November 21, 2017

Where to find free tree-lighting celebrations in Philly

Enjoy twinkling lights and holiday cheer

Holiday Tree Lightings
Tree lighting celebration narapornm/iStock

The holiday season is here!

Ready to embrace the holiday season? Don't miss these festive tree-lighting celebrations in Philly.

Bundle up and watch as massive evergreens decorated in hundreds of twinkling lights illuminate the city. There's just something magical about the experience that all ages can enjoy.

Many of these free celebrations include visits from Santa, live music and complimentary holiday treats, too.


RELATED: Your go-to guide to navigating Philadelphia's 2017 Christmas Village


Philadelphia Museum of Art Holiday Tree-Lighting Celebration

None J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia™

Adorned with glittering holiday lights, a gigantic holiday tree dominates the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s world-famous steps, bringing a festive accent to the city vista.

Countdown to the tree lighting begins around 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 22. The outdoor celebration runs from 5-7 p.m., though. There will be music by The York Street Hustle and Philadelphia Girls Choir, along with festive treats.

The holiday cheer continues inside the museum, with late hours and pay-what-you-wish admission until 8:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 22
5-7 p.m. | Free
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway


City of Philadelphia Tree-Lighting Celebration

NoneMatt Rourke/AP

The City of Philadelphia's public tree lighting ceremony at City Hall is a tradition. The tree pictured here is from Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.

The tree lighting ceremony at City Hall is a Philly tradition.

Find the 50-foot-tall Philly Holiday Tree at the north end of City Hall. This year, it's illuminated by twinkling lights in 42 colors.

Gather at the tree from 5-6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, to enjoy performances and hot cocoa.

Bring an unwrapped gift to the celebration and help a child in need. Items like hats, gloves, scarves, gift cards, art supplies, board games, ear buds and toiletry bags are needed. The Philadelphia Department of Human Services will accept gifts at the "Gift Donation Tent" at City Hall from 4-8 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 24
5-6:30 p.m. | Free
City Hall


RELATED: Pop-up restaurant to open next to Philly Holiday Tree


Manayunk Tree-Lighting Ceremony

On Nov. 25, Manayunk will host a tree-lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. 

The date is also Small Business Saturday in the neighborhood, so attendees can get some holiday shopping done while there. Many shops are offering discounts and deals.

Later in the holiday season, there also will be the Promenade of Trees in Manayunk. Stroll Main Street and vote for your favorite Christmas trees on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 5-7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 25
5:30 p.m. | Free
Canal View Park


Rittenhouse Square Holiday Lighting

NoneM. Fischetti /Visit Philadelphia™

During the holidays, Rittenhouse Square boasts one of the largest Christmas trees in the city, typically standing at more than 30-feet tall. Throughout the season, the park glistens with 5,000 sparkling lights beckoning the holiday shoppers who frequent the popular stores surrounding the iconic public space.

Enjoy performances from local groups and a special appearance from Santa Claus at this annual tree lighting celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Attendees can bring new, unwrapped toys for CBS3’s 29th annual Toy Fest campaign. Toys will be distributed to deserving children by the Salvation Army, the USO and the Boys and Girls Club of Camden County.

Tuesday, Nov. 28
5-6 p.m. | Free
Rittenhouse Square


East Passyunk Christmas Tree Lighting

Starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, there will be performances by The Christmas Guys, carolers from Alphabet Academy and students from Andrew Jackson School. Hot chocolate and holiday cookies will be provided by neighborhood bakeries.

CBS3 meteorologist Chelsea Ingram will hit the switch to light up the Christmas tree at the Singing Fountain and Santa Claus will make an appearance.

Shops along East Passyunk Avenue will be open late to kick off the holiday shopping season, too.

Thursday, Nov. 30
5-7 p.m. | Free
The Singing Fountain
Tasker Street and East Passyunk Avenue


Old City Holiday Tree

Old City will debut its first-ever Holiday Tree with a special lighting celebration on Thursday, Nov. 30. It will take place in the Betsy Ross House courtyard, beginning at 5 p.m. 

Festivities will include an appearance by Betsy Ross, carolers, a performance by the Philadelphia Youth Ballet and holiday treats from Fezziwig’s Sweet Shoppe.

Thursday, Nov. 30
5-6:15 p.m. | Free
Betsy Ross House courtyard
239 Arch Street


RELATED: A holiday pop-up exhibit is opening at Elfreth's Alley


Holiday Tree Lighting Powered by PECO at Winterfest

NoneMatt Stanley/DRWC

Stay cozy off the ice by the fire pits at Winterfest.

At Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest there will be a full night of performers, singers, dancers and ice skaters, leading up to the tree lighting. The night will end with fireworks.

Friday, Dec. 1
6-9 p.m. | Free
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
121 N. Columbus Blvd.


Headhouse Square's Winter Wonderland

There will be a tree-lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, at Headhouse Square. Accompanying the tree lighting will be live music and a holiday market.

Sunday, Dec. 3
5 p.m. | Free
Historic Headhouse Square Shambles
Second and Pine streets