With the holiday season here again, it’s time to start thinking about the events you want to attend, where you’ll be shopping for your loved ones, and how you’ll take time for you this year. With everything going on in the city, deciding what to do and when can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate holiday guide for Philadelphia. Let’s take a look at what the city has to offer this year.
Philadelphia’s Most Exciting Holiday Events
There are a number of holiday events taking place in November, December, and January. While many have been happening for years, there’s always a new event to check out. This year, in particular, light shows and displays are popular.
- Franklin Square Holiday Festival. This festival takes place from November 14 to December 31. While enjoying the shopping and dining options throughout Franklin Square, be sure to see the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show.
- A Longwood Christmas. From November 22 through January 5, 2020, visitors to Longwood Gardens celebrate the shapes of the season and enjoy the many illuminated trees, glowing orbs, and shimmering tunnels lights.
- Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm. Visitors can drive or ride wagons through the two-mile trail to see the 25th Annual Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm. More than three million lights will be illuminated from November 23 to January 5, 2020. Visitors can also enjoy hot cocoa and s’mores while warming up by a bonfire.
- Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum. From November 29 to December 31, you can see a number of miniature winter wonderland showcases, with all the buildings and trains carefully decorated for the holiday season.
- 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 28 with massive floats and balloons, local performers, dance groups, marching bands, and a visit from Santa.
- Holiday Events at Macy’s Center City. The Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy’s has been a holiday tradition for more than fifty years. In addition to the light show and concert, visitors can visit Dicken’s Village and see Santa Claus. This year’s festivities take place from November 29 to December 31.
- Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Stop by this seasonal ice skating rink and park from November 29 to March 8, 2020 for a number of holiday and winter events. While there, enjoy the views of the Delaware River and get something hot to drink at The Lodge.
- 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.
- Pennsylvania Ballet Presents The Nutcracker. This holiday show can be seen on various dates from December 6 to December 31.
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront. From 6 pm on December 31 to midnight on January 1, 2020, view this free firework show along the Delaware River.
- Mummers Parade. This lavish, colorful parade will take place on January 1, 2020. For 120 years, the Mummers Parade has featured men, women, and children in lavish costumes, performing as part of an intense competition. Over 40 clubs and organizations are involved.
Local Shops and Villages for Unique Gifts in Philadelphia
Depending on who you’re shopping for, buying the right gift can be a breeze or a total nightmare. Fortunately, there are a number of local popup shops and villages you can check out for one-of-a-kind purchases.
- Christmas Village in Philadelphia. From November 28 to December 24, this is a holiday favorite in Philadelphia. Shoppers can find gifts from all over the world at this authentic German Christmas market. Visitors can also take a break with hot mulled cider, gingerbread, and bratwursts.
- Rittenhouse Row. With over 200 stores, restaurants, galleries, salons, and businesses, you’re bound to find something for everyone at Rittenhouse Row.
- Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. Located in Dilworth Park, more than 45 local artisans, designers, crafters, and confectionaries will offer unique gifts you won’t find anywhere else at this holiday market.
- Peddler’s Village. Just an hour outside of Philly, Peddler’s Village is an outdoor shopping village that offers small-town colonial charm. Whether you’re looking for an antique, something handmade, or local wine, you’ll be sure to find something here.
- Philly Love Notes. For the city lover in your life, consider purchasing a handmade, wood-carved map of Philadelphia from this locally-owned shop.
The Most Festive Restaurants and Bars in Philly
The best memories are often made around the dinner table—even if that table isn’t yours. There are numerous restaurants and bars all over the city that celebrate the holiday season with décor, special menus, and themed drinks. Some of our favorites are listed below.
- McGillin’s Olde Ale House. This cozy pub is decorated for the holidays with bright lights, red bows, and holiday-themed cocktails. McGillin’s is the perfect place for a night out with friends.
- Parc. Overlooking Rittenhouse Square, Parc celebrates the holiday season with twinkling lights, holiday greenery, and festive cocktails.
- The Dandelion. The Dandelion’s menu features a number of warming food and drink options for the cold winter season. The restaurant’s halls are decorated for the holidays.
- The Little Lion. The Little Lion features a Christmas tree, decorated staircase, wreaths, and more when the holidays roll around. Serving American food and located in historic Old City, this restaurant combines comfort and elegance.
- Walnut Street Café. Stop in the Walnut Street Café for a bite to eat anytime. They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and happy hour. Both lighter fare and hearty meals are featured.
- Manatawny. Manatawny Still Works produces world-class spirits in small batches. The modern distillery focuses on honoring its history and producing quality spirits.
- Aqimero. Located inside the Ritz-Carlton, Aqimero is decorated every year with beautiful white lights and sparkling ornaments. The menu features Latin inspired notes, shareable plates, and carefully crafted cocktails.
- The Plough and the Stars. Known for its giant Christmas tree and a roaring fireplace, The Plough and the Stars is the perfect place to have an intimate dinner or grab a drink with friends. The two-level restaurant offers two full bars and a classic Irish pub menu.
Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree in Philadelphia
Finding a Christmas tree in the city isn’t always an easy task. Fortunately, there are a number of vendors you can purchase from. If you’re willing to drive a bit out of the city, there are also a number of tree farms where you can choose and cut down your own tree.
- Philly Christmas Trees. For the 2019 season, Philly Christmas Trees will be operating in two locations: The Spring Gardens and Lemon Hill Mansion. They carry Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir, and Concolor Fir trees.
- Kleinberg Christmas Trees. Located in Lansdowne, Kleinberg sells over 2,000 trees every year. Not only is the location easy to find, but the trees are reasonably priced.
- The Christmas Tree Stand. When you purchase a tree from The Christmas Tree Stand, they’ll take care of all your tree needs. When you order online, they’ll deliver the tree, stand, lights, and wreaths to your home or business. You have the option of purchasing or renting a living Christmas tree.
- Linvilla. If you’re looking to cut down your own tree this year, Linvilla is located only an hour outside of the city in Media. They have over 40,000 trees planted on the farm. Your family can take a hayride to the field to select your tree. Once you’ve picked your tree, you can enjoy cider and roasted marshmallows while it’s wrapped up for travel.
Shrager & Sachs Wishes You a Joyous Holiday Season
With so much to do in the city, you’ll be able to make the most of this holiday season. We hope this guide helps you navigate the more stressful aspects of the holidays, so you can fully enjoy time with friends and family.
From all of us at Shrager & Sachs, have a merry holiday season and a happy new year.