35+ Fun Things to Do Over Winter Break in Philly with Kids

After ice skating, grab some friends and have a seat at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Photo courtesy of Danielle Smith
After ice skating, grab some friends and have a seat at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Photo courtesy of Danielle Smith

Winter break is almost here, and the kids are going to need full-time entertainment. Once they've sat through a few of the best kids' Christmas movies, get them up and off the couch for awesome outdoor adventures and fun indoor activities to stay occupied before Santa arrives, and long after he leaves.

Christmas vacation is an ideal time to get out and explore the region's best holiday lightstheater showsSanta activities, and more. So plan out an entire week's itinerary with our picks below, and don't forget to browse the Best Holiday and Christmas Events Near Philadelphia in 2021.

Note: The City of Philadelphia requires masks or proof of vaccination for some indoor events. Reservations are often required. Please check directly with the venue website before heading out. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do.

Hersheypark Candylane.
A stretch of Hersheypark's Christmas Candylane. Photo courtesy of Hersheypark

Holiday and Christmas Lights Over Winter Break

1. Christmas Candylane –– Hershey

For the sweetest Christmas experience around, use winter break to check out over 5 million twinkling lights at Hershey Park.

2. Dasher's Lightshow –– Philadelphia

A magical holiday experience awaits from the comfort of your car at this drive-thru Christmas lights show.

3. Herr's Snack Factory –– Nottingham  

Load up the family vehicle and drive through this display of more than 600,000 dazzling bulbs.

4. Longwood Gardens –– Kennett Square

See beautiful lights on display at the very special annual event, A Longwood Christmas, and don't miss their Garden Railway.

5. A Very Furry Christmas –– Langhorne

Wish happy holidays to the Sesame Street gang until January 2, 2022.

RELATED: Over-the-Top Christmas Lights on Houses Around Philly

Macy's Center City HolidayTraditions Dickens Village.
Macy's Center City Holiday Traditions Dickens Village. Photo courtesy of Danielle Smith

6. Macy's Center City Holiday Traditions –– Philadelphia

The beloved Macy's Light Show is back, along with Dickens Village.

RELATED: 25 Free Holiday and Christmas Events for Philly Kids

LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Glowing flowers are part of the display at LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo. Photo by Georgi Anastosov

7. LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo –– Philadelphia

More than one million lights transform the zoo into a sparkling winter playground.

8. Wild Lights at Elmwood Park Zoo –– Norristown

Visit the animals and explore the zoo in holiday mode.

9. Holidays in the Village –– New Hope

Admire the lights and peruse the many candied confectionaries at the annual Gingerbread House Display and competition. Vote on your favorites while you enjoy local beverages and treats.

RELATED: 101 Christmas Activities for Kids

The Miracle on South 13th Street.
The Miracle on South 13th Street showcases the best of Christmas in South Philly. Photo by K. Kelly for Visit Philadelphia

10. The Miracle on South 13th Street –– Philadephia

Visit the 1600 block of South 13th Street between Tasker and Morris to see this stunning annual neighborhood display.

11. Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular –– Philadelphia

The 2700 block of Smedley Street is festively decorated with blow-up decorations, beautifully lit trees, and sparkling string lights. 

12. West Chester Griswolds –– West Chester

This house models itself after Clark Griswold's home in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and it does not disappoint.

13. Dasher's Lightshow––Philadelphia

Put the windows down, or if you've got one, open the sunroof to admire one million pixel lights at this drive-thru light show in the Northeast.

RELATED: Winter Activities Guide for Philadelphia Families

Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink.
Take a family twirl around Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink. Photo courtesy of Center City District

Outdoor Activities Over Winter Break

14. Outdoor Ice Skating –– Multiple Locations

Lace your skates and take a twirl outdoors at Blue Cross RiverRink, Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink, Flight on Ice, or Tinseltown. Beat the chill with a cup of hot chocolate from the vendors onsite.

15. Holidays on the Hill –– Philadelphia

Stroll through the Chestnut Hill neighborhood illuminated by bright lights, and take advantage of special events like brass band performances, horse-drawn carriage rides, and encounters with Santa on specific dates. Check the website for more details.

RELATED: Guide to Holiday and Christmas Events in Philadelphia

The 2021 Visit Philadelphia Holiday at Tree Christmas Village. Photo by Danielle Smith

16. Christmas Village –– Philadelphia

Ride the Ferris wheel, the kids' train, or the brand-new double-decker carousel, then browse the vendors and pick up a handmade gift or a yummy treat. While you're there, don't miss the Deck the Hall Light show as it illuminates the west facade of City Hall.

17. Winter in Franklin Square –– Philadelphia

Play a festive round of miniature golf at Franklin Square's winter-themed Chilly Philly Mini Golf and watch the Electrical Spectacle light up the night.

18. Carnival of Lights –– Pottstown

Play games and enjoy rides amidst Christmas vibes.

19. Kwanzaa Celebration in Franklin Square –– Philadelphia

Help light the kinara and give thanks from Dec 26-31, 2022.

Holiday Shows Over Winter Break

20. George Balanchine's The Nutcracker –– Philadelphia

A holiday tradition returns! Marvel at the graceful dancers and delight in the costumes during this Philadelphia Ballet performance at the Academy of Music.

21. A Christmas Carol at People's Light –– Malvern

Enjoy a fresh take on a holiday classic with this production. 

22. Really Good Tidings –– Ambler

Head to Act II Playhouse and laugh until your stomach hurts at this family-friendly holiday sketch show.

23. Disney on Ice –– Philadelphia

Visit the Wells Fargo Center for Let's Celebrate and watch 50 Disney characters take to the ice to tell 14 different beloved tales. 

Winter Break Day Trips

24. Crayola Experience –– Easton

Get creative with a visit to the Crayola Factory, which features festive holiday-themed activities.

25. Pocono Mountains –– Multiple Locations

Put on your snow pants and try tubing down a mountain or hit the slopes on your preferred skis or snowboards at mountain resorts across the Poconos.

26. Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge –– Pocono Mountains

There are a number of indoor water parks to hit up this winter, but Snowland at Great Wolf Lodge celebrates the season in the most kid-friendly way with visits from Santa, winter-themed crafts, and magical indoor snow showers.

27. Dutch Winter Wonderland –– Lancaster

Amish county welcomes Santa for the season at Dutch Wonderland, along with rides, entertainment, and a light show.

28. Koziar's Christmas Village –– Bernville

Walk through one of the most well-known Christmas lights displays in the country and take in all of the holiday magic.

RELATED: Online Santa Visits

Get fully submerged in Christmas spirit. Photo courtesy of Camden Aquarium

Indoor Activities Over Winter Break

29. Christmas Underwater –– Camden, NJ

Scuba Santa swims throughout Adventure Aquarium and gets everyone in the holiday spirit.

30. Invisible World of Water –– Philadelphia

This special exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences is on display through April 17, 2022 

31. Yuletide at Winterthur –– Wilmington, DE

See Henry Francis du Pont's former home all decked out for the season.

32. Holiday Bricktacular –– Plymouth Meeting

Meet the Elves with seasonal building activities at LEGOLAND Discovery Center in the Plymouth Meeting Mall. 

33. Brandywine Railroad Exhibition –– Chadds Ford

The whole family will be mesmerized by the train garden and holiday display.

34. Fairmount Park House Holiday Tours –– Philadelphia

Tour stately mansions all dressed up in their finest holiday attire.

35. Betsy Ross House –– Philadelphia

Meet Betsy Ross, the historical figure who made our nation's glorious flag, inside the country's only fully-functioning, 18th-century upholstery shop.

36. Fashion District –– Philadelphia

Catch the gorgeous Deck the District Light Showchat with Santa, and do some holiday shopping.

37. Trampoline Park –– Multiple Locations

Bounce off some energy and burn those cookie calories. 

Kristen Sullivan and Lindsay Li contributed to this post, which was updated for 2021.

Places featured in this article:

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Brandywine River Museum
Wednesday Free Fishing
Bartram's Gardens - 9:00 AM Pick
Storytime at Smith
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse - 10:30 AM Pick
Free Outdoor Movie Nights at Cira Green
Sunset Social at Cira Green - 6:00 PM Pick
Rothman Orthopaedics Roller Rink
Dilworth Park - various times Pick
Behind the Stage Door
Various Locations - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides