Twinkling lights, magical parades, wintery thrills, and spirited train rides – visitors pursuing their happiness in Pennsylvania can see why the holiday season is often described as the most wonderful time of the year. From singing carols and making cookies to giving gifts and decorating the tree, holiday traditions hold a special place in the Happy Traveler’s heart. Beyond those traditions, visitors can make the season even more enchanting by experiencing some must-see holiday celebrations across the state.
Holidays in Philadelphia – Philadelphia and Its Countryside
Select dates Nov. 1 – Feb. 22
Make this season magical and take advantage of all of the festive attractions in the city of Philadelphia. 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.
Koziar’s Christmas Village - Dutch Country Roads
Nov. 6 – Jan. 1
A scenic drive through the countryside leads visitors to a dazzling wonderland set aglow with more than 500,000 lights adorning the buildings, barns, and landscape of Koziar’s Christmas Village. Since its inception 74 years ago, Koziar’s Christmas Village has grown drastically into a massive display of lights and attractions and boasts many awards, including Best Outdoor Christmas Display in the World from Display World magazine and the Award of Excellence from the Pennsylvania Travel Council as one of the Top Ten Travel Attractions in Pennsylvania.
Christmas in Hershey - Dutch Country Roads
Select dates Nov. 12 – Jan 2
Get into the holiday spirit by experiencing Christmas in Hershey. Start the evening by exploring Christmas Candylane®, where guests can enjoy all the wonders of the holiday at Hersheypark® with more than 5 million twinkling lights. Then, visitors can take a ride on more than five of Hersheypark®’s favorite coasters: Wild MouseSM, sooperdooperLooper®, Laff TrakkSM, WildcatSM , Cocoa CruiserSMand their brand new Candymonium Visit with Santa and his reindeer, sing along to some holiday tunes and enjoy some hot roasted nuts while strolling through the amusement park. For those who want to stay warm in the car, visitors can explore Hershey Sweet Lights® display. This two-mile wooded driving path provides a twinkling journey where visitors can view more than 600 animated displays. With so many holiday happenings and family-friendly entertainment, Christmas in Hershey can be the sweetest place on earth to celebrate the holiday season.
Festival of Trees – Philadelphia and Its Countryside
Nov. 16 – Jan. 9
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.
LumiNature – Philadelphia and Its Countryside
Nov. 18 – Jan. 9
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. 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.
Overly’s Country Christmas - Laurel Highlands
Nov. 18 – Dec. 30
Featuring 2.4 million twinkling lights spread across 15 acres of the Westmoreland Fairgrounds, Overly’s Country Christmas has been a tradition in western Pennsylvania for more than 50 years. More than 600 volunteers help to create this massive light display, as well as provide a warm bonfire, tasty treats, and quaint sleigh rides to all attendees. To keep in the holiday spirit of giving, proceeds of this sparkling event benefit at-risk families.
World’s Largest Pickle Ornament – Pittsburgh & Its Countryside
Nov. 19 – TBD
This holiday attraction is kind of a big dill… The World’s Largest Pickle Ornament is all decked out for the holidays! You won’t miss this giant, three-story high Heinz pickle balloon when you visit Pittsburgh this season. It can only be found in Pittsburgh, so take a selfie while you’re at it and tag them using the hashtag #PickleOrnamentPGH.
Bethlehem and Christkindlmarkt - Lehigh Valley Bethlehem
Nov. 19-21, Nov. 26-28, Dec. 2-5, Dec. 9-12, Dec. 16-19
Find the perfect gift and experience holiday shopping like never before at a tradition that dates back to medieval Germany. During the Middle Ages, townspeople gathered to shop in open-air markets during the holiday season – and now, visitors to Bethlehem can do the same at Christkindlmarkt. The market features hundreds of local artisans set up in heated tents to present their best work for shoppers to purchase and enjoy. Kids can even enjoy a breakfast with St. Nicholas. From jewelry and handmade pottery to delicious food and live holiday music, this holiday paradise in Bethlehem, the Christmas City, is packed with tradition, old world charm, and possibly that perfect present.
The Gingerbread Competition and Display- Philadelphia & Its Countryside
The Gingerbread Competition and Display is a feast for the eyes with more than 75 creative and whimsical entries. Enter the competition or browse through the display categories such as Holiday on Wheels, Traditional, Authentic Reproduction Around the World, 3-D, Movie or TV Set, Winter Wonderland, Student, and Kids Only.
Holiday Lights on the Lake - The Alleghenies
Nov. 19 – Jan 9 Celebrate 25 years of this dazzling display! Holiday Lights on the Lake is a 50 -acre dazzling display of lights and animation at historic Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pa. Visitors can drive through a wonderland of bright holiday lights and animated displays while listening to music on the radio as it is broadcasted live on Lakemont Park’s radio network.
Holiday Light Extravaganza – Laurel Highlands
Select dates Nov. 19 – Jan. 9
Join Living Treasures 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.
Longwood Gardens Christmas Display - Philadelphia and the Countryside
Nov. 19 – Jan. 9
A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens is sure bring the snow and some heat as opposites attract at the garden this holiday season. 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.
Light Up Night ® - Pittsburgh and its Countryside
Downtown Pittsburgh will celebrate the 60th annual Light Up Night® with a weekend-long event complete with Pittsburgh entertainers, a bridge party, special lighting ceremonies, marching bands, the annual Candlelight Horse-drawn Carriage Parade, Santa and, of course, fireworks. The annual event is one of the largest holiday lighting celebrations in the country.
Dutch Winter Wonderland - Dutch Country Roads
Nov. 20 – 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!
A Very Furry Christmas Celebration – Philadelphia & Its Countryside
Nov. 20 – Jan 2
Celebrate the holiday season 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.
Holiday Light Show at Shady Brook Farms – Philadelphia and Its Countryside
Nov. 20 – Jan. 30
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.
Santa Claus Special – Pocono Mountain
Nov. 26 – Dec. 19
During the months of November and 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.
Christmas Magic - Dutch Country Roads
Nov. 26 – Dec. 30 (Closed Dec. 24 & 25)
The spectacular half-mile trail winding through Rocky Ridge Park in York displays more than 600,000 lights and animation. This magical holiday happening has become a traditional visit for many families far and wide. Christmas Magic has been named one of the top 13 events in the country by the Wall Street Journal, the very best special event in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society and one of the top 10 holiday events in Pennsylvania by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Macy’s Christmas Light Show and Dickens Village – Philadelphia and Its Countryside
Nov. 26 – Dec. 31
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.
Santa Christmas Tree Express – Pocono Mountain
Nov. 27 – Dec. 24
All aboard! 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.
A Wonderful Life Festival and Parade - Pittsburgh and its Countryside
Nov. 28 – Dec. 20
The “Christmas Tree Capital of the World” and Jimmy Stewart’s hometown of Indiana kicks off the holiday season with this parade and festival paying tribute to the iconic movie, It’s A Wonderful Life. Visitors can enjoy a parade, model train display, crafts and music while roasting marshmallows and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate to keep warm while mingling with Santa. The Indiana Theatre runs the famous movie that day free of charge. If that wasn’t enough excitement, there will be a tree lighting of a 37 foot tree in IRMC Park.
Holiday Laser Show 2021 – The Alleghenies
This one-of-a-kind light show is sure to make your holiday season even brighter! 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.
The Pennsylvania Christmas and Gift Show - Dutch Country Roads
Dec. 1 – Dec. 5
The PA Christmas and Gift Show is celebrating 38 years! Featuring more than 500 vendor booths, this event at the Harrisburg Farm Show Complex is one of the largest holiday shows in the country. The show includes a Christmas shop, decorated trees, train displays, visits with Santa, and a children’s workshop.
Festival of Ice - The Alleghenies
Dec. 2 – Dec. 3
For two days in central Pennsylvania, downtown Lewistown will host the 23rd annual Festival of Ice. Old-fashioned carriage rides take visitors past walls of magnificently sculpted ice, interactive ice sculptures and more than 40 individual blocks of sculpted ice, while live entertainment and festive foods keep visitors warm among the decorated wreaths that line the halls of the historic courthouse on Monument Square.
Hawley Winterfest – Pocono Mountains
Dec. 3 – Dec. 12
The Hawley Winterfest is a wonderful way to start your holiday celebrations. 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.
Lights at the Lake – Pocono Mountains
Dec. 3 – Jan. 2
Sit back and relax and enjoy the picturesque Maunch 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.
Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade – Philadelphia and Its Countryside
The all-new Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade is the city’s first parade celebrating all of winter’s holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the Chinese New Year. The hour-long event features cold-air balloons, marching bands, floats, dancers and more. Set up to watch the festivities at some of the prime viewing locations and stop by Wawa on Market St. for free hot chocolate and to enter coffee giveaways.
“A Dickens of a Christmas” Victorian Celebration - Pennsylvania Wilds
The annual “A Dickens of a Christmas” in Wellsboro evokes Victorian-style charm in this quaint town street fair. Conveying the theme of Charles Dickens’ famous story “A Christmas Carol,” this celebration boasts street musicians and carolers dressed in period-inspired attire. Taste and shop through over 125 craft and food vendors as they line the streets in their best Victorian garb and present unique gift-giving options. Gather around and finish the night with a tree-lighting ceremony and a visit from Santa himself in the center of town.
31st Quiet Valley Old Time Christmas- Pocono Mountain
Dec. 4 – Dec. 12
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 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.
Shining Light Through the Darkness – The Alleghenies
Dec. 4 – Jan. 7
Starting, Dec. 4, Shining Light in the Darkness will once again light up Kish Park through the new year. Thousands of lights and multiple displays will be spread around so guests can safely and easily stroll through the park to view the lights. Free entertainment, food, and other activities for the whole family take place throughout the month-long attraction
Olde Time Christmas Celebration - Pocono Mountains
Dec. 4 & 5, 11 & 12, and 18 & 19
The streets of Jim Thorpe bustle with the sounds and joy of the Christmas season this time of the year. The decorations, cozy accommodations, sounds of the trains and carolers, and relaxed strolling through downtown are sure to put you in the holiday spirit. The town’s 40th annual Christmas parade and tree lighting, photos with Santa Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides, the Krampus Festival, live entertainment throughout town, and special community holiday events.
Children's Lake Lighted Christmas Tree & Holiday Luminarias - Dutch Country Roads
Since 1992, the Boiling Springs Civic Association has lit the small town of Boiling Springs into a magical, picturesque Christmas village. Hundreds of luminaries line the lake, and crowds gather near the Gazebo to watch Santa Claus row his boat across the lake to greet the children. The Christmas tree and approximately 400 luminarias will be lit around the perimeter of Children's Lake for this 29th annual event, and even on the coldest days, the warmth of the town and the people make this night one of the more memorable holiday experiences.
Christmas in Our Hometown - Upstate PA
Dec. 4 – 5
Whether visiting from just around the corner or making the trek far from home, there is nothing quite like feeling at “home for the holidays” at Tunkhannock's Christmas in Our Hometown weekend. Street carolers, hot chocolate, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and a host of other holiday festivities await visitors as they wander through this picturesque town celebration. Enjoy horse and buggy rides, open air peanut roasting, ice sculptures and a parade of themed Christmas trees during this annual event.
Bellefonte Victorian Christmas - The Alleghenies
Dec. 10 – 11
Take a journey back in time to Christmases of the past at the 40th annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas. Stroll alongside ladies in traditional dress riding in horse-drawn carriages and gentlemen in top hats greeting the visitors. Ring in the season and turn on the holiday cheer with a variety of Victorian traditions, such as tea parties, home tours and much more.
Lights in Lansford – Pocono Mountain
Dec. 31 – Jan. 2
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 4ft snow globe. Sip on complimentary hot chocolate as you wait for Santa Claus to make his appearance. Residents and tourists alike will end the year with more festive fun and enjoy the beautifully lit park at this de-light-ful event.
To learn about more holiday adventures in Pennsylvania, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don’t forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.