25+ Amazing Things To Do In Philly This Week, December 4-10

Excellent holiday happenings (including the opening of The Nutcracker!), the Army-Navy game, free museum admission and more…

December is upon us, and with it, plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and be merry in Philadelphia.

Can’t get enough of the holidays? In addition to fun, ongoing attractions (holiday pop ups at City Hall, RiverRink Winterfest, Christmas Light Show at Macy’s), this week sees the opening of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music as well as a number of awesome holiday pop-up shops and markets for those with their shopping lists in order.

Two of Philly’s premier arts and culture institutions offer free admission on select days this week. Explore the famous prison-turned-museum that is Eastern State Penitentiary for free on Thursday and learn more about real-life heroes for no admission fee at the National Liberty Museum this Saturday.

Sports fans, take note: The fiercely competitive Army-Navy football game makes its grand return to Philly this Saturday after a one-year hiatus and Temple Owls Men’s Basketball celebrates its home opener on Wednesday.

And this week marks the first full week for the Winter Fountains installation featuring trippy and surreal videos projected onto four domes along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Read on for our guide to this week in Philadelphia.

Dilworth Park Wintergarden & Holiday Attractions at City Hall

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

The area surrounding City Hall has transformed into a winter wonderland this holiday season thanks to the 50-foot-tall Philly Holiday Tree, the Craft Hall Pop-Up Restaurant, the all-local Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market and a carousel. More holiday fun comes via the Dilworth Park Wintergarden, where the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, the Rothman Institute Cabin, the brand-new (and free!) Deck the Halls Light Show and America's Garden Capital Maze all await. Across the street from Dilworth Park are 80 vendors at the annual Christmas Village, back this year at the still-under-construction LOVE Park.

Dilworth Park Wintergarden & Holiday Attractions at City Hall

When:Dates vary by attraction
Where:Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street
Cost:Pay as you go

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Franklin Square Holiday Festival

Franklin SquarePhoto by Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle makes this historic square 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 bulbs set to music is a giant, illuminated kite. Other festivities include Saturdays with Santa; rides on the holiday train and carousel; comfort foods, local beer and hot beverages; and mini-golf. Don't miss the free Hanukkah Celebration this Friday evening, complete with dreidel games, latkes and crafts.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival

When:Through Sunday, December 31
Where:Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
Cost:Free

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Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Blue Cross RiverRink WinterfestPhoto by Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

The popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is back with a chalet-style Lodge Restaurant and Bar, hearty fare from Garces Group and Chickie's & Pete's, sweets from Franklin Fountain Confectionery Cabin and a regulation skating rink with a spectacular view of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

When:Through Sunday, March 4
Where:Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Pay as you go

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Holiday Happenings in Philadelphia & The Countryside

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

All throughout the region, fun holiday activities await, including the free and daily Christmas Light Show at Macy's (a tradition since 1956), The Comcast Holiday Spectacular (an ongoing 15-minute show screened on the largest four-millimeter LED screen on Earth), spectacular holiday decorations and lights at Peddler's Village and Longwood Gardens and so much more.

Holiday Happenings in Philadelphia & The Countryside

When:Dates vary by attraction
Where:Various locations including The Comcast Center, 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
Cost:Varies

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Quest at the Ritz at the Bourse

Jon Olshefski's touching and powerful documentary Quest continues its one-week theatrical run at the Ritz at the Bourse through this Thursday. A decade in the making and filmed with verite-style intimacy, Quest is the portrait of the Rainey family and the home recording studio they run out of the basement of their North Philadelphia home. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is nominated for Best Documentary at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Quest at the Ritz at the Bourse

When:Through Thursday, December 7
Where:Ritz At The Bourse, 400 Ranstead Street
Cost:$8-$10.25

www.landmarktheatres.com

Final Week: Philadelphia Assembled at the Perelman Building

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and artist Jeanne van Heeswijk worked with dozens of collaborators to stage a part-artistic, part-civic engagement exhibition that examines Philadelphia's future. The pay-what-you-wish exhibition is on display through this Sunday.

Final Week: Philadelphia Assembled at the Perelman Building

When:Through Sunday, December 10
Where:Perelman Building, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue
Cost:Pay what you wish

www.phlassembled.net

A Philly POPS Christmas

Photo courtesy Philly POPS

Maestro Michael Krajewski takes the baton to lead the Philly POPS in a newly re-imagined, always-beloved concert featuring vocalist Justin Hopkins, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the Philly POPS Festival Chorus and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir. Part of the festivities: a musical performance of How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

A Philly POPS Christmas

When:Through Tuesday, December 19 (select dates)
Where:Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:$35-$116

www.phillypops.org

Winter Fountains on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Artist Jennifer Steinkamp created Parkway 100's centerpiece exhibition, which lights the boulevard at night this winter. Inspired by the Parkway's fountains and horticulture, dramatic video scenes project onto four large domes measuring 13 feet high and 26 feet wide. The Association for Public Art commissioned the outdoor art display.

Winter Fountains on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

When:Through Sunday, March 18
Where:Four points along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway including outside the Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:Free

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House of Clause: A Holiday Soiree at The Shops at Liberty Place

Don't pause in getting to the House of Clause: A Holiday Soiree at The Shops at Liberty Place, a charity event featuring live music, dramatic holiday lighting displays, freeze modeling, live toy soldiers, a gift wrap station, tasty treats and more!

House of Clause: A Holiday Soiree at The Shops at Liberty Place

When:Tuesday, December 5, 5-8 p.m.
Where:The Shops at Liberty Place, 1625 Chestnut Street
Cost:$10, admission; pay as you go, shopping

www.shopsatliberty.com

Stag & Doe Night in Chestnut Hill

Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill

On the Wednesdays leading up to Christmas, Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill transforms into a winter wonderland for the neighborhood's annual Stag & Doe shopping nights. Attendees will find an experience full of festive decorations, twinkling tree lights, wine and cheese, cocoa and cookies, roasted chestnuts, carolers and general holiday merriment.

Stag & Doe Night in Chestnut Hill

When:Wednesday, December 6, 5-9 p.m.
Where:Various locations including Gravers Lane Gallery, 8405 Germantown Avenue
Cost:Pay as you go

www.chestnuthillpa.com

Noche de Paz Parranda at Taller Puertorriqueño

Photo courtesy Taller Puertorriqueño

Want to have a fun time while supporting a great cause? Head to Taller Puertorriqueño for Noche de Paz (Silent Night) Parranda for an evening of music, food and drink, a holiday sale at the Julia de Burgos Shop and opportunities to support hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.

Noche de Paz Parranda at Taller Puertorriqueño

When:Wednesday, December 6, 6:30-8 p.m.
Where:Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 N. 5th Street
Cost:$20

www.tallerpr.org

Temple Owls Men's Basketball Home Opener

It's December and college basketball is in full swing. Head to the Liacouras Center and cheer on the Temple Owls Men's Basketball squad as they take on the Wisconsin Badgers in their season home opener.

Temple Owls Men's Basketball Home Opener

When:Wednesday, December 6, 7 p.m.
Where:The Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad Street
Cost:$20 and up

www.temple.edu

BalletX in Beautiful Decay

Photo by Bill Hebert

A popular 2013 full-length work featuring performers up to 80 years old returns to open BalletX's season of contemporary ballet.

BalletX in Beautiful Decay

When:December 6-10
Where:The Wilma Theater, 265 S. Broad Street
Cost:$25-$50

www.balletx.org

Philly Holiday Festival: Free Museum Day at Eastern State Penitentiary

Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

This Thursday, take advantage of one of the Philly Holiday Festival's Free Museum Days to wander the halls of historic Eastern State Penitentiary while listening to Steve Buscemi narrate the “Voices of Eastern State” Audio Tour. Also on tap: artist installations, history exhibits and Hands-On History interactive experiences.

Philly Holiday Festival: Free Museum Day at Eastern State Penitentiary

When:Thursday, December 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where:Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue
Cost:Free

www.phillyholidayfestival.com

Philly Holiday Festival: Merry, Merry Happy Hour at Bourbon Blue

The Philly Holiday Festival's weekly Merry, Merry Happy Hours heads to Bourbon Blue in Manayunk this Thursday night, featuring specials on cocktails, wine, draft beers and “Santa, I Know Him,” Evil Genius's seasonal concoction. Attendees can satiate their hunger with specials on fried pickles, chicken quesadillas and more, all while enjoying live music and soaking in the merriment.

Philly Holiday Festival: Merry, Merry Happy Hour at Bourbon Blue

When:Thursday, December 7, 5-7 p.m.
Where:Bourbon Blue, 2 Rector Street
Cost:Pay as you go

www.phillyholidayfestival.com

Historic Holiday Nights in Old City

Photo courtesy Old City District

More than 50 shops, art galleries, museums, restaurants and cafes around Old City are participating in Historic Holiday Nights in Old City. Residents and visitors can expect special discounts and promotions at area attractions (including a new Making Christmas exhibit at Elfreth's Alley) and shops, welcoming visitors inside through 8 p.m.

Historic Holiday Nights in Old City

When:Thursday, December 7, 5-8 p.m.
Where:Various locations including Elfreth's Alley, 124-126 Elfreth's Alley
Cost:Varies by event and location

www.oldcitydistrict.org

Tippler's Tour: Yuletide Cheers and Beers

Tippler's TourPhoto by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

A little history, a little beer and a lot of fun are served up during Tippler's Tour: Yuletide Cheers and Beers, when a Redcoat soldier recalls life in British-occupied Philadelphia in 1777 while guiding the over-21 crowd through four cozy pubs in two hours. Winter brews, festive libations and delicious snacks are included in the holiday-time-only tour.

Tippler's Tour: Yuletide Cheers and Beers

When:Thursday, December 7, 5:30 p.m
Where:Tour departs from the Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street
Cost:$45 and up

www.historicphiladelphia.org

Opening Night: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music

The NutcrackerPhoto courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet

The Pennsylvania Ballet returns to the grand Academy of Music for an elegant (yet kid-friendly) Philadelphia dance tradition. Tchaikovsky's iconic score pairs with lavish sets, lavish costumes and enchanting performances by the dancers, members of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra and Philadelphia Boys Choir.

Opening Night: George Balanchine's The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music

When:December 8-31 (select dates)
Where:Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
Cost:$35 and up

www.kimmelcenter.org

Philly Holiday Festival: Free Museum Day at National Liberty Museum

Photo By: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

This Saturday, the Philly Holiday Festival's Free Museum Day program heads to the National Liberty Museum. Visitors can discover the story of real-life heroes, including Jackie Robinson, Nelson Mandela, Jim Henson and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai through the museum's interactive exhibitions and inspirational galleries, free of admission.

Philly Holiday Festival: Free Museum Day at National Liberty Museum

When:Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where:National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street
Cost:Free

www.phillyholidayfestival.com

Running of the Santas at the Electric Factory

Ho! Ho! Ho! Don those red hats and fake beards — and maybe a pillow in your jacket for good measure — and head to the country's biggest Santa party. The Running of the Santas at the Electric Factory features 15 live bands, 10,000 Santas and great drink specials.

Running of the Santas at the Electric Factory

When:Saturday, December 9, doors open at 11 a.m.
Where:Electric Factory, 421 N. 7th Street
Cost:$15 and up

www.electricfactory.info

Holiday Second Saturday on East Passyunk Avenue

Get into the holiday spirit at Holiday Second Saturday on East Passyunk Avenue. What's on tap? Wagon rides, caroling, ballet, live ice carving, crafting and, of course, photos with Santa.

Holiday Second Saturday on East Passyunk Avenue

When:December 9, 11 a.m.
Where:East Passyunk Avenue
Cost:Pay as you go

www.visiteastpassyunk.com

Rittenhouse Row Holiday Fashion Crawl

Do your holiday season in style and find the perfect gift at the Rittenhouse Row Holiday Fashion Crawl, where numerous Rittenhouse Row retailers and boutiques host simultaneous in-store parties with shopping, music and cocktails. A number of area restaurants — including Lou Bird's, Alma de Cuba, Coda and more — get in on the festivities, too.

Rittenhouse Row Holiday Fashion Crawl

When:Saturday, December 9, 1-4 p.m.
Where:Various locations including Brooks Brothers, 1513 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
Cost:Pay as you go

www.rittenhouserow.org

Afro-Village Craft & Gift Market at Franny Lou's Porch

Knock out some Christmas shopping by supporting black makers and businesses at the Afro-Village Craft & Gift Market, featuring clothes and accessories, candles, jewelry, art, essences, coffee beans and tea ware and more! Also, roast marshmallows and sip hot cocoa at a bonfire in the side yard.

Afro-Village Craft & Gift Market at Franny Lou's Porch

When:Saturday, December 9, 3-8 p.m.
Where:Franny Lou's Porch, 2400 Coral Street
Cost:Pay as you go

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Phoenixville Firebird Festival

Firebird Festival, a day-to-night tradition in Phoenixville, honors the town's namesake. By day, food and craft vendors and dozens of performers take over stores and the street. Come nightfall, Friendship Field hosts the finale: the transformation of a community-made wooden phoenix into a grand bonfire.

Phoenixville Firebird Festival

When:Saturday, December 9, event starts at 3 p.m.; lighting of the phoenix occurs at 8:15 p.m.
Where:Friendship Field, 203 Fillmore Street, Phoenixville
Cost:Pay as you go

www.firebirdfestival.com

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.

Army-Navy Game

When:Saturday, December 9, 3 p.m.
Where:Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way

www.phillylovesarmynavy.com

Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum

Photo courtesy Independence Seaport Museum

The Parade of Lights along the Delaware River features illuminated working vessels, tugboats included, preceded by a day of visiting with Santa, building ornaments and gingerbread boats and learning how snow is made at the Independence Seaport Museum.

Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum

When:Saturday, December 9, 5:30 p.m.
Where:Locations along the Delaware River including the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:$12 and up

www.phillyseaport.org

Pop-Up Holiday Markets

Photo courtesy Drexel

'Tis the season, and pop-up holiday markets and shops abound throughout the city featuring everything from gifts, crafts, and plants to flea markets to music and more. Click the link below for more info on this week's shops, which include Crafty Balboa, South Philly Handmade Brigade, Go West!, Jawns & Jams and more.

Pop-Up Holiday Markets

When:December 9-10
Where:Various locations including Drexel D&M Shop, Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street
Cost:Pay as you go

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Neighbor's Day and Flavors of the Season at A Very Philly Christmas at the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park

Photo courtesy Fairmount Park Conservancy

Take in the holiday season at five beautifully decorated historic houses in Fairmount Park, which feature two special events this weekend. Neighbor's Day (Saturday, December 9) features live entertainment from local artists and musicians that live in close proximity to Fairmount Park, and Flavors of the Season (Sunday, December 10) offers food demos, cuisine and sweets from Philadelphia purveyors like Garces, Shane Confectionary and others, as well as libations from Manatawny Still Works and XII Original Ciderworks.

Neighbor's Day and Flavors of the Season at A Very Philly Christmas at the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park

When:Neighbor's Day: Saturday, December 9
Flavors of the Season: Sunday, December 10
A Very Philly Christmas: Through Sunday, December 31
Where:Various locations including Lemon Hill Mansion, Sedgeley & Lemon Hill Drives
Cost:Prices vary by event

www.holidaysinthepark.com

Latkepalooza

LatkepaloozaPhoto by Mario Manzoni for The Gershman Y

The Gershman Y, home to yearlong celebrations of diverse contemporary Jewish arts and culture, puts on Philly's best-ever potato party to honor Hanukkah this Sunday. This winter marks the Y's 15th annual Latkepalooza.

Latkepalooza

When:Sunday, December 10, 2-4 p.m.
Where:Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad Street
Cost:$20, general admission; $12, ages 2-12; free, ages 2 and under

www.gershmany.org

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