A Guide to the Holidays in Franklin Square

Light shows, mini golf, cozy drinks, Santa visits and more to celebrate all season long.

Holidays in Franklin Square

Holidays in Franklin Square / Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Beginning November 16th, Franklin Square is all holiday, all the time. Winter will bring sparkle through the New Year (and beyond), fun things to do, holiday events, and plenty to eat and drink. Here’s what the Center City park has planned for the season.

Electrical Spectacle Light Show

Every night from November 16th through February 26th, more than 200,000 lights will shine throughout Franklin Square for the Electrical Spectacle. Through January 11th, the lights will dance, synchronized to a soundtrack of holiday classics (Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” selections from The Nutcracker, etc.). The shows run every 30 minutes beginning at 5 p.m. daily and running throughout the night’s activities until 9 p.m. If you stay a while, you can catch them both. Beginning on January 12th, the holiday soundtrack will be replaced by Johnny Mathis’s “Winter Wonderland” for each show through February 25th.

franklin square golf

Chilly Philly Mini Golf at Franklin Square / Photograph by Laura Swartz

Fun and Games

Franklin Square’s Philly-themed mini golf gets a holiday makeover with giant decorative animal friends, lights and music to become Chilly Philly Mini Golf. Golf tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for kids. (Golf is free for children under two.) Come February, the theming changes to “Philly Mini Golf With Love” for Valentine’s Day.

The playground and carousel remain open every day. The carousel will play holiday music and glow up at night with the rest of the square. Tickets for the carousel are $4 for ages three and up. Kids shorter than 42 inches must be accompanied by an adult. The playground is always free, and is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

And returning from last year: two street-curling rinks. The Olympic sport has been adapted into a one-directional format on an elevated platform where two teams take turns sliding the stones towards the target. You can book a 30-minute session for up to eight players at each of two rinks for $40 per session.

Holidays in Franklin Square

Street curling at Franklin Square / Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Food and Drink

In addition to Franklin Square’s year-round SquareBurger stand, which will operate during daytime and evening hours, the Ben on the Rocks tent will be operating evenings through January 7th. Here, you’ll find treats, hand-crafted cocktails, hot chocolate (both regular and boozy), beer and wine in an indoor heated tent. Kids can also decorate holiday cookies (kits are $12). Or grab a s’mores kit (also $12) and take your goodies outside to enjoy around the fire pits.

Fire pits at Franklin Square / Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Special Events and Celebrations

The season kicks off on opening weekend with kids’ activities on the evening of Saturday, November 18th (giant bubbles, fitness games and live music with YoYo) and Nutcracker Night with a free performance by the Philadelphia Dance Company on Sunday, November 19th. Both events run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Santa arrives on the evening of Black Friday, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. He’ll also be there the next night, November 25th, at the same time. If you miss him on Thanksgiving weekend, Santa will be back for “Jingle and Mingle” evenings on December 2nd, 16th and 23rd, also from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Don’t forget the pups! Santa’s December 16th visit is also “Santa Paws” night, where you can bring your furry friends for photos with ol’ Saint Nick.

franklin square holidays santa

Santa at Franklin Square / Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Kids can come make free holiday gifts with local arts organizations on December 8th. And YoYo’s kids’ activities return on December 2nd and 9th.

Franklin Square is also planning celebrations for Hanukkah with Old City Jewish Arts Center on December 10th, and Kwanzaa with the African American Museum in Philadelphia on December 29th.

To close out the year, Franklin Square is reprising its free Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown on December 31st from 5 to 8 p.m. Enjoy music and crafts before the “Square Drop” from atop SquareBurger at 6 p.m., then stay to watch the fireworks over the waterfront from the square.

Looking ahead to 2024, Queen Elsa and her princess friends will return to Franklin Square with ice-carving and kids’ activities on Ice Princess Night, January 27th. Franklin Square is also planning a Chinese New Year celebration on February 10th. Stay tuned for details on that as it gets closer.

Franklin Square’s holiday decorations / Photograph by Jeff Fusco

The Basics

Franklin Square’s holiday festivities run from November 16, 2023, through February 25, 2024. (It will be closed on November 23rd, December 25th and January 1st for the holidays.) Entrance and the light show are free. Mini golf, carousel rides, and food are pay-as-you-go. Franklin Square is located at 6th and Race streets, and is accessible via SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line, which stops at 8th and Market streets.