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What’s Open on Christmas Day in Philly?

Whether you celebrate or not, you need to get out on Christmas. Here's where to go.

Whether you need something to do after the presents are opened, or you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s tricky to find something to do on December 25. Of course there’s movies and Chinese food, but maybe you want a change of pace (or cuisine) this year. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. So clean up that wrapping paper some other time, because there are so many adventures to have! Here’s the best of what’s open on Christmas Day in Philly.


Both the RiverRink at Penn’s Landing and Rothman Rink at Dilworth Park are open on Christmas Day. While the hours are somewhat shortened (check their websites), there’s plenty of time for afternoon skating that (hopefully) won’t be too crowded.

‘Christmas Underwater’ at Adventure Aquarium

Photograph by Laura Swartz

The aquarium isn’t just open — which would be exciting enough — but it’s so festive! Listen to a merry storytime or attend a Snow Shower Dance Party in the Rotunda. See the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree — an 18-foot “tree” made of coral, seashells, and twinkling lights — in Shark Realm. Of course, the rest of the Aquarium is also up and running, so stop by and say hi to all the sea life too!

“Being ___ at Christmas” at National Museum of Jewish American History

Every year on December 25, the National Museum of Jewish American History hosts a day of family fun. Enjoy crafts, storytime, funny movies, live music with Alex and the Kaleidoscope, face painting, balloon art, and more! The museum’s galleries are also open, so can make it a learning experience too.

Kids at Play

Yes, this amazing indoor playground will be open on Christmas Day from 9:30am-5pm! Kids can go burn off all that extra cookie-fueled energy all day with a zipline, climbing, slides and ball pits galore, archery, you name it. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Fancy Brunch

Check out all the swanky hotels to see where you want to brunch. XIX at the Bellevue, Lacroix at The Rittenhouse, and Aqimero at Ritz-Carlton have very nice prix fixe Christmas meals, with discount prices for kids. Pretty much all the nice hotel restaurants will be serving that day, since hotels never close, but those are our favorite. We also love Parc anytime, but we definitely appreciate that the kid-friendly French bistro on the Square is open on Christmas Day — and if it’s unseasonably warm, we can go play in the park afterwards.

Photograph by Laura Swartz

One Liberty Observation Deck

Get a unique 360-degree view of the city from 57 floors above Philadelphia. Go ahead, get that green screen commemorative photo of your family while you’re at it! And definitely pose for a picture in front of Ben Franklin’s giant shoes before you go up, and his giant spectacles when you arrive.


There are so many photo ops and you may even be able to see your house (or apartment building). To celebrate the season, One Liberty Observation Deck is displaying costumes and tableaux from some of Philly’s most beloved holiday institutions: Mummers, The Nutcracker, and more.

 The Miracle on South 13th Street

The stretch of 13th Street between Tasker and Morris in South Philly has been named home to the best Christmas lights in all of Pennsylvania, so if you haven’t seen it in person, December 25 is as good a day as any. The neighbors on this block go all out, from dazzling lights to toddler-sized illuminated lawn decorations. It’s colorful and kitschy and pure Philly.

Movies and Chinese Food

Why mess with tradition?


Lead photograph by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia. 



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