On the to-do list this week: It’s officially December and we have just about three weeks to go until Christmas (what?!). Lean into the celebrations that are happening these next few weeks by attending a holiday event or two, making cookies with your family, or visiting some holiday markets during your holiday shopping outings.
On my personal to-do list: Holiday season is soup season, am I right? I’m ordering my favorite soup (the chicken curry with rice noodles) from Cafe Nhan this weekend.
We’ve collected our best Philly tips all in one place here. Stay healthy, stay safe, and get vaccinated.
2021 Philadelphia holiday events calendar by Amber Burns and Lauren McCutcheon
The best holiday light shows in Philly by Nick Vadala
Where to order party trays and platters in Philadelphia by Nick Vadala
Full list of places in the Philly region where you need to show proof of vaccination by Jillian Wilson, Ellie Rushing, Dan DeLuca, and Michael Klein
18+ holiday markets in the Philly area by Michelle Reese
Where to find Christmas tree farms and cut trees near Philadelphia by Jillian Wilson and Grace Dickinson
» Ask us a question through Curious Philly: Inquirer.com/askus
Holiday weekend planner
Here is one highlight from our weekly events calendar:
✨ Parade of Lights, Independence Seaport Museum (Seasonal / in-person / outdoors / kid-friendly / free) Watching the procession of lit-up working boats from the banks of the Delaware is free. The preceding indoor activities, including gingerbread boat-making ($5 for non-members) and origami ornament-folding, plus a prime spot to watch the parade on the museum’s fourth-floor terrace — are worth the ticket fee. Ages 4+. (Free to watch from the waterfront, for museum entry, $18 ages 18-64, $14 seniors and ages 3-17, free ages 2 & under, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., parade at 5:15 p.m., 211 S. Columbus Blvd., phillyseaport.org)
There are bars and restaurants that are just begging you to come out for some seasonal celebrations. Begging how, you ask? Well, with super-festive displays — lights hanging from the ceiling, feet upon feet of garland, ornaments everywhere you look, and seasonal drink specials to match that energy. Add visits to some of, if not all of, the city’s most festive bars to get in the spirit and take in all of the picturesque displays they have to offer.
Not sure where to go? Here’s what’s on my must-visit festive bars list this December. 🎅🎄🍻
Craftsman Row Saloon Christmas Pop-up. On Jewelers’ Row, Craftsman Row Saloon is home to all of the festive fixings: stockings, decorative Santas, vintage decor, ornaments, thousands of holiday lights, and even a hidden Elf on the Shelf. Over-the-top milkshakes (like one that’s loaded with eggnog, crushed gingerbread cookies, sprinkles, and a holiday marshmallow peep) round out the super-festive offerings.📍112 S. 8th St.
U-Ville at Uptown Beer Garden. There are presents hanging from the ceiling of a heated tent at U-Ville at Uptown Beer Garden, an indoor-outdoor holiday bar and restaurant near City Hall. Stop here after a visit to Christmas Village (which is across the street) for plenty of photo ops with holiday lights, Christmas trees, holiday garland, and more. 📍1500 JFK Blvd.
The Lodge at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Here you can take in views of the massive ice skating rink and the holiday lights that dot nearly every corner of the space while sitting fireside at one of the on-site fire pits, in a festively decorated private cabin, or in the ski-lodge-style restaurant where spiked (and regular) hot chocolate, winter beers, and comfort foods flow. 📍101 S. Columbus Blvd.
See some free holiday lights
If you’re still looking to get into the festive spirit after visiting a few of the city’s great holiday bars, make plans to see the free holiday light displays that are now open throughout the Philadelphia region.
In the city, you can visit Miracle on South 13th Street (a block-long display of holiday lights, many of which are set to Christmas music) or the ever-popular Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show at Franklin Square.
Outside of Philly, head to West Chester to see a full-blown recreation of the holiday lights in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at The West Chester Griswolds or keep warm in your car and drive through the festive display at Herr’s Snack Factory in Nottingham.
» READ MORE: The best holiday light shows in Philly
Now’s the time to get your booster shot, Philly. Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant, has been categorized as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, though officials are encouraging no one to panic, yet — it’s still too soon to know much about this variant. Even beyond the omicron variant, COVID-19 cases are really high throughout the country, and holiday travel and holiday gatherings likely won’t help.
Now is as good a time as any to get your booster shot. The folks at Le Virtu, the Italian restaurant in East Passyunk, are teaming up with Philadelphia Fight Community Health Centers and SunRay Drugs to host a morning-long free vaccine booster clinic on Friday where both Moderna and Pfizer boosters will be available. If you’re six months beyond your second COVID-19 shot, it’s your turn to get a booster.