15 Holiday Events Worth Your Time in Philadelphia

From ugly sweaters to running santas, the city is gearing up to celebrate all things holiday.


The Seaport Parade of Lights is Saturday, December 13th. | Photo via Facebook.

You froze while site-seeing, you can’t get the Nutcracker theme out of your head, and you finished shopping last month. What now? Get out and warm up at one of the city’s festive holiday gatherings.

Ugly Sweater Party
Join a knitting circle in the grand hall of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, or seek out a capella groups around the galleries—just don’t forget that ugly sweater! Wednesday, December 3rd, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., free with admission, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Make new friends while creating holiday decorations and gifts from salvaged and reclaimed materials, all inspired by the AAMP’s Stephen Hayes “Cash Crop” exhibit. Thursday, December 4th, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., $25, The African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street.

Feast of the Fishes
Take a culinary adventure with Stephen STARR Events and try a twist on the feast of the fishes at the PMA’s Granite Hill restaurant. Friday, December 5th, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., $39 per person, Granite Hill, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Peace Around the World Holiday Celebration
Explore the holidays and cuisines of countries from all over the world in this 19th annual international celebration of peace. Saturday, December 6th, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free admission, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street. 

Explore the private homes of Elfreth's Alley at Deck the Alley, December 6th.

Explore the private homes of Elfreth’s Alley at Deck the Alley, December 6th. | Photo via Facebook.

Free carriage rides, a Franklin Institute Science Show, a Santa meet-and-greet, and more. Saturday, December 6th, 13th, and 20th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., free admission, Sister Cities Park in Logan Square, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Deck the Alley
Hang with Ben Franklin, Dolley Madison and a very cranky Santa while you explore private homes on the nation’s oldest residential street all dressed up for the holidays. December 6th, 3 to 7 p.m., $25 for adults and $10 for children, Elfreth’s Alley, between Front and 2nd Streets, north of Arch Street. 

Annual Humane League Holiday Gala
Inspirational speakers, a silent auction and tasty vegan treats and refreshments will be on hand for an intimate night of conversation. SaturdayDecember 6th, 7 p.m., $50 or $200 for a VIP ticket, Philadelphia Ethical Society, 1901 South Rittenhouse Square.

To celebrate its eighth anniversary, TOY, Delaware Valley Legacy Fund‘s annual charity gala for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), will be held at Fire & Ice in Old City. The venue will be transformed into a “virtual winter wonderland.” If you haven’t been there, it’s a fantastic, open space, with plenty of floor area for dancing, and a nice balcony overlooking the main level. Saturday, December 6th, 7 to 10 p.m., $79, Fire & Ice, 312 Market Street. —Josh Middleton

Re-enactors will cross the Delaware December 7th and 25th.

Re-enactors will cross the Delaware December 7th and 25th. | Photo via Facebook.

Crossing of the Delaware
Re-enactors in full military dress recreate the historic crossing of the Delaware River with George Washington, alongside colonial demonstrations and ceremonies. Dress rehearsal Sunday, December 7th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., ($8 for adults, $4 for children) or the full reenactment Thursday, December 25th, 12 p.m.-3 p.m. (free), Washington Crossing Historic Park, 1112 River Road, Washington Crossing, PA.

Spirits & Suds With Santa
A $5 ticket gets you $4 holiday cocktails, $3 craft beers and a Santa hat for a night of jolly drinking down East Passyunk at over a dozen bars. WednesdayDecember 10th, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., $5, registration at South Philly Bar and Grill, 1235 East Passyunk Avenue

My Big Gay Tacky Sweater Party
Any party being promoted as “The Gayborhood’s Tackiest Holiday Affair” promises to be one thing: really good. That’s exactly what The Bronzed Bee is aiming for when it invades U Bar for a one-night-only event aptly titled “My Big Gay Tacky Sweater Party.” The evening is a party for a purpose: Guests are asked to bring a toy to benefit Toys For Tots. In exchange, you’ll be able to enjoy the tawdriest affair around. Wednesday, December 10th, 6 to 8 p.m., U Bar, 1220 Locust Street. —Bryan Buttler

Running of the Santas
An all-day indoor/outdoor festival and pub crawl with live music, $1 beer, and tons of faux-Santas running from McFadden’s to the Electric Factory. Saturday, December 13th, 11 a.m., $15, multiple locations.

Philly's version of Running of the Bulls calls for a lot of fake beards.

Philly’s version of Running of the Bulls calls for a lot of fake beards. | Photo via Running of the Santas.

Dickens Christmas Party
Josh Hitchens presents a one-man show of “A Christmas Carol” in a holiday-decorated mansion filled to the brim with Victorian treats. Saturday, December 13th, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., $20, Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, 200 West Tulpehocken Street.

Seaport Parade of Lights
This 5th annual celebration includes dozens of Silver Ships on display, a light-up, decorated boat parade on the Delaware and plenty of family activities. Saturday, December 13th, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., $13.50 for adults and $10 for children, Independence Seaport Museum, 211 South Columbus Boulevard and Walnut Street.  

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
This is the 21st anniversary of The Blue Cross RiverRink, and this year the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is taking a hint from this summer’s über successful Spruce Street Harbor Park by incorporating some of its design elements. Look out for a winter forest surrounding the premises, fire pits, food by Garces Events, an immersive light show and a lodge, where guests can play boardgames or snuggle by a fireplace. I even hear there’s a wraparound porch with rocking chairs and heat lamps. Cozy! Now through March 1st, $3 (skating admission), $10 (skate rental), 101 South Columbus Boulevard. 

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