Now – Sunday, Dec. 30: Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker.” Performances are set to the music of Tchaikovsky and backed by the Philadelphia Boys Choir at the Academy of Music, 240 So. Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia. Matinees begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at noon on Sunday with an additional 5:00 p.m. Sunday show. For more information, visit www.paballet.org or call 215.893.1999.
Now – Monday, Dec. 31: Lynn Skinner is donating a portion of her Scentsy sales to the Pennsylvania SPCA through the end of December. The SPCA helps pets find new homes. Skinner is the owner of 2 bulldogs and wanted to eliminate the doggy smell in her home with products that would not set the house on fire or spill around her rambunctious canines. She got hooked on more than 80 scents by Scentsy. Check out Lynn’s Scentsy store, her chocolate fondue shop Velata, and her Grace Adele store for handbags and jewelry to send 25% of sales to the PSPCA. For more product information, click on the store/product name or contact email@example.com. For more information about PSPCA, visit http://pspca.org/ or call 215.426.6300.
Now – Monday, Dec. 31: Franklin Square children’s park features free crafts all week following Christmas through New Year’s Eve. Monday is when the countdown and fireworks viewing party kicks off. This square at Race and No. 6th Streets in Old City Philadelphia was named one of the top 5 playgrounds in the U.S. by Yahoo.com. The word is family fun while riding the Liberty Carousel, playing Philly mini-golf, and eating from SquareBurger. The park opens at 10:00 a.m. this Friday and noon on Saturday – Monday. For more information, click here or call 215.629.4026.
Now – Monday, Dec. 31: Historic chocolate making demonstrations at the Betsy Ross House, the birthplace of the American flag, adds holiday cheer. Plus, on Monday, enjoy a slice of cake to celebrate Betsy’s 261st birthday. The outside courtyard is the place for singing and free noisemaker craft activities. The cake cutting and singing begin there at 1:00 p.m. The house, located at 239 Arch Street in Old City Philadelphia, is open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The tour inside recounts the sights and sounds of 18th century America. For more information, click here or call 215.629.4026.
Now – Monday, Dec. 31: Reading Terminal Holiday Railroad model features 12 working train lines running through tiny holiday scenes and winter wonderlands. This terminal market, located at 51 No. 12th Street, is a Center City Philadelphia gem of food, gift shopping, and music. It opens at 10:00 a.m. and is closed on New Year’s Day. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.readingterminalmarket.org.
Now – Monday, Dec. 31: The Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum signifies the holidays are still here. These bustling model trains create wow factor with a quarter-mile track featuring seven loops and tunnels with fifteen different rail lines and two cable cars, and nine bridges (including a trestle bridge you can walk under), all set in the lovely winter garden of the Morris Arboretum, which is open from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at 100 E. Northwestern Avenue in northwest Philadelphia. For more information, click here or call 215.247.5777.
Now – Sunday, Jan. 6: The Please Touch Museum displays all the seasonal charm of “The Enchanted Colonial Village” scenes that once graced the old Lit Brothers Department Store through Jan. 6. And, the museum plans to hold the largest children’s New Year’s Eve countdowns in Philadelphia on Monday with the ball dropping at noon and 1:00 p.m. The museum can be found in Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall at 4231 Avenue of the Republic (formerly North Concourse Drive) and is open New Year’s Day as well. For more information, visit www.pleasetouchmuseum.org or call 215.581.3181.
Now – Sunday, Jan. 6: The 1,220-square-foot Brandywine River Museum Railroad accents the holidays in Chadds Ford, Penna. The railway model features more than 150 locomotives and 300 freight cars. “Pop-Up Illustration in 3-D” is another exhibit appearing at the same time. It presents the art of pop-up books from the late 19th century to notable contemporary works. The museum is located on U.S. Route 1 near the intersection with Creek Road (formerly Route 100). For more information, visit www.brandywinemuseum.org or call 610.388.2700.
Friday, Dec. 28: 2012 Kwanzaa Celebration, admission free, marks a collaboration of 15 organizations presenting the wonderful history of African-American ancestors and Kwanzaa. This event offers cultural expression, food, libations, an African family market, and more from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the William Way Center, the LGBT community center at 1315 Spruce Street in Center City Philadelphia. For more information, visit the celebration’s Facebook page by clicking here.
Saturday, Dec. 29 – Sunday, Dec. 30: Weekends at the Historic Philadelphia Center come with free cookies and hot chocolate. The center is the home of the Liberty 360 3D journey through history in the PECO Theater, all of which stands at 150 South Independence Mall across from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall at 6th and Chestnuts Streets in Center City Philadelphia. For more information, click here or call 215.629.4026.
Saturday, Dec. 29 – Sunday, Dec. 30: Kwanzaa Celebration! at the African American Museum in Philadelphia offers a discussion of the Nguza Saba or 7 principles of Kwanzaa, lighting the candles of kinara, music, dance, storytelling, and crafts to reconnect with African roots and recommit to building strong and wholesome communities in the new year. Celebrate from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and noon – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday at 701 Arch Street in Center City Philadelphia. Also enjoy the movie screening of “The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration” from 3:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on both days. The celebration comes with standard admission fees. A special exhibit is also showing through Dec. 3, “Stalwart An Installation of Found-Object Sculptures: the Art & Vision of Christopher Carter.” And, please bring a canned good to support AAMP’s Philabundance Food Drive. For more information, visit the December calendar at www.aampmuseum.org or call 215.574.0380.
Monday, Dec. 31: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia are awesome experiences sponsored by SugarHouse Casino at 6:00 p.m. for families with children and midnight for later revelers. KYW Newsradio will broadcast the official soundtrack on station 1060 AM. CBS 3 will air the midnight show. Prior explosion of light, there are New Year’s Eve Parties on Ice in the Blue Cross River Rink located at 101 So. Columbus Boulevard (formerly Delaware Avenue) from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. These parties feature food, favors, and stellar views of the fireworks. The RiverRink is also open on New Year’s Day. For more information, click here or www.riverrink.com.
Tuesday, Jan. 1: The 113th Mummers Parade, a New Year’s Day spectacle, struts up Broad Street from South Philadelphia through Center City Philadelphia. About 10,000 men and women from 40 organized clubs are split into 5 Mummers divisions. They spend the year creating fanciful costumes, floats, and choreography. The string bands play, everyone performs, and prizes are awarded on this festive occasion that is uniquely Philadelphia. The indoor Fancy Brigade Finale, a competition, also takes place in the Pennsylvania Convention Center from the 11:30 a.m. photo op with fancy brigade members to the 5:00 p.m. closing. The after party occurs on So. 2nd and Washington Streets at the Mummers Museum. The entire event runs from 8:50 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. PHL 17 will broadcast the parade starting at 8:00 a.m. and the Fancy Brigade Finale at the Convention Center from 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. For more information, visit http://mummers.com/ or www.phillymummers.com.
View performance stops of the Mummers Parade along Broad Street:
- The Fancy Brigades line up in South Philadelphia at West Oregon Ave. and Broad Street.
- The String Bands line up at West Shrunk and Broad Streets.
- Free performance zone located at Wolf and Broad Streets.
- The Fancies start at Snyder Avenue and Broad Street.
- The Wrench Brigades and Comics may line up north of Snyder Avenue and Broad Street.
- A performance stop at Tasker and Broad Streets.
- Free performance zone and good place to check out all the brigades. The Fancy Brigades must break off and move quickly to the Convention Center for their finale competition.
- Free performance zone at Pine and Broad Streets.
- Doors are open at Kimmel Center, located at 300 Broad Street, where additional live entertainment, refreshments from Wolfgang Puck, and a wonderful view can be found.
- The large windows of Perch Pub, located at 1345 Locust Street, make it a great indoor viewing spot and refreshment.
- Free performance zone at Sansom and Broad Streets.
- Tickets must be purchased to enter the final judging area at Love Park, located at John F. Kennedy Boulevard and No. 16th Street.
- The Mummers Parade ends a block north at Ben Franklin Parkway and Arch Street.
Donate to next year’s Mummers Parade through www.savethemummers.com.