7 Awesome Philly Holiday Activities in 2017

philly holiday activities

Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love, and this statement holds especially true when the weather turns frigid and the daylight gets shorter. We understand that staying indoors is tempting, but why not try something new this year? Whether you are from the city, or in town visiting friends or family, here are 7 Awesome Philly Holiday Activities that are sure to warm your heart and not disappoint your loved ones!

1. Ice Skating at Dilworth Park

Since Dilworth Park reopened 3 years ago, this Center City rink has become more and more popular year after year. The family-favorite water fountain in the warmer months gets transformed into a full-sized skating rink in the middle of Philadelphia for the winter. There’s plenty of seating nearby for when you need a break and it’s hard to resist the Rothman Institute Cabin where you can relax with a seasonal cocktail, a beer, or a snack. With incredible views of City Hall and convenient access to SEPTA, this is one winter activity you’ll want to repeat every year. Adult tickets are $5 and skate rental is $10.

2. Enjoying Philadelphia’s Holiday Highlights

There are so many classic shows and activities around Philadelphia during the holiday season, it can be hard to know how best to see them all. Why not let a local guide show you the way? Philadelphia Urban Adventures’ seasonal Center City Holiday Tour is one of their most popular tours, even though it only runs Thanksgiving to New Years. Hitting the top attractions and shows in Center City, like the Wanamaker Organ, Reading Terminal Market, and the Christmas Village at Love Park, this 3 hour tour is a perfect afternoon or evening activity for local couples, families, or even first-time visitors to Philadelphia. Tours run daily at 1:00pm and 5:00pm. Adult tickets are $40.
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3. Discovering Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Light Show

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Center City, Franklin Square offers one of the most colorful shows of the season. This huge light show is free to the public and runs every 30 minutes from 4-8pm, the highlight of which is a giant kite, as a tribute to the Square’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin. There’s also plenty of fun for the whole family to be had – riding the Carousel, playing mini-golf, or warming up in the pop-up beer garden.

4. Seeing the City by Segway

Not too many people think about riding a Segway as a winter activity, but the folks at Philly by Segway want to make to make you a believer. People go skiing and skating in the winter – why not explore Philly by Segway and take advantage of the tourism low season at the same time. Segway tours are a fantastic way to see hidden parts of Philadelphia, even for locals, since the Segway’s can get down alleys and streets that buses can only dream of. Plus, their reputation speaks for itself – being a top-rated tour on TripAdvisor is no easy feat. So bundle up and head on out! Tours run daily and start at $55 per person.
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philly holiday activities segway

5. Exploring Elfreth’s Alley at the Deck the Alley Holiday Open House Event

Elfreth’s Alley is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia. But how many people actually get to go inside these historic private residences? Twice a year, the residents of Elfreth’s Alley open their doors to the public – and the December open house is particularly special. Getting to speak to residents and actually see how these homes from the 1700’s are decorated and lived in is a very unique opportunity. There’s also refreshments for sale and caroling to get you in the holiday spirit. Deck the Alley 2017 is on December 2nd from 3-7pm. Adult tickets are $25.

6. Holiday Shopping in the Italian Market

The Italian Market is by far, one of the top places to do your holiday shopping in the city. Whether you’re planning the menu for your family meal, looking for that special present for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list, or in need of a hostess gift for a holiday party, the Italian Market has it. And unless you’re familiar with the market, it can be a little intimidating at first. We suggest going with a guide from Philadelphia Urban Adventures, on their Italian Market Immersion walking tour to really get a lay of the land. You’ll be able to go behind-the-scenes at many shops and hear from the owners themselves about the history of the market and the best things to buy. You’ll have plenty of items added onto your list by the end of your tour! Tours run Tuesday – Sunday at 10:00am. Adult tickets are $30.
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walking tour

7. Watching New Year’s Eve Fireworks from the Race Street Pier

Capping of a busy and festive holiday season with New Year’s Eve fireworks just feels right. If you’re looking for a fireworks display without a crush of people, head down to the Race Street Pier at the Delaware River Waterfront on December 31. This renovated pier has plenty of seating and greenspace so you’ll be able to see the fireworks, but not be sitting on a strangers lap. SugarHouse Casino, who puts on the show, runs two displays on New Year’s Eve: one at 6:00pm (expect more families and kids) and one at midnight. It’s a great low-key option for the biggest night of the year!

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