How to Spend Christmas Day 2020 in Philly
Whether virtual or in-person, here's how to fill your day.
In a year where there are even fewer things open and going on, it’s especially tricky to find something to do this December 25. Even our old standby of going to the movies and getting Chinese food isn’t going to work this year! But we’re not ready to give up. Whether virtual or in-person, here’s how to fill your day.
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 still adventures to have! Here’s the best of what’s open (and virtual) 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. Be sure to make timed reservations in advance, as skating crowds are limited due to Covid restrictions.
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. It’s colorful and kitschy and pure Philly.
If you’re up for a drive to Kennett Square, you can stroll among a winter wonderland of half-a-million lights, and see Longwood Gardens illuminated for the season. Plus check out the whimsical Garden Railway for some added magic. Timed admission tickets are required and very limited.
Every year on December 25, the National Museum of Jewish American History hosts a day of family fun. This year, it goes virtual with live music online with returning favorite Alex Mitnick of the Emmy Award-wining Alex & the Kaleidoscope from his home studio. Plus, on-demand arts and crafts video lessons, self-paced virtual gallery tours, and more. This event is free, though donations to the museum are welcome.
From the Tchaikovsky score to the timeless story of holiday magic, this ballet is a classic for a reason. This year, the Pennsylvania Ballet presents a digital encore presentation of the company’s production from 2019. Christmas is the last day to view it, so if you haven’t gotten your sugar plum fix yet, there’s no better time!
A joyous, music-filled celebration of Dickens’ beloved classic recently filmed at People’s Light features performances of newly arranged 19th-century English carols, original music, and readings of excerpts from Dickens’ novella.
A Christmas tradition commemorating General George Washington’s game-changing decision to lead his troops into Trenton during the Revolutionary War, this popular reenactment had to be canceled this year due to Covid. But to keep the tradition alive, Washington Crossing Historic Park will debut a special pre-recorded crossing video on Christmas Day, free to watch on the park’s Facebook page or YouTube.
Even on Christmas day, some Philly restaurants are open and serving festive holiday meals. Some even have outdoor dining for the especially brave (reservations are strongly encouraged at all of these places), but even if you’re just doing takeout, it’s a nice way to do something special.
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 their new outdoor dining setup is especially cozy, so if you’re hoping to dine in person be sure to get a reservation. If it’s unseasonably warm, you can even go play in the park after your meal! Parc is also offering special holiday meal packages available for pick up to reheat at home (pre-order by December 20). If you miss the order date for that, they will have takeout and delivery on Christmas Day as well, just not that particular package.
1907 Chestnut St. and 116 S. 11th St.
These two restaurants are teaming up for one giant feast, including in-person dining on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! $45 per person includes soup, salad, choice of entrée, two sides, and dessert. There is also a $20 kids’ meal option. Delivery is available through DoorDash, or you can arrange to pick up your feast on December 24 or 25.
1930 Chestnut St. and 3939 Chestnut St.
Dim Sum House will be serving its full menu, plus a special new holiday feast for two or four people which includes a half Peking duck, ginger scallion lobster, and dim sum. They are open for takeout and delivery on December 24 and 25.
1850 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Urban Farmer offers a special holiday menu with choice of ribeye or ham, plus sides and choice of pie. You can pre-order for Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day, with curbside pickup available both days.
Photographs by Laura Swartz.