15 Awesome Events And Holiday Attractions In Philadelphia This December

Iconic holiday attractions and shows, a football throwdown, ice skating and more await...

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Philadelphia!

The month of December arrives in Philly with a slew of special events, celebrations and plenty of holiday cheer, too, from the numerous holiday pop ups around City Hall to the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s to Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and more.

In the coming days, tree lightings and shopping events fill nearly every nook of the city while non-holiday events, like the Army-Navy Game and Winter Fountains on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, continue to fill up folks’ calendars.

December ends on a high note as the annual SugarHouse Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront fill the sky not once but twice on New Year’s Eve (at 6 p.m. and midnight).

Read on for our guide to this month in Philly.

Dilworth Park Wintergarden and the Holidays at City Hall

Dilworth Park Wintergarden and the Holidays at City Hall in PhiladelphiaPhoto by Peter Tobia/Center City District

The heart of Center City is packed with holiday pop ups, including the brand-new, nightly KLIP Collective creation, Deck the Hall Light Show at Dilworth Park. The outdoor Rothman Institute Ice Rink & Rothman Institute Cabin offer ice skating, skate rentals, twinkling lights and indoor space to warm up and fill up on snacks, cocktails, beer and hot drinks, while America's Garden Capital Maze is a living labyrinth of seasonal plants and lights.

Philly's official tree overlooks North Broad Street, as does Craft Hall, an indoor beer garden, bakery and barbecue featuring Lost Breads and smoked meats. Within the open-air courtyard, the carousel returns, along with the Hernhut stars-topped stalls of the Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market of independent local vendors. Across the street at LOVE Park (in the midst of renovations) is Christmas Village, the annual German-style holiday shopping hotspot.

Dilworth Park Wintergarden and the Holidays at City Hall

When:Dates vary by attraction
Where:Philadelphia City Hall, 1401 John F Kennedy Boulevard

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Christmas Light Show at Macy's

Macy's Light ShowPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The Grand Court in the National Historic Landmark Wanamaker Building has hosted a Christmas Light Show since 1956. The department store revives the tradition of sugarplum fairies, dancing snowmen and more with a 100,000-light show narrated by Julie Andrews and accompanied by the famed Wanamaker Organ. Free performances take place every two hours during store hours. Before or after the show, check out the second floor's vintage Dickens Village, setup of animated dolls retelling A Christmas Carol; each free walkthrough ends in a chance to meet and take photos with Santa!

Christmas Light Show at Macy's

When:Through Sunday, December 31
Where:Macy's, 1300 Market Street

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Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

WinterfestPhoto courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

The popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest returns for year five with fire pits, an arcade, a chalet-style Lodge Restaurant and Bar, 12 nights of Christmas movies, sweets from Franklin Fountain Confectionery Cabin and hearty fare from Garces Group and Chickie's & Pete's. All of the fun is centered around a regulation-sized skating rink with a spectacular view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

When:Through Sunday, March 4
Where:Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle Light Show

Franklin SquarePhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle Light Show makes this park twinkle, with free shows every 30 minutes between 4 and 8 p.m. on weeknights and 4 and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Among the 50,000 lights set to music are a giant, illuminated kite and key. Festivities include #FranklinSquareFridays, Saturdays with Santa, Seasonal Sounds on Sundays and rides on the holiday train and carousel. Also look forward to treats such as make-you-own s'mores, hot doughnuts, local beer and hot beverages, all served in a warming tent or around fire pits in the outdoor beer garden.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle Light Show

When:Through Sunday, December 31
Where:Franklin Square, 200 North 6th Street

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The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular show in PhiladelphiaPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The Comcast Center's massive, street-level, high-resolution LED display airs 15-minute shows featuring dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet and a magical sleigh soaring over Philadelphia's skyline and beyond.

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

When:Through Monday, January 1
Where:Comcast Center, 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

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Coffee and Tea Festival

Get a good buzz at the annual Coffee and Tea Festival, featuring more than 50 exhibitors from all over the nation. The event, held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, is filled with tastings and onsite experts. Plus, the first 500 attendees to walk through the doors each day will receive a free gift bag.

Coffee and Tea Festival

When:December 2-3
Where:The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue

www.coffeeandteafestival.com

SugarHouse Casino New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

New Year's Eve FireworksPhoto courtesy M. Stanley for DRWC

It's not New Year's Eve in Philadelphia without an epic fireworks show! This year's SugarHouse Casino New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront features two opportunities to catch the major pyrotechnics displays over the Delaware River — one at 6 p.m. and another at midnight. The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest gets in on the action too with entertainment, favors, outdoor seating and great views of the fireworks.

SugarHouse Casino New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

When:Sunday, December 31
Where:Various location including Race Street Pier, 101 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

Photo courtesy The Franklin Institute

In 1974, a farmer digging a well in China struck one of history's most significant archaeological discoveries: thousands of life-sized warrior sculptures that had been guarding the tomb of China's first emperor since 210 B.C. Ten of the mysterious structures and 170 related artifacts — including weapons, jade and gold ornaments and ceremonial vessels — are now on display at The Franklin Institute for Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor, an exhibition that examines the story, craft and science behind the terracotta army. Philadelphia is one of just two cities hosting the exhibition, so be sure to catch it while it's here!

Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor at The Franklin Institute

When:Through Sunday, March 4
Where:The Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street

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Army-Navy Game

Army-Navy GamePhoto courtesy Lincoln Financial Field

The Army Black Knights take on the Navy Midshipmen in this epic collegiate rivalry, now in its 118th year. Held at the Lincoln Financial Field, the game kicks off at 3 p.m. and tickets can be purchased online.

Army-Navy Game

When:Saturday, December 9
Where:Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way

www.armynavygame.com

Parkway 100: Winter Fountains on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Rendering courtesy Jennifer Steinkamp

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway has always been a stunner at night, and this winter, the grand boulevard is getting lit — literally. The free, outdoor Winter Fountains exhibition illuminates the area with a stunning nighttime display of surreal, glowing videos projected on to four large domes. The dazzling works — inspired by the Parkway's grand fountains — are the centerpiece exhibition of Parkway 100, the city's 14-month celebration commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the avenue's groundbreaking.

Parkway 100: Winter Fountains on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

When:Through Sunday, March 18
Where:Four locations along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including Aviator Park

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A Longwood Christmas

Longwood Gardens ChristmasPhoto courtesy Longwood Gardens

Thousands of topiaries, wreaths, mirrors and floating cranberries, apples and gilded walnuts transform Longwood Gardens' heated, four-acre, Versailles-inspired Conservatory, site of free and ticketed holiday performances, during A Longwood Christmas. Outside, 500,000 lights glitter in the trees, and gloriously renovated fountains dance to seasonal music. Fridays through Sundays, Terrace hosts by-reservation breakfasts with Santa.

A Longwood Christmas

When:Through Sunday, January 7
Where:Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Rd

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Christmas in Peddler's Village

Christmas in Peddler's VillagePhoto courtesy Peddler's Village

Take in a ton of festive decor and get into the shopping spirit at Peddler's Village, Bucks County's holiday hub. December 2 and 3 bring the attraction's Christmas Festival, a weekend filled with Santa parades and Victorian decorations to admire. While you're there, don't miss the Gingerbread Competition & Display in the Village Gazebo, where a few dozen edible creations are on display through January 6.

Christmas in Peddler's Village

When:Through Saturday, January 6
Where:Peddler's Village, 2400 Street Road

www.peddlersvillage.com

Amazing Holiday Lights Throughout the Region

Lights on the Miracle on 13th Street in South PhiladelphiaPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The holiday season shines bright in Philadelphia as neighborhoods citywide transform with spectacular decorations. You could easily spend an entire evening (or more) admiring the holiday light displays throughout the region. Click the button below for our guide to where to see the best holiday lights.

Amazing Holiday Lights Throughout the Region

When:Dates vary
Where:Various locations including the 1600 block of South 13th Street

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Holiday Shows and Performances

Photo by: B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

Philadelphia's performing arts venues celebrate the holidays with a season of delightful programming. Head to the grand Avenue of the Arts for traditional seasonal performances including The Nutcracker by the Pennsylvania Ballet and holiday songs from The Philadelphia Orchestra. The city's smaller stages also capture the holiday spirit with new twists on old classics, original works and even a bit of humor to close out the year. Click the button below to learn about all of the top shows to enjoy this season.

Holiday Shows and Performances

When:Dates vary
Where:Various locations including the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street

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Pop-Up Holiday Markets

'Tis the season for pop-up shops, which you'll find popping up all throughout the region. This month, find a holiday greens sale at Bartram's Gardens, a Lucia and Christmas Market at the American Swedish Historical Museum, the Go West! Craft Fest at the Rotunda and more. To learn about all of the area's holiday pop-up shops, click the button below.

Pop-Up Holiday Markets

When:Dates vary by market
Where:Various locations including Bartram's Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Boulevard

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