In Philadelphia, Christmas spirit and holiday cheer are alive and well through November, December, and into the New Year. There are so many things to do and see during the holiday season that it can be hard to catch them all.
To help you get the holidays started early, Philly Views has organized these into two separate categories: family-friendly attractions, which means that everyone can attend regardless of age; and boozy holiday events, which are for the 21-and-up crowds. Each of these sections are in chronological order, so you can follow along as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years approach.
Here’s the list.
Family-Friendly Attractions & Events
November 9 to December 31
50,000 lights make up the spectacular views that take over Franklin Square Park this Christmas. Santa can even be seen making his way around the park. All ages have something to enjoy, from the carousel and mini train ride to the winter beer garden.
November 10 to February 25
For the fourth year in a row, Philadelphians have the opportunity to go ice skating at William Penn’s feet. Enjoy the views of Center City as you skate at City Hall.
Kicking off the season opening of the #RothmanRink in honor of our nation's veterans today at Dilworth Park with special appearances from 2nd Lt. Faith Brodkorb, @boyscoutsofamerica Troop and Cub Pack #176, the @philadelphiasymmetry Ice Skaters, and @thephillypops! • #rothmanortho #rothmancabin #iceskating #veteransday #dilworthpark #centercityphiladelphia #thephillypops #phialdelphia @ccdparks
The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parade floats down the streets of Philadelphia. Grab a seat at on the steps of the Art Museum and enjoy the parade as it fills the streets for 1.4 miles.
November 23 to January 1
Between 10 am and 8 pm, every hour on the hour for fifteen minutes, the state-of-the-art screen located in the Comcast Center displays a festive musical journey.
November 23 to December 31
Over 80 vendors fill the historic Reading Terminal Market, making it easy to find something you enjoy while admiring the interactive scenes of the railroad riding through the terminal. The set displays historic scenes of the Reading Terminal Market, the Reading Railroad, and much more.
November 24 to December 31
Since 1956, The Grand Court located in the National Historic Landmark Wanamaker Building has hosted the Christmas light show. Every two hours during Macy’s store hours, visitors have the chance to see the amazing light show for free.
November 24 to March 4
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest transforms Penn’s Landing into a winter wonderland for all ages. With an olympic size skating rink, a ski-style lodge restaurant and bar, and a kid’s lodge stocked with an arcade and mini-rides, it’s the perfect place to spend a day with the entire family or your significant other.
November 28 at 5 pm
A Philadelphia favorite, Rittenhouse Square is lit up by a thirty-foot tree covered from top to bottom in white globe lights. Come enjoy the carolers and endless hot chocolate as Santa leads the ceremony and lights up the Christmas tree.
December 1 through March
Four large fiberglass domes display dream-like video projections created by Jennifer Steinkamp. Her inspiration was by Ben Franklin’s electrical research and the Parkway institutions.
December 1 to 19
The Philly POPS Festival Chorus, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, and award winning African Episcopal Church Choir come together to create an all new arrangement of musical talent. With roughly 300 performers on stage, holiday classics are given a more robust voice.
Greensgrow Farms will be selling local, handmade gifts for holidays. This festive neighborhood favorite offers everything from Christmas trees to fine art, crafts, and jewelry. Come out and support local Philadelphia artists.
We are looking for vendors who make handmade one of a kind arts and crafts for the Greensgrow Holiday Bazaar, December 2nd & 3rd, 16th & 17th. This is a fun and festive event that shows off the talent in our neighborhood to the Greensgrow community. We are dedicated to social entrepreneurship and promoting local small local businesses like yours that make life in our neighborhood better, we hope you will join us! Find more info and apply at greensgrow.org/holidaybazaar #greensgrowholidaybazaar #handmade #callforvendors #callforartists #makermarket #craftshow
December 8 to 31
Join members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Boys Choir, and the Pennsylvania Ballet as they perform their jaw-dropping performance of The Nutcracker.
Nearly 10,000 men, women, and children can be seen in lavish, colorful costumes as they make their way down Broad Street. This 120-year tradition brightens up the streets of Philadelphia every New Years’ Day.
Boozy Christmas Events & Attractions
November 24 to 26
During this 40-hour long comedy experience, you have the opportunity to experience hilarious performances from everybody ranging from Philly stand-ups to improvisors, and even a few a clowns. BYOB.
November 28- December 21
Chaddsford Winery is teaming up with Philadelphia food vendors to bring something new to the Christmas Village at City Hall. Taste a variety of wines in the coziest Christmas setting in the city.
It’s time to rummage through your closet and find the ugliest Christmas sweater you own and join thousands of runners in Fairmount Park for the most festive 5k ever. Warm up at the end with some hot chocolate or even a Kahlua cocktail.
The band Triage returns to Fergie’s Pub from 9 pm to 1am for a “seasonal soirée of beer gut proportions.”
If Santa isn’t really your thing, here’s your chance to party with Jack Skellington. Costumes, naughty or nice, are encouraged, and the special drinks, decorations, DJ, and photo booth will help kick off the party.
Join one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in Philadelphia at XFINITY Live. You’ll have access to five different bars and clubs, all found under the same roof.
Everything you need to ring in the new year the right way, all in one spot. General admission gets you two floors of music, a food buffet, craft cocktails, and party favors.
Sugarhouse Casino is putting on two free fireworks shows with an amazing backdrop. While enjoying the Blue Cross Winterfest at Penn’s Landing this New Years Eve, you have the opportunity to see the fifteen-minute display over the Delaware River.
Located on the 51st floor at Three Logan Square, this beer garden in the sky has your holiday fix coming up. SkyGarten’s hot chocolate bar lets you choose between Fireball, Peppermint Schnapps, and Bourbon Cream to help top off your hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream.
After spending the night ice skating in the city, stop in the Rothman Cabin to warm up in the heated tent located at the tip on the rink. Enjoy spiked hot chocolate, craft beer, and a festive list of food options.