This post covers the best things to do in Philadelphia in December and has been updated for 2023.
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 few 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:
- A Christmas Carol | Dec 2nd-3rd, 8th-10th, 13th, 15th-17th
- Philadelphia Ballet | Dec 10th, 13th-17th, 20th-22nd
- Beauty and the Beast Jr | Dec 10th, 13th-17th, 19th-22nd
- Disney On Ice - Magic in the Stars | Dec 24th, 26th-30th
- Cirque Dreams Holidaze | Dec 27th, 29th, 30th
2. RiverRink Winterfest
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.
- Dates: throughout December
- Open 7 Days per Week, Including Holidays
- General Admission Only: FREE
- Skating Admission: $5
- Skate Rental: $12
- 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!
There are also cabin and fire pit rentals available for 90 minute time slots with prices starting at $25.
Kids can enjoy The Kids Lodge with arcade games like air hockey and pinball.
3. See a Major Sporting Event
Spend an evening cheering on one of Philadelphia’s sports teams. December is a great time to catch NFL, NHL, and NBA games as well as a few collage teams.
You can find all the 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.
- Company | Dec 1st, 2nd, 6th
- Chris D’Elia | Dec 2nd
- Aqua | Dec 5th
- Eric D'Alessandro | Dec 8th, 9th
- Patti Labelle | Dec 9th
- Tina Fey & Amy Poehler | Dec 14th, 15th
- Karina Rykman | Dec 15th
- Reginald Mobley | Dec 17th
- The Weight Band | Dec 21st
- Samara Joy | Dec 22nd
- The Whispers | Dec 23rd
- Raymond The Amish Comic | Dec 26th
- Gogol Bordello | Dec 27th
- Nimesh Patel | Dec 28th
- Jimmy And The Parrots | Dec 28th
- Splintered Sunlight - Grateful Dead Tribute Band | Dec 29th
- Slambovian Circus of Dreams | Dec 30th
- Gianmarco | Dec 28th-30th
You can find all the concerts in the city here.
7. 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:
- Pat Mcgann | Dec 2nd
- Philly All-Pro Comedy Showcase | Dec 6th
- Eric Andre | Dec 7th
- The Starting Line | Dec 7th, 8th
- Pete Correale | Dec 9th
- Lewis Black | Dec 9th
- Tigers Jaw | Dec 10th
- Amy Poehler | Dec 14th, 16th
- Dan Soder | Dec 16th
- The Comedy Allstars | Dec 20th
- City Rhythm Orchestra | Dec 21st
- Really Funny Comedians | Dec 27th
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 2023!
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 10th, 2023 at 11:00 am-3:00pm
- Christmas Day Crossing: December 25, 2023 at noon - 3:00pm
- 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.
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 110 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 18th - December 24th, 2023.
Look out for special events and performances within the village as well.
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.
NOTE: the 2023 dates have yet to be announced.