31 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 31 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 as they host their third annual Holiday Light Extravaganza, Nov. 28-Jan. 7. Walk around and admire close to a million 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


A couple of horses pull a carriage
Hawley Winterfest

The Hawley Winterfest is a wonderful way to start your holiday celebrations as the streets of Hawley shine bright with twinkling lights and fun festivities, Dec. 9-11. Travel back into simpler holiday times and kick off your winter season with the Winterfest Parade through town and visit with Santa in the historic Bingham Park Bandstand. Shop the holiday bargains and get your gift list completed at the many local businesses hosting open houses with yummy baked goods and hot drinks. Pick your favorite from among the many beautifully decorated Trees for a Cause and at the ugly sweater contest, while enjoying the holiday lights, Beer Tour, and Christmas Tree Express train rides.

3. 32nd Quiet Valley Old Time Christmas


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

Transport yourself back through time to discover the Christmas customs of the past at the 32nd annual Quiet Valley Old Time Christmas, Dec. 3-4, 10-11. Lanterns and luminaries will abound and the farm will be decked out in festive holiday finery. Stop by the bonfire to get warm and listen to a story or two. See the Christmas putz in the Victorian parlor and watch the farm family make special gifts for their loved ones. Sing carols with the school marm at the schoolhouse, then visit with the farmhouse to meet an old Pennsylvania German folk character, the Belschnikel, who really knows if you have been naughty or nice!

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


As both the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World” and the boyhood home of Jimmy Stewart who starred in the iconic holiday movie classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” there’s a lot to celebrate in Indiana County during the holiday season. Join in the celebration during the annual “It’s A Wonderful Life” festival, Nov. 18-20, weekends Nov. 26-Dec. 18. The festivities kick off at IRMC Park with the lighting of the 30-foot tall Christmas tree and Holiday Parade. The Jimmy Stewart Museum will be presenting a special “It’s A Wonderful Life” exhibit and Festival Of Trees, as well as screenings of the movie and a documentary on how the movie was made. The entire city is in the holiday spirit with lots of fun activities for both children and adults, holiday craft making sessions, and local shops offering special discounts, holiday promotions, and yummy treats.

5. Christkindlmarkt



Enjoy breakfast with St. Nicholas; the holly, jolly sounds of live Christmas music; and the handmade works of more than a hundred of the country’s finest artisans at Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem. Children will love to visit the Crayola Creativity Station to try a new craft every weekend. You can try your hand at glassblowing to create your own glass ornament or swirled paper weight during Christkindlmarkt Hot Glass Experience (additional cost). 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, Nov. 18 and weekends through Dec. 18.

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. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18. 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

Visit with a very special guest on your train ride! Santa Claus will be joining you with the Santa Claus Special on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, weekends through Dec. 24. Take photos with Santa, 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 2022

Allison Park

This one-of-a-kind light show is sure to make your holiday season even brighter! Experience the Holiday Laser Show at the North Park Pool parking lot 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, Dec. 9-22.

9. Peoples Gas Holiday Market


Looking for a unique and a fun-filled shopping experience? Visit Market Square in downtown Pittsburgh for the 11th annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market™, Nov. 18-Dec. 24 (closed Thanksgiving). 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 vendors with 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 Holiday KidsPlay activities located just across the street from the Selfie Garden.

10. Christmas Magic – A Festival of Magic


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, Nov. 25-Dec. 30 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), 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: Tickets must be pre-purchased online for all dates.

11. Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Dickens Village


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, Nov. 25-Dec. 31.

12. Koziar’s Christmas Village


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, Nov. 24-Jan. 1. Celebrating its 75th anniversary season, the village features both traditional and non-traditional holiday scenes, including an early 20th century schoolhouse, “kissing” bridge, and a whimsical Christmas under the sea.

13. Christmas Candylane®


Christmas lights in Hersheypark
Christmas Candylane®

Grab the kids for some sweet, holiday-filled fun at Christmas Candylane® at Hersheypark now through Jan. 1. Along with five million lights decking the park, a choreographed light show, and festive live entertainment, there are dozens of your favorite rides, including Wild MouseSM, sooperdooperLooper®, Laff TrakkSM, WildcatSM, and Cocoa CruiserSM and Candymonium®. Rudolph and eight of his reindeer friends have taken up residence to greet you before their big night!

14. Dutch Winter Wonderland


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

From now until Jan. 1, deck the Halls and enjoy some royal holiday fun as Dutch Wonderland returns for the 2022 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


sesame place entrance board
A Very Furry Christmas Celebration

Celebrate the holiday season with your favorite Sesame Street friends at Sesame Place’s A Very Furry Christmas Celebration!, Nov. 19-Jan. 8 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 Big Bird's Tour Bus ride.

16. Hanukkah Celebration at Sesame Place

Join Baby Bear and his family as they celebrate the Festival of Lights with Grover and more of your Sesame Street friends at Sesame Place’s Hanukkah Celebration, Dec. 18-24. Baby Bear leads the festivities as cantor during the afternoon Menorah Lighting Ceremony and as they play a game of dreidel and learn all about Hanukkah!

17. Kwanzaa Celebration at Sesame Place

Join your favorite Sesame Street friends for a festive and fun Kwanzaa Celebration, Dec. 26-Jan.1! There will be a special Storytime and Kinara lighting as you learn all about the celebrations and principles of Kwanzaa.

18. Lights at the Lake

Jim Thorpe

A tree with colorful lights
Lights at the Lake

Sit back and relax and enjoy the picturesque Mauch Chunk Lake Park as you’ve never seen it before. Drive through dazzling holiday lights and displays and take in the magic of the holiday season when you experience Lights at The Lake, Fridays-Sundays, Nov. 18-Dec. 18, and Dec. 23.

19. Berwick Christmas Boulevard


Berwick’s Market Street comes alive with holiday cheer, Dec. 3-31. An annual tradition, Berwick Christmas Boulevard is filled with holiday lights and decorations. The lights, decorated trees, and fun and whimsical characters can be viewed from the warmth of your car. Santa will be there until Christmas Eve greeting you and your family and friends with cheerful smiles. Cruising Berwick’s Christmas Boulevard is certain to get you in the holiday spirit!

20. Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland


Your toes will be tapping and your eyes filled with holiday wonder with the incredible sights and sounds of Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, Nov. 18-Jan. 1 at its NEW LOCATION at Cooper’s Lake Campground in Slippery Rock. Shadrack’s spectacular light display is choreographed to many of your favorite holiday tunes. It’s a new show this year, but never fear! Their 300-foot drive-through RGB tunnel and 50-foot RGB light tree are still part of the show!

21. Animated Christmas Tree & Village


Christmas tree decorated with lights
Animated Christmas Tree & Village

Prepared to be mesmerized as a 40-foot tall Animated Christmas Tree puts on an amazing light show timed to holiday classics and a few modern hits, Nov, 19-Jan. 8. Then explore the Christmas Village of little houses and Johnstown’s downtown businesses decked out in their holiday finery.

22. 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. Showcasing botanical splendor at its finest in this year’s “The Art of Christmas” theme, their horticulture artists are using plants as their palette to create an amazing display of floating floral designs, festive trees draped in gilded garland, gardens of fanciful blooms, and an extravagant floral shop dressed for the holidays. 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, Nov. 18-Jan. 8.

23. Festival of Trees


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, Nov. 16-Jan. 8.

24. LumiNature


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

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, Nov. 17-Jan. 7 (closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). 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.
Tip: Tickets must be pre-purchased with a timed entry.

25. Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farms


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. 28.

26. Holidays in 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. 26. Check names off your holiday shopping list when you visit the authentic German Christmas Market at Love Park and City Hall and the Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park. 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.

27. Peddler’s Village

New Hope

father son shopping Christmas decorations
Peddler’s Village

Peddler’s Village in New Hope is 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. 8.

28. The Christmas Tree Capital of the World


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!

29. Nemacolin Resort


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.

30. Skytop Lodge


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 with Santa’s arrival by horse drawn carriage, 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!”

31. Santa Christmas Tree Express


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

All aboard! On select dates 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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