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The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun in Philadelphia – 2018 Edition

We understand the importance of spending time with your family and friends during the holidays; but between shopping for presents, baking, decorating, and wrapping, the time can fly by quickly. Before the season is over, check out all that Philadelphia has to offer! There are a number of shows, festivals, and events to attend. If you’re looking for the perfect place to grab a bite to eat or wondering where to shop locally for your gifts, we’ve got info on those places, too.

Must-See Holiday Events and Attractions in Philadelphia

There are so many fun and exciting holiday happenings to take advantage of during this magical time of year. Whether you’re looking for a light show, cultural festivals, or shows featuring the sounds of the season, Philadelphia has it all.

  • 6abc/Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since 1966, Channel 6 has been airing the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the nation. This year’s parade takes place on November 22.
  • Macy’s Christmas Light Show. The Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy’s has been a holiday tradition for more than fifty years. This year’s festivities take place from November 23 to December 31.
  • Pennsylvania Ballet Presents The Nutcracker. This holiday show can be seen on various dates from December 7 to December 31.
  • Holidays on the Hill. Throughout the entire month of December, enjoy the festivities at Chestnut Hill as the local community goes all out with decorations, events, live entertainment, shopping, great holiday dining options, and more.
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront. From 6pm on December 31 to midnight on January 1, 2019, view this free fireworks show along the Delaware River.
  • Mummers Parade. This lavish, colorful parade will take place on January 1, 2019.
  • A Very Philly Christmas at the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park. On select dates from December 1 to 21, visit historic Strawberry Mansion, Cedar Grove, Laurel Hill, Lemon Hill, and Woodford for holiday treats and performances.
  • Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Stop by this seasonal ice skating rink and park that overlooks the Delaware River from November 23 to March 3, 2019 for a number of holiday and winter events.
  • Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum. From November 23 to December 31, you can see a number of miniature winter wonderland showcases, complete with a quarter-mile long model train track.
  • Holidays at City Hall. Beginning November 23, you can visit Philadelphia’s official Christmas tree, an indoor restaurant, and City Hall’s transformed courtyard – complete with a carousel, shopping, and a variety of sweet treats.
  • A Longwood Christmas. From November 22 through January 6, 2019, visitors to Longwood Gardens can stroll through the grounds, marvel at the light strung on miles of wire glowing in the trees, and see seasonal plants decked out with ornaments.
  • Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm. Visitors can drive or ride wagons to see the light displays at Shady Brook Farm. More than three million lights will be illuminated.
  • Franklin Square Holiday Festival. This festival takes place all season long. While shopping and dining, enjoy a dynamic light show every evening, complete with a holiday soundtrack.

Dining and Spirits Options for Holiday Cheer in Philadelphia

The holiday season isn’t complete without warm, inviting meals with loved ones. Whether you’re looking for a home-style meal or are looking to try something more exotic, Philadelphia has hundreds of dining and spirits options. Here are just a few of our favorites.

  • Parc. Overlooking Rittenhouse Square, this restaurant celebrates the holiday season with twinkling lights, holiday greenery, and festive cocktails.
  • Harp & Crown. This gastropub is a great place for big families, groups of friends, or coworkers looking to celebrate together.
  • Dandelion. This restaurant pays homage to British pubs by serving updated seasonal U.K. cuisine.
  • Walnut Street Café. If you’re looking for a place to grab lunch while shopping, stop in this café.
  • M Restaurant. M Restaurant at the Morris House provides a warm and inviting atmosphere with quality dishes.
  • Manatawny Still Works. This modern distillery uses old world practices to produce high quality, small-batch spirits.
  • José Pistolá For a more casual setting with a tasty menu, stop by this restaurant.

Where to Shop Locally for Gifts in Philadelphia

One of the best ways to support local businesses in the city is to shop locally during the holidays! There are a number of markets and stores where you’ll find gifts for everyone on your list.

  • Christmas Village in Philadelphia. Shoppers can find gifts from Germany and all over the world. While shopping, visitors can also take a break with hot mulled cider, gingerbread, and bratwursts.
  • Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park. Returning for its fourth year, this market showcases the work of more than forty local artists, crafters, confectionaries, and designers.
  • Midtown Village. You can find a number of unique gifts in Philadelphia’s Midtown Village.
  • German Christmas Market at Byers’ Choice. This traditional German market boasts plenty of holiday gifts for all kinds.
  • Philly Love Notes. For the city lover in your live, consider purchasing a handmade, wood-carved map of Philadelphia from this locally owned shop.
  • Cadence Cycling. If you’re looking for bicycles, tune-ups, accessories, or cycling classes, check out this place.
  • Vault + Vine. If you’re looking for a thoughtful, beautiful floral arrangements or other boutique gifts, you’ll find unique presents here.
  • Rittenhouse Row. Visit Rittenhouse Row for more than 200 businesses, stores, restaurants, galleries, hotels, spas, salons, and more.

Where to Get the Perfect Christmas Tree in Philadelphia

Many people this year will pick out the perfect Christmas tree for their living quarters and decorate it in their own way. If you’re looking for a freshly-cut Christmas tree, check out these stops this year.

  • Philly Christmas Trees. This vendor has a farm location and a downtown location, where customers can either take a shuttle to cut down their own tree or pick a fresh cut tree in the city.
  • Kleinberg Christmas Trees. This family-owned business has been selling Christmas trees in Philly for over 40 years.
  • The Christmas Tree Stand. The Christmas Tree Stand is the one-stop-shop for all of your Christmas tree needs. You can order online, and they will deliver a tree, stand, wreath, or lights to your home or business. They will also setup and remove your tree.

Happy Holidays from Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco

We hope our guide provides you with everything you need to make the most of your holiday season. If there’s anything we’ve missed, let us know! We’ll be sure to add it to the list.

From all of us at Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco, we hope you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season and new year!


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