Christmas in Philadelphia is a great time to reconnect with your family and enjoy the festivities with your kids. There are so many family-friendly Philadelphia Christmas events it is hard to choose which ones to enjoy! These Philadelphia Christmas activities are sure to leave you filled with holiday spirit. Updated for 2020!
Philadelphia Christmas Events
Amuse Yourself at an Amusement Park
Amusement parks in the Philadelphia area roll out the red carpet, the lights, and Santa’s red suit. Families can enjoy their favorite amusement parks dressed up for the 2019 holidays! You can still ride your favorite rides and enjoy added shows and festivities.
In Bucks County, PA, A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place decorates to the hilt, lining the entrance and the park with trees and lights. Families delight in the Christmas parade (they even make it snow!), visits with Santa, Christmas themed shows, and holiday treats. A Very Furry Christmas is held weekends through Christmas 2020 and every day from Christmas through New Year’s Eve.
Note: Advanced tickets must be purchased and portions of the event will be drive thru in 2020 due to Covid-19.
Two million twinkling lights set the stage for Hershey Park’s Christmas Candylane. Families will love the festive decorations, holiday entertainment, and dining options with Santa at this family-friendly Pennsylvania park. A limited amount of rides are open for the season.
Dutch Wonderland Winter Wonderland is perfect for younger kids. Here you can enjoy the Royal Light Show, festive entertainment, cookie decorating, rides, and more on weekends and select weekdays throughout the season. Cancelled for 2020!
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Take in the Lights
There are so many great Christmas light displays in Philadelphia to explore! One of the coolest Philadelphia Christmas events is the Macy’s Holiday Light Show. Accompanied by the sounds of the famous Wanamaker Organ, Christmas scenes are illuminated by 100,000 LED lights on a 4-story tall velvet curtain. Then head to the Dickens Village on the third floor where A Christmas Carol is brought to life.
Note: The Macy’s Holiday Light Show/Santaland will be virtual in 2020 due to Covid-19.
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is quite a sight! The world’s largest LED screen displays holiday imagery set to orchestra music. A returning classic Philadelphia Christmas event is the Franklin Square Holiday Light Festival and Electrical Spectacle.
Featuring a 12-foot-tall kite made of lights and hundreds of feet of holiday garland, it comes to life eight times daily, weather permitting. This event appears to be cancelled for 2020.
This year, excitement surrounds the incredible addition of a new winter experience in the city. From November 20th to January 5th, 2020, LumiNature at The Philadelphia Zoo will wow guests as it leads them on a truly magical journey of lights, sounds and surprises.
This giant-sized, fantastical holiday lights experience features 12 experiences that include eye-popping things like illuminated penguins, oversized bold-colored illuminated flowers, a 21-foot tall brilliant colored snake, giant cat eyes glowing in the dark and oh-so-much more. Cancelled for 2020.
At Shady Brook Farm, families can drive through the wonderful holiday light show or enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride. Traverse acres of farmland while enjoying whimsical displays and countless lights. This lovely holiday activity starts off each year with the very family-friendly Run the Lights event. Advanced purchase is require in 2020.
A walk through Longwood Gardens will leave you amazed. 500 thousand lights, brilliant Christmas trees, thousands of poinsettias, fountains, and daily concerts make it a festive wonderland. Due to the popularity of garden visits this time of year, a timed ticketing system is used, so be sure to visit the website for ticketing options.
This year’s event at Longwood Gardens will take place November 20, 2020 through January 10, 2021.
At Koziar’s Christmas Village, visitors enjoy walking the paths and observing the lights, displays, and model trains. Take a moment to visit with Santa, he’ll be waiting for you on Santa Claus Lane. If you get chilly, warm up with some hot chocolate and snacks. The village is open from the first Saturday in November 2020 through the beginning of January 2021, including on holidays.
This year the Holiday Train Garden returns at Morris Arboretum. The miniature displays and replicas of Philadelphia landmarks decked out for the holidays dazzle visitors of all ages. Fifteen train lines, including two cable cars, run over a quarter mile of track, around loops and through tunnels. This event will take place on weekends, November 28, 2020 though December 27, 2020.
My children have always enjoyed a train ride with Santa. Thanks to the popularity of The Polar Express, more railroads than ever are offering their own Polar Express experiences. Strasburg Railroad is offering Santa’s Paradise Express where families will enjoy a train ride with Santa himself.
This event will take place on weekends, November 21, 2020 through Christmas Eve.
The Night Before Christmas Train creates special memories and excitement. A visitor dressed in his night-dress reads this classic tale and children will enjoy cookies and milk.
The New Hope-Ivyland Railroad is also a fun excursion with kids. It offers riders a visit with Santa, hot chocolate and a cookie as well as a scenic train ride through Bucks County.
Find Philadelphia and New Jersey Santa trains where you too can enjoy in this holiday tradition.
Fun Places to Shop and Enjoy the Festivities
The Christmas Village located in Love Park is an outdoor holiday market that is a favorite of locals. Visitors will enjoy the holiday lights and the Christmas tree while exploring booths offering up a unique shopping experience, traditional food, and sweets. Enjoy the entertainment presented by choirs and dancers throughout the season, as well as a visit with Santa.
Love Park was recently remodeled, and the market is back and better than ever. Take some time to enjoy the remodeled park and the market, and stop at Dilworth Park across the street for some skating and hot chocolate afterward!
In historic Bucks County, Peddler’s Village offers up unique stores and restaurants. The village is beautifully decorated with hundreds of twinkling lights for the season. Enjoy the Christmas Festival and the Gingerbread House Display, with entries from people of all ages for the annual competition!
When the kids get tired of the shopping, be sure to treat them to a stop into Giggleberry Fair to ride the wonderfully restored carousel, tackle Giggleberry Mountain and play the arcade games.
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Outdoor Ice Skating
The only regulation-sized outdoor skating rink in Philadelphia can be found at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, which is found along the Delaware River. The skating rink opens November 27, 2020. In addition to ice skating, visitors can also enjoy fire pits, a Kids Lodge and arcade, warming cabins, and food and drink.
Find more fun in Philly! Here are the top 10 things to do in Philadelphia with kids.
Note: The Mummers Parade is cancelled for 2021.
The Mummers Parade is an important Philadelphia tradition. This holiday festival is said to be one of the oldest folk festivals in the United States! Several local clubs create costumes, scenery, and elaborate routines to perform in the parade in hopes of winning awards in five different categories: Comics, Fancies, Fancy Brigades, String Bands, and Wench Brigades.
The Parade begins at City Hall and heads south to Washington Avenue and Broad Street. Broad Street is a great place to watch the performers, but arrive early to secure a good spot. The fun lasts all day, beginning at 9am and ending at 5pm.
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