Are you looking for a fun day trip with your family to get in the Christmas spirit? Sometimes we need a break from all of the hustle and bustle of the month of December to just step back and enjoy the beauty of the season. Take a ride to PA Dutch Country or the Lehigh Valley to experience vintage Christmas celebrations, amazing light displays, nativity scenes, or amusement parks decked out in their holiday finest.
Here is our list of some great holiday attractions outside Philadelphia to visit with children of any age. Many are within an hour's drive from the city, so pack the kids in the car and get ready to hit the road! In case you are up for the longer drive, our nearby Mommy Poppins sites in New Jersey and New York City also have fun-filled guides to the holidays.
ArtsQuest's popular holiday marketplace, Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem showcases aisles of handmade works by fine artisans, the heart-warming sounds of live Christmas music, ice sculpting demonstrations, playhouses to explore, and various food vendors. Visitors can watch artists create glass blown ornaments or try their hand at making their own.
National Christmas Center—Paradise
Experience Christmas traditions around the world, past and present. Exhibits include vintage Christmas displays, the art of the nativity, an animatronic Santa's workshop, and a chance to visit with the Jolly Old Elf himself.
Koziar’s Christmas Village—Bernville
Visitors to this amazing Christmas venue are sure to get in the holiday spirit. Families enjoy a spectacular light attraction, indoor and outdoor train displays, Winter Wonderland showcases of nutcracker collections, manger scenes, Santa's post office, a bakery, and many other elaborately decorated Christmas displays.
Jim Thorpe Olde Time Christmas Celebration—Jim Thorpe
Jim Thorpe's streets bustle with the sounds and joy of the Christmas season, just like a scene from a Dickens novel. Street carolers sing in chorus while horse-drawn carriages transport riders through the beautifully adorned Victorian streets. Decorated store fronts invite visitors inside to discover unique gift items.
Experience an old-fashioned Christmas on the farm. Visitors are transported back to a time before the bright lights and toy commercials and taken on a candlelit tour of the farm as it would have been in the 1800s. Witness a Victorian family preparing for Christmas, a living nativity, caroling, and traditional Pennsylvania German scenes. Groups go out every 15 minutes from 3 PM to 7 PM, with the last session starting at 7 PM.
Christmas at Kitchen Kettle Village—Intercourse
Experience a Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas with caroling and brass bands, cookie decorating, hot apple cider, s'mores making, and much more. Guests will find abundant shopping and plenty of homemade foods to give as holiday gifts.
Hersheypark Christmas Candyland—Hershey
Hersheypark is aglow with the holiday spirit as the park is transformed into Christmas Candylane. Beautifully decorated with two million lights, over 30 rides open for families to enjoy, and Hershey's Characters throughout the park, Hersheypark is a popular destination in December. Don't miss the amazing "Hershey Sweet Lights" drive through light display.
Dutch Winter Wonderland—Lancaster
Dutch Winter Wonderland offers themed rides, games, and holiday entertainment under thousands of decorative lights. Indoor activities include cookie decorating, voting for your favorite gingerbread house, and sharing holiday wishes with Santa.
This festive, family-friendly celebration allows you and yours to celebrate the holidays with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends! The park becomes a wonderland with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations all around. Enjoy a holiday sing-a-long of traditional holiday songs on the Furry express! Take in the glow with the light show at the giant 1-2-3 Christmas Tree.
From the Christmas Festival, December 3-4, to the Gingerbread House Competition and Display taking place all season long, Peddler’s Village is the quintessential holiday destination! With more than 60 specialty shops, you can complete all your holiday shopping while taking in the sights!
Photo courtesy of Koziar's Christmas Village.