Top Things We’re Excited To Do In Philly This Holiday Season

Holiday lights, festive music, great shopping — oh my!

It’s safe to say that we’re pretty psyched for the holiday season.

Between the openings of excellent wintertime attractions like Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and The Comcast Holiday Spectacular and the influx of pop-up shops and seasonal treats, the holidays in Philadelphia arrive in full force.

Read on to find out why we’re excited for this festive season in Philly.

Explore On Ice and On Land At The Wintergarden at Dilworth Park

Center City DistrictPhoto by Rob Cardillo

The holiday season takes center stage at Dilworth Park with the opening of its new Wintergarden, a seasonal respite that encompasses the Rothman Institute Ice Rink and Rothman Institute Cabin, in addition to a new holiday garden maze, a Made in Philadelphia shopping market and more.

Explore On Ice and On Land At The Wintergarden at Dilworth Park

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Kick Off The Season With Tree Lightings

Throughout the season, parks and attractions host tree lighting celebrations to maximize holiday spirit. The Philly Holiday Tree Lighting Festival is marked for November 26 in Dilworth Park, the tree lighting at RiverRink is slated for December 2 and more. Click here for more info.

Kick Off The Season With Tree Lightings

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Bask In The Glory Of Neighborhood Holiday Light Displays

Holiday LightsPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Beyond the dazzling lights at such spots as Macy's Christmas Light Show and Franklin Square Holiday Festival, the city glows with twinkling lights in neighborhoods, too. 13th Street in South Philly seriously decks its halls for the Miracle on South 13th Street, the Delaware River glows as the Independence Seaport Museum's Parade of Lights Returns and more.

Bask In The Glory Of Neighborhood Holiday Light Displays

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Hang Out at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

WinterfestPhoto courtesy DRWC

One of the most visited winter attractions in Philly is perhaps Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Returning this year on Friday, November 25, the cold-weather attraction promises ice skating on a regulation-size ice rink, fire pits for s’mores roasting, festive food and drinks, games and more.

Hang Out at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

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Check Off Your Holiday Shopping List at Christmas Village

Christmas VillagePhoto by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

With wooden houses, twinkling lights and live entertainment, Philadelphia’s German-style Christmas Village — this year, surrounding City Hall — has become a Yuletide favorite. Here shoppers find popular gifts from Germany and around the world, including glass ornaments, music boxes, nutcrackers and more, while vendors serve up hot mulled wine, gingerbread and bratwursts to keep shoppers warm and satisfied.

Check Off Your Holiday Shopping List at Christmas Village

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Marvel at the Lights at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival

Franklin SquarePhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The holiday magic at Ben Franklin’s namesake park comes in the form of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO. The show runs every 30 minutes from 4 to 8 p.m. on weeknights and 4 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It showcases a giant lighted kite and 50,000 lights choreographed to holiday music. Other festivities include visits from Santa; rides on the holiday train and carousel; Ben's Sweets amd Treats, where guests can create and taste a variety of tasty treats; and mini-golf.

Marvel at the Lights at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival

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Feast On A Delicious Thanksgiving Dinner

ThanksgivingPhoto courtesy DiBruno Bros.

This Thanksgiving, let one of Philadelphia’s awesome restaurants do dinner for you. Dozens of great dining establishments are offering sit-down dinners for those aiming to avoid the cooking, baking, grocery store rush and post-meal clean up of Thanksgiving dinner. Visit spots like Bank and Bourbon, City Tavern and Urban Farmer for your Thanksgiving meal.

Feast On A Delicious Thanksgiving Dinner

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Check Out The Giant Floats And Balloons at The Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving Day ParadePhoto by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

The oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the nation goes down every year right here in the streets of Philadelphia. Now in its 97th year, the annual celebration promises a visual and festive feast. On Thanksgiving Day spot huge balloons, festive floats and live performances.

Check Out The Giant Floats And Balloons at The Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Celebrate The Season at The Philly Holiday Festival

Twinkling lights, the echo of carols and a nip in the air all bring a sprinkle of seasonal magic to Philadelphia. This year, the festivities get an extra touch of sparkle with the launch of the Philly Holiday Festival, the city’s colorful, seven-week holiday gift to locals and visitors, featuring a new spectacularly lit tree and America’s Garden Capital Maze in Dilworth Park, parades, light shows and two fireworks displays along the Delaware River.

Celebrate The Season at The Philly Holiday Festival

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Shop Cool Gifts At Pop-Up Shops And Stores Across Philly

Holiday ShoppingPhoto by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Between seasonal shops like the Made in Philadelphia Market at Dilworth Park, Christmas Village at City Hall and Greensgrow Farm's Holiday Bazaar, there are plenty of great pop-up shops to browse this holiday season in Philly.

Shop Cool Gifts At Pop-Up Shops And Stores Across Philly

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Sing Along at the Macy's Christmas Light Show

Macy'sPhoto by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Come to the famous Macy's Center City store — housed in the historic Wanamaker Building — to watch snowflakes, ballerinas and reindeer float beyond the four-story-high velvet curtain of the Grand Court atrium. During the light show, more than 100,000 bright, energy-efficient LED lights combine to create fantastic holiday images. For shows starting at noon, the finale of the light show is accompanied live by festive music from the world-renowned Wanamaker Grand Organ.

Sing Along at the Macy's Christmas Light Show

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Enjoy The Sights Of The Season At The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

Shown on the state-of-the-art Comcast Experience video wall at The Comcast Center, The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is filled with sights and sounds of the season. Now an annual tradition, the 15-minute Comcast Holiday Spectacular takes visitors on a festive, musical journey featuring classic family favorites like Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bell Rock and The Twelve Days of Christmas. The show also includes a snippet of The Nutcracker performed by the renowned Philadelphia Ballet.

Enjoy The Sights Of The Season At The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

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Take In Horticultural Beauty At A Longwood Gardens Christmas

Longwood GardensPhoto courtesy Longwood Gardens

The Christmas season arrives in a major way at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square. Through January 8, 2017, the gardens and buildings illuminate with a half-million lights in addition to holiday music, fountain shows, seasonal shrubbery and plants, fire pits and so much more.

Take In Horticultural Beauty At A Longwood Gardens Christmas

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Ring In 2017 At The Epic New Year's Eve Fireworks Show On The Waterfront

New Year's Eve FireworksPhoto by Matt Stanley for DRWC

Philadelphia will ring in 2016 not once but two times during the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Delaware River Waterfront with fireworks lighting up the sky at 6 p.m. and again at midnight.

Ring In 2017 At The Epic New Year's Eve Fireworks Show On The Waterfront

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Dance Along At The Mummer's Parade

Mummers ParadePhoto by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

During the Mummers Parade, the only-in-Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition that dates back to 1901, thousands of men, women and children delight and dazzle crowds with feathers, sequins, music and merriment during a day-long romp along Broad Street. The carnival-like atmosphere creates one of the most colorful starts to the year.

Dance Along At The Mummer's Parade

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For more on the holidays in Philadelphia, check out a full guide on visitphilly.com.

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