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Home / Community  / Things To Do This Week  / High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 8–9

High Five! Philly Family-Friendly Weekend Events: December 8–9

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

The Snow Queen

December 8, 10 am and 2 pm; December 9, 1 pm

Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St.


Based on the beloved fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, Enchantment Theatre Company uses life-size puppets, expressive masks, original music, and imaginative effects to tell the story of a brave young girl and the power of friendship.

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’

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. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so reserve your tickets early. Members get discounted tickets—and Philly Family Supporting Members get discounted zoo membership!

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.

Lunch with Santa Cruises on the Spirit of Philadelphia

December 8, noon—2 pm; December 9, 1—3 pm

Penn’s Landing, 401 S. Columbus Blvd.


Take a two-hour cruise along the Delaware River with Santa! Everyone will love holiday music, kid-friendly treats, and on board entertainment to get you in the holiday spirit. Plus, a lunch buffet with plenty of kids’ options. Reservations required.

Frankford Hall-idays

December 8—9, 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!

History in the Making: Seashell Ornament Activity

December 8—9, 10 am—3 pm

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


Every weekend throughout December, sit down at our Activity Table to snip, shape and create items inspired by the winter seasons of the Revolution. This weekend, make an ornament inspired by nautical details. Stick around Sunday for another seashell-themed craft with The Clay Studio (see Sunday, below).

The Holidays at Greensgrow Farms

December 8–9, 10 am—4 pm

2501 E. Cumberland St.


Get your tree or holiday greens and check out gifts from local makers, too. There will also be live music and a visit from Santa on Sunday!

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.


Fishtown Freeze

December 8

Various locations throughout Fishtown


Over 25 custom ice sculptures hand carved by Ice Sculpture Philly will be located at Fishtown area businesses along Frankford, Front, and Girard; along with four live ice carves throughout the neighborhood (see website for locations). The day will be even more festive with shopping specials, music, Santa photos at Frankford Hall, Winterfest at PlayArts (see below), and more.

PlayArts Winterfest

December 8, 9 am—3 pm

1241 N. Front St.


As a stop on Fishtown Freeze, PlayArts will be getting festive with hot cocoa in the café, a special gingerbread workshop (pre-register online), and mini photo sessions (pre-register online).

Smith Playground Winter Wonderland

December 8, 10 am—noon

3500 Reservoir Dr.


Smith’s annual winter festivities include a petting zoo, s’mores roasting, an ice carving demonstration, messy arts, and live music by Alex & the Kaleidoscope. Tickets available online.

Neighbor’s Day at the Historic Houses of Fairmount Park

December 8, 10 am—4 pm

Fairmount Park


Five historic Fairmount mansions open their doors for the day with festive decorations and local talent providing live music all day. Discounted passes available for $30, which includes entry to all 5 participating houses as well as house-to-house transportation via the Holiday Houses Loop. Free for kids 12 and under.

Design + Code Day at the Franklin Institute

December 8, 10 am—3 pm

222 N. 20th St.


Explore and engage with the latest in coding, game design, computer modeling, and 3D printing and see the latest in emerging technologies through demonstrations and activities. Philly Game Mechanics will guide interactive coding demonstrations.

Read & Romp at National Liberty Museum

December 8, 10:30–11:30 am

321 Chestnut St.


The museum kicks off their new series for kids ages 2-6 including an exciting hour of imaginative storytelling, interactive games, and creative crafts in the museum’s galleries. This week, explore friendship with Nine Little Jellybeans… Learn to Get Along by Willie Wood, inspired the museum’s famous “Jellybean People” exhibit.  Snacks and museum admission are included.

Macy’s Family Fun Day – ‘Creating Captain Kwanzaa!’

December 8, 11 am—3 pm

African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch St.


The museum will host The East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC). Bring Captain Kwanzaa to life and learn about the principles of this special holiday. Kids can learn and practice the basics of comic book writing. Register online to claim your free ticket.

Free PNC Grow Up Great Concert

December 8, 11 am—noon

Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad St.


This free monthly concert for little ones teaches basics of jazz and musical theater in an interactive hour of music and movement.

Tacony Library Winterfest

December 8, 11 am—3 pm

6742 Torresdale Ave.


Enjoy holiday food, music, crafts, historic trolley tours, a visit from Santa, and fun for the whole family.


December 8, 11 am—5 pm

Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St.


This indoor market includes unique gifts by artists and craft vendors, as well as a bottomless tumbler fundraiser with ceramic artist Daniel Teran, a special pop-up market with Fleisher’s Teen Lounge and adult students, food, festive tunes, and a portrait booth. Admission is free, but after you finish your shopping, you can stay for one of three DIY gift-making workshops for $40.

Crafty Balboa

December 8

BOK, 1901 S. Ninth St.


Crafty Balboa’s Holiday Makers Market will showcase over 100 artists and makers, and feature one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list.

South Philly Handmade Brigade

December 8, 11 am—6 pm

1241 Carpenter St.


This shopping event features affordable and original artwork and gifts by local artists. Plus, you can meet the local artists in their studios!

Brunch with Santa at the Mummers Museum

December 8, 11 am—2 pm

1100 S. Second St.


Enjoy a fun holiday meal with Santa! $12 for adults, $10 for kids.

Brunch with Santa on the Moshulu

December 8, 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 Annual Gingerbread Workshop

December 8, 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.

Storytime at the Lodge

December 8, 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.

Kids Arts and Crafts Workshop with Fleisher Art Memorial

December 8, noon—4 pm

Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St.


Kids will learn block printing and make holiday cards with Fleisher Art Memorial.

Winter Solstice Festival

December 8, 1—5 pm

Penn Museum, 3260 South St.


Celebrate the season with live performances, art making, storytelling, a winter market, tours, food, and workshops for all ages.

Awbury Arboretum Holiday Greens Sale

December 8, 1—4 pm

Francis Cope House, 1 Awbury Rd.


Enjoy free light refreshments, holiday music, marshmallow roasting around the fire pit, cookie decorating, and more as you shop for your holiday greens and gifts.

Holiday Cookie Decorating at Urban Farmer

December 8, 2 pm

1850 Benjamin Franklin Parkway


Learn cookie decorating, and take home sweets and recipes. There will be a light reception after the class. Email gabriella.pasquini@sagerestaurantgroup.com to register.

Gingerbread Workshop at Ritz-Carlton

December 8, 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.

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season

December 8, 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.

Army-Navy Game

December 8, 3 pm

Lincoln Financial Field, 1 Lincoln Financial Field Way


One of the greatest college football rivalries, it’s the Black Knights versus the Midshipmen in this annual showdown.

Holiday Garden Railway Nights

December 8, 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.

Parade of Lights at Independence Seaport Museum

December 8, 1—6:30 pm (Santa arrive at 2 pm)

211 S. Columbus Blvd.


A parade of local working boats will be illuminated in holiday lights for all to see on the Delaware River at 5:30 pm, and you can watch from the museum’s terrace with warm beverages and food for sale at Holiday Hut. Santa’s Workshop on the Water will be merry and bright with tons of activities and handmade crafts (for an extra $5, make a gingerbread boat!). Santa and Jingle Jack will be spreading holiday cheer around the museum throughout the day—be on the lookout to snap a photo when Santa arrives at 2 pm. Tickets available online.

Sound of Music’ Sing-A-Long

December 8, 4:30—8 pm

Settlement Music School, 6128 Germantown Ave.


Featuring a special performance by Germantown’s SATB High School Choir, pre-film activities will include fun movie trivia and a guided sing-a-long of favorite songs such as “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss,” and “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” Feel free to bring blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags for the kids, along with your favorite snacks. Popcorn and drinks will be provided! $5 at the door.

Powers Park Tree Lighting Celebration

December 8, 4:30—5 pm

Almond and Ann streets


The tree lighting will take place at 5 pm, along with a visit from Santa with photo ops. Before the lighting, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies.

Santa in Franklin Square

December 8, 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 on Saturday nights. 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. Kids are also invited to bring their letters to Santa for the special Santa Mailbox in the square for days he’s not there in person.


Hanukkah Sing-Along With Rodeph Shalom at PlayArts

December 9, 10–11 am

1241 N.Front St.


Join the celebration, sing some favorite holiday songs, and eat special treats with Rabbi Eli Freedman. The sing-along is free, but regular rates apply to the play space. RSVP to Alicia Broudy.

Breakfast with Santa at Momo’s Treehouse

December 9, 10 am—noon

2207 South St.


Momo’s is hosting brunch with Santa! Tickets are required in advance.

West Craft Fest

December 9, 10 am–4 pm

The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St.


Find unique holiday gifts handmade by dozens of local makers and artists. This annual West Philly fair has a great selection of accessories, jewelry, art, toys, and more.

Jolly Jaunts at Philadelphia Museum of Art

December 9, 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.

Princess Brunch at Mad Rex

December 9, 11 am—4 pm

1000 Frankford Avenue


Each princess will receive a tiara upon entry and a gift bag upon their departure. The day will also include tea, live entertainment, a photo booth, and more. Mocktails for the kiddies and Specialty Concoctions for the adults will be served as well. Princess costumes are strongly encouraged!

‘Elf’ at PFS Roxy

December 9, 11 am

2023 Sansom St.


See this highly-quotable Will Ferrell holiday classic on the big screen! Tickets available online.

Brunch with Santa at Chick’s

December 9, 11 am—3 pm

1805 Washington Ave.


Chick’s will have a special kids’ menu, and an opportunity to take a picture with Santa for a $10 donation to CHOP.

Tour SEPTA’s Holiday Buses

December 9, 11:30 am—12:30 pm

Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St. (Filbert Street side)


SEPTA’s decked-out holiday buses will be parked on the Filbert Street side of the market to explore!

PECO Family Jams: Quilled Ornaments

December 9, noon—4 pm

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South St.


Learn the technique of quilling and create objects suitable as gifts and decoration. There will also be family-friendly tours of PMG at 1 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm.

Gingerbread House Workshop at Davio’s

December 9, noon—3 pm and 5—8 pm

111 S. 17th Street


Davio’s pastry chef Olisha Sealy will lead the demonstration and workshop, teaching children how to build personalized gingerbread houses fit for the North Pole. The event is $65 per child and adult admission is $50 (excluding tax and gratuity). Each participating child will receive one gingerbread house to decorate with decorations, a buffet lunch, and the chance to meet Santa himself. Call 215-563-4810 to register.

Victorian Card Making at Woodmere Art Museum

December 9, 1—3 pm

9201 Germantown Ave.


Free (with admission) workshop for kids ages 3-5 with an adult to create unique designs and holiday messages.

PAFA Family Art Academy: Dance to Draw

December 9, 2—4 pm

118-128 N. Broad St.


In this free family afternoon, experience the classical tradition of Bolshoi ballet in a dazzling performance by the Academy of International Ballet and learn the techniques of improvisational drawing.

Make a Seashell Ice Cream Bowl

December 9, 2—4 pm

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


Make a seashell ice cream bowl using Revolutionary techniques, in partnership with The Clay Studio. This workshop is appropriate for adults and children ages 6 and older. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Bowls will be fired off-site at the Clay Studio and participants will be contacted within 2-4 weeks when their works are ready for pick-up at the Clay Studio (in Northern Liberties).

Sundays on Stage: Eda Ne Kakati (From the Past to the Present)

December 9, 2 pm (doors at 1:30 pm)

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.


Ssuuna is a dancer, drummer, singer, songwriter, and reggae artist from Uganda with a wide range of performance experience. In this free interactive show, you will learn a song in Luganda, the language of Uganda.

December Holidays! A Musical Greeting Card

December 9, 3 pm

Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St.


Beautiful harmonies and sing-alongs, plus a make your own holiday card craft for children. Card stock, crayons and markers, and music paper provided—all you need is to bring your voice.

Fitler Square Tree Lighting

December 9, 5 pm

Pine Street, between 23rd and 24th streets


Santa will arrive with treats for children, while carols are sung by The Philadelphia School singers. Santa’s helpers will have hot chocolate and cider for all, and the tree will be lit by the fountain.



Photograph by Alexander Iziliaev courtesy of the Pennsylvania Ballet.


Contributing Writer