the kids and head to the Comcast Experience video wall. One of the world’s highest resolution LED displays, the wall annually displays free 15-minute shows filled with music from The Nutcracker and holiday cheer. Shows run daily at the top of the hour from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (excluding 5 p.m. on weekdays).

Where: 1701 John F Kennedy Blvd. Philadelphia, PA 19103

Read More
06

PHLASH Downtown Loop's Holiday Service

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Through December 31, 2017

Looking for a convenient way to transport the family around town? Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, the PHLASH Downtown Loop offers daily service to popular Philadelphia spots through the holiday season. Service is available every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., allowing passengers to easily experience festive holiday attractions like the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s, Christmas Village and more.

Where: 22 Stops through Philadelphia Website Mobile site

Read More
07

Pennsylvania Ballet Presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

— Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet

December 8-31, 2017 (select dates)

Celebrate one of Philadelphia’s greatest family traditions with the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music, now in its 49th year. The unforgettable classic will once again transport audiences as Marie and her Prince battle the evil Mouse King and travel to the Land of the Sweets where the Sugarplum Fairy reigns. Set to Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production has become a beloved Philadelphia holiday tradition, attracting more than 50,000 people each year.

Where: 1420 Locust Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

Read More
08

SugarHouse Casino New Year’s Eve on the Waterfront

Ring in the New Year with two fireworks shows on the Delaware River Waterfront

New Year's Eve Fireworks In Philadelphia New Year's Eve Fireworks In Philadelphia
— Photo by M. Stanley for DRWC

Penn’s Landing is the place to ring in the New Year with SugarHouse Casino’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront featuring two spectacular shows. For the little ones who won’t make it till the final countdown, an evening fireworks display goes down at 6 p.m. before Philadelphia’s main midnight attraction on the Delaware River Waterfront. Conveniently located within a short walk of Old City, Society Hill and South Street, Penn’s Landing becomes a festive party with revelers of all ages delighting in a breathtaking fireworks display.

Where: 101 S. Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19106

Read More
Advertisement
Advertisement
09

SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade

Mummers strut down Broad Street, leaving behind a trail of glitter, feathers and fun

— Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

During the SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade, the only-in-Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition that dates back to 1901, thousands of men, women and children delight and dazzle crowds with feathers, sequins, music and merriment during a day-long romp along Broad Street from City Hall, site of competition among the Comic, Comic Wench and String Band divisions, to Washington Avenue.

Where: S. Penn Square and S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19107

Read More
10

Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad at Reading Terminal Market

America’s oldest farmers’ market

— Photo courtesy Reading Terminal Market

Through December 24, 2017

Every holiday season, Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia’s indoor haven for all things food, sets up an impressive holiday railroad display. This year’s all-new display features five magical interactive model train vignettes celebrating the history of the Reading Terminal Market, the Reading Railroad and the joys of the holiday season.

Where: 12th and Arch Streets Philadelphia, PA 19107

Read More
11

Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum

A romantic Victorian landscape garden

— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Through December 31, 2017

Calling all choo choo lovers! Set amid the evergreens, Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway showcases a miniature winter wonderland complete with a quarter-mile of model-train track, seven loops and tunnels, 15 rail lines and model trains that cruise past scaled replicas of historic monuments and Philadelphia landmarks adorned with thousands of twinkling lights. On select Fridays, catch special nighttime viewings when white lights bedeck the rails and miniature greens adorn the buildings; advanced tickets required.

Where: 100 E. Northwestern Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19118

Read More
12

The Holidays at the Please Touch Museum

Where kids ages 1 – 7 are boss

The Please Touch Museum hosts a New Year's Eve countdown for the whole family. — Courtesy Please Touch Museum

Share the Joy of Christmas Party: December 9, 2017
Hanukkah Wonderland: December 13, 2017
Kwanzaa: December 26, 2017
Countdown 2 Noon: December 31, 2017

One of the nation’s premier children’s museums, the Please Touch Museum hosts three special holiday celebrations. On December 9, meet Kris Kringle and enjoy a lively and humorous concert by Yosi & The Superdads. The museum will host a special Hanukkah celebration on December 13, also featuring singing, dancing and wiggling by Yosi. December 26 brings a special Kwanzaa Celebration, where you can weave your own Mkeka and enjoy a performance by The Seventh Principle. On December 31, kids will ring in the New Year at a “Countdown 2 Noon” at noon and 1 p.m.

Where: 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, PA 19131

Read More
Advertisement
Advertisement
13

Adventure Aquarium's Christmas Underwater

— Photo by G. Mattie for Adventure Aquarium

December 1-30, 2017

Marvel at the world’s tallest underwater Christmas tree, which makes its debut at Adventure Aquarium this year. The 18-foot-tall tree, part of the attraction’s Shark Realm, will be illuminated for the first time on Friday, December 1 and will be on display through December 30. Alongside thousands of twinkling lights and colorful shells and coral, visitors will get the chance to see Scuba Santa and his “elfish” helpers swimming beneath the surface and celebrating the season.

Where: 1 Riverside DrCamden, NJ 08103

Read More
14

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place

— Courtesy of Sesame Place

November 18 – December 30, 2017

Elmo, Abby, Oscar and friends — including, new this year, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Clarice and Bumble — are part of the ultimate little-kid theme park’s A Very Furry Christmas. Wee ones tour the Twiddlebugs’ Gingerbread Cookie Factory, meet Lightning, the reindeer from Elmo Saves Christmas, take in holiday productions such as the 1-2-3 Christmas Tree Show and snag spots for the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade.

Where: 100 Sesame Road Langhorne, PA 19047

Read More
15

A Longwood Christmas

Dazzling lights highlight this incredible holiday celebration

— Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens

Through January 7, 2018

During A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens, thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees and fragrant flowers transform the heated four-acre Conservatory, site of free and ticketed holiday-inspired performances and daily holiday sing-alongs. Outside, 500,000 lights glitter in the trees, and fountains dance to seasonal music.

Where: 1001 Longwood RoadKennett Square, PA 19348

Read More
16

Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Row is full of shops, salons and more. — M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

During the holidays, Rittenhouse Square boasts one of the largest Christmas trees in the city. Every year, those of all ages come to experience the ceremonial lighting of the Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree, which is typically more than 30 feet tall. Thousands of colorful globes keep the area aglow throughout the season, making a cheerful sight for families walking through or relaxing in the park.

Where: Rittenhouse Square18th and Walnut StreetsPhiladelphia, PA

Read More
17

Christmas Tree Lightings on East Passyunk Avenue

— Photo courtesy East Passyunk Business Improvement District

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Philadelphia’s East Passyunk neighborhood will be decking the avenue during the annual Tree Lighting Party at the famous Singing Fountain. Join festive carolers, 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.

Where: Tasker St. and East Passyunk Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19148

Read More
18

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Christmas Kids Spectacular

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bring the entire family to the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts‘ Verizon Hall to see a festive performance by The Philadelphia Orchestra that kids are sure to love. Not just an orchestral performance, the matinee event includes holiday sing-alongs, dancers, actors and even a visit from Santa Claus.

Where: 300 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Read More
19

A Philly POPS Christmas

Put on your dancing shoes, warm up your singing voice and enjoy a few of the best performing arts the city has to offer during the holidays. — Photo courtesy Philly Pops

December 2-19, 2017 (select dates)

At the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, maestro Michael Krajewski takes the baton to lead the Philly POPS in a newly re-imagined, always beloved concert featuring vocalist Justin Hopkins, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the Philly POPS Festival Chorus and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir. Also on tap: a musical performance of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Where: Broad and Spruce StreetsThe Kimmel Center for the Performing ArtsPhiladelphia, PA 19102

Read More
20

Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum

Make a gingerbread boat then watch a parade of decorated vessels along the Delaware River during the annual Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum. — Photo Courtesy Independence Seaport Museum

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Parade of Lights along the Delaware River features illuminated working vessels, tugboats included, preceded by a day of visiting with Santa, building ornaments and gingerbread boats and learning how snow is made at the Independence Seaport Museum.

Where: 211 South Christopher Columbus Blvd. Philadelphia, PA 19106

Read More
21

Kwanzaa Celebration at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

Celebrating and interpreting African-American history and culture

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

December 27-30, 2017

The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosts a four-day Kwanzaa Celebration, inviting families to come out and celebrate the First Fruits of the Harvest. In the first three days, crafting activities represent self-determination, working together and supporting each other; on the fourth day, a candle-lighting ceremony demonstrates purpose.

Where: 701 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Read More
22

Christmasland at Linvilla Orchards

December 1-23, 2017

For the holidays, Linvilla Orchards transforms into the North Pole — farm style. Take the kids to pick out a Christmas tree, and afterward explore the market, stocked with tasty holiday treats like hot mulled cider. Santa makes a guest appearance every Saturday and Sunday in December, and Saturday evenings bring Caroling Hayrides, where sing-alongs, live music and apple cider create a fun and festive experience.

Where: 137 W. Knowlton Road Media, PA 19063

Read More
23

Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm

— Courtesy Shady Brook Farm

November 18, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Millions of lights sparkle at Shady Brook Farm during the incredible Holiday Light Show. Experience the magical drive in your own car or hop on an open-air wagon ride. Beforehand, consider picking out a holiday tree and be sure to visit Santa at Santa’s Village for a photo with the kids.

Where: 931 Stony Hill Rd. Morrisville, PA 19067

Read More
24

North Pole Express and Santa's Steam Spectacular at New Hope & Ivyland Railroad

— B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Through December 31, 2017

All aboard the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad for a holiday train ride — pulled by either a vintage diesel locomotive or a steam locomotive — with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Lasting for one hour, the holiday excursion invites families to sip on hot chocolate and enjoy festive cookies as Santa and Mrs. Claus deliver a special gift to each child on-board. Christmas carol sing-alongs will sweeten the ride as the train transports you to the “North Pole.”

Where: 32 W. Bridge Street New Hope, PA 18938

Read More
25

Being __________ at Christmas

Preserving and interpreting the American Jewish experience

National Museum of American Jewish History exterior National Museum of American Jewish History exterior
— Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Monday, December 25, 2017

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 the annual day of family fun with music, games, clay crafting, children’s activities and more.

Where: 101 S. Independence Mall East Philadelphia, PA 19106

Read More
26

Franklin Square’s Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown and Dance Party

Brilliant bright display inspired by the imagination of Benjamin Franklin

Electrical Spectacle:A Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle:A Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square
Franklin Square hosts an array of events each holiday season, including the spectacular Electrical Spectacle Light Show. — J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia

Historic Franklin Square offers families an evening of New Year’s family fun from 3-8 p.m., with a 6 p.m. “square” drop, an indoor kids’ dance party, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show outside and great views of the early fireworks show at Penn’s Landing.

Where: 200 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Read More
27

Fancy Brigade Finale and MummersFest

— Photo courtesy Philadelphia Mummers Fancy Brigade Association

MummersFest: December 28-31, 2017
Fancy Brigades Finale: January 1, 2018

A spectacular Philadelphia’s New Year’s Day tradition heads indoors during the Mummers Fancy Brigade Finale at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where clubs perform their Broadway-style music-and-dance routines for prizes and bragging rights. Celebrate the New Year all week-long during MummersFest, featuring a behind-the-scenes look as the Mummers put the finishing touches on their costumes and routines.

Where: 1101 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

Read More
Dilworth Park Wintergarden, Christmas Village and the Holidays at City Hall
Christmas Light Show at Macy's Center City
Franklin Square Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular
PHLASH Downtown Loop's Holiday Service
Pennsylvania Ballet Presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
SugarHouse Casino New Year’s Eve on the Waterfront
SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade
Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad at Reading Terminal Market
Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum
The Holidays at the Please Touch Museum
Adventure Aquarium's Christmas Underwater
A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place
A Longwood Christmas
Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square
Christmas Tree Lightings on East Passyunk Avenue
The Philadelphia Orchestra’s Christmas Kids Spectacular
A Philly POPS Christmas
Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum
Kwanzaa Celebration at the African American Museum in Philadelphia
Christmasland at Linvilla Orchards
Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm
North Pole Express and Santa's Steam Spectacular at New Hope & Ivyland Railroad
Being __________ at Christmas
Franklin Square’s Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown and Dance Party
Fancy Brigade Finale and MummersFest
Hotel Deal

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through November 30, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art, a $25 gift card to the must-visit Reading Terminal Market, free Philly-themed mini-golf at Franklin Square and a $10 Lyft credit.

Book Now

Stay in Touch

We apologize, something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.
Share
Tweet
[disabled]
[disabled]
[disabled]
[disabled]
[disabled]
[disabled]
[disabled]
[disabled]