2020 Holiday & Christmas Events In Philadelphia Region


From 2019, Christmas Village in Philadelphia with City Hall. The Christmas Village is one of many Christmas events in Philadelphia.

This year, I think we all need some extra joy and holiday spirit. And with the winter holidays fast approaching, you may think there won’t be much to do when it comes to holiday and Christmas events in Philadelphia. (Or Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.) But you’d be wrong! Many holiday traditions will continue in 2020, albeit with some changes.

Whether you prefer to enjoy these Philadelphia holiday events virtually or want to celebrate carefully following safety protocols, there are lots of options to choose from. The same is true for New Year’s Eve events, too.

I’ve pulled together more than 50 of the best, most unique, and fun holiday and Christmas events in Philadelphia and across the region plus New Year’s Eve events, too!

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Post by . Originally published November 20, 2020. Last updated November 23, 2020.

Learn German with Music of Udo Lindenberg

Learn German, German Music

Learn German with the music of Udo Lindenberg!

Udo Lindenberg first came to my attention thanks to Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre. I’ve read many of the books and writings of the author/journalist and if there’s one thing he loves, it’s Udo Lindenberg. He is a devoted fan and eventually became a close friend of the musician who left a mark on his childhood that never left.

With more than forty years in music and dozens (literally) of albums under his belt, Udo Lindenberg is a great musician you should get to know. Although his unique vocals can sometimes be a bit of a challenge for German language learners, don’t let it discourage you. Lindenberg’s music is fun and classic.

So, without further ado, let’s learn German with the music of Udo Lindenberg!

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Post by . Originally published November 16, 2020. Last updated November 8, 2020.

Learn German with Films of Nina Hoss

German Films, Learn German

Learn German with the films of actor Nina Hoss.

Stuttgart-born actress Nina Hoss could easily be filed under German actors you didn’t know you already know. Fans of the hit political television drama Homeland may recognize her as Astrid. Hoss has appeared in several episodes of the show as a German embassy worker and Peter Quinn’s former flame.

Or perhaps you may know her from the big screen in A Most Wanted Man where she worked alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, and fellow German Daniel Brühl. But her talents are not merely limited to acting. Hoss collaborated in 2014 with the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers on their track “Europa geht durch mich” off their album Futurology.

But this month we’re getting to know Nina Hoss for her remarkable acting. Hoss has starring roles in some films that are interesting, intruiging, and great for learning German. I’m highlighting three of Hoss’ films: A Girl Called Rosemarie (Das Mädchen Rosemarie), The Elementary Particles (Elementarteilchen), and Jerichow!

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Post by . Originally published November 9, 2020. Last updated November 2, 2020.

NYC Met Cloisters Wows With Medieval Abbeys


The Cuxa Cloister at the Met Cloisters.

Most visitors to New York City will want to explore the world-class museums along the Upper East Side’s Museum Mile or experience the larger than life glitz of Times Square. (And you should!)

But in the northern tip of Manhattan, the Met Cloisters transports visitors away from the busy city. Instead, you find yourself in nearly a half dozen French monasteries that are more than 500 years old. The historical architecture from another era houses religious art, artifacts, furniture, and more. It makes the Met Cloisters an engaging museum to visit as you, quite literally, walk through history.

There is no shortage of attractions and things to do in Manhattan. But this spot in Fort Tryon Park is one of the more unique museums the city has to offer.

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Learn German with Music: Herbert Grönemeyer

German Music, Learn German

Learn German with the music of Herbert Grönemeyer!

Today, Herbert Grönemeyer is a famous and well-respected German musician whose albums soar to the top of the charts. But his musical career really took off, in part, due to his acting career.

In particular, after the release of 1981’s Das Boot. In the film, a young Grönemeyer portrays Lieutenant Werner, a journalist reporting from a German submarine during World War II. The lengthy film keeps you on the edge of your seat as the crew encounters one issue and misfortune after another. But while Das Boot was widely successful and received strong reviews, Grönemeyer’s career took off in a completely different direction not long after. He has continued to act — albeit sparingly.

These days, and for much of the past two decades, Grönemeyer has been best known as a musician. He is also the most successful artist in Germany. His combined album sales total more than 13 million, a strikingly and impressively high number. So it makes perfect sense for German language learners to give Grönemeyer a listen and get some practice!

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Learn German with Films of Elyas M’Barek

German Films, Learn German

Learn German with the films of actor Elyas M'Barek!

If Elyas M’Barek looks familiar or you think you’ve heard his name before that’s very likely possible. This is especially true if you have been following the German Films series that I’ve been posting about. M’Barek has shared the big screen with Til Schweiger, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Tschirner, Tom Schilling, Karoline Herfurth, and Moritz Bleibtreu, to name a few.

Or perhaps you may have spotted him in English language films such as The Physician, with Ben Kingsley, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones with Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower. M’Barek is not sticking to a single style.

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Post by . Originally published October 12, 2020. Last updated October 9, 2020.

Learn German with Music: Donots

German Music, Learn German

Learn German with the music of pop punk band the Donots!

With the monthly feature on German-language music, I try to highlight a variety of different kinds of musicians. Solo artists and bands. New acts and more established ones. Rock, pop, and hip hop.

This month’s featured band, the Donots, would fall into the category of “established.” It doesn’t matter what kind of music you are into it, there is a German-language band or artist making something that will appeal to you.

In 2019, the Donots celebrated their 25th anniversary. In the music industry (or anywhere, really), that’s quite an achievement. And it’s a testament to the music that these five pop-punk musicians create.

So if you don’t know, you’re about to get to know the punk poppers that call themselves Donots!

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Learn German with Film: Matthias Schweighöfer

German Films, Learn German

Learn German with the films and television of actor Matthias Schweighöfer!

In the German-speaking world, Matthias Schweighöfer is a big deal. The still rather young actor has already appeared in over 70 films. He’s branched into writing, directing, and producing. And over the last few years, he’s been steadily working as a musician. Schweighöfer is well known for his comedic roles, often in romantic comedies that are a little bit over the top.

But part of what has made him so successful and so believable in his roles is his sheepish, boyish charm.

So this month, let’s better get to know Matthias Schweighöfer and learn German with film!

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Post by . Originally published September 14, 2020. Last updated September 14, 2020.

Inspiring Flight: Wright Brothers National Memorial


Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Today, we all take airplanes for granted. With relative ease and affordability, you can be anywhere in the world. Not within months but within hours. And we have two brothers from Ohio to thank for it. And thank is just what the Wright Brothers National Memorial does.

It honors the technological advancement with a museum and a massive granite tower. And visitors can experience this pivotal moment that forever changed how we live and travel with a visit to the very spot where the brothers left the ground — if only for a matter of seconds.

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4 Great Spots for Afternoon Tea in Philadelphia

Food, Travel

Pouring loose leaf tea into a strainer and cup.

There is little I like more than a good cup of tea and a scone. Maybe a pot of tea. And some pastries. And some sandwiches. What can I say, I love afternoon tea! And no matter what you call it, high tea or afternoon tea in Philadelphia is a delightful experience. While the city isn’t saturated in tea spots, there are a few doing it really well and in a special way to suit your style. You can enjoy the formal afternoon tea experience or have a simpler, more relaxing tea time.

Here are four favorite spots for afternoon tea in Philadelphia!

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Post by . Originally published August 24, 2020. Last updated August 24, 2020.

Learn German with Music of Sportfreunde Stiller

German Music, Learn German

Learn German with the music of Sportfreunde Stiller!

Sportfreunde Stiller will always have a special place in my heart. During my first visit to Germany in 2009, their version of Udo Jürgens’ “Ich war noch niemals in New York” was everywhere we turned in Berlin. Everywhere. The track was in constant circulation. At the time, the band had only recently released an MTV Unplugged in New York album and the track was in heavy rotation to promote it. Jürgens even guests on the track during a later live performance of the song. It was the soundtrack of our vacation and it always makes me a little sentimental.

Which brings me to this month’s featured German language music recommendation: Sportfreunde Stiller!

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Post by . Originally published August 17, 2020. Last updated August 17, 2020.

Learn German with Films of Alexandra Maria Lara

Learn German, German Films

Practice German with films starring Alexandra Maria Lara.

Romanian-German actress Alexandra Maria Lara is a familiar face both inside and outside of the German film industry. Born in Bucharest, Lara and her family fled Communist Romania in the early 1980s. The family eventually found refuge in West Germany. Today, she is a notable actress in the world of cinema. But not just in German films. You may have seen her in big Hollywood English-language films such as The Reader, the Ron Howard directed Rush, the Francis Ford Coppola directed Youth Without Youth, or the Anton Corbijn directed Control. Lara clearly is making her mark on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Lara has appeared in major German language films like Der Untergang and the recent Amazon original series You Are Wanted. Practice your German language skills with these three film and television recommendations featuring actress Alexandra Maria Lara.

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