3 ways to get into the holiday spirit in Philadelphia

3 ways to get into the holiday spirit in Philadelphia
Lauren Schwarz

Santa is already suiting upand the historic houses of Fairmount Park are decked out and ready for visitors. Let these three Philly traditions to get you into the holiday spirit.

1. Christmas in Fairmount Park

Every year – this is the 44th – the Fairmount Park Conservancy festively dresses up historic homes in the park, including Lemon Hill Mansion, Laurel Hill Mansion and four more, and opens the doors to visitors. This year the theme is “Twelve Days of Christmas.” It’s $5 for adults and free for kids to get into each house and runs from Dec. 3–20, with guided tours during the day or by candlelight on select days. On Tuesday, Nov. 24, there’s a kick off event starting at 11 a.m. in Rittenhouse Square (18th and Walnut streets) with dancers dancing and a (bag) piper piping, plus ice carvers making miniature versions of the homes.

2. Electrical Spectacle in Franklin Square

Ben Franklin would be proud of the festival in his namesake square (Sixth and Race streets), which includes nightly light shows running through New Year’s Eve with more than 50,000 lights and a holiday soundtrack from the Philly Pops. If it’s a cold evening, warm up next to the fire pits at the Ben’s Bites & Brews pop-up winter beer garden. On Friday, Nov. 27, Santa will make his first Franklin Square appearance, starting at 5 p.m. Photos with Saint Nick are free.

3. Holidays on the Hill

Chestnut Hill is in the city of Philadelphia, but you wouldn’t know it strolling down this stretch of Germantown Avenue past quaintly decorated boutiques. Every Wednesday night in December is “Stag and Doe Night,” with shops staying open until 9 p.m., carolers caroling, and visits from Santa. On weekends, Santa brings along his elves. Dec. 12 is the holiday parade with a “Sugar Plum Saturday” show. Bring an unwrapped toy or book when you visit — there are drop-off locations for a toy drive set up throughout the town.