Celebrate the Ho-Ho-Holidays in Historic Philadelphia
Throughout the holidays, Historic Philadelphia, Inc. delivers next-level sparkle and family fun. So bundle up and unwrap a season of delightful days and magical nights. The Betsy Ross House and Franklin Square have calendars jam-packed with favorite holiday traditions, special events, and some new attractions that will make the season merry and bright.
Get Festive at Franklin Square
The excitement kicks off on November 16 when, with the flick of a switch, The Electrical Spectacle Light Show Presented by PECO transforms Franklin Square into a magical wonderland. Every 30 minutes, from 5 pm – closing, the park glows with a choreographed sound-and-light show featuring dancing fountains, seasonal tunes and hundreds of thousands of lights, more than ever before. Weather permitting, you can catch the holiday show every evening through January 6.
Then we switch things up. Come to Franklin Square January 7, when Winter Wonderland by Johnny Mathis sets the mood as thousands and thousands of lights add a warm glow to frosty winter nights. You can catch the winter sound and light show through February 25.
Philly’s only 18-hole mini golf course gets all decked out for the holidays, too. Whether you play by day or night, the Chilly Philly Mini Golf adds a festive touch with lights, music, and larger-than-life snowmen, penguins, and other winter friends sitting alongside miniature versions of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Chilly Philly Mini Golf runs through January 28, and tickets are $15 for adults and $ 12 for children (3-12). Kiddies under 2 are free.
Speaking of icons, you’ll notice the Parx Liberty Carousel sports some holiday cheer, too. Hop aboard the decorated carousel for a 360 view of Franklin Square’s wintry charms accompanied by a songs of the season soundtrack. Ride by day or evening for $4 for adults and kids. Youngsters under 2 ride free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Want to try something new? If Curling, the surprisingly popular Olympic sport, sparked your curiosity, now’s your chance to give it a go. Franklin Square set up two Street Curling lanes where up to 8 players per lane step up onto raised platforms to “sweep” and “throw the stone” for 30 minutes of cold-weather fun. Reserve your lane here or scan the QR code posted in Franklin Square.
After a hard game of curling, you and your friends can “stack the broom,” (that’s Curling slang for post-game socializing) at Ben On the Rocks where you can warm up in the heated tent. Or gather around the fire pits and sip some hand-crafted cocktails, seasonal beers, wine, and classic and spiked hot chocolate.
Check These Out!
Special events can make special memories of the season. Get your calendar, find a pencil, and make a note of these family-friendly and FREE seasonal activities at Franklin Square and the Betsy Ross House .
November 18, December 2, December 9: Active-ities with YoYo. Bring the kids for a day of dancing to live music, joining in fitness fun, blowing huge, giant bubbles and partying with YoYo. Franklin Square.
November 19: There will be visions of sugar plums when the Philadelphia Dance Academy delights all ages during Nutcracker Night. Franklin Square.
November 24-25; December 2, 16, 23: Jingle and Mingle with Santa presented by Customers Bank Who is that jolly fellow double-checking his naughty and nice list? Why, it’s Santa and he is holding court near the Franklin Square Fountain. Bring your camera and pose for elfie-selfies with the big guy himself. Franklin Square.
December 8: Gift-Making – Let the kids get creative and make gifts for your family as experts from area arts organizations lend a helping hand. Franklin Square.
December 10: Hanukkah Celebration– Spin the dreidel and join in Hannukah festivities with folks from the Old City Jewish Arts Center. Franklin Square.
December 10: Community Menorah Lighting – Celebrate the Festival of Lights with a traditional menorah lighting ceremony, latkes, and jelly donuts, all in partnership with the Old City Jewish Arts Center. Children can take home a menorah and some Hanukkah gelt while supplies last. Betsy Ross House.
December 16: Santa Paws – Dress your four-legged family members in their holiday best for a day of pup-tastic fun and photos with Saint Nick. Franklin Square
December 31: Betsy’s Birthday Bash – There are festivities galore in celebration of Betsy Ross’s January 1, 1752 birthday. Join Betsy herself for a day of activities, stories and, of course, cake! Free with museum admission.
December 31 – A Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown – Ring in the New Year with the most family-friendly celebration in town. Make crafts and join in the countdown to the famous Square Drop at 6 pm. And stick around for great views of the New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront. Franklin Square will close on New Year’s Eve at 8 pm.
And the fun doesn’t end at year’s end. There’s more in ’24.
January 13-15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Weekend
January 27: Ice Princess Night – Don your warmest clothes for an evening of frosty family fun with ice carving, face-painting, children’s activities, and Activities with YoYo!
February 10: Chinese New Year Celebration – Kick off the Year of the Dragon with traditional festivities.
February 14: Philly Mini Golf with Love Date – Treat your best boo to a fun and romantic Valentine’s Day with sweet surprises at Philly’s 18-hole mini golf course and a cozy ride on the Parx Carousel.