To do this week: Celebrate
Your curated to-do list of the best ways to spend your time this week.
On the to-do list this week: The Thanksgiving holiday officially starts the festive, celebratory season that some know and love — and some just push through. Wherever you fall, it’s OK. Either way, we are in the final stretch of 2021, which has certainly been better than 2020, but, hopefully, 2022 can be even better for us.
On my personal to-do list: Some readers emailed me the must-do things on their holiday bucket lists. I’m spending the coming days checking out some of your suggestions — the West Chester Griswolds House light display, Black Shed’s annual holiday market in Stockton, NJ, and South Philly’s Kimball St. holiday display. I’m all in.
We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.
Your Guide to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021 by Nick Vadala
What’s open and closed on Black Friday in the Philly area by Nick Vadala
What’s open and closed on Thanksgiving Day in the Philly area by Grace Dickinson
Where to volunteer in Philadelphia on Thanksgiving by Steven White and Bethany Ao
The best gift stores in Philly by Jillian Wilson
The best cookies in Philadelphia by Michelle Reese
2021 Philadelphia holiday events calendar by Amber Burns and Lauren McCutcheon
The best restaurants for Thanksgiving takeout in Philadelphia by Nick Vadala
» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: Inquirer.com/askus
Holiday weekend planner
Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:
⛸️ Opening of Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest (Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) On Friday, Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest reopens for gliding (and wobbling) around the outdoor ice skating rink, playing carnival games, food and drinks in the lodge-style restaurant, and spending time fireside. (RiverRink: $5 admission, $10 skate rental, Nov. 26-March 6, 101 S. Columbus Blvd., delawareriverwaterfront.com)
🔎 Find more of this week’s events, and we even have a kid-friendly events calendar, too.
The nation’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade is Philadelphia’s own, which winds along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this Thursday morning. The parade brings marching bands, performers, floats, and festive fun to the city, along with some headaches like road closures, traffic, and parking restrictions. We have a guide to what to expect, whether you’re attending the free-to-watch parade or need to drive through Center City on Thursday.
This year’s 6ABC Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends around noon.
The route starts at 20th and John F. Kennedy Boulevard and heads east toward 16th Street, where it turns left and heads north to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. From there, the parade follows the Parkway west to Eakins Oval and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it concludes.
Road closures began on Tuesday night, when Eakins Oval closed for parade rehearsals from 6:30-11 p.m. Various closures will continue today and tomorrow, a spokesperson for the city’s Office of Special Events said. Roads will reopen on a rolling basis as they are cleaned and serviced, and all road closures are scheduled to be lifted by 3 p.m. on Thursday.
There will be prohibited parking areas on and around the parade route starting on Tuesday, and temporary no parking signs around areas scheduled for road closures, the Office of Special Events said. Cars parked in prohibited parking areas will be relocated.
💫 Metered parking elsewhere in the city is free on Thanksgiving. 💫
» READ MORE: Your guide to the Thanksgiving Day parade in Philadelphia
Black Friday and Small Business Saturday unofficially kick off the holiday shopping season — there’s just about a month to go until Christmas Day, less than a month until many Secret Santa exchanges, and just a few days until the beginning of Hanukkah. In time for the rush of holiday shopping, holiday markets begin to open throughout the region, including the major Christmas Village, which opens on Thanksgiving Day, and City Hall’s Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market, which is already open for the season. Here’s a full guide to holiday markets to visit in the region this season, and a few of our picks, below.
Christmas Village — Nov. 25-Dec. 24
Christmas Village is taking over LOVE Park yet again for one of the area’s most unique holiday traditions. Stroll the German-style open-air market and shop over 110 international and local merchants and artists. German company Käthe Wohlfahrt is returning again with its popular ornaments, incense smokers, and other handcrafted decorations. This year, shop more local minority-owned businesses thanks to grants from the city’s Commerce Department and Parks & Rec. 📍LOVE Park, 1600 JFK Blvd., 🌐 philachristmas.com, 📷 @philachristmas
Holiday Philadelphia Punk Rock Flea Market — Nov. 26-28
The indoor Punk Rock Flea Market is the place to shop for vintage clothing, records, handmade crafts, one-of-a-kind art, and plenty of old punk junk. Look for 100 vendors each day that change each day (so it’s worth going more than once). Tickets are $10 and gets you entrance for all three days. Or, starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, you can snag $5 tickets. Kids 12 and under are free. You can even bring your leashed dog. 📍23rd Street Armory, 22 S. 23rd St., 🌐 phillyprfm.com, 📷 @phillyprfm
Handmade Holidays at Bartram’s Garden — Dec. 4
Bring the whole family along for a day of seasonal festivities, music, refreshments, and shopping. The marketplace will feature a wide selection of local artists and vendors including children’s books from Aisha Toombs; ceramic tiles, stoneware vessels, and relief prints from Astral Projects; carved wood kitchen tools from The Bearded Carver; printed cards and gift wrap from Fairhope Graphics; prints and stickers from JazMakes Studios, and more. You can also preorder a Bartram signature wreath to pick up during the event.📍5400 Lindberg Blvd., 📞 215-729-5281, 🌐 bartramsgarden.org
» READ MORE: 18 holiday markets in the Philly area
Eastern State Penitentiary annually teams up with local groups to organize a holiday gift drive for children who have a parent who is either currently incarcerated or was recently incarcerated. You can donate a new, unwrapped toy or book from Nov. 26 to Dec. 22 by dropping the gift off during the Penitentiary’s open hours or having the gift shipped directly to the Fairmount attraction.
Those who donate a gift get buy one get one admission to a daytime tour at the museum through Dec. 31, 2022.