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A Guide to Things To Do in Philly in the Winter

December 6, 2023 By CityPASS

When the winter chill sets in, it can be tempting to stay cooped up indoors. But there are many exciting things to experience in Philadelphia during the colder months. From dazzling light shows to interactive museums, Philly comes alive with holiday magic and indoor fun.

We want to make sure you don't miss the top attractions and events that make winter so special in Philadelphia. We've compiled a list of the seven best things to do for an unforgettable winter getaway. We'll highlight can't-miss activities ranging from ice skating under the sparkling city lights to exploring hands-on exhibits where innovation defies the cold weather.

Top 7 Things To Do in Philly in the Winter

1. Enjoy the Holiday Lights at the Franklin Square Holiday Festival

One of the most enchanting things to do in Philly in the winter is visiting the Franklin Square Holiday Festival. The park transforms into a winter wonderland adorned with over 75,000 twinkling lights. A spectacular light show syncs to holiday music, illuminating the crisp winter nights with an array of colors. Stroll through the magical setting, indulge in seasonal treats, and bask in the warm, festive atmosphere.

2. Explore Interactive Exhibits at the Franklin Institute

Science and fun converge at the Franklin Institute, making it a must-visit destination during winter. With interactive exhibits that both educate and entertain, visitors of all ages can explore the wonders of science. Experience firsthand what it's like to walk on the moon in simulated low gravity and see electricity arc across the room in a giant Tesla coil. Special winter exhibits bring additional charm, offering unique, hands-on learning experiences that defy the chill of winter. Some of the biggest events and exhibits happen during the winter, making it an ideal time to visit.

3. Tour Down History Lane at the Museum of the American Revolution

Dive deep into the annals of American history this winter. The Museum of the American Revolution offers an immersive journey, showcasing the struggle and triumph of a nation's birth. See George Washington's headquarters tent used during the Revolutionary War and Alexander Hamilton's field kit with quill pens. Winter adds a serene backdrop with fewer crowds, allowing a more intimate exploration of the artifacts, exhibits, and stories that define America.

4. Hit the Ice Skating Rink at Dilworth Park

Among the exhilarating things to do in Philly in the winter is ice skating at Dilworth Park. The rink offers a magical experience, surrounded by the city's iconic architecture. Glide along the ice as twinkling lights illuminate the scene, basking in the ambience of city lights and winter air. Enjoy the rink with loved ones as the glow of the festive lights reflects off the ice. The Dilworth Park rink offers a quintessential winter experience right in the heart of the city. Warm up afterward with a hot chocolate or adult beverage from the on-site cafe.

5. Discover the Wonders of Nature at the Academy of Natural Sciences

For those looking to escape the cold, the Academy of Natural Sciences offers a warm refuge teeming with wonders. Explore diverse ecosystems, encounter exotic wildlife, and participate in interactive workshops. Each exhibit is a journey to a different part of the globe, making it a world-class destination for exploration and learning. Parking is easy, with validated hotel parking available. Visitors can view towering dinosaur skeletons, wander through a tropical butterfly garden, and get up close with wildlife from around the world. It's a fascinating indoor world of natural wonders.

6. Savor the Best Seasonal Food at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Winter in Philadelphia is incomplete without indulging in the city's culinary delights at the Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. The festival combines the joy of outdoor winter activities with tons of delicious food. Ice skate against the backdrop of the Delaware River, and reward yourself with gourmet food, hot cocoa, and spectacular views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. It's a great way to experience Philly's food scene.

7. Admire World-Class Art Collections at the Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation offers a cozy and enriching experience for art enthusiasts. Boasting an extensive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Early Modernist paintings, every visit is an artistic journey. The indoor setting provides a warm escape from the winter chill, inviting guests to marvel at masterpieces in comfort and tranquility. It's a must-see for any art lover visiting Philly, especially in winter. After your visit, check out the local craft beer scene in nearby North Philly.

Enjoy the Best Philly Has To Offer This Winter With CityPASS® Tickets

Each of these attractions encapsulates the essence of Philadelphia's winter charm. But the experience becomes even more delightful and affordable with CityPASS® tickets. Your gateway to the most iconic places in the city, CityPASS® tickets offer a curated selection of Philly's best things to do at a fraction of the price.

With your Philadelphia CityPASS® tickets you can explore the enchanting world of the Franklin Institute, delve deep into history at the Museum of the American Revolution, or marvel at the artistry housed within the Barnes Foundation without the burden of hefty admission fees. Each pass is your ticket to a world of exploration, learning, and fun.

Winter in Philly is not just a season but an experience, a jubilant celebration of culture, history, and natural beauty. Make your next trip not just a visit but an exploration of wonder, enchantment, and the rich tapestry of a city cloaked in winter's embrace.

Philadelphia Lodging

To get the most out of your stay in Philadelphia, we recommend finding lodging near Philadelphia's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you:

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