things to do

Free and Affordable Holiday Fun to Be Had This Weekend

From a patriotic football game to plenty of holiday cheer, there is lots of free and affordable things to do in our region Dec. 13 to 15

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Philadelphia and its surrounding counties always have something going on.

The most competitive rivalry continues again this year at this weekend’s Army-Navy football game. But, the holiday festivities don’t stop either. There are more holiday house tours, breakfasts with Santa and shopping opportunities this weekend.

We’ve found the top free (and affordable) choices of what to do this weekend, Dec. 13 to 15, in Philly and New Jersey.

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What: Army-Navy Football Game

The most patriotic rivalry continues on the football field. But the fun spills onto the streets of Philadelphia as there are also free patriotic events such as the "Rocky" relay.

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, other locations

When: Saturday at 3 p.m.

Cost: Varies

It's going to be in the 50s Saturday at the Linc in South Philly for the Army-Navy football game, but there could be showers during parts of the game.

What:  Yuletide at Historic Strawberry Mansion

Visit the Mansion to see holiday décor at its finest in a historic setting.

Where: Historic Strawberry Mansion, 2450 Strawberry Mansion Drive, Philadelphia

When: Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: $8 Adults, Children under 12 are free

Kristin Detterline, Editor in Chief of Modern Luxury Philadelphia Style Magazine stops by Philly Live to dish on some hot and stylish items to help guide you through the holiday season.

What: Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour

Take this self-guided tour of homes, inns, hotels, churches and more all decorated for the holiday season in Cape May. There will be strolling musicians and caroling and holiday treats.

Where: Downtown Cape May

When: Saturday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Cost: $40 for adults

What: Family Holiday Celebration

Stroll this celebration for holiday-themed crafts, photos with Santa, live music, face painting and more.

Where: Wildwood Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood NJ

When: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free admission

What: Breakfast with Santa

Enjoy a breakfast buffet and make sure to bring your Christmas list for Santa.

Where: Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St., Cape May, NJ

When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon

Cost: $20 Adults, $12 Children

What:  Holiday Brunch and Winter Wonderland

Families can enjoy a breakfast buffet (complete with a children’s pancake making station), photos with Santa, a bounce castle, arts and crafts and more.

Where: Loews Hotel Philadelphia, 1200 Market Street, Philadelphia

When: Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cost: $49 Adults, $24 Children (ages 3-12)

What: Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Experience this authentic open-air European Christmas Market right in Philadelphia. There are more than 80 vendors selling crafts, clothing, food and more.

Where: Love Park, 15th and JFK, Philadelphia

When:  through Dec. 24

Cost: Free to stroll

Looking for a place full of Christmas spirit? Visit the Christmas Village in Center City where you can enjoy a German Christmas Market and so much more.

What: Holiday Garden Railway

This model train set is not to be missed with 12 rail lines, seven loops and tunnels, two cable cars and nine bridges, all lit up for the holidays. All aboard!

Where: Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Pa.

When: through Dec. 31

Cost: Free with admission

What: Macy’s Christmas Light Show

This free show of dancing lights and music in the Grand Court of the historic Wanamaker building (now Macy’s) has been a holiday favorite for years. While in the iconic store head upstairs to see the Dickens Christmas Village and head outside to see the Christmas window displays.

Where: Macy’s, 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia

When:  through Dec. 31 ( Showtimes at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.)

Cost: Free

What: Franklin Square Holiday Festival

Twinkling lights, holiday music, food, beer and hot chocolate fill this ongoing holiday festival. The switched has been turned on for the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO that features more than 80,000 lights shimmering to holiday music.

Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street, Philadelphia

When: through Dec. 31, starting at 4:30 p.m. daily

Cost: Free

What: Deck the District Holiday Light Show

This first holiday season in the newly opened Fashion District Philadelphia. The 5-minute show, running every 30 minutes until close, features lights timed to holiday music, floating trees and decorations everywhere.

Where: Fashion District Philadelphia, 901 Market Street

When: through Dec. 31, starting at 4 p.m. daily

Cost: Free

What: Comcast Holiday Spectacular

This holiday tradition continues in the lobby of the Comcast Center with the super high-resolution LED holiday display. Watch the Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a sleigh ride through the city and enjoy a sing-along.

Where: Comcast Center, 1701 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia

When:  through Jan. 1, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost: Free

What: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

When the weather gets chilly, head to rink for some ice skating, fire pits, food, drinks, an arcade and more.

Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia

When: through March 8

Cost: Free for general admission, $4 skating admission, $10 skate rentals

What: Brandywine Christmas

Check out the Christmas trees, model train displays and ornament sales.

Where: Brandywine River Museum of Art, 1 Hoffmans Mill Rd., Chadds Ford, Pa.

When:  through Jan. 5

Cost: $18, children under 5 are free

What: Photo Pop Philly: Winter Wonderland

This pop-up art exhibit is interactive and photo friendly. There are snow-filled backdrops and more to create an Instagram-worthy winter wonderland.

Where: The Bourse Food Hall, 111 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia

When: through Jan. 5

Cost: $20 for adults, free for children under 5

Photo Pop Philly has a Winter Wonderland-themed interactive exhibit at the Bourse in Philadelphia. If you are in the Christmas spirit, you have now until Jan. 5 to check it.

What: LumiNature

Visit the Zoo at night for this new walk-through light and sound display. More than 600,000 lights illuminate the zoo in 12 massive light displays that include penguins, big cat eyes and a 21-foot-tall snake. 

Where: Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia

When: through Jan. 5

Cost: From $19, children under 2 are free. Time tickets required, limited availability.

What: A Very Furry Christmas

Sesame Place transforms into a festive wonderland complete with lights, special Christmas shows, visits with Santa and Sesame Street characters and more.

Where: Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, Pa.

When:  through Jan. 1

Cost: From $36

What: Holiday Light Show Ride

More than 3 million lights will illuminate the farm. Families can drive through the magical displays or take a ride in the open-air wagon.

Where: Shady Brook Farm, 931 Stony Hill Rd., Yardley, Pa.

When: through Jan. 5

Cost: $30 per car load, $15 per person wagon ride

What: A Longwood Christmas

Thousands of poinsettias, Christmas trees, flowers and lights fill the indoor garden for the holidays. Seasonal music and the fountain dance outdoors is not to be missed either!

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pa.

When:  through Jan. 5

Cost: Varies. Timed tickets required.

What: Dinosaurs Around the World

Visit with dozens of animatronic dinosaurs as you discover and learn about things like volcano activity and fossils.

Where: The Academy of Natural Sciences

When: Through Jan. 20

Cost: From $7 in addition to general admission 

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