Known as the birthplace of America, Philadelphia has plenty of history and character. It’s the home of the liberty bell and the cheesesteak, as well as the setting for the Rocky films. There’s so much to see and explore in this vibrant city, no matter the season. Winters in Philly can be chilly, with cold rains and snow, but that doesn’t mean this town hibernates.
There are lots of fun things to do all winter in Philadelphia. Here’s how to have an exciting winter in Philly.
Outdoor Winter Fun in Philly
You don’t have to stay stuck indoors all winter. Philly has plenty of outdoor skating rinks, parks and gardens that are open year-round. Some favorite cold-weather activities in Philadelphia include:
Blue Cross RiverRink WinterFest: More than just a skating rink, Blue Cross RiverRink is a full winter park, right on the banks of the Delaware River. Grab some skates and glide around the rink with family or friends. The surroundings here rival winter fairytales and ski villages, with charming warming lodges and fire pits. Skate rentals and sharpening services are available on-site, and special events and entertainment options are planned all season long. Relax in any of the warming cabins or lodges, where you can find a selection of food and beverage options. The kids’ lodge features all sorts of arcade games — the perfect spot for winter birthdays and events. There’s something for everyone at this winter wonderland.
Dilworth Park: A bustling park located right in the heart of the city, Dilworth Plaza transforms from lush lawns and fountains in summer to a skating rink and winter park during the winter. Skate a few laps around Rothman Ice Rink and then warm up with hot cocoa or a cocktail at the Rothman Cabin. While you’re there, check out the gorgeous seasonal plants in the Wintergarden, or enjoy a live performance or outdoor movie in the park. Dilworth Park is perfect for winter fun for all ages. Daily activities, special programming and happy hour specials will keep you coming back for more. The wide variety of fun activities all season long make this spot one of the best things to do in Philly in December and beyond.
Longwood Gardens: Longwood is a destination for year-round fun. It features seasonal garden displays both indoors and out. All ages will enjoy the fun displays and events at Longwood Gardens, but it is recommended that you buy tickets in advance as it sells out quickly!
All of these fun locations provide classic outdoor winter fun, so why not embrace the snow and cold! The area surrounding Philly also has plenty of opportunities to go skiing or snowboarding too. After any snowy fun, warm up with a cup of hot cocoa, cider or a hot toddy.
Philadelphia Museums to Explore
As a world-class city, Philadelphia has many different museums to experience, enough to keep you busy all winter long. Whether you’re most interested in art, science or history, you’ll find a museum worth visiting. Most museums have discounted days, so be sure to check the calendar before heading out to score the best deals. Many of Philly’s museums are located along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, so you can visit a few in one day. Here are some of our top museum choices:
Philadelphia Museum of Art: As one of the country’s largest art museums, the Philadelphia Museum of Art sits grandly at the end of Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This must-see cultural stop holds more than 240,000 works of art, with pieces in every style and spanning the ages from ancient times to contemporary works. You’ll find classic works of art from world-renowned artists, as well as dozens of period rooms to check out. Explore the many exhibits on your own, or join in on a tour for insider info on the featured artwork. Check the calendar for special events, performances, gallery talks and hands-on activities. The museum’s interior is currently undergoing renovations and improvements, designed by famous architect Frank Gehry, but the museum remains open during the construction project.
The Barnes Foundation: If you’re into impressionist art, this is the Philadelphia museum for you. With one of the world’s largest collections of French impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, the Barnes consists of four and a half acres of landscaped grounds and 93,000 square feet of museum space. The Barnes Foundation has more Renoirs than any other collection, 181 pieces. It also has many works from Cézanne, Matisse, Manet, Degas and Seurat. Wander the impressive collections yourself or go on a tour. If you want to take it a step farther, sign up for an art class at the museum. You can choose from a wide variety of topics and programs — everything from painting to horticulture.
The Academy of Natural Sciences: A leading natural science museum, the Academy of Natural Sciences is devoted to education in the fields of biodiversity and environmental science. All ages will love this museum, thanks to its exhibits featuring dinosaurs, live butterflies, tropical gardens, fossils and a wide variety of animals. The interactive exhibitions let you explore science and history, while opportunities to meet scientists help you learn even more. A special discovery area is designed to keep kids busy and entertained while learning about natural history. Check the calendar for temporary exhibits and special events.
For even more museum fun, try the African American Museum, the Betsy Ross House, the Museum of the American Revolution, the Franklin Institute or the National Museum of American Jewish History. Fireman’s Hall and the American Helicopter Museum offer two more choices for any history buff. Philadelphia is a city rich with history and educational opportunities for all, so check out as many of these museums as you can.
Expos, Trade Shows and Performances
Looking for some creative inspiration? Philadelphia hosts a wide variety of trade shows and expos, as well as live performances of all sorts. So whether you want to enjoy the latest musical acts in great concert venues, or want to escape the winter weather being inspired by flowers and gardens, Philly’s got the creative outlet for you. Try any of these great shows:
Philly Home and Garden Show: Taking place in February in Philadelphia, the Philly Home and Garden Show is a great place to spend a chilly afternoon being inspired by new innovations in technology for the home, designs and décor for both indoors and out, and more than 7,500 square feet of gardens featuring gorgeous plants and flowers. Watch for some of your favorite TV personalities and celebrity guest speakers or peruse the many exhibitions for everything you need to refresh your home. Learn from the experts and participate in make-and-take workshops, customize your own planter at the succulent bar, shop the markets for unique gifts or just relax in the wine garden.
Philadelphia Auto Show: For the car enthusiast, this trade show is one of the best things to do in Philadelphia in February. You’re sure to find your favorite car manufacturer, as every major vehicle manufacturer is represented at this huge auto show. See the newest models up close, explore concept cars and exotic vehicles and meet celebrities. At the Philadelphia Auto Show, many of the cars on display are open for visitors to hop in and check out the interior, and select cars are even available for test drives. Check out the listings for special events, celebrity meet-and-greets and live music performances too.
Philadelphia Flower Show: If the winter weather only has you itching for spring, check out the Philadelphia Flower Show — the largest and longest-running flower show in the country. Wander through the massive garden displays at this renowned and awarded event. Delight all of your senses while you’re fully immersed in the gorgeous, fragrant floral arrangements. Take in the featured brunch, sample fine wines and spirits, take a tour and participate in make-and-take planting and crafts projects. Learn about critical pollinators and observe beautiful butterflies at the interactive butterfly exhibit, or stay late for Flowers after Hours and dance and drink the night away among the colorful blooms.
Take in a live show: Philadelphia hosts many live performances year-round, everything from theater to orchestra to popular music. Check out smaller acts at local bars, and larger shows at venues like The Met Philadelphia for a wide variety of performances from the Philly POPs, as well as national acts in music and comedy. Whatever kind of music you’re into, you’ll find entertaining performances to attend in Philadelphia throughout the winter.
This is just a sampling of the many shows available in the Philadelphia area. This great city also hosts a plethora of festivals worthy of checking out. From Philly Theatre Week and East Passyunk Restaurant Week in February to the Philly Craft Beer Festival in March, and special programs around St. Patrick’s Day and Black History Month, there’s a celebration for just about everything.
Winter Family Fun in Philly
There’s so much outdoor fun for families to discover during winter in Philadelphia. Or try the many indoor activities available designed to keep the whole family active all winter, despite colder temps. Here are some of our top picks for family fun in Philly in the winter:
Please Touch Museum: A museum is designed for kids to play, explore and yes, touch, with hands-on, interactive exhibits to spark curiosity and encourage creativity. The Please Touch Museum is a welcome break from stuffier museums where kids are told to keep their hands off. It welcomes children of all ages and abilities. A great way for families to spend a cold winter day, the museum helps kids learn about the world around them, develop important skills and have fun. Let your kids burn off some energy at this innovative museum. During your visit, be sure to take a ride on the carousel.
Go bowling: An activity that’s fun for the whole family regardless of the weather, bowling is a great way to keep the kids active during the winter. Try both North Bowl on 2nd Street and South Bowl on Oregon Avenue for the latest in bowling technology and scoring and fun for all ages. Bowl a few rounds and then try pool, pinball and other retro arcade games or check out the live entertainment and fun food and drink options. At both bowling alleys, ramps and bumpers are available to help even the littlest bowlers.
Try indoor mini golf: Philadelphia is home to several mini golf courses that are indoors and can be played year-round. Try Keystone Mini Golf & Arcade to keep the whole family busy. Golf a full 18 holes, and then show the kids how to play classic, retro arcade games like Ms. PacMan and Tetris. Check the calendar on Keystone’s website or call ahead before going, to make sure the course isn’t closed for a private event. Kids under 4 play free here, so it’s affordable fun for the young family!
Aside from these awesome family ideas, check out your local library for storytimes and special events, or to check out books and movies to keep the kids entertained at home. Also try indoor trampoline parks, batting cages and indoor pools and playgrounds to stay active. Join a neighborhood playgroup or take a class together, such as cooking or art classes. There are so many fun things to do in winter in Philadelphia, your family is sure to find lots of great activities to try.
Make Philadelphia Your Home With Streamline
We are confident you’ll find plenty of things to do in winter in Philly, as well as all year round. The city of Brotherly Love is a fun and welcoming place to call home and we know you’ll love exploring all that this city has to offer. If you’re ready to make Philadelphia your home, Streamline is here for all your real estate needs. Focusing on both multi-family housing units and single-family homes, Streamline provides top quality housing options and exceptional customer service for the homebuyer. We are a Philadelphia-based real estate company with a wide portfolio of housing options to choose from. Get in on a construction project early and have the option to customize your home to your specifications. Let Streamline help you find your Philadelphia dream home, and come explore all that this great city has to offer.