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November 11, 2019

Free tree-lighting celebrations in Philly to check out this holiday season

Holiday Tree Lightings
Holiday Tree at City Hall Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

The City of Philadelphia's lighting of the Philly Holiday Tree will take place Wednesday, Dec. 4.

This holiday season, make plans to attend tree-lighting celebrations at places like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, City Hall and Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest.

Watch as the switch is flipped to illuminate massive, festively decorated evergreens. It's fun for all ages and many of the celebrations include music and visits from Santa.

Use our roundup below to find out where to go for Philly's best tree-lighting parties.

RELATED: Marvel at tens of thousands of twinkling lights at Grand Illumination Celebration | Franklin Square Holiday Festival offers festive fun for all ages | Your guide to Christmas Village in Philadelphia, back for its 12th season


Head to Manayunk on Thursday, Nov. 21, to attend a tree-lighting ceremony at Canal View Park. It will kick off at 6 p.m. with performances and a visit from Santa.

Then Thursday, Dec. 12, is the third annual Promenade of Trees. Stroll down Main Street between 6 and 8 p.m. to vote for your favorite trees displayed outside participating stores and restaurants.

Pick up a bag of coins to vote and a map at the Manayunk Holiday Tree. The theme for this year's Promenade of Trees is "A Very Philly Christmas."

Thursday, Nov. 21
6 p.m. | Free
Canal View Park
4430 Main St., Philadelphia PA 19127

Chestnut Hill

The annual tree-lighting celebration outside Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill will take place Saturday, Nov. 23.

Enjoy carols, hot chocolate, cookies and a visit from Santa, who will arrive on a vintage fire truck.

While there, you may want to check out Woodmere's new holiday exhibition, "Merry and Bright II: The Christmas Collection of Jeanette Turnbull," or the special Mummers art exhibit.

At the event, Chestnut Hill Hospital will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Salvation Army in Roxborough.

Saturday, Nov. 23
5:30-7:30 p.m. | Free
Woodmere Art Museum
9201 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118

Philadelphia Museum of Art

The night before Thanksgiving, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will light up a giant tree at the stop of the Rocky Steps.

Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Nine, as well as the Sister Cities Girlchoir, will perform during the event.

After, all are invited inside the museum. On Wednesday nights admission is pay-what-you-wish. 

While there, check out the new exhibit "Designs for Different Futures," displaying a costume from "The Handmaid's Tale," the AI hologram from "Blade Runner 2049" and much more.

Wednesday, Nov. 27
5-7 p.m. | Free
2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square holiday tree lighting celebrationThom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Visit Rittenhouse Square this holiday season to see the decorated tree and festive, hanging white globes.

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, there will be family-friendly activities and live music in Rittenhouse Square Park, leading up to its tree-lighting.

Through the end of December, the holiday tree and white globe lights will illuminate the park.

For the tree-lighting ceremony, visitors are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate.

Tuesday, Dec. 3
5 p.m. | Free
210 W. Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA 19103

City Hall

The City of Philadelphia's official Philly Holiday Tree lighting will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 5:30 p.m.

The massive tree will be covered in decorations and lights, while the illuminated base is made up of images from Philly's many neighborhoods.

Also at City Hall this holiday season, visitors will find the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market, Christmas Village carousel, Wintergarden, Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin with food and drink, Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink and the Deck the Hall Light Show.

Wednesday, Dec. 4
5-7 p.m. | Free
1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Old City

Carroll - Holiday Decorations Old CityThom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Doors in Old City decorated for the holidays.

There will be a Christmas tree-lighting celebration at the Betsy Ross House on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The event will feature musical performances, a visit from Santa, seasonal sips and bites, and a holiday tree designed by Old City's Petit Jardin en Ville, a Parisian florist and garden designer.

That evening, visitors can enjoy $1 off admission to the Betsy Ross House, which will offer extended hours until 7:30 p.m. Also, many Old City businesses will have festively decorated windows. Stroll the neighborhood after the tree-lighting to view them all.

Thursday, Dec. 5
5 p.m. | Free
Betsy Ross House
239 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19106

East Passyunk

The annual East Passyunk Christmas tree-lighting will take place Thursday, Dec. 5. Those in attendance can enjoy live music and get their photos taken with Santa.

Thursday, Dec. 5
5-7 p.m. | Free
The Singing Fountain
E. Passyunk Ave. and Tasker St., Philadelphia, PA 19148

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest opens for the season on Friday, Nov. 29. Then a week later, on Friday, Dec. 6, it's time for the annual tree-lighting celebration.

Details have yet to be announced.

Friday, Dec. 6
Time TBA | Free
101 S. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106

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