Ready to feel festive? Well, by the time you get to the end of this post you will be ready to celebrate the season, no matter how you want to do it! It is that time of the year to make the holiday season merry with the giant list of holiday celebrations, winter festivals, and Christmas events in Philadelphia and across the region for 2021!
As we all slowly return to “normal” life and the year comes to a close, there is so much to celebrate. This year for the winter holiday season, there are far more options than last year. But even if you’re not quite ready to fully jump back into the social season, there are possibilities for you to enjoy. From Hanukkah to Christmas in Philadelphia and everywhere in between, it’s time to deck the halls and countdown to the New Year!
Here are more than 60 of the best, most unique, and fun holiday and Christmas events in Philadelphia and across the region plus New Year’s Eve events, too!
Similar to last year, there is still some uncertainty with events. Be sure to confirm the details before attending.
Holiday & Christmas Events in Philadelphia
Christmas Village & Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market
Philadelphia’s Christmas Village continues to be a popular holiday attraction each year. For 2021, the German-inspired Christmas market returns to Love Park and around City Hall for its 14th season. Likewise, the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market returns to Dilworth Park.
Community Menorah Lighting
Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah on November 28th with a community menorah lighting at the Betsy Ross House, in partnership with the Old City Jewish Arts Center.
Winter in Franklin Square
From November 18th through December 31st, Franklin Square will be transformed by an Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. There will also be a Winter Beer Garden.
Holiday Garden Railway
Experience the holidays with trains without actually taking a ride on one! The Morris Arboretum Holiday Garden Railway features a quarter-mile of track featuring loops, tunnels, bridges, cable cars, and more. The event runs from November 26th through January 2nd.
Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest
After more than thirty seasons, Winterfest continues to spread festive feelings all winter long. Opening November 26th, the festival along the Delaware River includes ice skating, warming cabins, fire pits, and more.
The Miracle on South 13th Street
Ooh and aah at the lights known as the Miracle on South 13th Street. The holiday display is a popular attraction that brings the community together.
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 2021, the light show will run once daily from December 1st through the 24th at 10:30 am and then at 11:30 am from December 26th through the 31st. To hear the famous and historically recognized pipe organ, head to Macy’s on December 12th at 6:45 pm for a free concert from the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ starring Peter Richard Conte.
LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo
Enjoy the Philadelphia Zoo’s largest holiday light show to date with LumiNature. The lights and sounds will thrill the senses.
Holiday & Christmas Events in Philadelphia Suburbs
A Longwood Christmas
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without A Longwood Christmas. 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 Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice but you can always count on beautiful plants and plenty of twinkling lights. The show runs through January 9th.
Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular
Experience more than a million bright lights at Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular in Oaks. The event runs from November 26th to January 2nd and features special events on certain days. Dogs are welcome on Waggin’ Wednesdays, for example.
Santa’s Steam Train Ride
All aboard! Through Christmas Eve, the New Hope Railroad will have a special guest onboard their steam train: Santa Claus! The family-friendly event is about an hour long and runs roundtrip between New Hope and Lahaska. (There’s also a North Pole Express excursion using the railway’s vintage diesel locomotives.) The historic railway features restored passenger cars from the early 20th century as well as a freight house and passenger station both dating to 1891.
Peddler’s Village Holiday Events
There is no shortage of holiday events at Peddler’s Village in Bucks County. Through early next year, there is something for everyone. Kids can visit with Santa and enjoy Holly Jolly Weekend (December 4th and 5th) with afternoon 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 from November 19th through December 30th.
Christmas at Aldie
Aldie Mansion in Doylestown will be hosting a special holiday event on Sunday, December 5th. The mansion will sparkle with holiday decorations and festive music for a cocktail party and dinner.
Pearl S. Buck House Holiday Events
The Pearl S. Buck House in Bucks County has a few different events scheduled for the holiday season. Through early 2022, a Festival of Trees will see the author’s stone farmhouse dressed in its holiday best. On December 9th, there will be a Holiday Open House and from November 26th through December 5th 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. Then on weekends in December, you can enjoy a half-hour-long “on your own” Holiday Lights Meander. And on four days in 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. The special holiday light show includes more than three million lights! If you don’t mind being outdoors, you can also enjoy the holiday light show with their special open-air tractor-drawn wagon ride.
The Crossing Reenactment
The annual reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware River returns this year. The event recalls that historic day on Christmas night in 1776 when General George Washington lead the Continental military to New Jersey. The reenactment will occur twice: first on December 12th and then again on Christmas Day. 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 20th. The special seasonal event will include light displays and Christmas musicals. The park will celebrate Hanukkah on November 28th, December 3rd through the 5th as well as Kwanzaa from December 26th through January 1st. Then on December 31st, ring in the New Year with a fireworks display with your favorite Sesame Street neighbors.
Herr’s Christmas Lights Display
Enjoy more than a half-million lights at the Herr’s corporate campus in Nottingham, Pennsylvania. The free holiday lights display runs from November 24th through January 2nd from 5pm until 7am.
Holiday Weekends in West Chester
The weekends will indeed be festive in West Chester for the first-ever Chester County Hospital Lights Up Holiday Weekends event. From November 26th through the first of January, the Chester County seat will be a winter wonderland. You can expect to see Santa on a borough fire truck, a gingerbread house competition, hot chocolate, and more while supporting small businesses. There will also be a menorah lighting on November 28th.
Kennett Square Holiday Village Market
On December 4th and 5th and then again on December 11th and 12, 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.
Luminaria Holiday Shopping Night
Downtown Phoenixville will be alight for the third annual Luminaria Shopping Night on December 8th. The event will support small businesses in the popular downtown area and include special holiday activities.
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 9th through the 12th.
Word is Santa and his missus will be heading to Santafest at the American Helicopter Museum in West Chester on Saturday, December 11th.
German Christmas Market on the Main Line
Life’s Patina will host a German Christmas Market in Malvern on Saturday, December 11th.
Winter Wonderland Teas
A Taste of Britain will host their annual Winter Wonderlands Teas on select dates in November and December. The holiday event includes a special menu with tastes of the season. There is also a special afternoon tea to-go for those who would prefer to enjoy it at home (or wherever they want!).
Holidays & Christmas Events in Lancaster County & Lehigh Valley
Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour
Lititz Historical Foundation will hold its annual Christmas candlelight tour on December 10th. Visitors to the event take a 40-minute guided tour of the Johannes Mueller House and get to learn about the founding of Lititz‘s Moravian community.
Community Christmas Carol Sing
On December 9th, the Lititz Historical Foundation will hold its annual Community Christmas Carol Sing. Don’t know the words? No need to worry. Song sheets will be available as you sing along, accompanied by the Moravian Trombone Choir.
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, transforms itself into the Christmas City again for 2021. The Christkindlmarkt runs on weekends from November 19th through December 19th.
Christmas City Village
Historic Downtown Bethlehem’s Christmas City Village on Main Street is open Thursdays through Sundays from November 11th through December 26th.
Candlelight Open House
Experience a candlelight open house at the Ephrata Cloister on November 27th. Explore the grounds, see craftsmen in action, and enjoy a performance by the Ephrata Cloister Chorus.
Koziar’s Christmas Village
Koziar’s Christmas Village celebrates its 74th season this year! The popular attraction lets visitors experience a Christmas village with unique indoor and outdoor displays.
Christmas Cookie Tour
Fridays and Saturdays from November 19th through December 18th, 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.
Dutch Winter Wonderland
Enjoy Dutch Wonderland’s Dutch Winter Wonderland on select dates throughout November and December. In addition to enjoying favorite rides and attractions with a special seasonal twist, colorful lights will cover the amusement park.
Train Rides with Santa
Since 1959, the Strasburg Rail Road has held special Christmas rides. And 2021 will be no different! The roughly 45-minute long rides on historic steam trains will let riders get to see Santa.
Holidays at the Homestead
Experience an 18th century Christmas at the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro. On December 11th, 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
Christmas Tree Showcase at Hershey Gardens
Head to the conservatory at Hershey Gardens for their Christmas Tree Showcase from November 20th through January 2nd. The trees, decorated by different local florists, include a 14-foot poinsettia tree!
Hersheypark Christmas Candylane
Bundle up and head to Hersheypark 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.
Visitors to Hershey can enjoy two different holiday trolley rides. On 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.
Christmas at the Capitol
Fort Hunter Annual Festival of Trees
Fort Hunter Mansion and Park will hold its annual festival of trees on weekends from November 28th through December 19th. The free event features handmade ornaments and trees trimmed by the local garden clubs.
Santa Claus Special
Joy Through the Grove
Enjoy a drive-through Christmas light display called Joy Through the Grove at Knoebels. The event runs from November 26th to January 2nd.
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 26th and running through January 2nd, the museum will be adopting a theme of “Home for the Holidays: A Celebration of Family.” Among the events planned are a du Pont family home exhibition, a gingerbread house contest, a “micro-exhibition” on patent models with a holiday connection, 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.
Christmas in Odessa
Christmas in Odessa returns for, remarkably, its 57th year. 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 20th through January 2nd. The special event includes decorations inspired by the family’s own holiday traditions. Winterthur will also be hosting additional holiday events including Wonderful Wednesdays and a one-man performance of A Christmas Carol by the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens.
Noon Year’s Eve
The Brandywine Zoo will be hosting a family-friendly Noon Year’s Eve on December 31st to let kids of all ages celebrate 2022.
Holidays at Nemours Estate
From November 16th 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 5th, 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!
16th Annual Holiday Stroll
Downtown Milford hosts its 16th Annual Holiday Stroll through the historic downtown of the town. The outdoor rain-or-shine (or snow!) event lets visitors enjoy live music, wagon rides, as well as the shops and restaurants decorated in their holiday finest!
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. For the holidays, there are several different holiday trolley tours available. Visitors can take a holiday lights trolley tour, ride with Santa, experience the Ghosts of Christmas Past, and ring in the New Year.
West Cape May Community Christmas Parade
The community of West Cape May will come together on December 4th for their annual Christmas parade. Spectators can expect to see special floats, string bands, high school bands, and more!
Christmas at the Hangar
On Saturday, November 27th, the Naval Air Station Wildwood is hosting Christmas at the Hangar. The event will include live music, dance performances, photo opportunities with Santa, and more.
Christmas in Cape May
There are so many holiday events planned for Cape May that you could spend the whole holiday season from mid-November to early January celebrating. The events range from candlelight tours of historic homes and tree-lightings to special holiday-related exhibits.
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 6th. The event will also include door prizes. Weekend Wonderland from December 3rd through the 5th. The celebrations kick off on Friday 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 Celebration
Embrace the past as the Ocean County Historical Society hosts a Victorian-era holiday celebration on November 27th. The event will have a Victorian-style Santa in attendance, as well as a tour of a Victorian home decorated for the holidays and a model train show.
All photos are my own.