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A Guide To Tree Lighting Celebrations in Philadelphia for 2017

Rock around the tree with sparkling lights and holiday cheer

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Throughout the holiday season, neighborhoods and attractions across the city glow with trees decked out in lights and seasonal decor.

Special ceremonies mark the tree lightings that start as early as Thanksgiving week. From Manayunk’s Canal View Park to East Passyunk’s Singing Fountain and beyond, locals gather to celebrate as switches are flipped to illuminate the towering firs.

These occasions are often celebrated with seasonal drinks and food, festive sing-alongs and appearances from Santa Claus himself.

But the fun doesn’t stop around the tree. For more unique options, consider heading to Adventure Aquarium to see Santa swimming alongside sharks, marvel at twinkling vessels floating on the Delaware River at the Parade of Lights or take in the shimmering winter wonderland during A Longwood Christmas. The holiday festivities are nearly limitless.

Read on for our list of tree lighting celebrations in Philadelphia for 2017, arranged chronologically and divided into two sections: tree lightings in Philadelphia and tree lightings in Philadelphia’s Countryside.

01

Chestnut Hill Circle of Trees

— Photo by Darryl Moran

Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 5:30-7 p.m.

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. Families are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy that will be given to local children in need.

Where: 9201 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118

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02

Tree Lighting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 from 5-7 p.m.

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 5 p.m. with seasonal treats and live holiday music. Afterward, head inside the museum, which has pay-what-you-wish admission every Wednesday evening.

Where: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy Philadelphia, PA 19130

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03

Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration

This is the caption for the image in view. — Source: Jimmy Jin

Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Join Mayor Jim Kenney and the Office of the City Representative 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 50-foot-tall Philly Holiday Tree at the north end of City Hall — complete with twinkling lights in 42 colors — and enjoy a festive evening with filled with holiday cheer, live entertainment, free hot chocolate and a few surprises.

Where: Broad Street and Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

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04

Tree Lighting Ceremony in Manayunk

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Manayunk plays home to holiday festivities of all sort at its Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, November 25. Before the celebration, meet up with Santa on Main Street for a photo, then follow his processional to Canal View Park for the tree lighting ceremony, holiday sing-alongs, hot chocolate and other soul-warming treats.

Where: 4430 Main Street Philadelphia PA 19127

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05

Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square

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

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 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 towering 30-foot-tall Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree. Throughout the season, Rittenhouse Square is aglow with 5,000 colorful globes, making it a cheerful sight for holiday shoppers among the popular stores along Rittenhouse Row.

Where: Rittenhouse Square18th and Walnut StreetsPhiladelphia, PA

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06

East Passyunk Tree Lighting

— Photo courtesy East Passyunk Business Improvement District

Thursday, November 30, 2017 from 5-7 p.m.

Philadelphia’s East Passyunk neighborhood will be decking the avenue during its annual Tree Lighting Party at the famous Singing Fountain. Enjoy festive carolers from Alphabet Academy, student musicians from Andrew Jackson School, an appearance from CBS meteorologist Chelsea Ingram and a performance by the Christmas Guys at 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

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07

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest Tree Lighting

Seasonal wintertime park on the Delaware River Waterfront

The waterfront winter wonderland hosts a huge tree lighting celebration complete with performances, fireworks and more. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest on the Delaware River waterfront goes all out in lighting its tree on December 1. Look forward to performers, singers, dancers and ice skaters, along with seasonal activities and a grand tree lighting finale — complete with fireworks — courtesy of PECO.

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

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08

Adventure Aquarium's Underwater Christmas Tree

— Photo by G. Mattie for Adventure Aquarium

Friday, December 1, 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 DRIVE CAMDEN, NJ 08103

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09

South Street Headhouse Winter Wonderland

— Photo courtesy South Street Headhouse District

Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 5 p.m.

South Street Headhouse District welcomes the return of Winter Wonderland with free family fun, a tree lighting and a holiday market on December 3. Look forward to live musical and dance performances, food vendors under the Headhouse Shambles and more.

Where: 200 Pine St. Philadelphia, PA 19147

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10

Parade of Lights

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 at 5:30 p.m.

Head to the Delaware River waterfront for the 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.

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

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11

Festival of Trees at Pearl S. Buck House

November 14-22 & November 24 – December 30, 2017 (select dates)

Lit-up trees and holiday decorations abound in room after room inside the charming stone farmhouse turned national landmark that once belonged to novelist Pearl S. Buck. Twenty-nine artists from Bucks County came together to fill the museum with artful decor and vignettes celebrating the holiday season. For the ultimate experience, reserve a candlelight tour, taking place December 1, 8 and 15 at 7 p.m, by calling (215) 249-0100.

Where: 520 Dublin Road Perkasie, PA 18944

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12

Grand Illumination Celebration at Peddler's Village

Charming countryside village just one hour from Philadelphia

— Photo courtesy Peddler's Village

Friday, November 17, 2017 from 6-9 p.m.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to switch on one million (!) jewel-colored holiday lights for the Grand Illumination Celebration at Peddler’s Village in Bucks County. Afterward, snag some warm apple cider and roast marshmallows over an open fire, then check out the dozens of whimsical gingerbread houses at the free Annual Gingerbread House Competition and Display

Where: 41 Peddler's Village Road (Routes 202 and 263) Lahaska, PA 18931

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13

Santa's Grand Illumination and 1-2-3 Christmas Tree at A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place

— Courtesy of Sesame Place

Santa’s Grand Illumination: November 18, 2017
A Very Furry Christmas: November 18 – December 31, 2017 (select dates)

Bring the little ones for A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place where, on November 18, Santa arrives (on a horse-drawn carriage!) to flick the switch on the attraction’s light display. Throughout the holiday season, the 1-2-3 Christmas Tree music and light show features an enormous, glowing tree and favorite holiday songs. Elsewhere throughout the park, guests find thousands of twinkling lights and plenty of holiday decor. And on most weekend nights, the holiday events culminate in a Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade.

Where: 100 Sesame Road Langhorne, PA 19047

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14

12th Annual Bucks County Holiday TreeFest

— Photo courtesy Visit Bucks County

Tree Lighting: November 21, 2017
TreeFest: November 22 – January 4, 2018

Twenty themed Christmas trees, each decorated and designed by a Bucks County business or organization, will be on display for the 12th Annual County Holiday TreeFest in Bensalem. The festival, which runs through January 4, kicks off on November 21, when special guest and switch-flipper Santa Claus vrooms into town on a fire truck.

Where: 3207 Street Rd. Bensalem, PA 19020

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15

A Longwood Christmas

Dazzling lights highlight this incredible holiday celebration

Inside and out, Longwood Gardens creates a striking holiday display each year, filled with rich colors, lights and plenty of festively decorated plants. — Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens

November 23, 2017 – January 7, 2018

A Longwood Gardens Christmas features 500,000 glowing lights, thousands of poinsettias and vibrantly decorated trees throughout the vast grounds and conservatory. Don’t miss the Open Air Theatre Fountain Shows, where 750 jets create a colorful curtain of water. Five-minute shows run at select times throughout the day.

Where: 1001 Longwood RoadKennett Square, PA 19348

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16

Santa’s Coming to Town Parade and 103rd Annual Tree Lighting in Doylestown

Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5-8 p.m.

Doylestown residents and visitors will greet Santa Claus as he rides to town to flip the switch at the town’s 103rd annual tree lighting on November 24. Afterward, children are welcome to meet Santa at his Christmas Cottage at the corner of State and Hamilton streets, which will remain open until Christmas Eve.

Where: E. State and N. Main Streets Doylestown, PA 18901

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17

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Bristol

— Photo courtesy Bristol Borough

Friday, November 24, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

A Bucks County tradition, Santa Claus has flipped the switch during Bristol’s 65th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting every year since 1952. After this year’s ceremony on November 24, enjoy caroling along the waterfront and browse the stores in the Historic Bristol Shopping District, where many businesses will have extended hours.

Where: Mill and Radcliffe streets Bristol, PA 19007

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18

Holiday Stroll & Festival of Lights in Media

November 24-25, 2017

Head to Media’s Delaware County Courthouse for the annual Festival of Lights, featuring dozens of decorated lit trees and festival displays, holiday carolers, carriage rides and complimentary hot chocolate and cider.

Where: 201 W Front St. Media, PA 19063

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19

Christmas in Wayne Tree Lighting

Friday, December 1, 2017 from 5-8 p.m.

Wayne’s Christmas Tree Lighting on December 1 is an all-evening affair. Start with some First Friday perusing at Wayne’s shops, then pause to listen to strolling carolers as they make their way down North Wayne Avenue. Decorate some ornaments at the Radnor Fire House or take a horse-drawn carriage ride, then head to the Wayne Train Station at 7:30 p.m. for the official Christmas tree lighting.

Where: 145 N. Wayne Ave. Wayne, PA 19087

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20

Holiday House & Tree Lighting Ceremony at Bolton Mansion

Friday, December 1, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Levittown’s Bolton Mansion hosts its own tree lighting ceremony on December 1. Afterward and for the rest of the weekend, the mansion will be open for tours, and will also offer hearth cooking, candle-making demonstrations, warm cider, hot chocolate and freshly made gingerbread cookies. Best of all, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance.

Where: 85 Holly Dr. Levittown, PA 19055

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21

Christmas Tree Lighting Festival in Quakertown

Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6-8 p.m.

Strolling Victorian carolers, school choirs, alpacas (!) and much more will be on hand for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival at Quakertown’s Downtown Triangle.

Where: W. Broad St. and N. 3rd St. Quakertown, PA 18951

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22

Phoenixville Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting

Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7 p.m.

Bridge Street, Phoenixville’s main thoroughfare, is the place to be on December 1 for the town’s annual Christmas Parade and tree lighting. The parade, which starts at 7 p.m., will include a visit from Santa Claus. The tree will be lit around 8 p.m.

Where: Bridge St. and S. Main St. Phoenixville, PA 19460

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23

Christmas Tree Lighting in Fallsington

— Photo courtesy Historic Fallsington, Inc.

Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 6 p.m.

Historic Fallsington gets into the spirit of the season with its Christmas Tree Lighting at the Stagecoach Tavern on December 10. The tree will be decorated with handcrafted ornaments made by children from the William Penn Center Preschool and Kindergarten.

Where: Meetinghouse Square Levittown, PA 19054

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24

Fonthill Holiday Lights Meander

Saturday, December 16, 2017 from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

For a lighting celebration of a different sort, head to the impressive Fonthill Castle in Doylestown on December 16 for the town’s Holiday Lights Meander. Wander through the home and take in the candles, Christmas trees and greens throughout, then finish your evening with live music and light refreshments. Tickets are $20 ($15 for members), and require making a reservation at (215) 348-9461.

Where: 525 E. Court Street Doylestown, PA 18901

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Chestnut Hill Circle of Trees
Tree Lighting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration
Tree Lighting Ceremony in Manayunk
Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square
East Passyunk Tree Lighting
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest Tree Lighting
Adventure Aquarium's Underwater Christmas Tree
South Street Headhouse Winter Wonderland
Parade of Lights
Festival of Trees at Pearl S. Buck House
Grand Illumination Celebration at Peddler's Village
Santa's Grand Illumination and 1-2-3 Christmas Tree at A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place
12th Annual Bucks County Holiday TreeFest
A Longwood Christmas
Santa’s Coming to Town Parade and 103rd Annual Tree Lighting in Doylestown
Annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Bristol
Holiday Stroll & Festival of Lights in Media
Christmas in Wayne Tree Lighting
Holiday House & Tree Lighting Ceremony at Bolton Mansion
Christmas Tree Lighting Festival in Quakertown
Phoenixville Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting
Christmas Tree Lighting in Fallsington
Fonthill Holiday Lights Meander
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