Your Bucket List for the Most Magical Holiday Season in Philadelphia

Make this year your best yet.

It’s already mid-December, and that means that we’ve got some serious holiday merry-making to get to. Whether that involves drinking hot cocoa — or drinking something a little stronger at a Christmas-themed cocktail bar — we’ve got you covered on all sides.

Below, find your bucket list for a magical, merry, perfect holiday season in Philly.

Go Ice Skating — for FREE! 

ice skate, free, philly

Via zsv3207/

There’s ice skating, and then there’s free ice skating. We obviously prefer the latter. Here are five places where you can get it done.

Hit Up a Christmas-Themed Bar


Because Philly is a truly wonderful place, there are not one, but two local bars where you can get into the holiday spirit with some, um, holiday spirits. First, there’s Tinsel, where you can drink by a cheery fireplace installation. Then there’s ITV, where you can sample beverages by a whole host of guest bartenders (and join in on a gingerbread house contest on December 19).

Drink Hot Cocoa Outdoors | Facebook

Somehow, hot beverages always taste a little better when you’re a little chilly, am I right? But this year, has given us an ideal venue for slurping down copious amounts of hot cocoa: a Parisian-style crepe and hot cocoa pop-up bar on the sidewalk in Rittenhouse. The pop-up is running ever Saturday in December, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visit LOVE Park’s Christmas Village

love park christmas village

Philadelphia Christmas Village | Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia

It doesn’t get any more Christmas-y thank a whole freaking village decked out for Christmas, now does it? Now that the Christmas Village has returned to its rightful home at LOVE Park, we can’t wait to visit, say hey to Santa, sample European foods, and buy all the ornaments.

Shop at the Tinsel Capital of America

Kindy’s: Where South Philly’s gotten lit since 1981. Photograph by Jeff Fusco

If you were looking for an explosion of Christmas stuff, you’ll find it at Kindy’s, where a ridiculous amount of Christmas decorations and a ridiculous amount of tinsel can be purchased. Not in the market for more decor? It’s still worth a visit, trust us.

Ride a Very Decked-Out SEPTA Bus

Photo courtesy of SEPTA.

Even your morning commute gets to be merry and bright in Philly, especially if it’s on a SEPTA bus that’s covered in holiday decorations.

Watch City Hall’s Holiday Light Show

Photo courtesy Center City District

Hold onto your iPhones, it’s the City Hall holiday light show! Get down to ‘gramming the show, which runs every hour, on the half hour, through January 1.

Buy a Jawnament

jawn, jawnament, holiday season

Photo via Workshop School West

Is there anything more Philly than a jawnament? No, seriously, is there? Because if so, we haven’t seen it. Get one for your tree, stat.

Eat Pastries by a Giant Tree

Rendering courtesy of FCM Hospitality

There’s a new pop-up beer, bread, and BBQ spot in town, and it’s in the sight-lines of Philly’s holiday tree. At Craft Hall, you can drink beer and eat bread and pastries by a James Beard Award-nominated baker in the comfort of a heated tent. Because isn’t cramming your face with carbs while in view of a Christmas tree what the holiday is really all about?

Go Toy Shopping Around Town

PucchiManuli photo by Catt & Co. Photography

We’ve got the deets on ten of the best toy stores for tots. Hit them up; your little nieces an nephews will thank you.

Eat Your Weight in Cheese

Madame Fromage/Facebook

Obsessed with cheese? Have we got the holiday party for you! It’s a cheese-themed Secret Santa, hosted by Madame Fromage. Grab a wedge, then bring it to Martha for a cheesy celebration like none other. You’ll munch on cheese and bread and drink hard-cider, and generally be in fresh fromage heaven.

Buy a Last-Minute Tree — Online!

Tom Merton | iStock

No one likes lugging around a giant, prickly, sappy tree. (And if you do, talk to me. I’ve got questions.) But good new: You can just order a tree through The Christmas Tree Stand online (is it 2017 or something?!) and have it delivered the next day.