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Holiday Celebrations in Philadelphia

Updated: July 21, 2023
 By Jenn H

The Holidays have come to Philadelphia and the City of Brotherly Love is ready and eager to embrace the Christmas spirit! 

If you are visiting Philadelphia in December you have so many options for Holiday cheer, but we’ve put together a list of the best things on offer this year. 

Unless specified, all are kid friendly and most are free!

Let’s start with the Christmas lights. Every year Philadelphia outdoes itself with Christmas lights all over the city, from the Electrical Spectacle in Franklin Square, inspired by Ben Franklin, to the Rittenhouse Christmas tree to Boathouse Row

The official Christmas tree is at Love Park.

Also at Love Park is Philadelphia’s Christmas Village, a German style Christmas Village that has shops, carolers, apple cider and Lebkuchen, or German gingerbread. 

Admission is free and the Village is open from 11am every day for the month of December.

For the Granddaddy of all light shows, head to Macy’s in Center City. Every 2 hours starting at 10am, every day Macy’s lights up with more than 100,000 lights and a concert by the famous Wanamaker Organ. This is free and not to be missed!!

Macy’s in Center City
Macy’s Christmas Light Show by Jim, the Photographer, CC BY 2.0,

The brand new Comcast center also has a show called the Comcast Holiday Spectacular in its lobby on its state-of-the-art video screen, 7 days a week, every hour on the hour from 10am-8pm.

Head to Elfreths Alley for one of the most endearing and enduring holiday celebrations in the city. 

Elfreth's Alley
By Céline Harrand -, CC0,

Elfreth’s Alley is the oldest continually occupied street in the country the first Saturday every December, they open their doors for Deck the Alley

In addition to tours of the historic homes, you will see all sorts of Christmas decorations, seasonal refreshments, carolers and other merry-making.

Every Saturday in December Sister Cities Park in Center City has its Winterfest, which has different events each week but includes all kinds of Christmas cheer.

Reading Terminal Market
By Fletcher6 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Lastly, check out the Reading Terminal Market. A must-see any time of year, the Market sets up 500-square-foot model railroad in its center court for the holiday season. 

Grab some delicious holiday food at the market and enjoy this amazing train experience.

About The Author

Jenn H

Jenn is a born Jersey girl that grew up “across the Ben” but has Philly in her heart and history in her blood. She went to Washington & Jefferson College in the Pittsburgh area. Yes her college mascots were two guys in white wigs! Jenn came back to Philly to get her M.A. in Museum Studies. Happily worked at the city history museum but came outside for some fresh air as a tour guide. Jenn has been part of the FTBF team since March 2011.
Updated: July 21st, 2023
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