Sweet smells of mulled wine and waffles permeate the air. Jolly music sets the soundtrack. And a new holiday carousel spins round and round as artists and makers from all over the world descend up Philadelphia for the annual Christmas Village.
The city once again transforms into a European wonderland for Christmas Village, officially opening on Thanksgiving, November 24, this year. Making a move to City Hall while LOVE Park undergoes renovations, the outdoor, German-style market brings more holiday decorations and festive cheer than ever before, along with 80-plus vendors set up in wooden booths.
- Christmas Village is open daily November 24–December 24.
- Find 80+ vendors selling giftable items of all sorts.
- The market moves from LOVE Park to City Hall this year.
- A new carousel inside City Hall’s courtyard will offer rides for $3.
Shoppers can find international gifts of all kinds, ranging from ornaments to jewelry to toys to high-quality arts and crafts and beyond.
And Christmas Village goes beyond being an awesome outdoor shopping center, too. The whole market is illuminated in the light of over 55 Original Herrnhut Stars and daily live music and performances take place, inviting you to come by and hang out for an afternoon of night of fun.
New City Hall Location
Although Christmas Village is making a move this year from LOVE Park as it undergoes renovations, it returns with as much magical holiday cheer as ever before. Its new home takes the market to City Hall – specifically in the area’s Courtyard and on the north and east perimeter of City Hall.
Here, find the same experience we’ve come to know and love, filled with traditional European treats to sample as you shop your way through 80 wooden booths selling international holiday gifts, ornaments, jewelry, high-quality arts and crafts and more.
New Holiday Carousel
Nothing completes a holiday outing like a spin around a grand and colorful carousel.
New this year, Christmas Village invites children of all ages to hop on one of 20 wood-carved horses and go for a twirl right in the center of City Hall. Located in the Courtyard, the spectacle is impossible to miss, adding a ton of merriment to the already cheerful Christmas Village. Carousel rides are $3 each.
Philly Tree Lighting Ceremony
Along with Christmas Village, the official Philly Holiday Tree also gets a new home this year.
In front of the vendor booths that line the north and east perimeter of City Hall, find Philly’s 38-foot holiday tree.
On November 26, the free Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration officially unwraps the holiday season in the city with a quick flick of a switch, set to take place at 5:30 p.m. The Philly Holiday Tree is anchored atop a multimedia base accented by iconic symbols, including Rocky, the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the skyline and other representations of the city’s neighborhoods. All of its fragrant limbs that rise above will glow with thousands of dazzling lights.
The official lighting event includes plenty of holiday giveaways and joyful entertainment to enjoy, commencing at 4 p.m., with the celebration concluding at 6 p.m.
Other Special Events
Throughout the season, Christmas Village hosts an abundance of festive events. During its grand opening ceremony on November 27, look forward to an appearance from the Nuremberg Christkind, the German equivalent of America’s Santa Claus. Wearing a long white dress with golden stars and a golden crown, the Nuremberg Christkind will wander through the medieval-village-styled, outdoor holiday market giving treats away to the little ones after delivering a Christmas Village opening prologue.
On November 30, Christmas Village hosts its second Lantern Parade beginning at 5:15 p.m. Get crafty and come out with a homemade, battery powered lantern and join in on the procession. Children’s carolers from Walnut Street Theatre will be there to chime in and afterward, a holiday performance by the Philly POPS Festival Brass ensemble will take place.
Meanwhile, on December 21, the Village hosts its first bratwurst-eating contest, where participants will be given 15 minutes to chow down on as much of the German-style sausages as possible.
Wednesday evenings throughout December (excluding the last week of the month) from 5-7 p.m are declared as “Ho Ho Happy Hours,” featuring a photo booth, mulled wine and food deals and other weekly specials.
Daily, catch live music and performances on the Christmas Village stage facing the north entrance of City Hall’s Courtyard at different times each day.
You can check out the performance schedule here, as well as details on all of the special events and programming set for this season.
Food and Drink
As many as 15 different food and drink vendors will set up shop among the crafters and makers of Christmas Village. Ready to keep you both warm and fueled during your shopping adventure, look forward to classic German treats like mulled wine, potato pancakes, bratwursts, gingerbread, fresh-made waffles and more.
A variety of vendors will be ready to help you with your holiday shopping, too, such as Chaddsford Winery, selling wine by the bottle, John & Kiras, makers of hand-crafted chocolates and The Bacon Jams, concocting bacon-infused preserves and more. After all, who doesn’t enjoy an edible gift?
And remember, admission to the entire Christmas Village is free; just pay as you go for gifts and enjoy!