Top Things to Do in Philadelphia in Winter

Top Things to Do in Philadelphia in Winter

Top Things to Do in Philadelphia in Winter. Featuring Winterfest, Longwood Gardens, Ice Skating, Performances, and more events!

The wintertime is full of wonderful things to do and reasons to visit Philadelphia.

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Hammock® Hotels & Resorts in the Philadelphia area:

1) Best Western Plus Philadelphia Bensalem (Premium)

2) Clarion Inn Philadelphia Levittown Langhorne (Mid-Scale)

3) Comfort Suites Exton King of Prussia (Premium)

Holiday cheer permeates the city every December, thanks to popular wintertime attractions like Blue Cross RiverRink WinterfestA Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens, Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink & Cabin at Dilworth Park and the Christmas Village at LOVE Park.

It’s a big month for performing arts in Philadelphia as well. The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Philly POPS both celebrate the season with special concerts featuring holiday tunes, and the Pennsylvania Ballet returns to the Academy of Music to perform George Balanchine’s classic The Nutcracker.

And, as always, December ends on a spectacular note with a host of festivities on New Year’s Eve and two fantastic free fireworks displays over the Delaware River — one at 6 p.m. and another at midnight.

Check out our guide to the biggest events coming to Philadelphia this December, below, and be sure to read up on all of the top things to do for the holidays in Philadelphia. Note: Events are organized chronologically. Due to the holidays, check ahead to ensure an attraction is open before visiting.

Winter at Dilworth Park

Mother and daughter ice skating at Dilworth Park in Philadelphia

Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink — Photo courtesy Dilworth Park

November 8, 2019 – February 23, 2020 (dates vary by attraction)

Center City’s Dilworth Park transforms into a hub of holiday cheer each winter when several awesome seasonal attractions pop up for the holidays and beyond. Visitors can ice skate at the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink, relax with a warm seasonal beverage at the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin and stroll through the seasonal plant arrangements in the Wintergarden. A dazzling free light show on the side of City Hall and a festive makers market round out the fun.

Where: Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th Street

Franklin Square Holiday Festival

Franklin Square

— Photo by J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.November 14 – December 31, 2019

Festive lights, winter treats, special activities and holiday cheer fill historic Franklin Square park all season long during the free Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show presented by PECO. Inspired by the imagination of Benjamin Franklin, the light show plays every evening, complemented by comfort food, local beers and hot beverages at Ben’s Sweets & Treats.

Where: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street

Christmas in Peddler’s Village

Lights at Peddler's Village in Ne Hope

— Photo by Kevin Crawford Imagery

November 15, 2019 – January 4, 2020 (select dates)

Twinkling lights, hot cider, a gingerbread-house competitionvisits from Santa and so much more make Peddler’s Village a must-visit destination for winter revelers in Philadelphia’s Countryside. The attraction’s 60-plus specialty shops are perfect for holiday shopping, too.

Where: Peddler’s Village, 2400 Street Road, New Hope

Photo Pop Philly: Winter Wonderland at The Bourse Food Hall

November 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Philadelphia’s interactive, photo-friendly pop-up art exhibit returns this winter to The Bourse Food Hall with installations inspired by the season for visitors to immerse themselves in. The snow-filled backdrops and other exhibits come together to create an Instagram-worthy winter wonderland.

Where: The Bourse Food Hall, 111 S. Independence Mall East

LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo

— Rendering courtesy Philadelphia Zoo

November 20, 2019 – January 5, 2020 (select dates)

New this year to the Philadelphia Zoo, this evening activation — complete with 600,000 lights — transforms America’s first zoo into a walk-through display of light and sound. Visitors stroll past 12 massive light displays — including 200 lit penguins, big cat eyes, a 21-foot-tall snake and more — while adult beverages, seasonal fare and live performances round out the offerings.

Where: Philadelphia Zoo, 34th Street & Girard Avenue

A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens

November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020

During A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens, thousands of poinsettias, towering Christmas trees and fragrant flowers transform the indoor gardens, where concerts take place daily; outside, 500,000 lights glitter in the trees, and fountains dance to seasonal music.

Where: Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square

Christmas Village in Philadelphia at LOVE Park

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit PhiladelphiaNovember 28 – December 24, 2019

This winter, dozens of vendors line LOVE Park for the fun-filled Christmas Village in Philadelphia. Inspired by Bavarian Christmas markets, the pop-up holiday shopping hub offers handmade items, seasonal gifts, grab-and-go food and drinks, musical performances and more.

Where: LOVE Park, 15th & Arch streets

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular & Market

Comcast Holiday Spectacular

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit PhiladelphiaNovember 28, 2019 – January 1, 2020

The Comcast Center lobby’s super high-res LED display combines the Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, a magical sleigh ride over the city (with a bird’s-eye view of the new Comcast Technology Center) and a sing-along in 15 minutes of fun. More than 2 million people have seen The Comcast Holiday Spectacular since its debut in 2008. New for 2019, the Comcast Technology Center hosts a holiday pop-up market in the concourse for visitors in search of the perfect gift.

Where: The Comcast Center, 1701 John F Kennedy Boulevard

Holiday Concerts with The Philly POPS

— Photo courtesy The Philly POPS

November 29 – December 20, 2019 (select dates)

The Philly POPS entertain crowds all winter long with special holiday concerts featuring some fabulous special guests. Uptown Christmas — with performances by Tituss Burgess and Mandy Gonzalez — gets the season started at The Met Philadelphia (November 29 – December 1, 2019). Other highlights include the annual Spectacular Sounds of the Season shows (December 6-21, 2019, select dates) and a reprise of last year’s successful show Christmas in the City (Friday, December 20, 2019).

Where: The Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street

Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum

November 29 – December 31, 2019

Over the winter holidays, Morris Arboretum presents G-scale model trains that cruise past scaled replicas of historic monuments and Philadelphia landmarks adorned with twinkling lights. The quarter-mile track features 12 rail lines, seven loops and tunnels, two cable cars and nine bridges.

Where: Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

Macy’s Christmas Light Show

Christmas Light Show at Macy's Center City

— Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®November 29 – December 31, 2019

Images of snowmen, reindeer, snowflakes and more dance across the atrium inside of the historic Wanamaker building (now Macy’s Center City) during the ever-popular Macy’s Christmas Light Show. Set to a seasonal soundtrack and narrated by Julie Andrews, the show runs every two hours during store hours.

Where: Macy’s Center City, 1300 Market Street

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

— Photo by M. Stanley for the Delaware River Waterfront CorporationNovember 29, 2019 – March 8, 2020

When winter hits, Penn’s Landing opens its super-popular Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, a cold-weather-only attraction featuring ice skating, fire pits, seasonal food and drinks, a lodge, arcade, a confectionery cabin and more. The attraction hosts special events regularly, including live music nights in the lodge, sweetheart skates and a big bash for New Year’s Eve in conjunction with the 6 p.m. and midnight fireworks on the Delaware River waterfront.

Where: Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

South Street Headhouse District Winter Wonderland

Sunday, December 1, 2019 | 4-6 p.m.

The holiday season in Headhouse Plaza gets started at Winter Wonderland, a festive event with lights, trees and a visit from the North Pole’s finest. The free event also promises tasty seasonal treats, music and gift-shopping opportunities. The official tree lighting takes place a 5 p.m.

Where: Headhouse Square, 2nd & Lombard streets

Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package – Winter Getaway

Hotels in PA, NJ, VA, NY

Give yourself the gift of a Philly adventure this holiday season with the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Stay at a Hammock Hotels & Resorts location, booked more than 2000 times since 2009. Make the most of the most wonderful time of the year with overnight accommodations, FREE hotel parking and awesome seasonal perks worth hundreds of dollars, only at Hammock® Hotels & Resorts.

Hammock® Hotels & Resorts in the Philadelphia area:

1) Best Western Plus Philadelphia Bensalem (Premium)

2) Clarion Inn Philadelphia Levittown Langhorne (Mid-Scale)

3) Comfort Suites Exton King of Prussia (Premium)

Broadway Philadelphia Presents The Spongebob Musical

Stars of Spongebob: The Musical

— Photo by J. Daniel

December 3-15, 2019 (select dates)

Part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway Philadelphia series, this beloved musical starring everyone’s favorite pineapple-dwelling sea sponge and his zany pals comes to the Forrest Theater for a string of shows in December.

Where: The Kimmel Center, 300 South Broad Street

Tippler’s Tour: Yuletide Cheers & Beers

— Photo by J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

December 5-26, 2019 (select dates)

Historic Philadelphia, Inc., puts a holiday spin on its Tippler’s Tour, when the pub crawl, set in the winter of 1777 and led by a costumed reenactor, takes guests to four festive bars throughout Old City. Attendees can enjoy winter brews and entertaining historical facts on the special excursion.

Where: Tour starts at the Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch Street

Cher at the Wells Fargo Center

— Photo courtesy CherFriday, December 6, 2019 | 8 p.m.

With a career spanning five decades and counting, Cher once again proved untouchable with Dancing Queen, her ABBA covers album released last year. After selling out the Wells Fargo Center in April, the icon is back by popular demand to perform cuts from that record and the 25 that preceded it on Friday, December 6.

Where: Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street

Pennsylvania Ballet Presents George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker

— Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet

December 6-31, 2019 (select dates)

The Pennsylvania Ballet returns to the grand Academy of Music for an elegant (yet kid-friendly) Philadelphia dance tradition. Tchaikovsky’s iconic score pairs with lavish sets and costumes as well as enchanting performances by the dancers, members of the Pennsylvania Ballet Orchestra.

Where: Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street

Christmas Holiday House Tour in Chestnut Hill


Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

With halls decked for the holidays, some of Chestnut Hill’s grandest private homes open their doors to ticketed guests for self-guided tours. This year, guests can see a special exhibit of Christmas cards, invitations to events and more memorabilia from Princess Grace of Monaco on view at St. Joseph Hall at Chestnut Hill College.

Where: St. Joseph Hall – Chestnut Hill College, 9601 Germantown Avenue

Parade of Lights at the Independence Seaport Museum 

Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 5:30 p.m.

The Independence Seaport Museum puts on a festive day that culminates in an early-evening procession of decorated, lighted working boats on the Delaware River. The best place to view the shining boat parade is from the museum’s second-floor terrace with a warm seasonal beverage in hand.

Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

Madonna at The Met Philadelphia

— Photo courtesy Madonna

December 7-11, 2019 (select dates)

The Queen of Pop brings her all-theater tour to The Met Philadelphia for four shows in December. Fans can expect to hear new music off of her latest album, Madame X, as well as some of her greatest hits like Vogue and Like a Prayer.

Where: The Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad Street

Washington Crossing the Delaware Reenactments at Washington Crossing Historical Park

— Photo courtesy Washington Crossing Historic Park

December 8 & 25, 2019

General Washington once again leads a surprise attack on the British during this annual reenactment — complete with army uniforms, a historic trek, demos, games and activities — at Washington Crossing Historic Park. Catch a dress rehearsal on Sunday, December 8 before the official free re-enactment on Christmas Day.

Where: Washington Crossing Historic Park, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing

Army-Navy Game at Lincoln Financial Field

— Photo courtesy Army-Navy GameSaturday, December 14, 2019 | 3 p.m.

The Army Black Knights take on the Navy Midshipmen in this epic collegiate rivalry, now in its 120th year and returning to Lincoln Financial Field. While the football game is no doubt the main event, visitors won’t want to miss the official pep rally (Friday, December 13, 2019), tailgate (Saturday, December 14, 2019) and the Patriot Games, a two-day competition between Army and Navy featuring a variety of mental and physical challenges throughout the city (December 13-14, 2019).

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way

The Philadelphia Orchestra Presents The Glorious Sounds of Christmas

— Photo by Jessica GriffinDecember 19-21, 2019

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s annual Christmas music performances at the Kimmel Center are a must-see every December. The joyous concert combines classic holiday tunes with the rich sounds of the resident orchestra — and maybe even a visit from Santa Claus.

Where: The Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street

Being ______ at Christmas at the National Museum of America Jewish History

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit PhiladelphiaWednesday, December 25, 2019 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The National Museum of American Jewish History hosts a variety of activities for folks who don’t celebrate Christmas (and those who do) during this annual event. In addition to the exhibitions within the galleries, guests can enjoy crafts, live music, storytelling, movies and face painting.

Where: National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Mall East

Kwanzaa at The African American Museum in Philadelphia

— Photo by J. Fusco for Visit PhiladelphiaThursday, December 26, 2019

The African American Museum in Philadelphia hails the winter harvest by lighting the kinara and honoring the seven principles at this annual event.

Where: The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures at the Wells Fargo Center

December 27, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Disney on Ice returns to the Wells Fargo Center this year with Road Trip Adventures. Join an ice-skating Mickey and Minnie Mouse on this fun-filled journey to see Moana, Woody and more of their friends. Attendees with special passes can even meet Moana and Mickey and take part in special activities and games.

Where: Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street

Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

— Photo by M. Stanley for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 | 6 p.m. and midnight

The Rivers Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront features two major pyrotechnics displays over the Delaware River — one at 6 p.m. and another at midnight. The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest gets in on the action too with entertainment, favors, outdoor seating and great views of the fireworks.

Where: Various locations including Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard

New Year’s Eve in Philadelphia

— Photo courtesy Yakitori BoyTuesday, December 31, 2019

There are plenty of special events, dinners and parties happening all throughout Philadelphia to help revelers ring in the New Year. Families can enjoy a kid-friendly ball drop before bedtime at Franklin Square, while adults can find fancy parties that go well into the early morning hours at a variety of venues.

Where: Various locations including Yakitori Boy, 211 N. 11th Street

Big Sporting Events This December

Joel Embiid with the ball during the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Boston Celtics

— Photo courtesy Philadelphia 76ers

Dates vary by event

In the world of Philly sports this month, fans can catch the last two home games for the Eagles’ regular season, a slew of local college basketball games, six Flyers home games and nine 76ers home games — including a hotly anticipated Christmas Day game versus the Milwaukee Bucks!

Where: Various locations including the Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad Street 

Must-See Exhibitions at Philadelphia Museums and Attractions

Dates vary by exhibition

Philly’s museums and attractions always deliver on stunning exhibitions and installations, and the winter season is no different. Highlights include an exhibition about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman and first Jewish woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, at the National Museum of American Jewish History; an interactive exhibit from prolific children’s author-illustrator Eric Carle at the Please Touch Museum; and a showcase of painting, sculpture and photography by influential African American artists of the past three decades at the Barnes Foundation.

Where: Various locations including the National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 S. Independence Ml East

Hammock® Hotels & Resorts in the Philadelphia area:

1) Best Western Plus Philadelphia Bensalem (Premium)

2) Clarion Inn Philadelphia Levittown Langhorne (Mid-Scale)

3) Comfort Suites Exton King of Prussia (Premium)

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