The Best Philadelphia Events for Families [in 2019]!

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The holiday season is a great time to reconnect with your family and enjoy the festivities with your kids. There are so many family-friendly Christmas events in Philadelphia it is hard to choose! After visiting these destinations you are sure to leave with a touch of holiday spirit. Updated for 2019!

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Amuse Yourself at an Amusement Park

Photo by Flickr/YugoQ

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 2018 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 2018 from 1-8 pm, and every day from Christmas through New Year’s Eve. Fireworks will be part of the show at year’s end to culminate the 2018 seasonal celebration.

Two million twinkling lights set the stage for Hershey Park‘s Christmas Candyland. 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. Stop in from November 16, 2018, to January 1, 2019, to enjoy all that this crowd-pleasing event has to offer.

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.

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Take in the Lights

Photo by Flickr/Kevin Burkett

There are so many great Christmas light displays 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 2018 through the beginning of January 2019 including on holidays.

Holiday Trains

Photo by Flickr/Zhrefch

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.

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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.  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 a railroad near Philadelphia and New Jersey where you too can enjoy in this holiday tradition.

Fun Places to Shop and Enjoy the Festivities

Photo by Flickr/Opeyemi

The Christmas Village located in Love Park is an outdoor holiday market that is a favorite of locals and not-so-locals looking for Philadelphia Christmas events. 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, and even fit in a visit with Santa. Love Park was recently remodeled, and the market is back and better than ever. Take some time to enjoy the 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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Where to Stay

Photo by: Flickr/Jurvetson

Many hotels offer holiday packages but for an extra-special, one-of-a-kind memory maker, head out of the city to The Inn at Pocono Manor for a Magical Fireside Christmas.  Enjoy hot cocoa, decorate cookies, take a horse and wagon ride, create crafts, enjoy story time with Santa and so much more.  Don’t forget to inquire about adding elf turndown service to your overnight package!

 Read a full review of The Inn at Pocono Manor.

Pin this to bookmark all the holiday fun; we update it yearly:

Christmas and Holiday fun for Families in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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About the author

Sharon Rigney (aka msrigs) is one of Trekaroo's Travel Experts located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She's a mother to a daughter and two sons, ages 10-16. She and her family welcome the opportunity to travel and try new things, sometimes close to home and sometimes just a little out of their comfort zone just to shake things up. Her kids are so used to her reviewer's eye, that their first question when something notable happens on vacation is usually "so are you going to write about that"?
2 Responses
  1. Alissa (Fun Finds) (@funfinds4fams)

    This list is perfect! I didn’t grow up in the Philly area, so it’s been a challenge to carve out those family traditions on our own. I’m definitely printing this out and taking the kids to check out a few this year! Thank you!

  2. Souffle Bombay (Colleen)

    Great info, thanks for this! The “Wanamaker” light show is something I have yet to take my kids to…I have to fix that stat! You shared a few things I never hears of, love it! It is so fun discovering unknown (to me) gems!

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