Experience Christmas magic with Dickens Village and legendary light show

Christmas Macy's
Santa returns to Macy’s Center City as part of the Dickens Village experience through Dec. 24.
Jason E. Miczek/AP Images for Macy’s, Inc.

Christmas in the city is a magical experience, and even more so with the triumphant return of Macy’s Center City’s legendary holiday events — Dickens Village and its famous Christmas Light Show.

“With dazzling displays and treasured traditions, Macy’s continues to delight generations as the destination for holiday magic,” wrote VP of Branded Entertainment Will Coss to Metro. “We welcome the holiday season with the return of visits with the one-and-only Santa Claus, Macy’s Great Trees, animated windows and more. We are delighted that these cherished experiences continue to create fun, whimsical and unforgettable memories for the whole family.”

Macy’s Center City location, at 13th and Market streets, is certainly bustling with holiday cheer and plenty of shopping. Center City District reports that holiday retail, and the volume of shoppers to area shops and restaurants, is back to nearly 75% of what things were at this time in 2019.

When Philadelphians aren’t hunting for the perfect gifts, they can witness the sights and sounds of the season with Macy’s Dickens Village, filled with waist-coated and nightgown-ed Ebenezer Scrooge animatronic figurines, three visiting ghosts of Christmases past, present and future, and an ever-cheerful Tiny Tim, situated in darkly-lit corridors located in what used to be Wanamaker’s. Some may recall that Macy’s acquired the Dickens Christmas Village from its neighboring Strawbridge & Clothier department store when S&C closed in 2006.

Upon entry and exit from Dickens Village, smiling Macy’s employees in 19th Century England period garb usher you to another grand room where a live Santa Claus and his elves hang out, with Philly artist Roy Insley’s “Wanamaker’s at Christmas” model on display.

The biggest difference between Dickens Village and Santa visits of old versus the present comes with the fact that you’ll have to make advance reservations to get in to see Scrooge and Santa through Dec 31.

The Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Center City brings classic holiday tales to life in lights with sounds from the world-famous Wanamaker Organ. PROVIDED / MACY’S

As for the Macy’s Christmas Light Show and organ presentation — another tradition borrowed happily from the days of John Wanamaker’s and the Wanamaker Eagle — the free, bold light show is a spectacle worth savoring. From its 35,000 LED lights on its giant Macy’s Magic Christmas Tree in six shining colors, topped with a glowing red Advent star, to its songs from ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ and voice-over from Julie Andrews, to its choral send-off, the Macy’s holiday production is a must for all. Add in the epic sound of the Wanamaker Organ in the Grand Court — the largest still-playing pipe organ in the world with 28,750 pipes — played, as it has been since 1989 by its Grand Court aster Peter Richard Conte, and a Christmas at Macy’s is complete.

More additional information or to make a reservation, visit macys.com/holidaycelebrations