things to do

Classic Christmas: Free and Affordable Fun to Do in, Around and Outside Philly for Dec. 27 to 29

Christmas Light Show at Macy's in Center City
G. Widman / Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia and its surrounding counties always have something going on.

As Christmas concludes and the New Year approaches, there are is still some holiday cheer to be had. Families can check out an old-fashioned Christmas exhibit with toys and trains, visit a Sea of Lights or watch the largest holiday classic basketball tournament in the country. 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. 27 to 29, in Philly and New Jersey.

What: An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit

Check out the holiday traditions through the years of model trains, toys and more at this gallery exhibit.

Where: Carroll Gallery at Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., Cape May, NJ

When: Friday through Jan. 1

Cost: Free

What: Boardwalk Basketball Classic

Watch as high school boys and girls compete in the largest holiday co-ed basketball tourney in the country!

Where: Wildwood Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ

When: through Dec. 31

Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for kids

What: Sea of Lights

Check out this indoor winter wonderland of lights, crafts, games, treats and more.

Where: Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, Ocean Ave., Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

When: Friday and Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Cost: $20 for package that includes aquarium admission

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.

Where: Macy’s, 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia

When:  through Dec. 31

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 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 at 4 p.m. daily

Cost: Free

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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

Cost: Free

What:  Winter at Dilworth Park

In the shadow of City Hall, families can enjoy ice skating, the Wintergarden, shopping and plenty of snacks and hot chocolate outside at Dilworth Park. Look for the light show projected onto City Hall at night, too!

Where: Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street, Philadelphia

When: through Feb. 23

Cost: Free to explore

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

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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.

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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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