15 Christmas light shows in Philadelphia to add to your next road trip

Are you looking for a fun holiday road trip for you and your family? You’re in luck! Some of the best light shows are in Philadelphia, and Greenvans is here to help you get to each one. From the City Hall light show to LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo, we’ve compiled a list of 15 of Philadelphia’s most impressive holiday displays.

The Christmas light shows in Philadelphia are located both in and outside of the city limits. The short drives required to visit the displays are a lot more fun when you and all your loved ones are piled in a Greenvans sprinter van together. Once you’ve determined your itinerary, ask us about renting a van in Philadelphia for all your road trip needs!

1. The Franklin Square Holiday Festival

One of Philly’s best holiday light displays is the Franklin Square Light Show, also known as PECO’s Electrical Spectacle Light Show. This fantastic display showcases over 200,000 twinkling lights choreographed to a holiday soundtrack including classics like the Nutcracker and pop songs from Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas.

Enjoy Philly-style snacks like pretzels and craft beer, and cozy beverages like hot cocoa and cider. After the show, have a spin on the carousel, try your hand at curling, or play a round of mini-golf with the kids.

  • Where: 200 North 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA
  • When: Nov 16th, 2023 — Feb 25th, 2024; Daily from 5 p.m. — 9 p.m. 
  • Cost: Free to enter

2. City Hall Holiday Tree

The City Hall Light Show in Philadelphia is not to be missed on your winter road trip. While dates for the lighting ceremony are TBD, the surrounding Christmas Village will be up and running on November 18th. 

Modeled after a traditional German Christmas Market, this quaint and cozy winter wonderland showcases thousands of lights, hot beverages like cocoa and mulled wine, and artisan shops selling holiday gifts. There are ferris wheels and train rides for the kids and Thursday night spirit tastings for the adults.

  • Where: 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA
  • When: Nov 18th — Dec 24th, 2023; Sun — Thu 12 p.m. — 8 p.m., Fri — Sat 12 p.m. — 9 p.m.
  • Cost: Free to enter
Source: Visit Philadelphia

3. The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

For 30 years, the Blue Cross RiverRink has transformed into a winter wonderland for the holiday season. Imagine thousands of sparkling lights, kid-friendly rides, and an NHL sized ice skating rink all set along the sweeping views of the Delaware River Waterfront. 

Get cozy in the festival’s warming cabins, test your luck at the arcade, and snuggle up in cozy blankets while you make s’mores at one of the fire pits available for rent. There are plenty of Philly-famous concessionaires, like Chickie’s & Pete’s and Black Iron BBQ, selling everything from fries to pizza, local beers to cocktails. 

  • Where: 101 South Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA
  • When: Nov 24th, 2023 – TBD 2024; Daily including holidays, Times TBD
  • Cost: Free to enter (Amenities such as ice skating, cabin, and fire pit can be reserved in advance)

4. Wild Lights at Elmwood Park Zoo

The Christmas light show at Elmwood Park Zoo offers much more than a sparkling light display. There are tons of activities to enjoy under the million brilliant LED lights, including animal greets, photos with Santa, live musical entertainment, rides, and other seasonal treats. 

Ticket grants you entry to the sprawling 16-acre property’s zoo, shopping, and gourmet food sponsored by Taphouse 23.

  • Where: 1661 Harding Boulevard, Norristown, PA 
  • When: Nov 17th — Dec 30th, 2023; Select nights from 5:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m., timed entry
  • Cost: From $18.25 — $21.95 (Non-member pricing)
Source: Phillyvoice.com

5. Longwood Gardens Christmas Display

If you’re looking for something more classic but equally spectacular – Longwood Gardens Christmas Display is for you! From mid November until early January, this stunning four-acre garden transforms into one of Philadelphia’s most festive light shows. 

While the theme changes each year, the magic does not, and Longwood Gardens always manages to recreate the warm nostalgia of Christmas past. Hundreds of trees shimmer with lights and tinsel, mini model trains roll over tracks that weave throughout the gardens, and live, seasonal music plays in the background.

  • Where: 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, PA
  • When: Nov 17th, 2023 — Jan 7th, 2024; Daily from 10:00 a.m. — 11:00 p.m., timed entry
  • Cost: From $16 — $30 per person

6. Grand Illumination Celebration at Peddler’s Village

Source: Peddler’s Village

For the past 23 years, Mr. and Mrs. Claus have kickstarted the holiday season with the holiday light tour at Peddler’s Village. It’s a great place to spend time with your family, watching dance performances, participating in sing-alongs, and perusing entries for the 39th annual Gingerbread Competition. Apart from the standard restaurants and eateries, there will be several food trucks lined up on Peddler’s Lane.

  • Where: Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, Bucks County, PA
  • When: Official illumination takes place Nov 17th, 2023 at 6:15 p.m. The Holiday Village and light show will be open daily through Jan 14th, 2024 from 4:30 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.
  • Cost: Free to enter

7. Philadelphia Zoo Light Display

If memorializing your winter road trip with photos is important to you, head to the Instagram-worthy LumiNature light show at the Philadelphia Zoo. The first zoo in America will feature a sparkling waterfall, a shimmering jungle tunnel, a 40-foot-tall penguin pulsating with 40,000 lights, illuminated butterflies, sea turtles…you get the picture! 

  • Where: Routes 202 and 263, Lahaska, Bucks County, PA
  • When: Nov 17th, 2023 — Jan 6th, 2024, select evenings from 4:30 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.
  • Cost: From $20 — $28 per person (Non-member pricing)

8. Shady Brook Farm Drive-Through Light Display

Source: Uncovering PA

Choose to sit comfy in your sprinter van or opt for an open-air wagon experience at Shady Brook Farm. The Holiday Light show drive through features over three million colorful lights, glowing holiday displays, and cameos from seasonal characters you’re sure to recognize. 

Tune your radio to 90.4 FM and listen to some festive melodies during the two mile ride through the farm’s sparkling exhibit. If a distracted driver hits your bumper, don’t fret. We’ve got van rental insurance options that will protect you in the case of an accident.

  • Where: 931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley, PA
  • When: Nov 18th, 2023 — Jan 8th, 2024; Sun — Thu 5 p.m. — 10 p.m., Fri — Sat 5 p.m. — 11 p.m., timed entry (except for holidays)
  • Cost: From $30 — $75 per vehicle 

9. A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place

Kids will love A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place. Spend a day going on rides, singing Christmas carols, and enjoying a meal with the most beloved Sesame Street characters. Don’t miss Santa’s Grand Illumination, when the lights on Sesame Place’s 30-foot Christmas Tree are switched on by the man himself! Check out the Christmas Parade and its festive floats decorated for the holiday season. Enjoy lots of music, dancing, games, and all around fun with the family.

  • Where: 100 Sesame Road, Langhorne, PA
  • When: Nov 17th, 2023 — Jan 7th, 2024; Fri 4 p.m. — 8 p.m., Sat 11 a.m. — 7 p.m.; Sun 1 p.m. — 6 p.m. (holiday hours may differ)
  • Cost: From $29.99 — $99.99 per person

10. Herr’s Snack Factory Christmas Lights Display

Source: Daily Local

Put your sprinter van to good use with a short drive out to Nottingham. Revel in the splendor of more than 600,000 multicolored lights and exhibitions that decorate Herr’s corporate campus. 

There is no timed entry between dawn and dusk, so you can ride at your own pace. While you’re there, why not take a detour to the New Liberty Distillery, Sly Fox Tasting Room, or take a walk with the family through Fort Washington State Park.

  • Where: 20 Herr Drive, Nottingham, PA
  • When: Nov 22nd, 2023 — Jan 2nd, 2024; Daily from 5 p.m. — 7 a.m.
  • Cost: Free to enter

11. Miracle on South 13th Street

For decades, neighbors on this particular block in South Philadelphia have been adorning their houses with mesmerizing lights and holiday decorations. Imagine 50 brick row houses brimming with sparkling tinsel, bright bulbs, shimmering snowflakes, and brilliant wreaths. 

If you are looking for an authentic Philly light show, this is the place. There is no specific schedule, but if the last 30 years are anything to go on, the street should light up on Thanksgiving weekend and turn off for the year after the Mummer’s Parade. 

  • Where: 1600 block of South 13th Street between Morris and Tasker Streets, Philadelphia, PA
  • When: Nov 24th, 2023  — Jan 1st, 2024; Daily from 5 p.m. — 12 a.m.
  • Cost: Free to enter

12. Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular 

This year, the Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular will take place in FDR Park in South Philadelphia. The show of two million lights will also showcase an ice trail for skating, a four-lane ice slide, photos with Santa and reading time with Mrs. Claus. When you’re ready to eat and drink, head to the Union Forge Lodge for holiday-inspired bites, and don’t forget to stroll through Mistletoe Marketplace to pick up some gifts from local vendors.

  • Where: 1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
  • When: Nov 17th, 2023 — Jan 1st, 2024; Timed entry on select days of the week from 4:30 p.m. — 9:00 p.m.
  • Cost: From $15.99 — $19.99 per person

13. West Chester Griswolds

Walk or drive through this sparkling wonderland of moving stars, dancing trees, and leaping arches. There are plenty of fun, inflatable snowmen and a 15 foot Megatree boasting over 8,000 LED lights. 

Since 1998, the Plummer family has been decorating their home with a delightful display of holiday cheer for neighbors and friends to enjoy. They’ve garnered plenty of awards and features for their artistic talent and add a bit more each year to keep the tradition “glowing.” If you plan to drive by, tune your radio to 87.9 FM to listen to some Christmas music and information about the display. Then drop your letter to Santa Claus in the mailbox near the end of the driveway.

  • Where: 304 Dutton Mill Road, West Chester, PA
  • When: Nov 23rd, 2023 — Jan 3rd, 2024; Mon – Thur 4:45 p.m. — 9:45 p.m.; Fri — Sun 4:45 p.m. — 10:15 p.m.
  • Cost: Free to enter
Source: West Chester Griswolds

14. Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular

South Philly knows how to celebrate the holiday season. Similar to Miracle on 13th Street, the 2700 block to Smedley Street has been overflowing with Christmas decor for the last half-century. Drive, bike, or walk alongside the neighbors to admire a spectacular display of larger-than-life holiday characters, candy canes, glowing reindeer, and mailboxes that deliver letters directly to the North Pole.

  • Where: 2700 South Smedley Street, Philadelphia, PA
  • When: Nov 23rd, 2023 — Jan 1st, 2024; Daily from 5 p.m. — 12 a.m.
  • Cost: Free to enter

15. Grand Illumination at American Heritage Credit Union

Head to Northeast Philadelphia for a stunning light show on the American Heritage Credit Union’s main campus. The kickoff event features concerts by the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the Ukrainian Children’s Choir Soloveiky, and the New Jersey Fifes and Drums. Aside from the usual holiday celebrities, keep an eye out for local A-listers Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross. As soon as the illumination turns on, a symphony of fireworks will light up the sky. 

For the rest of the season, the campus’ 400,000 lights, 40-foot shimmering trees, and hundreds of shining wreaths will be glowing each evening as soon as the sun goes down.

  • Where: 2060 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, PA
  • When: Nov 27th, 2023 — Jan 1st, 2024; Daily from dusk.
  • Cost: Free to enter
Source: American Heritage Credit Union

Get festive in style with Greenvans

The team at Greenvans knows how important it is to spend time with your loved ones during the holidays. Let us help you embark on an unforgettable Philadelphia light show road trip. And the best part? Traveling in a sprinter van guarantees plenty of moments to talk, laugh, sing holiday carols, and play road trip games together. 

Make this a Christmas to remember by planning your holiday road trip with Greenvans. Our fleet consists of multiple eight, 12 or 15 passenger rental vans perfect for your family adventure discovering Philadelphia’s sparkling winter wonderlands! Get a Philadelphia van rental quote today.

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