Roundup: Your Complete Guide To 2014 Holiday Season Happenings In Philadelphia By Neighborhood

Celebrate the holiday season in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, like Rittenhouse, Old City, East Passyunk, Northern Liberties, Manayunk (shown) and beyond. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)

All across Philadelphia, city neighborhoods are full to the brim with holiday cheer — think tree-lighting celebrations, festive holiday markets and ice skating followed by dinner at a cozy neighborhood restaurant.

From Rittenhouse and Old City to Historic Germantown and Chestnut Hill, there’s no shortage of charming Philadelphia locales worth exploring.

Below, we’ve rounded up the top holiday events in many neighborhoods of Philadelphia so revelers can take advantage of the most festivities possible. For instance, merrymakers should make sure to visit Franklin Square Holiday Festival while in Old City to take a Tippler’s Tour, or check out the Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park before or after shopping at Christmas Village in Love Park.

The next month is full of Yuletide events, read on for our picks for top holiday festivities by neighborhood, below.


Christmas Village at Love Park

Daily through December 28, Love Park, 16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard. With its charming village atmosphere, the German-style Christmas Village has become a favorite tradition for holiday shoppers who can peruse more than 65 decorated booths selling international seasonal gifts, traditional German Christmas ornaments, jewelry and high-quality arts and crafts. Hot mulled wine, gingerbread and bratwursts are also among the offerings, as is regularly scheduled live entertainment. MORE INFO

Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park

Daily through February 22, Dilworth Park, Broad and Market streets. The brand-new Rothman Ice Rink officially opened this November — and ice skating in Center City is a perfect activity for the whole family. The already-popular rink will remain open through February 22, 2015 for daily skating throughout the season. MORE INFO

Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Dickens Village

Daily through December 31; closed Christmas Day, 1300 Market Street. A Philadelphia tradition since 1956, the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Center City illuminates a large wall inside the historic Wanamaker building with nearly 100,000 LED lights that all dance to the sounds of carols pumped out of the Wanamaker Organ. Families gather in the Great Court atrium to watch the show at the top of the hour, every two hours, from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. Plus, visits with Santa Claus are available in the Dickens Village on the third floor daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. MORE INFO

Christmas Village
Christmas Village brings an open-air German holiday market to Love Park through December 28. Stop and shop, then cross the street to ice skate at Dilworth Park. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Many more holiday happenings, below.

Comcast Holiday Spectacular

Daily through January 1, 1701 JFK Boulevard. Prepare to be impressed by the Comcast Holiday Spectacular, a festive film experience on one of the largest four-millimeter LED screens in the world featuring enchanting holiday scenes and computer generated animations. Located in the lobby of the Comcast Center in Center City, the shows run every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (no shows at 5 p.m. during the week). MORE INFO

Franklin Flea Holiday Market

Saturdays, December 6, 13, 20, Historic Strawbridge’s Building, 801 Market Street. The Philadelphia-centric Franklin Flea Holiday Market returns for six Saturday shopping days this season. At the wintertime market, shoppers can expect a finely tuned selection of around 50 vendors selling everything from fine antiques and vintage clothing to handmade decorative arts and gourmet street food. MORE INFO

Nutcracker Market

December 11-15, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets. Shoppers stock up on one-of-a-kind, artisan-made gifts at the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Nutcracker Market at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. More than 70 selected artists and craftsmen offer hand-made American crafts and gifts, including ornaments, jewelry, photography and dance-inspired pieces. Shoppers can also enjoy interactive activities, visits from the characters of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and more. MORE INFO

Rittenhouse Square Giant Menorah Lighting

Tuesday, December 23, 18th and Walnut streets, 6 p.m.; Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square, 4:30 p.m. The annual lighting of the menorah in Rittenhouse Square is set for Tuesday, December 23 at 6 p.m. As dusk settles over the park, prayers will be sung and the first candle will be lit on one of the city’s largest menorahs. Before the lighting, join in the Community Chanukah Party at the Ethical Society at 4:30 p.m. Families can enjoy latkes, donuts and dreidels, as well as a magic show for $5 donation. MORE INFO

Franklin Square
Electrical Spectacle, the holiday light show at Franklin Square, provides guests with festive tunes, twinkling lights on a nightly basis this holiday season. (Photo by J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia)


Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest at Penn’s Landing

Daily through March 1, including holidays, Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard. This winter, Penn’s Landing’s longstanding Blue Cross RiverRink amps up the ice skating experience on the Delaware River waterfront by transforming the annual rink into a bona fide winter wonderland. Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest takes the good times of the rink to a new level, with ice skating — yes — but also with a light show, enormous warming tent, arcade, fire pit lounge (perfect for roasting marshmallows), a winter beer garden and holiday market. MORE INFO

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle

Daily through December 31, most activities 4-8 p.m., Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street. A major expansion of the annual holiday happenings at the historic park, the Franklin Square Holiday Festival includes all of the traditional on-site fun Philadelphians have come to count on — holiday lights, visits with Santa and tons of family-friendly programs — plus the added elements of a winter beer garden and nightly holiday market. The free Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show shines eight times daily every 30 minutes between 4:30 and 8 p.m., weather permitting. MORE INFO

Holiday Market at the National Liberty Museum

Through December 26, National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street. Old City’s National Liberty Museum has transformed its gift shop into a pop-up holiday art market displaying and selling everything from blown glass and sculptures to locally made jewelry and more. Note that no admission is required when only visiting the shop. MORE INFO

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest celebrates the holiday season with ice skating, games, a light show and more. (Photo by Matt Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront)

Tippler’s Tour Yuletide Cheers & Beers

Thursdays through December, 5:30 p.m., Leaves from the Historic Philadelphia Center, 6th and Chestnut streets. Sing, toast and drink to the early years of our nation with the Once Upon a Nation storytellers at the seven-block, four-stop Thursday night Tippler’s Tour pub crawl around Old City. Tickets are $40 for general admission and $35 for students, military and senior citizens. Tickets include food, drink, gratuity and of course your entertaining and educational guide. MORE INFO

Deck The Alley

Saturday, December 6, 3-7 p.m., Elfreth’s Alley and Museum, 126 Elfreth’s Alley. America’s oldest continuously residential street, celebrates the holiday season with its annual Deck The Alley holiday event. Explore the meticulously maintained architectural details of the historic homes as residents deck the halls with Christmas trees, holiday lights and decor. In addition to home tours, look forward to seasonal refreshments, carolers, fireside holiday stories, a talk on Philadelphia’s holiday history, a visit from Benjamin Franklin and much more. Following the party, stick around Old City for drinks and dinner. Our picks? High Street on Market, Continental Old City, Han Dynasty and Amada. MORE INFO

Elfreth's Alley
Head to Elfreth’s Alley in Old City for an afternoon of tours, carols, treats and more. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)


East Passyunk Tree Lighting Ceremony

Thursday, December 4, 5-7 p.m., 11th Street and East Passyunk Avenue. Back and bigger than ever is East Passyunk’s annual Christmas tree lighting at the neighborhood’s iconic fountain. On Thursday, December 4 at 5 p.m., usher in the season in South Philadelphia. The event treats guests to free food and drinks from some of the avenue’s most loved restaurants and cafes. Listen to Christmas carols performed by area children and welcome Santa as he arrives in splendor. MORE INFO

East Passyunk’s Deck The Avenue

Thursday, December 4, 7-9 p.m., Along East Passyunk Avenue. Coinciding with the Christmas tree lighting at the Singing Fountain, East Passyunk rings in the holidays with extended hours at shops along the avenue. Peruse businesses as they open their doors for sales, food and drink specials, free seasonal treats and more starting at 7 p.m. MORE INFO

East Passyunk hosts a twofer holiday celebration on Thursday, December 4 for its annual tree lighting and Deck the Alley shopping event. (Photo courtesy East Passyunk Avenue)
East Passyunk hosts a twofer holiday celebration on Thursday, December 4 for its annual tree lighting and Deck the Alley shopping event. (Photo courtesy East Passyunk Avenue)


South Street Headhouse Winter Wonderland

Sunday, December 7, Historic Headhouse Square Shambles, 200 Pine Street. The entire South Street Headhouse neighborhood embraces the holiday spirit on Sunday, December 7 for the afternoon-long Winter Wonderland festival. From 3 to 7 p.m., shop the PHAIR-curated Headhouse Holiday Market for gifts and goods. Beyond the market, look for mulled wine and treats from Brauhaus Schmitz, Santa Claus arriving on a firetruck, free horse-drawn carriage rides, performances by Philadelphia Dance Academy and Society Hill Dance Academy and the annual holiday tree lighting. MORE INFO

Lucia Fest at Old Swedes’ Church

December 5-7, Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church, 916 South Swanson Street. The Lucia Fest celebrates Swedish holiday traditions with a colorful musical pageant within the walls of the historic church, constructed by Swedish settlers in 1699-1700. For many people participation in the Lucia Fest is a unique way of marking the beginning of the holiday season. MORE INFO

South Street Headhouse District's annual Winter Wonderland invites folks of all ages out for a day of holiday shopping, seasonal performances, a tree lighting celebration and more. (Photo courtesy South Street Headhouse District)
South Street Headhouse District’s annual Winter Wonderland invites folks of all ages out for a day of holiday shopping, seasonal performances, a tree lighting celebration and more. (Photo courtesy South Street Headhouse District)


NoLibs & Fishtown Holiday Shopping Spree

December 6-7, Multiple locations in Northern Liberties and Fishtown. More than 15 local, independent boutiques in Northern Liberties and Fishtown team up to host a two-day shopping event. The NoLibs and Fishtown Holiday Shopping Spree is a progressive sale in Northern Liberties and in Fishtown during which customers get increasing discounts the more they shop. MORE INFO

Greensgrow Holiday Bazaar Shop

December 6-7 and 13-14, 2501 E. Cumberland Street. Head to Kensington to shop this festive neighborhood annual sale over two December weekends. At the Greensgrow Holiday Bazaar, get your tree or holiday greens, handmade crafts, homemade treats, homegrown bulbs and wreaths and other one-of-a-kind gifts. MORE INFO

Fairmount Park
The gorgeous historic mansions of Fairmount Park decorate their halls and open their doors during the holiday season for festive tours. (Photo by Lauren Schwarz Photography for Charms of Fairmount Park)


Fairmount Park Holiday Mansions

December 4-15, Various locations throughout Fairmount Park. For much of the month of December, visitors can embark on tours of Cedar Grove, Mount Pleasant, Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, Strawberry Mansion and Woodford Mansion. Visitors can tour houses individually for $5 per house or visit all the houses as part of of a guided trolley tour on, December 12 and 14. The guided trolley tours are $30 for members of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and $38 for non-members. The holiday home tours run on different days depending on the mansion, December 5 through 8 and December 12 through 15. MORE INFO

Holidays at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Through January 1, 2015, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents museum-goers with tons of festive happenings all season long. From a holiday tour series to an ugly sweater party to Christmas card making stations, the art museum has something for everyone this holiday season. MORE INFO

Sister Cities Park Frostfest

Saturdays, December 6, 13, 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 18th Street and Logan Square. Sister Cities Park transforms into a family-friendly winter wonderland for its FrostFest event every Saturday before Christmas this month. Every Saturday afternoon brings varied events to the Logan Square park. Look forward to arts and crafts, hot chocolate, holiday shopping, time with Santa, visitors from The Franklin Institute and much more. MORE INFO

Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s gorgeous Great Stair Hall is made even more resplendent during the holiday season. (Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art)


19th Annual Peace Around the World

Saturday, December 6, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Penn Museum, 3260 South Street. If there’s one tradition of the holidays that’s acknowledged world-wide, it’s the idea of peace. The 19th Annual Peace around the World event at the Penn Museum celebrates the musical and culinary delights that make every culture’s holiday traditions unique. MORE INFO

Go West’s Holiday Craft Fest

Sunday, December 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street. This year, the Go West! Craft Fest will have dozens of Philadelphia based vendors many of which based right out of West Philly. Find treasure after treasure as browsing through the candles, cards, hand blown glass, jewelry, gift baskets and more. MORE INFO

Morris Arboretum
Take in the sights of Morris Arboretum’s holiday railroad by night at its three-week Friday Night Lights event. (Photo by P. Meyer courtesy Morris Arboretum)


PHS Holiday Pop-Up Shop

Through December, 8514 Germantown Avenue. In Chestnut Hill, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society produces yet another crowd-pleasing attraction this month with the launch of its annual PHS Holiday Pop Up Store. The temporary holiday shop situated right on Germantown Avenue deals in a lovely range of goods for the kitchen and garden savvy during the holiday season through December. MORE INFO

Chestnut Hill Stag and Doe Nights

Wednesdays, December 3, 10, 17. Multiple locations in Chestnut Hill. On the Wednesdays leading up to Christmas, Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill transforms into a winter wonderland for the annual Stag & Doe shopping nights. From 6 to 9 p.m., Chestnut Hill shops will be full of holiday spirit. Travel from shop to shop as carolers serenade with favorite Christmas carols. MORE INFO

Morris Arboretum Holiday Garden Railway

Through Sunday, January 4, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue. Set amid the evergreens, Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway showcases a miniature winter wonderland complete with a quarter-mile of model-train track; seven loops and tunnels; 15 different rail lines; cable cars, bridges and model trains that cruise past scaled replicas of historic monuments; and Philadelphia-area landmarks adorned with thousands of twinkling lights for the holidays. New this year: Friday Night Lights, providing evening viewings on select nights. MORE INFO

From evenings of extended holiday shopping and free parking to BYOB gingerbread making workshops, Chestnut Hill invites guests of all ages to ring in the holidays along Germantown Avenue. (Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Philadelphia)

The Holidays at Woodmere Art Museum

Through early January, 9201 Germantown Avenue. The Christmas season at Woodmere Art Museum brings the Circle of Trees, numerous illuminated Christmas trees, shining bright for all to see through early January. In addition to the Christmas trees, the Chestnut Hill museum also provides visitors with holiday films, a holiday concert and open houses throughout December. MORE INFO

Mt. Airy Holiday Craft Bazaar

December 6-7 and December 20-21, Mt. Airy Art Garage, 11 W. Mt. Airy Avenue. Support local businesses at the Mt. Airy Holiday Craft Bazaar. Choose from glassware, ceramics and jewelry made by Mt. Airy’s vendors, which will fill the 5,000-square-foot Mt. Airy Art Garage with one-of-a-kind items for both adults and children. MORE INFO

Gingerbread House Workshops at Bredenbeck’s Bakery

Select dates through December 20, 8126 Germantown Avenue. Put your gingerbread house techniques to the test at Bredenbeck’s Bakery’s Gingerbread House Workshop, which runs on select days through December 20. The bakery and ice cream parlor continues to be a purveyor of sweet treats and is spreading Christmas cheer, and knowledge, with the month-long run of workshops. The gingerbread workshops are $45 for one person and $65 for two people. MORE INFO

Chestnut Hill
On Wednesdays December 3, 10 and 17, shops along Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill open to late-night guests for the annual Stag and Doe shopping events. (Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia)


Dickens Christmas Party

Saturday, December 13, 2-5 p.m., 200 W. Tulpehocken Street. Revel in the glory of the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion as it is decked for the holiday season and the annual Dickens Christmas Party. Listen to famous Christmas readings, make holiday cards, tour the holiday decor and much more. Admission is $18 for members and $20 for non-members, and reservations are strongly suggested. MORE INFO

Holiday Open House at Grumblethorpe

Saturday, December 13, 1-4 p.m., 5267 Germantown Avenue. Explore the historic Grumblethorpe house as it welcomes visitors to its annual holiday open house. Sip hot cider, tour the historic site and make crafts to take home. Admission is $5 per person and $12 per family. MORE INFO

Holiday Greens Sale at Awbury Arboretum

Saturday, December 6, 2-5 p.m., 1 Awbury Road. Turn picking out the family tree into a festive affair with a stop at Awbury’s Cope House to take part in family-friendly crafts and sing-alongs. MORE INFO

Celebrate the holiday season and the shortest day of the year — the winter solstice — with a day filled with festivities in Manayunk. (Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia)


Rudolph Fun Run

Saturday, December 13, 9 a.m., Canal View Park. Grab some friends, pop on a red nose and jingle bells, and go for a fun run through Manayunk. The Manayunk Development Corporation will be handing out the red noses and jingle bells, and will be on-site to collect canned goods and necessities as part of the Meals & More drive. For every single item donated, runners will receive a ticket to be entered into a raffle to win a Manayunk restaurant prize pack. MORE INFO

Manayunk Solstice Fire

Friday, December 19, 5 p.m., 4430 Main Street. On the evening of the Winter Solstice, Manayunk presents its Manayunk Solstice Fire, a celebration of the shortest day of the year and the first day of winter. From 3 to 6 p.m., join the celebration of the return of evening light in Canal View Park. Learn about area birds and how they prepare for winter, enjoy a drum circle and end the evening with the lighting of torches and fires to acknowledge the coming of longer days. MORE INFO

For our complete guide to the holiday season in Philadelphia and the Countryside, check out


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