Imagine a charming snow-covered town decked out with perfectly trimmed evergreens, Christmas carolers, and homemade hot cocoa. Sounds straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie, right? Put down the remote and look no further than these movie-esque Pennsylvania holiday wonderlands.
Rockhill Trolley Museum is brimming with the spirit of the holidays! Enjoy a nostalgic ride aboard a heated, antique electric trolley through a winter wonderland filled holiday lights and a stop midway for those all important photo ops before returning you to more fun and excitement at Santa’s Workshop, weekends Nov. 24-Dec. 16. Perfect for kids, grandkids, big kids, kids at heart, and anyone that would enjoy seeing Santa, the separate Santa Trolley takes riders on a magical journey with Santa on board, greeting and giving each child a special treat, Saturdays Nov. 25-Dec. 16.
Santa makes his way to the East Broad Top Railroad to ring in the holiday season in retro style with a historic train ride during Christmas in Coal Country, Fridays-Sundays, Nov.24-Dec. 23. Heated by authentic coal stoves, the train cars are pulled by a 107-year-old steam locomotive for a magical one-hour ride that departs from the historic and beautifully decorated Orbisonia Station. Santa Claus boards the train along the way to greet and give each child a special “coal-themed” gift and every passenger gets to enjoy a delicious cookie and cup of hot chocolate.
Enjoy a stroll through downtown Canonsburg during the town’s Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration, Dec. 1-2. Surround yourself with sparkling white lights and festive holiday window displays and shop for the perfect Christmas gift at the Christmas Market. There are so many fun events over the two day celebration, you may find it hard to choose!
3. Jim Thorpe
Nestled in the breathtaking Lehigh Gorge, Jim Thorpe offers visitors a unique and family-friendly way to revel in winter’s splendor. At Christmastime, the historic Victorian architecture, cheerful music, and brisk mountain air burst with holiday spirit. Their annual Olde Time Christmas held the first three weekends in December have become a beloved tradition for generations of holiday revelers with horse-drawn carriage rides, special community holiday events, live entertainment throughout the town, and, of course, Santa Claus!
4. New Hope
Embark on a winter adventure as you explore the beautifully decorated 18th-century-style buildings and winding brick walkways of Peddler’s Village. December is a seasonal celebration with holiday shopping, festive light displays, A Night With Mrs. Claus, the Holiday Kickoff Weekend, and Gingerbread Competition and Display!
Next up, Shady Brook Farm where the season’s magic is on full display amid a variety of holiday activities and 3 million lights at their Holiday Light Show. You can enjoy their spectacular lights covering acres of farmland staying warm and cozy in your own car or aboard an open-air wagon, singing along to holiday tunes and immersed in holiday magic. The farm’s holiday magic continues with the opportunity to enjoy a delicious breakfast with Santa or visit with Santa and his elves at Santa’s village.
Stroll along the charming streets of Historic Bethlehem trimmed in twinkling lights and brimming with holiday cheer. Wander through the beautiful downtown or ride in style on festively decorated and serene horse-drawn carriages. The festive atmosphere full of lights, sights, and sounds of the Christmas City is truly a scene straight from a Hallmark classic. Not to mention, Christkindlmarkt in Steelstacks nearby has been recognized as one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. by both Travel + Leisure and Martha Stewart Magazine.
The Christmas tree shines bright in Lincoln Square, wreaths hang on every lamppost, and beautiful decorations grace Gettysburg’s streets and storefronts with Christmas lights, gorgeous greenery, and shiny wrapped presents donning their windowsills and doorways. Quaint, whimsical seasonal events including A Gettysburg Christmas Festival that’s always on the first weekend of December and the Christmas Tastes and Traditions Food Tour on Dec. 2 keep spirits high all season long.
Indiana, the Christmas Tree Capital of the World, also happens to be the hometown of Jimmy Stewart, star of the beloved holiday classic, “It's A Wonderful Life.” Enjoy this Christmas classic with showings daily during the holiday season at The Jimmy Stewart Museum. Then, venture into downtown Indiana transformed into a modern-day Bedford Falls complete with twinkling lights and a 30-foot live Christmas tree in the center of town. Spend your holiday weekends during the annual “It’s A Wonderful Life Festival,” Nov. 17-18, Saturdays Nov. 24-Dec. 15 with loads of fun activities, holiday treats, beautiful vintage decorations, and special events happening every weekend.
8. Kennett Square
Embrace the holiday spirit among illuminated trees, glowing orbs, and a shimmering tunnel of lights at Longwood Gardens, “A Very Retro Christmas.” ‘Tis the season to marvel at the grounds’ botanical masterpieces and bold blooms, gaze at gilded garlands and luminescent displays, and explore tremendously lit treehouses. You won’t want to miss their Open Air Theatre Fountain Shows featuring 750 jets in changing patterns, starting daily at 10:15 a.m. then every 15 minutes starting at noon.
Celebrating more than 75 years of season's greetings, Koziar's Christmas Village has embodied the holiday spirit for generations. The extraordinary seasonal attraction is filled with delightful displays, a train, a kissing bridge, and a million twinkling lights adorning buildings, gift barns, and the surrounding landscapes.
You just might feel like you’re starring in your own holiday Hallmark film visiting Juniata Valley Winery & Wilson House Bed and Breakfast. Nestled among towering trees, meandering country roads, a vineyard, and spectacular mountain views, this charming late 19th-century B&B is the perfect backdrop for a romantic holiday getaway. Cozy up by the fire with a selection of their award-winning dry and sweet wines.
11. Conneaut Lake
Lighting up the lake is a community tradition in this beautiful locale. Locals refer to the celebration as “The Christmas Project,” where hundreds of Trees of Light bedeck Conneaut Lake to spread holiday joy throughout the season starting with Light Up Night on Thanksgiving Day. Hop aboard the Barbara J Cruise to take in the sights from the water. Cruises are available Fridays-Sundays between Nov. 24-Dec. 10.
Experience one of the most beautiful light displays in the area from the comfort of your own car, van, or bus at Lakemont Park’s annual Holiday Lights on the Lake, Nov. 17-Jan. 7. Prepare to be dazzled by the more than a million twinkling lights illuminating the park. Be on the lookout for the reindeer, Dipper, on your journey through the lights! If you can spy all his favorite reindeer games and activities, you’ll be in the running to win $1,000!
Find that special sparkle of the holiday season in Johnstown‘s downtown. The 40-foot tall Animated Christmas Tree in Central Park evokes feelings of seasonal cheer as colors change to the tune of all your favorite carols. After soaking in the grandeur of the tree, take a close look at the miniature village lining its base, which is home to more than 30 houses decorated by local businesses. The holiday season officially kicks off downtown on Nov. 17 with Hometown Stroll & Light Up Night event.
Christmas in Hanover is back with a grand parade and bike decorating contest ushering in the holiday season on Nov. 24, followed by a tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 25. While spending the holidays in Hanover, you’ll have the opportunity to visit Santa’s Cabin, walk the streets of the downtown admiring the homes participating in the annual house decorating contest, and shop holiday specials to cross those hard-to-shop-for in-laws of your list, select dates until Dec. 23.
All Hallmark heroines get their start in the “big city” and Steel City is the perfect backdrop for the holiday season straight out of the movies. Watch PPG Place transform into UPMC Rink, a spectacular outdoor ice-skating space that welcomes guests of all ages during the winter season, Nov. 17-Feb. 25. Lace up your skates and glide onto the impressive rink that boasts more square footage than the one at Rockefeller Center. Afterwards, discover other holiday happenings in downtown Pittsburgh including the Holiday Magic! Winter Flower Show and Light Garden at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where you’ll be greeted by sparkling lights and gorgeous decorations, Nov. 17-Jan. 7.
There’s no sweeter place to spend the holidays than Hershey when the town transforms into a winter wonderland. Enjoy nearly 600 illuminated, animated displays on a two-mile woodland drive at Hershey Sweet Lights, Nov. 10-Dec. 31, then ride thrilling coasters and other fun rides, meet Santa and all nine of his reindeer, and enjoy a light show choreographed to music at Hersheypark Christmas Candylane, select dates Nov. 10-Jan. 1. Hum some festive holiday tunes while indulging in spa treatments at the Spa At The Hotel Hershey for a moment of much-needed relaxation amid the hustle and bustle of the season. Of course, no Hallmark movie would be complete without a kiss, so don’t miss your opportunity to ride into the night sky at the 330-foot Kissing Tower.
Nestled in a valley surrounded by snow topped hills, Bradford is the quintessential Hallmark-inspired holiday getaway. In the town’s National Historic District, eclectic architecture from the 1800s and 1900s lines both sides of Main Street, and a decorative gazebo serves as the midpoint for seasonal horse-drawn carriage rides. A full slate of events and activities is practically guaranteed to fill you with the holiday spirit!
For more holiday ideas in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, X(formerly Twitter), and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Never miss an update by signing up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.
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