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The holiday season can be a time of hustle and bustle, but it’s also a time to spend quality time with your friends, family and loved ones. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday festivities, look no further than Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love has numerous activities for everyone looking to partake in the seasonal festivities. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with friends, a romantic wintry date night or the best family-friendly holiday activities in Philly, you’re covered. If you’re wondering, “What are the best things to do during the holidays in Philly?” here are some of the top Christmas activities in Philly to start with.
The holidays are the perfect excuse to see your friends more often. From holiday spectaculars to ice skating, there are plenty of ways to get in quality friend-time during the holiday season. Here are just a few ideas around Philly:
From mid-November through December, you and your friends can visit Franklin Square for its Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. At the festival, you and your friends can warm up by the fire pits with a beer from the winter beer garden and also create a sweet treat with Ben’s Sweets and Treats inside a heated tent. There are celebrations for all holiday traditions, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
The Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, inspired by the mind of Benjamin Franklin, is a free light show with 75,000 lights that dance to sounds of holiday classics. There are two alternating shows every 30 minutes starting daily at 4:30 p.m., giving you plenty of opportunities to catch the show. During the week, the festival is open until 8 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, it’s open until 9 p.m.
2. See a Holiday Show
Nothing says a fun night out like catching a live performance with friends. During the month of December, see George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” at the Academy of Music, performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet. The company has been presenting the complete Balanchine version of the ballet since 1987. Buy tickets and find out why “The Nutcracker” is a popular Philadelphia holiday tradition.
Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Bucks County, hosts an annual Christmas Festival, usually right after Thanksgiving. Highlights of the festival include a Santa Parade and Gingerbread House Competition.
If you miss the festival weekend, there is still plenty to do at the 42-acre campus, located about 40 miles outside of Philadelphia. There are a variety of unique shops, so you can get your holiday shopping finished. If you want photos with Santa, he’ll be hanging around the Village until December 22.
Lace up your skates and hit the ice at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Winterfest starts in late fall and lasts until the end of winter, giving you and your friends plenty of opportunities to celebrate the season.
The Blue Cross RiverRink has great views of the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and is the only regulation-sized rink outdoors in Philadelphia. No skates? No problem. Rental skates are available for $10 and rink admission is just $4. After doing some laps around the rink, you and your friends can grab some Philly-favorites or classic bites inside the Lodge Restaurant and Bar, complete with seasonal-inspired cocktails and craft beers. The Lodge also has indoor fireplaces and cozy couches to warm up and catch up with friends.
Who said the holiday season has to be over after Christmas? Ring in the new year with friends along the Delaware River waterfront and catch the Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve fireworks. The fireworks are put on by Rivers Casino and use more than 3,000 explosive devices and three miles of wiring, making them easy to see from all directions.
Bundle up and get down to the river to secure prime spots for you and your friends to catch the show — there’s one at 6 p.m. and another at midnight. Start planning your New Years Eve visit with friends to ensure 2019 goes out with a bang and you celebrate 2020 the right way.
Everyone gets busy around the holidays, but make sure you take the time this season to treat your other half to a date night featuring some holiday events in Philadelphia. Whether you want to take in some spectacular seasonal views, enjoy some live music or find a nice meal, there are plenty of options that will ensure the perfect night out. Check out these romantic events during the holiday season.
Take your loved one to Love Park’s Christmas Village this holiday season. The Christmas Village is usually open during December. Modeled after traditional Christmas markets in Germany, it has more than 80 booths, with vendors selling anything from traditional European food and drink, like bratwurst and mulled wine, to unique international holiday gifts. Admission to the Christmas Village is free. While you’re there, don’t forget to grab a picture under the LOVE statue.
For a fun and festive date night out, take your beau to a Christmas Concert. Catch A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season at Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts. Guest conductor David Charles Abell leads the program featuring the Philly POPS Festival Chorus, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, the Philadelphia Boys Choir and organist Peter Richard Conte. Special guests include Broadway star Mandy Gonzalez and the Melodica Men, Julliard and Peabody Conservatory graduates who found fame through YouTube.
If you’re looking for a unique, artistic night of fun with your spouse or significant other, look no further than Photo Pop Philly’s Winter Wonderland. The pop-up event features art from Philadelphia artists and is an immersive experience with numerous photo opportunities and interactive exhibits. Celebrate Winter Wonderland’s grand opening in mid-November or visit another day up until Winter Wonderland closes for the season, typically early January. Winter Wonderland is located inside The Bourse in Old City, near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
Appreciate the view from the top with your love and visit the One Liberty Observation Deck for A Very Philadelphia Holiday. From late November through the entire month of December, enjoy three holiday traditions — the lights of the Miracle on 13th Street display, decorations and costumes from the Nutcracker Ballet and the Mummers Parade — all from the comfort of the observation deck on 1650 Market Street. Make your way up to the 57th floor with your love this holiday season for unforgettable views.
For a complete holiday experience with your loved one, visit the Met Holiday Plaza at 1400 John F. Kennedy Boulevard on the north side of City Hall. It is here you can see the official, iconic 65-foot-tall holiday tree all lit up and topped with a Liberty Bell. It is also home to the Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant inside a heated tent with seating for more than 100 people. The tent is decorated for the holiday season and the restaurant serves favorite seasonal dishes, complete with hot cocktails, local beers and wines. Tasty food, live entertainment and holiday vendors help create a wintry ambiance for your date night.
The holidays are the perfect time to get together with family and celebrate. You could go to a parade together or see some holiday lights. Here are just a few ideas to get your started.
What better way to feel thankful during the holiday season than to spend the holiday with your family at the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade? The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the U.S. In 2019 it celebrates its 100 years anniversary.
The Philadelphia favorite event features huge balloons, festive floats and special guest performances that every member of your family will enjoy. Dress warm and claim your spot on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Logan Circle or other places along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for prime viewing.
Starting at the end November, the Philadelphia Zoo is debuting their new holiday light display — LumiNature. The display features 12 different experiences and more than 600,000 lights accompanied by nature, media and sound to create an immersive all-ages experience. Strolling performers, seasonal foods and drinks, including adult beverages will also be there. LumiNature will be open Wednesdays through Sundays until mid-December, and then will be open every night until early January.
Give the children in your family a little extra holiday magic this season and board the North Pole Express Train at New Hope Train Station, about 40 miles from Center City. A diesel locomotive pulls the train cars, which are decorated for the holidays. On board, there is live entertainment during the hour-long round trip. Car hosts serve hot chocolate and cookies while musicians play favorite Christmas tunes. Plus, Santa and Mrs. Claus visit with each family personally, collecting children’s wishes and giving each child a sleigh bell. A photographer aboard the train will capture the moment with Santa and Mrs. Claus and photos will be available to purchase.
Experience Winter at Dilworth Park with your family until the end of February. Stroll through the holiday-inspired Wintergarden or ice skate at Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink. Adults can heat back up with a warm cocktail inside the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin after some quality family time on the rink.
Dilworth Park is also home to the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. The market has more than 40 vendors who sell unique treats, trinkets and treasures by local designers, artisans and crafters.
Don’t forget to catch the Deck the Hall Light Show, either, with nightly shows throughout the holiday season. With so many holiday festivities in Dilworth Park to choose from, everyone in your family is sure to have a great time.
The Comcast Center is home to one of Philadelphia’s most beloved holiday fan-favorite — the Comcast Holiday Spectacular. It’s a 15-minute video shown on the 2,100 square-foot Comcast Experience video wall that features a virtual sleigh ride through the city, a clip of “The Nutcracker” and holiday sing-alongs like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The Comcast Holiday Spectacular has drawn in more than 2 million visitors since its start in 2008. It usually runs until New Year’s Day
Make the most of this holiday season with your friends, family and loved ones. Whether you already live in Philly or are considering moving here, get ready to celebrate the holidays Philly-style. You could spend Christmas in Philadelphia year after year with help from Streamline, a Philadelphia-based real estate company. Streamline can help you find your dream home. We offer virtual reality home design services so you can play an active role in all stages of your home’s development. We’re leaders in urban residential development. From property sales and planning to construction and everything in between, we can guide you through the process and focus on your needs. Don’t wait to make the move — contact us today.