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Guide to the Philly Holiday Festival

Celebrate the season with lights, trees, parades, fireworks, shows and more

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The Philly Holiday Festival presented by One Liberty Observation Deck brings five-plus weeks of seasonal fun to the Philadelphia area.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, November 23, 2017, with the Thanksgiving Day Parade (the oldest of its kind in the nation!) and concludes on Monday, January 1, 2018 with the exuberant, must-see Mummers Parade.

In between, all sorts of festive events take place — the Philly Holiday Tree Lighting, Dilworth Park’s Deck the Hall Light Show and more! — and fun attractions pop up in public spaces citywide.

Altogether, more than 15 time-honored traditions and brand-new festivities will blanket Philadelphia in holiday cheer. Get ready to celebrate – and don’t forget, the Philadelphia Parking Authority offers free on-street meter parking on Saturdays after 11 a.m. from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day!

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Philly Holiday Tree at City Hall

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

Tree Lighting: Friday, November 24, 2017

The Philly Holiday Tree, a 50-foot-tall live tree, resides this year at the north end of City Hall (facing North Broad Street). On Friday, November 24, 2017 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., a grand tree-lighting ceremony sets the tree aglow. Every day after the lighting until the season ends, twinkling lights illuminate the tree in 42 different colors, while the 30,000-pound custom base depicts 22 of the city’s neighborhoods and attractions, including icons like Independence Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Where: 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Winter Memories Activities in the City Hall Courtyard

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

November 24 – December 24, 2017

The courtyard of City Hall transforms into a winter wonderland this holiday season, adorned with twinkling lights strung across the trees and a carousel at its center. Spinning round and round, the carousel features 20 wood-carved horses, holiday wreaths and lights and serves as a great activity for families.

Where: 1401 John F Kennedy Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19102

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03

Christmas Village at LOVE Park

Get into the holiday spirit in the heart of Philadelphia

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

November 23 – December 24, 2017

After undergoing major renovations, LOVE Park (softly) re-opens for the holidays to host Christmas Village in Philadelphia, which celebrates 10 years of bringing German-style holiday fun to the city. In addition to 80 wooden booths of local and international merchants selling Käthe Wohlfahrt trimmings, wintry apparel, handmade toys and all manner of edible and drinkable treats, the open-air market will also roll out a new 30-foot snowflake tree covered with 6-foot white snowflakes.

Where: Arch Street and N. 15th Street Philadelphia, PA 19102

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04

Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

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

— Photo courtesy Center City District

Through February 25, 2018

Lace up those skates and get ready to cruise around day or night at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park. Located in the heart of the city, the rink offers a rare opportunity to take in skyline views and admire the grand architecture of City Hall as you enjoy a few hours on the ice. 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.

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

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Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market

Find the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. — Photo by Christina Kalff

November 18, 2017 – January 1, 2018

Accompanying Christmas Village for its second season, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market makes a return to Dilworth Park (a quick walk away from Christmas Village). The all-local market features artisans, designers, crafters and confectionaries that hail from the Philadelphia area. Together, the joint venues create a can’t-miss, one-stop shopping spot for scoring personal gifts for everyone on your list.

Where: 1 S. 15TH ST PHILADELPHIA, PA 19102

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06

America's Garden Capital Maze

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Through February 25, 2018

America’s Garden Capital Maze is back for a second season at Dilworth Park. The pop-up maze-meets-garden, created in partnership with Greater Philadelphia Gardens, features tons of twinkling lights and seasonal plants that showcase more than 30 public gardens, arboreta and historic landscapes located within 30 miles of Philadelphia.

Where: 1 S. 15TH ST PHILADELPHIA, PA 19102

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07

One Liberty Observation Deck’s “A Very Philadelphia Holiday”

A post shared by param trivedi (@paramtrivedi) on

Through January 1, 2018

One Liberty Observation Deck gets decked out for the season for the debut of “A Very Philadelphia Holiday.” Attraction-goers will find the entire 57th-floor space decorated with iconic Philly holiday themes, featuring Mummers decorations, lights that replicate the “Miracle on 13th Street” and more.

Where: 1650 MARKET ST. 57TH FLOOR PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103

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08

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

A massive, street-level, high-resolution LED display screens The Comcast Holiday Spectacular, a festive, 15-minute show that feature dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet and a magical sleigh soaring through Philadelphia’s skyscape.

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

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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 the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s since 1956. The department store revives the tradition of sugarplum fairies, dancing snowmen and other holiday characters 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, a display of animated dolls that retells A Christmas Carol; each free walkthrough ends in a chance to meet and get photos with the real Santa.

Where: 1300 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

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10

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Seasonal wintertime park on the Delaware River Waterfront

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
— Photo courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

The popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest returns for year five with fire pits, an arcade area designed for kids, a cozy, chalet-style lodge, 12 nights of Christmas movies, sweets from the Franklin Fountain Confectionery Cabin and hearty fare from Garces Group and Chickie’s & Pete’s. All of the fun is centered around a regulation skating rink that offers spectacular views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

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

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival

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

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival makes the historic square twinkle with free Electrical Spectacle light shows every 30 minutes between 4 and 8 p.m. on weeknights and 4 and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Among the show’s 50,000 bulbs, set to a soundtrack of music, is a giant, illuminated kite. Also on tap: Saturdays with Santa, carousel and holiday train rides and an array of other seasonal programming.

Where: 6th and Race Streets Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant at City Hall

— Photo courtesy FCM Hospitality

November 24 – December 23, 2017

New this year adjacent to the Philly Holiday Tree, the Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant offers an indoor beer garden, bakery and barbecue featuring Lost Breads and smoked meats inside a heated tent fit for 100-plus guests. The pop-up acts as a preview of the soon-to-come Craft Hall from FCM Hospitality, the team behind Morgan’s Pier and traveling summertime beer garden, Parks on Tap. Craft Hall is set to take over the original outpost of Yards Brewing Company in Northern Liberties in fall 2018.

Where: BROAD STREET AND MARKET STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19107

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Christmas in Fairmount Park

— Photo courtesy Fairmount Park Conservancy

November 30 – December 31, 2017 (select dates)

The historic mansions in Fairmount Park get dressed up for the holidays this season in the theme of “A Very Philly Christmas.” Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill Mansion, Lemon Hill Mansion, Historic Strawberry Mansion and Woodford Mansion all open their doors to visitors during select days throughout the entire month of December. Four extra special events will also take place, centered around the Philly-oriented themes of music, food, neighbors and families. Click here to view the full schedule of events.

Where: Various locations including Lemon Hill Mansion Lemon Hill Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19130

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14

Boathouse Row Holiday Lights

19th-century boathouses line the Schuylkill River just west of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Boathouse Row illuminated at night Boathouse Row illuminated at night
— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Ongoing

Just west of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, find Boathouse Row, where 19th-century boathouses lining the Schuylkill River house a variety of local boating clubs. Each holiday season, the houses are decorated with festive designs in recognition of Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa and shine bright each night with colorful lights.

Where: 1 Boathouse Row Philadelphia, PA 19130

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Deck the Hall Light Show at City Hall

November 20, 2017 – January 1, 2018

In Dilworth Park on the west side of City Hall, a brand-new nightly light show and animated display – created by local design firm KLIP Collective and presented by Independence Blue Cross – debuts this year. The Deck the Hall Light Show will shine on the west portal of City Hall multiple times each night from November 20 through January 1.

Where: BROAD STREET AND MARKET STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19107

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16

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

The oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country

— J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The 98th annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, the nation’s oldest parade, kicks off the holidays this November. The annual event features collegiate marching bands, performances by Walt Disney World characters, giant balloons, floats and, at the end of it all, the Clauses accompanied by postal workers collecting letters to Santa.

Where: 20th and Market StreetsStarting point; parade route then runs along the Benjamin Franklin ParkwayPhiladelphia, PA 19103

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17

Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Philly Holiday Tree, a 50-foot live tree, resides this year at the north end of City Hall (facing North Broad Street). The giant holiday spectacle comes to life on Friday, November 24, 2017 with a special tree-lighting ceremony from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The festivities usher in the tree’s 42 different-color light display.

Where: BROAD STREET AND MARKET STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19107

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Santa Express At Dilworth Park

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Friday, November 24, 2017

All aboard! Travel with Santa Claus by SEPTA “sleigh” (read: train) to the Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park on Friday, November 24 where he’ll then lace up and hit the ice with other riders. SEPTA trains will be decorated and filled with holiday fun to enjoy all along the ride. A parade will greet Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves once the they reach the rink.

Where: 15TH AND MARKET STREETS PHILADELPHIA, PA 19107

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PHLASH Downtown Loop's Holiday Service

— Photo courtesy Independence Visitor Center

November 24 – December 31 (excluding Christmas Day)

Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, the PHLASH Downtown Loop begins daily service to popular Philadelphia spots through the end of the year. Service will be available every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., allowing passengers to easily experience festive holiday attractions throughout the city.

Where: Various locations including 2600 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PARKWAY PHILADELPHIA, PA 19130

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Holidays in Manayunk

November 25 – December 31, 2017

The lighting of the tree on Canal View Park leads off Holidays in Manayunk (November 25) paired with the neighborhood’s Small Business Saturday celebration. Other fun holiday events include a Sweets and Spirits Holiday Happy Hour (November 30), the Rudolph Run (December 9), a Men’s Shopping Night (December 14) and more. Click the button below to view the full schedule of holiday happenings in Manayunk.

Where: Various locations including 4430 Main Street Philadelphia PA 19127

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21

Merry, Merry Happy Hours

November 30 – December 28, 2017 (Thursdays only)

Merry, Merry Happy Hours will add extra fun to Thursdays, beginning November 30 and continuing through the end of the year. Designated spots like Sofitel Philadelphia and One Liberty Observation Deck’s Bar 57 will feature special holiday cocktails during the weekly, adults-only events.

Where: Various locations including the Sofitel Philadelphia 120 S. 17TH STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103

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22

Historic Holiday Nights in Old City

Shop for everyone on your list in the heart of Historic Philadelphia. — G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

November 30 – December 30, 2017

Past and present are wrapped up in a bow for Historic Holiday Nights in Old City, taking place every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy performances at The Betsy Ross House courtyard, must-see window illuminations at the Museum of the American Revolution, the Old City District Tree Lighting on November 30 and more. Click the button below to learn about all of the Historic Holiday Nights happenings.

Where: 239 ARCH STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19106

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23

Tree Lighting at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

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 Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest lights up one of the city’s largest holiday trees with tens of thousands of Bluetooth-programmable LED lights. Visitors are invited to join the celebration and enjoy a spin on the Olympic-sized ice rink overlooking the Delaware River.

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

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New Year’s Eve Fireworks In Philadelphia for 2017/2018

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

Philadelphia will ring in 2017 not once but two times during the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Delaware River Waterfront with fireworks lighting up the sky at 6 p.m. and again at midnight.

Where: 101 S. Columbus Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19106

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25

The Mummers Parade 2018

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

The Mummers Parade The Mummers Parade
Watch thousands of costumed men, women and children strut down Broad Street in this annual only-in-Philadelphia New Year's Day tradition. — R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

A longstanding tradition dating back to 1901, the Mummers Parade brings together thousands of elaborately costumed men, women and children for a day-long march down Broad Street. The carnival-like atmosphere is filled with music and merriment and always creates one of the most colorful starts to the year.

Where: S. Broad St. and S. Penn Square (Starts at City Hall and marches south on Broad Street to Washington Ave.) Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Free Museum Days for the Holidays

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

December 1, 3, 7 and 9, 2017

New to the Philly Holiday Festival this year, Free Museum Days will take place on select days throughout the season. Participating museums include the National Museum of American Jewish History (December 1), the Penn Museum (December 3), the Eastern State Penitentiary (December 7) and the National Liberty Museum (December 9). Mark your calendar to explore these great Philly cultural institutions free of admission!

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

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Philly Holiday Tree at City Hall
Winter Memories Activities in the City Hall Courtyard
Christmas Village at LOVE Park
Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park
Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market
America's Garden Capital Maze
One Liberty Observation Deck’s “A Very Philadelphia Holiday”
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular
Christmas Light Show at Macy's Center City
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Franklin Square Holiday Festival
Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant at City Hall
Christmas in Fairmount Park
Boathouse Row Holiday Lights
Deck the Hall Light Show at City Hall
Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade
Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration
Santa Express At Dilworth Park
PHLASH Downtown Loop's Holiday Service
Holidays in Manayunk
Merry, Merry Happy Hours
Historic Holiday Nights in Old City
Tree Lighting at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
New Year’s Eve Fireworks In Philadelphia for 2017/2018
The Mummers Parade 2018
Free Museum Days for the Holidays
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