Macy’s Christmas Light Show has been a Philadelphia holiday tradition since 1955. Photo: Macy’s.
There’s no better place to celebrate the Christmas season than Center City Philadelphia. This December, the area continues its long tradition of Christmas attractions that delight kids and adults alike. These fun and festive holiday celebrations are free to the public, and available anytime throughout the month of December. So bring the whole family to Center City this year to experience the sights and sounds of the holidays at one of these convenient locations.
Christmas Light Show, Dickens Village, and Holiday Windows
Macy’s, 1300 Market St.
Macy’s gets into the Christmas spirit with three popular holiday attractions. The Christmas Light Show is a tradition that goes back nearly 60 years. Over 100,000 LED lights shine, dazzle, and dance to holiday music and famous stories like “The Nutcracker,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Frosty the Snowman.” The Magic Christmas Tree is decorated with over 34,000 synchronized lights that shine in front of the Wanamaker Organ as it plays along to your favorite holiday tunes. Shows run every hour on the hour, now through December 31.
On Macy’s third floor you can experience the Dickens Village, a meticulously detailed recreation of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.” The more than 6,000-square-foot display features more than 100 animatronic figures reenacting 26 of the story’s most beloved scenes, including Scrooge’s humbling visits from the three spirits. The Village runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. now through December 31.
In the 1870s, Macy’s was the first store to feature holiday windows to celebrate the season. The tradition has continued ever since with new stunning animated displays appearing every year. This year’s displays feature miniature versions of the Christmas Light Show and Dickens Village, as well as tributes to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. See the Macy’s holiday windows during store hours now through December 31.
Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Filbert streets
Have fun with the kids or relive your own childhood with Reading Terminal Market’s Holiday Railroad. This 500-square-foot model railroad display features more than a third of a mile of track and twelve working train lines. Miniature figures surround the track, depicting holiday scenes set in Center City, a Christmas Village, and a snow-covered countryside. You and your family can interact with the trains by pressing buttons to trigger lights and sounds, switch tracks, and move the figures. The Holiday Railroad runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. now through December 31.
Comcast Center, 17th Street & John F. Kennedy Blvd.
The Comcast Experience Video Wall at the Comcast Center is a unique larger-than-life screen which has been projecting the Holiday Spectacular in the building’s lobby for five years. This year’s show is the “Snowman Symphony,” and it features scenes from the Pennsylvania Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker,” a riveting sleigh ride through the Pennsylvania countryside, and a swing dance performance by Broadway stars. Kids receive a free “Snowman Symphony” temporary tattoo good for one treat at Termini Brothers Bakery or Di Bruno Bros. downstairs in The Market & Shops. The Holiday Spectacular runs every hour on the hour now through New Year’s Day.
December in Center City is filled with lights, laughter, and joy. Center City’s holiday attractions are a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays with the whole family. Take a break from holiday shopping and visit one of these free attractions before December is over.
-Jen Heller Meservey