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30+ Things to Do With Kids This Week Around Philly: December 17–23

Need plans? We've got something great, every day!

Need plans? We’ve got something great, every day.

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See this: Holiday Lights in Philly

Christmas Village

Through December 24

Love Park, 1500 Arch Street

Modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany, this annual market features over 80 vendors in wooden booths selling authentic European food, ornaments, crafts, clothing, and more from all over the world.

‘Hamilton Was Here: Rising Up in Revolutionary Philadelphia’

Through March 17, 2019; 1 – 5 pm on weekdays, 10 am–5 pm on weekends

Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. Third St.


This new exhibit is highly interactive, incorporating games, group activities, dress up, thought-provoking questions, and much more to highlight Alexander Hamilton’s major accomplishments and Philadelphia connections. Read all about it in our preview.

‘Hamilton: The Constitutional Clashes That Shaped a Nation’

Through December 31

National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.

This exhibit focuses on the intellectual and political conflicts between Hamilton and his contemporaries, including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams, and of course, Aaron Burr (that one was a bit more personal).

Macy’s Santaland and Christmas Light Show

November 23—December 31 (Closed Christmas Day)

Showtimes: 10 am, noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm

1300 Market St.

To quote Julie Andrews’s narration of this 100,000-light spectacle, it the Macy’s Christmas Light Show is a “grand tradition.” If you’re from Philly, you probably grew up watching it, and not a thing has changed. The bears, the dancing snowmen, the “magic Christmas tree,” the Wanamaker Organ finale—it’s all there, and it’s all aglow in colorful nostalgia. After the show, head upstairs to Dickens Village to walk through an animatronic telling of A Christmas Carol, then meet Santa!

Winter in Dilworth Park: Rothman Rink, Wintergarden, and Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

Through January 1, 2019 (Rink through February)

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

Right outside City Hall, more than 40 local artisans, designers, crafters, and confectionaries will offer unique selections for gifts and special holiday foods. This market was designed to complement Christmas Village across the street—but only focuses on locally made gifts. Stop by after skating on the Rothman Rink and running through Wintergarden Maze!

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

Through December 23 (excluding Mondays)

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.


WST for Kids presents a special hour-long musical adaptation for families, using traditional songs to highlight Dickens’ magical Christmas story. Since it’s only one hour long, it’s a perfect way to get into the spirit without having to make your kids sit still for too long!


Through December 23

Quintessence Theatre, 7137 Germantown Ave.

With familiar songs like “Consider Yourself” and “Food, Glorious Food,” this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic is a crowd pleaser for all ages.


Through January 6, 2019

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

Based on the beloved Roald Dahl novel, Matilda The Musical will delight with high-energy dance and catchy songs.

Scuba Santa at Adventure Aquarium

November 23—December 25

1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ

Scuba Santa is back and ready to make the most underwater appearances in aquarium history! Visit him in Ocean Realm as he spreads the magic of Christmas and takes selfies through the glass. The aquarium will also have the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree, and more decorations throughout.

Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum 

November 23—December 31, 10 am—4 pm

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

Morris Arboretum’s beloved Garden Railway gets a holiday upgrade, lighting up this quarter-mile of track and miniature replicas of Philadelphia-area landmarks made from natural materials with thousands of twinkling lights.

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

November 23—March 3, 2019

101 S. Columbus Blvd.

Come to skate, come to party in the cabins, come for the fun and food. This rink is a Philadelphia favorite for a reason. This year, it will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and has lots of fun events planned throughout the season– read all about it in our preview!

‘Xtreme Bugs’ at Academy of Natural Sciences

Through January 21, 2019

1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Nearly 20 towering animatronic bugs will come alive in this new creepy crawly exhibit! Get a bug’s-eye view of the world and learn about their intricacies and behaviors. See our preview here.

‘Vikings: Beyond the Legend’ at the Franklin Institute

Through  March 3, 2019

222 North 20th Street

The Franklin Institute presents 600 unique artifacts, multimedia, hands-on elements, and more to bring the Viking Age to life. Read all about the exhibit in our preview.

‘Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails!’ at Please Touch Museum

Through January 6, 2019

4231 Avenue of the Republic

The long-awaited Thomas and Friends exhibit arrives at Please Touch Museum with plenty of train-themed fun, photo ops, imaginative play, and valuable STEM lessons along the way! Read our full preview here.

‘Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now’

Through March 3, 2019

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

If you have a fashion lover in your midst (or are one yourself), you’ll definitely want to catch this new exhibit that’s all about couture!

Charlotte’s Web

November 28, 2018 – January 27, 2019 (in previews until December 8)

Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St.

The heart-warming story of a special friendship between a lovable pig and everyone’s favorite spider comes to life at the Arden.


Read & Romp: What Do You Do With An Idea?
10:30-11:30 am
National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut Street
Bring your little learner (age 2-6) for  Read & Romp, an exciting hour of imaginative storytelling, interactive games, and creative crafts centered around a story of the week. This week, read What Do You Do With An Idea? and explore the power of imagination. Read More
Holiday Cookie Decorating Party
4-5 pm
Richmond Library
2987 Almond Street
Come for gingerbread cookie storytime, then decorate some sweet treats to take home with you. Space may be limited. Pick up a ticket in the children’s section at 3 pm. Read More
Posada Navideña (Christmas Posada)
5 pm
South Philadelphia Library
1700 South Broad Street
The Consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia, The South Philadelphia Library, and the 3rd District Police Department invite you and your family to participate in the Christmas Posada. There will be music, surprises, and a lot of fun! Read More
'It's a Wonderful Life' Screening and Food Drive
7 pm
1412 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia Film Society is sponsoring this special holiday event. Come see Frank Capra’s beloved Christmas classic, and get into the charitable spirit of the season by donating a can good or non-perishable food item in lieu of paid admission. You can register your spot online. Read More
Silent Night Sing-in
7-8 pm
Kimmel Center
300 S. Broad St.
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of "Silent Night", all are invited, along with singers from diverse ensembles all across the Greater Philadelphia region, to join a rehearsal and sing-in of the holiday classic. Read More


Music Monkey Jungle Free Session at Reading Terminal Market
10 — 10:30 am
51 N. 12th St., Philadelphia
Sing, dance, move, and have a rockin’ good time with Music Monkey Jungle. Admission is free and open to the public. Read More
Toddler Time: A Very Swedish Christmas
10:30-11:30 am
American Swedish History Museum,
1900 Pattison Avenue
Toddlers and families will get into the spirt by learning about fun Swedish holiday traditions such as St. Lucia Day, Pepparkakor, and Jultomte. Read Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydåker and dance to seasonal music. Read More
Winter Solstice Celebration
4 pm
Lillian Marrero Library
601 West Lehigh Avenue
Learn about how the library winterizes its garden, and build habitats and feeders to help our local animals survive the food scarcity of the colder months. Read More
UPenn Science for Kids and Teens
4 pm
Walnut Street West
201 South 40th Street
Graduate students from UPenn will visit the library to conduct fun and exciting science experiments. No registration necessary, just come on by! Read More
Winter Party at Whitman Library
4 pm
200 Snyder Avenue
Come celebrate winter by making your own snow globe and listening to live holiday music provided by a local musician. Read More
Holiday Toy Drive and Free Concert
4-5 pm
The Nesting House, 4501 Baltimore Ave.
Come to Nesting House for a free holiday concert with musicians from the West Philly Orchestra! Please donate a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to a local Women Against Abuse shelter. With a donation, receive 10% off your entire new-retail purchase. Read More
Family Night Slime and Pizza
6:30pm-7:45 pm
SplashLab Arts, 3510 Scotts Lane, Philadelphia
Enjoy family access to the studio at night. Call to make a reservation by 3 pm Tuesday afternoon, and indicate whether you want dinner delivered for your family. Then show up and have fun getting messy. Read More


Free Stroller Strides Class: Holiday Pajamas
9:30-10:30 am
Steelworks Strength Systems,
2511 W. Girard Ave.
Dress in your best holiday attire for a free baby and me workout class. Register online. Read More
Sweater Sculpture and Friends Art Workshop
9:30 am-noon
Sue's Art Class
2119 Spruce St.
Have a favorite sweater that belongs to someone special that you want to remember? Cut and sew a gift on the machine that will create memories. Snuggle up with a new friend this holiday. More sweaters will be provided. Pre-register online. Read More
Book Nook Storytime at Reading Terminal Market
This program, in partnership with The Free Library of Philadelphia, is geared towards children ages 3 to 5. Read More
Open Climb at Cecil B. Moore Library
10:30 am
2320 Cecil B. Moore Avenue
Check out the library's new play space, featuring a miniature rockwall! This program is intended for families with children ages 3-5. Closed-toe shoes required. Read More
Storytime in Christmas Village
11 am
Love Park, 1500 Arch St.
The Free Library of Philadelphia will be in Christmas Village reading seasonal and holiday stories to children of all ages. Read More
Mommy, Me, and Nature: Preparing For Winter
1-2:30 pm
Pennypack Environmental Center,
8600 Verree Rd.
Kids ages 2-5 will discover how the animals are preparing for the winter. Registration required by emailing PEC@phila.gov Read More
Escape the Library – Teen Edition
3:30 pm
Fumo Family Library
2437 South Broad Street
There’s only one way out, and only twenty minutes to find it! Teens will work together to solve the clues, discover the key, and escape the library. Read More
Meet Santa Claus at Independence Library
4 pm
18 S. Seventh Street
Meet Santa, make a "sun catcher" craft, and enjoy a musical holiday singalong with singer/guitarist Jessica Carroll. Read More
Gingerbread Houses
4:30 pm
Eastwick Library
2851 Island Avenue
Make small gingerbread houses with graham crackers and candy in this fun children’s program. Read More
Holiday Party at Haverford Library
5 pm
5543 Haverford Avenue
All are welcome for music, food, crafts, chocolate treats, and face painting. The first 50 seniors and all children will receive a holiday gift. Read More
Grinch Celebration
5:45 pm
Start at the Kimmel Center (300 S. Broad St.)
Celebrate opening night of How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical by joining the Grinch as he marches from the Kimmel Center to the Merriam. There will also be Christmas carols, hot chocolate, and a coloring station! Read More
Opening Night of Dr. Seuss’ ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’ The Musical
7 pm
Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St.
Fantastical sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville, as Max the Dog narrates this children’s classic. With songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the animated television special, plus new ... Read More


Barnes Foundation Toddler Time
10 – 10:45am and 11 – 11:45am
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Bring your curious and imaginative toddlers (ages 2-4) to the museum for art-related stories, art making, movement activities, and an introduction to the works in the Barnes collection. Read More
Thirsty Dice Open House
7-10 am
1642 Fairmount Ave.
Stop in to sample the new board game cafe's breakfast menu, and check out the space. Read More
Life-Size Candy Board Game
3 pm
Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library
125 South 52nd Street
Navigate a life-sized game board and try to collect candy from all the locations! Groups of up to four at a time can play together. For children ages 11 and under and their families. Read More
Make Your Own Gingerbread House
4-5 pm
Queen Memorial Library,
1201 S. 23rd St.
For Pre-K and school-age children and families. Start with a pre-made graham-cracker house, which makes decorating easy and fun! Free, but supplies are limited. Read More
Family Zumba at DiSilvestro
6:30 pm
1701 S. 15th Street
Join a free family Zumba class (donations accepted) every Thursday night. Read More
'It's a Wonderful Life' at South Street Cinema
7 pm
327 South Street
Share a true holiday classic. Half of the proceeds from this screening will benefit Old Pine Community Center. Read More


Baby Bird Playdate at Philadelphia Museum of Art
10:15 am
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Play at the museum with your little ones and enjoy music, art making, and gallery walks.​ For toddlers and their grownups. Read More
Rittenhouse Hotel Teddy Bear Tea
11:30 am
Rittenhouse Hotel’s Mary Cassatt Tea Room, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
Kids can enjoy tea with their cuddle friend — or hot chocolate, if that’s more their speed — and midway through the tea, the kids will participate in a sweet gingerbread cookie decorating activity. Best of all, their teddy bear gets a seat of honor ... Read More
George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’
2 pm
Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.
In our family, the holiday season just isn’t complete without the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. From the  Tchaikovsky score to the timeless story of holiday magic, this ballet is a classic for a reason. Read More
A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season
3 pm
Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
This Philly tradition features over 300 performers bringing an all-new repertoire of favorite holiday classics. In addition to the fabulous pop orchestra conducted by Broadway legend Todd Ellison, the concert features vocals by Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the African Episcopal Church of St. ... Read More
Celebrate Winter Solstice
3:45 pm
Northeast Regional Library
2228 Cottman Avenue
Celebrate the shortest day of the year with stories, crafts, songs, and refreshments. For school age children. Read More
Lilypad Family Happy Hour Playgroup
4:30—6 pm
1234 S. Broad St., Philadelphia
Hang out with other parents and let the kids play—this playgroup is BYOB! Read More
Holiday Garden Railway Nights
4:30—7:30 pm
Morris Arboretum
100 E. Northwestern Ave.
Bask in the glow of thousands of sparkling lights at these magical evenings that have become an arboretum and family tradition. Tickets are required, and are available online. Read More
'Frozen' Night at Franklin Square
5:30-7:30 pm
Franklin Square, Sixth and Race streets
Anna and Elsa from Frozen will come to Franklin Square for a special night of fun activities, and sing-alongs. Costumes are encouraged! Want even more? Buy your tickets now for a Party with the Princesses from 4 – 5 pm in the heated Pavilion before ... Read More
George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’
7 pm
Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.
In our family, the holiday season just isn’t complete without the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker. From the  Tchaikovsky score to the timeless story of holiday magic, this ballet is a classic for a reason. Read More
'Elf' at South Street Cinema
7 pm
327 South Street
Smiling's my favorite, and so is this holiday movie! Enjoy it on the big screen, and get free admission if you come in costume as an elf! Read More

Weekend Events

See our picks in our High Five weekend event planner!

  Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Philadelphia Assistant Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org



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