Get your festive fix in on East Passyunk

East Passyunk’s annual Christmas Tree lighting was held virtually this year.

The holiday season is still ringing in this merry time of year with a slew of socially distanced fun here in Philadelphia. In fact, those looking to get their festive fix in can head to the South Philly neighborhood of East Passyunk to check out photos with Santa, a digital scavenger hunt, pop up music performances and much more.

The fun kicked off this past Thursday with East Passyunk’s annual Christmas Tree lighting, although this year viewers were able to see the lights brighten virtually instead of in person. Philadelphians tuned in through Facebook and Instagram Live on the 3rd to witness the street light up, but those who didn’t get the chance to catch a glimpse can also head to the Singing Fountain to see it for themselves. The tree will remain intact throughout the remainder of the holiday season, although those who do go to see the tree for up close are asked to follow safety protocols.

“We want people to enjoy the holidays here on East Passyunk with a variety of options that bring a feeling of festiveness while staying safe,” said Adam Leiter, executive director of the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District. “Whether you’re finding unique gifts from our local shops, coming for a private shopping appointment, grabbing food at an outdoor table or to go, or getting a holiday haircut, there’s an opportunity to enjoy a variety of socially distanced holiday activities.”

Santa is coming to town Dec. 13 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Dec. 19 (noon to 2 p.m.) and Dec. 20 (noon to 2 p.m.) down on East Passyunk. The socially distanced photos with Santa located by the Gateway tree at Broad Street and East Passyunk Avenue will allow folks to bring their own camera and take holiday photos with Santa at no cost, while adhering to social distance guidelines.


On a more material note, supporting small businesses in these times is now more important than ever, and the EPABID has found fun ways to get holiday shoppers to do just that. The South Philly neighborhood is home to more than 150 independently-owned shops and restaurants, and many of its establishments have offerings that you can’t find anywhere else in the city.

“Every year, East Passyunk Avenue offers holiday shoppers some of the most unique, and memorable gifting in the city,” said Leiter in a previous statement regarding Small Business Saturday in that area. “This year it’s even more imperative to show support for these independent businesses by shopping locally so they can be here tomorrow.”

This specific holiday season, the charming section of the city will offer The East Passyunk Punch Card where shoppers can spend $100 at independent business and enter to win a weekly raffle. While checking out the stores, shoppers can also look for decorations in the windows and doors along the Avenue with their Holiday Digital Scavenger Hunt.

“We’re encouraging people to shop small and avoid the mall, since it’s so easy to find something special on East Passyunk,” added Leiter in his previous statement. “Whether it’s new clothes, surprising stocking stuffers, or even gift certificate from one of our great shops or restaurants, there’s always something that will be the perfect fit.”

Shopping on East Passyunk this year can lead to a raffle win. Getty

On top of the other activities, Philadelphians can also drop off letters to the North Pole Mailbox at the Singing Fountain; check out pop up music performances including carolers, musicians, mummers and more; light the Hanukkah Menorah with the South Philly Shtiebel at the Singing Fountain and check out “Unexpected Philadelphia Windows.” The display shows off over two dozen almost life-sized photos of non-medical Essential Workers who have put themselves on the line for the Avenue and its visitors this year.

On top of all of the other holiday events, shoppers can also check out the eateries that make that same area special. Although there are venues that have closed for the winter, many have either begun offering outdoor dining or have switched their offerings to meet the needs of the public while figuring out their place amidst the pandemic.

For more information about Holiday Happenings or EPABID, check out their website or follow EPABID on,  Twitter @EPassyunkAve and Instagram @eastpassyunk. 

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