Things to Do in Philadelphia This Winter

December 28, 2016 / Philadelphia

Looking for ways to keep your family entertained during the cold winter months? Philadelphia has you covered, whether you like to brave the elements or stay inside with hot cocoa. Leave the driving to Uber, and sign up for a Family Profile, which lets 10 riders share one payment method.

Lace Up Your Skates

Through March 5, the fourth season of Blue Cross Riverrink Winterfest brings big-time atmosphere: a twinkling forest and holiday tree, wood-burning fire pits and snug rental cabins, though the regulation-size outdoor skating rink is the main draw. When you’re done carving up the ice, visit the Lodge Restaurant and Bar for a meal or head to the Kid’s Lodge and Arcade for some Skee-Ball and air hockey. Special events throughout the season include skating with Santa, trivia nights, Christmas movies, and a New Year’s Eve party with fireworks.

Pay Holiday Tribute to Ben Franklin

Nightly through December 31 the free Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show sponsored by PECO dazzles visitors to Franklin Square, with some 50,000 dancing lights around the fountain, carousel, and throughout the square. The hat tip to Philadelphia native Ben Franklin’s discovery of electricity features two variations of the show presented every 30 minutes with a holiday soundtrack performed by the Philly POPS. While you’re there, take a ride on the Lightning Bolt Holiday Express train or play a round of miniature golf.

Dream in Sugar Plums

Between December 9th and 31st, bring the family to George Balanchine’s timeless “The Nutcracker.” Start the fun before the performances with a holiday party on December 10 or tea with the Sugarplum Fairies on December 11. There’s also a sensory-friendly performance on December 22.

Get Lost in a Winter Wonderland

Now through January 8, 2017, visit Longwood Gardens for an unforgettable experience both indoors and out. The four-acre conservatory features greenhouses and seasonal gardens, a music room with an 18-foot Frasier fir. Want more room to stretch? Stroll through their 1,000 acres of outdoor space filled with countless holiday trees and poinsettias, decked out in half a million lights, a model train, colorful fountains timed to holiday music, three fire pits, carolers, and sing-a-longs. Timed tickets are required, but so worth it.

The Holiday Garden Railway

Attention train fanatic: Be sure to stop by the University of Pennsylvania’s family-friendly Morris Arboretum for its annual Holiday Garden Railway, featuring a quarter-mile-long track set in a miniature village of Pennsylvania landmarks. The exhibit runs daily from 10am to 4pm through the end of December, with a special “Friday Night Lights” nighttime show.