As Philadelphians, we wear our contradictions with pride. We’re the City of Brotherly Love, but we’re also some of the most hated (or feared, as we prefer) sports fans in the U.S. And while our paradoxes don’t stop at the holidays – we are the city who booed Santa Claus (Look, we had reason: The Eagles were 2-11 that season.) – Philadelphia loves the holidays.
No, really. Our city loves this season. Just look around the city, and you’ll see entire row-house rows outfitted in beautiful lights. You’ll see candles in the windows. Santas sprinkle the city (and usually, they don’t get booed or snowballed). And Philadelphia’s Christmas events, attractions and things to do – they’re absolutely abundant. And completely magical.
Here’s a rundown of our favorite Philadelphia holiday events for 2015:
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (November 27-March 6)
While not strictly holiday, there are few things that mark the Philadelphia holiday season more than a winterized Penn’s Landing. The Delaware riverfront location is always picturesque, but add in some decorated trees, holiday lights, and cozy fire pits, and this city favorite screams holiday cheer. Rent some skates (or bring your own), warm up in the heated tent, down some hot cocoa, and then head out onto the frozen surface to make some winter memories.
Macy’s Christmas Lights Show (November 27-December 31)
Longtime Philadelphians remember this as the Wanamaker light show, and today Macy’s carries on the beloved tradition. Since 1956, Philadelphians have made the pilgrimage to watch the Christmas Light Show: 100,000 LED lights that depict seasonal scenes to the tunes of the Wanamaker Organ and Julie Andrews’ melodic narration.
Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle (November 12-December 31)
Leave it to a park named after Ben Franklin, to create one of the best, most beloved light shows of the season: the annual Electrical Spectacle. The spectacular display runs everyday, every 30 minutes from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is a true and enduring delight for the city’s kids (and their parents).
The Christmas Village (November 21-December 27)
If you associate the holidays with old-fashioned coziness, get thee over to Philadelphia’s own Christmas Village, housed at Love Park. The German-themed, open-air market pays homage to our state’s roots while offering up awesome and one-of-a-kind gifts from 60+ vendors at 90+ wooden booths.
The Holiday Railroad at Reading Terminal Market (November 27-December 31)
If you find yourself in Center City with a train lover, head on over the Reading Terminal Market. Located right by the piano court is a 500 square-foot holiday railroad, complete with 14 working train lines and plenty of holiday cheer.
Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Celebration (December 4-31)
While technically not in Philly, the Adventure Aquarium is an honorable member of our fine city, which means we can include it on our list of favorite holiday events. And that’s a good thing, since Santa goes swimming every year at Camden’s aquarium.
Christmas at Longwood Gardens (November 26-January 10)
If you’ve only visited Longwood during the warmer months, you’re in for a huge treat. Every year, the beautiful gardens are outfitted in a half-million twinkling lights, decking the halls (and trees) with jaw-dropping displays.
Happy holidays, Philly! Try not to throw snowballs at Santa this year.