The holiday season is upon us! We can’t wait to welcome you and your family into our cozy inn this winter. You may think of New York City as the place to be for huge Christmas festivities, but we assure you that Philadelphia has it beat. For your Christmas vacation, imagine this: a warm, comfortable bed, delicious breakfast in a beautiful Victorian home fully decked out for the holidays. Enjoy a cup of cocoa by the fire pit and watch the snow. All of that is right here at Cornerstone! Let us be your home-away-from-home while you enjoy the amazing winter events in Center City, Philadelphia.
Dilworth & Love Parks – Your Destination for All Things Winter Fun
Dilworth Park is located at 1 South 15th Street, on the west side of City Hall and is a quick subway or car trip away from Cornerstone. Every year, Dilworth becomes a veritable winter wonderland. Beginning on the first of November, Wintergarden on the Greenfield Lawn opens. It is an intricately designed winter-themed garden, covered in twinkling lights. You’ll find reindeer topiaries and plenty of places to sit and relax. There is no cost to visit Wintergarden, and guests over 21 can enjoy some mulled wine while they take in the beautiful garden.
On the 5th of November, the Rothman Orthopedic Institute Cabin opens. The cabin evokes the feeling of a small ski chalet, decorated generously in winter trimmings. Inside, you can enjoy a selection of winter drinks and cocktails, or just take some lovely pictures. Outside, there are toasty fire pits to cozy up next to.
Also on November 5th, the Rothman Ice Rink returns! Enjoy ice skating with your family or friends surrounded by the enchanting decorations just outside of City Hall. It is recommended that you book a skating session ahead of time, which is very affordable, but they do offer in-person sales based on availability. Sessions are 90 minutes long, and you can rent skates, skate aids, and lockers as well! Adults are $7, children 10 and under are $5, and skate and locker rental is $10. If you want to skate with a large group, there is a reduced rate at $14 a person that includes skate rental for 10 people or more. There will also be a Ferris wheel, as well, providing great views of the city!
On November 20th, the Made in Philly Holiday Market opens. It runs until January 1st, and will have all the handmade trinkets, crafts, gifts, and treats your heart desires. The shops will be scattered around the park instead of clustered so that you can wander and enjoy your browsing without worrying about your safety. Dilworth Park announces the vendors closer to the opening of the market, so be sure to check their website (www.centercityphila.org/parks/dilworth-park/winter) to find out more about who will be there!
Finally, perhaps the most exciting event is the Deck the Hall Light Show. A transfixing animated light show synchronized to spectacular holiday music graces the west facade of City Hall. It’s the best light show you’ll find in the city! The Deck the Hall Light Show is presented on a non-stop loop Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 9 pm, and on Fridays through Saturdays from 5 to 11 pm. It will play for the first time on November 22nd and continue to play every single night until January 1st. And you don’t have to pay a cent for attendance!
Winter in Franklin Square
During Winter in Franklin Square, the Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show makes this historic square twinkle, with free shows featuring more than 100,000 lights (more than ever!) dazzling viewers every night through December 31, 2021. No holiday show would be complete without comfort food, local beers, and hot beverages, all available in the Winter Beer Garden. During the day, visitors can play a few rounds of mini-golf on the Chilly Philly Mini Golf course and take a spin on the Parx Liberty Carousel, complete with a holiday soundtrack. Located at Franklin Square, 200 N. 6th Street.
LumiNature at the Philadelphia Zoo
LumiNature returns to transform the Philadelphia Zoo into a nighttime winter wonderland for a second year. Occupying the zoo’s entire footprint LumiNature features over a dozen illuminating and interactive experiences, including a menagerie of 500 colorful illuminated flamingos, a 25-foot-tall flamingo holiday tree, over 200 illuminated penguins and a 21-foot-tall colored snake. Timed tickets must be purchased in advance. The Philadelphia Zoo is located 3400 W. Girard Avenue and Cornerstone is the closest lodging to the zoo!
A Longwood Christmas at Longwood Gardens
Kennett Square’s world-renowned Longwood Gardens transforms into a winter wonderland during the popular A Longwood Christmas. This year’s display highlights the contrast between fire and ice with a clear blue alpine stream with flocked trees, a waterfall, and suspended icicles in the Exhibition Hall, as well as a 22-foot-tall Fraser fir outfitted with flame lanterns and red, gold and amber ornaments in the East Conservatory. Outdoors, expect 500,000 lights glittering in trees, a 200-foot tunnel of light, and spectacular fountains and fire pit flames dancing to seasonal music. Timed tickets are required, so plan ahead! Longwood Gardens is located at 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square and is just a 25 minute drive from Cornerstone B&B.
Holiday Performances at Kimmel & The Philadelphia Ballet
Perhaps you’re in the mood for a spirited, holiday performance? The venues that comprise the Kimmel Cultural Campus — including the Merriam Theater and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts — host a slew of holiday performances for 2021.
- A Magical Cirque Christmas: Cirque performers dazzle and delight to a soundtrack of holiday tunes (November 20, 2021).
- A Charlie Brown Christmas: Your favorite Peanuts characters come to life onstage when Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy and Linus learn the true meaning of Christmas (December 4, 2021).
- A Philly POPS Christmas: West End and Broadway star Scarlett Strallen and Philadelphia native and Broadway legend Hugh Panaro join the Philly POPS for an all-new program of holiday songs (December 4-18, 2021).
- The Glorious Sound of Christmas: The Philadelphia Orchestra continues its 60-year tradition, playing magnificent renditions of Christmas classics (December 16-21, 2021).
- Leslie Odom, Jr. The Christmas Tour: The Grammy and Tony Award winner — and Philly-bred performer — returns for a hometown show full of holiday melodies (December 18, 2021).
- Family Christmas Favorites: This virtual show from The Philadelphia Orchestra is available for the week up to and including Christmas, featuring sweeping family-friendly performances of holiday favorites (December 18-25, 2021).
- Messiah: George Frideric Handel’s oratorio is a holiday staple, performed over two days by The Philadelphia Orchestra (December 22-23, 2021).
Another wonderful tradition is watching The Sugar Plum Fairy, the King of Mice and others leap and twirl across the stage at the Academy of Music during the Philadelphia Ballet’s annual holiday production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Audiences of all ages will recognize whimsical melodies in Tchaikovsky’s score.
Shopping, Lights & A Christmas Carol at Macy’s
The Grand Court in the National Historic Landmark Wanamaker Building has hosted a Christmas Light Show since 1956. The department store continues the tradition of twinkling snowflakes, dancing snowmen and more with a 100,000-light show narrated by Julie Andrews and accompanied by the famed Wanamaker Organ. Free performances of the light show take place once daily: at 10:30 a.m. beginning December 1-24, 2021 and 11:30 a.m. from December 26-31, 2021. Before or after the show, visitors can tour the third floor’s vintage Dickens’ Village, where intricate animated dolls and sets retell A Christmas Carol — and each free walkthrough ends in a chance to meet and get photos with Santa. Plan ahead: Visits to Dickens’ Village are by advance reservation only. And of course, you can also do your holiday shopping at Macy’s 1300 Market Street.
With autumn slipping away and the chill of winter setting in, we can’t wait to welcome you into our home for the holidays. You can get to your skating session or market trip in no time, and be back in a warm cozy bed enjoying our S’mores Package by the fire pit as soon as you’ve had enough of the cold. We’re so excited to see you this winter. Happy Holidays from Cornerstone!