Those of us in the tri-state area know that there’s no better place to spend the holiday season than Greater Philadelphia. Nowhere else in the country combines a diverse population of 1.6 million with the rolling, snow-covered mountains that make winters in southeastern Pennsylvania a thing of holiday postcard charm.
But as the season turns into a veritable snowstorm of activity here in Philly, figuring out where to go and what to do can feel like just another stressful holiday chore. Before you give in to your bah-humbugs, take a peek at our 2022 Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun in Philadelphia. We promise there’s something there to make this season extra special for you and the ones you love.
The Most Exciting 2022 Holiday Events in Philadelphia
We never lack for excitement in Greater Philadelphia. We’ve compiled the top holiday events that draw the crowds and light up the faces every year.
- Winter in Franklin Square. Over 200,000 lights illuminate Old City Nov. 16 through Feb. 26 as part of the 10th annual Electrical Spectacle Light Show. Free, family-friendly festivities are going on day and night. Play a round of mini golf during the day, then cozy up to a firepit with your loved one after the sun sets. Libations and refreshments are available for purchase.
- Shady Brook Farm’s Holiday Light Show. If you haven’t yet experienced this Greater Philly tradition, don’t deny yourself the opportunity to see acres of farmland dotted with millions of lights. You can view the sights from the comfort of your own vehicle, or under the stars in an open-air wagon. The farm will be on display from Nov. 19 to Jan. 8, with tickets available for purchase online.
- Winter at Dilworth Park. Running Nov. 1 to Feb. 26, this annual event boasts more attractions than you can take in in one visit. Make time to skate on the ice rink, view the reindeer topiaries, stroll through the Wintergarden, and watch the Deck the Hall Light Show emblazon the west façade of City Hall with holiday cheer.
- A Longwood Christmas. From Nov. 18 through Jan. 8, visitors can once again revel in the botanical beauty of living Christmas art. The skilled horticulturists at Longwood Gardens create floating exhibits, gilded greenery, and enchanting floral displays that can’t be found anywhere else. With your ticket, you’ll also gain access to outdoor Christmas musicians in the gardens, organ concerts, and carillon music pealing from the 62-bell, five-octave Chimes Tower.
- The Comcast Holiday Spectacular. This 15-minute all-ages sensory holiday experience will feature performances by the Pennsylvania Ballet that incorporate perennial favorites like “Carol of the Bells,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” There will also be selections from The Nutcracker performed by the Philadelphia Ballet. The show runs daily from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
- Macy’s Dickens Village and Light Show. Since 1956, Philly’s Center City Macy’s has transformed the Grand Court of the Wanamaker Building into a wonderland of ageless merriment. Marvel at the elaborate lights and decorations, moving snowmen, legendary Wanamaker organ music, and charming cast of dolls retelling the Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol.” Reserve your tickets in advance for dates between Nov. 25 and Dec. 31. Jolly Old Saint Nick himself will be on hand to meet visitors up until his Christmas Eve departure on Dec. 24.
- LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo. More than a million sparkling lights dazzling 14 lights zones will delight your young ones while celebrating the wonder of the natural world. This multimedia spectacular offers educational fun and social media-worthy photo opportunities in equal abundance.
Pop-Ups, Seasonal Markets, and Local Indie Shops for Unique Gifts
Get out from behind your screen and support your neighbors this year as you check off your naughty and nice list. By shopping local, you can give the gift that keeps on giving to those who make our city great. From pop-ups and holiday markets to independent, minority and women-owned businesses, there are endless opportunities to find that magic gift that makes your loved one say, “Wow!”
- German Christmas Market at Love Park and City Hall. Gifts from around the world and piping hot authentic German cuisine draw visitors from far and near to Philadelphia every year. The market will be open 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily between Nov. 19 and Dec. 24.
- Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. Vendors and artisans from the tri-state area will congregate at Dilworth Park to offer an eclectic sampling of one-of-a-kind products. Vendors include Asante Sana Art, Cynful Bliss, WGK Glass Art, Tiger/Snake Vintage, and Camino Books, publisher of nonfiction writing from local authors. The holiday market will run Dec. 19 to Jan. 1, closed on Christmas Day.
- Peddler’s Village. Just an hour outside the city, this outdoor shopping village boasts over 65 boutique shops, a variety of dining venues, a functioning 1920s carousel, and the best display of gingerbread houses you’ll find in southeastern PA. As the Village celebrates its 60th Anniversary this year, there are more holiday events and giveaways than ever before.
- Art Star at The Bourse. This artist’s collective in Old City Philly proudly brings together the work of independent crafters and small studio producers in our local area. Featured collections include mugs, wall art, t-shirts, jewelry, magnets, stationary, ornaments, and all things cats. Be sure to mark your calendar for Art Star’s Annual Crap Bazaar, an artist’s rummage sale held 29 and 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Julia de Burgos Bookstore Holiday Sale. A unique fixture in Philadelphia, this Spanish/English bookstore celebrates Puerto Rican and other Latin cultures through the written word. On Saturday, Nov. 26, the bookstore will offer books starting at $1.00, free gifts with purchases, and more surprise discounts. Can’t make it on Saturday? There are still plenty of deals to help you make your favorite bilingual book lover’s holiday wishes come true.
Shake Up Your Holiday at a New Restaurant This Year
Whether you hail from the 215 or are visiting from out of town, we encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and visit a restaurant you may not have tried before. Philadelphia is home to some of the best culinary artists in the world. Support your community the delicious way by treating friends and family at a locally-owned establishment this holiday season. With thousands of fantastic eateries, your new favorite may be right around the corner. Be sure to check holiday availability before looking for parking.
- River Twice. Lauded by Philadelphia magazine in 2020 as Best New American Restaurant and again in 2021 for Best Chef, River Twice gives an upscale treatment to ingredients harvested and grown in the Delaware River Valley. Make reservations online for you and your special someone to indulge in the exclusive Chef’s Counter Experience featuring an extensive, rotating tasting menu.
- Queen & Rook Board Game Cafe. Everyone has a game lover in their life. Philly’s largest game library can be found at Queen & Rook, where over 1,200 titles include board games, puzzles, and cards from the retro 1970s to the hottest new releases. The menu features a wide selection of beverages and sharable plates that encourage gathering and camaraderie.
- Royal Izakaya. Who doesn’t want to try a restaurant with no sign on the front door? From the single red lantern marking a nondescript brick front in Queen Village to the website designed like a classic NES game, you know you’re in for a good time at Royal Izakaya. Come for the small plates, traditional Japanese street foods, and bustling sushi counter in a pub-like atmosphere.
- Moshulu. Take your visiting in-laws to Penn’s Landing for one of the most distinctive dining experiences in the city—aboard the planet’s oldest and largest square-rigged sailing vessel still on the water. Moshulu is open for dinner all week and brunch on weekends, plus check out their social media pages for the latest schedule of events.
- The Victor Café. The Victor Café isn’t your average Italian fine dining establishment, although you’ll still get some of the best pasta in Philadelphia here. What makes this café truly exceptional is the opera-singing waitstaff. Yes, the skilled servers topping off your chianti are also trained musicians ready to serenade you with arias throughout your meal. Film buffs can also appreciate that this Rocky-approved eatery was the real-life location of “Adrian’s Restaurant” featured in “Rocky Balboa” and the “Creed” movies.
- Her Place Supper Club. More dinner party than restaurant, this Rittenhouse-adjacent eatery brings to life the concept of staying for dinner at a friend’s mom’s house—if that friend’s mom was a top-notch chef whipping up a family feast of the foods that turn strangers into friends. No membership is required. But we’ve heard this place is hotter than a yule log, so be sure to reserve your spots at the table early.
- Kensington Quarters. In a city known for cheesesteaks, this award-winning restaurant and raw bar makes the case that some of the best sustainably-sourced seafood on the East Coast is served right here in Philadelphia. One of the first restaurants to draw foodies to the Fishtown neighborhood, Kensington Quarters is custom-crafted for lovers of ocean-based proteins. It even offers seafood and pasta cooking classes. Consider a gift card for the hard-to-please this season.
Shrager & Sachs Wishes Everyone a Holly, Jolly Holiday Season
At Shrager & Sachs, we are grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy the holidays in one of the most wonderful cities in the world. We want to wish all our friends and neighbors in the area a joyful, safe, and memorable holiday season this year. From our family to yours, warmest holiday wishes and a very happy New Year!