things to do

Joy to the World: Free and Affordable Holiday Fun to Be Had This Weekend

The is so much to get you in the holiday cheer going on in Philadelphia and the suburbs from Dec. 20 to 22

Morris Arboretum lights
NBC10

Philadelphia and its surrounding counties always have something going on this last shopping weekend before the holidays.

Joy will fill the city this weekend with the first night of Hanukkah, a classic Christmas music concert and an ugly sweater party. The holiday fun continues in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas.

We’ve found the top free (and affordable) choices of what to do this weekend, Dec. 20 to 22, in Philly and New Jersey.

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Enjoy!

What:  Old City Menorah Lighting

Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah with games, crafts, traditional treats and the lighting of the Old City Menorah.

Where: Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St., Philadelphia

When: Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Cost: Free

What: Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

Wear your most outrageous holiday-themed sweater and gather around the fire pit for live music and prizes for the best sweater.

Where: Willow Creek Winery, 160 Stevens St., West Cape May, NJ

When: Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Cost: Free admission. Pay as you go.

What: Holidays on the Hill

Stroll Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia's historic Chestnut Hill neighborhood. You can appreciate some holiday cheer as you complete your shopping list.

Where: Chestnut Hill Shopping District, Philadelphia

When: Stores' hours vary

Cost: Free to stroll

Chestnut Hill is spreading the Christmas cheer with its 'Holiday on the Hill.' Shoppers can enjoy Santa, music, special treats, and much more. Philly Live's Aunyea Lachelle visits Chestnut Hill to show you what it has to offer.

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: Through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: $8 Adults, Children under 12 are free

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:  Christmas in Peddler’s Village

Enjoy festive holiday lights, food, gingerbread houses, visits with Santa and plenty of shopping opportunities.

Where: Peddler’s Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope

When: through Jan. 4

Cost: Free 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:  The Philadelphia Orchestra Present The Glorious Sounds of Christmas

This annual Christmas performance is filled with Christmas classics.

Where: The Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia

When: Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m.

Cost: From $25

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 

The Dinosaurs Around the World exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is now open for all ages.
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