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The best holiday light shows in the Philly area

Here are the best holiday light shows in the Philadelphia area, all of which you can see without spending a cent.

Walk down Main Street to see dazzling displays by Manayunk businesses.
Walk down Main Street to see dazzling displays by Manayunk businesses.Read moreCourtesy of Kory Aversa

The holiday season has arrived, and if you’re looking for festive outdoor fun, a drive- or walk-through holiday light show is a good option.

You could crack open your wallet for any of the great, ticketed holiday light shows in the Philly area, including Shady Brook Farms’ Holiday Light Show or A Longwood Christmas, but if you’re looking for free options, this list is for you.

From neighborhood blocks to offerings from corporate entities, we’ve rounded up a list of the best local holiday light shows you can see without spending a cent. Note: Boathouse Row’s lights will remain dark until 2024.

Most run daily starting at dusk, but to avoid crowds, weeknights can be better. And remember: Some of these are on small blocks or at private homes, so be respectful. It is the holidays, after all.

The Miracle on South 13th Street is back in full swing this year with its South Philly holiday light display. Opening night is Saturday, Nov. 25, where many houses on the block will be decorated in their best holiday regalia. Expect holiday light shows, music, inflatable decor, lights hanging from trees and over the street, and much more. Whether you take a walk or drive, remember: This is a residential area, so be mindful of your fellow neighbors.

📍1600 S 13th St., Philadelphia, PA 19148, 🌐, 🕑 for the month of December, 5 to 11 p.m. daily

Winter in Franklin Square includes all kinds of yuletide activities; for folks looking for a show, there’s the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show. Running every 30 minutes, it features more than 200,000 holiday lights synchronized to holiday classics, starting at 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting.

📍 200 N. Sixth St., Philadelphia, PA 19106, 📞 215-629-4026, 🌐, 📷 @franklinsquarephilly, 🕑 through Feb. 25, 5 to 9 p.m. nightly

Comcast is offering a 15-minute family-friendly show featuring holiday songs and performances by the Philadelphia Ballet. The show runs through New Year’s Day with performances daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the top of every hour. Note: Sensory-friendly shows are at 2:30 p.m. daily.

📍 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19103, 🌐, 🕑 through Jan. 1, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Credit unions know how to celebrate the holidays, too. This year’s 16th Grand Illumination will be held at the main campus of American Heritage in Northeast Philly, where you can stroll through and see the lighting of two 40-foot Christmas trees, hundreds of wreaths, and more than 400,000 lights. Free parking available.

📍 2060 Red Lion Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19115, 📞 800-342-0008, 🌐, 📷 @americanheritagecu, 🕑 Nov. 27 to Jan. 1, daily at dusk.

Held in the Macy’s Grand Court, the show features Christmas lights and holiday tales with musical accompaniment from the famed Wanamaker Organ during noon and 6 p.m. showings (except Sunday). Head to Macy’s Center City Monday to Sunday for the show. The Inquirer has your guide to all Macy’s holiday celebrations.

📍 1300 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107, 📞 215-241-9000, 🌐, 🕑 Monday to Saturday 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.; Sunday noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.; through Dec. 31.

Peddler’s Village usually has plenty for people to do thanks to its more than 60 specialty stores, but around this time of year, it adds about one million dazzling lights as part of its holidays in the Village event. Be sure to check out the dozens of gingerbread creations on display as part of its annual competition, too.

📍 2400 Street Rd., New Hope, PA 18938, 📞 215-794-4000, 🌐, 📷 @peddlersvillage, 🕑 through Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., except Sundays, which are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Plummer family’s holiday light show gets its name from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. They have been doing displays since 1998 — starting in Aston with just 2,000 lights. They’ve since moved and added a lot more lights — more than 135,000 this year, which are all set to music on 87.9 FM. The show runs every half hour Monday to Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Plus, the kiddos can drop off a letter to Santa. Opening Thanksgiving night.

📍 304 Dutton Mill Rd., West Chester, PA 19380, 🌐, 📷 @west_chester_griswolds, 🕑 through Jan. 2, Monday to Thursday 4:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., Friday to Sunday 4:45 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Like the West Chester Griswolds, this Langhorne-based attraction is a holiday projection show with synchronized music at a private home. For this one, you can tune your car radio to 91.1 FM to hear the half-hour playlist to which the light show is synced. The free show starts Nov. 24.

📍 155 Colonial Dr., Langhorne, PA 19047, 🌐, 🕑 through early January at dusk.

Herr’s makes good snacks, but it has also been serving up crisp light displays every holiday season for more than 30 years. Head to Nottingham to drive through its corporate headquarters, open 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily, where you’ll take in more than 600,000 holiday lights through Jan. 2. Just remember to stay in your car.

📍 20 Herr Dr., Nottingham, PA 19362, 📞 800-344-3777, 🌐, 📷 @herrs.snacks, 🕑 through Jan. 2 from dusk to dawn.

In Delaware County, Rose Tree Park is celebrating the holidays with its annual light show — just like it’s been doing for over four decades. Walk through the winter wonderland. On select evenings, venture into Holiday Village for shopping from local vendors. Admission and parking are free.

📍1671 N. Providence Rd., Media, PA 19063, 📞 610-891-4000, 🌐, 🕑 Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Walk down Main Street as 40 businesses compete to see who has the most brilliant display on the block. Starting Nov. 30, twinkling lights, food and drink deals, shopping specials, festive live entertainment, visits from Santa, and the return of the Jolly Trolley take over Manayunk. Marvel at the lights as you shop, dine and be merry.

📍Main Street, Philadelphia, PA 19127, 🌐 , 🕑 through Dec. 23, Thursday and Friday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The holiday festivities began with the holiday window decorating contest with18 businesses throughout the neighborhood competing from Nov. 25 to Jan. 1.

Don’t miss the tree lighting on Nov. 29 at the Betsy Ross House courtyard. There will be a dance performance from the Philadelphia Dance Academy and holiday carols from Upper Darby High School Encore Singers. Santa will arrive on a firetruck at 6 p.m., along with guests including 6abc’s Alicia Vitarelli, City Representative Sheila Hess, Council Member Mark Squilla, State Senator, and more.

📍239 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106, 🌐, 🕑 Nov. 29, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

In the heart of Washington Township, drive through a Christmas spectacle of lights. South Jersey’s ultimate animated light show Glow leads you to the Dazzling District, a Christmas village with a 45-foot LED snowman, ferris wheel, train ride (and a mini light show), food trucks, retail vendors, entertainment, pictures with Santa and more. Get tickets online.

📍221 Berlin-Cross Keys Rd., Williamstown, NJ 08081, 🌐, 🕑 through Jan. 6; Sunday 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Glow Light Show: Sunday to Thursday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

With more than 75,000 holiday lights strung up, Chester County Hospital Lights Up Holiday Weekends in West Chester officially commences. It kicks off a month of free, family-friendly events including carolers, outdoor holiday concert, Santa on a fire truck, hometown Christmas parade, and more. This year, West Chester is lighting up more downtown blocks than ever before. On Nov. 24 at 9 a.m., you’ll find thousands of holiday lights aglow with free street-level, metered parking all weekend long.

📍2 N High St, West Chester, PA 19380, 🌐, 🕑 through Jan. 2

The Atlantic City Tinseltown Holiday Experience has plenty of holiday events for you. It kicks off on Dec. 1 with a Grand Tree-Lighting Event just off the Boardwalk at The Yard at Bally’s Atlantic City Casino Resort. But that’s not the only show to see — there will be a community tree lighting celebration at O’Donnell Park (6 to 8 p.m.), the Orange Loop Bar Crawl (starting at 7 p.m.), and Tinseltown Kick-Off Party at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall (7:30 p.m,).

And don’t miss the Absecon Lighthouses’ Luminary Light Festival on Dec. 9. Enjoy caroling, light a personal luminary, savor specialty cheeses and wines, score gift shop specials and more. There is a $25 per person donation for this event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

See the full holiday event list online.

📍1900 Pacific Ave. and the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401, and other locations, 🌐, 🕑 through Jan. 2

Steven White contributed to this article.