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Home / Community  / Things To Do This Week  / High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 15–16

High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 15–16

Happy weekend! Holiday fun abounds! Plan the perfect weekend with our picks.

Happy weekend! Holiday happenings abound, and we know just how to tackle them! Plan the perfect weekend with our picks.


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

All Weekend

See this: Holiday Lights in Philly

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

December 1—23, 11 am

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 Philadelphia Dance Academy’s 9th Annual Nutcracker

December 15, 2 pm and 5:30 pm; and December 16, noon and 3:30 pm

Mandell Theater, Drexel University, 3220 Chestnut St.


Each two-hour performance will feature students of the Philadelphia Youth Ballet, Philadelphia Dance Academy, and professional guest artists. Most mezzanine seats are $15 and orchestra seats are $20.

Art Star Market at Cherry Street Pier

December 15—16

121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard


This fantastic holiday market at the new Cherry Street Pier will feature 30 arts and crafts vendors, and will also include photos with Santa, a gift wrapping station, and make-and-takes.

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season

December 15 and 16, 3 pm

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.


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. Thomas Gospel Choir, and the Philly POPS Festival Chorus.

George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’

December 7—31

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. Come early for photos with the Sugarplum Fairy and the Mouse King in the lobby!


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.

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.

Breakfast with Santa at the Philadelphia Zoo

December 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23; seatings at 8:30 am and 9:30 am

3400 W. Girard Ave.


Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet with Santa Claus at the zoo! He’ll mingle with guests during breakfast for informal photos, then post for formal photos in the Atrium after breakfast.

Breakfast with Santa at Hard Rock Cafe

December 8, 9, 15, and 16; 8:30—10 am

1113 Market St.


Ticket includes breakfast buffet, storytime with Santa, and a picture with Santa. Hard Rock Cafe will also be accepting donations of new or lightly used winter gear, toiletries, and bedding for Prevention Point. Tickets available online.

Frankford Hall-idays

December 15—16, 10 am—3 pm

1210 Frankford Ave.


Frankford Hall gets festive the last three weekends before Christmas with decorations, snow machines, 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 and goodie bags!

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!

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.


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!

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.

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.


Please Touch Museum’s Polar Express Festival

December 15, 9—5 pm (Santa from noon—12:30 pm)

4231 Avenue of the Republic


Relive the magic of this popular children’s story and create special holiday memories to treasure forever. Santa will visit at noon for meet-and-greets in Hamilton Hall. There will also be storytimes, crafts, and more.

Polar Express Day at the Franklin Institute

December 15, 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.

Bill of Rights Day at National Constitution Center

December 15, 10 am—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, historical re-enactors, crafts, tours, and more.

Meet the Grinch at The Bourse

December 15, 10 am—4 pm

111 S. Independence Mall East


Come meet the Grinch and pose for a photo in support of Morris Animal Refuge. Each photo is $10 with all proceeds benefitting the animal shelter.

Living History: Hessian Takeover

December 15, 10 am—5 pm

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


Meet costumed living history interpreters portraying Hessians and visit a Museum educator in the galleries that highlight objects and stories from the winter battles of 1776.

Breakfast with Santa at DiSilvestro Playground

December 15, 10 am—noon

1701 S. 15th St.


This breakfast with Santa event is free and open to the public, no registration needed.

Family Cooking Class: The Perfect Omelet

December 15, 10 am

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.


Chef Chris Paul and nutritionist Leigh-Ann Charles-Paul teach a family cooking class for caregivers and their children ages 8-12. Pre-registration required online.

Little Chefs Kid’s Pizza Class at Pizzeria Vetri

December 15, 10 am

1939 Callowhill St.


Let your little chef get hands-on at Pizzeria Vetri at a pizza class guided by their head chefs. Kids will create their own mini pizzas and watch them bake while also enjoying “make your own pizza” coloring pages. A mini dough ball will be given to take home so they can bring their new skills into your home kitchen. Small bites will be available for snacking. Register at link in title.

Storytime Yoga for Preschoolers

December 15, 10:30 am

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.


Beth Heed from Oak and Acorn Wellness will host a free class filled with stories, yoga, and fun for 2- to 5-year-olds.

Be A Gingerbread Architect!

December 15, 10:30 am—12:30 pm and 1:30—3:30 pm

Center / Architecture + Design, 1218 Arch St.


Get creative and become a gingerbread architect using royal icing, colorful candy, and glittery sugars. 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.

Free Discovery Day and Holiday Bazaar

December 15, 11 am—3 pm

The Discovery Center, 3401 Reservoir Drive


Stop by and shop for holiday gifts, or spend some time and make your own! Philadelphia Outward Bound School will provide supplies for nature-based holiday cards and DIY Reindeer Cocoa Cones. Sip hot chocolate after taking a walk along the reservoir trail or start a scavenger hunt to discover the unique wildlife that visits The Discovery Center.

Brunch with Santa on the Moshulu

December 15, 11 am—2:30 pm

Penn’s Landing, 401 S. Columbus Blvd.


Bring your letter to Santa and pose for a picture. $25 for kids age 2 – 12 includes brunch, Christmas cookies, hot cocoa, and activities. The regular brunch menu is available for adults. Reservations are suggested.

Barry’s Buns Gingerbread Workshop

December 15, 11 am—12:30 pm

The Bourse Food Hall, 111 S. Independence Mall East


Workshop for parent and child includes all materials and instruction. Call 267-521-2867 to make your reservation.

‘The Nutcracker’ at Settlement Music School

December 15, 11 am—noon

3745 Clarendon Avenue


Celebrate the holiday season with Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the Kardon-Northeast Branch of Settlement Music School.

Brunch with Santa at The Olde Bar

December 15, 11:30 am—2:30 pm

125 Walnut St.


Dine on waffles, a milk and cookie bar, and even a create-your-own hot chocolate station. Santa will arrive at noon and will be making rounds for photos and handing out treats. Santa will also have a slot for posed lap photos with the kids. Tickets available online.

Holiday Crafts with Santa and His Elf

December 15, 11 am—3 pm

UPS Store, 6024 Ridge Avenue


Santa and his guitar-playing elf help decorate a holiday ornament or picture frame at the UPS Store in Roxborough.

Philadelphia Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Kids’ Spectacular’

December 15, 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 special appearances by Santa Claus and the new mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, Gritty!

Storytime at the Lodge

December 15, 11:30 am—12:30 pm

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.


Listen, Learn and Play will lead interactive activities and music, along with some stories. Light snacks and hot chocolate will be provided for the kids.

Rittenhouse Hotel Teddy Bear Tea

Rittenhouse Hotel’s Mary Cassatt Tea Room, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
December 15, seatings start at 11:30 am


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 at the table! Forgot to bring your teddy bear? The hotel will provide a teddy bear guest for every child as a take-home gift. Call Lacroix for reservations: 215-790-2533. $65 per person.

Free Kids’ Arts and Craft Workshop

December 15, noon—4 pm

Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St.


Kids will make their own snow globes with Fleisher Art Memorial.

Seafarin’ Saturday

December 15, 1:30—3:30 pm

Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Blvd.


Create your own pirate sword and pirate hook to learn facts about real pirates and piracy in Philadelphia.

Tea with the Sugarplum Fairy

December 15, 2 pm (ballet at noon)

Academy of Music Ballroom, 240 S. Broad St.


This very special tea hosted by the Pennsylvania Ballet features Nutcracker character appearances, crafts and cookie decorating, and more surprises (last year an actual monkey showed up, so you never know what can happen). You can even add on ballet tickets for the day. The December 8 event is already sold out, so be sure to call 215-587-6921 to reserve your spot.

Gingerbread Workshop at Ritz-Carlton

December 15, 2—4 pm

10 Avenue of the Arts


Children and adults come together to create confectionery masterpieces, plus a surprise special visit from Santa Claus. Pre-registration required: call 215.523.8261 or email phila.specialevents@ritzcarlton.com for details.

‘The Nutcracker’ at Settlement Music School

December 15, 3—4 pm

416 Queen Street


Celebrate the holiday season with Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch of Settlement Music School.

Holiday Garden Railway Nights

December 15, 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.

Santa (and Santa Paws) at Franklin Square

December 15, 5:30—7:30 pm

Sixth and Race streets


Santa will pose for pictures with kids and pets at Franklin Square! Not only that, PAFA students will be available to draw free holiday pet portraits that night.


Family Brunch with the Beatles (and Santa)

December 16, 10:30 am

Paris Bistro, 8235 Germantown Ave.


Paris Bistro hosts a family-friendly musical brunch with Beatles music performed by Shady Groove. Dancing is welcome. Santa will arrive to hear kids’ holiday wishes. $15, plus cost of food. Reservations encouraged.

Superheroes’ Brunch

December 16, 11 am—4 pm

Mad Rex, 1000 Frankford Avenue


Each superhero kid will receive a cape and mask upon entry and a gift bag upon departure. Plus DJ music, photobooth, and more. Superhero costumes are strongly encouraged.

Brunch with Santa at City Tap

December 16, 11 am—3 pm

3925 Walnut St., Fl. 2


A $5 ticket acts as a donation to the Valley Youth House.  Kids under 10 eat free. The day includes pictures with Santa, holiday movies, Santa pancake making station, and a balloon artist. Reservations are highly recommended: email rbaker@table95.com.

Tuba Christmas

December 16, 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.

Mural Arts Philadelphia Paint Day

December 16, noon—3 pm

Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St.


Help paint a new mural by artist Jon Laidacker, to be installed inside of Jefferson Station.

Meet the Grinch at One Liberty Observation Deck

December 16, 2—4 pm

1650 Market St.


Visitors young and old are welcome to come say hello to the grumpy green man, plus there will be a make-and-take craft table where kids can design their own ornaments. Included with regular admission.

PAFA Family Art Academy

December 16, 2—4 pm

118-128 N. Broad St.


In this free family afternoon, celebrate the holiday season by creating your own light-filled orb inspired by Rina Banerjee’s Make Me a Summary of the World.

Polar Express Party

December 16, 2 pm

Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Avenue


A reading of the classic Polar Express and The Night Before Christmas, a carol sing-a-long, refreshments, and a visit with Santa! This is a ticketed event. Get your free ticket from the Children’s Department 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the program.

East Passyunk Pop-Up Choir

December 16, 2—3 pm

The Singing Fountain, East Passyunk Avenue


Join in a Handel’s Messiah chorus on East Passyunk Avenue, or simply come and watch as a spectator. Participation by the general public is open and encouraged. No experience necessary, free to participate.

A Dream Is a Wish: Princess Holiday Concert

December 16, 3 pm and 6 pm (Sensory-Friendly Performance at 6 pm)

Suzanne Roberts Theatre, 480 S. Broad St.


This sing-along concert features over 15 holiday and Disney movie songs, sung by some of your favorite princesses! Children are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite prince or princess. After the show, there will be a meet-and-greet reception with holiday cookies, apple cider, and photo opportunities. The 6 pm show will be a relaxed performance that welcomes children with autism or sensory or emotional sensitivities.

‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ at South Street Cinema

December 16, 3 pm

327 South Street


A true holiday classic on the big screen!

‘The Nutcracker’ at Settlement Music School

December 16, 3—4 pm

416 Queen Street


Celebrate the holiday season with Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the Mary Louise Curtis Branch of Settlement Music School.

Christmas at Stephen Girard Park

December 16, 4—7 pm

2101 W. Shunk St.


Carriage rides, tree lighting, Santa, DJ, refreshments, hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas music, and more. And don’t forget to bring a toy for the Toys for Tots collection!


Photograph by Kory Aversa.

Contributing Writer