Twinkling lights, magical parades, wintery thrills and spirited train rides – visitors pursuing their happiness in Pennsylvania can see why the holiday season is often described as the most wonderful time of the year. From singing carols and making cookies to giving gifts and decorating the tree, holiday traditions hold a special place in the Happy Traveler’s heart. Beyond those traditions, visitors can make the season even more enchanting by experiencing some must-see holiday celebrations across the state.
Longwood Gardens Christmas Display – Kennett Square
Nov. 22 – Jan. 5
They’ll put the stars in your eyes this holiday season as you wander through half a million twinkling lights, thousands of poinsettias and magnificent Christmas trees. Beautifully lit fountains dance in their starry holiday wonderland, and concerts are presented daily. Experience nature’s holiday display as Longwood Gardens celebrates the season with its annual Christmas Display. The heated glass 4-acre conservatory will have you mesmerized by thousands of blue and white twinkling lights, 14 whirling fountain features and more than 50 trees adorned with icicles and other frosty glass ornaments. This display of nature and beauty is sure to leave every visitor in the holiday spirit.
Koziar’s Christmas Village – Bernville
Nov. 2 – Jan. 1
A scenic drive through the countryside leads visitors to a dazzling wonderland set aglow with more than 500,000 lights adorning the buildings, barns and landscape of Koziar’s Christmas Village. Since its inception 72 years ago, Koziar’s Christmas Village has grown drastically into a massive display of lights and attractions and boasts many awards, including Best Outdoor Christmas Display in the World from Display World magazine and the Award of Excellence from the Pennsylvania Travel Council as one of the Top Ten Travel Attractions in Pennsylvania.
Christmas in Hersey – Hershey
Select dates Nov. 15 – Jan. 1
Get into the holiday spirit by experiencing Christmas in Hershey. Start the evening by exploring Christmas Candylane®, where guests can enjoy all the wonders of the holiday at Hersheypark® with more than 4 million twinkling lights. Then, visitors can take a ride on more than five of Hersheypark®’s favorite coasters: sooperdooperLooper®, Laff TrakkSM, WildcatSM and Cocoa CruiserSM. Visit with Santa and his reindeer, sing along to some holiday tunes and enjoy some hot roasted nuts while strolling through the amusement park. For those who want to stay warm in the car, visitors can explore Hershey Sweet Lights® display. This two-mile wooded driving path provides a twinkling journey where visitors can view more than 600 animated displays. With so many holiday happenings and family-friendly entertainment, Christmas in Hershey can be the sweetest place on earth to celebrate the holiday season.
Bethlehem and Christkindlmarkt – Bethlehem
Nov.22-24, Nov. 29–Dec. 1, Dec.5-8, 12-15, & 19-22(excluding Thanksgiving weekend)
Find the perfect gift and experience holiday shopping like never before at a tradition that dates back to medieval Germany. During the Middle Ages, townspeople gathered to shop in open-air markets during the holiday season – and now, visitors to Bethlehem can do the same at Christkindlmarkt. The market has more than 150 artisans set up in heated tents to present their best work for shoppers to purchase and enjoy. Kids can even enjoy breakfast with St. Nicholas. From jewelry and handmade pottery to delicious food and live holiday music, this holiday paradise in Bethlehem, the Christmas City, is packed with tradition, old-world charm and possibly that perfect present.
Overly’s Country Christmas – Greensburg
Nov. 22 – Dec. 30
Featuring 2.4 million twinkling lights spread across 15 acres of the Westmoreland Fairgrounds, Overly’s Country Christmas has been a tradition in western Pennsylvania for more than 50 years. More than 600 volunteers help to create this massive light display, as well as provide a warm bonfire, tasty treats and quaint sleigh rides to all attendees. To keep in the holiday spirit of giving, proceeds of this sparkling event benefit at-risk families.
Holiday Light on the Lake – Altoona
Nov. 15 – Jan. 5
Holiday Lights on the Lake is a 51-acre dazzling display of lights and animation at historic Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pa. Visitors can drive through a wonderland of bright holiday lights and animated displays while listening to music on the radio as it is broadcasted live on Lakemont Park’s radio network.
A Wonderful Life Festival and Parade – Indiana
Nov. 22 – Dec. 21
The “Christmas Tree Capital of the World” and Jimmy Stewart’s hometown of Indiana kicks off the holiday season with this parade and festival paying tribute to the iconic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. Visitors can enjoy a parade, model train display, crafts and music while roasting marshmallows and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate to keep warm while mingling with Santa. The Indiana Theatre runs the famous movie that day free of charge. If that wasn’t enough excitement, there will be a tree lighting of a 30-foot tree in IRMC Park.
Light Up Night® – Pittsburgh
Downtown Pittsburgh will celebrate the 57th annual Light Up Night® with a weekend-long event complete with Pittsburgh entertainers, a bridge party, special lighting ceremonies, marching bands, the annual Candlelight Horse-drawn Carriage Parade, Santa and, of course, fireworks. The annual event is one of the largest holiday lighting celebrations in the country.
Christmas at Elizabeth Farms – Lancaster
Nov. 23 – Dec. 21 (Closed Mondays)
Located in the heart of historic Lancaster County, Elizabeth Farms is the area’s largest live Christmas tree farm since 1758 and features more than 200 acres of live Christmas trees, free horse-drawn wagon rides, Santa’s workshop, hot refreshments, a train room, festive holiday displays and much more.
Christmas Magic – York
Nov. 23 – Dec. 21 (Closed Dec. 24 & 25)
The spectacular half-mile trail winding through Rocky Ridge Park in York displays more than 600,000 lights and animation. This magical holiday happening has become a traditional visit for many families far and wide. Christmas Magic has been named one of the top 13 events in the country by the Wall Street Journal, the very best special event in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society and one of the top 10 holiday events in Pennsylvania by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Santa Train (oil Creek and Titusville Railroad) – Titusville
Nov. 30, Dec. 1 & 7
All aboard the Polar Express! Ride the rails with Santa, Mrs. Claus and all their helpers on a one-of-a-kind wintertime trip through the beautiful Oil Creek State Park. Relax aboard the historic Titusville railroad as it winds through the snow-covered valleys and soars through the winter air. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and homemade cookies as local choirs sing carols and entertain the holiday spirit.
The Pennsylvania Chrsitmas and Gift Show – Harrisburg
Dec. 4 – Dec. 8
The PA Christmas and Gift Show is celebrating 36 years! Featuring more than 750 vendor booths, this event at the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex is one of the largest holiday shows in the country. The show includes a Christmas shop, decorated trees, train displays, visits with Santa, a children’s workshop and more.
Festival of Ice – Lewistown
Dec. 5- Dec. 6
For two days in central Pennsylvania, downtown Lewistown will host the 23rd annual Festival of Ice. Old-fashioned carriage rides take visitors past walls of magnificently sculpted ice, interactive ice sculptures and more than 40 individual blocks of sculpted ice, while live entertainment and festive foods keep visitors warm among the decorated wreaths that line the halls of the historic courthouse on Monument Square.
“A Dickens of a Christmas” Victorian Celebration – Wellsboro
Dec. 6 – Dec. 8
The annual “A Dickens of a Christmas” in Wellsboro evokes Victorian-style charm in this quaint town street fair. Conveying the theme of Charles Dickens’ famous story “A Christmas Carol,” this celebration boasts street musicians and carolers dressed in period-inspired attire. For a unique view of this old-fashioned holiday wonderland, take part in a horse-drawn wagon ride or special train excursion. Gather around and finish the night with a tree-lighting ceremony in the center of town.
Olde Time Christmas Celebration- Jim Thorpe
Dec.6-8, 14-15 and 21-22
The streets of Jim Thorpe bustle with the sounds and joy of the Christmas season this time of the year. The decorations, cozy accommodations, sounds of the trains and carolers, and relaxed strolling through downtown are sure to put you in the holiday spirit. The town’s annual Christmas parade and tree lighting, Christmas play, Historic District Ghost Walks and Gingerbread House contest are just a few of the Christmastime activities visitors can enjoy. In addition, the mansions are decorated for the season and open for tours.
Boiling Springs Tree Lighting & Christmas Tree Float – Boiling Springs
Since 1992, the Boiling Springs Civic Association has lit the small town of Boiling Springs into a magical, picturesque Christmas village. Hundreds of luminaries line the lake, and crowds gather near the Gazebo to watch Santa Claus row his boat across the lake to greet the children. The Christmas tree and approximately 400 luminarias will be lit around the perimeter of Children’s Lake for this 27th annual event, and even on the coldest days, the warmth of the town and the people make this night one of the more memorable holiday experiences.
Christmas in Our Hometown – Tunkhannock
Whether visiting from just around the corner or making the trek far from home, there is nothing quite like feeling at “home for the holidays” at Tunkhannock’s Christmas in Our Hometown weekend. Street carolers, hot chocolate, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and a host of other holiday festivities await visitors as they wander through this picturesque town celebration. Enjoy horse and buggy rides, open air peanut roasting, ice sculptures and more during this annual event.
Bellefonte Victorian Christmas – Bellefonte
Dec. 13 -14
Take a journey back in time to Christmases of the past at the annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas. Stroll alongside ladies in traditional dress riding in horse-drawn carriages and gentlemen in top hats greeting the visitors. Ring in the season and turn on the holiday cheer with a variety of Victorian traditions, such as tea parties, home tours and much more.
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