29 Happy Experiences for Your Holiday Checklist

Slip on your favorite holiday sweater (ugly or otherwise) and dive into the magic of the season in Pennsylvania! We have 29 happy holiday experiences that will bring the cheer this holiday season even to the most challenging person on your list!

1. Holiday Light Extravaganza

Jones Mill

Join Living Treasures from now through Dec. 9 as they host their second annual Holiday Light Extravaganza! Walk around and admire the holiday lights and decorations, grab a front row seat to their light and sound show, or feed Santa’s Reindeer and other members of their animal family. There’s plenty of holiday fun for the whole family.

2. Hawley Winterfest

Hawley

A couple of horses pull a carriage
Hawley Winterfest

The Hawley Winterfest is a wonderful way to start your holiday celebrations. Ending on Dec. 12 the streets of Hawley shine bright with twinkling lights and fun festivities. For a sweet treat stop at The Cookie Walk and grab one of their homemade cookies, make a craft or two at the library, or explore the festive fun on a horse-drawn carriage. Visit local shops and experience specials, holiday treats, and complete all of your gift giving needs. Before heading out make a pitstop at the Winterfest Beer Tour, shop through the Holiday Artisan Marketplace, or savor a meal with Winterfest Dining.

3. 31st Quiet Valley Old Time Christmas

Stroudsburg

A house with a window and trees in the front
31st Quiet Valley Old Time Christmas

Transport yourself through time and discover the Christmas customs of the past with the 31st annual Quiet Valley Old Time Christmas. Bring friends and family to the historical farm before Dec. 12 to experience the lantern light and luminaries, plus keep warm with complimentary hot chocolate. This has been Quiet Valley Historical Farms’ holiday tradition for decades now — and it can be yours too.

4. Commonwealth Bank “It’s A Wonderful Life” Festival

Indiana

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the iconic Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” in Indiana County. You might think you’ve been transported straight to Bedford Falls while watching the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life in the 1930s vintage theater at the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Stewart’s hometown. Check out a screening, showing daily at 1pm everyday throughout the holiday season, then the enjoy the music, fun, and holiday festivities of The First Commonwealth Bank “It’s A Wonderful Life” Festival on weekends now through Dec. 19

5. Christkindlmarkt

Bethlehem

Christkindlmarkt
Christkindlmarkt

Enjoy breakfast with St. Nicholas; the holly, jolly sounds of live Christmas music; live ice carving and glassblowing demonstrations; and the handmade works of more than a hundred of the country’s finest artisans at Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem. Mark your calendars! Twice recognized by Travel + Leisure as one of the best holiday markets in the U.S., the event takes place under four large heated tents on PNC Plaza at SteelStacks on weekends and select dates now through Dec. 19.

6. Olde Time Christmas

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe turns back the clock and is all decked out in Victorian style for the annual Olde Time Christmas celebration, with special events during three magical weekends: Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11-12, and Dec. 18-19. The celebration kicks off with the annual tree lighting ceremony. There will be train rides with Santa, strolling carolers and musicians, holiday shopping, and plenty of free family activities!

7. Santa Claus Special

Jim Thorpe

childrens taking pictures with Santa on Train ride
Santa Claus Special

Continuing through December you will have a very special guest on your train ride! Santa Claus will be joining you with the Santa Claus Special on Lehigh Gorge’s Scenic Railway. Take photos with him, munch on small treats, and make memories before arriving at your destination. We recommend looking out the window at some point to take in the incredible views of the Lehigh River.

8. Holiday Laser Show 2021

Allison Park

This one-of-a-kind light show is sure to make your holiday season even brighter! From now until Dec. 22, experience the Holiday Laser Show at North Park and be dazzled by a beautiful 45-minute light show synchronized to your favorite holiday hits. Sit back and relax in your car to enjoy this spectacular show.

9. Peoples Gas Holiday Market

Pittsburgh

Looking for a unique and a fun-filled shopping experience? Visit Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh for the 10th annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market™, now through Dec. 23. The square is magically transformed into a European-style holiday shoppers’ paradise for the season. You’re sure to find the perfect present for everyone on your list from the many one-of-a-kind gifts from around the world filling the event’s alpine-style chalets! And don’t forget to stop by the city’s newest attraction — The World’s Largest Pickle ornament is kind of a big dill this holiday season.

10. Christmas Magic – A Festival of Magic

York

christmas Magic lights
Christmas Magic – A Festival of Magic

Santa’s elves have been hard at work transforming Rocky Ridge County Park in York into a holiday wonderland. With 600,000 twinkling lights and animated holiday scenes, the annual Christmas Magic – A Festival of Magic, now through Dec. 30, promises to be bigger and better than ever! Hiking shoes are optional for the half-mile, ADA-compliant walking trail that meanders along a wooded hilltop.

Tip: Pre-purchase your ticket if you plan to visit on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

11. Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Dickens Village

Philadelphia

Christmas tree in a mall
Macy’s Christmas Light Show | Credit: G. Widman

A Philadelphia tradition since 1956, the beloved Macy’s Christmas Light Show in the historic Wanamaker Building features 100,000 LED lights that dance along to classic tunes from the Wanamaker Organ. Macy’s Dickens Village is a 6,000-square-foot walk-through experience featuring scenes from Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. Experience these city holiday scenes in action until Dec. 31.

12. Koziar’s Christmas Village

Bernville

Koziar's Christmas Village
Koziar’s Christmas Village | credit: Jeffrey Ochroch

First you drive down a dark, curvy road. Then you hear the faint sounds of Christmas music drifting up from the valley below. Around that last turn, more than one million blazing holiday lights come into view, and you’ll swear you’ve entered a Christmas fairyland at Koziar’s Christmas Village in Bernville now through Jan. 1. Featuring both traditional and non-traditional holiday scenes, including an early 20th century schoolhouse, “kissing” bridge, and a whimsical Christmas under the sea, Koziar’s has become a beloved family holiday tradition the past seventy years.

13. Christmas Candylane®

Hershey

Christmas lights in Hersheypark
Christmas Candylane®

Grab the kids for some sweet, holiday-filled fun at Christmas Candylane® at Hersheypark now through Jan. 2. Along with five million lights decking the park, a choreographed light show, and festive live entertainment, there are 45 of your favorite rides, including Wild MouseSM, sooperdooperLooper®, Laff TrakkSM, WildcatSM, and Cocoa CruiserSM and their brand new Candymonium®. Rudolph and eight of his reindeer friends have taken up residence to greet you before their big night!

14. Dutch Winter Wonderland

Lancaster

kids riding adventure rides
Dutch Winter Wonderland | Credit: Joel Cliff

From now until Jan. 2, deck the Halls and enjoy some royal holiday fun as Dutch Wonderland returns for the 2021 Winter Season. Soak in thousands of lights, strap into more than 20 rides and attractions, even meet Santa himself. Celebrate the season with the whole family at Dutch Winter Wonderland!

15. A Very Furry Christmas Celebration

Langhorne

sesame place entrance board
A Very Furry Christmas Celebration

Celebrate the holiday season from now through to Jan. 2 with your favorite Sesame Street friends at Sesame Place’s A Very Furry Christmas Celebration! Watch as the park is transformed into a winter wonderland with millions of twinkling lights and festive decorations all around. Tune into their 1-2-3 Christmas Tree show featuring a 30-foot fully-illuminated pixel-based tree that projects festive animated images while playing your favorite holiday songs — making this the ultimate light show experience! Don’t forget to let Santa know what’s on your wish list and be sure to check out their all-new Family Fun Zone.

16. Lights at the Lake

Jim Thorpe

A tree with colorful lights
Lights at the Lake

Sit back and relax and enjoy the picturesque Maunch Chunk Lake Park as you’ve never seen it before. From now through Jan. 2, drive through dazzling holiday lights and displays and take in the magic of the holiday season when you experience Lights at The Lake.

17. Lights in Lansford

Lansford

Finish 2021 on a bright note and experience Lights in Lansford. Watch as Kennedy Park is illuminated with holiday lights along with a walk-through tunnel and a 4-foot snow globe. Sip on complimentary hot chocolate as you wait for Santa Claus to make his appearance. Now through Jan. 2 residents and tourists alike will end the year with more festive fun and enjoy the beautifully lit park at this de-light-ful event.

18. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Prospect

Your toes will be tapping and your eyes filled with holiday wonder with the incredible sights and sounds of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland at the Big Butler Fairgrounds in Prospect now through Jan. 5. Shadrack’s spectacular light display is choreographed to many of your favorite holiday tunes. Plan to make a night of it with a visit to Santa’s Village where the little ones can write a letter to Santa, hop on carnival-style rides, and sip hot cocoa.

19. Animated Christmas Tree & Village

Johnstown

Christmas tree decorated with lights
Animated Christmas Tree & Village

Now through Jan 8. Stand amazed at a 36-ft-tall animated Christmas tree as it puts on an amazing light show timed to holiday classics and a few modern hits. Then explore the Christmas Village.

20. A Longwood Christmas

Kennett Square

Christmas Tree Longwood Garden
A Longwood Christmas

A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens is sure bring the snow and some heat as opposites attract at the garden this holiday season. Now through Jan. 9, wrap yourself in the warmth — and the chill — of their Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice themed displays filled with fiery towering trees, a “frozen” succulent fountain, flickering flames, and an inviting mountain retreat. Cozy up by the inviting fire pits or cool off with a walk through the half-a-million dazzling lights and gaze at the beauty of the season. Both Heat and Snow Miser are making their mark at Longwood Gardens for this spectacular display.

21. Festival of Trees

Perkasie

A christmas tree decoration in a room
Festival of Trees

One of the most unique and historic holiday traditions in the region, the Festival of Trees showcases beautiful trees and vignettes designed by Bucks County’s best artists, decorators, and local community groups to convey the spirit of Pearl S. Buck’s legacy as an author, humanitarian, and activist. After you cast your vote for your favorite display, explore the rooms of Pearl S. Buck’s iconic Bucks County stone farmhouse as it glows with festive decorations. Discover the history and holiday magic until Jan. 9.

22. LumiNature

Philadelphia

A group of people in front of a lit up christmas tree
LumiNature

The Philadelphia Zoo’s epic holiday light show, LumiNature, is back and brighter than ever! With more than a million lights throughout the park, admire the full-scale animal illuminations and decorations alongside holiday displays until Jan. 9. Experience all 14 themed zones throughout the park filled with twinkling lights. Sip hot chocolate or an adult beverage, snack on the seasonal fare, or listen to the performers when you’re not exploring the animals and lights.

23. Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farms

Yardley

trees with holiday lights
Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farms

Snow isn’t the only thing glistening this holiday season with Shady Brook Farm’s Holiday Light Show! With the farmland illuminated with more than 3 million lights, encounter whimsical displays and familiar characters as you drive through in the comfort of your own car or take in the sights on an open-air ride. When not admiring the lights, reserve your spot at the campfire or take a stroll through musical dancing lights in Candy Cane Lane. Hurry and check out this magical experience until Jan. 30.

24. Holidays in Philadelphia

Philadelphia

A large building with a clock tower
Holidays in Philadelphia | Credit: M. Stanley

Make this season magical and take advantage of all of the festive attractions in the city of Philadelphia now until Feb. 22. Check names off your holiday shopping list when you visit markets like the Christmas Village in Philadelphia or Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market. Grab your skates or sip some holly, jolly drinks by the fire pit when you visit Winter at Dilworth Park and BlueCross River Rink Winterfest. In between attractions, admire the shimmering lights, festive decorations, and seasonal cheer the city brings.

25. Peddler’s Village

New Hope

father son shopping Christmas decorations
Peddler’s Village

Peddler’s Village in New Hope anything but ordinary! The historic village includes charming colonial-style buildings, award-winning gardens, and distinctive shopping, dining, and lodging. Santa will be making several appearances throughout the Village, check their website for his schedule and enjoy the holiday lights now through Jan. 9.

26. The Christmas Tree Capital of the World

Indiana

Bundle up, find your inner Paul Bunyan, and create a little holiday magic of your own picking out the perfect Christmas tree in the fields and forests of an Indiana County tree farm. With approximately 700,000 trees to choose from, it’s easy to see why this is The Christmas Tree Capital of the World!

27. Nemacolin Resort

Farmington

A stay at Nemacolin Resort in Farmington is special any time of year but becomes truly magical during the holiday season when the entire resort is transformed into a sparkling, enchanted wonderland. Train rides through brilliant holiday lights, workshops to create your own holiday treasures, holiday character bingo and breakfasts, and movie marathons are all part of the fun. Plan a weekend stay and your little ones will have an extra-special bedtime tuck-in by one of Santa’s elves.

28. Skytop Lodge

Skytop

December is a simply enchanting time of year at Skytop Lodge in the Pocono Mountains. The 5,500-acre resort comes alive for the holidays, and every day brings something special. Take a hayride tour of the estate or roast marshmallows by an evening campfire. Every Saturday, enjoy the Tree Lighting Ceremony, Santa’s BIG arrival, and the Yule Log Ceremony. Kids will be delighted with their own special Kids Banquet, but especially by the lodge’s life-sized, hand-crafted gingerbread house filled with “sugar and spice and everything nice!”

29. Santa Christmas Tree Express

Honesdale

A person in a red coat and hat standing in front of a train
Santa Christmas Tree Express

All aboard! Up until Christmas Eve, enjoy the most festive train ride you’ll ever take with the Santa Christmas Tree Express. Get comfy and cozy in the heated coaches as you dash down the tracks with the Christmas Tree Farm as your final destination. Once arrived, you have an hour to pick out your favorite Christmas Tree, visit with Santa, and sip complimentary hot chocolate. Just don’t forget to take Santa’s holiday train back to your car.

To see what other holiday attractions there are in Pennsylvania check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter so you never miss an update!

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