High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 22–23
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.
See this: Holiday Lights in Philly
Dr. Seuss’ ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas!’ The Musical
December 19—29 (Sensory-Friendly Performance: December 22, 11 am)
Merriam Theater, 250 S. Broad St.
Fantastical sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville, as Max the Dog narrates this children’s classic. With songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” from the animated television special, plus new songs, the play is sure to delight audiences of all ages. On the morning of December 22, there will be a special sensory-friendly performance with relaxed house rules, designated quiet areas, trained staff, and sensory kits (fidget toys, headphones, etc.).
Old City Holiday Market
Weekends through December 23, 11 am–7 pm
Parking lot outside The Clay Studio, 137-139 N. Second Street
Old City is hosting holiday events all season long, including this year’s new weekend pop-up market featuring local food, gifts, and holiday greenery. And be sure to stop by Fezziwig’s Sweet Shoppe for kettle corn and other seasonal sweet treats!
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!
George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’
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.
November 28, 2018 – January 27, 2019
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 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.
December 22—23, 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!
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.
Paper-Cutting “Scherenschnitte” at Museum of the American Revolution
December 22—23, 11 am—3 pm
101 South Third Street
Every weekend throughout December, sit down at the Activity Table to snip, shape and create items inspired by the winter seasons of the Revolution. Snip your way to shaping an ornament inspired by objects in the museum’s collection. Learn the art of paper cutting, brought to America by German immigrants.
DIY Science: Holiday Crafting
December 22, 10 am—2 pm
Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street
The Franklin Institute provides the tools and techniques needed to create handmade crafts just in time for the holidays. From chromatography ornaments to e-crafting magnets and paper circuit holiday cards, see how a sparkle of science and a touch of technology can make the most ordinary objects come to life!
SEPTA Celebrates the Holidays at Trolley Portal Gardens
December 22, 10 am—5 pm
40th St. and Baltimore Ave.
Kids ages 4-16 can ride for free (with paying adult) on a holiday trolley from 40th Street to Dilworth Park. The trolley will depart approximately every 30 minutes. SEPTA will also bring the first place and “people’s choice” winners of their Holiday Bus Decoration contest to Trolley Portal Gardens for visitors to explore and snap pictures with, weather permitting. From 2—4 pm, the University City Arts League will host a free painted coasters craft.
Read & Romp: What Do You Do With An Idea?
December 22, 10:30—11:30 am
National Liberty Museum, 321 Chestnut Street
Bring your little learner (age 2-6) for Read & Romp, an exciting hour of imaginative storytelling, interactive games, and creative crafts centered around a story of the week. This week, read What Do You Do With An Idea? and explore the power of imagination.
Family Ornament Decorating
December 22, 11 am—3 pm
The Center for Art in Wood, 141 N. Third Street
Come for free family fun at the ornament crafting table in the gallery.
Storytime at the Lodge
December 22, 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 22, 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.
Santa Comes to the Market
December 22, noon—4 pm
Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St.
Take your photo with Santa and enjoy rides around the market in a horse-drawn wagon.
Snowball Winter Dance Party at Walnut Street West Library
December 22, 2 pm
201 South 40th Street
Come dressed in your favorite sweater and dance the afternoon away at the Walnut Street West branch’s first ever Snowball Dance Party! If dancing isn’t your thing, try your hand at making snowflakes or cookie decorating. Snacks will be provided. All kids and teens welcome.
Gingerbread Workshop at Bredenbeck’s Bakery
December 22, 2—4 pm
8126 Germantown Ave.
Decorate your own gingerbread house with icing and candy! Call 215-247-7374 to reserve your spot.
A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season
December 22, 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.
Skate with Santa
December 22, 3—5 pm
Laura Sims Skate House, 63rd and Walnut streets
Come skate with Santa—the first 50 kids get a gift.
Christmas at Stephen Girard Park
December 22, 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!
Holiday Garden Railway Nights
December 22, 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 at Franklin Square
December 22, 5:30—7:30 pm
Sixth and Race streets
Santa will come for the last time this season to pose for pictures with kids at Franklin Square. Plus, enjoy the Electrical Spectacle lightshow and the rest of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival activities.
Jolly Jaunts at Philadelphia Museum of Art
December 23, 10:30 am—3 pm
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Decorative arts meets “Deck the Halls.” Create in the family art studio, and go on family-friendly art tours. Free after pay-what-you-wish admission.
Santa at Laurel Hill Gardens
December 23; 1—3 pm
8125 Germantown Avenue
Every Sunday, Santa will visit this Chestnut Hill spot for meet-and-greets and photos!
Visit with Santa at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
December 23, 2—5 pm
101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
Come to Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest to pose the whole family with Santa at the giant Visit Philly chair and in the cabins.
Sunday Matinee: Retro Christmas Shorts
December 23, 3—4:30 pm
South Street Cinema, 327 South Street
An afternoon of your favorite Christmas classic shorts (we’re talking Rudolph, Frosty, all of it!), animated specials and cartoons to get ready for the big day!
Photograph courtesy of the Kimmel Center.