The holiday season brings out the best in the Philadelphia region with long-standing traditions, annual celebrations and wildly impressive colorful light displays.
Visitors come from around the globe to experience the beautiful lights and conservatory displays during A Longwood Gardens Christmas while families enjoy a winter wonderland with their favorite Sesame Street characters during A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place.
Embrace the spirit of the season with festive parades, visits from Santa and fantastic holiday shopping on the Main Streets of the Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside. For more ways to celebrate, read on for our guide to the top holiday events and attractions throughout the region.
November 24, 2016 – January 8, 2017
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.
November 19, 2016 – January 1, 2017
A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place is a festive and fun celebration with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends in Langhorne, PA. The park is transformed into a one-of-a-kind Christmas wonderland with millions of twinkling lights, festive decorations and whirling rides. Guests will enjoy special Christmas shows, savory Christmas menus, super holiday shopping and a visit with Santa in his Furry Workshop.
November 18, 2016 – January 2, 2017
With more than 70 specialty shops and eight restaurants, Peddler’s Village in beautiful Bucks County is perfect for holiday shopping. The village throws the switch on the holidays as tens of thousands of lights glimmer during the Grand Illumination Celebration on November 18, and throughout the holiday shopping season, visitors can check out the annual Gingerbread Competition & Display. On the weekends, Peddler’s hosts visits with Santa at Giggleberry Fair and other special events.
December 1-24, 2016
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 Sunday evenings, visitors can sing along on Caroling Hayrides, complete with live music and apple cider.
November 19 – December 31, 2016
All aboard the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad for a holiday train ride with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Lasting for one hour, the holiday excursion invites you to sip 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.”
November 19 – December 18, 2016 (select dates)
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.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by John Concha (@jcr57rt) on Dec 25, 2015 at 9:23pm PST
A post shared by John Concha (@jcr57rt) on Dec 25, 2015 at 9:23pm PST
November 19, 2016 – January 8, 2017
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 out a holiday tree and be sure to get your picture taken with Santa at Santa’s Village before you leave!
November 1 – December 31, 2016
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. While you’re there, explore the indoor snowstorm, mingle with singing reindeer and check out more than 250 nativities from around the world on display, all while enjoying mulled cider and holiday cookies.
November 25, 2016 – January 8, 2017 (Holiday Tours); December 11, 2016 (Candlelit Tour)
At Pottsgrove Manor, visitors are invited year-round for tours of the historic mansion, dressed in its traditional English best for the holiday season. During a special one-night event on December 11, guests tour the manor by candlelight while 18th-century residents mark the Twelfth Night with music and dancing in the parlor.
November 25, 2016 – January 8, 2017
A Brandywine Christmas takes over the Brandywine River Museum with a display of trees featuring critter ornaments, a rare antique doll collection and one of the largest O-gauge model railroad displays in the country with nearly 2,000 feet of track. Be sure to make a special trip for the annual critter sale featuring ornaments made from all-natural materials on December 1, 2 and 4.
November 22, 2016 – January 5, 2017
Twenty-five themed Christmas trees, each decorated and designed by a Bucks County business or organization, will be on display for the 11th Annual County Holiday TreeFest in Bensalem. The festival, which runs through January 5, kicks off on November 22 with live entertainment and an appearance from Santa Claus who will ride in on a fire engine to come light the tree.
November 26 – December 23, 2016
Express your creativity with sweets during Bredenbeck’s Gingerbread Workshops. Starting November 26, families can enjoy a hands-on holiday activity with ingredients provided by the famous bakery. Workshops invite you to create a six- or 12-inch house.
December 13, 2016
The Michener Art Museum and Mercer Museum are offering FREE admission during the annual Holiday Open House. Celebrate the season through works from local artists and special events throughout the day.
December 10, 2016
For a lighting celebration of a different sort, head to the impressive Fonthill Castle in Doylestown on December 10 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. The event is ticketed and requires reservations.
December 21, 2016
Responsible for one of the region’s most celebrated snack foods, the Herr’s Factory goes all-out for the Christmas Snacktacular, decking out its grounds with holiday lights. Families can enjoy hay rides and other special events, along with the chance to meet a real Reindeer during the celebration.
December 2, 2016
West Chester welcomes Santa Claus to town during the popular Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade presented by QVC, a one-mile loop through the historic district featuring spectacular floats, dance teams, a variety of performers and much more. The traditional holiday parade will be shown to millions with a broadcast on QVC on Christmas Day.
November 25, 2016
A Bucks County tradition, Santa Claus has flipped the switch during Bristol’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting every year since 1952. After this year’s ceremony on November 25, enjoy caroling along the waterfront and browse the stores in the Historic Bristol Shopping District — many businesses will have extended hours.
Alpacas (!), strolling carolers and much more will be on hand for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival at Quakertown’s Downtown Triangle.
Wayne’s Christmas Tree Lighting on December 2 is an all-evening affair. Start by getting your picture taken with your favorite reindeer before partaking in crafting activities with the Radnor Fire Co. Afterward, Santa will arrive for the annual Wayne tree lighting, and carolers will stroll the street all throughout the evening. Stick around for a special caroling session at the Wayne Train Station with the Valley Forge Military Academy & College Choir.
December 2-4, 2016
Levittown’s Bolton Mansion hosts its own tree lighting ceremony on December 2. Afterward and for the rest of the weekend, the mansion will be open for tours, and will also offer candle-making demonstrations, warm cider and freshly baked treats.
December 3, 2016
Phoenixville celebrates the holiday season with two blockbuster events. On December 3, join residents for a ticketed Candlelight Holiday Tour through the town, from which benefits will be donated to local organizations. The same afternoon and evening, Phoenixville celebrates its namesake during the Firebird Festival. Enjoy a day of music, dancing and shopping before spectacular burning of a gigantic wooden phoenix.
Traditionally held the first Saturday in December, the Coatsville Christmas Parade ushers in the holidays with a festive celebration featuring floats, antique automobiles, marching bands, community groups and Santa Claus.
The community of Ambler will gather on Main Street for the annual Holiday Parade featuring bands, floats, Mummers and a special visit from Santa.
Perkasie is home to the nation’s oldest outdoor community tree lighting, and this year the town will celebrate its 107th annual tree lighting on December 3 with an appearance from Santa, live music and festive eats and drinks.
December 8, 2016
All-aboard for holiday fun as Santa takes his annual ride into the Ambler Train Station. During the traditional celebration, Mr. Claus arrives by train before walking up Butler Avenue for a special evening at the Borough Hall.
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.