12 days of Christmas in Philly (and beyond)

Not in the Christmas spirit yet? This list of fun holiday activities might help.
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest has something for everyone in the family this holiday season. | J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest has something for everyone in the family this holiday season. J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

Christmas is nearly here, and if you’re not feeling the Christmas cheer just yet, maybe you just need to get out there and do some fun holiday activities. From ice skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest to seeing “The Nutcracker” to simply taking a stroll around Christmas Village in LOVE Park, there’s something to get into the holiday spirit no matter what your style or budget.

 

Ice Skating at BlueCross RiverRink Winterfest
Columbus Blvd. at Market St.
riverrink.com

Year five is better than ever! Aside from ice-skating to the beat of pop music, you can also warm up by the fire pits, try your hand at different arcade games, enjoy sweet treats from Franklin Fountain’s Confectionary Cabin in addition to savory eats from Garces and Chickie & Pete’s.

 

George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”
Through Dec. 31
Academy of Music
Broad & Locust Streets
paballet.org

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Performed by the PA Ballet, “The Nutcracker” returns to the Academy of Music to tell the tale of Clare and her journey to the land of sweets. With exquisite dancing, snowflakes, giant Christmas trees and magical music, it’s impossible to not feel the holiday spirit seeing this.

 

A Philly POPS Christmas
Through Dec. 19
Broad & Spruce Streets
phillypops.org

Energetic conductor Michael Krajewski leads the Philly POPS in their annual holiday concert. This year features vocalist Justin Hopkins, The Philadelphia Boys Choir, The Philly POPS Festival Chorus and the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir. There will even be a musical performance of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” to add even more fun to the affair.

 

Miracle on 13th St.
Through Jan. 1
1600 S. 13th Street
facebook.com/themiracleonsouth13thstreet


Want to warm the heart with community spirit? Check out the Christmas lights on th 1600 block of S. 13th Street in South Philadelphia, aka Miracle on 13th Street. Taking a stroll on any given night through Jan. 1 doesn’t cost a thing and is sure to provide plenty of holiday cheer to any Instagram feed.

Deck the Hall Light Show
Through Jan. 1
15th & Market Streets
dilworthpark.org

You could spend hours walking around Dilworth Park for your holiday fix with ice skating, their stunning Christmas tree and more.  But if you don’t do anything else, be sure to check out the Deck the Hall Light Show through Jan. 1, which takes place every half hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. through 8: 30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, with more shows Fridays through Sundays.

Christmas Village
Through Dec. 24
LOVE Park
15th Street & John F. Kennedy Blvd.
philachristmas.com 

Is there anything that says Christmas more than a German-style Christmas market? You don’t need to travel to Germany to experience one with Philly’s very own Christmas Village, now in its 10th year. Over 80 wooden booths feature vendors selling everything from food to ornaments to fashion accessories and so much more.

Historic Holiday Nights
Thursdays through Dec. 28
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
oldcitydistrict.org

Your Thursday nights just got a lot more fun thanks to Historic Holiday Nights in Old City. Enjoy $5 food and drink specials at select restaurants in addition to holiday deals at area retailers and museums.

Macy’s Christmas Light Show
Through Dec. 31
1300 Market Street
wanamakerorgan.com

Since 1956, the Grand Court in the Wanamaker Building has hosted a Christmas Light Show. It features 100,000 lights and narration by Julie Andrews with accompaniment by the Wanamaker Organ. Free performances take place every two hours. Experience it for yourself this year.

Linvilla Orchards
137 W. Knowlton Road, Media
linvilla.com

Feeling inspired by Clark Griswold this year and want to cut down your own tree — just not completely in the middle of nowhere? Head out to Linvilla Orchards in Delco where 40,000 trees have been available since the start of the season. What’s more, Santa will be there every December weekend until Christmas.

The Electric Spectacle Holiday Light Show
Through Dec. 31
Franklin Square
6th & Race Streets
historicphiladelphia.org

You have until the end of December to take in the beauty of the Franklin Square Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. The park twinkles with 50,000 lights set to music. Free shows happen every 30 minutes between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weeknights and 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

A Longwood Christmas
Through Jan. 7
1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square
longwoodgardens.org

Want to light up your Christmas even more? Check out “A Longwood Christmas” at Longwood Gardens, which features 500,000 lights and 50 trimmed trees. Inspired by the gardens of Versailles, the experience is downright enchanting, complete with fountains, holiday performances, wreaths and so much more.

Tippler’s Tour: Yuletide Cheers & Beers
Thursdays through Dec. 28
6th & Market Streets
historicphiladelphia.org

This holiday activity is definitely for the 21+ crowd. Take a tour of Historic Philadelphia led by a British soldier from 1777, who recounts the time the British spent occupying Philadelphia. You’ll pay a visit to four different pubs in two hours. Winter beers and snacks are included in the tour.

Holiday Garden Railway
Through Dec. 31
100 E. Northwestern Ave.
morrisarboretum.org

It’s just not the holidays without seeing cool model trains. Morris Arboretum’s Holiday Garden Railway features a quarter-mile of model-train track, seven loops and tunnels, 15 rail lines and model trains that rush past replicas of Philly landmarks. What more could a train lover ask for?

 
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