8 Fun Things to Do in Center City, Philadelphia This Holiday [2019 Edition]

Things to Do in Center City

Philadelphia is a city with plenty of fun activities to enjoy, regardless of the season. However, if you’ll be in the city during the holidays to visit family and friends or you’re from the area, you can find things to do in Center City Philadelphia that will make the holidays memorable. Whether you want to find family-friendly events, or you want to check out the city with an adult crowd, here are a few holiday events you’ll enjoy.

Winter at Dilworth Park

This event takes place from November 8 until February 23 – the dates will vary according to the attraction you want to visit. The event is a series of holiday pop-up shops in Center City, along with the Deck the Hall Light Show, which is from November 25 till January 1. The light show is projected on the side of City Hall and is a dazzling show that features lots of colors and designs. If you visit the attraction in the evenings on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, you can decorate the area yourself by taking advantage of the interactive Play the Lights keyboard.

If you and your friends and family want to go ice skating this holiday season, you can visit the outdoor Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink and Cabin, which is open from November 8 until February 23. You can ice skate there, rent skates, take in the beauty of the twinkling lights and visit the indoor space to get great snacks, seasonal beer, cocktails and hot drinks. To see more stunning lights after ice skating, you can take a leisurely stroll through Wintergarden, which is open during the same dates as the ice-skating rink. If you’re looking for great gifts to give your loved ones, you can take some time to visit the Philadelphia Holiday Market from November 23 until New Year’s Day. Several vendors are on hand to share their handmade, creative items to ensure the gifts you give this season are one of a kind.

6abc/ Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade

This event is the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the U.S. and is a great way to kick off the holidays. This is one of the best things to do in Center City Philadelphia when you’re visiting during Christmas. The parade is on the Benjamin Franklin Parkways and takes place every year. This year, you can be a part of the 100th year celebration of the event. The parade features marching bands from several colleges, performances by popular Disney World characters, elaborate balloons and giant floats. At the end of the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus visit the crowed, along with postal workers, to collect the letters children have written to Santa. The 6abc/Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade is on November 28 from 8:30am to until noon.

Christmas Village in Philadelphia

Christmas Village is open from November 28 until Christmas Eve. The event is in JFK Plaza, which is also known as LOVE Park and has been a staple holiday event in the city for 12 years.  You’ll stroll through 80 wooden booths with international and local merchants that sell and display Kathe Wohlfahrt décor, several winter-time accessories and handmade toys. There’s plenty of things to eat and drink, and you can also enjoy live entertainment. The centerpiece of the village is a light-up gift that is 27 feet tall and made up of almost 25,000 LED lights. You can also take a short walk around City Hall for more holiday activities. For 2019, the 65-foot tall Christmas Village Ferris Wheel and Christmas Village Holiday Train are appealing attractions that will activate the North Apron, which is next to the Visit Philly Holiday Tree.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

If you’ll be in Philadelphia between November 29 and March 8, you can visit the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. The event has been around for 26 years and features new cabin décor this year. You’ll also be impressed by the Kids Lodge arcade, the elaborate fire pits. You can also enjoy a meal at the chalet-style Lodge Restaurant and Bar or grab a delicious dessert from Franklin Fountain Confectionary Cabin. If you want to get dinner to take home, you can place your order at Garces Group and Chickie’s and Pete’s. All of these dining areas and attractions are centered around a skating rink with a beautiful view of the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Holiday Lights in Philadelphia

If you and your family want to drive or walk around different sections of Center City and enjoy the Christmas lights, you’ll see several beautiful displays in neighborhoods and landmarks. You can view the Macy’s Christmas Light Show or the sparkly Electrical Spectacle at Franklin Square. There are also light displays at Jeweler’s Row, Longwood Gardens, and the 1600 block of South 13th Street to keep you in awe all throughout the holiday season.

Holiday Shopping in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has lots of great places to shop for holidays for your relatives and friends. Since there are so many awesome retail shops that you’ll likely want to grab a few items for yourself. There are shopping centers with various craft bazaars, as well as shopping malls and independent boutiques. These shops offer amazing holiday deals, and in some locations, and you won’t have to pay sales taxes on wearable items like shoes and clothing.

Rittenhouse Square Tree Lighting

If you love looking at Christmas lights, you can view the tree lighting at Rittenhouse Square. The event is at 5pm on December 3. Aside from watching the lights travel up the 30-foot Christmas tree and turn Center City into one of Philadelphia’s most festive sites, you’ll also see several light displays. This event is a favorite among visitors and locals. If you want to attend the tree lighting, it’s best to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to charity.

Philadelphia Holiday Tree At City Hall

Philadelphia has lots of fascinating tree displays for the holidays that don’t disappoint, especially if you’re visiting the city for the first time. From 5-7pm on December 4 you can become part of the tree lighting. There are also several kid-friendly activities and live entertainment to make the experience more interactive. The tree lighting is around the corner from Dilworth Park, so you can enjoy more than one light display during your outing.