The Top 15 Ways to Explore Philly this Holiday Season

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Welcome to the holiday season in Philadelphia! The city is bustling with holiday cheer and there’s so much to see around town during the winter months. We know you love exploring as much as we do, so let’s get into the good stuff—the top 15 ways to explore Philadelphia this holiday season!

Below, you’ll find the best ways to get into the holiday spirit this year—featuring holiday markets where you can purchase gifts from local shops and vendors, in-person outdoor events happening around the city, and some exclusive-to-Philly winter activities!

1. LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo

Photo Credit: The Philadelphia Zoo

The What: See the Philadelphia Zoo transform into a dazzling winter wonderland and enjoy a journey of lights, sounds, and surprises!
The Where: The Philadelphia Zoo
The When: November 18 through January 9
The Deal: Purchase tickets here!

2. Deck the Hall Holiday Light Show

Photo credit: Center City District

The What: The holiday animation on the western façade of City Hall is back for another winter season!
The Where: City Hall
The When: 5-9pm Sunday-Thursday and 5-11pm Fridays and Saturdays. This unique experience will continue through January 1, 2021!
The Deal: Free

3. Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Photo credit: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

The What: General admission to Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is free; ice skating, games, and rides are pay-as-you-go. 
The Where: Blue Cross RiverRink
The When: Hours vary from Nov. 26 through March 6. Click here for details!
The Deal: Free with pay-as-you-go activities

4. Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular

Photo Credit: Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular

The What: This brand-new attraction invites guests to walk through a winter wonderland of light sculptures and displays, including illuminated recreations of local landmarks like the Liberty Bell, boasting over one million bulbs.
The Where: The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center
The When: Hours vary from November 26 through January 2
The Deal: Purchase tickets online!

5. Wintergarden on the Greenfield Lawn

Photo credit: Center City District

The What: Wintergarden on the Greenfield Lawn returns this season with whimsically crafted reindeer topiaries, seasonal plantings, and an open-air layout. Visitors are welcomed with festive twinkling lights, a new rustic arbor, and generous seating throughout the garden. 
The Where: Dilworth Park
The When:  Monday-Sunday: 9am-9pm; November 1-April 3
The Deal: Free

6. Philadelphia Ballet Presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

Photo Credit: The Philadelphia Ballet

The What: The wait is over: Balanchine’s beloved holiday classic returns! Gather together this holiday season to share in the magic, the charm, the spectacle, and the joy of The Nutcracker ballet.
The Where: Academy of Music
The When: December 10-31, times vary
The Deal: Tickets for opening night are just $10! Purchase tickets here!

7. The Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade

Photo Credit: Philly Holiday Experience

The What: The all-new Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade is the city’s first parade celebrating all of winter’s holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the Chinese New Year.
The Where: Market Street, beginning at 2nd Street and ending at City Hall
The When: December 4 at 5pm
The Deal: Free to attend!

8. Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Photo credit: Christmas Village

The What: Christmas Village in Philadelphia is happy to announce its return to LOVE Park and City Hall to once again to transform Center City into a festive winter wonderland.
The Where: LOVE Park
The When: November 25 through December 24, hours vary.
The Deal: Free to attend; pay-as-you-go

9. Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink

Photo Credit: Center City District

The What: The rink offers wintry fun for all ages, with a full slate of programs—offering timed, 90-minute skating sessions.
The Where: Dilworth Park
The When: Now until Feb. 27. Hours vary.
The Deal: College Nights are every Thursday night from 5:30-9pm for only $2!

10. Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

Photo credit: Center City District

The What: Support local, small businesses by browsing and buying handmade gifts, treats, and crafts galore! 
The Where: Dilworth Park
The When: Nov. 20 through Jan. 1. Hours vary.
The Deal: Free to attend; pay-as-you-go

11. Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin

Photo credit: Center City District

The What: The Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin features the best elements for outdoor relaxation, including a new, open-air layout and warm heat lamps.
The Where: Dilworth Park
The When: Nov. 5 through Feb. 27. Hours vary.
The Deal: Free to attend; pay-as-you-go

12. Macy’s Christmas Light Show

Photo credit: Macy’s Santaland

The What: Wonder of seasons past with these beloved traditions at Macy’s Center City in Philadelphia. The show features classic songs and stories like The Nutcracker and Frosty the Snowman illuminated by 100,000 lights.
The Where: Macy’s Center City
The When: Decemeber 1-31
The Deal: Free

13. The Franklin Square Fountain Show

Photo credit: Franklin Square

The What: The free light show illuminates and dazzles the Square every 30 minutes nightly with over 100,000 lights (more than ever before) that shimmer, dance, and illuminate to a soundtrack of holiday classics.
The Where: Franklin Square
The When: November 18 – February 27 every 30 minutes starting at 5pm
The Deal: Free

14. Chilly Mini Golf in Franklin Square

Photo credit: Photo by Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

The What: Chilly Philly Mini Golf transforms Center City’s only miniature golf course for winter fun both daytime and evenings. The course is complete with lights, holiday music, and larger-than-life wintertime friends. The 18-hole game features reproductions of Philadelphia icons and landmarks.
The Where: Franklin Square
The When: November 18 through Feburary 27 Sun-Thurs 10am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm
The Deal: Purchase tickets here!

15. Miracle on 13th Street

Photo credit: Miracle on South 13th Street Holiday Light Display

The What: The 1600 Block of South 13th Street (between Tasker & Morris) becomes the Miracle on South 13th Street. Take a stroll down and enjoy Philadelphia’s favorite community holiday display!
The Where: South 13th Street
The When: Lights are on nightly from November 27 – January 1
The Deal: Free

Looking for more things to do this holiday season? Check out our Campus Philly Calendar for free & discounted events, and follow us on Instagram for the latest Philly updates and holiday experiences! Happy Holidays!

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