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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. Some spots have become an annual tradition while new, amazing displays are added each year. We love seeing them all.
We’ve put together this list of some of the best Christmas lights in the city and beyond—from the top attractions to spectacular displays at private homes.
Between November 18 and Christmas Eve, LOVE Park transforms into Christmas Village, a traditional German Christmas market complete with bratwurst, mulled wine, nutcrackers, and other German-inspired elements.
Over 120 vendors light up their chalets for the season—both with regular lights and with glowing Herrnhut (Moravian) stars. There is also a giant illuminated Christmas tree and the smaller Festival of Trees area where Santa often makes an appearance. 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.
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.
The show runs November 24 through December 31, 2023.
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. One of the best lights displays in Bucks County, they turn on November 17, 2023.
If you’re coming for the lights, don’t miss the entrants to the gingerbread house competition. Every year, they go way beyond the expected with multi-story creations and elaborate decor.
Every night from November 16, 2023 through January 10, 2024, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show lights up Franklin Square on the hour and half-hour from 5:00 to 9:00pm. The more than 100,000 lights are set to seasonal music, 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. (The show continues with limited hours and music January 11 through February 25, 2024.)
While you’re there, check out the other activities in the square, including Chilly Philly Mini Golf and the carousel. There is a tent with warm drinks and snacks that is a great place to escape the cold.
Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular
From November 17, 2023 through New Year’s Day, part of FDR Parks transforms into a winter wonderland. From an ice trail and ice slide to a seasonal pub and even a small market, 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. On Friday nights in December, you can even have a photo taken with Gritty.
Independence Blue Cross RiverRink
At Independence 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 plus light-strewn cozy cabins and fire pits that are available by reservation. Winterfest begins November 24, 2023.
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 and the partridge in a pear tree, 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 start November 18, 2023. Visiting on a weeknight is recommended to avoid some of the traffic and crowds at this popular display.
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.
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 17, 2023 to January 7, 2024.
Christmas on Kimball
One of the newer displays in the city, Christmas on Kimball enters its sixth 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.
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 25, 2023 and are on nightly 5-11pm. It is truly one worth visiting every year.
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.
Hundreds of creative creatures and more lights than you can count create a dazzling environment at the Philadelphia Zoo. The nighttime exhibit known as LumiNature combines larger-than-life illuminated animals with light shows, projections, and numerous other features. From giant jellyfish in an underwater seascape to a Christmas tree made entirely of bright flamingos, the 14 different zones of Philadelphia Zoo lights are packed with things to see.
Lots of food and warm beverages are available, too. We loved making our own s’mores at the fire pits while surrounded by the gorgeous lights. The event runs November 17, 2023 through January 6, 2024.
American Heritage Credit Union
One of the largest free light displays in the area, American Heritage Credit Union includes over 400,000 lights around its campus in Northeast Philadelphia. There are wreaths, 40-foot-tall trees, and more scattered around the property. From November 26, 2023 until New Year’s Day, guests can see the buildings and decorations.
This is a great place to come if you want to take photos or have small kids because it is less crowded than most other light displays, and it’s located off the street. There is ample free parking.
Stag & Doe is Chestnut Hill’s oldest tradition. Events begin on November 18 when Santa arrives by firetruck to turn on the lights at Woodmere Art Museum. Then on Small Business Saturday (November 25) and all the Wednesdays leading to Christmas, stores run special promotions and stay open late to welcome shoppers with extended hours.
The historic neighborhood is filled with holiday spirit and decorations. A brass quartet performs, and you may even see Santa. Just strolling up and down Germantown Avenue is beautiful thanks to all the lit storefronts, trees, and light poles.
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 24 though December 30, 2023. Night reservations book up well ahead of time.
Over one million lights decorate Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown. The family-oriented display–Wild Lights–includes everything from animal sculptures to light tunnels. In addition to all the illuminations, you’ll find live music, carousel rides, and character meet-and-greets with Anna and Elsa from Frozen on weekends.
Have your photo taken with Santa, make some s’mores, and keep an eye out for a few animals to see at night. Wild Lights is on select nights from November 17 through December 30, 2023. Save on tickets by booking in advance online.
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 5:00 pm every night. On Monday through Thursday nights, you can walk around the property to get an up-close look at their displays (weekends are drive-by only).
As a bonus, kids can leave their letters for Santa in a mailbox by the driveway. A visit here near Christmas is one of the most fun things to do in West Chester.
Chrostowskis’ in Hatboro
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.
Koziar’s Christmas Village
A bit further away, Koziar’s Christmas Village is a major holiday light display in Berks County. For over 75 years, this lovely attraction has brought joy to the thousands of people who come to see the over 1 million lights on the grounds. As you follow the path that snakes through the village, you’ll see light sculptures, trees, and buildings covered in Christmas lights.
Among the lights and inflatables, there are numerous winter and holiday scenes in miniature buildings. You can peer through the windows to see dolls ice skating, eating Christmas dinner, or attending Christmas Eve church service, among other activities.
This display is particularly well-suited for smaller kids and for adults who love vintage decorations. The path is great for strollers or wagons, and little ones can’t wander too far away. While beautiful, the village scenes and lights are mostly low-tech, suited for a family night out rather than taking sleek photos that will go viral on social media.