It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays seem to make everything more magical and beautiful, and that definitely holds true for my home city of Philadelphia. Ok, home city is a bit of a stretch. I’m actually from ride outside Philly, but it is the closest big city I have, and I’m only 30 minutes away, so close enough.
Philadelphia is fun and beautiful all year round, but there’s something special about it during winter, and especially during the holidays. You can honestly find something magical on every corner during the winter season in this city. There is no shortage of holiday traditions.
So, for anyone looking to visit the City of Brotherly Love this season, or for those just taking a quick trip down I-95 like me, here are some stops that you definitely need on your list.
This area goes all out all year long, but more so during the holidays. You have the option of visiting Dilworth Park Wintergarden, decked out with the Rothman Institute Ice Rink, or stop by Christmas Village, across the street at LOVE Park. In between you can find Philly’s Christmas Tree, a beer garden, and another holiday market.
Macy’s Light Show
First of all, this is narrated by Julie Andrews, so it is magical to begin with. But add the 100,000 lights (!!!), an animated retelling of a Christmas Carol, and pictures with Santa, and you have yourself a magical Christmas in Macy’s.
Comcast Holiday Spectacular
If you work in Philly, there is no excuse for not stopping by to see this festive show. Projected onto a huge, street level, LED display, the show lasts 15 minutes and features dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet.
50,000 lights make up the Franklin Square Holiday Fest & Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. Stop by to view the lights, visit with Santa, take a ride on the carousel, or grab a s’more or other tasty snack!
Lights in South Philadelphia
I’m old school. Take me to a neighborhood decked out with lights and that’s enough to feel the holiday spirit. A few blacks from East Passyunk Ave, you can find Miracle on South 13th Street. The neighborhood has gone all out for over a dozen years, and it will definitely put a smile on even the biggest of Scrooges’ face.
These should definitely also be on your list, but are great to visit at other times of the year as well. Reading Terminal Market gets all decked out for the holidays. But honestly, you could visit during a random Wednesday in March and still be satisfied.
Up for more ice skating? Stop by Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest! I’m a little bias, because I love this area during the summer (a.k.a. Spruce Street Harbor Park), and I don’t actually know how to ice skate. But, it’s still super magical, especially with the view of the water!
Adventure Aquarium isn’t actually in Philadelphia, but it still makes our list. Visitors will see the world’s tallest underwater Christmas Tree and watch Scuba Santa and his elves swim around.
Outside the City
Visit Newtown, Pa to see the Shady Brook Farm Holiday Light Show. I just attended last night and it was as beautiful as ever, especially with the snow! We got a pass this year ($60 for five trips) and I definitely plan on using it!
Head to Merrymead Farm to choose your own Christmas tree, wreath, or other holiday decor. Grab some hot chocolate and baked goods while you are there!
Of course, Christmas is especially magical in NYC. While not my “home” city, it may as well be. I go multiple times every year, almost always during the holiday season. Stop by Macy’s for a picture with Santa, and be sure to see the tree and lights at Rockefeller Center. If you’ve never been (and even if you have), grab tickets to see the Rockettes in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City.
No matter where or what you celebrate, we hope you have a very merry, magical holiday season!
For more holiday attractions, head to Visit Philly.