This post covers the best things to do in Philadelphia in December and has been updated for 2021.
It includes our top ten list with evening activities, free things to do, and family-friendly entertainment and events in the city.
TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN PHILADELPHIA IN DECEMBER
This section highlights our top ten things to do in December in Philadelphia.
For even more ideas on popular tourist activities, be sure to check out our popular posts:
Some of the attractions below are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
(1) Enjoy the Theatre
There are a multitude of theatrical productions running in Philadelphia this December! You can find all of them here.
Looking for something to get you in the holiday spirit?
There are several plays, musicals, and other Christmas-themed shows happening in Philly:
- The Little Mermaid | Dec 1st - 31st
- A Charlie Brown Christmas Live | Dec 8th
- The Elf on the Shelf | Dec 22nd
- Cirque Dreams Holidaze | Dec 15th
(2) Visit the Christmas Village at Love Park
Taking cues from the beloved Christmas markets in Germany, the Christmas Village at Love Park will offer over 80 vendors set up in wooden booths offering handmade holiday gifts and arts and crafts.
You’ll also be able to fill up on European food and drinks.
The market is free to enter and open from November 26th - December 24th, 2021.
Look out for special events and performances within the village as well.
(3) See a Major Sporting Event
Spend an evening cheering on one of Philadelphia’s pro sports teams. December is a great time to catch NFL, NHL, and NBA games.
You can find all the professional sporting events in Philadelphia here.
(4) Take a Sightseeing Tour
Learn about one of the most historic cities in the nation with a variety of pay-what-you-want walking tours!
We offer something for everyone, whether it be exploring Independence Mall, eating your way through Chinatown, or enjoying the holiday decorations and lights.
Check out our tour calendar and reserve your spot on tour today!
If you're looking for something a bit different, bus tours through Philly are a popular option as well as a bit warmer than walking through wintry streets.
(5) See a Concert
Philadelphia is home to multiple great music and event venues. This means there are several great artists and bands in town this December.
- Genesis | Dec 2nd, 3rd
- Streetlight Manifesto | Dec 4th
- Marshall Tucker Band | Dec 4th
- Silverstein | Dec 7th
- 100 Gecs | Dec 7th, 8th
- America | Dec 9th
- Ween | Dec 10th, 11th
- Evanescence w/ Halestorm | Dec 17th
- Shakey Graves | Dec 18th
- San Holo | Dec 19th
You can find all the concerts in the city here.
(6) See a Stand-Up Comedy Performance
There are a lot of great comedians scheduled to perform in or near Philadelphia this month, including several famous comics.
If you're in need of a good laugh, consider going to one of the following shows:
- Jim Jefferies | Dec 3rd
- Howie Mandel | Dec 4th
- Steve O | Dec 5th
- Kathleen Madigan | Dec 12th
- Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood | Dec 19th
- Bert Kreischer | Dec 31st
For even more opportunities, check this list of stand-up comedy shows in Philadelphia during December.
(7) Celebrate New Year’s Eve
The city of Brotherly Love will ring in the New Year twice with fireworks along the Delaware River waterfront.
Enjoy an earlier celebration at 6:00 pm or stay until midnight and say hello to 2022!
The fireworks are free to watch; expect large crowds. If you want to get a good spot you should arrive a few hours early.
(8) Enjoy a Major Museum or Attraction
December is the perfect time to visit Philadelphia’s popular museums and attractions with fewer crowds.
Explore the war that led to American independence at the Museum of the American Revolution.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers works by artists from Europe, the United States, Latin America, and Asia. You can warm up by running up the steps of the museum like Rocky Balboa.
Head to One Liberty Observation Deck and see the twinkling city lights come alive as the sun goes down!
The observation deck offers incredible 360-degree views from the 57th floor.
Just minutes from downtown Philly in Camden, NJ, the Adventure Aquarium is an excellent location to spend an afternoon for anyone who loves marine life.
TIP: Most of these attractions are included at a discount with at least one Philadelphia tourist pass.
(9) See Washington Cross the Delaware River
Join thousands of others along the banks of the Delaware to watch this annual historical reenactment of George Washington’s famous Christmas day crossing of the Delaware River.
Additionally, stick around for other activities and demonstrations in the historic village.
The Christmas day crossing happens at 1:00 pm and is free to attend.
- First Crossing: December 12th, 2021 at 1:00 pm
- Christmas Day Crossing: December 25, 2021 at 1:00 pm
- More information.
(10) Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
Visitors who want to maximize their time and money in Philly should think about getting a Philadelphia tourist pass.
These services provide heavy discounts at some of the most popular attractions in the city when you buy the pass upfront.
Here are a few of the sites you can visit with various discount passes:
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
- National Liberty Museum
- National Constitution Center
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Franklin Institute Science Museum
- Academy of Natural Science
- Museum of the American Revolution
Find out more about Philadelphia discount passes in our full post here.
For the entire month of December, people of all ages can have fun ice skating (along with other activities!) at RiverRink Winterfest!
It is located adjacent to the Delaware River.
- Open 7 Days per Week, Including Holidays
- General Admission Only: FREE
- Skating Admission: $4
- Skate Rental: $10
- Group Discounts Available
Additionally, skaters can warm up in the rink’s lodge with a cup of hot chocolate and some food after their time on the ice!
Kids can enjoy The Kids Lodge with arcade games like air hockey and pinball.
NOTE: We can confirm that this event will be happening in 2021, and you can expect the festivities to begin on November 26th.
Franklin Square Holiday Festival - through December 31
Enjoy an incredible array of holiday lights and much more on evenings in Franklin Square!
Visitors can enjoy fire pits, winter beer gardens, mini-golf, and a carousel among thousands of twinkling lights.
The holiday festival is free to enter and open to all ages.