Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

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Oct 31 2014

How To Celebrate The Holidays In Philadelphia

New Attractions, A Festive Phlash Route & Tax-Free Shopping, For Starters

There’s plenty to do in Philadelphia from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day—both traditional favorites such as the Macy’s Christmas Light Show and fun new additions like the skating rink at City Hall’s Dilworth Park. Add in great new shops and tax-free shopping, a new nighttime shuttle service to popular holiday attractions and the in-demand Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package (car stays free) for a holiday experience that’s sure to leave lasting memories.

Here’s how to do the holidays in Philadelphia and The Countryside®:

What To Do: New & Classic Musts:
Philadelphia is adding plenty of sparkle to this year’s seasonal celebrations. Blue Cross RiverRink WinterFest (opens November 28)—a hit last season—returns to Penn’s Landing with even more to see and do. Guests can take a seat around the fireplaces and enjoy live entertainment and great views of the Blue Cross RiverRink from inside the heated tent or head outside to cuddle around the firepits and watch the new light show. Over at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring the Electrical Spectacle (opens November 14), the light show wows onlookers with more lights and new music, and the park’s lively calendar of activities includes beer gardens, craft markets and live entertainment. For the first time ever, wannabe Olympians can lace up and skate in the heart of Center City at the new Dilworth Park, featuring an outdoor ice rink, vendors and other amenities (opens November 14). And since the holidays are all about tradition, Macy’s Christmas Light Show (opens November 28), the high-tech Comcast Holiday Spectacular (opens November 27), the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ (opens December 6), SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront and the New Year’s Day Mummers Parade, with a new route and new judging, are must-dos for visitors and locals.

How To Get Around:
The iconic purple PHLASH bus that whisks visitors and locals around town during the summer months makes its holiday debut with daily daytime and evening service throughout the most festive time of the
year. From November 28 through December 31, PHLASH will follow its regular daytime route (10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) with stops at 20 locations around Center City. Come nighttime (6:00-10:00 p.m.), the Holiday Evening Loop will stop at various holiday attractions, including Franklin Square, the Christmas Village at Love Park, the Comcast Center, Dilworth Park, Rittenhouse Square, Avenue of the Arts and Macy’s. Single-ride ($2) and all-day ($5) passes can be purchased on the bus (with exact change), at all Independence Visitor Center locations or on the PHLASH website. Seniors, children under 4 and SEPTA pass holders ride for free. “Park & Ride” discounts are available at five participating Philadelphia Parking Authority garages, making it easy to drive to the city and get around while here.

Why Shop In Philly: No Tax On Clothing & Shoes:
Visitors to Philadelphia can make room in their shopping bags for one more gift or two thanks to tax-free shopping on clothing and shoes. With the recent opening of high-end discount retailers such as Nordstrom Rack and Century 21 and lifestyle brands the likes of Timberland, Uniqlo, Michael Kors and Vince—not to mention the city’s intriguing array of indie boutiques and emerging designers—style mavens know that in Philadelphia, tax-free shopping is guilt-free shopping.

Where To Go Beyond The City Limits:
City sidewalks are dressed in holiday style, but the Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside also revel in the charms of the season. Up and down classic main streets, visitors enjoy personalized service and the thrill of discovering unusual items at owner-operated shops. Popular stops include visits to Longwood Gardens for spectacular holiday light and fountain displays (opens November 27), the end-of-year Firebird Festival (December 6) complete with giant bonfire in Phoenixville and Christmasland (opens December 1) at Linvilla Orchards in Media.

Make It A Night—Or Two:
When visitors book the popular Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package, they score free hotel parking, along with a special gift upon check-in. And with two dozen hotels offering the one- or two-night package in Center City, University City and near the airport, guests can select from a variety of price points and locations.

VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and make up the most-visited website network out of the 10 biggest U.S. cities. Visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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Related Releases

Nov 6 2017

’Tis The Season: So Many Holiday Happenings In Philadelphia

The Region Celebrates With Lights, Trees, Parades, Fireworks, More

As temperatures drop in the history-rich, tradition-steeped city of Philadelphia, holiday spirit spills from shops, theaters, restaurants, parks and stadiums. Every must-do holiday list includes visits to Macy’s Christmas Light Show, a spin around the skating rink and more festive fun at Philadelphia City Hall, a seat at The Nutcracker, a nosh at Latkepalooza and a spot on the sidewalk for the Mummers Parade. These, and dozens more activations and traditions are supported by the Philly Holiday Festival, a creation of Welcome America, and Philadelphia’s Historic District HoliDays & Nights.

As always, the most wonderful way to enjoy

Oct 28 2015

Holidays In Philadelphia Mean New Celebrations & Can't-Miss Classics

The Mummers Add A New Division To Their New Year’s Day Parade

The holidays are all about tradition, especially in Philadelphia where each year generations of visitors gather at Macy’s for the Christmas Light Show, snap memory-making photos of Longwood Gardens’ elaborate displays and oooh-and-aaaah at the SugarHouse New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront, which will be displayed on screens around town at midnight. This year, the Mummers Parade, Philadelphia’s oldest and proudly quirkiest New Year’s Day tradition, gets a new look with the addition of a new division—the first since 2008. Joining the Comic, Fancy, Wench, String Band and Fancy Brigades on the march along Broad Street will

Mar 6 2015

Philly Region Festivals Celebrate Art, Music, Mushrooms & More

In The Towns Of The Philadelphia Countryside, There’s Always Something To Celebrate In 2015

With just the turn of the ignition key and within less than an hour, visitors to Philadelphia can explore the region’s quaint towns and charming settings. And what better way to discover them than with the homegrown festivals and events that celebrate their distinct personalities. Some festivities are quirky—think tens of thousands of folks coming together to pay tribute to the mushroom. Others honor the culinary talents of their hometown chefs or the creative handiwork of local artisans. While still others harken back to the town’s proud role in American history. Whatever the topic or the time of year, local

Oct 20 2014

The Towns Of The Philadelphia Countryside Celebrate The Holiday Season In Style

Light Displays, Decorated Gardens & Family Activities Help Make Seasonal Memories

The Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside sparkle with seasonal events and activities—from the glittering lights at Longwood Gardens to North Pole-themed rides on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. Add in elegantly decorated historic houses, winter festivals and seasonal performances for a memory-filled holiday season.

Find top holiday events, a holiday lights roundup, New Year’s Eve and Day guides and more at

Lovely Lights & Dazzling Displays:

  • While holiday shopping at Peddler’s Village, visitors can check out the Annual Gingerbread House Competition and Display. Participants compete in a variety of categories, including traditional and authentic reproduction of
Aug 27 2014

Holidays In Philadelphia: New Celebrations & Can't-Miss Classics

Winterfest Returns For The Whole Season And The Famous Mummers Take A New Route

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—especially in Philly, where iconic traditions and new festivities add sparkle to the season. Highlights: Last year’s blockbuster attraction, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, returns to Penn’s Landing for an extended run; a new alfresco ice skating rink enters the scene at Dilworth Park; and the famous Mummers Parade tries out a new, spectator-friendly route. Of course, the calendar is packed with favorites such as Macy’s Christmas Light Show and New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront.

Find top holiday events, a holiday lights roundup, New Year’s Eve and Day guides and more at

Mar 19 2014

Festivals Keep Philly Neighborhoods Hopping All Year Long

Books, Beer, Arts, America, Music, Movies & More Inspire Festivities

Philadelphians can always find a reason to get festive. It could be a gathering of artists and artisans in Manayunk, a traditional Yoruba-style street fair or zombies taking over South Street, a craft beer party on East Passyunk Avenue or a weekend celebrating all things Harry Potter in Chestnut Hill. Throughout the year, Philly’s neighborhoods make merry with special events and activities that reflect their distinctive personalities. Here’s a look at some of the mark-the-calendar happenings for 2014:


Benjamin Franklin Parkway:

  • For the fourth year running, the Philadelphia Science Festival unleashes nine days of exploratory exhibitions, lectures,
Jan 16 2014

Quirky Events In Philadelphia

Gay Bingo, Bad Movies, Racing Grandpas & Other Zany Events Make Philly Fun All Year Long

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Philadelphia gained an international reputation for being a pretty quirky place, thanks to an underdog championship boxer movie character, dueling cheesesteak purveyors, the Mummers and, well, a cracked Bell. It seems the 21st century will continue to propagate that fun-loving mystique with strange and wonderful annual events held every month of the year. Here’s a look at the city’s quirky side:


  • The perpetually sold-out SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Wing Bowl 21 pits amateur speed eaters against one another in a race to see who can gobble the most chicken wings
Nov 13 2013

Story Starters: Holiday Happenings In Philadelphia

For more information on all of these stories:

Nation’s First Thanksgiving Parade Gears Up For Its 94th Annual Run In Philadelphia
There’s no place like home for the holidays, and Philadelphia is home to one of the nation’s favorite holiday traditions: the Thanksgiving Day Parade, taking place this year on November 28 beginning at 8:15 a.m. Almost a century after Philadelphian Ellis Gimbel created the Thanksgiving Day parade as a marketing tool to kick off the Christmas shopping season, the city that first introduced the turkey-day festivities will again celebrate the start of the season in grand style

Oct 23 2013

Lights, Camera, Holidays: Where To See Philadelphia All Aglow

Franklin Square & RiverRink Sparkle With New Holiday Light Displays This Year

Dark winter nights turn glittery and bright with holiday lights that shimmer and shine all across Philadelphia and The Countryside®. With new displays at Franklin Square and the Blue Cross RiverRink, the season takes on a magical glow as a number of local attractions and neighborhoods pump up the power and light up the skies with sparkling colors and elaborate light displays like these shining examples:

Bright Lights, Big City:

  • The holiday magic at Ben Franklin’s namesake park begins with the new Franklin Square’s Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show, featuring a 10-foot-tall kite made of lights