Will your Thanksgiving plans find you in Philadelphia this year? Whether Philly is your home base, or you’re visiting family or friends for the holiday, you probably already have some ideas for the meal itself. However, if you’re entertaining out-of-town guests, or just trying to keep the kids occupied during their time off from school, you may be in search of some Thanksgiving-friendly things to do this time of year. Many of these Philly Thanksgiving events are a kickoff to festivals, events, and activities that lead into the holiday season, too, so we hope this article is of help for longer-term planning as well.  We’ve put together a few of our favorite fall activities and seasonal things to do in November. Check our ideas below:

  • Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • Christmas at Peddler’s Village
  • Winter at Dilworth Park
  • Franklin Square Holiday Festival
  • Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market
  • A Longwood Christmas
  • Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

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A post shared by Visit Philly (@visitphilly) on Nov 22, 2018 at 6:02am PST

While it’s less famous than its New York City or Chicago cousins, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest of its kind in the country. It proceeds down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, bursting with colorful floats, massive balloons, and performers from all across the state. And it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving parade without the appearance of the Man himself at the end! Plus, it’s the 100th year of this parade, so expect something super special.

Christmas at Peddler’s Village

November – December

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A post shared by Peddler's Village (@peddlersvillage) on Nov 9, 2018 at 12:23pm PST

Encompassing the kick-off to the Christmas season on one end, and the official Christmas Celebration at the other end, this seasonal event series at Peddler’s Village is a local tradition. Located about an hour from Center City Philadelphia in New Hope, PA, this charming historic town boasts more than 60 specialty shops that are ideal for holiday shopping. Their festive decorations are practically unparalleled, too—a truly inspiring start to the holiday season.

Winter at Dilworth Park

November - February

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This Center City locale is a popular site for holiday festivities, offering up everything from an ice rink (opening usually early November) to an inside garden space in Dilworth Park called Winter Garden. You’ll also find an abundance of glittering holiday lights here, with vendors offering hot cocoa and apple cider, and all that welcomes you into the Christmas season. Dilworth Park also hosts many events throughout the year including fall and winter markets, concerts, and even an Oktoberfest event, should you be visiting before Thanksgiving.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival

Mid-November – Late December

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Another bastion of holiday cheer with its glittering lights, glamorous decorations, and cheerful music, Franklin Square is one of the top places in the city to celebrate the oncoming season. During the week of Thanksgiving, they usually host Thanksgiving craft-making events for kids, while after the focus is on Christmas. You can enjoy family-friendly activities throughout, such as a carousel, miniature train, mini-golf course, and more. And don’t forget the enchanting lights show that runs each day beginning at 4:30 pm.

Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

November – January

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Also located in Dilworth Park, this expansive holiday market features nearly 50 different artists and artisans selling their beautiful handcrafted wares. You can find everything from unique gifts to specialty holiday foods. Admission to the market is free, but you’re sure going to want to set aside some money for the presents you’ll be purchasing. It’s right across the street from the Christmas Village, a German-style marketplace which is held in LOVE Park.  

A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens

November – January

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Longwood Gardens is an inspiring sight year ‘round, but there’s just something about the acres of poinsettias, Christmas trees, and winter flowers that populate their Conservatory during the holiday season that makes it truly special. Outdoors, you’ll also find a cozy, blazing fire pit accompanied by thousands of twinkling lights on nearby trees. This season typically kicks off on Thanksgiving Day, but they’ve added a week this year to give everyone more time to enjoy the magic that is a Longwood Christmas. 

BlueCross RiverRink Winterfest

Late November – Early March

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This holiday tradition is one of Philadelphia’s most beloved things to do on Thanksgiving weekend. This time of year, it’s typically cold enough to begin ice-skating, and families love to bring their kids to burn off a little bit of that Thanksgiving meal at the RiverRink. Winterfest is a seasonal extravaganza, with everything from fire pits and an ice rink to indoor arcades and a chalet-like lodge nestled in a picturesque winter landscape.

Other Things to do in November in Philadelphia

  • Skip the cooking and eat out! Many restaurants serve special meals for the holiday and you won’t have to do the dishes.
  • Register for a Turkey Trot – Philly loves running and you’re sure to find a race to suit your mileage. Or, run/spectate the Philadelphia Marathon (November)
  • Volunteer a food bank or shelter. There are many serving Thanksgiving dinners to the less fortunate.
  • Indulge your rural side and enjoy a hayride or some apple-picking outside the city.
  • Explore the local arts scene at CraftNOW Philadelphia, held at various locations throughout the city in November (select dates, November – December).
  • Take in a flick at the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (November).
  • Explore American heritage! From the Betsey Ross House to the Liberty Bell, you can learn more about American history during November—a good field trip season, too. 

Save on November Activities in Philadelphia

Planning to explore a few of these ideas for your family during Thanksgiving break? Grab a Go Philadelphia pass to save up to 45% on tickets to top November activities. After all, the December holidays are rapidly approaching and you’ll want to save where you can now!

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