23 Things to Do in Philly This Weekend

The always-hilarious Running of the Santas, Punk Rock Flea Market, Parade of Lights on the Delaware and more fun, festive events for the weekend.

This weekend, you can enjoy a host of creative shows and — surprise! — a few holiday-themed events. For the shopping enthusiasts, check out the grand opening of the new Bloomingdale’s Outlet at the Shops at Liberty Place (sneak peek inside here), or the three-day Punk Rock Flea Market. Watch musical performances by the likes of Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, or concerts like Temple University’s Boom Bash featuring artists Lil Kim and Ja Rule. Then there are the local holiday traditions that are pretty much prerequisites: Pennsylvania Ballet’s The Nutcracker, the hilarious Running of the Santas and more. Scroll down to check out all our picks, or just click right ahead to the categories that interest you most:

Holiday Events | Shopping | Sports | Art & Film | Music

Holiday Events

X-Mas Philes

The modern dance company Philadanco has been renowned around the world for its creative presentation of traditional African-American dance. Returning to the Kimmel this year with X-mas Philes, an interpretation of beloved seasonal classics, the show has become its own Philly holiday tradition. Through Sunday, December 13th, various times, $29-$46, Kimmel Center. 

The Nutcracker

For 46 years the Pennsylvania Ballet has performed this classic tale, generating much of its revenue from the seasonal event. With beautiful sets and costuming, the ballet will join with their orchestra and the Philadelphia Boys Choir to bring this story once more to the big stage. Through December 31st, various times, various prices, Kimmel Center.

Running of the Santas

This costumed event will start with drinks at the “South Pole” at Lolies and continue with an evening fun run to the “North Pole” at the Electric Factory. Afterwards, the Factory will host a big concert and party, including a reunion of Mr. Greengenes. Some of the proceeds will go to the Ellie Koerner Leukemia Foundation. Saturday December 12th, 10 am, $15, various locations.

Santa Lunch Cruises

Once again Spirit of Philadelphia is offering a couple of holiday cruises to get you into the seasonal spirit. There will be a buffet with kid-friendly choices, entertainment, holiday music, and of course, a visit from ol’ Saint Nick. There are also special and couple’s packages, as well as other extras available. Through Sunday, December 13th, 11:30 am, $26.95-$44.90, 401 South Columbus Boulevard. 

West Philly Orchestra Plays Please Touch Museum

As part of their months long all-holidays-spanning celebrations, Please Touch Museum welcomes the West Philadelphia Orchestra to provide the soundtrack to their Hanukkah festivities. The Balkan multi-piece band claims to be inspired by everything from jazz to punk to cheesesteaks, and they’re always a rollicking good time. For this  performance Please Touch says you can expect “Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk-dance songs, Bulgarian wedding music and astonishing Klezmer.” There are four chances to stop by on Saturday and Sunday. December 12th and 13th, noon and 2 pm, Please Touch Museum. 


Led by conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the Philadelphia Orchestra takes on Handel’s masterpiece. The all-star cast of vocalists includes soprano Karina Gauvin, mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, countertenor Christophe Dumaux, tenor Andrew Staples, and bass Matthew Rose. Through Saturday, December 12th, 8 pm, various prices, Kimmel Center. 

Parade of Lights

The Independence Seaport Museum’s annual lighted boat parade will make its way down the Delaware River, with KYW radio’s Steve Nikazy joining the event. Ten boats will be a part of the parade and compete for prizes. The Museum is open late for the event and also hosting family-friendly activities before the show free with museum admission, including music, workshops, and hot chocolate courtesy of Shake Shack. Saturday, December 12th, 5:30 pm, Independence Seaport Museum.

Where to Shop

Photo by Lauren McGrath

Photo by Lauren McGrath

Bloomingdale’s Outlet Opening

Now you’ll have a brand new place on Chestnut to do your shopping. The first Bloomingdale’s outlet store in Philly comes to the second floor of Center City’s Shops at Liberty Place. There will be off-price apparel and accessories for men, women and children. Friday, December 11th, 9:30 am, The Shops at Liberty Place.

Punk Rock Flea Market

It’s the alternative kid’s dream, and it’s back with an additional free Friday market. Over 700 vendors will be at R5 Productions’ flea market, with a different lineup of sellers each day. Find records, art, clothing, bikes and boards, furniture and other assorted items.  You’ll also be able to purchase Union Transfer gift cards, and during the first two hours of each day, you can get tickets to upcoming concerts for $3 off. Through Sunday, December 12th, 10 am, $0-$3, 461 North 9th Street.


Sixers’ Star Wars Night

Everyone’s looking forward to The Force Awakens, even the Sixers. This Friday’s home game against the Detroit Pistons will be a special Star Wars night, with interactive Light vs. Dark side entertainment, music, and performances by the Sixers dancers. Fans can even come dressed in their best Star Wars-themed attire for a costume contest, or take pictures with characters. Friday, December 11th, 7 pm, $14-$153, Wells Fargo Center.

Army-Navy Game

The Black Knights and the Midshipmen face each other once more, returning to Philadelphia for the annual military football match. We’ll have to wait to see what becomes of the legendary rivalry, as the Navy has been undefeated since the Army’s last win in 2001. Saturday December 12th, 11 am, Lincoln Financial Field.

Art and Film

Check out the zine and book exhibit at Gravy Studio and Gallery in Fishtown

Check out the zine and book exhibit at Gravy Studio and Gallery in Fishtown

Art of Exceptionality

As the only school with a graduate program in art education with an emphasis on special needs populations, Moore College of Art & Design presents an exhibit from a diverse group of artists with varying special needs. Coming from a host of local groups including the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and classes taught by Moore Art Education majors, these artists’ work support their education, therapy, and quality of life. Through December 13th, 11 am, free, Galleries at Moore.

The Danish Girl

This film tells the tale of one of the first people to receive gender reassignment surgery, Einar Wegener. His wife Gerda is encouraging, but fearful of losing her husband. When Gerda paints portraits of Einar’s female persona Lili Elbe, interest is peaked about the mysterious female muse. The Danish Girl is directed by Tom Hooper, of The King’s Speech and Les Misérables fame. Through December 17th, various times, $7-$10, Ritz Five Theater.

Jerks Productions Presents Fused Underground

Booze, cupcakes, art and horror films. Yep, you read that correctly. Over 20 local artists will feature their work in this pop-up show at Tattooed Mom, with underground horror film screenings to be enjoyed with snacks and drinks. Sunday, December 13th, 10 pm, free, Tattooed Mom. 

Permanent Gravy Stretch Zine and Book Exhibit

Who said zine-making was gone? Create your own zine from a group of 85 creative submissions. Each will then be copied and attached to a screen-printed cover. Some of the online submissions will be framed and displayed in the gallery until the end of January. Through January 31st, various times, $6, Gravy Studio & Gallery. 


From top left, going clockwise: Grace Potter, We Are Scientists, Sweet Honey In the Rock, Andrea Bocelli

From top left, going clockwise: Grace Potter, We Are Scientists, Sweet Honey In the Rock, Andrea Bocelli

Grace Potter at the Fillmore

Not long after her summer show at the Susquehanna Bank Center, Grace Potter returns to Philly with her band after the release of her first solo album, Midnight. Her shows are marked not only by a voice that was made for rock, but she has an unforgettable energy on stage. Listen before you go: “Alive Tonight.” Friday, December 11th, 8 pm.

LiveConnections Presents Bird’s Eye Trio

As one concert in a series of musical match-making, LiveConnections presents Bird’s Eye Trio. Violinists Ayane Kozasa and Jennifer Curtis, and cellist Paul Wiancko will come together to perform a diverse program, from Beethoven to Wiancko and Curtis’ own compositions. Friday, December 11th, 7:30 pm, $13-$18, World Cafe Live.

Andrea Bocelli at Wells Fargo Center

After performing for Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli returns with a performance at Wells Fargo, presented by The Philly POPS. The Latin Billboard Awards nominee will be joined by special guests R&B singer Heather Headley and soprano Aida Garifullina. Saturday, December 12th, 8 pm, $75-$355, Wells Fargo Center.

Sweet Honey In the Rock

For 40 years, this black female a cappella group has served up a harmonious blend of African music, jazz, blues, gospel and R&B. The Grammy-nominated and award-winning ensemble has performed around the world, including at Nelson Mandela’s memorial services in D.C. and at the U.N. World Conference on Women. Saturday, December 12th, 8 pm, $30-$75, Zellerbach Theatre. 

Mac Miller at the Fillmore

The young Pittsburgh rapper has made a name for himself — from appearing on pop songs like Ariana Grande’s “The Way” and his references to the infamous Donald Trump to his own heartfelt confessions of seeing through drug abuse and depression. But with his GO:OD AM tour, Miller shows us there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Listen before you go: “Brand Name.” Saturday, December 12th, 8 pm.

Temple University’s Boom Bash 2015

Temple’s lineup for this winter concert is killer: with names like Queen B rapper Lil Kim, Jagged Edge, Ja Rule, Jadakiss, and more. A portion of the proceeds will go towards New Leash on Life, the non-profit prison dog training group.  Saturday, December 12th, 8 pm, $53-$70, Liacouras Center.

Northern Arms

One of our favorite local bands in a show at the batting cages on Girard Avenue? Sure, why not. They’re joined by Tutlie and Queen of Jeans for a BYOB show. Saturday, December 12th, 9 pm, $5-$10, Everybody Hits. —Victor Fiorillo

We Are Scientists at Boot & Saddle

Cali-to-New York band We Are Scientists have the elements of post-punk with tracks that also show off a sunnier side. In honor of Records Day this year, they released TV en Français, Sous la Mer, a reworked version of their 2014 album TV en Français. Listen before you go: “Overreacting.” Sunday, December 13th, 8 pm.

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