Top Things to Do in Philadelphiain November 2017

Stunning exhibitions, must-see holiday attractions, the Philadelphia Marathon and more

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Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute
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November is the month where the autumn season meets the holiday season — meaning there’s a TON going on in Philadelphia.

From checking out the Philadelphia Marathon, one of the most historic races in the nation, to exploring the Monument Lab installations throughout the city to hanging out in the spectacularly renovated LOVE Park, plenty of outdoor opportunities await to enjoy the final days of fall weather.

Meanwhile, this month also brings the country’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade as well as the opening of many of the city’s iconic holiday attractions, from Christmas Village to the Macy’s Christmas Light Show to the Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show.

Film festivals, arts festivals and a one-of-a-kind international circus also unfold throughout the month, bringing plenty to look forward to as you plan out your calendar.

Find all of our top picks for November below.


Thanksgiving Day Parade

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

November 23, 2017

America’s first Thanksgiving Day parade wows crowds with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World, fancy floats, giant balloons, marching bands and other festive entertainment along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

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Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest houses an Olympic-size skating rink overlooking the Delaware River and ski chalet-style lodge to warm up in after a skate. — Photo courtesy DRWC

November 24, 2017 – March 4, 2018

Winter wonderland along the Delaware River features fire pits, a game room, a chalet-style lodge and 12 days of Christmas movies — all centered around a regulation skating rink with a view of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

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Christmas Light Show at Macy's

Hundreds of thousands of lights create an impressive visual sight ever year at the Macy's Christmas Light Show. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

November 24 – December 31, 2017

More than 100,000 bright, energy-efficient LED lights come together to create whimsical holiday images during the Christmas Light Show, housed in the Macy’s inside the historic Wanamaker Building. Watch snowflakes, ballerinas and reindeer float in front of the four-story-high velvet curtain of the Grand Court atrium while enjoying music from the world-renowned Wanamaker Grand Organ. Don’t miss out on this Philadelphia holiday tradition, which dates back to 1956!

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The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

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

Shown on the state-of-the-art Comcast Experience video wall at The Comcast Center, The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is filled with sights and sounds of the season. Since its debut in 2008, the 15-minute show has become an annual holiday tradition, taking visitors on a festive, musical journey featuring classic family favorites like Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bell Rock and The Twelve Days of Christmas.

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

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

November 9 – December 31, 2017

Festive lights, winter treats and holiday cheer fill historic Franklin Square for its all-ages (and completely free!) holiday festival and light show. The main feature is the Electrical Spectacle Light Show, which utilizes thousands and thousands of twinkling lights and a dynamic holiday soundtrack. The seasonal outdoor attraction rounds out the ongoing festivities with a winter beer garden, seasonal eats from SquareBurger, Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train rides around the square and a handful of other fun-filled events.

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Christmas Village at LOVE Park and Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park

The German-style Christmas Village — returning to LOVE Park this year — is a Philly holiday shopping tradition. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Christmas Village: November 23 – December 24, 2017
Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market: November 18, 2017 – January 1, 2018

The German-style market makes a glorious return to a restored JFK Plaza, also known as LOVE Park. For the 10th year, 80 wooden booths of local and international merchants sell Käthe Wohlfahrt ornaments, Hernhut Stars, wintry apparel and all manner of edible and drinkable treats, while entertainment keeps things festive. The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market also makes a return to Dilworth Park (across from Christmas Village) and will feature local artisans, designers, crafters and confectionaries. Together, the joint venues create a can’t-miss, one-stop shopping spot.

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Rothman Institute Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

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

November 10, 2017 – February 25, 2018

Those looking to ice skate in the heart of Philadelphia can pack up their cold-weather gear and head to the ice rink at Dilworth Park. Skaters of all levels and ages are invited to cruise around the rink while taking in skyline views just outside of City Hall. Afterward, warm up in the Rothman Institute Cabin, offering a variety of eats and the ultimate post-ice-skating treat — hot chocolate.

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Holiday Shopping in Philadelphia

Philadelphia area shops and seasonal pop-ups come alive with deals during the holiday season. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia


Tax-free shopping on most clothing and shoes — need we say more? Take advantage of Philadelphia’s awesome shopping experiences on Black Friday, including brand-name retail destinations in Center City, charming craft bazaars and pop-up shops, independent boutique shops and top-rated shopping malls. The best time to begin shopping? Thanksgiving weekend. Not only do tons of stores offer once-a-year sales, but many Philadelphia holiday pop ups also begin that weekend — as do attractions that you can check out before or after your shopping trip!

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Philadelphia Marathon and Half-Marathon

Philadelphia Marathon Philadelphia Marathon
The Philadelphia Marathon is one of the most anticipated races in the country, winding runners past a multitude of iconic Philly sights. — Photo courtesy the Philadelphia Marathon

November 17-19, 2017

With a fast course that winds through the city’s historic downtown, past the stunning Philadelphia Museum of Art and along the scenic Boathouse Row, the Philadelphia Marathon is one of the country’s premier running events, attracting 30,000 runners and 60,000 spectators. The weekend also includes an 8K race, half-marathon, a Kids Fun Run and the well-attended Health and Fitness Expo.

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Winter Fountains along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

— Jennifer Steinkamp, courtesy Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, Greengrassi, London.

November 30, 2017 – March 18, 2018

Artist Jennifer Steinkamp created Parkway 100’s centerpiece exhibition, which lights the boulevard at night this winter. Inspired by the Parkway’s fountains and horticulture, dramatic video scenes project onto four large domes measuring 13 feet high and 26 feet wide. The Association for Public Art commissioned the outdoor art display.

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Reading Terminal Market Holiday Railroad

— Photo courtesy Reading Terminal Market

November 24 – December 31, 2017

Beyond serving as an incredible spot for food, the Reading Terminal Market – where you can score everything from soul food to Asian and Middle Eastern dishes to authentic Philly cheesesteaks to traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare – always dresses up for the holiday season. Kids and adults alike delight in the beloved model railroad display that’s a hit each holiday season.

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LOVE Park Reopens

Rendering of Love Park Rendering of Love Park
— Rendering courtesy Hargreaves Associates

November 2017

After a year of being closed for construction and renovation, LOVE Park, the public space that sits at Philadelphia’s iconic John F. Kennedy Plaza will open for visitors to enjoy its new 21st-century upgrades.

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Museum of the American Revolution

The Museum of the American Revolution promises art, manuscripts and printed works from the nation's Revolutionary Period. — J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia


The drama unfolds exhibit by exhibit at the brand-new Museum of the American Revolution. Just two blocks from Independence Hall — the command center for the Revolution — the newest addition to America’s most historic square mile documents the strategic wins, crushing losses and world-altering consequences of the war for We the People. Visitors learn stories of well-known and everyday people who experienced the tumult through galleries, engaging films and a collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, diaries and works of art.

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Longwood Gardens Christmas

— Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens

November 23, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees and fragrant flowers transform the indoor gardens during the annual Longwood Gardens Christmas, where concerts take place daily. Outside, 500,000 lights glitter in the trees, and fountains dance to seasonal music.

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Opening of Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum

— Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

November 24 – December 31, 2017

The Morris Arboretum gets in the holiday spirit with its grand Garden Railway display. The quarter-mile track presents G-scale model trains that run along 12 rail lines, seven loops and tunnels, two cable cars and nine bridges.

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Last Chance: Monument Lab Installations

November marks the conclusion of the popular Monument Lab installations around the city. — Photo courtesy Monument Lab

Through November 19, 2017

What makes a monument in the 21st century? Concluding this month, Monument Lab attempts to answer this question for Philadelphia with an eight-week city-wide public art and history exhibition co-produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia. Monument Lab presents a series of temporary installations by local and international artists accompanied by interactive pop-up laboratories for creative conversations.

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Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

Boy looking at the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at The Franklin Institute Boy looking at the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at The Franklin Institute
— Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

September 30, 2017 – March 4, 2018

In 1974, a farmer digging a well in China struck one of history’s most significant archaeological discoveries: thousands of life-sized warrior sculptures that had been guarding the tomb of China’s first emperor since 210 B.C. Ten of the mysterious structures and 170 related artifacts, including weapons, jade and gold ornaments and ceremonial vessels, travel to The Franklin Institute for an exhibition that examines the story, craft and science behind the terracotta army. Philadelphia is one of just two cities hosting the exhibit.

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More Must-See Exhibitions


As the temps begin to drop, what better place to tuck inside than in one of Philly’s many great museums? View nearly 100 iconic black-and-white maquettes, massive composite Polaroids and other images in Chuck Close Photographs at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Enjoy one last gaze upon the enormous Big Bling sculpture on Kelly Drive. And check out one of many opening-this-month exhibitions at spots like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation and more.

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Last Chance: Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary

Terror Behind The Walls returns as the country's largest haunted attraction this fall. — M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

Through November 11, 2017 (select dates)

This month brings the last chance to experience Terror Behind The Walls, the country’s largest Halloween haunted attraction housed at the Eastern State Penitentiary. Thrill-seekers test their nerves inside six different attractions at the abandoned prison, including the brand-new Blood Yard.

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Opening of Yards Brewing Company Taproom and Brewery

A post shared by Yards Brewing Co. (@yardsbrew) on

November 16, 2017

Yards Brewing Company‘s brand-new, 70,000-square-foot facility opens November 16, 2017. The 500 Spring Garden Street location promises a taproom serving up hearty comfort eats and a bar with 20 different taps. Adjacent to the taproom area, guests will find the “Brewer’s Lounge,” outfitted with a pool table, TV, dart board and shuffleboard area. The spacious area, complete with 25-foot ceilings, will accommodate up to 280 guests.

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Broadway Philadelphia Presents: The Phantom of the Opera

Broadway Philadelphia brings the The Phantom of The Opera to the Academy of Music stage this month. — Photo courtesy Matthew Murphy

November 1-12, 2017

Broadway heads to Philadelphia this month with The Phantom of the Opera, set to unfold for nearly two weeks straight. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical romance brings the fictional drama of unlikely love at the Paris Opéra to the Academy of Music.

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Philadelphia International Unity Cup at Lincoln Financial Field

November 11, 2017

November brings the championship game of Philadelphia’s citywide soccer tournament. Now in its second year, the Philadelphia International Unity Cup began as a knockout tournament between 48 teams of Philadelphians representing 47 countries from all over the world. The final two teams will face-off at the Lincoln Financial Field on November 11, the culminating day of the series. Click the button below to stay up to date on events surrounding the Unity Cup.

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UniverSoul Circus

Enjoy the super-interactive UniverSoul Circus at Fairmount Park this month. — Photo courtesy Universoul Circus

November 2-26, 2017

One of the most interactive circuses in the world, UniverSoul Circus comes to Fairmount Park as it heads into its 21st season here in Philly. Look forward to a diverse selection of circus-oriented acts, such as contortionists from Guinea, acrobats from Ethiopia, a clown trio from Detroit, dancers from the Caribbean and animal acts from Mexico.

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Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival

November 4-19, 2017

The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival brings nearly 30 films from a dozen different countries around the world for a two-week festival designed to highlight the diversity and commonality we hold as humans. Screenings will be held at venues citywide and will span a wide range of genres, connected by a thread of Jewish culture, heritage and history.

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First Person Arts Festival

Storytelling takes center stage at the annual First Person Arts Festival. — Photo courtesy First Person Arts Festival

November 5-18, 2017

Every November, folks from all walks of life come together to share their stories on stage during the First Person Arts Festival. This year, the festival spans 14 days and brings a dozen different storytelling-themed shows to check out. Participants include Margaret Cho, Maria Bamford, Hari Kondabolu and more.

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The 40th Anniversary Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show

Nearly 200 craft artists from across the country convene at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show to sell and showcase pieces to the public. — Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art

November 9-12, 2017

Close to 200 of the best and most dynamic craft artists from across the country will come together for the 40th Anniversary Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show. The artists, selected through a highly competitive jury process, will present a diverse array of work, all available for sale. Throughout the show, on-site artist demonstrations will also take place for visitors to learn about the art of crafting.

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Craft NOW Philadelphia

November 1 – December 8, 2017

Craft NOW Philadelphia returns for the third year, showcasing the work of the many talented and hardworking craftsman in and around Philadelphia. This year’s theme, “Fluid Boundaries,” focuses on contemporary craft practices and intersections with other disciplines including the fine arts and design. Dozens of artists, galleries, museums, universities and other organizations will host public demonstrations, exhibitions, educational programs and more that take a look at Philly’s role in the future of the handmade crafting industry.

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Apple Festival at Peddler’s Village

November 4-5, 2017

It’s all about the apples at the Peddler’s Village Apple Festival. The annual fruit fest honors the seasonal treat with old-fashioned country apple butter, apple cider, apple dumplings, apple fritters, caramel-dipped apples and pie-eating contests. This year’s two-day celebration also includes works from over 60 juried artisans.

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Chrysanthemum Festival at Longwood Gardens

The annual Chrysanthemum Festival fills Longwood Gardens with thousands of colorful flowers. — Photo courtesy Longwood Gardens

Through November 19, 2017

The ultimate color crescendo hits Longwood Gardens this fall with the annual Chrysanthemum Festival, sweeping the attraction’s indoor grounds with a rainbow of floral shades. The centerpiece of the show is a Thousand Bloom Mum, made up of more than 1,500 meticulously arranged yellow flowers on one plant. Tickets are free with garden admission.

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Nerdtino Expo 2017 at Taller Puertorriqueño

November 18, 2017

The first Latinx comic book, science fiction, fantasy, horror and pop culture convention on the East Coast heads to Taller Puertorriqueño this month. Meet industry and independent professionals, partake in creative workshops and panels and learn about the history and presence of Latino creators in geek culture at this one-day festival.

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LOVE Your Park Fall Day of Service

November 4, 2017

Join one of the largest grassroots volunteer efforts in Philadelphia designed to beautify our city’s many wonderful parks! Help plant trees, collect leaves for compost, clean up litter and more during a spirited community event sure to leave you feeling positive about both yourself and our city.

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Hotel Deal

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package

Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through September 3, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the Museum of the American Revolution, free tickets for a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, free mini-golf and a carousel ride at Franklin Square, free passes to ride the PHLASH Downtown Loop and a $10 Lyft credit.

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