Celebrating the winter holidays in Philadelphia just feels right. As temperatures drop in the history-rich, tradition-steeped city, a festive spirit spills from shops, theaters, restaurants and parks. This year promises the return of an abundance of celebrations, many of which are part of the Philly Holiday Festival presented by One Liberty Observation Deck. The most wonderful way to enjoy the holidays in Philly: the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, offering overnight guests free parking and more perks, bookable at visitphilly.com.
Here are some highlights of the winter holidays in Philadelphia:
- Christmas Village in Philadelphia – The German-style market returns to a newly restored JFK Plaza, also known as LOVE For the 11th 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. November 22-December 24. 15th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, (215) 268-7606, philachristmas.com
- Philadelphia City Hall – Dilworth Park’s fountains give way to the twinkling Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink, cozy Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin, magically planted Wintergarden, artisan-filled Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market, the city’s official tree, a carousel in the Courtyard and Deck the Hall Light Show, a nightly public display of synchronized holiday music and illumination. Rink & Wintergarden: November 9-February 24; market: November 17-January 1, light show: November 19-January 1, tree lighting: November 28. Between Broad & 15th Streets at Market Street, ccdparks.org
- The Comcast Holiday Spectacular – The Comcast lobby’s super high-res LED display combines the Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a magical sleigh ride over the city—with a bird’s-eye view of the new Comcast Technology Center—and a sing-along in 15 minutes of fun. Daily, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (every hour one the hour except 5 p.m. on weekdays), November 22-January 17th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, comcastcorporation.com
- Christmas Light Show – The Grand Court of the historic Wanamaker department store—now a Macy’s—offers a free show of dancing lights around the larger than life Magic Christmas Tree accompanied by the famed Wanamaker Organ and narrated by Julie Andrews. Performances every two hours during store hours. On the third floor, the free-to-explore Dickens Christmas Village offers a tour of a vintage animatronic A Christmas Carol display that ends in a one-on-one with Santa. November 23-December 31. 1300 Market Street, (215) 241-9000, wanamakerorgan.com
- Franklin Square Holiday Festival Presented By Chase and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show Presented by PECO – Amid 75,000 lights, park-goers visit Santa, ride a carousel and miniature train, play mini golf, snack on comfort food, hot beverages and treats available at Ben’s Sweets & Treats, and, if so desired, have a local beer or two. November 15-December 31. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
- A Longwood Christmas – Thousands of poinsettias, Christmas trees and flowers transform a heated four-acre Conservatory; 500,000 lights glitter in trees; and spectacularly restored fountains and fire pit flames dance to seasonal music. November 22-January 6. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org
- Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest – Celebrating its 25th anniversary, this winter wonderland along the Delaware River features fire pits, a game room, a chalet-style lodge with food and beverages, confectionary cabin, 12 nights of Christmas movies and weekend Skates with Santa in December—all centered around a regulation-sized skating rink with a view of the Ben Franklin Bridge. November 23-March 3; tree lighting: November 30. Columbus Boulevard at Market Street, (215) 925-7465, riverrink.com
- Philly Holiday Festival Evening Shuttle – The Philadelphia PHLASH runs a free, festive shuttle that stops at 11 Philly Holidays Festival attractions every 20 to 30 minutes on Thursday through Sunday evenings (6-9 p.m.), November 23-December 30. com/features/philadelphia-phlash-downtown-loop
New Year Celebrations:
- Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown and Dance Party – Franklin Square, home of the Electrical Spectacle, hosts a family-friendly 6 p.m. celebration—with a “Square Drop” and a view of the first fireworks show (see below). December 31. 6th & Race Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
- SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront – Pyrotechnics blast over the Delaware River in two shows: one at 6 p.m. and another at midnight. Spectacular views can be enjoyed from the river trail behind SugarHouse Casino past the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, site of indoor and outdoor celebrations. December 31. Casino: 1001 N. Delaware Avenue, (877) 477-3715 sugarhousecasino.com; Winterfest: Columbus Boulevard & Market Street, (215) 925-7465, riverrink.com
- Mummers Parade – This New Year’s Day procession along Broad Street features feathers and sequins, music and merriment from City Hall to Washington Avenue. Indoors, the Fancy Brigade Finale consists of fantastical routines in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. January 1. phillymummers.com. Tickets for bleacher seating at City Hall and for Fancy Brigades Finale at the Independence Visitor Center, 6th & Market Streets, (215) 965-7676, phlvisitorcenter.com
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.
On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.