15+ Huge Events And Holiday Attractions Coming To Philly This December

Tree lightings, fireworks and so much more...

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Philadelphia!

The month of December arrives in Philly with a slew of special events, celebrations and plenty of holiday cheer, too.

In the coming days, tree lightings and shopping events fill nearly every nook of the city while non-holiday events, like World Cafe Live’s annual beer festival, continue to pop up on calendars.

December ends on a high note as the annual fireworks over the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing fill the sky not once but twice on New Year’s Eve (at 6 p.m. and midnight).

Read on for our guide to this month in Philly.

Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse SquarePhoto by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

During the holidays, Rittenhouse Square boasts one of the largest Christmas trees in the city. Every year, locals and visitors pack the popular park for the ceremonial lighting of the Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree, which is typically more than 30 feet tall. Throughout the season, Rittenhouse Square is aglow with 5,000 colorful globes making a cheerful sight for holiday shoppers amongst the popular stores along Rittenhouse Row.

Christmas Tree Lighting in Rittenhouse Square

When:Thursday, December 1, 5-6 p.m.
Where:Rittenhouse Square, 18th and Walnut streets
Cost:Free

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East Passyunk Tree Lighting Party

Philadelphia's East Passyunk neighborhood will be decking the avenue during its annual Tree Lighting Party at the famous Singing Fountain. Enjoy festive carolers from Alphabet Academy, student musicians from Andrew Jackson School and a performance by the Joe King Trio at the celebration leading up to Santa lighting the tree. Afterward, be sure to visit the stores and businesses along East Passyunk Avenue for great holiday sales and treats.

East Passyunk Tree Lighting Party

When:Thursday, December 1, 5-7 p.m.
Where:The Singing Fountain, East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street
Cost:Free

www.visiteastpassyunk.com

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest’s Tree Lighting and Fireworks

The popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest on the Delaware River Waterfront goes all out in lighting its tree on December 2. Look forward to performances from the Wissahickon Skate Club and the 2015 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Dance Champions as well as music from Philly’s own Viva Mas and Melanie R. Hill. Seasonal activities include a visit from Santa Claus, who will be sent back to the North Pole with a bang during a fireworks show at the end of the night.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest’s Tree Lighting and Fireworks

When:Friday, December 2, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Where:Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Free

www.delawareriverwaterfront.com

The Philly POPS Christmas Spectacular

Performing both delightful seasonal classics and glorious gospel music, the Philly POPS Christmas Spectacular is a marvelous way for the whole family to enjoy the holidays together. Once again, Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts will be filled with the gorgeous sounds of the season. A cheerful performance for the entire family, the Philly POPS Christmas Spectacular features a special mix of joyous choirs, merry sing-a-longs and a special visitor from the North Pole.

The Philly POPS Christmas Spectacular

When:December 2-18
Where:Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:$34 and up

www.phillypops.com

Deck The Alley at Elfreth’s Alley

Deck The AlleyPhoto by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Elfreth's Alley — America's oldest street — will once again Deck the Alley for the holiday season. Residents of the historic street will open their homes to the public on December 3 as carolers and colonial reenactors create a festive mood for the holiday celebration. Families can enjoy holiday decorations, carolers, refreshments and visits from Benjamin Franklin and Dolley Madison.

Deck The Alley at Elfreth’s Alley

When:Saturday, December 3, 3-7 p.m.
Where:Elfreth's Alley, 126 Elfreth's Alley
Cost:$25 for adults, $10 for children 16 and under, $60 for family (2 adults, 1 or more children under 18),

www.elfrethsalley.org

Franklin Flea Holiday Market

The Philadelphia-centric Franklin Flea Holiday Market returns for four Saturday shopping days, November 19 through December 17, in the former home of Strawbridge & Clothier. At the wintertime market, shoppers can expect a curated selection of vendors set up amid the antique chandeliers and marble columns of the historic space. Dozens of merchants will sell everything from fine antiques and vintage clothing to handmade decorative arts and gourmet street food.

Franklin Flea Holiday Market

When:Saturdays, December 3 and 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where:801 Market Street
Cost:Pay as you go

www.franklinflea.com

South Street Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade

South StreetPhoto courtesy South Street Headhouse District

South Street Headhouse District welcomes the return of Winter Wonderland with free family fun, a tree lighting and a holiday market on December 4. Look forward to live musical and dance performances, food vendors under the Headhouse Shambles and more. For the complete experience, meet at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens at 3 p.m. to join a parade to the tree lighting festivities.

South Street Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade

When:Sunday, December 4, 5 p.m.
Where:Headhouse Square Shambles, 2nd and Lombard streets
Cost:Free

www.southstreet.com

Grand Opening of Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazόn Cultural Center

A cultural center and community center, Taller Puertorriqueño has long captured the spirit and soul of the Latin community in Philadelphia. This month, it debuts its new El Corazon Cultural Center, which expands the organization's current exhibition gallery and also adds a variety of new spaces to the center. Join the opening celebration for a first look at the new dance and theater studios, outdoor sculpture patio and other recent features added as part of the expansion.

Grand Opening of Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazόn Cultural Center

When:Wednesday, December 7, 4-6 p.m.
Where:Taller Puertorriqueño’s El Corazόn Cultural Center, 2600 N. 5th Street
Cost:Free

www.tallerpr.org

The Pennsylvania Ballet Presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

The NutcrackerPhoto by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia

It just isn’t the holidays without the dancing snowflakes, sword-fighting mice, princesses in tutus and an enormous tree that grows and grows, so snag a prime seat at The Academy of Music (opened in 1857) for the Pennsylvania Ballet’s classic production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker — a Philadelphia tradition that’s 48 years strong.

The Pennsylvania Ballet Presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

When:December 9-31
Where:Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street
Cost:$35 and up

www.paballet.org

Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum

Head to the Delaware River waterfront for the annual Parade of Lights, a lighting celebration unlike any other in the city. This boat parade features both pleasure boats and working vessels decked out in fabulous decorations and lights. Before the parade, head to the Independence Seaport Museum, which is hosting the parade, for holiday activities and festivities. Tip: The best view for the parade is from the second-floor balcony of the museum.

Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum

When:Saturday, December 10, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Where:Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Parade, free; Seaport Museum activities are included in the price of admission

www.phillyseaport.org

Annual March In of the Continental Army Commemoration at Valley Forge

Celebrate the anniversary of December 19, 1777, when General George Washington and his Continental Army set up their winter quarters at Valley Forge and began their difficult six-month encampment. The evening event features a recreation of the camp, 18th-century music and refreshments — as well as a visit from George Washington himself.

Annual March In of the Continental Army Commemoration at Valley Forge

When:Monday, December 19, 6-8 p.m.
Where:Valley Forge National Park Visitors Center, 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia
Cost:Free

www.nps.gov

Being [ ] At Christmas at the National Museum of American Jewish History

Exterior of the National Museum of American Jewish HistoryPhoto by Visit Philadelphia

On Christmas Day, the National Museum of American Jewish History invites families to fill in the blank during Being [ ] at Christmas. The event invites families from every background to join in the annual day of family fun with music, games, clay crafting, children’s activities and more.

Being [ ] At Christmas at the National Museum of American Jewish History

When:Sunday, December 25, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Where:National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall E.
Cost:$12 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under

www.nmajh.org

Washington Crossing Reenactment

Washington CrossingPhoto by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Join hundreds of re-enactors and thousands of attendees on the banks of the Delaware River for the annual reenactment of George Washington's infamous Christmas Day crossing, considered a turning point in the American Revolution, at the Washington Crossing Historic Park. General Washington will deliver an inspiring speech before leading his troops across the river in replica Durham boats.

Washington Crossing Reenactment

When:Sunday, December 25, noon-3 p.m.
Where:Washington Crossing Historic Park, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing
Cost:Free

www.washingtoncrossingpark.org

World Cafe Live's Annual Winter Beer Festival

Photo by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

Dozens of American and international craft breweries come to the World Cafe Live Winter Beer Festival. Breweries like Allagash, Yards, Victory and Dogfish Head arrive with their best winter brews in tow for this evening-long festival.

World Cafe Live's Annual Winter Beer Festival

When:Monday, December 26, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Where:World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street
Cost:$45 for general admission, $20 for designated driver tickets

www.philly.worldcafelive.com

SugarHouse Casino’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

New Year's Eve FireworksPhoto by Matt Stanley for DRWC

Penn’s Landing is the place to ring in the New Year with SugarHouse Casino’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront featuring two spectacular shows at 6 p.m. and midnight. Philadelphia’s main attraction on New Year’s Eve draws thousands of people to the Delaware River Waterfront each year. Conveniently located within a short walk of Old City, Society Hill and South Street, Penn’s Landing becomes a festive party with revelers of all ages delighting in a breathtaking fireworks display.

SugarHouse Casino’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

When:Saturday, December 31, 6 p.m. and midnight
Where:Along Penn's Landing
Cost:Free

www.delawareriverwaterfront.com

SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade

Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

During the Mummers Parade, the only-in-Philadelphia New Year’s Day tradition that dates back to 1901, thousands of men, women and children delight and dazzle crowds with feathers, sequins, music and merriment during a day-long romp along Broad Street from City Hall, site of competition among the Comic, Comic Wench and String Band divisions, to Washington Avenue. In the Fancy Brigade Finale competition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, clubs perform their Broadway-style music-and-dance routines for prizes and bragging rights.

SugarHouse Casino Mummers Parade

When:Sunday, January 1, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where:Starts at City Hall and continues south on Broad Street to Washington Avenue
Cost:Free

www.phlvisitorcenter.com


For more December festivals and events in Philadelphia, check out the top things to do this month on visitphilly.com.

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