Philly Live
Showcasing the food, fashion, wellness, technology and travel destinations that make the Philadelphia region great.
RiverRink Winterfest Tree Lighting
Photo by M. Stanley for the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation Provided by Visit Philly

This content comes from our partner Visit Philadelphia. Used with permission.

Giant tree lightings, festive parades and holiday happenings at some of the city’s biggest attractions mean one thing: ’tis the season to be jolly in Philadelphia.

Winter at Dilworth Park

When: November 8, 2019 – February 23, 2020 (dates vary by attraction)

What: Holiday pop-ups abound in Center City, including the dazzling nightly Deck the Hall Light Show (November 25, 2019 – January 1, 2020), projected directly on to the side of City Hall. Elsewhere, the outdoor Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink & Cabin (November 8, 2019 – February 23, 2020) offer ice skating, skate rentals, twinkling lights and indoor space to warm up and fill up on snacks, cocktails, seasonal beer and hot drinks, while the charming, stroll-worthy Wintergarden (November 8, 2019 – February 23, 2020) holds seasonal plants and lights. Lastly, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market (November 23, 2019 – January 1, 2020) returns with dozens of independent local vendors selling their wares.

Where: Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street

Franklin Square Holiday Festival

When: November 14 - December 31, 2019

What: During the annual Franklin Square Holiday Festival, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show makes this historic square twinkle, with multiple ree shows every night. Among the 75,000 bulbs set to music is a giant, illuminated kite. Other festivities include Saturdays with Santa; rides on the holiday train and carousel; comfort foods, local beer and hot beverages at Ben’s Sweets & Treats and holiday fare at SquareBurger; and mini-golf.

Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street


Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day Parade

When: Thursday, November 28, 2019 | 8:30 a.m.-noon

What: The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade kicks off the holidays each on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The annual event — celebrating its 100th parade through the city! —features collegiate marching bands, performances by Walt Disney World characters, giant balloons, floats and, at the end of it all, the Clauses accompanied by postal workers collecting letters to Santa.

Where: Parade runs along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Benjamin Franklin Parkway & North 21st Street


Christmas Village in Philadelphia

When: November 28 - December 24, 2019

What: The German-style Christmas Village returns to JFK Plaza, also known as LOVE Park. For the 12th year, 80 wooden booths of local and international merchants display and sell Käthe Wohlfahrt trimmings, wintry apparel, handmade toys and all manner of edible and drinkable treats, while entertainment keeps things festive. Also “present” is the attraction’s centerpiece: a 27-foot-tall lit-up gift made up of nearly 25,000 LED Lights.

Where: LOVE Park, 15th & Arch streets

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular & Market

When: November 28, 2019 - January 1, 2020

What: The Comcast Center’s annual super high-res LED holiday show combines the Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a magical sleigh ride over the city (with a bird’s-eye view of the new Comcast Technology Center) and a sing-along in 15 minutes of free fun. More than 2 million people have seen the show since its debut in 2008. The show runs daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (every hour on the hour except 5 p.m. on weekdays). New for 2019, the Comcast Technology Center hosts a holiday pop-up market in the concourse for visitors in search of the perfect gift.

Where: Comcast Center, 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

Macy’s Christmas Light Show

When: November 29 - December 31, 2019

What: The Grand Court in the National Historic Landmark Wanamaker Building has hosted a Christmas Light Show since 1956. The department store continues the tradition of sugarplum fairies, dancing snowmen and more with a 100,000-light show narrated by Julie Andrews and accompanied by the famed Wanamaker Organ. Free performances take place every two hours during store hours. Between shows, visitors often tour the second floor’s vintage Dickens Village, where intricate animated dolls and sets retell A Christmas Carol — and each free walkthrough ends in a chance to meet and get photos with Santa.

Where: Macy's, 1300 Market Street

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

When: November 29, 2019 - March 8, 2020

What: The popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest returns for a 26th year with new cabin decor; fire pits; a Kids Lodge arcade; a cozy, chalet-style Lodge Restaurant and Bar; sweets from Franklin Fountain Confectionery Cabin; and hearty fare from Garces Group and Chickie’s & Pete’s — all centered around a regulation skating rink with a spectacular view of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard


Rittenhouse Square Tree Lighting

When: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 | 5 p.m.

What: Thousands of lights and a 30-foot live Christmas tree turn Rittenhouse Square into one of Center City’s most festive public spaces for the holidays. The official tree lighting attracts locals and visitors to the popular park to usher in the season. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to the event to be donated to charity.

Where: Rittenhouse Square, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square

Visit Philadelphia Holiday Tree at City Hall

When: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 | 5-7 p.m.

What: The city’s magnificent holiday tree stands tall on the north side of City Hall, around the corner from all the wintry fun in Dilworth Park. A tree-lighting celebration on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, invites residents and visitors to see the tree sparkle for the first time this season, as well as enjoy entertainment and kid-friendly activities.

Where: City Hall, 1400 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

Holiday Light Show at Fashion District Philadelphia

When: November 14 - December 31, 2019

What: Fashion District Philadelphia, which opened in September, celebrates its first holiday season with an inaugural light show. The retail and entertainment space boasts a 45-foot-tall floating tree with giant stainless steel mirror ornaments and a light show timed to music by the Philly POPS. The five-minute show runs every 30 minutes from 4 p.m. until closing, with a live Philly POPS performance kicking things off on Thursday, November 14, 2019.

Where: Fashion District Philadelphia, 901 Market Street


Holiday Tours at One Liberty Observation Deck

When: November 15 – December 30, 2019 (select dates)

What: Seasonal tours transform this 360-degree attraction at the top of a skyscraper to honor the local holiday tradition of the Mummers Parade. Tours take place Friday – Sunday on the hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. There is no 2 p.m. tour.

Where: One Liberty Observation Deck, 1650 Market Street

LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo

When: November 20, 2019 – January 5, 2020 (select dates)

What: Two years in the making, a new, immersive display transforms the zoo’s day-scape into a nighttime multimedia light and music spectacle. Dancing lights and sounds throughout furnish illusions of animals (and trees!) coming to life. A flock of plastic flamingos forms a 25-foot-tall tree, an enormous polar bear display broadcasts the magnificence of our planet and all four seasons host their very own party. Seasonal fare, live performers, hot chocolate and ever-warming adult beverages promise to spark the holiday spirit.

Where: Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Avenue

Holidays at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

When: November 27 – December 31, 2019 (select dates)

What: The Philadelphia Museum of Art welcomes the holidays with a tree lighting featuring tunes by Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Nine as well as the Sister Cities Girlchoir (Wednesday, November 27, 2019). The museum also hosts other holly jolly activities for all ages, including hands-on holiday card-making during its pay-what-you-wish after-hours program (Wednesdays, December 4-18, 2019) and a couple of spirited live concerts highlighting music from classic holiday cartoons (Friday, November 29, 2019) and traditional holiday carols (Sunday, December 15, 2019).

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium

When: November 29 - December 30, 2019

What: Marvel at the most underwater Christmas lights ever at Adventure Aquarium this year, with eight whimsical underwater Christmas tree displays, including the world’s smallest and tallest underwater Christmas trees. Visitors get the chance to see Scuba Santa and his “elfish” helpers diving beneath the surface and celebrating the season, as well as thousands of twinkling lights, colorful coral and sea-lightful illuminations that glow daily.

Where: Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ

Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum

When: November 29 - December 31, 2019

What: Amid the evergreens at Morris Arboretum, the Holiday Garden Railway showcases a miniature winter wonderland complete with a quarter-mile of model-train tracks, seven loops and tunnels, 15 rail lines and model trains that cruise past scaled replicas of historic monuments and Philadelphia landmarks adorned with thousands of twinkling lights.

Where: Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

Historic Holidays in Old City

When: November 30, 2019 - January 1, 2020

What: Old City kicks off its holiday celebrations on Small Business Saturday (Saturday, November 30, 2019) with the return of the charming window-decorating contest. Visitors can stroll the streets and vote for their favorite displays — which are on view all month long — designed by local shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, and more for a chance to win prizes. In years past, many of the great stores in Old City attract holiday shoppers with special discounts, events and extended hours on select evenings during this time of year. And don’t miss the neighborhood’s annual holiday tree-lighting celebration in courtyard at the Betsy Ross House, complete with music, seasonal sips and snacks (Thursday, December 5, 2019).

Where: Various locations including the Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

Tippler’s Tour: Yuletide Cheers and Beers

When: December 5-26, 2019 (select dates)

What: Historic Philadelphia, Inc., puts a holiday spin on its Tippler’s Tour, when the pub crawl, set in the winter of 1777 and led by a costumed reenactor, takes guests to four festive bars throughout Old City. Attendees can enjoy winter brews and entertaining historical facts on the special excursion.

Where: Tour starts at the Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

Deck the Alley at Elfreth's Alley

When: Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 3-7 p.m.

What: During the annual Deck the Alley programming, Elfreth’s Alley homeowners open their historic houses — on the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the U.S. — for a glimpse of the past decked out for the holidays. Santa and carolers greet visitors, who can see traditional loom weaving and shop in the museum store for holiday gifts.

Where: Elfreth's Alley, 124-126 Elfreth's Alley

Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum

When: Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 5:30 p.m.

What: The Independence Seaport Museum puts on a festive day that culminates in an early-evening procession of decorated, lighted working boats on the Delaware River. The best place to view the shining boat parade is from the museum’s second-floor terrace with a warm seasonal beverage in hand.

Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

A Very Philly Christmas at the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park

When: December 5, 2019 – January 1, 2020 (select dates)

What: Six decked-out 18th- and 19th-century park mansions — Historic Strawberry Mansion, Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, Mount Pleasant and Woodford — open their doors for holiday treats and performances during A Very Philly Christmas. Special events this year include Flavors of the Season (Sunday, December 8, 2019), featuring free samples and demonstrations; and Sounds of the Season (Saturday, December 14, 2019), offering festive live music at each house.

Where: Various locations including Laurel Hill Mansion, 7201 Randolph Drive

Holiday Carol Sing & Food Basket Give-a-way at the Johnson House Historic Site

When: Thursday, December 12, 2019 | 4-6 p.m.

What: Germantown’s historic Johnson House invites everyone to sing carols and stroll Germantown Avenue while distributing holiday food baskets to area families in need. Warm up afterward with cider and cookies at the former Underground Railroad station.

Where: Johnson House Historic Site, 6306 Germantown Avenue

Old City Community Menorah Lighting at the Betsy Ross House

When: Sunday, December 22, 2019 | 4:30 p.m.

What: The Old City Jewish Arts Center and Betsy Ross House host a community menorah lighting celebrating the first night of Hanukkah. Guests can enjoy traditional foods like latkes and doughnuts as well as holiday-related children’s activities. The menorah is lit nightly at the attraction throughout the duration of the Jewish holiday.

Where: Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

Being ____ at Christmas at the National Museum of America Jewish History

When: Wednesday, December 25, 2019 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

What: The National Museum of American Jewish History hosts a variety of activities for folks who don’t celebrate Christmas (and those who do) during this annual event. In addition to the exhibitions within the galleries, guests can enjoy crafts, live music, storytelling, movies and face painting.

Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East

Kwanzaa at The African American Museum in Philadelphia

When: Thursday, December 26, 2019

What: The African American Museum in Philadelphia hails the winter harvest by lighting the kinara and honoring the seven principles at this annual event.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

Holiday Concerts with The Philly POPS

When: November 29 – December 20, 2019 (select dates)

What: The Philly POPS entertain crowds all winter long with special holiday concerts featuring some fabulous special guests. Uptown Christmas — with performances by Tituss Burgess and Mandy Gonzalez — gets the season started at The Met Philadelphia (November 29 – December 1, 2019). Other highlights include the annual Spectacular Sounds of the Season shows (December 6-21, 2019, select dates) and a reprise of last year’s successful show Christmas in the City (Friday, December 20, 2019).

Where: Various locations including The Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street

The Pennsylvania Ballet Presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

When: December 6-31, 2019 (select dates)

What: The Pennsylvania Ballet returns to the grand Academy of Music for an elegant (yet kid-friendly) Philadelphia dance tradition. Tchaikovsky’s iconic score pairs with lavish sets and costumes as well as enchanting performances by the dancers, members of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra.

Where: Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street

PHILADANCO: Xmas Philes

When: December 12-14, 2019

What: The beloved Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) takes the stage at the Annenberg Center for the crowd-pleasing Xmas Philes. The performance mixes contemporary movements choreographed by Daniel Ezralow with popular Christmas music, making it a must-see this holiday season.

Where: Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street

Christmas in Peddler’s Village

When: November 8, 2019 - January 4, 2020

What: Bucks County’s holiday hub kicks off the season when the Clauses switch on 1 million lights during the Grand Illumination Celebration (Friday, November 15, 2019), an event replete with carolers, warm apple cider and roasted marshmallows. Simultaneously, the Village Gazebo hosts a few dozen creations in the annual Gingerbread Competition & Display (November 15, 2019 – January 4, 2020). And the Christmas Festival fills a weekend with a pair of Santa parades and Victorian decoration (November 30 – December 1, 2019). Throughout the season, visitors can pick up holiday gifts at the 60-plus specialty shops and boutiques throughout the village.

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

A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens

When: November 22, 2019 - January 5, 2020

What: Thousands of poinsettias, Christmas trees and flowers transform the heated four-acre Conservatory at Longwood Gardens into a winter wonderland during the popular A Longwood Christmas, which opens even earlier this year (on Thanksgiving Day) for those looking to maximize holiday joy. Outside, 500,000 lights glitter in trees and spectacularly restored fountains and fire pit flames dance to seasonal music.

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

Wild Lights at Elmwood Park Zoo

When: November 22, 2019 - January 5, 2020

What: Millions of lights set the 16-acre Elmwood Park Zoo aglow as the popular Wild Lights display returns to the Montgomery County attraction. Guests can encounter animals, enjoy live music and meet characters every night of the exhibit, which features installations like Snowflake Central, Rainbow Runway and a giant video show.

Where: Elmwood Park Zoo, 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown

A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place

When: November 23, 2019 - January 1, 2020

What: Sesame Place in Bucks County hosts a whole bunch of festive holiday happenings this year. The whole street — Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird and friends — get into the act, starting with Santa’s Illumination, when the whole place lights up (Saturday, November 23, 2019). Staged holiday productions, a kid-centric marketplace, visits from Santa and Rudolph, and the Neighborhood Street Party Christmas Parade take place every day the park is open.

Where: Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne

Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

When: December 31, 2019 | 6 p.m. and midnight

What: The Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront features two major pyrotechnics displays over the Delaware River — one at 6 p.m. and another at midnight. The stunning show is visible from several attractions and waterfront spots, including Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, which offers programming throughout the night.

Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Mummers Parade

When: Wednesday, January 1, 2020

What: This only-in-Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition dates back to 1901 and includes thousands of adults and children wearing feathers and sequins while dancing to music and parading along Broad Street from Philadelphia City Hall, site of competition among the Comic, Comic Wench and String Band divisions, to Washington Avenue. The indoor Fancy Brigade Finale competition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center consists of Broadway-inspired music-and-dance routines for prizes and bragging rights. Tickets for bleacher seating at City Hall and for the Fancy Brigades are available over the phone, via the mail or at the Independence Visitor Center.

Where: Parade starts at City Hall, 1400 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

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