15+ Things We’re Psyched To Do In Philly During The Holidays

Center City ice skating, grand tree lightings, Mummers' day dancing and more...

From 50-foot-tall trees and pop-up ice skating rinks to fire-pit-filled beer gardens and fireworks over the Delaware River, we are beyond excited all that the holiday season in Philadelphia has to offer in 2017.

The fun kicks off with the 98th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23 and continues into 2018 with the Mummers Parade, a lively and longstanding tradition on New Year’s Day.

In the days in between, enjoy seasonal shopping markets, Olympic-sized ice skating rings and breathtaking light shows, all included in the more than 15 events we’ve rounded up below.

Read on to learn more about what you can look forward to during the holidays this year!

Celebrate the Season at the Philly Holiday Festival

Philly Holiday FestivalPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Watch the lighting of the grand, 50-foot-tall tree at City Hall, sip on festive drinks at a Merry, Merry, Merry, Happy Hour, spin round and round on a holiday carousel and more during the season-long Philly Holiday Festival. Festival events and attractions for those of all ages unfold nearly every night of the week leading up to the holidays. Click the button below to check out the full schedule of happenings.

Celebrate the Season at the Philly Holiday Festival

When:Dates vary per attraction and event
Where:Locations vary per attraction and event

www.phillyholidayfestival.com

Marvel at the Lights at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival

Franklin Square HolidaysPhoto courtesy Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Winter nights are joyfully brighter at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, which features the nightly Electrical Spectacle, lighting up the park with 50,000 (!) twinkling lights shimmering and dancing to a holiday soundtrack of classics. The annual festival also features a variety of festive programming alongside a winter beer garden with fire pits, areas for making s'mores and other treats like gourmet hot chocolate. Click here to stay up to date on the full festival schedule as it's released.

Marvel at the Lights at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival

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

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Explore on Ice and on Land at the Wintergarden at Dilworth Park

Rothman Institute Ice RinkPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The Dilworth Park Wintergarden is packed with all sorts of seasonal fun with the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, Rothman Institute Cabin and America's Garden Capital Maze. New this year, the winter haven will host the Deck the Hall Light Show, a nightly event featuring an animated light show synchronized with holiday music and projected onto the grand architecture of City Hall.

Explore on Ice and on Land at the Wintergarden at Dilworth Park

When:Through Sunday, February 25
Where:Dilworth Park, 1 South 15th Street

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Check Out the Giant Floats and Balloons at the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving Day Parade in PhiladelphiaPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Philly is the proud home of the oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the nation. Now in its 98th year, the annual celebration promises a visual and festive feast of gigantic balloons, colorful floats and live performances. Each year brings a different lineup of special guests and characters to surprise and delight. Head down to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this Thanksgiving to see who shows up!

Check Out the Giant Floats and Balloons at the Thanksgiving Day Parade

When:Thursday, November 23
Where:Parade begins at 20th and Market streets and travels northwest along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

www.visitphilly.com

Feast on a Delicious Thanksgiving Dinner

ThanksgivingPhoto courtesy DiBruno Bros.

Turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, oh my! Restaurants all across the city invite you to dine in on Thanksgiving and enjoy a meal without needing to tackle any of the cooking, baking or post-meal clean up. From elegant tablecloth and candlelit prix-fixe meals to down-home all-you-can-eats, here are our top picks for turkey day dinners

Feast on a Delicious Thanksgiving Dinner

When:Thursday, November 23
Where:Select restaurants citywide, including Bank & Bourbon, 1200 Market Street

www.visitphilly.com

Check Off Your Holiday Shopping List at Christmas Village at LOVE Park

Christmas VillagePhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

There are few better places to get into the holiday shopping spirt than at the annual Christmas Village, offering gift-able items of all sorts. Held outdoors at the newly renovated LOVE Park and modeled after traditional, open-air European markets, the outdoor pop up features 80 vendors set up in dozens of wooden booths selling a range of international holiday ornaments, jewelry, toys, high-quality arts and crafts and more.

Check Off Your Holiday Shopping List at Christmas Village at LOVE Park

When:November 23-December 24
Where:Love Park, 1501 John F. Kennedy Boulevard

www.visitphilly.com

Delight in the LED-Powered, High-Resolution Sights of the Season at The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

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 holiday tradition, the 15-minute show takes visitors on a festive, musical journey featuring classic carols and snippets of The Nutcracker performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet, along with views from a magical sleigh ride featuring both the city's breathtaking skyline and Philadelphia's countryside.

Delight in the LED-Powered, High-Resolution Sights of the Season at The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

When:November 23-January 1
Where:Lobby of the Comcast Center, 1701 John F Kennedy Boulevard

www.visitphilly.com

Take In Horticultural Beauty at A Longwood Christmas

A Longwood ChristmasPhoto courtesy Longwood Gardens

No holiday is complete without a visit to Longwood Gardens, where more than 500,000 twinkling lights and tons of seasonal plants decked out with ornaments compose a vibrant and photogenic wonderland. Outside, colorful fountains dance to holiday music and three fire pits invite folks to cozy up under the stars.

Take In Horticultural Beauty at A Longwood Christmas

When:November 23-January 7
Where:Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road

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Enjoy Epic Seasonal Hangs Outs at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Blue Cross RiverRink WinterfestPhoto by Matt Stanley for DRWC

Look forward to a merry experience of all-day fun at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, where you'll find an Olympic-size skating rink overlooking the Delaware River, a ski chalet-style lodge and a winter garden with a majestically lit holiday tree featuring tens of thousands of LED lights. The waterfront destination also features an outdoor seating area with fire pits (for roasting s'mores!), cozy warming cabins, a kids' lodge with arcade games and more, creating a joyful winter oasis each year.

Enjoy Epic Seasonal Hangs Outs at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

When:November 24-March 4
Where:Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard

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Sing Along at the Christmas Light Show at Macy's

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

Come to the famous Center City Macy's 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 Macy's Christmas Light Show. The daily performances feature more than 100,000 bright, energy-efficient LED lights that come together to create fantastic holiday images, accompanied by music from the world-renowned Wanamaker Grand Organ.

Sing Along at the Christmas Light Show at Macy's

When:November 24-December 31
Where:Macy's, 1300 Market Street

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Shop for Handmade and Local Gifts at Pop-Up Shops and Stores Across Philly

Made in Philadelphia MarketPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Between seasonal shops like the Made in Philadelphia Market at Dilworth Park, Christmas Village at LOVE Park and Greensgrow Farm's Holiday Bazaar, enough great pop-up shops open up throughout the city this season for you to score gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Shop for Handmade and Local Gifts at Pop-Up Shops and Stores Across Philly

When:Ongoing
Where:Various locations citywide, including Greensgrow Farms

www.visitphilly.com

Be Wowed by the Well-Lit Glory Of Neighborhood Holiday Light Displays

Holiday LightsPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Beyond the dazzling light shows at spots such as Christmas Light Show at Macy's and the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, extravagant light displays illuminate neighborhoods all throughout the city. One of the most notable locales is 13th Street in South Philly (also known as the Miracle on South 13th Street), where colorful decorations and lights completely transform the stretch between Tasker and Morris streets. Other twinkling areas include Jewelers' Row, Boathouse Row, Rittenhouse Square and more.

Be Wowed by the Well-Lit Glory Of Neighborhood Holiday Light Displays

When:Ongoing
Where:Various locations citywide, including South 13th Street

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Kick Off The Season With Tree Lightings

Rittenhouse Tree LightingPhoto by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Throughout the season, different neighborhood parks and attractions host delightful tree lighting celebrations. The Philly Holiday Tree Lighting, one of the largest such events, unfolds the day after Thanksgiving (November 24) at the north end of City Hall, where a 50-foot tree showcasing the theme of "peace" will shine bright in 42 different colors. Other tree lighting events include those in Manayunk (November 25), Rittenhouse Square (November 28), Old City (November 30) and more. 

Kick Off The Season With Tree Lightings

When:Dates vary
Where:Locations citywide, including City Hall

Skate With Santa, Stroll The Decorated Elfreth's Alley And More During Philadelphia's Historic District HoliDays & Nights

Deck The AlleyPhoto by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

This December, the neighborhoods of Old City, Society Hill and the Delaware River Waterfront (also known as the Historic District) join forces for Philadelphia's Historic District Holiday Nights, a month-long celebration of the season. The merrymaking spans museums, restaurants and shops between the Delaware River and 7th Street and Vine and Lombard streets, and includes events such as Skate With Santa at the Blue Cross RiverRink, Deck the Alley at Elfreth's Alley, Illuminating Liberty at Museum of the American Revolution and more. Click the button below to learn more about all of the events.

Skate With Santa, Stroll The Decorated Elfreth's Alley And More During Philadelphia's Historic District HoliDays & Nights

When:November 30-December 31
Where:Select locations throughout Old City, including Elfreth's Alley

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Admire The Majestic and Illuminating Winter Fountains as Part of Parkway 100

Rendering courtesy Jennifer Steinkamp

Parkway 100's centerpiece exhibition, Winter Fountains, will light up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at night this winter. Created by artist Jennifer Steinkamp and inspired by the Parkway's fountains and horticulture, dramatic video scenes will project onto four large domes measuring 13 feet high and 26 feet wide.

Admire The Majestic and Illuminating Winter Fountains as Part of Parkway 100

When:December 10-March 18
Where:Four locations along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from 20th Street to The Oval

www.associationforpublicart.org

Ring in 2018 with Two New Year's Eve Waterfront Fireworks Shows

New Year's Eve fireworks over Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest in PhiladelphiaPhoto by M. Stanley for DRWC

Philadelphia will ring in 2018 not once but two times during the SugarHouse New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Delaware River Waterfront. The FREE shows go down at 6 p.m. and midnight, drawing thousands to the waterfront each year. 

Ring in 2018 with Two New Year's Eve Waterfront Fireworks Shows

When:December 31, 6 p.m. and midnight
Where:Display will take place over the Delaware River; Viewing spots include Blue Cross RiverRink, Penn's Landing and other waterfront locations

www.visitphilly.com

Dance Along at the Mummers Parade

MummersPhoto by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia

A longstanding Philadelphia tradition, the Mummer's Parade kicks off the New Year in the most vibrant and liveliest of ways. Watch 10,000 men, women and children dressed in colorfully lavish costumes twirl, sashay, pirouette and strut down Broad Street during this nearly 120-year-old tradition.

Dance Along at the Mummers Parade

When:January 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where:Parade route begins at City Hall and marches south on Broad Street to Washington Avenue

www.phlvisitorcenter.com

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