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Christmas in Philadelphia

Updated on November 18, 2014

Visiting Philadelphia at Christmas!

Visiting Philadelphia area around the Christmas holidays? Check out some incredible activities while you are there! Fun filled parades, Christmas and holiday displays, sports games, musical and theatrical entertainment, fireworks, shopping, and all kinds of extra excitement!

Read about enjoyable Christmas season activities ~ some of which I have done with family and friends, and others that are on my wishlist to do!


Philadelphia Photo from Wikipedia

Thanksgiving Parade!

Start the holidays

at this historic parade!

Miss Piggy
Miss Piggy

Thanksgiving Day!

"The oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the country!"

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade was the first Thanksgiving parade annually and continually held in the United States. It gets bigger and better each year from it's start in 1920 with a variety of marching bands, singers, dancers, floats, balloons, and famous guests.

The main route runs along Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City, Philadelphia from approximately 8:30 - 12:00 a.m.

Seasonal Activities!

Longwood Gardens Fountains
Longwood Gardens Fountains

Longwood Gardens Christmas Display

Where can you find thousands of holiday poinsettias, holly plants, decorated trees, wreaths and swags, and tons of other botanical wonders? Longwood Gardens in nearby Kennett Square features their famous Christmas display November - January!

Holiday concerts, ice skating shows, and special events dazzle in the indoor conservatory decorated for Christmas while their 500,000 outdoor lights shine extra bright throughout the numerous gardens and fountains.

A Longwood Gardens Christmas: Christmas Classics on Organ
A Longwood Gardens Christmas: Christmas Classics on Organ
Numerous concerts are held in the amazing Longwood Gardens yearlong. All the senses come alive seeing the beauty of nature, smelling the fragrant flowers, and hearing many varieties of well performed music! ~ This recording is just one sample of what you might find to enjoy!
Ghost of Christmas Present
Ghost of Christmas Present

Charles Dickens ~ A Christmas Carol

 The Walnut Street Theatre will be presenting the Charles Dickens classic story, A Christmas Carol in December.

Or, take a step back in history with a stroll through Dickens' Village at Macy's on Market Street where the story "comes to life with more than 100 fully animated figures reenacting 26 of the story's most memorable moments". The display will be active from the end of November - December 24.

Another treat at Macy's ~ enjoy seasonal concerts on the famous "Wanamaker Grand Organ" while watching the Holiday Light Show of over 100,000 LED lights from November - December 31!

Outdoor Ice Skating!

Imagine gracefully gliding over the ice with friends and family outside by the pretty waterfront along the Delaware River. Holding hands, giggling, and taking in the fresh crisp air of winter is so refreshing at the River Rink at Penn's Landing. Special events happen all through the seasons, but you don't want to miss skating during the New Year's Eve Parties! All the festivities plus a fantastic view of the New Year's Fireworks while you are enjoying a little recreation!

While you are in Penn's Landing, look for the variety of museums, activities, and events in the area such as: Military and pleasure boat museums, boat rides, ferry rides to the Camden aquarium, Seaport Museum, the boardwalk, and 'Old City' (historic) Philadelphia within walking area.

Christmas Arts!

Performing Arts

Watch two holiday favorite performances!

What is the holiday season without seeing the classic ballet, The Nutcracker? Enjoy this annual event with the Pennsylvania Ballet in December at the Academy of Music.

Enjoy excellent theater productions at the Walnut Street Theatre yearlong!

Visit the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Broad Street ~ "The Avenue of the Arts" ~ for information about all of the performing arts programs. With all these wonderful groups and popular visiting artists, there is always something incredible happening at one of the Kimmel Center's theatres and stages! If for nothing else, go to the Kimmel's beautiful roof top garden for a breathtaking view of the city!

White Christmas (Anniversary Edition)
White Christmas (Anniversary Edition)
DVD Features: - Backstage Stories from White Christmas - Rosemary's Old Kentucky Home - Bing Crosby: Christmas Crooner - Danny Kaye: Joy to the World - Irving Berlin's White Christmas - White Christmas: From Page to Stage - Commentary by Rosemary Clooney - White Christmas A Look Back with Rosemary Clooney - Original Theatrical Trailer - Theatrical Re-Release Trailer
Cut & Assemble a Nutcracker Ballet Toy Theater: A Complete Production in Full Color (Models & Toys)
Cut & Assemble a Nutcracker Ballet Toy Theater: A Complete Production in Full Color (Models & Toys)
Now you have a chance to make a small theater with 6 different backdrops and many characters!

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

If you prefer paintings, sculptures, and cultural displays, the Philadelphia Museum of Art houses all those things and more! You may want to consider visiting its permanent and seasonal displays over the holidays!

Philly Sports!

Lincoln Financial Field
Lincoln Financial Field

Holiday Sports Games

Sports fans in Philly love to watch their teams all year! If you are visiting in the late fall and winter holidays, enjoy an Eagles Football, Flyers Hockey, or Sixers Basketball game! Check out the Philadelphia sports teams at Philly Sports Line or Philadelphia Sports.

Holiday Shopping

Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

One of many cool places to shop for the holidays!

The Reading Terminal Market is a place you do not want to miss! Known as the "Best, Freshest, and Liveliest Public Market Since 1893", this historic marketplace has incredible merchants selling baked goods, beverages, dairy products, farm produce, plants and flowers, gifts for the home, books, arts and crafts, meats, seafood, restaurants, and unique foods served in Philly and Pennsylvania Dutch styles! The market was shown in the movie "National Treasure" as well as movies and publications. You will also enjoy viewing the Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad ~ "Twelve working train lines rumble through this exciting model railroad display that features miniature scenery including Center City Philadelphia, a Christmas village, a Lincoln Log town, and snow-covered countryside."

Christmas Village at Dilworth Plaza (near City Hall) has a special outdoor shopping market from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve selling specialty gifts, tasty treats, and artisan crafts! Beautifully decorated everywhere with lights, the official Philadelphia Christmas tree, and a Santa station, the Christmas Village makes a wonderful place for performances of local musicians and groups.

A list of Philadelphia's Best Shopping Locations consists of hot shopping places in Chestnut Hill, Manayunk, Old City, Rittenhouse Square, and South Street.

Christmas Day!

Washington Crossing the Delaware
Washington Crossing the Delaware

Washington Crossing the Delaware

Christmas Reenactment!

What a cool historic event to attend ~

um, make that cold event!! (Bundle up!)

Relive this important turning point of the Revolutionary War on Christmas morning at

Washington's Crossing Historic Park!

Costumed actors help you feel like you were at the original event!

Jesus Christ's Birth


the true meaning

of Christmas ~

The Birth of Jesus

who came to become

our Lord and Savior

for anyone who believes!

Christ Church 1876
Christ Church 1876

Places of Worship

USA Church helps you to search for Christian churches by entering your preference of denomination, church name, area, distance, attendance, and specific ministry. This is a great way for you to find a place of worship for Sunday mornings and Christmas eve and day services.

You may want to worship at Christ Church of Philadelphia. The historic church and it's congregation were founded in 1695 as the first Church of England in Pennsylvania and the "birthplace" of the Episcopal church in America. Christ Church was the place of worship for many of America's founding leaders and famous persons throughout the centuries.

Visitors have come from around the country to explore the cemetary grounds where Benjamin Franklin and others are buried. Others have come to study geological records and historic artifacts that have been preserved. Tours of the church and cemetary are given daily for very little cost.

New Year's Eve Celebrations!

Spirit of Philadelphia
Spirit of Philadelphia

Spirit of Philadelphia Cruise!

Depart from gorgeous Penn's Landing for an exquisite dinner cruise on the "Spirit of Philadelphia". Join one of their everyday cruises or special parties for the season ~ especially New Year's Eve!


New Year's Eve Fireworks Display

Two New Year's Eve Fireworks Displays will be shown at 6:00 and12:00 in Philadelphia along the Delaware River at Penn's Landing area of the city.

Many locations within view of the fireworks will be having special parties and events throughout the evening. Some of them require advance reservations, while others are open to the public.

I have never been able to see this live, but have watched it multiple years on television where it appears to be absolutely beautiful!

New Year's Day!

Aqua String Band
Aqua String Band

The Mummers Parade on New Year's Day!

Something you won't forget!

Start out your new year with the

Philadelphia Mummers Parade!

The what parade? The Mummers! Mummers are lively entertainers who wear the most elaborate costumes imaginable decorated with bright, bold sequens and feathers. Since the late 1600's, Mummer groups have been ushering in the new year in Philly! The city has officially supported the parade since 1901 offering contests and prizes for the best costumes, music, and overall shows. The Mummers organization has changed and grown over the years, but the excitement and pagentry has always been there! This all day event starts early morning with the "Comics" Division of Mummers, followed by the Fancy Division, Fancy Brigades, and my favorite, the String Bands!!

These Mummer String Bands consist of an original Philly sound mix of mostly banjos and saxophones. Yes, you read that right, banjos and saxophones! Viewers enjoy lively music, dancing, and entertainment along the route, with the finale being in front of City Hall where the bands perform themed shows including large elaborate scenery, toe tapping music, fancy dancing drills, and fun stories acted out. The best part is anticipating what surprise the group will spring out at the audience, and watching the captains of the brigades who seem to have tireless energy!

If you are not in Philly on New Year's, you may still enjoy the unique sound. The bands frequently perform at other area parades and events throughout the year, or you may visit the Mummer's Fest during the week between Christmas and New Year's, or may enjoy the Mummers Museum anytime of the year! So, enjoy this Philadelphia tradition by putting on your "Golden Slippers" and doing the "Mummer's Strut" down Broad Street on New Year's Day!!

Around Philly!

Traveling the City of Brotherly Love!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

get directions

Philadelphia Travel Guides - Cool stuff to do and how to do it!

Philadelphia Travel Gifts - For you or someone you know who will be travelling!

Philadelphia Travel Gift
Philadelphia Travel Gift
"Gift Basket Contents Philadelphia Pop-Out Map - This versatile and colorful pocket map unfolds to display two large maps highlighting all of the major tourist attractions and transit options. A great gift for people new to a city - or people who want a nice keepsake of a favorite city. (laminated heavy stock paper; folded dimensions = 3.5 x 5; opens to two detailed 8 x 10 maps). ~ Philadelphia Tin of Mints - Refreshing candy packaged in a colorful souvenir Philadelphia Themed tin. ~ Philadelphia Pen - Featuring a colorful image of a famous Philadelphia attraction. ~ Gift Card - Personalized with your gift message. Gift Box - All items securely packaged with decorative sizzle paper in gift box. The Box measures 6" wide x 6" deep x 4" high and is tied with a stretch loop bow." ~ Amazon

What are your favorite places to visit in Philadelphia?

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    • boutiqueshops profile image


      6 years ago from Corpus Christi, Texas

      I'd love to see Philadelphia and all the wonderful places you showed us here. I'm a HUGE history nerd and I could spend days just going through each historical site. Congratulations to Philadelphia for being a city that the Pope will visit next year.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @greatgifts4u: Yes, it certainly is!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @favored: Many wonderful places to visit in Philadelphia!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The Longwood Gardens display is fabulous and well worth taking the time to see!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      8 years ago from USA

      This makes me miss home, the parade and Longwood Gardens. There is nothing like it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens! I loved it. This sounds like fun! (Great photos, too!)

    • Scotties-Rock profile image


      8 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Nice lens! Thanks for paying such a nice tribute to our City of Brotherly Love. We love all the glorious restaurants, Rittenhouse Square and Manyunck. To name a few... Next year my daughter will be attending College in the City, so I will be meeting her for lunch weekly. (30 minute drive)

    • jadehorseshoe profile image


      8 years ago

      A Joyful Lens! Thanks!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      @jimmyworldstar: Sounds like a fun plan! =D

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I love historical re-enactments so watching Washington cross the river would be perfect for me. I'd take my kids ice skating and get Philly cheesesteaks afterwards!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm a Philly girl born and raised! I live in the subs now but have family and visit often. My favorite places in the city are the Ben Franklin Parkway (Art Museum - Franklin Institute - and the gorgeous Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul where all my sisters and I had our H.S. graduation Baccalaureate Masses), Penn's Landing (Delaware Riverfront), Elfreth's Alley and Society Hill area, the East and West River Drives along the Schuylkill River and so, so many more places! Philly has taken on a bad reputation as a crime ridden city but that is in some of the bad neighborhoods of the inner city areas - the Center City area is world class and has much to offer visitors so please don't pass it up on your places to visit list! (I feel like a tourism commercial but I love my city!) Don't forget the historic district with the Liberty Bell and new Convention Center - take a horse carriage ride - it's a fun way to see the city!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      10 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Looks like lots of great activities during the holidays! Very nice lens.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've never been to Philadelphia. I'll get there one day.

    • profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      10 years ago

      Angel Blessings and Happy New Year!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      Another winner Pamela! I had no idea the Philadelphia is home to the Thanksgiving parade. (when I was a kid I just turned on the TV and there it was. ) Blessed by an angel.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great lens with loads of information! Well done!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      10 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      This would be a nice place to visit. So much information and well done.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      So much history in Philadelphia. I have never been there but would love to go someday. You have described it very well and I enjoyed reading your lens.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image


      11 years ago

      What a great lens! Great ideas Pamela!

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 

      11 years ago

      We live near Philly for many years. Loved all the stuff to do in the City. Great lens.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Do you know, I don't believe I have ever been to Philadelphia, but there surely are lots of wonderful things to do there. My grandmother's family was from the Allegheny/Pittsburgh area before settling in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Lovely lens my dear.

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 

      11 years ago from Quezon City

      I've only been to Philadelphia once, it was a day trip that ended at the boardwalk in Atlantic City. Would love to see more sights the next time I find myself in the place. Thanks for the suggestions (:

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      11 years ago

      Sounds like a lot of fun. I'd really love to see the"mummers". Wonder where that name came from? Fascinating lens.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      11 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I have never been to Philadelphia but would love to go sometime and see all the great sights that you mention here on this wonderful lens.


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