PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In Philadelphia and The Countryside®, families partake in old and new traditions—many of which are free or low-cost—to make happy holiday memories. Here's a look at classic customs and new offerings that make the region a must-do during the holiday season.
A Historic Twist:
- A Philadelphia tradition since 1956, the Christmas Light Show at Macy's in Center City illuminates a large wall inside the Wanamaker building, a National Historic Landmark, with almost 100,000 LED lights and finishes with sounds from the Wanamaker Organ, November 23-December 31. 1300 Market Street, (215) 241-9000, wanamakerorgan.com
- Every year, visitors can peruse the East Fairmount Park Mansions to see them adorned in holiday finery, December 1-2 and 8-9. (215) 763-8100, fairmountpark.org
- History buffs get into the season when they witness Washington Crossing the Delaware River, an annual reenactment on Christmas Day at Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Routes 32 & 532, Washington Crossing, (215) 493-4076, ushistory.org/washingtoncrossing
- The holidays go red, white and green during A Longwood Gardens Christmas, taking place Thanksgiving Day through January 6. Visitors can wander through half a million glowing lights to see thousands of poinsettias, decorated trees and dancing fountains. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, (610) 388-1000, longwoodgardens.org
- Morris Arboretum debuts its Holiday Garden Railway display on November 24. This miniature winter wonderland amid the evergreens features a model-train track with twinkling lights, seven loops and tunnels, rail lines, cable cars, bridges and trains that cruise past landmarks made from all-natural materials. 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, (215) 247-5777, morrisarboretum.org
It Takes A Village:
- Please Touch Museum® presents the Enchanted Colonial Village Supported by The Philadelphia Foundation, with intricately restored Colonial scenes depicting the Bakery, Blacksmith Shop, Toymaker, Tailor Shop and others. Open November 16-January 2, the village first debuted in 1962. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org
- While holiday shopping at Peddler's Village, visitors can check out the Annual Gingerbread House Competition and Display, November 16-January 5, in which participants vie for tops in a variety of categories. Route 263 & Street Road, Lahaska, (215) 794-4018, peddlersvillage.com
- Outside at Love Park, the fifth annual Christmas Village invites shoppers to browse the holiday goods displayed in more than 50 decorated booths, which form a medieval village selling European food and drinks, as well as international gifts and high-quality crafts. November 22-December 24. 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, (215) 820-5149, philachristmas.com
'Tis The Season For Shows:
- A beloved holiday tradition, the Pennsylvania Ballet presents the 25th-anniversary production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, December 8-30, at the Academy of Music. Audiences can follow Marie and her prince into the kingdom of the Sugarplum Fairy, while enjoying the sounds of The Philadelphia Boys choir. Broad & Locust Streets, (215) 893-1999, paballet.org
- This year's holiday calendar at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Merriam Theater and the Academy of Music is chock-full of old-fashioned favorites. Highlights include: Holiday Spectacular by the Philadelphia Orchestra, December 1; The Rock School's Nutcracker 1776, December 1; A Celtic Christmas at the Kimmel, December 2; and Holiday POPS! by Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, December 7-22. Kimmel, Broad & Spruce Streets; Academy, Broad & Locust Streets; Merriam, 250 S. Broad Street, (215) 790-5800, kimmelcenter.org
- On stage at the Walnut Street Theatre is a kid-friendly adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol, December 1-22. 825 Walnut Street, (215) 574-3550, walnutstreettheatre.org
More Holiday Fun:
- During the Comcast Holiday Spectacular, onlookers stand in awe of the original holiday imagery set to the music of a 64-piece orchestra and shown on the world's largest four-millimeter LED screen in the building's lobby. The free 15-minute show occurs at the top of the hour, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (except 5:00 p.m. on weekdays), from Thanksgiving to January 1. 17th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard, visitphilly.com/comcast
- A Brandywine Christmas takes over the Brandywine River Museum from November 23-January 6 with trees featuring all-natural ornaments, a dollhouse, a railroad and jewelry inspired by Wyeth paintings. U.S. Route 1, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700, brandywinemuseum.org
Ring In The New Year:
- This year, partiers along Penn's Landing ring in 2013 two times, with SugarHouse New Year's Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront, illuminating the night sky at 6:00 p.m. and midnight. Along Columbus Boulevard, delawareriverevents.com
- Please Touch Museum® celebrates 2013 early with Countdown to Noon on December 31. The museum opens at 9:00 a.m. and holds "Noon Year" party activities with music and confetti. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181, pleasetouchmuseum.org
- The Blue Cross RiverRink's New Year's Eve Party on Ice is a family-friendly affair that boasts one of the best views of the city's fireworks displays over the Delaware River at 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight. Columbus Boulevard & Market Street, (215) 925-RINK, riverrink.com
- A pilgrimage to the Mummers Parade on New Year's Day is a must. Dating back to 1901, the only-in-Philly celebration is a lively and colorful parade of costumed men, women and children who practice all year to strut, dance and play music up Broad Street. The parade begins at 10:00 a.m. at Broad Street and Snyder Avenue and proceeds to City Hall, followed by a ticketed competition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 12th & Arch Streets, mummers.com
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases business and promotes the region's vitality.
For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.
Tweet It: Continue an old holiday tradition or start a new one in @VisitPhilly. Fun and festive options abound: http://vstphl.ly/Run0k5.
SOURCE Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation