Looking for a location to see festive holiday lights this season in the Philadelphia area? Soak up the holiday spirit at any of the following locations:
• Macy’s Christmas Light Show: An annual Philadelphia tradition since 1956, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show dazzles visitors daily, beginning on November 29 and running through December 31, on the hour every two hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Comcast Holiday Spectacular: From November 28 through January 1, experience high-definition visions of sugarplums during the sixth year of the Comcast Holiday Spectacular. Shows are 15 minutes long and run every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (no shows at 5 p.m. during the week).
• Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square: The holiday magic at Ben Franklin’s namesake park begins with the new Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show, featuring a 10-foot-tall kite made of lights that sparkle and spread the glow to lights throughout the square. The show runs every 30 minutes between 4:30 and 8 p.m., weather permitting. The shows run through December 31 with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.
• Bright Lights, Big Santa at Blue Cross River Rink: All new for the Blue Cross RiverRink’s 20th-anniversary season at Penn’s Landing, Bright Lights, Big Santa introduces a festive mash-up of color, lights, hip-hop beats and dancing elves that all come together in 3D light show accompanied by holiday music. Part of the brand-new Waterfront Winterfest — complete with pine trees, fire pits, a heated pop-up restaurant, craft market and other activities — the light show runs every hour between 5 and 11 p.m.
• Rittenhouse Square Christmas Tree: Rittenhouse Square transforms into a holiday wonderland with the flip of a switch, as the park illuminates a 35-foot tall Christmas tree with 5,000 brilliant, multi-colored globes and lights. The ceremony is on Tuesday, December 3 at 5 p.m. After enjoying the glow of the park, sneak in some holiday shopping at the boutiques of Rittenhouse Row or a bite and a drink from one of the many acclaimed restaurants in the neighborhood.
• Christmas Village at Love Park: For its sixth year, the Christmas Village will once again be at Love Park complete with more than 60 decorated wooden booths packed with European food, sweets and drinks, international seasonal gifts, traditional German Christmas ornaments and high-quality arts and crafts. As you shop and explore, enjoy live musical performances, hot mulled wine, bratwursts and City Hall’s brightly lit holiday tree. It’s open through New Year’s Day, but take note, Christmas Village is closed on Christmas Day.
• Boathouse Row: One of Philadelphia’s most memorable nighttime vistas is that of Boathouse Row, made up of a dozen sculling clubs that line the Schuylkill River behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2009, new full-color, energy-efficient LED light nodes were hung to showcase the intricate architectural details of the clubs. Now a drive or stroll along the river results in an eye-popping lighting marvel that normally glows white but can change to celebrate a holiday or civic celebration, a charity appeal or a significant professional sporting win.
• South Philadelphia: Locals have long known that the place to go for a boost of holiday spirit is South Philadelphia, a traditionally Italian enclave where the combination of civic pride and neighborhood camaraderie come together to create eye-popping homegrown lighting displays. Colorado and Smedley Streets are particular favorites for an instant jolt of seasonal spirit.
Around the Suburbs:
• Longwood Gardens Christmas: No holiday is complete without a visit to Longwood Gardens, where more than 500,000 twinkling lights and spectacular fountain shows compose a brilliant wonderland your family is sure to love. Starting at 3:30 p.m. every day from November 28 through January 12, gaze upon the large, starry snowflakes and icicles that sparkle throughout the gardens before warming up in heated conservatory with twenty “rooms” featuring festive displays of floral garlands, sparkling trees and more. No two years are alike, though, each year, Longwood Gardens presents different holiday lights, decorations and displays. Timed advance tickets are required and sell out quickly, so be sure to reserve your spot in advance.
• Christmas in Peddler’s Village: Each evening, beginning with the Grand Illumination on Friday, November 22, Peddler’s Village shimmers in the warm glow of one million jewel-colored twinkling lights and holiday greenery. From the treetops to the Colonial-style buildings to the quaint shops, the whole landscape sparkles and glows—making it the perfect setting for sipping cider, toasting marshmallows, holiday shopping, visiting Santa and more.
• Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum: Beginning on Friday, November 22, miniature winter wonderland amid the evergreens awaits visitors of Morris Arboretum. The Holiday Garden Railway display is a quarter mile of model train track featuring seven loops and tunnels with 15 different rail lines, two cable cars, nine bridges and trains that cruise past scaled replicas of historic monuments and Philadelphia-area landmarks made from all-natural materials.
• Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farm: Beginning on November 22 and running through January 5, millions of lights sparkle at Shady Brook Farm during the incredible Holiday Light Show. Experience the magical drive in your own car or hop on a moonlit hayride or horse and buggy. Monday through Thursday is when the real tractor hayrides will happen, but then Thursdays through Sundays, you’ll ride around the display in a horse-drawn carriage. Also, don’t forget to stop and get your picture taken with Santa at Santa’s Village. Reservations are recommended.
• Christmas Around the Farm at Linvilla Orchards: For the holidays, Linvilla Orchards transforms into the North Pole — farm style. Get into the holiday spirit by taking a look at the animals in their winter coats and doing a little shopping at the market that’s stocked with tasty holiday treats like hot mulled cider. Santa makes a guest appearance every Saturday and Sunday in December, and on select afternoons, visitors can sing along during Caroling Hayrides, complete with live music and apple cider. Plus, beginning on November 23, families are invited to embark on a hayride through the Christmas tree fields for the cut your own Christmas tree event.
• Herr’s Snack Factory Tour 12 Days of Christmas: Responsible for one of the region’s most celebrated snack foods, Herr’s Factory is fully decked out for the holidays. They’ll be hosting a manner of Christmas-themed events, from Decmeber 9 through 20 and 21, centered around the light display which is now in its 24th year. On December 12, bring out the family for hayrides through the Christmas lights and carols from a local church.
More information visit each locations websites.