Spending the holiday in the City of Brotherly Love? Here are our picks for the best things to do.
'Tis the season to be jolly. It's also the season to enjoy all of the holiday cheer that surrounds the city of Philadelphia, from the holiday lights, storefronts lined with decorations, and seasonal celebrations that abound. Recently named the first World Heritage City in the United States, there are many historic sites that add to the festivities, and with many events happening throughout its streets, we've outlined a few that you can partake in with your family and loved ones.
Washington Crossing Reenactment
One fateful Christmas Day many moons ago, General George Washington dared to lead his troops across the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. Every December 25 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., hundreds of fans and history lovers visit the river to watch the reenactment of this infamous Christmas Day crossing.
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular
Inspired by music from The Nutcracker, witness dancers from the Philadelphia Ballet perform a magical 15-minute show streamed on screens inside the lobby of the Comcast Centre. The show features sleigh floats gliding over the surrounding countryside, and actors from the historic Walnut Street Theatre. For an added bonus, the seasonal soundtrack is presented by a 64-piece orchestra. It runs daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from now through January 3.
For those that want to take a deep dive into the city's history, head to the oldest continuously inhabited residential block in the nation, Elfreth's Alley. While you're there, be sure to enjoy the period-themed holiday decorations.
WinterFest on the Delaware River
Nothing says Christmas time like ice skating, a fire pit, and hot drinks. WinterFest is an annual hit, and the perfect way to spend the afternoon. This year's edition features a 360-viewing deck surrounding the rink, more food and drink vendors, and a winter beer garden.
The Liberty Bell
One of the top tourist destinations in the city (and even the country), a trip to the Liberty Bell for a scenic winter photo op is a must. Though you won't be able to go inside on Christmas, you can still get an amazing view of the Bell from Chestnut Street and from the Independence National Mall.
National Museum of American Jewish History
Though dedicated exclusively to exploring and interpreting the American Jewish experience, the National Museum of American Jewish History gets in the spirit with their annual, "Being [ ] at Christmas." A fun-for-the-whole-family event, they'll host games and activities all ages, including crafts and dancing, as well as music and other activities, celebrating the holidays for all faiths.
German-Style Christmas Village
If you're looking to do some last-minute shopping, head to the city's German-style Christmas Village. Now a city tradition, you can hunt for glass ornaments, music boxes, nutcrackers, and more, while enjoying the light sounds of Christmas music and the smell of pine trees. To keep you warm and your belly full, vendors also provide hot mulled wine, gingerbread, and bratwursts. The village runs through December 27th.
Who said hayrides are just for the fall? Running on December 5, 12, and 19, Linvilla Orchards offers the chance to enjoy an evening with your friends roasting marshmallows, singing Christmas carols, and sipping on warm apple cider.
A Longwood Gardens Christmas
It wouldn't be Christmas without holiday lights. And Longwood Gardens takes their display to the next level, featuring more than 500,000 twinkling lights, colorful fountains, and magnificently adorned trees. It's free to visit on Christmas, but reservations are required.
The Franklin Square Holiday Festival
Quite possibly one of the best light shows you'll ever see, Franklin Square brilliantly bursts into lights during its Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle Light Show. Running every 30 minutes between 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. from now through December 31st (weather permitting), you'll get to see Philadelphia's beauty displayed each night. In addition to the show, attendees can also enjoy some time on Santa's lap, holiday rides around a carousel, tasty treats at Ben's Bites & Brews, and even mini-golf with warming stations.