Philly To-Do: Celebrate the Holidays

This time of year has a way of pushing time’s fast-forward button, so it’s never too early to start bringing out the tinsel, miseltoe and lights. From pop-up shopping nights to holiday light celebrations, there are plenty of Philly happenings to get you in a festive mood. Below are my picks that I’m looking forward to checking out! 

Holiday lights across the City 

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite things about the holiday season is all the lights and decorations spread across the city. So, if you are indeed like me, you’ll be excited to know that this is an ongoing event going on throughout the city. Grab some friends, bundle up, and make a nice hot chocolate to go, and explore the neighborhoods of Philadelphia and the amazing decorations that’ll truly wow you. (My personal favorite is the Longwood Gardens lights)

Check out Visit Philly’s list of  The Top Places to View Holiday Lights in Philadelphia and head to the Parade of Lights at the Seaport Museum on Saturday, December 10!


Franklin Flea Holiday Market 2016 

Looking for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts? Stop by the Franklin Flea at the Historic Strawbridge’s Building happening on Saturday, December 17th from 10 am to 5 pm! In addition to great gift finds, you can grab a bite to eat from one of the many food vendors and enjoy live music performances throughout the day.

Looking for more events like this? Here’s uwishunu’s list of 10+ Holiday Markets To Shop In Philly This December.


Historic Holiday Nights in Old City 

Head to Old City this Thursday for Historic Holiday Nights, which runs every Thursday until December 22nd. 45 shops, restaurants and museums open up their doors to the public from 5-8 p.m. with special deals and an extended happy hour for those of age. This is a great way to explore Old City, and cross a few people off of your Christmas list!


Ice Skating at City Hall

Another holiday tradition, ice skating at Rothman Rink at City Hall!  If you can’t skate they even offer a five week session of skating lessons on Sunday mornings that include skates and admission. You can also warm up after skating for awhile with food and drinks around City Hall. 

In addition to Rothman Rink at Dilworth Park, lace up your skates at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest!


Christmas Village at City Hall

Not much of a skater? You can still hit up City Hall for the Christmas markets starting later this month. More than 80 vendors will be out selling little trinkets and gifts perfect for the holidays. Not only will there be shopping but you can expect side-street performances and other special events throughout the entirety of the markets stay in Center City.


Catch the annual holiday show at Walnut Street Theatre

Want to catch an awesome show and see some history as well? Hit up Walnut Street Theatre, which just so happens to be America’s oldest theatre and catch a classic, Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’! Maybe take a stroll to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, which are just a quick walk away before settling in for a bit to watch an awesome cast perform one of the most classic Christmas favorites of all time.


Have “A Very Philly Christmas” at Fairmount Park

Music. Friends. Neighbors. Family. These four elements are the four most important ideas to our lovely city. Head to Fairmount Park to see some of the historical homes decked out for the season with these ideals in mind. Fairmount Park will also be hosting some really awesome events based around those four elements. Grab your friends, your family, your neighbors and head to Fairmount Park (while listening to some awesome music) and enjoy some of the things that make the City of Brotherly Love the best city to be in.

There you have it, Z’s holiday picks for this upcoming season.  For more events, you can always check out our calendar page. If you’re looking to take a road trip, check out For Planners Making Plans: Holiday Edition. If you have any suggestions or want to share your experience at one of these places, let us know!

 

Our Guide to Taking a Stroll Outside

Where do you go when you need to clear your head? We go outside to take a walk with our old friend, Nature. But where do you find such a thing in the city? The answer is: closer than you think. The fall foliage and fresh air is just what the doctor ordered and there is no shortage of that in and around Philadelphia! Below are some of our go-to natural trails:

Manayunk Towpath

Exploring the Manayunk Towpath is a great way to learn about the history of the neighborhood and the canal. Take a bit of time out of your day to stop at this point along the Schuylkill River, rent a bike and get going! While traveling through the Towpath you’ll see things like old rail lines, old canal locks and plenty of wildlife.


 Wissahickon Valley Park

The Wissahickon Trail is by far one of my favorite escapes from the library. The trail runs over 20 miles in length and stretches along the Wissahickon Creek from Stenton Avenue all the way to Lansdale Borough. You’ll encounter an abundance of beautiful waterfalls, trails suitable for everyone and even picnic areas!


Valley Forge National Historic Park

Discover the past and explore nature by trekking through this historical park, it really is a win-win kind of a day trip. This was, after all, a base camp for Washington’s army during the American Revolution. Only around 30 minutes from Philly, you can get anything from a rigorous mountain-like hike to short and calming nature walks.


Pennypack Creek Trail

The Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust puts a lot of effort into protecting, restoring and preserving the lands of Pennypack Creek, all so we can enjoy it’s beauty! With this trail being 5 miles long and just 15 miles out of Center City in Montgomery County, you can explore either by foot or even by hopping on horseback. In fact, this trail welcomes hikers, cyclists, equestrians and of course your trail-happy dog!


Peace Valley

Even the name sounds serene! Make your way to this beautiful nature center for the day, just an hour out of the city. With 14 miles of trails at the eastern end of Lake Galena, you can walk, run, hike or bike your way through the paved paths. If you’re into bird watching this is also the place to go, as over 250 different bird species have been spotted here!


If you snap a picture during your hike, tag @CampusPhilly so we can see it. We love seeing what you’re up to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Must-Attend Events of the Season!

 

Here it is everyone, the stuff you’ve been waiting for. Now that Halloween is over (even though we hate saying bye to you, Oct. 31st) it’s time to make room for the next best thing, Thanksgiving! A day full of food, family and friends needs a fun-packed month of preparation; here are some of this month’s events that you won’t want to miss!

 

Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner at Arcadia University

I dare you all to name a more fall food than soup, I say this because nothing can compare to a nice hot steamy bowl of it. Arcadia University holds an Annual Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner, and this is its 23rd! On Monday, November 14th you can purchase a ticket https://alumni.arcadia.edu/events/eb16 and enjoy a bountiful amount of soups, breads and dessert that have all been donated by community restaurants. 100% of proceeds from the Empty Bowl Dinner go to organizations that benefit the hungry and the homeless. Make sure to catch this one, you can enjoy delicious food as well as do something great for the city’s people.

 

Wintergarden at Dilworth Park

Although some of us despise the cold, there is still some room for fun here in Philly! On November 11th, America’s Garden Capital Maze will be filled with thousands of twinkly lights, seasonal trees and everything else a winter wonderland could ever need. You can grab all of the essentials (hot chocolate, fun snacks and boozy drinks) to keep you warm near the Rothman Institute Ice Rink and Cabin where you can also find the holiday Made in Philadelphia Market. You can also find the Christmas Village in the Courtyard at City Hall. For more information, click here! http://www.uwishunu.com/2016/10/brand-new-wintergarden-opening-city-hall-november/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=VisitPhillyFacebook&utm_content=Social#sm.0002kj5f2rp3dmt106z2d4ntm1gmq

 

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

Nothing says “Tis the season” better than a festival and a light show! From November 10th to December 31st, head over to Franklin Square and catch the main feature, the Electrical Spectacle light show. Welcoming all ages and filled with winter treats and a beergarden, there is also a Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train that rides around the square.

 

The Philadelphia Marathon along Boathouse Row

This 8K race (half-marathon) takes place through November 18th to the 20th and will power through the city passing the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as Boathouse Row. There will also be a Kids Fun Run as well as a Health & Fitness Expo. Even if you’re not a runner, volunteer or just head over and support your fellow Philadelphians! http://philadelphiamarathon.com/

 

 

The Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Parkway

Last but definitely not least, make sure you head to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to catch the oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the country. You’ll enjoy the legendary floats, huge balloons, music, performances and even a visit from Santa.

 

Holiday light spectating, ice skating, do-gooding, running & parading

Here it is everyone, the stuff you’ve been waiting for. Now that Halloween is over (even though we hate saying bye to you, October 31.), it’s time to make room for the next best thing, Thanksgiving! A day full of food, family and friends needs a fun-packed month of preparation; here are some of this month’s events that you won’t want to miss:

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show 

Nothing says “Tis the season” better than a festival and a light show! From November 10th to December 31st, head over to Franklin Square and catch the main feature, the Electrical Spectacle light show. Welcoming all ages and filled with winter treats, complete with a beergarden, there is also a Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train that rides around the square.


Wintergarden at Dilworth Park

Although some of us despise the cold, we will bundle up and get in on the winter fun! Starting on November 11th, America’s Garden Capital Maze will be filled with thousands of twinkly lights, seasonal trees and everything else a winter wonderland could ever need. You can grab all of the essentials (hot chocolate, fun snacks and boozy drinks for you 21+’ers) to keep you warm near the Rothman Institute Ice Rink and Cabin where you can also find the holiday Made in Philadelphia Market. The famous Christmas Village will also be in the Courtyard at City Hall this year. For more information, click here!


Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner at Arcadia University

Nothing can compare to a nice hot steamy bowl of soup when the weather starts to cool. Arcadia University holds an Annual Empty Bowl Benefit Dinner, and this is its 23rd! On Monday, November 14 you can purchase a ticket and enjoy bountiful amount of soups, breads and dessert that have all been donated by community restaurants. 100% of proceeds from the Empty Bowl Dinner go to organizations that benefit the hungry and the homeless. Make sure to catch this one, you can enjoy delicious food as well as do something great for the city’s people.


The Philadelphia Marathon along Boathouse Row

This 8K (half-marathon) race takes place through November 18th to the 20th and will power through the city, passing the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as Boathouse Row. There will also be a Kids Fun Run as well as a Health & Fitness Expo. Even if you’re not a runner, volunteer or just head over and support your fellow Philadelphians!


The Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Parkway

Last, but definitely not least; make sure you head to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to catch the oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the country. You’ll enjoy the legendary floats, huge balloons, music, performances and even a visit from Santa!

 

Your 1st First Friday in Old City

If you’re an art nerd at heart, a curious Philly local who’s been meaning to explore Old City, or just looking for something new to do, we’ve got a very Old City night planned for you! On Friday a.k.a. “First Friday,” October 7, we will be hosting an Open Arts gathering in the Arden Theatre lobby.  Come by to check-in, receive an art crawl map as well as a discount card for local restaurants and business, like National Mechanics and The Victoria Freehouse, for the night.

Haven’t been to Old City? It looks like it is straight out of a movie, especially with Penn’s Landing in walking distance over looking the water. This section of Philadelphia is sprinkled with cute cafes, cobblestone roads, and city parks and gardens that are to die for. Personally, it’s one of my favorite parts of the city, especially walking around Penn’s Landing with ice cream from The Franklin Fountain. If it’s a little on the chillier side like it is now, I recommend hitting up one of the many quaint coffee shops in the area, my personal favorite being Customs Coffee House (Double Shots) on Chestnut Street.

The best way to really get a feel for First Friday is to just go exploring! Check out the places highlighted in the Old City Art Crawl Map and after you see those, keep walking around and you’ll find all the art nooks and culture crannies that are all over Old City.

I always find something new that I love about this section of the city and First Friday may be your way to finding your new favorite piece of Philadelphia. Mark your calendar for October 7th, 5 to 9 p.m. and get ready for some art, culture and beauty in one of Philly’s most historic neighborhoods! Happy adventuring!

P.S. After your First Friday stroll, catch “Stupid F**king Bird” at the Arden Theatre at 8 p.m. Use promotion code CAMPUS16 to receive your discounted $20 tickets. Not an Open Arts member? Sign up here using the code “1617.”

Getting Around at CollegeFest

 

Looking to get off campus and explore Philly? The first step is joining us on Saturday, September 10th for CollegeFest. More than 5,000 students from over 100 schools will be there for games and freebees from great brands and exhibitors.

So how will you get there? Here are some ways:

Hop on your bike!  Whether you have your own or you ride with Indego, start pedaling to Dilworth Park

Ride with SEPTA. The following SEPTA routes go directly to CollegeFest: 2, 16, 17, 33, 38, 44, 48, 124 & 125, MFL or Trolley to 15th, BSL to City Hall or Regional Rail to Suburban! Map out your trip here. 

If you’re coming from Jersey, take the PATCO line (from any station!) to 15-16 and Locust, then head towards South Sydenham St. and hang a left on 15th St. The walk to Dilworth should take less than 10 minute! Tickets to ride PATCO are $3 for a single ride and $6 for a round trip. We recommend a single ride… ’cause once you land in Philly, you’ll want to stay here.

Once you arrive, you will check in with Campus Philly. A valid college ID gets you free admission to TEN MUSEUMS (!!!) along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and in Historic Philadelphia, and free rides on the Philly PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop.

The Philly PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop is the quick, convenient, and affordable way to access key destinations with 22 throughout Center City and beyond. Its route travels in a continuous loop from the Delaware Waterfront to Fairmount Park, providing service to each stop every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

The Philly PHLASH Downtown Bus Loop is the perfect way for students to get to and from CollegeFest’s participating museums and cultural venues, which include Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Stop 17), African American Museum in Philadelphia (Stop 3), Eastern State Penitentiary (Stop 9), Franklin Institute (Stop 16), Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, National Constitution Center (Stop 3), National Museum of American Jewish History (Stop 3), Philadelphia History Museum (Stops 3 and 21), Philadelphia Museum of Art (Stop 11 and 15) and Rodin Museum (Stop 8). For a PHLASH route map and more details, visit www.phillyPHLASH.com. Students can find PHLASH on-the-go with live updates by visiting www.RidePhillyPHLASH.com.

 

Did You Know? || Philly History 101

Written by: Campus Philly Editorial Interns, Ashley Cappetta & Brenna Fallows


  1. Did you know that our Stars & Stripes were designed by Betsy Ross? The Betsy Ross House  is still standing today, where visitors can take in the sights and sounds of the American flag’s birthplace.  239 Arch Street. 10am-5pm.

     

  1. Did you know Elfreth’s Alley is the United States’ oldest residential neighborhood? Today, the museum and alley tours offer a glimpse into the lives of everyday colonial Americans. Spend an afternoon strolling along the thirty-two houses, built between 1728 and 1836, or take a guided tour for just $5. Museum: 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley. Fri-Sun 12pm-5pm.

     

  1. Did you know that the crack in the Liberty Bell is a heavily debated subject among historians? One theory is that the Bell was first cracked in 1752 upon its arrival in Philadelphia! 526 Market Street. 9am-8pm.

     

  1. Independence Hall is most notably the “birthplace” of the United States. Did you know that within its walls both the Declaration of Independence was adopted and the Constitution of the United States was signed? 520 Chestnut Street. 9am-8pm.

     

  1. Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was a writer, inventor, printer, scientist, and diplomat? Learn more about this important Philadelphian and his life here at the Benjamin Franklin Museumpart of the National Parks Service.  317 Chestnut Street. 9am-5pm.

     

  1. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence during the Second Continental Congress in 1776? The Declaration House housed Jefferson for the three weeks it took him to write the document. 599 S. 7th Street. 12pm-5pm.

     

  1. With more than 14.5 acres of floor space, City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States. Did you know that construction took more than three decades to complete? In fact, City Hall is the tallest masonry structure in the world! 1401 JFK Blvd. 9am-5pm.

     

  1. One of the most influential documents in the world, and the supreme law of the United States, is only four pages long. Celebrate the U.S. Constitution, authored by the Philadelphia Convention, and the Constitution Center. Life-size bronze statues of the men who debated and signed this document populate its Signers’ Hall. 525 Arch Street. 9:30am-5pm.

     

  1. America’s first Fourth of July celebration was held at City Tavern  in 1777.  Over the years, famous visitors to the tavern have included Paul Revere, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. Today, the restaurant preserves a colonial tavern feel with an authentic menu and costumed staff. 138 S. Second Street.

     

  1. The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4th, 1777! Did you know that we celebrate with fireworks because John Adams wanted us to? In fact, he envisioned fireworks as part of the celebration in a letter to Abigail Adams on July 3rd, 1776!Be sure to check out our Fourth of July itinerary and patriotic perks!