Pennsylvania communities prepare for a Dickens of a good time with holiday festivities galore.
With each community sporting its own collection of twinkling light displays, endless opportunities to meet North Pole characters, and scenes of jingling sleighs and chugging antique trains, Pennsylvanians know how to deck their halls. Here are just a few of many holiday attractions in Pennsylvania you won’t want to miss.
Holiday & Lighting Displays
Koziar’s Christmas Village
Bernville, Dutch Country Roads
November 7, 2015-January 3, 2016
Koziar’s Christmas Village has been dazzling visitors with indoor and outdoor holiday displays for nearly 70 years. More than 500,000 lights garnish buildings and barns amid country scenery, while intricately decorated scenes like “Christmas Beneath the Sea” and “Santa’s Post Office” impress kids of all ages.
Leechburg, Pittsburgh & Its Countryside
December 5, 2015
This synchronized, animated light display on Leechburg’s Main Street gets better every year. While you can see the inspiring display anytime during the holiday season, head to the borough on December 5 for the borough’s Holiday Light-Up Night, when the downtown area is illuminated.
Overly’s Country Christmas®
Greensburg, Laurel Highlands
November 20, 2015-January 1, 2016
A cozy bonfire, sleigh rides, model train display, and sweet treats await visitors at Overly’s Country Christmas, an old-fashioned holiday village assembled and operated by nearly 1,000 volunteers. All proceeds from the event go to charity.
A Longwood Christmas
Kennett Square, Philadelphia and the Countryside
November 26, 2015-January 10, 2016
This year’s fountain-inspired display brims with seasonal blooms, thousands of blue and white lights, 14 whirling water features, and more than 50 intricately embellished trees.
Trees of Light Cruise at Conneaut Lake
Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region
Friday and Saturday evenings, November 27-December 12, 2015
Board the Barbara J cruise ship for an extra special look at the Trees of Light, when more than 100 beautifully lit Christmas trees line the largest natural lake in Pennsylvania.
Christmas Magic: A Festival of Lights
York, Dutch Country Roads
November 27-December 31, 2015
More than 600,000 colorful lights brighten a half-mile walking trail in Rocky Ridge County Park. Along the route, view holiday scenes and stroll through five heated pavilions, where you’ll discover food stands, a large train display, and encounters with Santa Claus.
Bethlehem, Lehigh Valley
Weekends, November 20–December 20, 2015
Bethlehem has no trouble living up to its Christmas City nickname, and the town’s holiday market is lauded as one of the best in the world. Peruse the booths of more than 125 artisans, who show off their best handmade goods and offer exclusive demonstrations, and bask in Bethlehem’s old world holiday charm.
Peoples Gas Holiday Market
Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh and its Countryside
November 20-December 23, 2015
Designed with the style of northern European holiday markets in mind, this Steel City tradition has vendors selling gifts in Alpine-style wooden chalets, a dazzling 30-foot tree, and a musically choreographed show with 150,000 LED lights.
Philadelphia, Philadelphia and the Countryside
November 26-December 27, 2015
At LOVE Park in Philadelphia, more than 60 decorated wooden booths sell European fare and a variety of gifts, including traditional German Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and handicrafts. Enjoy hot mulled wine, gingerbread, and bratwursts, plus thousands of lights and the city’s giant Christmas tree.
The Pennsylvania Christmas and Gift Show
Harrisburg, Dutch Country Roads
December 2-6, 2015
More than 500 specialty vendors selling everything from Christmas ornaments and stocking stuffers to household accents and cosmetics pack the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex for one of the largest holiday shows in the country.
Mifflinburg, Valleys of the Susquehanna
December 10-12, 2015
Mifflinburg’s version of the holiday market includes a live nativity, handmade German-style ornaments and gifts, lantern parade and international entertainment (don’t miss Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy). Snack on Hungarian goulash and pork schnitzel and warm your soul with hot mulled glühwein.
Fun for Kids
Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark®
Hershey, Dutch Country Roads
November 13, 2015-January, 1, 2016
Hersheypark® is dressed in its knockout holiday best during Christmas Candylane, when 4 million lights, themed rides and shows, Rudolph’s Skating Pond, and reindeer stables provoke ear-to-ear grins. Meanwhile, Hershey Sweet Lights has more than 600 illuminated and animated holiday displays — all of which can be viewed from the comfort of your vehicle.
A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place®
Langhorne, Philadelphia and the Countryside
Select dates, November 21-December 31, 2015
Giggles are contagious at A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place®, where Elmo, Big Bird, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang ring in the holiday with rides, special shows, and a frenzy of twinkling lights. Don’t miss visiting with Santa in the Furry Workshop and rides in Cookie’s Monster Land.
“Pip: The Mouse Before Christmas”
Allentown, Lehigh Valley
November 27, 2015–January 2, 2016
The Liberty Bell Museum at historic Zion’s Church hosts this kid-pleasing holiday puppet show, which originally premiered at Hess’s Department Store in 1962. The museum houses the production’s original stage, which has been lovingly restored.
Train Rides & Displays
New Hope & Ivyland Railroad’s North Pole Express
New Hope, Philadelphia and the Countryside
Select dates, November 21, 2015-January 3, 2016
Live holiday music, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and hot cocoa and cookies make this ride a delight for all ages. Kids, who will receive a special gift from the man in the red suit, are encouraged to dress in pajamas.
Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad Santa Train
Titusville, Pennsylvania’s Great Lakes Region
November 28 and December 5, 2015
Soar through snow-covered valleys in Oil Creek State Park, listen to serenades from local choirs, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies at Perry Street Station upon your return.
Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum
Philadelphia, Philadelphia and the Countryside
November 28-January 3, 2016
University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum’s beloved attraction has model trains chugging through loops and tunnels of 15 different rail lines on a quarter-mile track surrounding a miniature village sprinkled with Christmas magic.
Clinton Central Model Railroad Club Open House
Select dates, December 8, 2015-January 16, 2016
Castanea, Pennsylvania Wilds
View steam and diesel engines, railroad memorabilia, and an outdoor caboose and boxcar display at the free open house. Kids adore the Thomas the Tank Engine® exhibit.
Colebrookdale Railroad Santa Claus Train
Boyertown, Dutch Country Roads
Select dates, December 5-23, 2015
Share a Victorian passenger car with the man in the red suit as the train winds its way through the deep woods of southeastern Pennsylvania. Trains stop at Secret Santa Village, where families can purchase a Christmas tree to take home.
Olde Time Christmas
Jim Thorpe, Pocono Mountains
December 4-6, 12-13, 2015
Jim Thorpe’s beautiful Victorian architecture is the perfect backdrop for Olde Time Christmas, featuring train rides with Santa, strolling carolers and musicians, gingerbread house contest, scavenger hunt and more.
Christmas in Our Hometown
Tunkhannock, Upstate PA
December 5-6, 2015
Adopt Tunkhannock as your home for the holidays at Christmas in Our Hometown, where the city’s historic district serves as the background for horse and buggy rides, ice sculptures, street carolers, and live Christmas scenes.
A Dickens of a Christmas Victorian Celebration
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania Wilds
December 5-6, 2015
Charles Dickens himself might even get a kick out of this annual celebration, which pays tribute to A Christmas Carol. Highlights include food and craft vendors dressed in Victorian garb, lighting of the giant Christmas tree, and performances by The Dickens Players, a group of strolling performance artists.
Bellefonte Victorian Christmas
Bellefonte, The Alleghenies
December 11-13, 2015
Gentlemen in top hats and ladies dressed to the nines in their Victorian best mingle with visitors during this “gentle and merry” weekend of fun in Bellefonte, where you’ll find tea parties, an arts and crafts show, Victorian home tours, and theatrical performances.
Old Fashioned Christmas
Bradford, Pennsylvania Wilds
December 12, 2015
The picturesque streets of Bradford’s National Historic District come alive with carolers, decorated storefronts, and horse drawn carriage rides. Take advantage of sales and specials at select stores on Main Street, including antiques, children’s clothing, and gift shops.
Reenactment of Washington’s Christmas Day Crossing
Washington Crossing, Philadelphia and the Countryside
December 25, 2015
Grab a history lesson in between holiday feasts at Washington Crossing Historic Park. The dramatic Christmas Day reenactment of George Washington’s crucial 1776 river crossing includes 200 men dressed in Continental Army uniforms, three replica Durham vessels, and an inspiring speech from General Washington himself.
Other Holiday Events
Philadelphia, Philadelphia and the Countryside
December 6, 2015
Philadelphia chefs gather to offer creative twists on the traditional latke at this beloved 13-year-old cultural and culinary celebration at The Gershman Y. Try the Jewish potato pancake made with unique ingredients, from apples and cranberries to smoked salmon.
Silvester New Year’s Eve Celebration
Harmony, Pittsburgh and its Countryside
December 31, 2015
This family-friendly New Year’s event celebrates Harmony’s German roots with 6 PM fireworks to recognize midnight in Germany, a 5K run/walk, a pork and sauerkraut dinner and bleigiessen, the tradition of examining the shape of melted lead after it is dropped into water to predict fortunes for the upcoming year.
More Festival & Events to Consider
- Lakemont Park Holiday Lights on the Lake, Altoona, November 20, 2015-January 3, 2016
- Evergreen Holiday Wreath Making, Quiet Creek Herb Farm, Brookville, November 21-December 19 (select dates)
- Beaver County Festival of Trees, Fallston, November 26-December 6, 2015
- Christmas at Elizabeth Farms, Lititz, November 27-December 13, 2015
- Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Center City, Philadelphia, November 27-December 31, 2015
- An Eisenhower Christmas, Gettysburg, December 1-30, 2015
- Pennsbury Manor Holly Nights, Morrisville, December 1-3, 2015
- Historic Brookville’s Victorian Christmas, Brookville, November 29-December 6, 2015
- Lemont Village German Christmas Market, Lemont, December 4-5, 2015
- Santa Fest in Selinsgrove, Selinsgrove, December 5, 2015
- Historical Christmas Open House, Dayton, December 5-6, 2015
- Boiling Springs Christmas Tree Lighting, Boiling Springs, December 6, 2015
- Narberth Dickens Festival, Narberth, December 6, 2015
- Clinton County Historical Society Holiday House Tour, Lock Haven, December 6, 2015