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High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 14–15

Happy weekend! Plan the perfect weekend with our picks.

Happy weekend! Holiday happenings are underway! Here we go!

Click here for ongoing events that run through the weekend, like all the museum exhibits.

All Weekend

Holiday Lights Around Philly

Get glowing with our roundup!

Deck The Food Hall Weekend at The Bourse

December 14—15

111 S. Independence Mall East

 

Starting at 11 am on both Saturday and Sunday, guests can get their photo taken with either the Grinch or Santa in support of Morris Animal Refuge—for a $20 donation, guests will receive a 4×6 keepsake photo with each of the characters. Additionally, attendees can enjoy holiday merriment in the way of themed food and beverage specials from The Bourse Food Hall vendors (including Green Grinch Wings!), a pop-up caroling flash mob, and stop by Photo Pop’s Winter Wonderland while you’re there for some unique holiday pictures!

Photo Pop: Winter Wonderland

November 15–January 5

The Bourse, 111 S. Independence Mall East

 

Photo Pop returns this winter with one-of-a-kind interactive holiday themes that will make for amazing holiday card (and Instagram) moments! Tickets available online.

The Settlement Music School presents ‘The Nutcracker’

December 14 and 15, 3 pm

Mary Louise Curtis Branch, 416 Queen Street

(See also: December 14, 11 am at the Kardon-Northeast Branch)

 

Settlement shares a classic holiday tradition, featuring the students of their dance program.

Holiday Tea with Toys

December 14 and 15, noon

Historic Strawberry Mansion, 2450 Strawberry Mansion Drive

$5 per person

 

Children (and adults) are invited to bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to visit Historic Strawberry Mansion during Tea with Toys, a special opportunity to see the holiday decorations, sip tea, munch cookies and go on a tour of the Mansion’s third floor to view the extraordinary doll and toy collections. Guests for tea are encouraged to come early to enjoy the first-floor decorations as well.

Trolls Live

December 13—15

Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St.

 

Poppy and Branch host a toe-tapping, Trolls-tastic show, jam-packed with all the epic music, glitter, humor, and happiness only the Trolls can create. Meet-and-greet upgrade tickets available.

George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’

December 6—31

Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.

 

The Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. From the  Tchaikovsky score to the timeless story of holiday magic, this ballet is a classic for a reason. Come early for photos with the Sugarplum Fairy and the Mouse King in the lobby!

Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy

December 14 and 15, 2 pm (ballet at noon)

DoubleTree Philadelphia, 237 S. Broad Street

Starts at $85, varies based on ballet tickets

 

This very special tea hosted by the Pennsylvania Ballet features Nutcracker character appearances, a delicious buffet, face painting, and candy stations. You can even add on ballet tickets for the day. Call 215-587-6921 to reserve your spot.

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season

December 7—21

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

 

This Philly tradition features over 300 performers bringing a repertoire of favorite holiday classics. The concert features vocals by Hamilton’s Mandy Gonzalez, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, and the Philly POPS Festival Chorus.

Christmas at Craft Hall

December 4–22

901 N. Delaware Ave.

 

Stop by for festive decorations, lights, music, and crafts. On Sundays from 10 am-2 pm, take a “Selfie with Santa” as he mingles around the Craft Hall space and hands out candy canes.

Frankford Hall-idays

December 14-15, 21-22; 10 am—3 pm

1210 Frankford Ave.

 

Frankford Hall gets festive the last three weekends before Christmas with decorations, cozy fire pits for roasting marshmallows, and more! Take free photos with Santa, as kid-favorite The Lara & Joe Show play Christmas tunes. There will also be free hot cocoa!

The Snow Queen

Through January 26

Arden Theatre, 40 N. Second St.

 

Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale, The Snow Queen transports audiences on a journey through the four seasons, and celebrates the magical power of friendship.

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

November 30—December 22

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!

The Wizard of Oz

November 27—January 5

Sedgwick Theater, 7137 Germantown Ave.

 

Quintessence Theatre Group continues its tenth anniversary season with this classic tale of Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz. This production will honor both the classic MGM film (with music from the movie!) as well as the original L. Frank Baum novel.

The Spongebob Musical

December 3—15

Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut St.

 

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Broadway’s best creative minds reimagine and bring to life the beloved Nickelodeon series with humor, heart, and pure theatricality! Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Santa in Chestnut Hill

Weekends from December 7–22

Saturdays: Market at the Fareway (8221 Germantown Ave.), 11 am–2 pm

Sundays: Laurel Hill Gardens (8125 Germantown Ave.), noon–3 pm

 

Every December weekend through December 22, Santa will visitChestnut Hill for meet-and-greets and photos! You can find him at the Market at the Fareway on Saturdays, and Laurel Hill Gardens on Sundays.

Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Santaland

November 29—December 24, 10 am—7 pm

1300 Market St.

 

Catch the classic light show every two hours (on even hours). Then head upstairs and walk through Macy’s Dickens Village, a vintage animatronic display of Dickens characters telling the story of A Christmas Carol. This is a true Philadelphia tradition, and culminates in a private visit with Santa and photos.

Philadelphia Zoo’s LumiNature

3400 W. Girard Avenue

November 20–January 5

 

New for this year, the Philadelphia Zoo presents a nighttime multimedia holiday spectacle the likes of which you have never seen. Throughout the zoo, giant animal-themed installations will glow, Evergreen trees will talk, and you’ll be surrounded by pure fantasy. Seasonal fare, strolling performers, hot chocolate (and adult beverages) add to the festiveness. Tickets available online.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival

November 14—December 31

Showtimes: Every half-hour from 4:30—8 pm (Sunday—Thursday), 4:30—9 pm (Friday—Saturday)

200 N. Sixth St.

 

More than 80,000 lights illuminate Franklin Square, timed to a soundtrack of holiday classics, some of which are performed by The Philly POPS. There are two alternating shows every 30 minutes beginning at 4:30 pm daily, so if you stay a while for the Holiday Festival activities, you can catch them both. And you’ll definitely want to do that because they have fun events planned like a winter beer garden with fire pits, live music Sundays, gourmet hot chocolate station, and much more!

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. They also have great food, from waffles to mulled wine. Our favorite Christmas market officially opens on Thanksgiving, but they’re giving you a sneak peek this weekend.

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

Through January 1, 2020 (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!

Shrek: The Musical

November 5—January 5

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

This award-winning Broadway musical based on the beloved movie features all new songs and fun for the whole family.

The Gifts of the Magi

Through December 22

Walnut Street Theatre, 825 Walnut St.

 

This beautiful musical adaptation of the classic O. Henry story reminds us of the true meaning of giving, and of love. In previews until November 21. Tickets available online.

Candytopia

Now open through January 25

Ninth and Market streets

 

Coming to the new Fashion District, Candytopia brings its wildly popular experiential installation art to Philly this fall. Favorites—like the marshmallow pit filled with over 250,000 foam marshmallows, and the rainbow-filled room with flying unicorn pigs and confetti explosions—will be joined by Philly-specific elements. It’s Instagram heaven, and you even get to eat candy throughout the experience! Tickets are available online, where you can reserve your timeslot. Kids age 3 and under get in free!

Oshogatsu

December 14—15

Shofuso, Horticultural and Lansdowne drives, Fairmount Park

 

Celebrate an early Japanese New Year with lush ikebana flower arrangements and traditional decorations of pine, bamboo, and berries. Displays for the New Year’s tea and holiday games will be on view, along with an exhibition of winter kimono. Hear the kamishibai story “Hats For Jizo” throughout the weekend.

Saturday

Fishtown Freeze

December 14

Various locations throughout Fishtown

 

Over 25 custom ice sculptures hand carved by Ice Sculpture Philly will be located at Fishtown area businesses along Frankford, Front, and Girard; along with four live ice carves throughout the neighborhood (see website for locations). The day will be even more festive with shopping specials, music, Santa photos at Frankford Hall, Winterfest at PlayArts (see below), and more.

PlayArts Winterfest

December 14, 9 am—2 pm

1241 N. Front St.

 

As a stop on Fishtown Freeze, PlayArts will be getting festive with hot cocoa in the café, playtime, and a special gingerbread workshop with Cake Life at 10 am (pre-register online).

Polar Express Day at the Franklin Institute

December 14, 10 am—3 pm

Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street

 

Relive the magic and wonder of the timeless classic holiday tale The Polar Express with activities inspired by the award-winning book and beloved film. There will be all-day screenings of the movie in Franklin Theater, train science activities, and more. Children are invited to wear pajamas for a truly festive experience and a $2 holiday discount off their general museum admission ticket.

Army-Navy Family-Friendly Tailgate at Independence Seaport Museum

December 14, 10 am—1 pm

211 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Join Independence Seaport Museum to cheer on the Navy Midshipmen before they take on the Army Black Knights with a family-friendly tailgate featuring games, snacks, drinks and fun for the whole family. Tailgate activities are included in the price of museum admission. Plus, all weekend you’ll get $2 off admission if you come in your game day gear!

Coffee and Cookies with Santa at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

December 14, 10 am—12:30 pm

200 W. Tulpehocken Street

 

Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion welcomes neighbors for complimentary Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, and coffee. Santa Claus will visit the Mansion to hear your Christmas requests and take pictures.

Santa Claus at Sky Zone

December 14, 10 am—noon

9490 Blue Grass Rd.

 

Santa will arrive with bells ringing at 10 am, just at the conclusion of Toddler Time. There will also be a festive sing-along to put everyone in the holiday spirit.  There is no additional charge for this event with the purchase of any jump ticket.

Eat, Drink and Be Jolly Christmas Celebration

December 14, 10 am—2 pm

Anthony’s Italian Coffee and Chocolate House

 

Celebrate the season with kids’ crafts and games, raffle, live carolers, an ugly sweater contest, and even a visit with Santa. Bring a gift for their Giving Tree to help someone in need.

Barry’s Buns Gingerbread Workshop

December 14, 10—11:30 am

The Bourse Food Hall, 111 S. Independence Mall East

 

Create your own jumbo gingerbread man or gingerbread house! Ticket includes all materials and instruction, and hot chocolate. Call 267-521-2867 to make your reservation

Nimble Crafters at Kith + Kin

December 14, 10 am—noon

3060 W. Jefferson St.

 

Weekly take-home projects are inspired by nature, cultures, and art appreciation. Experimenting with different materials in a controlled environment allows your child to gain confidence but most importantly have fun! Come any time between the two-hour open studio time and stay as long as you choose.

Kid’s Holiday Storytime at Continental

December 14, 10:30—11:30 am

Continental Midtown, 1801 Chestnut St.

 

Go up to the rooftop for Continental Midtown’s Après Ski Chalet as librarians from the Free Library read aloud holiday stories. Free, no purchase necessary.

Schuylkill Saturday: Nature Exploration for Families

December 14, 10:30—11:30 am

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road

 

Gather in the Visitor Center before hitting the trails for a guided exploration. Each week explores a different theme. All ages welcome. No registration required.

AAMP Family Funday: The Art of Storytelling

December 14, 11 am—3 pm

African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

 

Family Funday at AAMP will incorporate an exciting lineup of interactive workshops and art making activities, including Story Slam, poetry workshops, Black History Trivia, and more. Perfect for ages 5 and up. The first 250 people will receive free entry to the museum for this event.

Discovery Day

December 14, 11 am—3 pm

The Discovery Center, 3401 Reservoir Drive

 

Stop by for a free day of fun and interactive activities, team games and challenges, bird walks, a live bird presentation, arts and crafts, and more! This event is free and is planned for rain or shine (activities will be both indoor and outdoor).

Be A Gingerbread Architect!

December 14, 11 am and 2 pm

Center / Architecture + Design, 1218 Arch St.

 

Get creative and become a gingerbread architect using royal icing, colorful candy, and glittery sugars in this two-hour workshop. One $35 ticket is good for one family or group of friends (up to 5 people) to share in building one house (one ticket per house). Open to all ages, with parental supervision. Pre-register online for your desired timeslot.

Visit with Santa at Cavanaugh’s Headhouse

December 14, 11 am–3 pm

421 S. Second St.

 

Get photos with Santa; plus make your own Reindeer food, decorate cookies, and enjoy free hot cocoa.

Philadelphia Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Kids’ Spectacular’

December 14, 11:30 am

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

 

Bring the kids for a family-friendly orchestra concert featuring some holiday favorites, including “Sleigh Ride,” “The Night Before Christmas,” and excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. You can also expect a special appearance by Santa Claus!

Santa and Friends at Liberty Place

December 14, noon–6 pm

1625 Chestnut St.

 

Take (free) selfies with Santa at the base of the stunning 45-foot tall Christmas tree in the Rotunda, mingle with the Buddy the Elf, enjoy roaming carolers, face painting, and more.

Make your own Ornaments at Continental Midtown

December 14, 1—3 pm

Continental Midtown, 1801 Chestnut St.

 

Come sip cocktails and make ornaments with Emily from Creative Intelligence Group on the rooftop. Bring your the whole family; this event is free and kid-friendly!

Movie Matinee: ‘Home Alone

December 14, 2 pm

Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library, 125 S. 52nd St.

 

Kids age 11 and under and their families are invited to gather for popcorn and a holiday classic at the library!

Holiday Storytime at East Passyunk Holiday Headquarters

December 14, 3 pm (Santa at 4 pm)

1904 East Passyunk Avenue

 

Get in the holiday spirit with a festive storytime led by the Free Library! Stay after storytime for free photos with Santa starting at 4 pm.

Christmas Star Lighting

December 14, 3—5 pm

Historic Fair Hill, 2901 Germantown Ave.

 

Come for a bonfire, marshmallows, hot chocolate, singing carols, arts and crafts, and of course, the star will be hung above Germantown Ave.

Children’s Lantern Parade at Christmas Village

December 14, 5 pm

LOVE Park, 16th and Arch streets

 

Paying homage to the German tradition, children will parade at dusk from LOVE Park to City Hall Courtyard and back with decorated lanterns. All children who would like to participate can get a lantern brought from Germany at the Info Booth—email event@philachristmas.com with the number of children and their ages to reserve one in advance. Walk-ins are also welcome to go to the Info Booth and get a lantern for their child.

Holidays at East Market

December 14, 5:30—9 pm

1118 Market St.

 

East Market will transform into a magical winter wonderland as thousands of LED lights come together with a 35-foot tree to create a nightly synchronized light show. Every Saturday evening in December, the Snow Walk will come to life with live entertainment, seasonal giveaways, an outdoor snow chalet and much more. The light show will run at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 8:30 pm.

Santa Saturday in Franklin Square

Saturdays through December 21; 5:30—7:30 pm (Milk & Cookies add-on at 4 pm)

Sixth and Race streets

 

Part of Franklin Square’s Holiday Festival, Santa will stroll around the park and take photos for free from 5:30—7:30 pm on Saturday nights. And if you want a more personal (and warmer) Santa experience, buy tickets in advance ($20) for Milk & Cookies with Santa which takes place in the heated Pavilion right before Santa Saturdays from 4—5 pm. Kids can enjoy milk and cookies with Santa as he tells some of his favorite stories and poses for pictures.

Sunday

Crafts of the Season

December 15, 10 am—4 pm

Fairmount Park

 

Tour the historic Fairmount mansions with a full day of crafts and activities at each of the six houses, and stop by Lemon Hill Mansion for a visit from Santa himself! Tickets available online. Free for kids 12 and under.

Breakfast with Santa at Momo’s Treehouse

December 15, 9:30—11:30 am

205 Arch St.

 

Momo’s is again hosting brunch with Santa! Tickets are available online.

Holiday PJ Party and Skate with Santa

December 15, 10 am–2 pm

Dilworth Park, 1 S. 15th St.

 

Dress in festive PJs for a fun-filled morning spent with Santa. A la carte breakfast and treats will be offered, along with fun activities like crafts and caroling to keep kids entertained before a special skating session with Santa Claus himself.

Society Hill Synagogue Hanukkah Happening and Open House

December 15, 10 am-noon

418 Spruce St.

 

Play dreidel, enjoy facepainting and crafts, take a photo with Mr. Latke, eat treats, and more!

Family Art Workshop: Seasonal Sculptures

December 15, 10:15—11:45 am

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Make a gilded gift or sculptural stocking stuffer inspired by the museum’s collection. This session is for ages 4–7 with an adult. Space is limited, so pre-register online.

Family Sunday: Feast Your Eyes

December 15, 10:30 am—3 pm

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 

Look at food-filled works of art on a family-friendly tour, then make art in the balcony studio.

Family Brunch with Live Music and Santa

December 15, 10:30 am

Paris Bistro and Jazz Café, 8235 Germantown Ave.

 

A family-friendly brunch with the music of Shady Groove and a visit from Santa! Reservations highly recommended.

Chanukah Sing-Along at PlayArts

December 15, 11 am—noon

1241 N. Front St.

 

Join the celebration, sing some favorite holiday songs, and eat special treats with Rabbi Eli Freedman from Congregation Rodeph Shalom. The sing-along is free; regular rates apply to the playspace.

Mason Jar Snowglobe Workshop

December 15, 11 am—1:15 pm

Fitler Club, 24 S. 24th St.

 

Create a Winter Wonderland in a mason jar. Use sculpy clay to create your own objects, photos of yourself or family members, toys and figurines, and other decorative visuals. Seal and tie it in a beautiful calico wrapping and bow. For ages 5 and up. Sign up at the Fitler Club.

Pop-Up Christmas Pageant

December 15, 11 am—noon

Arch Street United Methodist Church, 55 N. Broad St.

 

A ‘pop-up’ pageant requires no rehearsal ahead of time, so everyone is invited to participate! Kids and adults alike can choose what part they would like to play when they arrive at the church. Costumes will be handed out at the door and participants simply stand up when their character is called.

Snowflake Social at Cherry Hill Mall

December 15, 11 am—3 pm

2000 Route 38, Cherry Hill, NJ

 

Rudolph welcomes his best friends to his star-studded party. Meet and greet your favorite movie characters featuring: Anna and Elsa, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Andy’s favorite toys Woody and Jessie, and Princess Jasmine. Plus, hot chocolate, treats, make-and-take crafts, and games with the Franklin Institute. Tickets are available online, and are required to attend.

Holiday Shopping and Sundays with Santa at Boyds

December 15, noon—4 pm

1818 Chestnut St.

 

Visit with Santa for a photo as you shop for the holidays.

Tuba Christmas

December 15, noon and 6 pm

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

 

More than 100 regional tuba, sousaphone, and euphonium players join together in a free holiday performance for people of all ages.

Bill of Rights Day at National Constitution Center

December 15, noon—5 pm

525 Arch St.

 

Celebrate the anniversary of the Bill of Rights by learning about the first ten amendments during interactive games and shows. Visitors can also take a special tour of Signers’ Hall to learn about the history of the Bill of Rights and why it was left out of the original U.S. Constitution.

Philadelphia Studio Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ at Please Touch Museum

December 15, 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

Join The Philadelphia Studio Ballet as these young, talented dancers present excerpts from The Nutcracker in Hamilton Hall.

Gingerbread Workshop at Ritz-Carlton

December 15, 1—3 pm

10 Avenue of the Arts

 

Children and adults come together to create confectionery masterpieces, plus a surprise special visit from Santa Claus. To make a reservation call 215.523.8272 or email holidayevents.tickets@ritzcarlton.com

PAFA Family Art Academy

December 15, 2—4 pm

PAFA, 118-128 N. Broad St.

 

Use vibrant watercolor paints and string to collaborate on designs that use color and shape to tell a story about your family’s creativity and collaboration. Free admission.

Photos with Santa at Blue Cross RiverRink

December 15, 2:30—5:30 pm

101 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Get a free photo with Santa and the family (you can even bring your dogs to get in on the fun!), then stick around and enjoy the Winterfest fun.

Christmas in Stephen Girard Park

December 15, 5—7 pm

2552 S. 21st St.

 

Carriage rides, tree lighting, Santa, hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas music, and more. Don’t forget to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.

 

 

 

Photograph by Lexy Pierce.

Editor | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org

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