November 29, 2013
It’s time to walk off those Thanksgiving sweet potatoes with some holiday shopping, folks.
Today is Black Friday, the day to start checking names off your holiday shopping list. Fortunately, shops and malls in and around Philadelphia make the prospect of grabbing gifts enticing thanks to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday deals and steals.
For those heading out to shop today, be sure to check out our guide to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday right here.
For even more holiday shopping, from Black Friday through the new year, pop-up shops and markets are popping up all over town for the weekend, for several weekends or even for the entire month. Check out our guide to pop-up markets and holiday craft bazaars here.
Tons of fun holiday attractions are opening their doors today, too, including the Comcast Holiday Spectacular, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show, Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad, Waterfront Winterfest and Blue Cross RiverRink, A Brandywine Christmas and much more.
Plus, check out our picks for the weekend, Turkey-Day edition. From just-opened holiday light shows to ongoing blockbuster museum exhibitions, look to our picks for ideas on ways to spend your long weekend in Philadelphia.
Happy holidays, Philadelphia!
Holidays in Philadelphia [Visit Philly]
November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving, Philadelphia!
The official day of giving thanks has arrived and we’d like to wish all of you a very happy — and flavor-filled — Thanksgiving.
Whether you’re in Philadelphia or traveling across the country this holiday weekend, we hope you’ll enjoy a delicious feast, quality time with friends and family and whatever else contributes to a special holiday for you.
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy your Turkey Day meal without the dish duty, check out our roundup of where to eat Thanksgiving dinner at restaurants in Philadelphia.
And, of course, don’t miss the 94th annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade whether you’re watching in person, on TV or online.
Happy Thanksgiving from Uwishunu!
Want to get out and celebrate? Check out our daily updates on holiday happenings in Philadelphia right here.
November 27, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving, Philadelphia!
With the opening of two brand-new holiday attractions — Skate at the Piazza (a 5,000-square-foot ice skating rink at the Piazza at Schmidt’s!) and Waterfront Winterfest (a pop-up holiday village complete with a beer garden, restaurant, craft market, a holiday light show) at the Blue Cross RiverRink, and the opening of countless well-loved holiday attractions — Macy’s Christmas Light Show, Comcast Holiday Spectacular, Christmas Village and A Longwood Christmas, to name a few — the upcoming long weekend has plenty to be thankful for.
Due to the upcoming holiday we’re publishing our Weekend Picks two days early to make sure we can include all of the awesome happenings set for today, tomorrow, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And note that we’ll be ducking out a little bit early today, but as always, be sure to follow Uwishunu on Twitter for ongoing updates all weekend long.
And again, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Our top picks for this weekend, below.
Top Pick: Pink Pub Crawl in the Gayborhood
Top Pick: Thanksgivukah at Zahav
Top Pick: American Sardine Bar’s 2nd Anniversary
Top Pick: It’s The Year 1997 at Johnny Brenda’s
Top Pick: Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square (Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun)
Top Pick: Comcast Center Holiday Spectacular (Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Top Pick: Christmas Village in Philadelphia (Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Top Pick: A Longwood Gardens Christmas (Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Top Pick: Official Opening Day of Waterfront Winterfest at Penn’s Landing (Fri, Sat, Sun)
Top Pick: Blue Cross RiverRink (Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Top Pick: Macy’s Christmas Light Show (Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Top Pick: Reading Terminal Market Holiday Railroad (Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Top Pick: Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square (Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun)
Top Pick: Friday Night at The Barnes Foundation Featuring Casey Alvarez — Open until Midnight
Extended Hours at The National Constitution Center — Open until 6 p.m.
A Brandywine Christmas at the Brandywine River Museum (Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Art Star Holiday Market at Waterfront Winterfest (Fri, Sat, Sun) — Opening Day!
Much more, below. (more…)
November 27, 2013
This winter, Philadelphians have little excuse to hide from the chilly season thanks to the outstanding outdoor fun in the works at Penn’s Landing — think ice skating, fire pits, hot food, warming libations, local shopping and live entertainment.
Penn’s Landing’s Blue Cross RiverRink celebrates 20 years of ice skating on the Delaware River in 2013 by transforming the annual waterfront rink into a veritable winter wonderland.
Opening right after Thanksgiving on Friday, November 29, Waterfront Winterfest takes the perennial good times of Blue Cross RiverRink to a whole new level, overhauling Penn’s Landing into a pop-up holiday village a for 37 days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s with a Four Corners Management-run bar and restaurant, pop-up garden-style landscaping, a light and video show, and a retail shopping experience.
Read on for a rundown of what’s popping up at Penn’s Landing, and get ready to practice your triple axel and sip craft brews beside the fire.
A wintertime tradition for 20 years, the Blue Cross RiverRink, an Olympic-size rink overlooking the Delaware River, remains the centerpiece of the souped-up waterfront winter village.
To extend the diversions beyond the skating rink, the Delaware River Waterfront tapped David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group, the same architecture firm that created this past summer’s PHS Pop-Up Garden on Broad Street.
This year, the skating rink location will be transformed into a daily wintertime festival with shipping containers repurposed into a warming tent and pop-up shops, and food and drink served in a fabricated forest setting with pine trees, fire pits, rustic seating and signage.
Waterfront Winterfest opens on Friday, November 29 — Black Friday — and is currently slated to be open daily, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., through January 5.
Blue Cross RiverRink offers skating session hours from November 29 through January 5, Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, hours are 1 to 8 p.m., and come New Year’s Eve, skating runs 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Of course, expect one heck of a bash for New Year’s Eve in conjunction with the 6 p.m. and midnight fireworks presented by SugarHouse Casino.
After the Winterfest wraps for the season, the RiverRink continues its run through March 2, 2014.
Admission to the Blue Cross RiverRink is $3, and skate rental is available for $10. Admission is free Monday through Thursday before 5 p.m. (December 2-19). Plus, convenient on-site parking is also available for $12.
For more information on skating sessions, including lessons, check here.
The good people who operate Morgan’s Pier in the summertime — Four Corners Management — bring the team up the Delaware River shore to operate the Waterfront Winterfest’s temporary beer garden.
The pop-up will feature a 500-person warming tent and American-style beer garden dubbed The Lodge, which is the largest public plaza ever created exclusively from recycled shipping containers.
No matter the weather, The Lodge will feel welcoming since it’s covered, heated and equipped with feasting tables for up to 500.
Plus, talented chef George Sabatino is at the kitchen’s helm, serving a variety of seasonal fare. Look for such savory menus items as smoked turkey legs, sweet potato and kale pocket pies, and mashed potato fritters.
Those with a sweet tooth should save room for homemade fudge, chocolate covered popcorn, hand-dipped caramel apples and addictive-sounding caramelized pumpkin donuts.
As for the drinks, expect local craft beers on draft and seasonal sips like mulled apple cider,
spiked chai tea, and old-fashioned hot cocoa. All warm drinks will be available in non-alcoholic versions, too.
Concessions will also be available at other points throughout the Winterfest grounds, including in a winter garden area with grab-and-go eats by Scott Schroeder of American Sardine Bar, as well as food carts featuring cookies from Cookie Confidential, hot dogs, housemade breakfast sausage patties and roasted peanuts.
The menu will be available on the official opening day of Waterfront Winterfest, Friday, November 29.
Ongoing, hot concessions from inside The Lodge will be available Monday through Friday 5 to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
As for holiday shopping, the crafty folks behind the Art Star Craft Bazaar are curating a winter-themed retail experience with vendors housed inside repurposed shipping containers.
The Art Star Holiday Market brings out handmade gifts by some of the best indie crafters from Philadelphia and beyond to the Delaware River waterfront.
A group of rotating vendors will peddle a range of goods — kids items, clothes, jewelry, posters, pottery and more.
Check here for a look at some of the vendors, including favorites like Black Heart Letterpress, Peg and Awl and Cutesy but not Cutesy.
The craft village will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between November 29 and December 31, with additional holiday hours as Christmas nears on Thursdays, December 19, Monday, December 23.
Illuminating the scene, Waterfront Winterfest will display an immersive 3-D light show designed and created by Ricardo Rivera of Klip Collective. Bright Lights, Big Santa will re-imagine old timey holiday light shows with Klip’s patented projection-mapping technology, synced music, festive color, lights, hip-hop beats and a jamming dancing Santa.
The light show is set to go off every evening on the hour, from 5 to 11 p.m.
For a look at what to expect at Winterfest, check out the photos below.
Count us in. See you on the ice!
When: November 29-January 5, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Where: Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.waterfrontwinterfest.com
November 26, 2013
Care for a spot of tea?
While many places across the city provide Phildelphians with afternoon tea all year round, a few spots dust off their china and present their most flavorful teas especially for the holiday season.
Sip tea and enjoy finger sandwiches among Christmas trees and holiday decor at a number of hotels, restaurants and attractions in the area.
From an Alice in Wonderland-themed tea for children to a daily holiday tea with sweeping city views, there is something for everyone.
Read on for a number of holiday teas that are sure to get you in the spirit.
• Four Seasons Hotel: Every Saturday from November 30 through December 28, the Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel transforms into Alice’s Wonderland for its annual Alice in Wonderland-themed holiday tea. Sip tea or hot chocolate and nosh on items like scones, sandwiches and sweet treats. Following the tea, watch students from The Rock School for Dance Education perform scenes from The Nutcracker. Guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy to the tea to dedicate to the Salvation Army. The tea is $72 per person including tax and gratuity. There are two seatings per Saturday, at 1 and 4 p.m. Reservations are required, call 215-963-2750 or email email@example.com to hold your place at the table.
When: Saturdays, November 30, December 7, 14, 21, 28; 1 p.m. or 4 p.m.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, 1 Logan Square
Cost: $72 per person
• Traditional Afternoon Teas at the Historic Strawberry Mansion: Discover the splendor that is the historic Strawberry Mansion at its annual traditional afternoon teas on December 5 and 6. For $40 per person, indulge in a fine selection of tea and finger sandwiches like smoked salmon and horseradish cream cheese and goat cheese and shallot toast and take part in a silent auction. Call 215-228-8364 to purchase a ticket to either one of the afternoon teas.
When: December 5 and 6, 11 a.m.
Where: Strawberry Mansion, 2450 Strawberry Mansion Drive
Cost: $40 per person
• Teddy Bear Tea at The Rittenhouse Hotel: The Rittenhouse Hotel’s youngest guests (and their parents) are invited to the Mary Cassatt Tea Room for a brand-new holiday tradition, the Teddy Bear Tea. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. every day from November 29 through December 31, children are invited to sip tea, enjoy child-friendly bites, listen to stories at the designated story time at 12:30 p.m. and end the event with a Rittenhouse Hotel teddy bear to take home. Reservations are recommended, call 215-790-2533 to secure your spot.
When: November 29-December 31, 11:30 a.m.
Where: The Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
Cost: $60 for adults, $30 for children
• XIX at the Hyatt at The Bellevue: 19 stories above street level, XIX or Nineteen restaurant at the Hyatt at the Bellevue welcomes holiday guests for afternoon tea every day of the week from December 7 to 29. From 2 to 4 p.m., sample scones, desserts, tea sandwiches and a bundle of loose leaf teas at its annual event. The tea is $36 per person and reservations are suggested. Call 215-790-1919 to make your reservation.
When: December 7-29, 2-4 p.m.
Where: XIX at the Hyatt at the Bellevue, 200 S. Broad Street, 19th floor
Cost: $36 per person
• Children’s Saturday Afternoon Tea at The Radnor Hotel: The Radnor Hotel in St. David’s hosts a special Children’s Saturday Afternoon Tea during the holiday season. On Saturdays December 14 and 21, head out to the countryside hotel for storytelling, a piano sing-a-long, crafts, a visit from the Toy Soldier and a child-friendly afternoon tea menu.
When: Saturdays, December 14 and 21, 1-3 p.m.
Where: The Radnor Hotel, 591 E. Lancaster Avenue, St. Davids
Cost: $59.95 for one child and one adult
November 26, 2013
Philadelphia is rife with holiday traditions, and one of our favorites lights up on Black Friday, November 29.
The Macy’s Christmas Light Show, a tradition since 1955, returns to Macy’s Center City for the 2013 holiday season with brilliant lights, festive music and tons of cheer for holiday shoppers.
Running daily through Tuesday, December 31, the holiday spectacle features narration by the legendary Julie Andrews and the rich sounds of the famous Wanamaker Organ. More than 100,000 energy-efficient multicolored LED lights create dazzling holiday images on the four-story-high velvet curtain of the Grand Court atrium.
The Macy’s Christmas Light Show takes audiences on a twinkly journey through popular Christmas stories and goes off each day (except Christmas Day) at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m.
But that’s not all: Macy’s Center City also presents its Holiday Windows, merry displays that have been stunning spectators since the early 1870s. Macy’s was actually the first store to ever feature holiday windows created for the pure fun of the season.
Also starting this Friday, November 29, Dickens Village opens its doors on the third floor of Macy’s. Now a holiday mainstay, the 6,000-square-foot Dickens Village takes Philadelphians back in time to 1840s London with 26 heart-warming scenes setting the stage for the classic story of Scrooge. Take photos with Father Christmas and pick up holiday trinkets.
Been good all year? Treat yourself to a holiday spectacle you won’t forget.
Macy’s Christmas Light Show
When: November 29–December 31; closed, Wednesday, December 25
Where: Macy’s Center City, 1300 Market Street
More info: www.visitmacysphiladelphia.com
November 26, 2013
Everyone loves a parade, and with the kickoff of the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, the holiday season swings into jubilant high gear.
Celebrate the age-old event as it brings festive floats, giant balloons and local performers from local choirs, dance groups and marching bands beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 28.
Read on for our guide to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest in the country and a true Philadelphia tradition.
The city streets make way for massive floats and giant balloons, plus local performers from choirs, dance groups, marching bands and more. And Santa himself arrives in grand fashion, ushering Philadelphia into the holiday season.
Now in its 94th year, the annual Thanksgiving Day parade promises another visual and celebratory feast. So bundle up, grab the kids or a group of friends and head out for an early holiday treat.
The parade kicks off at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard, from there it makes its way to Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Logan Circle.
• From it’s starting point, the parade proceeds east on JFK Boulevard to 16th Street.
• It turns north onto 16th Street until it reaches the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
• The parade bears left, going northwest on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for three blocks until reaching Logan Circle.
• The procession loops around the southern part of Logan Circle and then continues on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway until it reaches Eakins Oval.
• The parade proceeds along the south portion of Eakins Oval finishing in front of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Giant balloons, festive floats, lively dancers, costumed characters, celebrities and marching bands (17 of them!) will parade through the city as the streets are lined with thousands of onlookers. It’s going to be another rocking, confetti-filled celebration.
The eye-catching highlight of the Thanksgiving Day Parade are the festive floats and massive balloons. The decorative floats come in all shapes and sizes including the patriotic Dunkin’ Donuts opening float, the Campbell’s Thanksgiving Harvest float, Verizon’s colorful Under the Sea float.
Some balloons to look out for include: My Little Pony, “Plex” from Yo Gabba Gabba, Strawberry Shortcake, Clifford the Big Red Dog and beloved Dr. Suess characters the Cat in the Hat, Horton, the Lorax and the Grinch.
A grand total of 29 special guests will join the parade festivities this year, including such national stars as Cedric the Entertainer and Debbie Gibson, as well as hometown heroes like the Phillies’ Ryan Howard and radio personality Jerry Blavat.
Of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on a grandly decorated float to welcome the holiday season, too!
• Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps: One of the best places to watch the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is at the parade’s finish at the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
• Winter Wonderland Expo Tent at Eakins Oval: Warm up in the Campbell’s Winter Wonderland Expo Tent on the south side of Eakins Oval with some hot cocoa and look out for special guests and giveaways.
• Logan Circle: Stake out a spot at Logan Circle on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for a great view.
• Love Park: As the parade loops east from its start at 20th and JFK, Love Park will give you a great view of the floats and characters, especially if you situate yourself on an elevated portion of the park above the fountain.
For more on the parade, see below. (more…)
November 26, 2013
In the bucolic Brandywine Valley — home to wine trails, rolling hills, the Brandywine Battlefield and more — the Brandywine River Museum makes a perfect setting for a rustic holiday celebration.
Opening this Friday, November 29, A Brandywine Christmas marks the season with more than a month of seasonally appropriate exhibits and events, including an enormous holiday railroad display.
On view through January 5, the all-ages display features the popular O-gauge model train display — one of the largest in the entire country! — with five trains running simultaneously on nearly 2,000 feet of track through a landscape inspired by southeastern Pennsylvania.
Beyond the model railroad, A Brandywine Christmas isn’t complete without its traditional critter ornaments, a three-decades-old tradition at the museum. The ornaments are hand-crafted by conservancy volunteers from plants, seeds and other natural materials and displayed on fur trees soaring up through the museum’s three-story rotunda.
To take home one of the critters, visitors should shop the annual Critter Sale on Saturday, December 7, and Sunday, December 8. Following the sale, remaining critters will be available for purchase in the museum shop through January 5, too.
For those interested in shopping for more than ornaments, the museum hosts its Holiday Shops every weekend November 29-December 22, and daily December 26-30. Browse the handmade wares of regional artisans, including quilted items from members of the Brandywine Quilters, and a variety of fine crafts made by members of the Chester County Guild of Craftsmen, plus other unique handcrafted objects.
Come December, every Thursday brings after-hours activities. The museum will remain open until 9 p.m. with holiday entertainment and programs, including storytelling and live classical music. The restaurant will be open until 7:30 p.m. and the museum shop will be open until 9 p.m. Check here for the complete lineup of Thursday evening events.
In addition to the Thursday evening live music, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the museum will be filled with holiday music, too. A harpist is slated to perform on Saturdays through January 4 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and caroling is set for Sundays through December 22 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Check here for the complete calendar of events. All Brandywine Christmas celebrations are free with museum admission.
A Brandywine Christmas
When: November 29-January 5
Where: Brandywine River Museum, 100 Creek Road, Chadds Ford
Cost: $10, adults; $6, seniors, students and children 6-12; Free for children under 6
More info: www.brandywinemuseum.org
November 26, 2013
The holidays have arrived at stately Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle in Doylestown.
Throughout the season, museum-goers are invited to participate in craft workshops, explore Christmas-themed exhibitions, festive decoration displays and bask in the holiday merriment.
Discover history through toys and games as the Mercer Museum presents its annual Christmas exhibition, Under the Tree: A Century of Holiday Trees and Toys, a collection of trees each decorated to spotlight an era in history and paired with toys and games from the past.
Fonthill Castle decks its halls with Victorian-style decorations, themed Christmas trees and more Yuletide decor. Embark on a tour of Fonthill Castle and take in the festive decorations just in time for the holiday season. Both the Under the Tree exhibition and the holiday decor will remain up throughout the holiday season, until January 5.
On two Saturdays in December, after-hours events take the castle by storm. On Saturday, December 14, tour Fonthill Castle’s holiday lights by candlelight and soak up lots of holiday cheer at its Fonthill Holiday Lights Meander. Enjoy seasonal refreshments at the nighttime gathering.
Following the Christmas holiday, on Saturday, December 28, discover the interior of Fonthill Castle by glowing candlelight.
Both candlelit tours are ticketed and require reservations, call 215-348-9461 to reserve your spot.
Also look forward to ornament making workshops, a visit from Santa, chocolate making and more.
The full event listing is available here.
The Holidays at the Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle
When: Ongoing through January 5
Where: Mercer Museum, 84 S. Pine Street, Doylestown; Fonthill Castle, 525 E. Court Street Doylestown
More info: www.mercermuseum.org
November 26, 2013
Sure, Philadelphia is home to holiday ice skating rinks, festooned store windows and soaring Christmas trees.
But this city also boasts one of the largest four-millimeter LED screen in the world.
Spanning 83.3 feet wide by 25.4 feet high, the 2,100 square-foot video wall brings spectacular original programming to visitors 18 hours a day.
Celebrating its sixth year, the Comcast Holiday Spectacular returns to the Philadelphia screen for the 2013 holiday season starting Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28.
Since its debut in 2008, close to a million people have seen the show.
This stellar holiday experience that captures the wonderful spirit of the season is a completely unique, and free, 15-minute show screened on the Comcast Center’s Comcast Experience video wall, with its incredible resolution that’s five times that of an HDTV. Pretty awesome.
The high-tech holiday show screens classic holiday images including enchanting scenes from The Nutcracker performed by the renowned Pennsylvania Ballet, a magical sleigh ride through the snow-covered Pennsylvania countryside into Center City Philadelphia and performances by some of Broadway’s best-known dancers. This year’s show also includes scenes featuring Olympic-caliber ice skaters and performers from the Walnut Street Theatre.
Families should also pick up a free waterless temporary tattoo that kids can trade in for a treat downstairs at The Market & Shops at the Comcast Center.
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular runs from Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day, daily, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the top of each hour (excluding 5 p.m. on weekdays).
On Saturdays, families can also head downstairs to The Market & Shops to check out a live show with Chica, “the world’s most famous chicken,” produced by the kid-friendly Sprout network (10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.).
Share your favorite photos and stories from The Comcast Holiday Spectacular by using the hashtags #HolidaySpectacular and #ComcastCenter.
You really have to see it to experience it (but you can get a sneak peek in pictures below).
And maybe best of all, it’s totally free.
Comcast Center Holiday Spectacular
When: Thanksgiving Day through New Year’s Day, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (except 5 p.m. on weekdays) every hour on the hour, seven days a week; shows are 15 minutes long
Where: 1701 JFK Boulevard
More info: www.visitphilly.com