December 4th marks the lighting of the city’s magnificent holiday tree on the north side of City Hall. This events will be filled with entertainment and and kid-friendly activities.
The Franklin Square Holiday Festival ignites on November 14 kicking off the Historic District Holidays and Nights featuring tree lightings, menorah lightings, military and boat parades, celebrations and shopping, culminating with Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront, with shows at 6 p.m. and midnight.
Special holiday events and programs are planned in Philadelphia's Historic District for the next seven weeks to keep the holiday spirit alive. The historic district spans from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine Street to Lombard Street.
Businesses and area attractions in the historic district have joined forces to offer holiday discounts through the Historic Holiday Pass powered by PECO from November 14 – December 31, 2019.
Getting around the Historic District is even easier this holiday season aboard the Philly PHLASH®. The PHLASH provides daytime service, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to 20 stops located near must-see attractions every Friday to Sunday through November 24, and resumes daily service for the season November 29 through December 30. New for 2019: the PHLASH will offer a special evening service to seven stops near holiday attractions every Friday to Sunday, 6-10 p.m., from November 22 through December 29. Daytime PHLASH fares will be accepted on the evening service and cost only $5 for a One-Day Pass or $8 for a Two-Day Pass (online only); and a special evening rate will be available for purchase onboard vehicles after 6 p.m. for only $2 for an All-Night Pass. Visit PHLvisitorcenter.com/PHLASH for service details and updates.
Holidays in the Historic District of Philadelphia
Related: Philly Area Tree Lightings
Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO – It’s sparkle time at Franklin Square with free light shows every 30 minutes between 4 and 8 p.m. on weeknights and until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, November 14 to December 31. More than 80,000 lights dance to holiday favorites performed by the Philly POPS. Warm up by the fire pits in the winter beer garden and enjoy tasty snacks from Ben’s Sweets & Treats. Festivities include #FranklinSquareFridays, Santa Saturdays, and Seasonal Sounds on Sunday. The grand finale arrives during the Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown and Dance Party, a family-friendly celebration at 6 p.m. with a “Square Drop” and a view of the early fireworks over the Delaware.
Show your Historic Holiday Pass and get two tickets to Philly Mini Golf for the price of one.
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest – Celebrating 26 years, the Delaware River Waterfront’s popular seasonal attraction returns November 29. Glide across a regulation-size skating rink with a spectacular view of the river and take a break to enjoy a ski chalet-style lodge, an outdoor seating area with fire pits, cozy warming cabins, a kids’ lodge with arcade games and plenty more. Don’t miss the festive lighting of the majestic holiday tree at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, December 6.
Show your Historic Holiday Pass for a buy-one-get-one-free ice-skating ticket. See visitphilly.com for rules and restrictions.
Independence Visitor Center Corporation – The official visitor center of greater Philadelphia, located right in the heart of the Historic District, hosts special holiday programming, including Winter Storytelling and Holiday History Makers on November 29 and 30; and December 26 to 31; with extended hours 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., December 26 to 30.
Show your Historic Holiday Pass for 10% off a single item at the HERSHEY’S Kitchens Café and 10% off a single full-priced item at the Independence Gift Shop.
Betsy Ross House – The iconic courtyard hosts the Old City Holiday Tree and Community Menorah this holiday season, with festive celebrations. Enjoy holiday-themed performances and delicious sips and bites on Thursday, December from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for the lighting of the spectacular holiday tree designed by Old City’s Petit Jardin en Ville. On Sunday, December 22 at 4:30 p.m. the Old City Jewish Arts Center celebrates the first night of Chanukah, lighting the menorah amid festivities including games, crafts and traditional treats. The House also hosts Colonial Chocolate Making demonstrations on November 30 and on New Year’s Eve as part of the annual Betsy’s Birthday Bash, a family celebration of Betsy Ross’ January 1, 1752 birth.
Enjoy buy-one-get-one-free self-guided tours, plus 20% off all apparel items in the Museum Store with your Historic Holiday Pass.
Old City – Festivities kick off on Small Business Saturday, November 30, with the return of a charming new holiday tradition, Old City’s Window Decorating Contest. Wander the historic streets of Old City, and view the delightful displays designed by local shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, and more. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite design for a chance to win an Old City Prize Pack.
African American Museum in Philadelphia – Your destination to celebrate Kwanzaa. The celebration kicks off on December 26 with a traditional opening drum ceremony at 1:45 p.m. Learn about the traditions of Kwanzaa, participate in crafts-making activities and sing-a-longs, and be thrilled by stilt- walkers. The celebration continues December 27 to 29 when each gallery in the museum will feature a Kwanzaa activity that will connect to the Kwanzaa Principle of the day.
Show your Historic Holiday Pass for $2 off admission and 10% off gift store purchases.
Carpenters’ Hall – On Saturday, November 16 at 6 p.m., commemorate the founding of the First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary with a parade down Chestnut Street and a ceremony at Carpenters’ Hall honoring the Troop for its centuries of continuous service to the nation. carpentershall.org Present your Historic Holiday pass to receive a limited-edition notecard featuring an original watercolor of Carpenters’ Hall by local architect and Carpenters’ Company member Rachel Schade.
Elfreth’s Alley – The popular Deck the Alley event returns Saturday, December 7 from 3 to 7 p.m. Guests will enjoy the rare chance to peek inside homes on the nation’s oldest continually inhabited street as they are decked out in holiday finery.
Present your Historic Holiday Pass to receive a 10% discount in the Elfreth’s Alley Gift Shop.
Independence Seaport Museum – A riverfront holiday favorite returns at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 when the Parade of Lights sets sail, hosted by CBS3 anchor Jan Carabeo. The Museum will host activities during the afternoon leading up to the evening’s parade and offer the best vantage point for viewing. The Seaport Museum is also a great viewing spot for the 6 pm. Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront. Celebrate 2020 with noisemakers, party hats and a ginger ale toast from the best seat in town.
Show your Historic Holiday Pass to receive $2 off a combo ticket (includes admission to both National Historic Landmark ships and the Museum).
Museum of the American Revolution – The holiday season kicks off on Black Friday with Retail & Rebellion, a fun look at the surprising political and global history of shopping in Revolutionary America and continues through winter break when the museum looks at Ten Crucial Days in the winter of 1776 when George Washington brought the American army back from the brink. Enjoy costumed interpretation, craft demos, and more during these special events.
Show your Historic Holiday Pass for two-for-one tickets to History After Hours, 5-8 p.m. on November 19 and December 10. The History After Hours series features extended evening hours, themed programs, happy hour food and drink specials, games and trivia
National Constitution Center – Experience special Civil War-themed programming in conjunction with the new exhibit, Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality. Learn about the Founding Era and Civil War history though our lobby shows, make and take crafts, and other interactive programs during Winter Break Encampment December 26 – 31. Be sure to check out Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes that Shaped a Nation before the exhibit closes on December 31.
Show your Historic Holiday Pass to receive $2 off admission to all exhibits.
National Museum of American Jewish History – Don’t miss the blockbuster exhibit The Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg through January 12, 2020. Kick-off Hanukkah with a sensory friendly celebration 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, December 22 featuring modified versions of the museum’s core and special RBG exhibits. On Christmas Day, the museum returns its popular Being _____ at Christmas. Snowy. Jewish. Happy. Caring. Buddhist. Generous. Family. Creative. Friendly. Sparkly. Fill in your own blank and join the annual day of family fun.
Present your Historic Philadelphia Pass for 10% off gift shop purchases.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art will host its tree lighting event on November 27th, 5:00–7:00 p.m featuring music by Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Nine as well as the Sister Cities Girl choir. The pay what you wish after hours program (Wednesdays, December 4-18, 2019) You can also take advantage of live concerts highlighting music from classic holiday cartoons (Friday, November 29, 2019) and traditional holiday carols (Sunday, December 15, 2019).
Philadelphia Dilworth Park Holiday Village
Dilworth Park will be transformed into “Made in Philadelphia” holiday shopping wonderland for the fifth season from Saturday, November 23, 2019 to January 1, 2020. Over 50 artisans, designers, crafters and confectionaries from the greater Philadelphia region will offer decorations, gifts and holiday foods inside white, festively lit tents topped with original Herrnhut Stars.
Just feet away from the tents will be the dazzling holiday Christmas Village Philadelphia Carousel delighting children of all ages in the City Hall Courtyard. The Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market and the Christmas Village Carousel join Wintergarden and the Rothman Ice Rink as part of many holiday festivities surrounding Center City this season. The open-air pop-up market is curated by organizers of Christmas Village in Philadelphia, which will set up across the street in LOVE Park for its 12th season. Admission to the market is free, with Carousel rides $3.00 each. Visit www.madeinphila.com for more information.
The Deck the Hall Light Show is projected on the side of City Hall from November 25th – January 1, 2020.
Other Philadelphia Holiday Events
The Comcast Center’s annual super high-res LED holiday show combines the Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a magical sleigh ride over the city (with a bird’s-eye view of the new Comcast Technology Center) and a sing-along in 15 minutes of free fun. More than 2 million people have seen the show since its debut in 2008. The show runs daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (every hour on the hour except 5 p.m. on weekdays). New for 2019, the Comcast Technology Center hosts a holiday pop-up market in the concourse for visitors in search of the perfect gift.
Comcast Center, 1701 JFK Boulevard
The Grand Court in the National Historic Landmark Wanamaker Building now Macy's has hosted a Christmas Light Show since 1956. The department store continues the tradition of sugarplum fairies, dancing snowmen and more with a 100,000-light show narrated by Julie Andrews and accompanied by the famed Wanamaker Organ. Free performances take place every two hours during store hours. Between shows, visitors often tour the second floor’s vintage Dickens Village, where intricate animated dolls and sets retell A Christmas Carol — and each free walkthrough ends in a chance to meet and get photos with Santa.
Fashion District Philadelphia, celebrates its first holiday season with an inaugural light show. The retail and entertainment space boasts a 45-foot-tall floating tree with giant stainless steel mirror ornaments and a light show timed to music by the Philly POPS. The five-minute show runs every 30 minutes from 4 p.m. until closing, with a live Philly POPS performance kicking things off on Thursday, November 14, 2019.
Fashion District, 901 Market Street
The Philadelphia Zoo will be transformed into a nighttime multimedia light and music spectacle. Dancing lights and sounds throughout furnish illusions of animals (and trees!) coming to life. A flock of plastic flamingos forms a 25-foot-tall tree, an enormous polar bear display broadcasts the magnificence of our planet and all four seasons host their very own party. Seasonal fare, live performers, hot chocolate and ever-warming adult beverages promise to spark the holiday spirit.
Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Avenue
The Met Philadelphia will entertain crowds all winter long with special holiday concerts featuring the Philly POPS and some fabulous special guests. Other highlights include the annual Spectacular Sounds of the Season shows (December 6-21, 2019, select dates) and a reprise of last year’s successful show Christmas in the City (Friday, December 20, 2019).
Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad Street
The Pennsylvania Ballet returns to the grand Academy of Music for an elegant (yet kid-friendly) Philadelphia dance tradition. Tchaikovsky’s iconic score pairs with lavish sets and costumes as well as enchanting performances by the dancers, members of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra.
Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad
The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) presents Xmas Philes which mixes contemporary movements choreographed by Daniel Ezralow with popular Christmas music, making it a must-see this holiday season.
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street
The Kimmel Center is host to several events including A Soulful Christmas, led by artistic and musical director Dr. Donal Dumpson on December 10th is an inspiring gathering of regional church and community choirs.
Tuba Christmas on December 15th, with two shows- 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Come experience over 100 regional tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium musicians coming together to put on a show for all ages, covering recognizable and cherished holiday classics. 2019 marks the 46th anniversary for Tuba Christmas concerts and events, which are presented during the holiday season all over the world.
Silent Night Sing-In, a FREE event in the Kimmel Center’s Commonwealth Plaza on Monday, December 16, 2019. Singers and diverse ensembles from across the Greater Philadelphia region are invited to join together for the region’s largest “sing-in” of the holiday classics “Silent Night” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Philadelphia composer/conductor John Conahan will be onsite to lead singers in new arrangements of these beloved melodies that are easy to learn for any musical skill level.
A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage! celebrates the timeless television classic as the whole family joins Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the rest of the Peanuts characters in their journey to uncover the true meaning of Christmas on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21, 2019.
Cirque Dreams: Holidaze brings its latest electrifying and reimagined live family holiday spectacular to Philadelphia December 26 – 29, 2019. This critically-acclaimed extravaganza is both a Broadway musical and new Cirque adventure wrapped into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family!
Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
The Walnut Street Theatre presents Ebenezer Scrooge and his three ghosts in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (November 30 – December 22, 2019,
Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut Street
Make your holidays memorable with these fun events. Check back often as we will continue to update the list.