Christmas is one of the best times of the year in Philadelphia. There are so many fun things to do for the holidays. Our favorite part of the season is checking out the Philadelphia Christmas lights. There are so many spots that families have made part of their annual traditions for years, and there are new displays, too. We love seeing them all.
We’ve put together this list of some of the best Christmas lights in the city in beyond—from the top attractions to spectacular displays at private homes.
After a challenging time, many things are beginning to return to normal in Philly this season. However, some events are still scaled back or may require reservations. Please check for any current restrictions before heading out.
Dilworth Park puts on a great free show at the holidays. From November 22, 2021 through New Year’s Day, the Deck the Hall Holiday Lights projection lights up the western side of City Hall.
Synchronized to sound effects, the free show is an engaging event that stops passersby in their tracks every year. From 5:00-9:00pm Sunday through Thursday and 5:00-11:00pm on Friday and Saturday, the show plays continually. Location: City Hall, 1 S. 15th Street
Between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve, LOVE Park transforms into a traditional German Christmas market complete with bratwurst, mulled wine, nutcrackers, and other German-inspired elements.
There are vendors whose chalets are lit for the season—both with regular lights and with glowing Herrnhut (Moravian) stars. Between the sights, music, and tastes of the market, the whole experience is pretty magical. It’s one of the most fun ways to spend Christmas in Philadelphia. Location: LOVE Park, 1501 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
For over 60 years, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show has been a tradition in Center City. The show takes place in the Grand Court, the main area of the Market Street department store. Thanks to the size of the display, the lights are visible from every floor, so you don’t have to crowd the main floor to see it.
During the show, over 100,000 multicolored LED lights dance to the music in the form of holiday characters. The Wanamaker organ—the largest pipe organ in the world—offers the soundtrack with songs like Frosty the Snowman, The Nutcracker, and Deck the Halls. Seeing the show is one of the best free things in the city at Christmas.
In 2021, the show is returning in-person every day at 10:30 am from December 1 through December 24 and at 11:30 am from December 26 through December 31, 2021. It is also available online. Location: Macy’s, 1300 Market St.
Peddler’s Village takes on a special glow during the holidays. As soon as the sun goes down, its 1 million lights come on. Across the shopping center, the trees, gazebo, and buildings are lit along with special displays for the season. They turn on November 19, 2021 and stay through January 12, 2022.
The gingerbread competition returns this year with 70 brilliant creations that are free to see from November 19, 2021 through January 8, 2022. Location: Peddler’s Village, Routes 202 & 263 in Lahaska
Every night from November 18 through New Year’s Eve, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show lights up Franklin Square on the hour and half-hour from 5:00 to 9:00pm on weekdays and 5:00 to 11:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The more than 100,000 lights are set to the music of the Philly POPS, which makes the show even more engaging.
During the 15-minute show, the lights dance and weave their way across the square. In the center is a 12-foot-tall, illuminated kite, a tribute to the square’s namesake Ben Franklin and his famous kite electricity experiment. The scene never disappoints.
Day and night, the square also hosts Chilly Philly Mini Golf on a course with holiday music and reproductions of famous city landmarks. A carousel is available, too, for just $3 a ride. Location: Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street
Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular
From November 26, 2021 to January 2, 2022, the grounds of the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks transform into a winter wonderland. From a synthetic ice-skating rink to a seasonal pub, there are lots of fun holiday experiences.
The centerpiece of the Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular is the lights. A massive, illuminated tunnel and hundreds of sculptures are lit with more than 1 million Christmas lights in a display you have to see to believe. Location: The Fairground at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Ave. in Oaks
Blue Cross RiverRink
At Blue Cross RiverRink’s Winterfest, you can be as active as you want to be. Lace up your skates and take a spin around the rink or hang out by the fire with a snack underneath thousands of sparkling lights. Either option is a great way to enjoy the winter activities.
Guests can enjoy the Christmas tree decked out in lights and the light-strewn cozy cabins that are available by reservation this year. Winterfest is on November 26, 2021 through March 6, 2022. It is open Monday-Thursday 1:00-11:00pm, Friday 1:00pm-1:00am, Saturday 11:00am-1:00am, and Sunday 11:00am-11:00pm. Reservations are encouraged. Location: Penn’s Landing, 101 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.
Shady Brook Farm
There’s nowhere quite like Shady Brook Farm at Christmas. This 100-year-old farm has over 3 million lights in its drive-thru Holiday Light Show. With tunnels and every Christmas character imaginable from dancing reindeer to the Grinch, a visit here is a highlight of the season in Bucks County. Tune to 90.7FM to enjoy holiday music along with the lights.
Visitors can drive their own vehicle or join a wagon ride to see the light trail. Visits with Santa, s’mores kits, snacks, and adult beverages are also available. The festivities run November 20, 2021 through January 30, 2022. Location: Shady Brook Farm, 931 Stony Hill Road in Yardley
Rittenhouse Square Park
Take a break from shopping to enjoy the lights of Rittenhouse Square Park. The trees are filled with white lights and floating orbs that give everything a magical glow. Don’t miss the beautiful Christmas tree at the center of it all. Location: Rittenhouse Square Park, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square
Boathouse Row Festival of Lights
Iconic Boathouse Row lights up in the colors of the season celebrating different traditions beginning on November 29th. The first display for Hanukkah continues through December 6th. December 20th through 25th features the colors of Christmas, and Kwanzaa colors shine December 26th through to January 1, 2022. Location: Best viewed from Fairmount Water Works or just across the river at the Fairmount Fish Ladder
Longwood Gardens is one of the most popular places in the area to see Christmas lights for good reason—it’s gorgeous. With thousands of poinsettias, flowers transformed into sculptures, and trees that look like they’re made of light, Longwood Gardens at Christmas has acres and acres of things to see.
Outside, 500,000 lights drip from branches and encircle tree trunks while sculptures light up along walkways. The frequent fountain shows with water and lights moving in time with the music are also a highlight. Visitors can make their way through a shimmering tunnel, warm up over a fire pit, and lose themselves in the elegant trees and creations of the heated Conservatory.
Timed tickets are required. The event runs November 19, 2021 to January 9, 2022. Location: 1001 Longwood Road in Kennett Square
Christmas on Kimball
One of the newer displays in the city, Christmas on Kimball enters its fourth year as a neighborhood favorite. With lights, projections, and lots of inflatables, it’s a great addition to any night looking at Christmas lights in Philadelphia. Location: 800 block of Kimball Street
Miracle on South 13th Street
Miracle on South 13th Street is pure joy. For years, this group of neighbors has coordinated to light up their block in epic style. With displays, decorations, and all things holiday kitsch, it’s one of the most fun places to go at Christmas. The lights come on November 27, 2021. Location: 1600 block of South 13th Street. Read our detailed article about Miracle on South 13th Street.
Smedley Christmas Lights Spectacular
For over 50 years, the Smedley Christmas Lights Spectacular has been a highlight of Christmas in South Philly. The whole street pitches in to illuminate the 2700 block of Smedley with lights, inflatables, and light sculptures.
The fun display is located on a grassy spot in the middle of the street, so visitors can drive by or walk around to see all the details up close. The lights are on from November 27, 2021 all the way through January 10, 2022. Location: 2700 S Smedley St, between 16th and 17th Streets and Moyamensing and Oregon Avenues
Greeby Street Christmas
If you’re in Northeast Philly, don’t miss the display by the enthusiastic neighbors who turn their Tacony block into a carnival of lights every holiday season through December 31. Each year since 1997, Greeby Street Christmas has gotten bigger and brighter.
An incredible 40+ homes participate in making sure Greeby Street is one of the most festive places around in December. In addition to spreading the holiday spirit through their lights, the neighbors also collect toys for Toys for Tots and offer occasional visits with Santa. Check their Facebook page for specifics. Location: 4200 block of Greeby St.
Chestnut Hill’s oldest tradition, Stag & Doe happens every Wednesday in December leading up to Christmas. The historic neighborhood is filled with holiday spirit. Stores stay open late to allow for extended shopping hours and restaurants offer seasonal treats. Just strolling up and down Germantown Avenue is beautiful thanks to all the lit storefronts, trees, and light poles.
Other special things are happening throughout the neighborhood. Each Wednesday night, a brass quartet performs, and horse-drawn carriage rides are available the evenings of December 8th and December 22nd. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Santa who will be strolling the Avenue, too. Location: Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill
Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum
The Holiday Garden Railway is a highlight of the season at Morris Arboretum. For one-quarter mile, the G-scale model train passes through tunnels and over bridges in a winter garden. Along the way, it snakes by miniature Philadelphia landmarks and town scenes lit with twinkling lights for Christmas.
See it during the day and select nights from November 26, 2021 through January 2, 2022. Location: 100 E. Northwestern Ave.
A yard full of light sculptures is complemented by animated figures and music at the Chrostowski home in Hatboro. From an ice fishing penguin to elves decorating a tree, there is lots to see. Location: 28 Saint Dunstans Road in Hatboro
West Chester Griswolds
Reindeer, snowmen, Snoopy, Mickey, and more grace the yard of the Plummer family in Chester County. The “West Chester Griswolds,” as the family calls itself, take a page from the National Lampoon movies with their elaborate display.
More than 130,000 lights cover their front yard, and the display even extends into their backyard. If you tune your radio to 87.9FM, you can see the lights moving in time with the music approximately every 15 minutes starting at 5:00pm every night. As a bonus, kids can leave their letters for Santa in a mailbox by the driveway. Location: 304 Dutton Mill Rd. in West Chester
What are your favorite holiday light displays in the Philadelphia area?