The jolliest neighborhoods around

South Philly goes all out for the holidays. Credit: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
South Philly goes all out for the holidays.
Credit: J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Wreaths and twinkling white lights are all well and good, but we’ll admit we love to see a giant inflatable reindeer or Santa take over a rooftop — or even a 6-foot-tall Big Bird cutout, as this writer’s neighbor confusingly put up one year. Whether you like it classy or over-the-top, check out these top spots for holiday decor.

South Philly
Head here for blinged out stoops and windows, especially on 13th Street between Morris and Tasker and around 9th and Wharton. A little farther south in Lower Moyamensing, the neighborhood association challenged residents and business owners to “deck the windows” — and we all know no one does Christmas decorating like a South Philly homeowner.

Chestnut Hill
Quaint Chestnut Hill keeps it classic with lights, garlands and carolers. Go during the day, when the boutiques along Germantown Avenue are open, and you can bang out some of your last-minute Christmas shopping, too.

Rittenhouse
This upscale neighborhood is heavy on high-rise doorman buildings and ritzy stores, meaning most of the decorations you’ll see have that generic, vaguely corporate feel. But stroll through Rittenhouse Square itself — or heat up with a hot toddy at one of the restaurants lining it — and just try not to feel warm and cozy gazing at that tall tree strung with white lights.

Headhouse Square
South Street Headhouse District leapt snowboots first in the holiday spirit this year with its Winter Wonderland decorating competition. Go on a Saturday, when you can park for free after 11 a.m., and wander around checking out the elaborately done up windows.

Downtown Lancaster
Who knew Lancaster even had a happening downtown? Venture into Amish country for horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa and festive music, amid elegant lights and decorations. While you’re there, swing by the Central Market, the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers market.


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