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High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 21–22

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!

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.

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!

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 21–22, 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.

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 closes for good next week, so catch it on its final 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!

Brunch with Santa at City Tap

December 21 and 22, 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.

Saturday

Butterfly Light Festival

December 21, 10 am—5 pm

Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, 8046 Frankford Avenue

 

The Insectarium hosts an all day, all ages festival filled with live tropical butterflies, exotic animals, art, face painting, crafts, and much more. Food and adult beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets available online. Kids age 2 and under are free.

Merry Craftmas at Cub Social

December 21, 10 am

2532 S. 13th St.

 

Join Amanda for some sweet merry fun making gingerbread houses and enjoying indoor play. Tickets available online.

Nimble Crafters at Kith + Kin

December 21, 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 21, 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.

Kids’ Holiday Centerpiece Workshop

December 21, 10:30 am—noon

Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue

 

Kids ages 6-12 will design a beautiful fresh flower and evergreen centerpiece to use on your family’s holiday table or to give as a gift. To make it extra special you can add a candle, pine cones, ribbons, and flowers. Pre-register online, and bring a box to take home your creation.

ZoomDance Drop-In

December 21, 10:30—11:30 am

Beehive at the Bok, Suite B03, 1901 S. Ninth Street

 

Read a story, and then explore the movement and adventures of the characters. Kids have the opportunity to show off their favorite moves, invent characters, and try lots of new movement ideas. This class is geared toward kids 1.5 – 3 years old, and parents get to participate. Book online.

Schuylkill Saturday: Nature Exploration for Families

December 21, 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.

Winter Wonderland at Quartermaster Plaza

December 21, 11 am–3 pm

W. Oregon Ave. and S. 23rd St.

 

An afternoon of family-friendly entertainment, live music, cozy hot chocolate, and more. Have a festive photo taken in our giant inflatable snow globe, and enjoy the incredible sounds of The Cat’s Pajamas musical group, a wild, wonderful world of stories, puppets, costumes, and musical comedy for all ages!

Santa at Reading Terminal Market

December 21, 11 am–3 pm

51 N. 12th St.

 

Visit Santa and get your picture taken with him in Piano Court!

Southeast by Southeast Holiday Sale

December 21, 11 am–3 pm

Bok Studios, 1901 S. Ninth St.

 

Join the Porch Light program and Southeast by Southeast for a multicultural arts and crafts sale featuring handmade crafts and textiles from all over the city, made by people all over the world. Give an intricate weaving or piece of jewelry as a gift this year, knowing that the sale directly benefited Philadelphia’s immigrant and refugee communities. The sale is cash-only, and proceeds go directly to the vendors.

Rittenhouse Hotel Teddy Bear Tea

December 21; seatings at 11:15 am and 3 pm

Rittenhouse Hotel’s Mary Cassatt Tea Room, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square

 

The gorgeous Mary Cassatt Tea Room is always a nice choice for a special tea, but during the holidays they hold Teddy Bear Tea, with a special menu of food and treats your kids will love. 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 (named Ritty) for every child as a take-home gift. Call Lacroix for reservations: 215-790-2533.

Storytime at the Lodge

December 21, 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. Stick around afterward for a Santa skate!

Santa Skate at Blue Cross RiverRink

December 21, 12:30-2:30 pm

101 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Hit the ice with Santa and get some very unique photos!

Santa and Friends at Liberty Place

December 21, 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 Frozen‘s Elsa and Olaf, enjoy roaming carolers, face painting, and more.

Nutcracker Dance Class

December 21, 1 pm

Falls of Schuylkill Library, 3501 Midvale Ave.

 

In this beginner’s ballet class, school-age kids will learn the story of The Nutcracker and part of the famous Russian Trepak dance. Space may be limited.

Winter Carnival at the Library

December 21, 1 pm

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

 

Play a life-sized version of Candyland, make a winter craft, and enjoy some hot cocoa. For children ages 11 and under and their families.

Brunch with St. Nick (Elmi) at Royal Boucherie

December 21, 1—3 pm

52 S. Second St.

 

Top Chef winner Chef Nicholas Elmi will be donning his finest Santa gear for photos with the kids and those young at heart! Make reservations to be part of this special Santa interaction.

Homemade Cards and Giftwrapping at Continental Midtown

December 21, 1—3 pm

Continental Midtown, 1801 Chestnut St.

 

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

PopUpPlay Gift Making Workshop

December 21, 1—4 pm

Blue Cross RiverRink, 101 S. Columbus Blvd.

 

Join the PopUpPlay team for a holiday gift-making bonanza. Families can choose from a menu of make-and-take gift options from $5 to $15 available for purchase on-site. Plus, create your own wrapping paper and/or gift bags to wrap your holiday gift. If you come early, you can skate with Santa!

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Live On Stage

December 21, 1:30 pm and 5 pm

Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St.

 

Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the whole Peanuts gang as they produce their own Christmas play and ultimately learn the true meaning of the season. The play is adapted from the classic television special and features the music of Vince Guaraldi, as well as a concert of beloved holiday carols performed by the Peanuts characters.

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season

December 21, 3 pm

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.

Celebrate Winter Solstice

December 21, 3 pm

Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Ave.

 

Celebrate the shortest day of the year with stories, crafts, songs, and refreshments. For school-age children. Children ages 7 and under must be accompanied by an adult caregiver.

Science Workshop: Make your own Candle

December 21, 3:30—4:30 pm

Please Touch Museum, 4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

Celebrate the holiday season by creating your own candle with in the Creative Arts Studio. Science Workshops cost an additional $5 for general admission or an additional $3 for Members. Sign up at the admissions desk.

School of Rock Holiday Open Jam

December 21, 4—7 pm

421 N. Seventh Street

 

Enjoy holiday songs performed by students and staff; plus photos with Rockin’ Santa, ugly sweater contest, and more!

Holidays at East Market

December 21, 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, and he’ll even pose with your dogs! 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.

The Glorious Sound of Christmas

December 21, 7 pm

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

 

The Glorious Sound of Christmas has been a family-friendly Philadelphia Orchestra tradition since the Philadelphians and Eugene Ormandy released the now-iconic recording in 1962! Tickets available online.

Sunday

Family Sunday: Feast Your Eyes

December 22, 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.

Monthly Birthday Party at Splash Lab Arts

December 22, 10:30 am—12:30 pm

3510 Scotts Ln.

 

Splash Lab hosts a monthly party for birthday boys and birthday girls that are turning a new year old! No need to have a big private party when you can show up for pizza, drinks and cupcakes, and an art activity! Drop-in class rates apply.

Magical Chanukah Party

December 22, 10:45 am-12:30 pm

KleinLife, 10100 Jamison Ave.

 

Celebrate Chanukah and enjoy a fun magic show by Chad Juros. Children will also enjoy lighting the menorah, singing songs and dancing, and cookies and gifts! $5 per person.

Cub Social Winterfest Play Day

December 22, 11 am—3 pm

2532 S. 13th St.

 

Music, refreshments, activities, and more. Free with regular drop-in admission; free for members.

Celebrate Hanukkah with Lil’ Yenta’s Vegan Bakery

December 22, noon—4 pm

V Marks the Shop, 1515 McKean St.

 

Celebrate with sugar cookie decorating, dreidel games with prizes, storytelling, arts and crafts, and latkes for sale.

Sensory Friendly Hanukkah Celebration at NMAJH

December 22, 1-3 pm

National Museum of American Jewish History,

 

Enjoy a custom-designed self-guided sensory-friendly experience. Experience a modified, sensory-friendly version of the museum’s core exhibits and the special exhibition, “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” featuring lowered sounds, a quiet area to use as a cool-down space, sensory-friendly backpacks, and more. Three therapy dogs and an ASL interpreter will also be on site as well.

Kwanzaa Storytime at Please Touch Museum

December 22, 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm

4231 Avenue of the Republic

 

Get cozy and listen as Momma Sandi uses timeless folktales and engaging histories to build character, bridge differences, and blend communities.

Polar Express Party

December 22, 2 pm

Northeast Regional Library, 2228 Cottman Ave.

 

A reading of the classics Polar Express and The Night Before Christmas, a carol sing-along, refreshments, and a visit with a special visitor! This is a ticketed event; get your free ticket from the Children’s Department 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the program.

Drag Queen Story Time at Craft Hall

December 22, 3—4 pm

901 N. Delaware Ave.

 

Direct from Mister John’s Music, local drag superstar, Maria TopCatt visits our favorite gathering spot Craft Hall to present an assortment of children’s books that focus on gender, social-emotional growth, diversity, and acceptance.  Plus the diva-of-the-week, an opportunity for children to work the magical light-up runway, lip-sync performances, and more!

Menorah Lighting at Betsy Ross House

December 22, 4:30 pm

239 Arch St.

 

Join the Betsy Ross House and Old City Jewish Arts Center for the community menorah lighting celebrating the first night of Hanukkah. Enjoy beverages and traditional foods like latkes and donuts in the courtyard.

Chanukah on the Avenue

December 22, 5 pm

The Singing Fountain, East Passyunk Ave.

 

Join neighbors and the South Philadelphia Shtiebel for family-friendly crafts, sing-alongs, and more. At 6 pm, stay for the menorah lighting.

Free Gospel Concert at the Kimmel Center

December 22, 6 pm

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.

 

St. Thomas Gospel Choir from The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas gives a free holiday performance on the Kimmel Center’s Plaza stage.

 

 

 

Photograph by Laura Swartz.

Editor | @pompomflipflop | Email tips to laura@familyfocus.org

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