Thanksgiving Who? Dilworth Park’s Skating Rink and Holiday Market Open This Week
Dilworth unveils its ice-skating rink, Wintergarden maze, holiday market, and more plans for November.
Now that Halloween is over, holiday season is apparently fair game. So if you’re looking to get festive early, Dilworth Park is on it. They’re opening their skating rink this week, and holiday markets are coming earlier than ever as well. Here’s what to expect.
Over the weekend, Dilworth began its transformation into a winter wonderland with its annual Wintergarden. This open-air labyrinth of lights, animal topiaries and rustic decor is perfect for photo ops. Look for a Chaddsford Winery kiosk in the garden selling mulled wine. (Pro-tip: Mix the red and white together for an off-menu “215.” Thank me later.)
This Friday, November 10th, the rest of Dilworth gets activated with the opening of Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink and Cabin. The ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. will include a snow shower and a skate performance by children from West Philly’s Laura Sims Skate House.
The rink will be open daily (including on Thanksgiving and Christmas) through February 25, 2024. Skating sessions are available in 90-minute timeslots online. You can take your chances with walk-up ticket sales, but for weekends, especially, advance online reservations are your best bet. Admission is $6 for children 10 and younger, and $9 for adults; skate rentals are an additional $10 per person, but you can bring your own skates to avoid that rental fee.
PATCO and SEPTA pass holders can show their pass or card for $1 off ice-skating admission, as can Temple University staff and students with their IDs. But never mind that, Temple students, because on Thursday nights all college students with a valid student ID can pay just $3 for admission.
There are also adorable penguin skate aids you can rent for $15 an hour. The website says they are for children ages 10 and under, but I have been known to “share” with my daughter. You can also rent an on-site locker for $10 (or just throw your shoes under a bench and hope for the best). Lockers and skate aids can be reserved online or in-person.
From January 2, 2024 through February 25, 2024, children and adults with disabilities can reserve a sled for skating. One adult accompanying the person using the sled will get free admission and skate rental, as well. To reserve a sled, email here.
The Cabin will return with comfort foods (think tomato soup and grilled cheese), warm beverages, and cocktails. Alcohol is served beginning at 5 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on weekends. Beginning November 15th, they will have happy hour specials on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. Called “Cocktails and Cold Ones,” the promotions include $7 Maker’s Mark bourbon cocktails, $6 wine and $5 Hazy Beer Hug, plus discounted weekly food specials. You can also take your food and drinks outside to enjoy around the fire pits.
The same day that Rothman Rink opens (November 10th), Dilworth rounds out the seasonal cheer with the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market opening earlier than ever this year. A local counterpart to Christmas Village, this market focuses only on Philly-made gifts, from jewelry to artwork to candles, and usually lots of fun Gritty items.
More than 40 local vendors are participating in this year’s Made in Philadelphia market, with 35 percent being minority-owned businesses and 65 percent women-owned. It will be open daily from noon to 8 p.m. (till 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) through January 1st. They’ll even be open on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve.
Looking ahead, Christmas Village will have its preview weekend on November 18th and 19th, then open for the season on Thanksgiving and run through Christmas Eve. The holiday market will take over LOVE Park, as well as the north apron and courtyard of City Hall. It will feature 120 vendors from around the world, plus European-inspired food including bratwurst, raclette cheese and warm drinks. Head to City Hall for the rides like the double-decker carousel in the courtyard and the Ferris wheel and kiddie train on the north side near the Christmas tree.
On November 24th (Black Friday), stop by Rothman Rink for the annual Santa Express, where Saint Nick takes the subway to Dilworth, arrives with pomp and circumstance, and skates with kids at the 11 a.m. session.
Finally, some news: The Deck the Hall light show is no more. The nightly show projection-mapped onto City Hall is being “replaced” with permanent, year-round color-changing LED lights on City Hall and Dilworth Park’s transit headhouses (picture the lighting on South Broad Street’s building facades). Most of the installation of is expected to be completed in December — though some may take till early 2024 — and a special ceremony is being planned to “turn on” the new lighting.