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Get Vaccinated 💉

(Community / in-person / free / multiday) We are still in a pandemic, and variants are still a concern. Make a plan to get vaccinated or your booster shot; there are many places throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey — CVS, Rite Aid, neighborhood rec centers, and more — where you can get your free COVID-19 shot. (Free, phila.gov)


Variety’s Holiday Lane 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) The cocoa is free, and so is the live entertainment along Variety campus’ holiday loop. The first night is drive-through only. Dec. 3, a master builder from Legoland will lead a building workshop. Ages 1+. (Drive-through: $10, Dec. 1, 5-7 p.m.; walk-through: $10 ages 18+, $5 ages 2-17, free under 2, Dec 2-4, 4-8 p.m., 2950 Potshop Rd., Worcester, varietyphila.org)

Polar Express Read-Aloud, Brandywine River Museum of Art 🎄

(Books / virtual / kid-friendly) If Chris Van Allsburg’s adventure picture book isn’t already their holiday favorite, it’s about to be. Ages 3-8. ($15 non-member family, $10 member family, Dec. 2, 7 p.m., brandywine.org)

Genesis 🎶

(Music / in-person) For this packed-with-hits concert trek, dubbed The Last Domino? Tour, prog- and pop-rock British band Genesis consists of a core trio of singer Phil Collins, guitarist Mike Rutherford, and keyboard player Tony Banks. Injuries have kept Collins from playing drums or standing for long periods, so he sits and sings and his son Nic plays the kit. ($75-$500, Dec. 2-3, 8 p.m., 3601 S. Broad St., wellsfargocenterphilly.com)


Frank Caliendo 😂

(Comedy / in-person) The Mad TV alum is still out there doing deranged impressions of sports figures, politicians, and actors. ($39-$59, Dec. 3, 8 p.m., Hard Rock Atlantic City, 1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, hardrockhotelatlanticcity.com)

Viernes Calientes: A Latin Dance Party 💃

(Dance / in-person / free) Celebrate the last first Friday of 2021 with food, drinks, and a night of dancing. Featuring live music from Latin party band De Tierra Caliente, this free dance party will bring all the spice your weekend needs. (Free, Dec. 3, 9 p.m., 3025 Walnut St., seetickets.us)

Parranda at Taller Puertorriqueño 🇵🇷

(Seasonal / in-person / community / fundraiser) Parranda is a Puerto Rican Christmas tradition marked by music, food, and celebration. Come revel in holiday cheer and support Taller’s mission to preserve and promote Puerto Rican art and culture. Your donation includes food and two drinks. ($50 donation, Dec. 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m., 2600 N. Fifth St., tallerpr.org)

Delco Veterans Memorial Rink ⛸️

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) An outdoor ice rink debuts in Delco, along with the requisite lounge, heated tent, and warm drinks. Skaters sign up for 90-minute sessions. Ages 4+. ($12 admission, $10 skate rental, Dec. 3-31, times vary, 4599 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, flightonice.com)

The Hold Steady: Massive Nights 🎶

(Music / virtual) Every December, Craig Finn-led bar band extraordinaire The Hold Steady hold down a multi-night residency at the Brooklyn Bowl in New York. Next year, the band will extend that run of shows to the venue’s new location in Fishtown. For now, Philadelphians can look in virtually on the band’s sold-out show from Brooklyn Bowl NY in support of their excellent eighth album Open Door Policy. ($19.99, Dec. 3, 9 p.m., fans.live)

Eric Bazilian 🎶

(Music / in-person) Philadelphia favorites The Hooters played two Keswick Theatre shows in October, and now the band’s co-frontman is doing an intimate solo show at the Living Room in Ardmore. The One of Us songwriter is playing in support of his new pandemic-recorded solo album Bazilian which looks back on a lifetime of music making on songs like The High Note and Back in the 80s. Alexis Cunningham and Donnie Black open. ($45-$55, Dec. 3, 8 p.m, 35 E. Ardmore Ave., thelivingroomat35east.com)

Chvrches 🎶

(Music / in-person) The Lauren Mayberry-fronted Scottish synth-pop trio may not seem like the scariest band in the world, but their new Screen Violence is a horror movie-themed album that expresses pandemic anxiety in songs with titles like Nightmares and Violent Delights. Donna Missal opens. ($40.50-$46, Dec. 3, 8 p.m., 421 N. 7th St., bowerypresents.com)

Wolf 🎬

(Movie / in-person) An allegorical tale of a man (George Mackay) who believes he’s a wolf, sent to an anti-animal therapy facility to cure the wolf out of him. While there, he falls in love with a wildcat (Lily-Rose Depp). Written and directed by Nathalie Biancheri. (Rated R. Premieres Dec. 3 in select theaters)

Encounter 🎬

(Movie / virtual and in-person) Riz Ahmed, Oscar-nominated for Sound of Metal, stars as a Marine veteran with PTSD who kidnaps his two young sons to protect them from what he believes is an alien threat. With Octavia Spencer. (Rated R. Premieres Dec. 3 at the PFS Bourse. Starts Dec. 10 on Amazon Prime)


Visit Philly Holiday Parade 🎉

(Seasonal / in-person / free) Celebrate all of the holidays of the season at this inclusive and lively holiday parade. Floats will be decked out in honor of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Chinese New Year and will move alongside live music and performances. Masks are encouraged for all attendees. (Free, Dec. 4, 5 p.m., 2nd and Market Streets to City Hall, phillyholidayexperience.com)

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)

A Very Local Holiday Market 🛍️

(Shopping / in-person / community / multiday / free) Keep your holiday shopping local and sustainable this year. Warehouse on Watts brings together dozens of local artists and makers for a weekend of shopping and community. Doors open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Proof of vaccination required for entry. (Free, Dec. 4-5, 923-29 N. Watts St., ticketweb.com)

» READ MORE: 18 holiday markets to visit in Philly this month

Luciafest & Christmas Market, American Swedish Historical Museum 🛍️

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly) Scandinavian foods — sharp cheeses, Abba herring, cloudberry preserves, dense rye bread — star in a tented market outside the FDR Park museum, part of a traditional Scandinavian celebration. Ages 4+. ($5 ages 12+, Dec 4-5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., 1900 Pattison Ave., americanswedish.org)

Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage, Merriam Theater 🎭

(Theater / in-person / kid-friendly) The 1965 TV special gets the musical treatment, where humans play cartoon kids, and the script and music by Vince Guaraldi expand to 90 minutes. Proof of vaccination, or, for children under 12, negative PCR COVID-19 test result, required. Ages 4-10. ($39-$69, Dec. 4, 1:30 & 5 p.m., 250 S. Broad St., kimmelculturalcampus.org)

Deck the Alley 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly) One of Philly’s most iconic and historic blocks is getting ready for the holiday season. Costumed actors will head to the alley for a day of holiday decor, caroling, and festive antiques. Masks will be required in the museum and gift shop. ($15-$25, Dec. 4, 3-7 p.m., 126 Elfreth’s Alley, elfrethsalley.org)

Ugly Christmas Sweater Bar Crawl 🍺

(Seasonal / in-person / drinks) Grab your ugliest Christmas sweater, elf hat, or favorite festive onesie and get ready for a huge holiday bar crawl. Your wristband gets you food and drink discounts, free admission to five venues, including Voyeur, Raven Lounge, and Woody’s, and a night of festive fun. ($22-40, Dec. 4 and 11, 2-9 p.m., Various locations, barcrawllive.com)

My Bluegrass Heart 🎶

(Music / virtual) Banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck assembled an all-star band of his quick picking cronies for his album My Bluegrass Heart, and they’re gathered together for this livestream, with the A-list players including Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Bryan Sutton, and Edgar Meyer. ($22, Dec. 4, 10 p.m., mandolin.com)

Loudon Wainwright III 🎶

(Music / in-person) Five decades into a prolific career — his self-titled debut came out in 1970 — Wainwright remains a creative force. The sharp, unsparing, and funny singer-songwriter, actor, and memoirist took an unexpected turn with last year’s I’d Rather Lead a Band, which showcases him as a singer on a collection of old-time jazz numbers that he handles with tenderness and wit. With Deni Bonet. ($33-$45, Dec. 4, 8 p.m., 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville, st94.com)

Cheers Elephant 🎶

(Music / in-person) The Philly indie-pop band Cheers Elephant, which formed at the Paul Green School of Rock in Downingtown moved to California in 2014, the year before leader Derek Krzywicki left the band. The group reunited last year after realizing it had a big fan base in China, but its tour to that country was canceled due to COVID-19. Now they’re back with a reunion show at World Cafe Live, with the Extraordinaires and Kingsley Ibeneche opening. ($20-$37, Dec. 4, 8 p.m., 3025 Walnut St., worldcafelive.com)

Giveon 🎶

(Music / in-person) The Los Angeles R&B singer born Giveon Evans had a breakout song with Heartbreak Anniversary and has been featured on two big hits in the last year — with Drake’s Chicago Freestyle and with Justin Bieber and Daniel Caesar on Peaches, the latter of which is nominated for five Grammy awards, including record and song of the year. ($26-$28, Dec. 4, 8 p.m., 332 South St., tlaphilly.com)


Mayfair Christmas Village & Tree Lighting 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / free) Back for the 11th year in a row, this annual tree lighting is decking out Ryan Ave. in the Northeast. Celebrate the season with holiday decor, music, good food, and great beer. (Free, Dec. 5, 3-7 p.m., 7300 Frankford Ave., eventbrite.com)

Blind Boys of Alabama 🎶

(Music / in-person) O Holy Night, indeed. The great gospel quintet the Blind Boys of Alabama, who are currently led by 89-year-old vocalist Jimmy Carter, are bringing their Christmas show to the Main Line. The quintet whose newest album, the Nina Simone-inspired I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free, is a collaboration with Bela Fleck and draws from their 2014 holiday album with Taj Mahal, Talkin’ Christmas. ($35-$55, Dec. 5, 7 p.m., 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, ardmoremusichall.com)


Hiss Golden Messenger 🎶

(Music / in-person) Pre-pandemic, North Carolina songwriter M.C. Taylor — aka Hiss Golden Messenger — felt burnt out from an endless cycle of touring and recording. A prolonged rest has resulted in both this year’s subdued, spiritually seeking American collection Quietly Blowing It and O Come All Ye Faithful, a holiday album of originals, Christmas songs, and the “Hanukkah Dance.” Philly songwriter Rosali opens. ($26-$36. Dec. 7, 8 p.m., 3025 Walnut St., worldcafelive.com)

100 Gecs 🎶

(Music / in-person) The hyper-pop duo of Laura Les and Dylan Brady specialize in a manic, constantly shifting, genre-splicing approach to music making that might give you a headache, or convince you that there really is something new — and quite addictive — under the sun. 10,000 Gecs, the band’s follow-up to 2019′s 1,000 Gecs, is due in early 2022. The duo’s two Union Transfer shows are sold out, but spots on the waitlist are available. Tony Velour opens. (Sold out, waitlist available, Dec. 7-8, 8 p.m., 1026 Spring Garden St., utphilly.com)


Photos with Santa, East Passyunk 🎅

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / free) Old Saint Nick stops by the avenue a few times this month to pose for DIY photos with humans and pets alike. Kids can drop Christmas wish lists into a mailbox at the Singing Fountain, which has a direct line from South Philly to the North Pole. All ages. (Free, Dec. 8, 5-7 p.m., Dec. 18, 3-5 p.m., Dec. 19, noon-2 p.m., Tasker St. and E. Passyunk Ave., visiteastpassyunk.com)

Family Storytime, Christmas Village 📚

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / free) There is a lot to explore (although less to touch) among the dozens of pop-up vendors west of City Hall at the annual Christmas Village. On Wednesdays, the Free Library adds holiday-inspired singing and storytime to LOVE Park. Ages 3-5. (Free, Dec. 8, 15, 22, 11 a.m., 1600 JFK Blvd., facebook.com)


Holiday Lights Run 🎄

Fitness / in-person / seasonal / free) The Fishtown Beer Runners and South Philly Striders are back again for a festive holiday run. Lace up your sneakers for a brisk December run starting at Broad and Oregon and ending at the bedecked American Sardine Bar for an indoor-outdoor post-run party. Before the run, non-perishable food items can be dropped off at Marconi Plaza to be donated to Philabundance. Drinks at the bar are cash only, but the run is free to take part in. (Free, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m., Broad & Oregon Streets, fishtownbeerrunners.com)

» READ MORE: Find the best kids events in our weekly kids calendar


Holiday Movie Drive-In 🎬

(Movies / in-person / seasonal / kid-friendly) ‘Tis the season to watch your favorite holiday movies. Pack some snacks and bring the whole family to enjoy fan-favorite films like “Home Alone” and “Bad Santa.” Tickets must be purchased in advance. Screenings take place at Charlann Farm in Yardley or Falls Township Community Park in Levittown. ($45 per vehicle, through Dec. 19, 586 Stony Hill Rd., Yardley, and 9050 Mill Creek Rd., Levittown, midatlanticeventgroup.com)

Opening of Christmas Village at LOVE Park 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / outdoors / multiday) ‘Tis the season for your favorite vendors from around the world to make their return to LOVE Park at Christmas Village. Find the perfect, unique gift for everyone on your list and enjoy rides, family-friendly activities, and your favorite seasonal food and drink items, from hot chocolate to raclette. (Free, through Dec. 24, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., 15th St. and JFK Blvd., philachristmas.com)

Dickens Village, Macy’s 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / multiday / free) The Wanamaker building resumes holiday operations, partly by asking Dickens Village fans to reserve spots to navigate dimly lit hallways where animatronic dolls play out A Christmas Carol. Santa is available by virtual arrangement only. Come December, the famed Macy’s light show will take place once daily (Dec. 1-31). Ages 5+. (Free, Dickens Village: through Dec. 23, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., times vary Dec. 24, 26-31, 1300 Market St., macys.com)

Christmas Light Show, Macy’s ✨

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday / free) Through December, the Wanamaker building hosts a once-daily showing of its iconic, Julie Andrews-narrated, live organ-accompanied, dancing lights show. Masks required, social distancing rules in effect. Times subject to change. Ages 2+. (Free, Dec. 1-24, 10:30 a.m., Dec. 26-31, 11:30 a.m., 1300 Market St., macys.com)

Franklin Frost, Franklin Institute 🚂

(Science / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) There have always been steam trains at the Franklin Institute, but through the year’s end, a new exhibit adds tracks and cars add even more steam to the collection. Models loop around a 25-foot celestial tree. Ages 2-14. ($23 ages 12+, $19 ages 3-11, free 2 & under, through Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sun., 222 N. 20th St., fi.edu)

Comcast Holiday Spectacular 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / free / kid-friendly) The free Comcast Holiday Spectacular takes place in the Comcast Center plaza on an outdoor video wall. The show, which features scenes of snow-covered hills, festive dance performances, and images of favorite holiday traditions, runs daily through Jan. 1. The show runs on the hour, every hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Free, through Jan. 1, 2022, 1701 JFK Blvd., comcastcentercampus.com)

Deck the Hall Light Show, City Hall ✨

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / free / multiday) After dark, multicolor projections metamorphose the western facade of City Hall, adding to the magic of the skating rink and winter garden. All ages. (Free, through Jan. 1, 2022, 5-9 p.m. on weekdays, until 10 on weekends, 15th and Market Sts., centercityphila.org)

Tinseltown, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center ⛸️

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) A Montco convention center unveils a new indoor winter wonderland complete with synthetic ice-skating rink (30-minute sessions at a time, $5-$10 admission, $10 skate rental), one-million-bulb Liberty Bell, pics with Santa (and, on Thursdays, Gritty), and enough decorations to make a Hallmark Christmas movie feel underdressed. Ages 2+. ($20-$30 ages 13 & up, $14-$23 ages 5-12, free 4 & under, through Jan. 2, 2022, dates and times vary, Perkiomen Mill Loop, Oaks, tinseltownholiday.com)

Herr’s Holiday Lights 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / community / free) Your favorite snack has gone festive for the holidays. Drive through the Herr’s corporate campus to take in a dazzling display of over 600,000 holiday lights. The lights display will shine through Jan. 2. (Free, through Jan. 2, 2022, 5 p.m.-7 a.m., 20 Herr Dr., Nottingham, herrs.com)

Holiday Garden Railroad, Morris Arboretum 🚂

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly /multiday) The lush plantings and trees on the edge of Chestnut Hill get an extra dose of kid-attractiveness when Morris bedecks and reopens its G-scale trains for the holidays. The setup feels extra magical on weekends after dusk, when reservations are recommended. Ages 1+. ($20 ages 18+, $18 ages 65+, $10 ages 3-17, free 2 & under, through Jan. 2, 2022, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 100 E. Northwestern Ave., morrisarboretum.org)

The Little Mermaid, Walnut Street Theatre 🎭

(Theater / in-person / ongoing / kid-friendly) Back into seats and Under the Sea, Walnut Street makes its kid-friendly comeback with a Disney greatest hit, starring Diana Huey as Ariel. Proof of vaccination for kids 12 and up, negative COVID-19 test for ages 11 and under, and government-issued photo id for ages 18 and up are required. ($25-$175, Nov. 16, 2021-Jan. 2, 2022, 825 Walnut St., walnutstreettheatre.org)

A Very Furry Christmas, Sesame Place 🎁

(Seasonal / in-person / multiday) Trees and cuddly characters that sing and sway draw kids into the holiday magic at the home of Elmo, Big Bird — you know the rest of them. A family zone offers a warm spot by fire pits, hot chocolate, cookie decorating, and more Sesame friends. Rides, shops, and snack spots are open. Water park is not. Ages 0-7. ($89.99 for one-day tickets, $99.99 for two-day tickets, free 23 months & under, through Jan. 2, 2022, 100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne, sesameplace.com)

LumiNature, Philadelphia Zoo ✨

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) When the animals go to bed, one million lights go on throughout the zoo. Ticket holders discover trees made of butterflies, flamingos, and an octopus, walk through an aquarium-like tunnel, meet 200 electric penguins, and encounter loads more bulbs made into ethereal spaces and larger-than-life creatures. ($25 ages 12 and up, $20 ages 2-11, free under 2, through Jan. 9, 2022 timed entrance from 5:30-8:30 p.m., 3400 W. Girard Ave., philadelphiazoo.org)

A Longwood Christmas 🎄

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly) Stunning trees, fire pits, and dazzling lights bring Christmas to life at Longwood Gardens. Indoors, take a walk among the decorated Christmas trees, winter-themed waterways, and more. Outdoors, cozy up next to a blazing fire pit or take a walk under thousands of decorative lights hung throughout the gardens. Timed tickets are required. (Free-$30, through Jan. 9, 2022, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., 1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square longwoodgardens.org)

Dilworth Park Ice Rink ⛸️

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) It’s time to lace up your skates and welcome winter back at Dilworth Park. Skaters of all ages can enjoy sessions on the ice rink, and cozy up in the cabin for warm drinks and food. Reservations and masks are encouraged. ($5-$17, through Feb. 27, 2022, 1 S. 15th St., centercityphila.org)

Winter in Franklin Square ✨

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday / free) Visibly glimmery from the Vine Street Expressway, Franklin Square lights up to on-the-half-hour holiday music (daily from 5 p.m.). Guests should plan to put aside a few dollars for a carousel ride, mini golf ($8-$15), and cocoa, spiked or not. All ages. (Free, through Feb. 27, 2022, Sun.-Thur. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., 200 N. Sixth St., historicphiladelphia.org)

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest ⛸️

(Seasonal / in-person / kid-friendly / multiday) Winterfest reopens for gliding (and wobbling) around the outdoor ice skating rink, playing carnival games, and spending time fireside. Ages 4+. (RiverRink: $5 admission, $10 skate rental, through March 6, 101 S. Columbus Blvd., delawareriverwaterfront.com)

Wintergarden at Dilworth Park ❄️

(Seasonal / in-person / outdoors / kid-friendly / free) You can explore an all-outdoor festive wonderland as part of Dilworth Park’s holiday offerings, though this free garden is open way beyond just the holiday season — you can visit into the spring. Here, make your way through light installations, plant displays, a giant dome-shaped arbor, and more all within the backdrop of City Hall. (Free, through April 3, 2022, centercityphila.org, 1 S. 15th St.)

Invisible World of Water, Academy of Natural Sciences 🚰

(Science / in-person / multiday / kid-friendly) Water up super close and from way far away, as interpreted by scientists, artists, and artist-scientists give viewers new insight to the everyday magic of two-thirds of our earth and 60% of our bodies. ($20-$22 adults, $16-$18 children, free for members and under age 2, Nov. 13-Apr. 17, 2022, times vary, 1900 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., ansp.org)

Magical Fantasy at The Navy Yard 🎪

(Art / in-person / outdoors / free) Magical Fantasy, a collection of bold and bright 3D art pieces by London-based artist Morag Myerscough, has transformed The Navy Yard into a colorful playground. Stop by to wander through the exhibit and escape into an abstract dreamland without leaving the city. (Free, through October 2022, Broad St. and Constitution Ave., navyyard.org)

» READ MORE: How to do everything better right now: A collection of our most useful stories

Calendar contributors
  • Amber Burns is a writer and content creator living in Philadelphia. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her holed up in a coffee shop with a good book. Find her on social media @byamberburns.

  • Lauren McCutcheon is a Philadelphian, parent, and local writer. She writes about kids events for The Inquirer, including our Kids Calendar, which publishes each Sunday.

  • Howard Gensler writes about movies for The Inquirer, and is a former entertainment editor and writer for the Philadelphia Daily News. His work has also appeared in Premiere magazine, and he wrote the story on which the movie Hysteria, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy, was based.

  • Dan DeLuca is the music critic for The Inquirer.

Patrick Rapa contributed to this article.