Twinkling lights, alfresco fire pits, seasonal treats and plenty of holiday cheer fill historic Franklin Square during its completely free holiday festival and light show.
Set to kick off on November 9, the Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle brings the Historic District park to life all season long, lighting up the eight-acre area through December 31.
- The Franklin Square Holiday Festival runs from November 9 to December 31.
- The Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show features two alternating shows every 30 minutes.
- More highlights include the Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train for kids, a New Year’s Eve Dance Party and more.
The seasonal outdoor attraction features nearly seven weeks of special events, activities and more, with the main feature being the spectacular Electrical Spectacle light show, complete with 50,000 (!) twinkling lights and a dynamic holiday soundtrack.
Read on for our guide to the festive holiday event.
Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show
The free Electrical Spectacle light show presented by PECO returns with more than 50,000 lights set to a soundtrack of holiday classics, including tunes played by The Philly POPS.
The centerpiece of the show is a 12-foot-tall kite, serving as an homage to Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite-and-lightning experiment, hovers 16 feet above the square’s center fountain. LED lights dance to music, spreading holiday glow throughout the park.
Two alternating shows take place every 30 minutes (weather permitting), beginning at 4:30 p.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and on Christmas Eve. Shows run until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Every evening, one lucky audience member will get the chance to ignite the festivities at 4:30 p.m.
On opening night (Thursday, November 9), festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with Taste of the Holiday Season, a special celebration where Benjamin Franklin and characters from Frozen will make appearances alongside musicians from The Philly POPS.
The Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show will not operate on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Bites and Beverages
Ben’s Sweets and Treats returns to the scene this year, inviting visitors to decorate scrumptious holiday cookies, learn gingerbread-house-assembling tips from the pros, munch on fresh-from-the-fryer doughnuts, indulge at the gourmet hot chocolate bar and get sticky at the brand new s’mores-making station.
The festival’s winter beer garden offers visitors a cozy place to relax by the outdoor fire pits and enjoy a variety of seasonal beverages, local craft beers, wine and specialty cocktails presented by Cooperage.
Every time a patron buys a special Coquito cocktail, $1 will be donated to Puerto Rico hurricane relief efforts.
SquareBurger will be open for business from 3 to 8 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 3 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, and noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The perennial favorite will serve its popular burgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream and vegetarian options.
Plus, the signature Cake Shake, blended with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets, will also be available along with a special egg nog shake and a burger of the month. Warm seasonal additions to the menu include empanadas, latkes with roasted pepper sour cream and apple applesauce, turkey legs with mashed potatoes, churros, fried Oreos and pie.
Attractions and Events
Kids and families are in for a fun-filled extravaganza. Hop aboard the Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train, which offers rides all around the magnificently lit square. The train operates from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on November 9 and November 24. Prices are $5 for adults and $4 for kids.
As always, Franklin Square offers Philly Mini Golf, featuring small-scale versions of landmarks like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Boathouse Row and the Liberty Bell. Games cost $9 for adults and $7 for kids 3-12.
The Parx Liberty Carousel will also remain open, sporting carved horses based on some of the most famous equines in horseracing history. The carousel will play a special holiday soundtrack as it thrills visitors of all ages. Rides cost $3 per person and are free for children two and younger.
Plus, throughout the festival, special events are on tap to delight the crowds and spread holiday cheer. Keep an eye out for movie nights, visits from Santa, a pet-friendly celebration, live entertainment, a New Year’s Eve dance party and more.
A full schedule of all of the fun is available online.
Now that’s what we call a holiday celebration.