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November 22, 2016

12 local (and free) tree lighting celebrations to attend this winter

A guide to Philly and suburban festivities

Events Tree Lightings
Philadelphia City Hall christmas tree Tracie Van Auken/for PhillyVoice

Passersby pause for photos of the brightly lit tree in the center of Philadelphia's City Hall on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015.

Those looking to get into the holiday spirit won't want to miss these tree lighting celebrations. One of the most festive sights of the season is a massive pine tree decked out in twinkling lights. 

Many of these celebrations also include visits from Santa, live music and holiday treats. Below are 12 tree lighting celebrations, taking place in Philly and the surrounding suburbs:

11th Annual Bucks County TreeFest

Twenty-five themed trees will be on display from Nov. 22 through Jan. 5 at the Bucks County Visitors Center. To light the trees, Santa will arrive in a firetruck on Nov. 22 at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 22
Bucks County Visitors Center
3207 Street Rd., Bensalem, PA

Philadelphia Museum of Art Holiday Tree Lighting

On Nov. 23, the museum will host a free tree lighting ceremony outside on the east terrace. Attendees can enjoy holiday treats and a preview of the museum's holiday entertainment, along with a first look at the festive tree.

Wednesday, Nov. 23
Beginning at 5 p.m. | Free
Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

102nd Annual Tree Lighting in Doylestown

Santa will light the tree, then head to his cottage at State and Hamilton streets where children can visit.

Friday, Nov. 25
5:30-9 p.m. | Free
East State Street, Doylestown, PA

RELATED: Morris Arboretum's popular Holiday Garden Railway returns | Borough of Media announces new holiday event

Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting Spectacular 

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Setting up Philadelphia's City Hall holiday tree at Dilworth Park, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.

One of the biggest tree lighting events in the city takes place each year at City Hall. The large Holiday Tree has iconic symbols at the base and is illuminated with lights.

At 4:15 p.m. the Philly POPS Festival Brass will perform before the tree lighting.

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This year, Christmas Village is also at City Hall in the Courtyard. Look for the new America's Garden Capital Maze, too.

Saturday, Nov. 26
5-7 p.m. | Free
City Hall
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd.

Rittenhouse Square Holiday Park Lighting

UPDATE: The tree lighting will take place on Monday, Dec. 5, instead of Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Watch the lighting of the 30-foot holiday tree and white globe lights in the park. Family-friendly activities and music will lead up to the main attraction. The official tree-lighting ceremony will take place on Nov. 29, but the lights will be up through the end of December.

Tuesday, Nov. 29
5-6 p.m. | Free
Rittenhouse Square

Holiday Festival & Tree Lighting at Liberty Place

The annual tree lighting at the Shops at Liberty Place will take place on Dec. 1. Santa will be on hand to flip the switch.

This year, there's also added fun. Restaurants will be offering samples, stores will be offering special deals and there will be hot cider samples (both spiked and virgin). There will also be a free gift wrap station.

Thursday, Dec. 1
5:30-7:30 p.m. | Free
Shops at Liberty Place
1625 Chestnut St.

East Passyunk Tree Lighting Party

The annual tree lighting celebration will kick off at the Singing Fountain at Tasker Street and East Passyunk Avenue. The free celebration will include carolers, student musicians, a visit from Santa and holiday treats.

Shops along the avenue will also be open late to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Thursday, Dec. 1
5-7 p.m. | Free
Tasker St. and East Passyunk Ave.

RELATED: Holiday light show kicks off at Longwood Gardens | 'Comcast Holiday Spectacular' returns for 2016 holiday season

Blue Cross RiverRink's 4th Annual Tree Lighting Presented by PECO

Matt Stanley/DRWC

The giant, decorated tree adds a festive touch to the Delaware River Waterfront.

Blue Cross RiverRink and Winterfest opens for the season Nov. 25, but the official tree lighting ceremony won't take place until Dec. 2. 

The night's activities will include ice skating performances, live music and a visit from Santa.

Friday, Dec. 2
5:30-8:30 p.m. | Free
Delaware River Waterfront
121 N. Columbus Blvd.

Annual Christmas in Wayne

The annual tree lighting will take place at 7:30 p.m. The fun starts before, however. Enjoy carriage rides, face painting, strolling carolers and hot chocolate.

Be on the look out for Santa, too. He's expected to make an appearance at the tree lighting before setting off on a parade through town.

Friday, Dec. 2
5:30-8:30 p.m. | Free
Wayne Ave., Wayne, PA

Manayunk Promenade of Trees

The Promenade of Trees will begin at sunset, lead by Christmas carolers. Attendees will view trees decorated in the themes of Christmas past, present and future along Main Street.

Each tree will be judged by local celebrity judges and one tree will win the "People's Choice" award, picked by the crowd.

Before the event, those bringing their pets for the holiday stroll can get a picture of their animals posing with Santa. He will be in front of the large Christmas tree in Canal View Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donate to Red Paw Emergency Relief Team to get a photo.

Saturday, Dec. 3
4:30-6:30 p.m. | Free
Main Street, Manayunk, PA

Tree Lighting at Citizen's Bank Park

This event runs all day with a Phillies shopping sale, the Phillie Phanatic dressed as Phanta Claus, live reindeer and the annual tree lighting. It's a free, fun event for fans to get into the holiday spirit.

Saturday, Dec. 3
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Free
1 Citizens Bank Way

Headhouse Square's Winter Wonderland

Meet at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens at 3 p.m. to parade to the Headhouse Shambles for the tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. Accompanying the tree lighting will be live music and a holiday market.

Sunday, Dec. 4
5 p.m. | Free
Historic Headhouse Square Shambles
2nd and Pine streets