Holiday Activities in Philadelphia, PA
Delivering an experience truly unique to the City of Brotherly Love, The Mummers Parade takes to Philly's main thoroughfares on New Year's Day. Approximately 10,000 Philadelphians take part in the annual tradition, competing for cash prizes through music, floats and choreographed dances, all while dressed in outlandish costumes complete with glitter, feathers and sequins. The spectacle begins at 10 a.m. on New Year's Day, when The Mummers begin their march in South Philadelphia, continuing north along Broad Street to City Hall. Onlookers, from children to seniors and everyone in between, revel in the party-like atmosphere, which continues well into the twilight hours.
For a romantic, night time holiday experience, bundle up for a leisurely stroll through Philadelphia's historic Rittenhouse Square Park. Located in Philly's upscale Rittenhouse neighborhood, you'll find the popular public park at Eighteenth and Walnut Streets, situated amongst trendy restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Soon after Thanksgiving, the holiday season is kicked off with the park's annual tree lighting ceremony, wherein families and curious passersby gather to watch the city's largest Christmas tree set aglow with over 5,000 lights. The decorations are extended skyward, as hundreds of illuminated orbs are suspended amongst the park's tree branches. Grab a hot coffee at a nearby cafe, have a seat on any of the park's many benches, and take in the festive scene.
The Grand Court of Macy's Center City department store houses one of Philadelphia's most renowned and beloved holiday traditions, the Macy's Holiday Light Show. Since 1956, families have flocked to the historic building -- once home to Wanamaker's -- to take in the free, festive, four-story-high spectacle. Every hour on the hour, from Black Friday through New Year's Eve, thousands of colored LED lights bring holiday characters to life, from Santa and his reindeer to the Nutcracker, toy soldiers, snowmen and snowflakes. The story accompanying the glowing characters is narrated by Julie Andrews, with music provided by the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, the largest operational pipe organ in the world.
After taking in the sights and sounds of Macy's Holiday Light Show, make your way upstairs for Macy's Dickens Christmas Village, a Philadelphia holiday family tradition for over 20-years. From Black Friday through New Year's Eve, 6,000 square-feet of Macy's third floor are transformed to tell the tale of Charles Dickens' 1843 story, "A Christmas Carol." You'll be transported back to a 19th-century London as you pass over 100 life-size, animated figures, pulled straight from the classic holiday story. Narrow, cobblestone alleys add charm to the free exhibit, which includes animatronic appearances from Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Cratchit family and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
For a unique, water-logged holiday experience, bring the kids to Adventure Aquarium's Christmas Celebration. The annual event takes place at the Camden, New Jersey, aquarium from Black Friday through New Year's Day, delighting adults and children alike with one-of-a-kind, underwater holiday attractions. Onlookers can watch as "Scuba Santa," decked out in his red suit, white beard and scuba gear, dives deep into the aquarium's 760,000-gallon Ocean Realm exhibit to deliver holiday gifts to stingrays, sharks, sea turtles and countless schooling fish. Above water, the holidays come to life with twinkling decorations, holiday trees and even gently falling snow. What's more, kids can have their picture taken with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his buddy, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster.