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Christmas in Philadelphia- The Best Events for Families in 2021

Christmas in Philadelphia-  The Best Events for Families in 2021

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 2021!

Christmas in Philadelphia- Philadelphia Christmas Events for 2021 

Get in the Holiday Spirit at a Philadelphia Area 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 2021 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 on select dates November 20, 2021 – January 2, 2022.

Two million twinkling lights set the stage for Hershey Park’s Christmas Candylane. This year’s event will take place November 12, 2021 – January 2, 2022.

Families will love the festive decorations (over five million lights!), holiday entertainment, Santa and his reindeer, and Treeville at the Boardwalk 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.

Look for amazing deals on family-friendly hotels in Philadelphia.

Experience the New Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade

The new Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade will take place on East Market Street December 4, 2021 at 5pm. Locals can also watch the parade on 6ABC.

This parade isn’t just about Christmas- there will be floats representing Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, and Christmas. There will also be balloons, bands, and lot sof other performers.

Trekaroo tip: People from Wawa will be handing out free hot chocolate and coffee between 2nd and 3rd Streets. Score!

Visit Philadelphia will also hosting a New Years Day Fireworks Show at Penn’s Landing at 6PM on January 1, 2022.

Take in the Philadelphia Christmas Lights

Philadelphia Christmas events
Photo by Flickr/Kevin Burkett

Macy’s Holiday Light Show

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 the Friday after Thanksgiving.

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.

Comcast Holiday Spectacular

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 takes place November 19, 2021 through January 10, 2022 but the lights will remain lit in Franklin Square (without the shows) through February 28th.

LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo

This year, excitement surrounds the incredible addition of a new winter experience in the city. From November 18, 2021 to January 9, 2022, 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.

Advanced tickets are required for LumiNature.

Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular

New for 2021 is the Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center. It will run Novcember 26, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Tickets can be purchased online.

In addition to over a million beautiful lights in themed displays, there will be photos with Santa as well as Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, an ice rink, holiday marketplace, and lots of tasty treats to eat and drink.

Shady Brook Farm

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. Tickets go on sale November 1, 2021.

This lovely holiday activity starts off each year with the very family-friendly Dashin’ Thru… the Lights event where families can participate in a two-mile run/walk through the holiday lights.

This event runs November 19, 2021 – January 30, 2022. 

Longwood Gardens

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.

This year’s event at Longwood Gardens will take place November 19, 2021 through January 9, 2022.

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.

Koziar’s Christmas Village

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 2021 through the beginning of January 2022, including on holidays.

South Philly Neighborhood Lights Worth Seeing

If you want to see a neighbor filled with holiday spirit, head on down to the 1600 block of South 13th Street and check out  Miracle on South 13th Street.

You can either drive through or choose to park and stroll this neighborhood filled with great lights and Christmas decor. There are lots of local restaurants to choose from on nearby E. Passyunk Avenue if you want to make and evening of it.

Smedley Street is another spot you won’t want to miss. The Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular has been happening on the 2700 block of Smedley Street for over 50 years!

The West Chester Griswold House

Fans of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation will definitely want to stop by the Plummer family’s house to check out their over-the-top light display. How over the top? Well, their house features over 100,000 lights controlled by computer!

The lights will be up November 25, 2021 – January 2, 2022.

Holiday Trains in Philadelphia

Christmas train Philadelphia
Photo by Flickr/Zhrefch

Holiday Garden Railways at Morris Arboretum

This year the Holiday Garden Railway 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 runs November 26, 2021 though January 2, 2022. A special evening train experience takes place on weekends during the holiday season.

Santa’s Paradise Express at Strasburg Railroad

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 20, 2021 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.

New Hope-Ivyland Railroad

The New Hope-Ivyland Railroad‘s Santa Steam Train Ride 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.

Chrismtas in Philadelphia- Fun Places to Do Holiday Shopping

Christmas bulbs
Photo by Flickr/Opeyemi

The Christmas Village located in Love Park is an authentic German 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.

Look for the best hotel prices in Philadelphia.

Outdoor Ice Skating in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Christmas ice skating
RiverRink Ice Skating | Photo by Flickr PipeandPint

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 after Thanksgiving. 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

Mummers Parade

Mummers Parade New Years Philadelphia
Mummers Parade | Photo by Flickr Mobilus in Mobili

The Mummers Parade is an important Philadelphia tradition that takes place on New Years Day.

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.

Find more Christmas events near you! Trekaroo has guides for dozens of cities across the country.

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

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

Lead Image by Shutterstock