There’s no better place to be for the holiday season than the City of Brotherly Love. Trees light up parks across town, and pop-up markets liven neighborhood hotspots with holiday spirit. Whether it’s enjoying an afternoon or evening of shopping, cozying up to a fire pit with a hot drink, or listening to carolers while enjoying Christmas treats, a variety of festive activities across the city offer merry fun.


Heading to the expansive Grand Court atrium at Macy’s Center City is a Philadelphia tradition that dates back to 1956. Over 100,000 LED lights create a display that floats four stories tall and is replete with snowflakes, reindeer, ballerinas, and more. Visitors can watch the spectacle come to life in an 11-minute light show, which runs once every two hours starting at 10 a.m. daily (except Christmas) through December 31st. Festive music from the Wanamaker Grand Organ—a world-renowned, National Historic Landmark instrument with over 10,000 pipes—accompanies the noon show. Head to the famous Macy’s Center City to enjoy shopping and a city tradition.


The heart of Philadelphia comes alive with holiday cheer as Love Park, located right next to City Hall in Center City, transforms into a Christmas wonderland until December 27th. Modeled after traditional European open-air markets, the Christmas Village in Philadelphia features more than 60 vendors, 90 wooden booths, and two large tents that offer a variety of international and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts. Ornaments, jewelry, toys, and artwork are on display, making this the perfect opportunity to get some holiday shopping accomplished. If you can’t find anything, head over to Dilworth Park (across the street, next to City Hall) to check out the brand-new holiday pop-up, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. This addition to Philly’s holiday shopping scene features locally-made goods.


No neighborhood in the city does Christmas better than Chestnut Hill. Whether you’re looking for a night of window shopping, dining, or just holiday cheer, the Stag & Doe shopping nights offer it all. The charming shops from the 7900 to 8700 blocks of Germantown Avenue are converted into a winter wonderland. Shops offer deals, are decorated with extravagant garlands and lights and wreaths, and provide treats like roasted chestnuts, cocoa, cookies, and wine and cheese. Carolers and brass quartets serenade street-goers, creating the merriest spot in town. The Stag & Doe nights are Wednesdays in December (9th, 16th, and 23rd) from 6pm to 9pm To get the full neighborhood experience, grab dinner at Iron Hill Brewery, Mica, or McNally’s Tavern, and then enjoy the night of holiday spirit.


A light show set to the Philly Pops soundtrack features thousands of twinkling lights and a 12-foot tall kite (an ode to Ben Franklin’s kite-and-lightning experiment). You can warm up at the cozy beer garden, Ben’s Bites & Brews, and enjoy fire pits, German ales from Brauhaus Schmitz, mulled wine, and spiked cider. Food trucks will also convene at the festival on Fridays, offering a variety of eats. Be sure to check the schedule of events, which will include movie nights (such as Frozen and Star Wars), a Nutcracker night, and more. Don’t miss this festival—it’s open until December 31st.

Header image via Flickr