9 Fantastic Things to do in Philadelphia for Christmas
Spending the holidays in the City of Brotherly Love? Check out our list of top things to do in Philly during the Christmas season.
The holidays are knocking at our door and Philly is probably the perfect place to be in during Christmas time. At this time of year, there are lovely decorations all over the city and numerous holiday events that attract thousands of visitors. This is the main reason why we decided to make a list of fantastic things to do in Philadelphia and tell you about all of the cool places that you can go to. Grab your winter clothes and get ready for a Christmas adventure unlike any other.
Visit The Macy’s Christmas Light Show
First on our list is the famous Macy’s Christmas Light Show at the Center City Store. Perfect for families with children, this holiday tradition has been a part of the Philly Christmas culture for more than 50 years. Besides watching the amazing light show that creates a unique holiday image, you can also check out the ballerina show and live performance of the Wanamaker Grand Organ.
Macy’s Christmas Light Show is held at the Wanamaker Building and can be seen every two hours, from 8am to 10pm every day of the week. Keep in mind that there are no shows on the actual Christmas day. We were told that this magnificent show includes over 30,000 Led Lights that are mixed in six colors, and, therefore, creates the most colorful holiday images. The best thing is that children just love the Macy’s Christmas Light Show, simply because all of the bright lights and the wonderful holiday atmosphere here at the Center City Store.
Check Out The Christmas Village in Philly
The resemblance between the traditional Christmas markets in Europe and the Christmas Village in Philly is more than obvious. Since festivals like this one are popular all around the world, organizers from Philadelphia decided to give it a shot and try to attract large crowds of visitors. Did they succeed? Well, judging by the number of people coming to the Christmas Village, the answer is yes.
During the holiday season, Love Park, located in the center of Philadelphia, becomes home to the annual Christmas Village with numerous food, treats, and souvenir stands. This year there will be more than 50 vendors situated in boots and large tents who will offer different kinds of arts, souvenirs, holiday gifts, and delicious Christmas snacks. Of course, The Christmas Village beside shopping has a lot of special events during the holiday season and a big Christmas tree right in the center of the Love Park.
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Located at Penn’s Landing, Blue CrossRink Winterfest is an annual holiday event that each year transforms into a riverfront park. Down the Delaware River, there are holiday trees and a winter garden where visitors can enjoy the holiday time in Philly. Winterfest is probably one of the most important and famous winter attractions in the city, and besides all the cool lights and family activities, you can also enjoy delicious food and hot drinks.
This year, The Blue CrossRink Winterfest has increased the number of seating areas, both indoors and outside. There are also more options when it comes to food and specialties such as hot chocolate, treats, and amazing dishes from local vendors who come out every year to celebrate the holidays with the visitors. Special events are held on Christmas day and New Year’s. Be sure to check out the fireworks at midnight and the famous beer festival during the Christmas season at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest.
Go and See The Famous Nutcracker Classic
Residents of Philadelphia call it their favorite holiday event in the city. Yes, The Pennsylvania Ballet this year also presents the Nutcracker, held at the Academy of Music. This classic is just perfect for kids, and if you want to see the story of The Prince and Marie, and their fight against the vicious Mouse King, make sure to check out this wonderful play. The amazing set and the magnificent costumes that are specially made for this event leave all of the visitors speechless.
Every year there are more than 45,000 people watching the Nutcracker, which has become sort of a tradition in Philadelphia. It started out as a local thing but now manages to attract travelers from all around the country. There are several activities added to the program, such as family parties, celebrity appearances, and special holiday events. Make sure to reserve a ticket in advance if you decide to go and see the Nutcracker, especially on weekends just before Christmas.
Enjoy the Longwood Gardens
If you are looking for magnificent light shows and performances from Philly musicians, the best place to go is to the Longwood Gardens. Each year there are over 500,000 lights that create a unique atmosphere and spectacular fountain show during the holiday season. The Longwood Organ performs during these celebrations and the best news is that most of them are free.
Planning your visit in advance at the Longwood Gardens would be a smart thing to do, simply because many locals, as well as some tourists, are interested in visiting this amazing place. Lower prices are available on work days and there are fewer people at this time. In Philly, it is considered that the Holidays are just not complete without a visit to the Longwood Gardens. Therefore, book your ticket as soon as possible in order to enjoy this wonderful show.
Have a lovely Christmas Adventure at The Brandywine Museum
Every year, the Brandywine Museum hosts a Christmas celebration with holiday exhibits such as the Victorian Dollhouse, railroad model trains, and many handcrafted decorations. The magnificent O-gauge train is one of the main features at this wonderful museum and people are coming here just for this one unique attraction. Perfect for families with small children who just can’t get enough of this place.
There are more than 1000 pieces located at the Brandywine Museum. The clockwork sets and small wooden factories are our favorites, but there is so much more to see and sometimes people spend hours checking stuff out while visiting this place. An interesting fact is that some of the dolls were donated to the Brandywine Museum by the famous American composer Ann Wyeth McCoy.
Don’t Miss the Adventure Aquarium
Best described as a winter wonderland, The Adventure Aquarium hosts Rudolph and the famous Scuba Santa show during Christmas celebrations. The trees are glowing, the lights are shining bright, and the decorations are truly amazing here at the Adventure Aquarium. There are numerous live performances and shows, as well as the Realm exhibits and twinkling lights that light up the whole place.
The Adventure Aquarium is our personal favorite when it comes to holiday times in Philly. Why? Well, what better way to celebrate Christmas than with magnificent under-the-sea adventures that are just perfect for kids. From December 4th, this place turns into a big holiday celebration spot and many visitors from all over the country come to witness the amazing shows and performances. Tickets are available to order online for just $25 for adults and $19 for children.
See the Fireworks on the Delaware River Waterfront
Sugar House Casino welcomes the annual Fireworks on New Year’s located on the Delaware River. The show starts at 6pm and lasts until midnight. It is such a spectacular event that it has a lot of visitors, so it is advised to come early and find the right spot. This is surely the main holiday attraction in Philly and there are thousands of people attending this event at the Delaware River Waterfront.
Take a short walk from the Old City and the South Streets and in a couple of minutes, you will arrive at this remarkable holiday party. What better way to spend the celebration of New Year’s eve than to watch spectacular fireworks that light up the whole city of Philadelphia.
The Amazing Mummers Parade in Philadelphia
A 100-year-old tradition where 10 thousand people get dressed up in colorful holiday costumes and walk down one of the main streets in Philly, The Mummers Parade is all about celebrating Christmas and gathers large crowds of people every year. Some of them participate in the show while others are watching this spectacular event. We were told that the best place to watch the Mummers Parade is probably from the stands that are located near the city Hall.
This year the starting place of this carnival is set on the Kennedy Boulevard and the parade ends at the Washington Avenue. There are numerous brigades that even after the parade go to the Pennsylvania Convention Center where they do different types of performances. The Philadelphia Art High School is also one of the top locations from which you can have the best view of the Mummers Parade. Make sure to bring a camera, simply because this celebration is definitely worth capturing on video and sharing with your friends and family. Also, visitors are advised to take public transportation to the city, due to large crowds and not enough parking spots for everyone. If you still want to drive your car to see the Mummers Parade, the best option is to park in one of the closed garages in the city.
Christmas is a special time that is celebrated by millions of people all around the world. There are many cities that have numerous holiday events, concerts, shows, and spectacular fireworks, but only a couple of these cities stand out and create a wonderful experience for its visitors. Philadelphia is one of these towns with dozens of places to visit and things to see during the Christmas season. If you are in Philly during Christmas, we are sure that you will have so much to choose from and that the Philly Christmas adventure will be remarkable in every way.
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