Get ready to feel festive and holly-jolly because the winter holidays are upon us! From Hanukkah to Christmas in Philadelphia, the suburbs, the tri-state area, and everywhere in between, it’s time to deck the halls and countdown to the New Year! But before that happens, there are plenty of winter festivals and Christmas events in Philadelphia and across the region to enjoy!
Here are more than 80 of the best, most unique, and fun 2023 holiday and Christmas events in Philadelphia and across the region plus New Year’s Eve events, too!
Table of Contents
Holiday & Christmas Events in Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s Christmas Village continues to be a popular holiday attraction each year. For 2023, the German-inspired Christmas market returns to Love Park and City Hall starting November 18th and running through Christmas Eve. In addition to the local and international shops and food, there will be a Ferris wheel, a two-story(!) carousel, and more family-friendly entertainment.
Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market
Dilworth Park will host the annual Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market from November 10th through January 1st at Dilworth Park. The market is the largest outdoor holiday market for local artists and vendors in the region. For 2023, the event will feature new wooden huts and extended evening hours for after-work shopping.
Philadelphia Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker
It wouldn’t be the holidays without The Nutcracker! From December 8th through the 30th, the Philadelphia Ballet will be performing the classic ballet by George Balanchine.
There will also be a Nutcracker Tea at the Doubletree by Hilton Philadelphia – Center City on December 16th and 17th.
Miracle on American Street Gift Market
Shop and eat local at the second annual Miracle on American Street Gift Market at NextFab North on November 18th. Over 80 local artisans and food vendors will be there in addition to live music, maker demonstrations, food, and drinks.
Comcast Holiday Spectacular
The 15th annual holiday show at the Comcast Center — on one of the world’s largest LED continuous video walls — returns Thanksgiving and continues through New Year’s Day. The free 15-minute long show runs at the top of each hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The video includes performances from the Philadelphia Ballet, holiday songs, and a sleigh ride around the world. There are also sensory-friendly shows each day at 2:30 p.m.
Then on select dates in December, get a free photo with Santa!
Philadelphia Zoo Presents LumiNature
From November 17th and then select nights through January 6th, more than a million holiday lights will twinkle and sparkle at the Philadelphia Zoo for their annual winter light show experience LumiNature. Visitors can snap photos with the 22-foot-tall butterfly tree covered in 4,000 butterflies before the nighttime illuminations show the zoo in a whole new light. For 2023, there is also a new shimmering light waterfall and vine wall with over 20,000 lights.
Winter in Franklin Square
Franklin Square will unleash its annual Electrial Spectacle Light Show presented by PECO from November 16th through February 25th. The special event features outdoor fire pits, street curling, mini golf, and a festive nightly light show. Franklin Square will also be hosting Hannukah celebrations with the Old City Jewish Arts Center on December 10th.
Then on New Year’s Eve, a kids’ countdown will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with a Square Drop.
Morris Arboretum Holiday Garden Railway
The Holiday Garden Railway kicks off at the Morris Arboretum on November 24th and runs through December 30th. The exhibit features a quarter mile of tracks featuring G-scale trains set in the arboretum’s winter garden. There’s also a Nighttime Express event with special illuminations.
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
The annual Winterfest continues to spread festive feelings all winter long at the Delaware River Waterfront. Opening November 24th, the festival along the Delaware River includes ice skating on an NHL-sized rink, warming cabins, fire pits, and more.
Macy’s Christmas Light Show
Since 1956, the Christmas Light Show in Macy’s, once Wanamaker’s, has been a holiday tradition for many families. For 2023, the light show will run daily from November 24th through December 31st at scheduled times. The department store will also have its holiday window displays up from November 15th through January 1st.
Macy’s Dickens Village is a reservation-only event. To hear the famous and historically recognized pipe organ, head to Macy’s on December 10th for a free concert.
Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular
The Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular moves from Oaks to FDR Park in South Philly this year. The event runs from November 17th through January 1st. In addition to the light displays, there will be an ice slide, the Mistletoe Marketplace, and, new for 2023, an ice path. There will also be special events, like sensory-friendly entry times and waggin’ Wednesdays when pups are welcome.
Deck the Alley: Elfreth’s Alley Historic Holiday Open House
Philadelphia’s historic Elfreth’s Alley will open their doors for the annual fundraiser for Elfreth’s Alley Association. The ticketed event on December 9th allows visitors to get a glimpse inside of the iconic 18th- and 19th-century homes in holiday decor.
Holiday & Christmas Events in Philadelphia Suburbs
Winter Wonderland Teas
A Taste of Britain will host their annual Winter Wonderland Teas on select dates in November and December between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. The holiday event includes an elaborate and special menu with tastes of the season.
A Longwood Christmas
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without A Longwood Christmas in Chester County. The Kennett Square garden is spectacular any time of the year, but for the end of the year, they pull out all the stops. Every year they offer something different and part of the excitement is wondering what it will be. This year’s theme is A Very Retro Christmas. You can always count on beautiful plants and plenty of twinkling lights. The show runs from November 17th through January 7th.
Kennett Square Holiday Light Parade
On November 25th, the annual light parade and tree lighting will kick off the holiday season in Kennett Square. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be among the attendees that parade through town.
Santa’s Steam Train Ride
All aboard! Starting November 11th and running December 30th, the New Hope Railroad will have a special guest onboard their steam train: Santa Claus! The rail company will be hosting several different Santa’s North Pole train experiences.
LuminoCity Holiday Lights Festival
Experience an immersive festival of lights including candy canes, sleighbells, and…dinosaurs?! LuminoCity Holiday Lights Festival in Oaks looks to engage visitors with large-scale light art displays and attractions. The festival runs from November 17th through January 15th.
Peddler’s Village Holiday Events
There is no shortage of holiday events at Peddler’s Village in Bucks County starting November 11th. And there is something for everyone. Kids can visit with Santa and enjoy Holly Jolly Weekend (December 2nd and 3rd) with Santa parades. There will be a gingerbread competition as well as a decorating workshop.
Elmwood Park Zoo’s Wild Lights
Wild Lights returns to the Elmwood Park Zoo with more lights and decorations than ever before. The event runs on select dates from November 17th through December 30th.
Coatesville Christmas Parade
The Coatesville Christmas Parade will celebrate the holidays on Saturday, December 2nd. The parade route goes down Lincoln Highway (Business Route 30). Awards will be given out for Best Appearing Float and Best Appearing Group.
Christmas at Aldie
Aldie Mansion in Doylestown will be hosting a special holiday event on December 3rd. The mansion will sparkle with holiday decorations, festive music, and food. Then, on December 14th, visitors can enjoy holiday tours of the mansion.
Pearl S. Buck House Holiday Events
The Pearl S. Buck House in Bucks County has a few different events scheduled for the holiday season. From November 16th through January 7th, a Festival of Trees event will see the author’s stone farmhouse dressed in its holiday best, including trees decorated by Bucks County artisans and groups. On December 10th, there will be a Holiday Community Night, and from November 24th through December 3rd there will be a holiday craft show.
Holidays at Fonthill Castle
Celebrate the holidays at Fonthill Castle with three different events. First up there are daily hour-long tours of the castle that will allow you to get a peek at Fonthill Castle in its holiday finest on select days from November 18th through December 29th. Then on weekends in December, you can enjoy an “on your own” Holiday Lights Meander. Then on select days in November and December, the castle will offer evening tours so that you can really appreciate those illuminated holiday decorations.
Shady Brook Farm Holiday Light Show
Forget those cold holiday light shows! Shady Brook Farm is hosting a drive-through holiday light show starting November 18th. The special holiday light show includes more than three million lights! If you don’t mind being outdoors, you can enjoy the holiday light show with their special open-air tractor-drawn wagon ride.
The Delaware River Crossing Reenactment
The annual reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware River takes to the water this year on December 10th and then again on Christmas Day. The event recalls that historic day on Christmas night in 1776 when General George Washington led the Continental military to New Jersey. Tickets are required for the first crossing event.
Sesame Place Holiday Events
Families with children will want to check out Sesame Place in Langhorne. They have holiday events no matter what your family celebrates — or wants to celebrate! A Very Furry Christmas celebration kicks off with a special tree lighting on November 18th. The special seasonal event will include light displays and Christmas musicals. The park will celebrate Hanukkah from December 8th through the 10th as well as Kwanzaa from December 26th through January 1st. Then on December 31st, ring in the New Year with a firework display with your favorite Sesame Street neighbors.
Herr’s Christmas Lights Display
Holiday Weekends in West Chester
The weekends will indeed be festive in West Chester for the Chester County Hospital Lights Up Holiday Weekends event. From November 24th through January 2nd, there are a number of different events, including the annual tree lighting ceremony and hometown Christmas parade on December 1st.
Kennett Square Holiday Village Market
On December 2nd & 3rd and 9th & 10th, Historic Kennett Square will be hosting a holiday village market at the Creamery of Kennett Square. The free event will include vendors selling handmade items, vintage collectibles, and more.
Winter Luminary Nights
Head to Devon’s Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens for a truly special Winter Luminary Nights event with luminary-lined paths, trees decorated in lights, and, of course, some hot beverages. The lights will be lit from December 8th through the 10th.
West Chester Railroad Santa’s Express
The West Chester Railroad will be running two holiday themed trains this season. Santa’s Express on weekends in November and December is a 75-minute journey through the Chester Creek Valley where riders get to mix and mingle with Santa.
Then on three dates (November 26th, December 3rd, and 10th), the Christmas Tree train allows you to travel from West Chester to Wiggins Tree Farm to pick out and cut down a Christmas tree. The trees are loaded onto the train and then both passengers and the trees travel back to West Chester.
Yuletide at Devon
From November 24th through December 31st, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fairgrounds transform into Yuletide at Devon, a European Christmas market. The ticketed event includes over 37 high-end vendors, farm-to-table food, free rides, and live music.
Word is Santa and his missus will be heading to Santafest at the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester on Saturday, December 9th.
Upper Merion Township’s Holiday Village
Upper Merion Township will host its annual Holiday Village on December 2nd from noon until 3 p.m. behind the Township building. The free family-friendly event includes craft vendors, live performances, food, a beer garden, as well as gingerbread houses, face painting, and more.
People’s Light Presents: A Christmas Carol
From November 15th through the end of the year, People’s Light in Malvern will be showcasing a new production of the classic holiday tale of A Christmas Carol.
Thornbury Farm Christmas Market
On November 18th and 19th, Thornbury Farm in West Chester will host a Christmas market. In addition to local vendors and musical performances, there will be farm animals. Santa Claus will also be making an appearance.
Downingtown Good Neighbor Christmas
Downingtown will have two major events this Christmas season. The first, on November 25th, is the tree lighting event in the area of the Log House. Santa will help illuminate the tree and families can enjoy music, face painting, crafts, and more.
Then on the afternoon of Saturday, December 9th, the annual Christmas parade will head through a 1.7-mile route of Downingtown. Local organizations like dance groups, bands, and scouts will show their hometown Christmas spirit.
Lansdale Holiday Mardi Gras Parade
Lansdale will host the 72nd Holiday Mardi Gras Parade on November 18th. The theme for 2023 is “Holiday Melodies.” Visitors can expect music and dancing, scouts, antique cars, and more.
Pennypacker Mills Holiday Tours & Victorian Christmas Open House
From November 21st through January 7th, take a tour of Pennypacker mansion to enjoy the lavish decorations. On December 9th, visitors can really indulge in the Victorian Christmas Open House to see how people once decorated and celebrated Christmas.
Narberth Dickens Festival
Experience the works of Charles Dickens in a whole new way. The Narberth Dickens Festival, on December 3rd, sees the streets of downtown Narberth transformed into 1840s London. The free family-friendly event features a wide range of activities.
Holidays & Christmas Events in Lancaster County & Lehigh Valley
Lancaster City for the Holidays
Lancaster City is kicking off holiday celebrations on November 24th with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting. On December 1st, the brass bands will be playing at Tuba Christmas while on December 8th is Light Up Southeast, a neighborhood lights show.
From December 7th through the 14th there will be nightly menorah lightings in Penn Square. Then on New Year’s Eve in Binns Park, the Red Rose drops at midnight.
Dutch Winter Wonderland
Enjoy Dutch Wonderland’s Dutch Winter Wonderland on select dates from November 18th through January 1st. In addition to enjoying favorite rides and attractions with a special seasonal twist, colorful lights will cover the amusement park. There are ten new attractions for 2023, including Santa’s Jolly Lodge, holiday scavenger hunts, and holiday sing-a-longs.
Kitchen Kettle Winter Events
Kitchen Kettle Village in Lancaster County‘s Intercourse will be hosting a variety of events throughout the holiday season. It starts on November 23rd but it’s the November 24th Christmas tree lighting when it all really kicks off. Throughout the holiday season, there will be live music and a holiday-tasting tour including a gingerbread house decorating event. There are also opportunities for dinner with Mrs. Claus and other holiday events like caroling and visits with Santa.
Refreshing Mountain Christmas Light Display
Why simply stroll through holiday light displays when you could make it an adventure? The Refreshing Mountain Christmas light display offers four adventure options from ziplines and elevated obstacles to 30-foot descents — all while surrounded by Christmas light displays. The event runs on select dates from November through early January.
Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour
Lititz Historical Foundation will hold its annual Christmas carol sing at the Lititz Moravian Church on December 7th. Then on December 8th and 9th, the annual Christmas candlelight tour will take place in Lititz.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania’s famous Christkindlmarkt returns for 2023. Open on weekends from November 17th through December 17th, the event has been named twice by Travel + Leisure as one of the country’s best Christmas markets.
Historica Downtown Bethlehem Holiday Events
Historic Downtown Bethlehem turns itself into Christmas City each year. The Christmas City Village, open Thursdays through Sundays starting November 9th through December 24th, offers plenty of options for shopping and eating. Then starting on December 1st, the city has a live advent calendar.
Candlelight Open House
Experience a candlelight open house at the Ephrata Cloister on November 25th. Explore the grounds, see craftsmen in action, and enjoy a performance by the Ephrata Cloister Chorus. Then on December 11th and 12th, there will be Christmas at the Cloister with services. The cloister closes out the year with lantern tours from December 27th through the 30th.
Koziar’s Christmas Village
Koziar’s Christmas Village celebrates its 76th season this year! The popular attraction lets visitors experience a Christmas village with unique indoor and outdoor displays. The event runs through January 1st.
Christmas Cookie Tour
Fridays and Saturdays from November 24th through December 30th, you can have a unique culinary experience with the Christmas Cookie Tour. Three Amish families welcome visitors into their homes to sample some homemade Christmas cookies and learn about their culture and heritage.
Train Rides with Santa
Since 1959, the Strasburg Rail Road has held special Christmas rides. And 2023 will be no different! From November through December, they offer five different Christmas train experiences from brunch to readings of The Night Before Christmas.
A Homestead Holiday
Experience an 18th-century Christmas at the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro. On December 10th, the museum will give viewers a taste — both literally and figuratively — of how the holidays were celebrated nearly three centuries ago.
Holidays & Christmas Events in Harrisburg (& the Greater Region)
Harrisburg Holiday Parade
Then on New Year’s Eve, the city will host a strawberry drop and fireworks as well as a countdown to kid-night.
Christmas Tree Showcase at Hershey Gardens
Head to the conservatory at Hershey Gardens for their Christmas Tree Showcase from November 24th through January 1st. The trees, decorated by different local florists, include their signature 14-foot white poinsettia tree!
Hersheypark Christmas Candylane
Bundle up and head to Hersheypark in Hershey, PA, this holiday season for the amusement park’s annual Christmas Candylane attraction. More than five million lights will decorate the park and light your way as you enjoy select rides. There are also holiday performances scheduled and TREEville At the Boardwalk, a display of Christmas trees. The event runs on select dates from November 10th through January 1st.
Visitors to Hershey can enjoy two different holiday trolley rides. The Holly Jolly Trolley puts a Christmas spin on the Hershey Trolley Works’ standard tours while the Sweet Lights Trolley takes you on an approximately hour-long ride through the Hershey Sweet Lights display.
Fort Hunter Annual Festival of Trees
Fort Hunter Mansion and Park will hold its annual festival of trees on weekends from November 25th through December 17th. The free event features handmade ornaments and trees trimmed by local garden clubs. A toy train exhibit will also be running on the same dates.
On December 3rd, the mansion will also host a Victorian tea.
Santa Claus Special
Joy Through the Grove
Enjoy a drive-through Christmas light display called Joy Through the Grove at Knoebels. The event runs nightly from November 24th through December 31st.
Historic Harrisburg Association’s Candlelight House Tour
The Historic Harrisburg Association’s Candlelight House Tour, the oldest and largest house tour in the mid-Atlantic region, returns for its 50th anniversary. Set for December 10th, the house tour will welcome visitors into some of the area’s most notable historic homes.
Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity
On December 1st through the 3rd, West Shore Theatre in New Cumberland will host performances of Black Nativity by Langston Hughes set to Gospel music.
Pennsylvania Christmas + Gift Show
The Pennsylvania Christmas + Gift Show will celebrate its 40th anniversary as it returns to the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg from November 29th through December 3rd. One of the largest Christmas shopping experiences in the country, the event includes over 600 vendors.
Christkindlmarkt at Dill’s Tavern
Historic Dill’s Tavern in Dillsburg will host a traditional German Christkindlmarkt on December 8th and 9th. The rain or shine (or snow!) event will include more than 80 vendors as well as live music and holiday events.
Holidays & Christmas Events in Northern Delaware
Capital Holiday Celebration
Holidays at Hagley
The Hagley Museum in Wilmington has a packed schedule for their annual Holidays at Hagley. Starting November 24th and running through January 1st, the museum will be adopting a theme of “Holidays at Hagley: Treasures and Traditions.” Among the events planned are a du Pont family home exhibition, a gingerbread house contest, and twilight tours.
Holiday Lights Express
Enjoy a one-hour-long ride through the Red Clay Valley on Wilmington & Western Railroad’s Holiday Lights Express. The evening event takes place on the rail’s 100-year-old heated coaches and one of their historic first-generation diesel locomotives. The Express runs from December 6th through the 30th.
Christmas in Odessa
Christmas in Odessa returns for, remarkably, its 59th year on December 2nd. The self-guided walking tour lets visitors explore the town’s historic 18th- and 19th-century buildings decorated in their best for the holidays.
Yuletide at Winterthur
The one-time home of Henry Francis du Pont puts on its holiday finest for Yuletide at Winterthur from November 18th through January 7th. The special event includes decorations inspired by the family’s own holiday traditions as well as custom fashion by local designers Shawn Pinckney and Asata Maisé Beeks.
Santa at the Zoo & Noon Year’s Eve
The Brandywine Zoo will be hosting a pair of family-friendly events this holiday season. First, on December 2nd and 3rd, there’s Santa at the Zoo. Then at 11 a.m. on December 31st, there’s Noon Year’s Eve to let kids of all ages celebrate 2024.
Noël at Nemours Estate
From November 14th through December 30th, Nemours Estate will celebrate the holidays with its annual holiday event. The former home of Alfred I. du Pont in Wilmington will sparkle in holiday decorations for visitors to appreciate.
Annual Christmas Parade in Marydel
On December 3rd, the annual Christmas parade will take place in Marydel. Hosted by the Marydel Volunteer Fire Company, head to the firehouse after the parade to meet Santa!
18th Annual Holiday Stroll & Christmas Market
Downtown Milford hosts its 18th Annual Holiday Stroll through the historic downtown of the town on December 2nd. The outdoor rain-or-shine (or snow!) event lets visitors enjoy live music, and wagon rides, as well as the shops and restaurants decorated in their holiday finest! Also, at the same time, the Annual Christmas Market will take place, too.
Gift of Lights Dover Motor Speedway
Dover Motor Speedway transforms into the Gift of Lights, a drive-thru holiday illumination experience starting on November 23rd and running through December 31st.
Harrington Christmas Parade
Harrington will again host their annual Christmas parade this year on Friday, December 1st. The parade has a theme of “Christmas around the world.”
Camden-Wyoming Christmas Parade and Holiday Lights Contest
Camden-Wyoming will host its annual Christmas parade on December 9th. After the parade, Santa will be greeting visitors at the town hall.
Christmas in Clayton
Christmas in Clayton on Sunday, December 3rd features breakfast with Santa, hay rides, parade, and Christmas tree lighting.
Rehoboth Beach Tree Lighting & Holiday Sing-Along
Get in tune with the season on November 24th at the bandstand in Rehoboth Beach for the community holiday tree lighting. Then, attendees are encouraged to participate in a holiday sing-along.
Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company Christmas Parade
Santa Claus is coming to town at the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company Hometown Christmas Parade on Monday, December 4th.
Holiday & Christmas Events in New Jersey
Holiday Trolley Tours
An open-air trolley tour through the streets of Cape May, with its many beautiful Victorian buildings, is a delight any time of the year. For the holidays, there are several different holiday trolley tours available. Visitors can take a holiday lights trolley tour, ride with Santa, or experience the Ghosts of Christmas Past. And new for this year, there’s an All That Glitters trolley tour for New Year’s.
West Cape May Community Christmas Parade
The community of West Cape May will come together on December 2nd for their annual Christmas parade. Spectators can expect to see special floats, string bands, high school bands, and more!
Christmas in Cape May
There are so many holiday events planned for Cape May that you could spend the whole holiday season celebrating. The events start on November 17th and range from candlelight tours of historic homes and tree-lightings to special holiday-related exhibits before finishing on New Year’s Day.
Holiday Tea at the Mathis House
In collaboration with the Ocean County Historical Society, the Mathis House Tearoom in Toms River will be hosting a special holiday tea on December 7th. The event will also include door prizes.
Toms River Tree Lighting & Winter Village
The Downtown Toms River Business Improvement District will be hosting a Weekend Wonderland on December 2nd and the 9th. The celebrations kick off on Friday, December 1st with the annual tree lighting and the arrival of Santa. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the courtyard between Town Hall and the library transforms itself into a Winter Wonderland Village.
Victorian Holiday Open House
Embrace the past as the Ocean County Historical Society hosts a Victorian-era holiday celebration on Saturday, November 25th. The event will have Santa and Mrs. Claus in attendance and visitors can tour the Victorian home decorated for the holidays.
All photos are my own.