Must-See Christmas Attractions in Philadelphia

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Having recently visited New York City, I was reminded that there’s nothing quite like the energy of the greatest city in the world during the Christmas season. But if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and hustle & bustle of New York, a two hour trip south will take you to a city that has holiday sights and activities that will rival the Christmas spirit of any destination.

New and old, Philadelphia is overflowing with Christmas traditions that will be sure to quench your thirst for holiday attractions. Here is a collection of some of the best Christmas events to check out in the City of Brotherly Love!

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Macy’s Christmas Light Show

One of the longest running Philadelphia Christmas traditions, going back to 1956, is a favorite for all ages. The Center City Macy’s takes audiences on a festive journey through well-known Christmas stories like Frosty the Snowman and The Nutcracker, all flashing before you on a black velvet curtain behind a dazzling Christmas Tree.

From personal experience, I can say that people of any age will feel like children again as you’re mesmerized by the narrations of the famous Julie Andrews, dancing lights of your favorite Christmas stories, and the beautiful sounds of the Wanamaker Organ.

The Macy’s Christmas Light Show occurs daily starting on Thanksgiving through December 31st, with shows running every two hours from 10am to 8pm.

Macy's Holiday Light Show, Philadelphia

Comcast Holiday Spectacular

How can you go wrong when you view a holiday show on one of the world’s largest highest-resolution LED displays? You can’t! Since debuting in 2008, the Comcast Holiday Spectacular has quickly become a Christmas must-see in Philadelphia.

Played in the lobby of the city’s tallest building, the 15-minute Comcast Holiday Spectacular takes you on a magical visual ride including scenes from The Nutcracker, a sleigh ride through the wintry countryside, a children’s choir serenading you with Christmas songs, and Santa himself soaring through the night sky.

Showtimes are daily at the top of each hour from 10am – 8pm (excluding weekdays at 5 p.m.) beginning November 23rd through December 31st & 10am – 6pm on New Year’s Day.

A Longwood Christmas

I had been to Longwood Gardens many times before, but this was my first visit to take in the sights of the annual Christmas Display. I was not disappointed!

Everywhere you look, indoor and out, are Christmas lights twinkling for your enjoyment. Imagine 500,000 lights decorating towering Christmas trees, topiaries, and even treehouses all throughout the grounds of Longwood Gardens. Inside the conservatory, thousands of poinsettias and other flowers wash over you in a sea of beautiful colors.

Tickets are issued for a specific date and time, and prices vary based on peak or non-peak times. Be sure to purchase early, as tickets are in high demand. A Longwood Christmas runs through January 7th, 2018.


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Christmas Village at City Hall

Christmas Village, an outdoor holiday market, is modeled after Germany’s traditional open-air Christmas markets and is one of the most anticipated Christmas attractions in Philly. By Thanksgiving Day, a Christmas Tree has replaced the spot where the LOVE Park fountain is normally flowing and wooden booths have opened up all around. The shops offer all kinds of international items for your Christmas list including jewelry, ornaments, art, crafts, and toys.

Christmas Village is open until December 24.
Daily schedules:
Sunday-Thursday: 11am – 7pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am – 8pm
Christmas Eve: 11am – 5pm

Christmas Village at LOVE Park

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Ice skating is a highlight for everyone this time of year, and the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest offers the perfect location for a romantic holiday evening. This outdoor public ice skating rink is set along the banks of the Delaware River at Penn’s Landing and provides stunning views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Afterwards, enjoy some time at The Lodge Restaurant and Bar — an onsite, ski chalet-style tented area offering indoor fireplaces, comfy couches, arcade games and plenty of heated warmth amidst a rustic atmosphere.

General admission to RiverRink Winterfest is FREE, but skating admission is only $3 per person. Skate rentals are available for $10. The Blue Cross RiverRink is open until March 4th, 2018.

Blue Cross River Rink Winterfest


Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square

As the centerpiece of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, the Electrical Spectacle showcases more than 50,000 twinkling lights set to a festive holiday soundtrack. The focal point of the display is a 12-foot illuminated kite, a nod to Ben Franklin’s famous kite-and-lightning experiment.

Two alternating shows take place every 30 minutes each night beginning at 4:30pm and continuing until 8pm on Sunday through Thursday & until 9pm on Friday and Saturday. Electrical Spectacle is FREE to the public and runs until December 31st.


Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree

Easily the most popular square in the city, Rittenhouse Square becomes that much more festive with the lighting of Philadelphia’s largest Christmas tree. Although not elaborately decorated, the Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree is truly a sparkling beacon of holiday spirit.

The lighting ceremony on November 28th includes holiday entertainment, character visits, complimentary roasted chestnuts, and culminates with Santa illuminating the tree.