Thanksgiving Weekend: Free and Affordable Fun to Do in, Around and Outside Philly for Nov. 28 to Dec. 1

We have you covered for free or affordable fun this weekend from Philly to the suburbs. And, it isn't too soon to get in the holiday spirit.

What to Know

  • We have you covered for free or affordable fun this weekend. And, it isn't too soon to get in the holiday spirit.
  • Get out and enjoy these events.

Philadelphia and its surrounding counties always have something going on.

Deck the Halls because Philadelphia is officially in the holiday spirit! The Thanksgiving Day Parade will be filled with fun and thanks before several tree lightings and Christmas markets begin to shine bright. Light displays, Santa parades, ice skating and more kick off this holiday weekend.

We’ve found the top free (and affordable) choices of what to do this Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, in Philly and New Jersey.

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: Thursday through Dec. 24

Cost: Free to attend

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: Thursday through Jan. 1

Cost: Free

What: Festival of Trees

Stroll the variety of decorated trees and wreaths decorated by local businesses.

Where: 260 20th Street, Avalon, NJ

When: Friday, from noon to 8 p.m.

Cost: Auction

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: Friday 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.

Where: Macy’s, 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia

When: Friday through Dec. 31

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: Friday 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: Friday through Jan. 5

Cost: $18, children under 5 are free

What: Holiday Stroll and Festival of Lights

Stroll the streets of downtown Media for some holiday shopping, the tree lighting at 5 p.m. and horse drawn carriage rides.

Where: State Street, Media Pa

When: Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Cost: Free ($10 carriage rides)

What: Colonial Chocolate Making

Learn how women played an active role during the American Revolution and sample some hot chocolate.

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

When: Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

What: Christmas Festival at Peddler’s Village

This holiday fest kicks off when Santa parades. Enjoy festive holiday lights, food, visits with Santa and plenty of shopping opportunities.

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

When: Saturday and Sunday, 1:30 p.m. parade each day

Cost: Free admission

What: Snowfest Saturday

Get free family photos with Santa, enjoy games and rides, live music and more and this winter festival.

Where: Dune Drive, Avalon, NJ

When: Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free

What: Santa Parade and Fun Run

Enjoy a block party during the day with a 1-mile fun run, kids activities and music. The Santa Parade begins at 5 p.m. where mummers, marching bands, fire engines, classic cars and of course Mr. and Mrs. Claus will march down State Street.

Where: Downtown Media, Pa

When: Sunday, from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

Cost: Free

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: 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

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: 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, 2019

Cost: Free to explore

What: Holiday Light Show

This first holiday season in the newly opened Fashion District will feature light shows timed to music, floating trees, and decorations everywhere.

Where: Fashion District in Philadelphia

When:  through Dec. 31

Cost: Free

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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