Season’s greetings – we come with great news!
The return of the Philly Holiday Festival heralds the arrival of one the most joyful times of the year: the winter holiday season.
The five-plus week festival kicks off on Thursday, November 23 with the Thanksgiving Day Parade (the oldest of its kind in the nation!) and concludes on Monday, January 1, 2018 with the exuberant, must-see Mummers Parade.
PHILLY HOLIDAY FESTIVAL FAST FACTS
- The Philly Holiday Festival runs November 23, 2017-January 1, 2018.
- The festival includes more than 15 events and attractions
- Admission prices vary. Many events and attractions are free.
In between, all sorts of festive events take place — the Philly Holiday Tree Lighting and Dilworth Park’s Deck the Hall Light Show — and fun attractions pop up in public spaces citywide.
Altogether, more than 15 events and attractions blanket Philadelphia in holiday cheer. Get ready to celebrate – and don’t forget, the Philadelphia Parking Authority offers free on-street meter parking on Saturdays after 11 a.m. from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day!
About the Philly Holiday Festival
The festival encompasses an array of holiday happenings throughout the Philadelphia region and is designed to celebrate both time-honored traditions and brand-new festivities.
City Hall serves as the centerpiece of the festival and hosts both the grand Philly Holiday Tree and its annual lighting event, as well as a holiday carousel, a new pop-up restaurant, winter wonderland-themed courtyard, the Rothman Institute Ice Skating Rink, America’s Garden Capital Maze and the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market.
Beyond City Hall, the festival stretches citywide with events and attractions from Old City to Manayunk. Read on for the complete rundown on this year’s Philly Holiday Festival.
New This Year
This year, the Philly Holiday Festival debuts six new components — including a pop-up preview of a coming-soon restaurant, free museums days and happy hours.
Christmas Village in LOVE Park
After undergoing major renovations, LOVE Park (softly) re-opens for the holidays to host the Christmas Village in Philadelphia, which celebrates 10 years of bringing German-style holiday fun to the city. Christmas Village will be open Thursday, November 23 through Sunday, December 24 and will also roll out a new 30-foot snowflake tree, covered with 6-foot white snowflakes.
Philly Holiday Tree and Lights
The Philly Holiday Tree, a 50-foot live tree, resides this year at the north end of City Hall (facing North Broad Street). On Friday, November 24 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., a tree-lighting ceremony sets the tree aglow and a new-this-year gift drive supports youth in the community. Toy and clothing donations will be accepted from 4 to 8 p.m.
Every day after the lighting until the season ends, twinkling lights illuminate the tree in 42 different colors.
Deck the Hall Light Show at Dilworth Park Wintergarden
In Dilworth Park on the west side of City Hall, the major attractions of the Dilworth Park Wintergarden — a skating rink, warming cabin, holiday maze and holiday market — return for the 2017-2018 holiday season.
New this year, a nightly light show and animated display – created by local design firm KLIP Collective and presented by Independence Blue Cross – will shine on the west portal of City Hall multiple times each night from November 20 through January 1.
Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant
Also new at City Hall, a Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant launches on Friday, November 24 adjacent to the Philly Holiday Tree. The pop-up acts as a preview of the soon-to-come Craft Hall from FCM Hospitality, the team behind concepts like Morgan’s Pier and traveling summertime beer garden, Parks on Tap.
Craft Hall is set to take over the original outpost of Yards Brewing Company in Northern Liberties in fall 2018 and the holiday pop-up offers Philly a taste of the goods to come through Saturday, December 23 inside a heated tent fit for 100-plus guests.
Free Museum Days and More
Elsewhere throughout the city, new festival events include Thursday night Merry, Merry Happy Hours, featuring holiday cocktails at spots like Sofitel Philadelphia and One Liberty Observation Deck’s Bar 57, and Free Museum Days, when cultural institutions invite guests inside to enjoy both museum tours and special holiday programming.
One Liberty Observation Deck will also host “A Very Philadelphia Holiday,” decking out its 57th-floor space with iconic Philly holiday themes.
For more information about all of the above events and to stay up-to-date on new details as they’re released, click here.
Returning Attractions and Events
A ton of popular annual holiday attractions and events return this year, too, as part of the Philly Holiday Festival. Ride the carousel in the interior courtyard of City Hall, ice skate at the Rothman Institute Ice Rink and at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, tour five historic mansions for Christmas in Fairmount Park, take in the holiday lights at Boathouse Row, delight in the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show during the Franklin Square Holiday Festival and more.
Neighborhood happenings include Historic Holiday Nights in Old City, featuring an array of ongoing programming all throughout the area, and Holidays in Manayunk, a month-long series of festive events.
No holiday season is complete in Philadelphia without the annual SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront (6 p.m. and midnight) and the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade, so be sure to save some holiday spirit for the final days of the festival.
Click here for more details on the Philly Holiday Festival and to start planning your five weeks of festive fun now.