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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...
Those who want to start 2015 in a big way can do that easily and affordably in Philadelphia thanks to two fireworks shows on New Year’s Eve, the day-long Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day and a hotel package that includes free hotel parking.
New Year’s Eve:
Philadelphia hosts plenty of parties for New Year’s Eve, but Penn’s Landing is the place to be for those who want a prime view of the SugarHouse Casino’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront. The shows light up the sky over the Delaware River two times—at 6:00 p.m. and again at
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
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...
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,
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
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
On January 1, 2014, the Mummers will make their 114th march up Broad Street in the city’s annual New Year’s Day parade, a spectacle that’s in full view in Visit Philadelphia’s Behind the Sequins: Showtime for the Philadelphia Mummers video series. Six free-standing videos tell the Mummers’ story through the people who make the costumes, choreograph the routines, build the sets and march in the parade.
There are two components to the day-long parade, much of which is documented in the 90-second videos: a festive march up Broad Street that begins in South Philadelphia and ends at City Hall...
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
When the winter holidays approach, Philadelphia’s art- and treasure-filled stores answer the harried calls of stumped shoppers in search of the perfect gifts. Have a parent who has it all, a partner who’s more than picky, plus siblings, neighbors and colleagues all expecting presents? These dozen museum shops, galleries and boutiques have stocked up on goods that do more than aim to please. They promise it.
The Spot: American Institute of Architects (AIA) Bookstore, 1218 Arch Street and
105 S. 7th Street (at the Charter High School for Architecture and Design), (215) 569-3188, aiabookstore.com
The Goods: With walls lined
Experienced cooks and novices looking to create an Easter meal or Passover Seder can head to Philly Homegrown™’s visitphilly.com/food for information on where to buy the freshest local ingredients and recipes on how to use them. Here’s a look at what’s cooking in April on visitphilly.com/food:
For Passover, foodies will find:
- Bakeries selling locally baked matzo
- Restaurants offering Seder catering options
- How Chef Michael Solomonov of acclaimed Israeli restaurant Zahav does Passover, along with his Charoset recipe using local apples and honey
For Easter, the site features:
- A round-up of local bakeries (think South Philly legends Termini Bros.
Shoppers making their lists and checking them twice can give the gift of Philly this holiday season thanks to new lines offering Philadelphia-inspired goods. From retro tees and soft pretzel-adorned onsies to authentic sports gear and Liberty Bell-emblazoned chocolates, the gifts are perfect for Philly fans of all ages and persuasions. Here’s how gift givers can show some Philly love this holiday season:
- Retrophilly.com: This newly launched online boutique pays homage to Philadelphia neighborhoods, schools, nightclubs, restaurants and more from the 1950s through 90s—think The Black Banana nightclub, St. Maria Goretti High School, Electric Factory and The Arena for
Experienced cooks and Turkey Day novices eager to give their Thanksgiving dinner extra yum appeal can head straight to Philly Homegrown™’s visitphilly.com/food to score recipes for all aspects of their mammoth meal, which they’re encouraged to use local ingredients to prepare. Submitted by top local chefs, the recipes—from a classically prepared turkey to a not-so-typical oyster hash—will satisfy seafood lovers, vegetarians and others partaking in the annual dining feast. Here’s a look at what’s cooking in the Now in Season section of visitphilly.com/food:
- Appetizers: Oyster hash recipe courtesy of Mike Stollenwerk, chef/owner of Fish and Fathom Seafood House; blended
IgoUgo travel blog, a partner of Travelocity, named Philadelphia one of “10 US Cities with Tourism Sites to See” this month. The trip planning Web site called gophila.com, Greater Philadelphia’s official tourism Web site, “undeniably fresh” and “full of multimedia options” and went on to say, “But besides being up-to-date, informative, and easy to use … it’s just plain fun.”...
Mother's Day Marks Its 100th Anniversary In 2008: Philadelphia Resident Anna Jarvis Conceived National Holiday
To mark the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day, started by Philadelphia resident and West Virginia native Anna Jarvis to honor her mother Anna Marie, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) and the Office of the City Representative are organizing the City of Motherly Love" celebration on Saturday, May 10, 2008. The open-to-the-public event will take place at 12:00 noon at the Wanamaker Building, where the first Mother’s Day celebration took place in 1908 thanks to Philadelphia entrepreneur John Wanamaker. (Another Mother’s Day commemoration took place simultaneously in West Virginia.) The building is located at 13th and Market Streets...
Couples seeking to sweeten up their sweeties with chocolate this Valentine’s Day have many delectable choices in Philadelphia and The Countryside. For starters, every weekend in February, Chaddsford Winery is inviting couples to sample sweet wines paired with chocolate from nearby Eclat Chocolate. And, when it comes to wine, chocolate and love, there’s little reason not to indulge in further temptations:
- With a name like Naked Chocolate Café, it’s no surprise locals are buzzing about the city’s newest confectionary shop. Already known for its frozen hot chocolate and Aztec drinking chocolate, Naked Chocolate cultivates the sensual
Real shoppers know museums are more than repositories of cultural exhibitions: museums, they know, make for excellent retail, and Philadelphia’s museums are no exception. With its amazingly dense array of distinguished, distinctive cultural centers, the Philadelphia area offers, by extension, seriously great shopping. In Philly, holiday shoppers can find Latin American folk furniture for sale near Old Masters. In Philly, nature ornaments inspire retail stampedes just steps from a trifecta of Wyeths. And only in Philly are slimy stocking stuffers up for the grabs just a few meters from the country’s most historic collection of medical oddities.
- Anatomical Stocking
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...