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10 Festive Places Near Philly to Visit on a Holiday Road Trip

philly holiday road trip

Getty Images / Elizabeth Sallee Bauer

Philly has its fair share of holiday spirit—a visit to LOVE Park or 13th Street can confirm just that—but this year, start a new holiday tradition by piling in the car, hitting the road, and visiting one of these holiday attractions in the greater Philadelphia area. Whether you’re looking for a dazzling lights show, outdoor skating rink or a special holiday treat, this list has got you covered. And remember, while singing Christmas carols during the ride is optional, following local health guidelines is not. Remember to mask up and follow social distancing guidelines when you go.

Cairnwood Estate

Take a private tour of Cairnwood Estate this season and see three floors of dazzling decorations designed by professional florists. Built in 1895, the Beaux Arts-style chateau has retained its Gilded Age glamour and decorators still put up a two-story Christmas tree in the spot where one stood more than 100 years ago.

Elmwood Zoo

Expect live music, animal encounters, and of course lots of lights at Elmwood Zoo’s annual Wild Lights celebration. The carousel will be spinning, the hot chocolate warming, and Santa waving during the Christmas extravaganza, running from November 20 through December 30. Reserve tickets in advance to secure your spot.

Fegley’s Allentown Brew Works

Journey out to Lehigh Valley to taste-test “Rude Elf’s Reserve,” an award-winning Belgian style holiday ale from this family-run brewery. The spiced brew earned a silver medal at the World Beer Championships and only comes on draft this time of year. The brewery also serves a full food menu designed to pair with its ales and “beer-tails,” so bring your appetite.

Longwood Gardens

A Longwood Christmas returns on November 20 with a half-million lights, garden railway and open-air fountain shows. Expect fragrant lilies and paperwhites as well as vibrant poinsettias and kalanchoe to grace the conservatory. Indoors and out, there’s no shortage of evergreens decorated to the nines. Longwood Gardens did earn the title of USA Today‘s “Best Botanical Garden Lights” from, after all. Note: You’ll need to reserve timed admission tickets in advance to see this spectacle for yourself—and they can sell out quickly!

McArdle’s Holiday Farm

Find the perfect pine (and Christmas photo-op) at this family farm in Bucks County, with rows of Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, Fraser Firs, Eastern White Pines, and more to choose from. While the fields may look a little different this year (masks will be required), the farm is continuing its tradition of including a special Christmas mug with every tree purchase.

Terhune Orchards

Stock up on last-minute gifts at Terhune Orchards in Princeton. As a farm store, winery, and Christmas tree lot, this family-run farm has holiday decorations, foodie gifts and gift baskets galore. Extend your stay by walking the stroller-friendly half-mile trail through the pasture and woods. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the resident barnyard animals as well!

West Chester Railroad

Santa’s Express will still chug along through Chester County this year, with a few modifications. The decorated trains will run at half-capacity, but don’t worry: Santa Claus himself will still be on board for the 75-minute scenic journey through wintry Chester Creek Valley.

Winterfest Ice Skating Rink

Slip into some skates at Cooper River Park in Cherry Hill. (The opening date for the 2020-2021 season is still pending). In addition to rentals, the riverside rink has free “skate buddies” if you’re not so steady on your feet. Prefer to keep your shoes on? You can also sign up for hour-long introductory curling classes to learn the basics and play a quick game.

Cape May

Head down the Shore this winter, where you’ll find that Cape May has transformed into a Dickensian village for the season. From November 20 to January 1, decorated open-air trolleys will offer tours of the festively adorned inns and homes while playing Christmas music. Twinkling gaslights will illuminate the streets for shopping and strolling. Be sure to stop by Madison’s Bakery on Beach Avenue for some sweet holiday treats, too.

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