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November 15, 2023

Holiday markets, tree plantings and the National Dog Show: Your weekend guide to things to do

Other options include festive light displays and cat adoption events

Weekend Things To Do
Christmas Village weekend guide Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Philly's annual Christmas Village opens at LOVE Park on Saturday for the holiday season.

Philly is upping the holiday ante this weekend. Many of the city's signature pop-ups are opening their bedecked and bedazzled doors for the holiday season, promising enough cheer to grow the Grinch's heart four sizes. There will be cookies. There will be cocoa. And there most definitely will be Santas.

As holiday revelers move trees into their living rooms, the city's Tree Tenders are putting a few back in the ground with a planting blitz all weekend long. Show dogs also will have their day at the annual National Dog Show, taping just outside the city in Oaks, while adoptable kittens will be available at a pop-up cat café on Sunday.

Get a head start on holiday shopping

Multiple holiday markets open for business this weekend, providing ample opportunity to bank a few holiday gifts. The annual German-inspired Christmas Village returns to LOVE Park and City Hall on Saturday, where it will remain open through Dec. 24. Daily hours are 12-8 p.m., and come hungry — the raclette cheese will be flowing.

A little farther north, the Miracle on American Street will welcome over 100 vendors to Olde Kensington for a holiday bazaar from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. And on Sunday, the Weitzman Museum will host its first-ever Hanukkah Makers Market. Vendors featured in the museum's gift shop will be on-site to sell jewelry, art, Kiddush cups and Seder plates between 12-5 p.m.

Check out festive lights

The holiday spirit is also alive in FDR Park and the Philadelphia Zoo this weekend, as both unveil their annual light displays. The Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular opens Friday for its third year at FDR Park, where installations including Santa's sleigh and a 60-foot-long tunnel will be lit up with twinkling bulbs. The holiday pop-up also includes a skating rink, ice slide and lodge serving cocoas and ciders, with or without Union Forge vodka.

Also on Friday, the annual LumiNature exhibit opens at the zoo. These light displays naturally take on a nature theme, from glowing penguins and flamingos to a "waterfall" at Shimmer River, the brand-new tropical oasis that also features a blue gorilla in a lei. Just don't expect to see the zoo's real animals during LumiNature's evening hours — they'll be asleep in their enclosures.

Silently judge a bunch of dogs

A panel of canine experts will judge the National Dog Show, but with a $16 ticket, anyone can offer whispered critiques of the Bichon Frisé to their friends in the audience. The annual competition, which will broadcast on NBC on Thanksgiving, returns to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks for its 15th year on Saturday and Sunday. Between events, attendees can meet the stars on the expo floor, where the dogs will be "benched" with their handlers.

Meet adoptable pets at a pop-up cat café

If you're more of a cat person, head to a pop-up cat café on the western edge of Center City on Sunday. The Filter Club on Ranstead and 24th streets will host an adoption event with Cat Collaborative between 1-3 p.m., featuring refreshments and plenty of potential pets. Attendees can get preapproved for adoption by filling out this form.

Across the Delaware, the Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center is offering discounted $7 adoption fees on all cats through Sunday. The Blackwood shelter will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. all weekend.

Help plant trees

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society is aiming to plant 1,770 trees across the city this weekend in a four-day effort to improve Philly's tree canopy. New volunteers can find a local Tree Tender group near them and sign up for a planting, which typically takes about 2-3 hours. No previous experience is required, but dress for the dirt and elements — all events will proceed rain or shine.

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