What’s Open on Christmas Day in Philly?
Whether you celebrate or not, you need to get out on Christmas. Here's where to go.
Whether you need something to do after the presents are opened, or you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s tricky to find something to do on December 25. Of course there’s movies and Chinese food, but maybe you want a change of pace (or cuisine) this year. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.
Plus, at the end we give you some suggestions of restaurants serving special holiday meals, in case cooking isn’t your thing either.
So clean up that wrapping paper some other time, because there are so many adventures to have! Here’s the best of what’s open on Christmas Day in Philly.
Both the RiverRink at Penn’s Landing and Rothman Rink at Dilworth Park are open on Christmas Day. While the hours are somewhat shortened (check their websites), there’s plenty of time for afternoon skating that (hopefully) won’t be too crowded.
Every year on December 25, the National Museum of Jewish American History hosts a day of family fun. Enjoy crafts, storytime, live music with Alex and the Kaleidoscope, face painting, balloon art, and more! The museum’s galleries are also open (including the “Notorious RBG” exhibit), so you can make it a learning experience too.
The aquarium isn’t just open — which would be exciting enough — but it’s so festive! Listen to a merry storytime, visit Scuba Santa, or watch it snow in the Rotunda. See the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree — made of coral, seashells, and twinkling lights — plus eight new whimsical miniature Christmas trees. Of course, the rest of the Aquarium is also up and running, so stop by and say hi to all the sea life too!
Get a unique 360-degree view of the city from 57 floors above Philadelphia. Go ahead, get that green screen commemorative photo of your family while you’re at it! And definitely pose for a picture in front of Ben Franklin’s giant shoes before you go up, and his giant spectacles when you arrive. There are so many photo ops and you may even be able to see your house (or apartment building)!
The stretch of 13th Street between Tasker and Morris in South Philly has been named home to the best Christmas lights in all of Pennsylvania, so if you haven’t seen it in person, December 25 is as good a day as any. The neighbors on this block go all out, from dazzling lights to toddler-sized illuminated lawn decorations. It’s colorful and kitschy and pure Philly.
Lots of restaurants are open and serving festive holiday meals. Reservations are strongly encouraged at all of these places.
Red Owl Tavern (dinner)
433 Chestnut St.
Red Owl Tavern is celebrating Christmas with their third annual “Chinatown Pop-up” dinner inspired by A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The à la carte menu menu features Chinese-American dishes, and you can even take a picture with the leg lamp!
XIX at the Bellevue (brunch)
11:30 am—1:45 pm
200 S. Broad St.
Enjoy beautiful views of the city while you dine at this fancy lunch buffet including festive favorites, live stations, salads, desserts hand-crafted holiday cocktails, and more. $48 for adults; $24 for kids under 12.
Aqimero at the Ritz-Carlton (lunch and dinner)
10 Avenue of the Arts
Few places are as beautifully decorated as the Ritz-Carlton during Christmas. Enjoy the beautiful decor as you dine on a delicious all-day buffet featuring a carving station, cold seafood display, salads, soup station and more. $95 per adult; $45 for kids 12 and under; kids 3 and under eat free.
Dim Sum House (lunch and dinner)
3939 Chestnut St.
Dim Sum House will be serving its full menu, plus special menu additions including the giant Norwegian Whole King Crab that feeds 6 to 12 people.
Urban Farmer at the Logan Hotel (brunch and dinner)
6:30 am—9 pm
1850 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Urban Farmer offers a special a la carte holiday menu with seasonal desserts (including an egg nog flavored Alaska toasted tableside!) and of course a craft Holiday Julep just for the grownups. The kids’ menu options are also available.
Parc (all day)
8 am–11 pm
227 S. 18th St.
We love Parc anytime, but we definitely appreciate that the kid-friendly French bistro on the Square is open on Christmas Day — and if it’s unseasonably warm, we can go play in the park afterwards.
Lead photograph by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.