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The best things to do in Philadelphia this weekend

The best things to do in Philadelphia, including popular events, festivals, attractions and tours, free activities and entertainment. See upcoming events and what’s on in Philly today.

The Christmas Village opens at City Hall and LOVE Park Nov. 19-Dec. 24.
The Christmas Village opens at City Hall and LOVE Park Nov. 19-Dec. 24.Read moreCourtesy of Christmas Village

Happy Friday! Below are some of our favorite things to do in the Philadelphia area this weekend. We put out new Philly weekend plans for you every week, so you’ll always have something to do on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

You can always find our favorite activities of the weekend at Have an event you’d like to feature in the Inquirer? Submit an event to our calendar.

Science After Hours: Celestial Sips

(Community) This night at the museum is sure to be out of this world. Come enjoy drag bingo, drinks and sweet treats in the Campfire Lounge and explore the brand new Wondrous Space exhibit. Dress in your galactic best and enjoy this stellar night under the stars. (Dec. 8, 7:30-11:30 p.m., 222 N. 20th St.,

PHILADANCO! Intangible Influences

(Dance) Dance lovers, this exciting new show from PHILADANCO is not to be missed. The production features a revival of neoclassical ballet by Gene Hill Sagan, new choreography from Christopher L. Huggins and so much more. (Dec. 8-10, 300 S. Broad St.,

Gardens After Dark

(Community) Come experience Philly’s Magic Gardens like you never have before. The South Street mosaic masterpiece will be placed under the glow of hundreds of colored lights. Come take a walk through this living art exhibit with a twist. (Dec. 8, 5:30-8:30 p.m., 1020 South St.,

Deck the Alley

(Community) Philadelphia’s oldest alley is opening its doors for the holiday season. Come take a look at the homes on the alley surrounded by the sounds and smells of the holiday season. Elfreth’s Alley Elves will also be heading to the alley, see how many you can spot during your trip. (Dec. 9, 2-6 p.m., 126 Elfreths Alley,

Christmas in the Barrio

(Community) North Philly’s favorite holiday tradition is back for another year. Get ready for a night of traditional Latino music and dance, face painting, Christmas caroling and so much more. Bring an unwrapped today with you to donate to the Salvation Army Toy Drive. (Free, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., 4261 N. 5th St.,

Poetry on the Pier

(Community) Don’t miss out on this special open mic poetry experience hosted by Collide Magazine. Performers will share freestyle poetry, comedy, or music. Come connect with fellow poets and celebrate local creatives whether you’re ready to perform or just want to cheer on. (Free, Dec. 9, 5-8 p.m., 121 N. Columbus Blvd.,

Sisterly Love Holiday Market

(Shopping) Keep your holiday shopping local and woman-led this year. Sisterly Love Holiday Market brings together women owned local makers and vendors to create the holiday marketplace of your dreams. (Dec. 9, 12-4 p.m., 2nd & Pine St.,

Community Menorah Lighting

(Community) Head to the Betsy Ross House for a traditional menorah lighting ceremony. Kick off the Hannukah season with traditional latkes, jelly donuts and other traditional favorites. (Free, Dec. 10, 4-5 p.m., 239 Arch St.,

First Crossing Reenactment

(History) End your weekend on a revolutionary note. Join thousands of others along the Delaware River to watch the reenactment of George Washington’s 1776 crossing on Christmas night. After the crossing, head to the Historic Village for colonial era activities and demonstrations. ($9-25, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., 355 Washington Crossing Pennington Rd.,

A Very Philly Christmas

(Music) No one does the holidays like Philly. Join Broadway singers, choirs, and conductors for show stopping concerts featuring some of your favorite holiday songs. There will be plenty of surprises woven throughout and some essential Philly fun peppered in as well. (Runs through Dec. 23, 300 S. Broad St.,

Holiday Markets at Cherry Street Pier

(Shopping) Tis the season for finding the most unique gifts from dozens of local makers. Head to Cherry Street Pier’s pop up holiday market to shop everything from handmade jewelry to custom art. (Runs through Dec. 23, 121 S. Columbus Blvd.,

Christmas Village in LOVE Park

(Shopping) Philly’s favorite traditional German Christmas marketplace is back for another year. Vendors offering various items and tasty treats for sale will fill LOVE Park for another holiday run. Be sure to stop by for mulled wine, unique gifts and special events and performances throughout the season. (Runs through Dec. 24, 1500 Arch St. and City Hall,

Yuletide at Devon

(Community) This unique holiday market blends the elements of a traditional European Christmas market with the flair of a music festival. Come enjoy free rides, live music from national touring music acts, delicious farm-to-table food and more at this special holiday experience. (Runs through Dec. 31, 23 Dorset Rd., Devon,

Macy’s Light Show & Dickens Village

(Community) Nothing says the holidays in Philadelphia quite like the Macy’s holiday experience. The light show display features thousands of twinkling lights taking the shapes of snowflakes, candy canes and other holiday symbols. In Dickens Village, you’ll see a vintage retelling of the classic A Christmas Carol. (Runs through Dec. 31, 1300 Market St.,


(Community) The Philadelphia Zoo is transforming into brilliant nighttime display of light. More than 1 million lights will brighten 16 different zones, creating an immersive lighting showcase. Come walk through, grab a bite and experience the zoo like you never have before. (Runs through Dec. 31, 3400 W. Girard Ave.,

LuminoCity Festival

(Community) Lean into the holiday season with this wonderland of light installations. This year’s Golden Holiday theme will include large-scale light displays, a 50-foot Christmas Tree, a holiday market, bar for festival cocktails and so much more. (Runs through Jan. 15, 100 Station Ave., Oaks,

Tinseltown at FDR Park

(Community) It’s beginning to look a lot like winter at FDR Park. Prepare to be stunned by the twinkling lights and stunning displays arranged at this holiday spectacular. Grab snacks or a cocktail in the Union Forge Lounge, shop for gifts in the Mistletoe Marketplace or visit the special Ice Slide and Ice Trail. (Runs through Jan. 1, 1500 Pattison Ave.,

Marie Laurencin: Sapphic Paris

(Art) A new exhibit is coming to the Barnes this weekend. The exhibit explores artist Marie Laurencin’s work including self portraits and early cubist paintings. Her work is described as feminist and queer and pictures a modern world of women among women. Come take a walk through the galleries and enjoy browsing more than 50 of her paintings. (Runs through Jan. 21, 2024, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy.,

The best events for kids in Philly

Tis the season to get out of the house with the tots for obligatory photos with Santa, parades along main streets, and shopping for all the things to deck the halls.

The BFG, Arden Theatre

(Theater) Roald Dahl’s Big, Friendly Giant — 24 feet tall in all — pairs up with unlikely pal Sophie (and also the Queen of England and her helicopter-flying military) to save English kids from less friendly giants and form a friendship in the bargain. This is at the Arden, so it’s going to be good. Ages 4-12. ($20-$45, previews through Dec. 6, opening night Dec. 10, onstage through Jan. 21, 40 N. 2nd St.,

Hollystock (Or, How a Giant of a Mistake Became the Best Christmas Surprise), Ritz Theatre Co.

(Theater) The revived Ritz is back to innovating with a participatory, silly (non-silent!) version of British pantomime, wherein this classic (yet currently popular) fairytale gets the holiday treatment. Ages 3 and up. ($27, Dec. 1-17, with sensory friendly performance Dec. 16, 915 White Horse Pk, Haddon Township, NJ,

Jack and the Beanstalk, Curio Theatre Company

(Theater) The innovators behind Curio have dreamed up a new way to tell stories. In Makerspace Theatre, during act one, kids choose props, create sets, and record their voices. Next, the actors incorporate these creations into the telling of a classic tale. Ages 3 and up. ($15-$20 adult, $10-$15 child, Dec. 6-30, Calvary Center for Culture and Community, 4740 Baltimore Ave.,

The Nutcracker Suite, Annenberg Center

(Dance) Tchaikovsky’s score gets a dose of Ellington, as the Dorrance Dance company tells the story in tap, boogie, jazz and swing. Ages 4 and up. ($40-$80, Dec. 8, 8 p.m., Dec. 9, 2 and 8 p.m., 3680 Walnut St.,

Fishtown Freeze, Fishtown

(Seasonal / free) ) Live ice sculpting is the main attraction for this neighborhood-wide fest. See it on Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. at Lutheran Settlement House (1340 Frankford Ave.), 2:30 p.m. Garage (100 E. Girard), and 4 p.m. at Mural City Garden (2011 Amber St.), but there’s also lots of shopping and photos with Santa at Frankford Hall. Sculptures stay up on Sunday too. (Free, Dec. 9, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Dec. 10, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., various locations in Fishtown and Kensington,

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, The Academy of Music

(Dance) The Philadelphia Ballet resumes its seasonal performance, as viewed in the most classic of theaters with its gilded columns, red seats, and sparkling chandelier. Ages 3 and up. ($25-$241, Dec. 8-30, 240 S. Broad St.,

The Tapcracker, Suzanne Roberts Theatre

(Dance) As of press time, tickets were available for only one of the Lady Hoofers’ three performances, wherein tap students through pros tell the tale with a Parisian bent. Ages 4 and up. ($30-$45, Dec. 9, 7 p.m., 480 S. Broad St.,

Christmas Underwater, Adventure Aquarium

(Holiday) There’s no place that Santa’s isn’t this time of year, and that includes scuba diving in a 760,000-gallon fish tank containing sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays at this Jersey aquarium. Also underwater: a very tall Christmas tree. Ages 2-10. ($28-$48 ages 13-64, $18-38 ages 13 and under, Nov. 24-Dec. 24, 1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ,

Winterfest / RiverRink, Penn’s Landing

(Ice Skating / amusements) The popular riverside ice-skating rink is back for a few wintry months. On opening day, November 24, it’s free to get in (reserve ahead,). After that, you’ll need to pay a modest rink admission and slightly less modest skate rental fee, plus some more dollars in the arcade, for snacks, maybe a trinket … Tis the season. Ages 4+. ($5 to skate, $12 to rent skates, Nov. 24-Feb. 19, 101 S. Columbus Blvd.,

Santa on a Fire Truck, West Chester

(Holiday / free) Like the sanitation truck, box truck, and school bus phase, the time your child will be obsessed with fire trucks won’t last long. Best to take advantage while you can — and while you shop along Gay and High streets in West Chester. All ages. (Free, Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m., downtown West Chester,

A Longwood Christmas

(Holiday / outdoors) The old DuPont place decorates dozens of trees, sets its fountains to carols, and instantly gets you in the holiday spirit. All ages. ($30 ages 19-61, $27 college student and ages 62 and up, $16 ages 5-18, $5 ACCESS/Snap cardholder, free ages 4 and under, Nov. 17-Jan. 7, 1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square,

Luminocity, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center

(Lights / holiday) This indoor walk-through feels a bit like being inside a life-size, trippy, Christmas Candyland — plus dinosaurs. ($29-$32 adult; $20-$24 ages 4-12, free ages 3 and under, Nov. 17-Jan. 15, 100 Station Ave., Oaks,

Brandywine Railroad, Brandywine Museum of Art

(Trains / art / holiday) The classic scene returns to the Wyeths’ favorite art museum, with locomotives through trolleys chugging past tiny, festive scenes — village, farm, drive-in movie theater — and offering the chance to alter the display via buttons and pedals. Also onsite: A decorated Victorian dollhouse, and, later this month, critter-decorated trees. All ages. ($20-$25 adult, $18-$23 senior, $8-$10 student and ages 5-18, Nov. 18-Jan. 7, 1 Hoffman’s Mill Rd., Chadds Ford,

Holiday Light Show, Shady Brook Farm

(Holiday) This Bucks County farm has been doing lights longer than most, inviting cars to drive a two-mile loop of lights, and riders to disembark to hop aboard a wagon, hang out near a bonfire, or meet up with Santa. ($40-$50 per car, $75 mini bus or limo, $150 bus; wagon rides, $15-$23, free ages 2 and under, Nov. 18-Jan. 8, 931 Stony Hill Rd., Yardley,

Rothman Rink, Dilworth Park

(Ice skating) Rain or shine, freezing or hot, on November 10 at 11:30 a.m., City Hall’s front yard skating rink reopens with a pop-up snow shower and performance by ice skaters from West Philly’s Laura Sims Skate House. Ages 3+. ($9 adult, $6 ages 10 and under, $10 skate rental, open daily, Nov. 10-Feb. 25, 1 S. 15th St.,

Rooted: Family and Nature in Contemporary Children’s Book Illustration, Brandywine Museum of Art

(Art / books) Eight children’s book illustrators all Caldecott other book award winners and honorees, have their pages put up on walls to connect human stories to the natural world, and to demonstrate the many media and ways stories are told. This is one not to miss. Ages 2+. ($20 adult, $18 senior, $8 ages 6–18 and students with ID, Oct. 14-Feb. 25, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 1. Hoffman’s Mill Rd., Chadds Ford,

Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit, Please Touch Museum

(Paleontology) Philly gets a second, albeit temporary, dinosaur museum when the Please Touch debuts a bright, interactive visiting exhibit from the Jim Henson / PBS show that includes both digging for fossils and driving a train. Ages 1-8. ($22, $2 ACCESS cardholder, Sept. 22-Dec. 31, 4231 Ave. of the Republic, pleasetouchmus