Philadelphia Holiday Activities for Families

Visit Philadelphia Holiday TreeSubmitted Image, Photo by Albert Lee

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Greater Philadelphia is bursting with spirit this holiday season as it welcomes back many storied traditions and brand-new festive offerings. The iconic celebrations include the beloved 6abc/Dunkin’ Donuts Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Philadelphia Ballet’s The Nutcracker, as well as newer traditions, like Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center and the Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade in Center City.

Whether you live in the Greater Philadelphia region or are just calling Philadelphia home for the holidays, these must-see holiday attractions in Greater Philadelphia are sure to put you in the highest of holiday spirits:

1. Winter at Dilworth Park

2. Holiday Tree at City Hall

  • Installed on November 9, 2022
    • The city’s magnificent VISIT PHILADELPHIA®  holiday tree arrives on November 9, 2022 on the north side of City Hall. A tree-lighting celebration will take place on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

3. Winter in Franklin Square

  • November 16, 2022 – February 26, 2023
    • Franklin Square has free nightly light shows set to a soundtrack of seasonal tunes which run every 30 minutes from 5 p.m. until close. Also at the park are Square Burger, Chilly Philly Mini Golf and the Parx Liberty Carousel.

4. LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo

  • November 17, 2022 – January 7, 2023
    • The Philadelphia Zoo lights up with more than 1 million holiday lights in 14 distinct zones. New displays for 2022 — including a 15-foot tall glowing blue gorilla and an under-the-sea-inspired holiday tree — join familiar favorites. There’s also seasonal fare, live performers, hot chocolate and adult beverages. Timed tickets are required. A limited number of anytime tickets are available for a short time.

5. Wild Lights at the Elmwood Park Zoo

  • November 18 – December 30, 2022 (select dates)
    • Norristown’s Elmwood Park Zoo shines with millions of LED lights illuminating the Montco attraction’s 16 acres. The walk-through experience features light displays and live entertainment during the evening hours. Tickets are required.

6. A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens

  • November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023
    • Kennett Square’s world-renowned Longwood Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland during the hugely popular A Longwood Christmas. This year’s theme, The Art of Christmas, features floating floral displays, dozens of holiday trees draped in gilded garland, enchanting treehouses and luminous outdoor light displays.  Tickets are required.
READ:  The City of Philadelphia Secures Unprecedented Federal Grant for Chinatown Stitch Infrastructure

7. Holidays at Peddler’s Village

  • November 18, 2022 – January 15, 2023

8. Christmas Village in Philadelphia

  • November 19-20, 2022 & November 24 – December 24, 2022 
    • Christmas Village in LOVE Park returns for 2022 with more than 110 different vendors set up in brand-new wooden huts. Visitors can purchase local and international gifts, along with raclette sandwiches, spiced wine, apple cider, strudels and more seasonal treats. Across the street on the north apron of City Hall and in the City Hall courtyard, a double-decker Christmas Village Carousel, Ferris Wheel and Kids Train are located.

9. Seasonal Celebrations at Sesame Place

  • November 19, 2022 – January 1, 2023
    • At the Bucks County-based theme park kids get to enjoy A Very Furry Christmas, transforming the park with millions of lights. Sesame Place also celebrates Hanukkah (December 18 and 22-25, 2022) with a Menorah-lighting ceremony and Kwanzaa (December 26, 2022 – January 1, 2023) with a Kinara-lighting ceremony.

10. Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm

  • November 19, 2022 – January 8, 2023
    • This Bucks County farm kicks off its three-million-light Holiday Light Show with Dashin’ Thru the … Lights, a family-friendly two-miler (timed tickets required) through the attraction. The main display opens to the public on November 19, 2022, when visitors drive or, if weather permits, ride in wagons past after-dark displays. Timed tickets required. Included with admission: the walk-through Candy Cane Lane light show.

11. 6abc/Dunkin’ Donuts Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

  • November 24, 2022 | 8:30 a.m.-noon
    • The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade — originally founded in 1920 — brings larger-than-life floats, spectacular marching bands, dazzling dancers, A-listers and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This year’s eclectic mix of performers and celebs includes everyone from The Spinners and C+C Music Factory to Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Philadanco, Carson Kressley, Blue Man Group and more.

12. The Comcast Holiday Spectacular 

  • November 24, 2022 – January 1, 2023
    • The Comcast Center’s annual (and free!) super high-res LED holiday show returns this year, back in the lobby of the city’s second-tallest building on one of the world’s largest LED continuous video walls. Combining performances from the Philadelphia Ballet with classic holiday songs, the 15-minute show features a magical sleigh ride over the city. Shows run daily at the top of every hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with sensory-friendly shows on offer every Thursday and Friday at 2:30 p.m. (and upon request).
READ:  Philadelphia Bridges to Receive $14.2 Million Boost from Federal Infrastructure Law

13. Holiday Garden Railway and Holiday Garden Railway: Nighttime Express at Morris Arboretum

  • November 25 – December 30, 2022 (select dates)
    • The annual Holiday Garden Railway brings a mini winter wonderland to the historic Morris Arboretum, with a quarter-mile track where model trains chug along loops, through tunnels and over bridges, past perfect little replicas of beloved Philadelphia landmarks. On select Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the display’s run, guests enjoy the railway amid thousands of twinkling lights as part of the after-hours Holiday Garden Railway: Nighttime Express programming. Tickets are required.

14. Macy’s Christmas Light Show 

  • November 25 – December 31, 2022
    • The Grand Court in the National Historic Landmark Wanamaker Building has hosted the Christmas Light Show since 1956. Macy’s continues the holiday tradition in 2022 with a 100,000-light show featuring twinkling snowflakes and dancing snowmen, accompanied by seasonal sounds from the famed Wanamaker Organ. Free performances take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays: 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Visitors can also register to visit Macy’s Dickens Village, where intricate animated dolls and sets retell Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

15. Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular at Greater Philadelphia Expo Center Oaks

  • November 25 – December 31, 2022
    • Returning for a second year to the Fairground at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, this holiday experience is powered by 1.2 million twinkling lights. Intricate displays include a 60-foot, walk-through light tunnel, illuminated recreations of Philly landmarks, and tributes to Philly’s thriving sports teams. There’s also Mistletoe Marketplace, as well as Rudolph’s ice rink and an opportunity to grab a mat and speed down a 160-foot ice slide — both brand-new for 2022. Gritty Claus will be making appearances on select dates.

16. Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

  • November 25, 2022 – March 6, 2023
    • Experience a riverfront winter wonderland at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Glide around an enormous ice skating rink, snap a photo next to the festive holiday tree and warm up with a hot beverage next to a fire pit or inside a cozy cabin. Entry into Winterfest is free. Ice skating, cabins and fire pits can be reserved in advance. The tree lighting ceremony is set for Friday, December 2, 2022.
READ:  Innovative Step Forward: Philadelphia Opens First Ever Permanent Satellite Election Office

17. Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade

  • December 3, 2022
    • The Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade — returning for its second year — celebrates all of winter’s holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the Chinese New Year. The event features cold-air balloons, marching bands, floats, dancers and more. Stay tuned to visitphilly.com for more details as we get closer to the big night!

18. PHestivaL of Trees at the King of Prussia Mall

  • December 3-4, 2022
    • This two-day event — now at the King of Prussia Mall for 2022 — features hundreds of holiday trees decorated for the season by local florists, designers, artists and more. Skip the line by buying timed tickets ahead of time ($10 for adults, $5 for children ages 5-18). Proceeds benefit local animal shelters and rescues.

19. George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music

  • December 9-28, 2022
    • The Nutcracker will take the stage at the Academy of Music during the Philadelphia Ballet’s annual holiday production of George Balanchine’s classic ballet set to Tchaikovsky’s score.

20. New Year’s Eve Fireworks

  • Saturday, December 31, 2022 | 6 p.m. and midnight
    • Philadelphia ends every year with a bang thanks to two big New Year’s Eve fireworks shows: one at 6 p.m. and one at midnight. Stay tuned for more info on this year’s shows and the best places to catch the displays.

21. Mummers Parade

  • January 1, 2023 
    • Start the year off with one of Philly’s most famous traditions. Watch more than 10,000 costumed marchers strut their stuff down Broad Street from City Hall to Washington Avenue in South Philly. The marchers — many of whom practice all year for this one-day celebration — stop at three performance areas along the route. After the march, the Fancy Brigades head inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center for performances that are judged in a number of categories. The day ends with a party in the streets along 2nd Street (read: Two Street) in South Philadelphia, which lasts well into the night.

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.