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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
New Year’s Day is about celebrating, and there’s no better place to fete than at Philadelphia’s Mummers Parade, a 115-year-old tradition in which 10,000 men, women and children dressed in colorfully lavish costumes twirl, sashay, pirouette and strut down one of the city’s main streets. This year, the Mummers are making some changes to the nation’s oldest folk parade. That means a shorter route, marching in a different direction (north to south), judging at the start of the parade instead of at the end and performances that run the length of the route and not just in certain locations. Parade...
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 visitphilly.com/holidays.
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
Philadelphia’s Bike Share program, to begin in spring 2015, is just the latest news in the city’s eco-friendly efforts. Long a pioneer in the environmental movement, Philadelphia is attracting increasing global attention for efforts to become a leader in urban sustainability. Attractions, organizations and the city itself hold prestigious designations, including a major award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Not to be outdone, the region’s service amenities and modes of transportation are also advancing the green revolution.
Here’s a look at Philadelphia’s green cred:
- The Clean Air Council’s 5K Run for Clean Air is Philadelphia’s largest Earth Day
Through October 12, 2014
ROUNDING THIRD. Act II Playhouse in Ambler presents a comedy by Richard Dresser about two mismatched little league coaches as they interact in this modern-day Odd Couple. (215) 654-0200, act2.org
Through October 17, 2014
THAT’S SO GAY: OUTING EARLY AMERICA. The Library Company of Philadelphia presents a compelling look into the history of America’s LGBT community by presenting LGBT historical figures and
With 2015 comes plenty of reasons for visitors to plan a trip to Philadelphia. In fact, only-in-Philly projects, exhibitions, anniversaries and celebrations will give first-time visitors incentives to make that return trip and return visitors reasons to come back yet again.
So what’s on the calendar? The Tall Ships Challenge Philadelphia Camden 2015, showing off a dozen historic ships on the Delaware River Waterfront; Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting, featuring more than 80 works by a who’s who of painters at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and a special exhibition at The Rosenbach of the Free...
Literary roots run deep in Philadelphia, a city that has inspired countless authors and continues to nurture their legacies. Throughout the region, lovers of literature can connect with such classic authors as Poe, Whitman and Michener in the places where they lived, worked and created some of their most celebrated works. And with so many libraries, book collections and indie bookstores, literature lovers can delve deeper into the collected works of these and other favorite authors.
Of special note, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary since Alice first fell down the rabbit hole. To mark the sesquicentennial of Lewis Carroll’s...
In summer 2015, after stints at the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris and the National Gallery in London, an even larger version of the Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting exhibition will make its way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for its only U.S. showing. On display from June through September 2015, this groundbreaking exhibit will showcase more than 80 impressionist works by some of the genre’s most significant artists: Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Alfred Sisley, all supported by the Parisian art dealer Durand-Ruel. While Discovering the Impressionists is...
Festivals, athletic events, art shows, parades and cultural events keeps art lovers, garden enthusiasts, film connoisseurs, music aficionados and sports fans keep coming back to Philadelphia year after year. Here’s what’s going on in the region in 2015:
- Thousands of decorative strutters kick off the New Year by marching along Broad Street in the festive daylong Mummers Parade. One of the five Mummers divisions, the Fancy Brigades put on two elaborate Broadway-style performances for ticket holders at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. January 1. phillymummers.com
- The region gets revved for the Philadelphia Auto Show. The Pennsylvania Convention
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, Waterfront Winterfest, returns to Penn’s Landing for an extended run, 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 visitphilly.com/holidays.
Lovely Lights, Jaw-Dropping Displays & High-Tech Shows:
- Set amid the evergreens,
While rumors persist year-round of real ghosts and goblins inhabiting some of Philadelphia’s most historic sites, it’s during Halloween season when other-worldly creatures emerge from all corners of the region to make it a happily haunted time of year. Families with wee ones get gentle thrills at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo and Morris Arboretum’s Scarecrow Walk. And for serious thrill-seekers, several of the area’s haunted houses (think Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary) have earned acclaim for their Hollywood-quality special effects, animatronics, pyrotechnics and teams of horrifically talented professional actors.
Here are some spots that...
Fun, food, arts and cultural activities highlight this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) festivities in Philadelphia. Chocolate lovers can barter cacao seeds in an Aztec Market at the Academy of Natural Sciences, while revelers can catch the celebratory spirit at Penn’s Landing’s Mexican Independence Day Festival and the Puerto Rican Day Parade on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. For event updates, follow @PhillyTeAma on Twitter for all of Philly’s Hispanic Heritage Month happenings.
Festivals & Parades:
- It’s all Mexico—food, music, dancing and crafts—all day during the annual Mexican Independence Day Festival at Penn’s Landing. The family-friendly affair includes
While Philadelphia offers a variety of authentic and top-notch attractions, exploring this vibrant city takes some planning—especially for first-time visitors. With so much to see, do and taste, it’s challenging for a novice to know where to begin. From the historic Liberty Bell to the deliciously indulgent cheesesteak, here’s a look at Philly 101:
- Independence Hall – While historical attractions abound in Philly, Independence Hall has particular significance to the development of the nation. In this building in 1776, the Founding Fathers came together to sign the Declaration of Independence. Eleven years later, representatives from a dozen
VISIT PHILADELPHIA’s newest marketing effort—entitled Towns of the Philadelphia Countryside—encourages locals and visitors to explore 15 of the quaint neighborhoods and towns dotting the five-county region, and there’s no better time to explore these towns than during festival season. Some of these events are quirky—think tens of thousands of folks coming together to honor the mushroom. Others celebrate 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 festivals are a great way...
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- Wannabe sailors can visit the nation’s most decorated battleship, the Battleship New Jersey, and take tours of the ship, ride the 4-D flight simulator, climb into the onboard helicopter and sleep in the sailors’ bunks as part of its award-winning Overnight Encampment program. 62 Battleship Place, Camden, (856) 966-1652, battleshipnewjersey.org
- America’s most famous flag maker greets guests in her interactive 18th-century upholstery shop at the Betsy Ross House. Visitors learn about Betsy’s life and legend from the lady herself. Summer brings a weeklong, annual Flag Fest celebration with free events every day. Also,
Every day is geek day in Philadelphia. Brainiac activity abounds in University City, a vibrant section of West Philadelphia that boasts numerous institutions of higher learning, including the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University, along with 51,000 college students and groundbreaking advances. Outside of the classroom and on the other side of the city, startups and co-working spaces dot North 3rd Street between Old City and Northern Liberties, earning the corridor an amusing and appropriate nickname, N3RD Street (read: “nerd street”).
Bucking stereotypes, Philadelphia’s nerd population is social, creative and downright fun, following the example of the original Philly...
Sport fishing fans will fall hook, line and sinker for the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series Professional Tournament, taking place on Philadelphia’s Delaware River August 7-10, and just one of the many ways locals and visitors can enjoy life on the water in the Philadelphia region this summer. The catch-and-release competition marks Philadelphia’s first-ever major pro fishing tournament and will include launch-area activities on Penn’s Landing: concerts, vendors, military and veterans’ activities and an Expo Festival with family-friendly games and activities.
The competitors aren’t the only ones enjoying Philadelphia’s water-based activities. Making a splash this summer: a new pop-up park on...
Philadelphia, the birthplace of independence, is celebrating the Fourth of July in a big way. From the start of the annual Wawa Welcome America! celebration on June 28 to the Independence National Historical Park Service’s reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, events celebrating America’s birthday will light up the streets, the skies and the stages from the waterfront at Penn’s Landing to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the other side of town.
Visitors who book the Philly Overnight® Hotel Package for the long Fourth of July weekend not only get to celebrate America’s birthday in America’s...
With many of Philadelphia’s favorite attractions introducing new activities and expanded facilities, the region has plenty to keep the whole family happily entertained this summer and beyond. Visitors can explore new habitats at the Adventure Aquarium and Philadelphia Zoo, plan an outdoor play date at the new Washington Avenue Pier, romp through the all-new Cookie’s Monster Land at Sesame Place or discover the inner-workings of the brain in The Franklin Institute’s newest addition, the Nicholas and Anna Karabots Pavilion.
Pull out the calendar and make plans to take the family to some of these new attractions:
No need to wait until Hispanic Heritage Month in September to celebrate Latino culture. Philadelphia recognizes the richness of Hispanic culture all year long with colorful festivals, pulsating music, powerful exhibitions and more.
Here’s a look at some of the happenings taking place this spring and summer:
- For almost two centuries, baseball has transcended cultural differences and united minority communities on their path to understanding American values. Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American, on view at the National Museum of American Jewish History, explores how America’s favorite pastime has helped immigrants from all backgrounds become part of the