Season Guide for Christmas Village in Philadelphia: Food, Vendors, Events, Family Fun

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events

Christmas Village in Philadelphia presented by Bank of America has returned to LOVE Park and City Hall for its 14th consecutive season. From now through Christmas Eve, Christmas Village will transform Center City into an authentic open-air German Christmas market. Holiday sights and sounds featuring thousands of twinkling lights, festive Christmas decorations, theme weekends and live music are waiting to bring you all the Christmas-time feels. Shoppers will find high-quality international and local gifts along with beautiful decorations at over 110 vendor booths spanning across LOVE Park, City Hall Courtyard and North Broad. Everyone is invited to warm up with a glass of mulled wine or hot chocolate while enjoying the great variety of European food and drinks. Get ready to take in the view of the holiday action from a seat on the 65’ tall Ferris Wheel presented by T-Mobile. Other family fun attractions include the Kids Train presented by SEPTA and a brand-new double decker Christmas Village Carousel. Special events and programs return to the market this year, including the Grand Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, German American Weekend, Family Day and on-going wine, beer and spirit tastings. For new surprises, don’t miss the City Hall Courtyard, which will be completely remodeled for this year with wooden huts, the new double decker carousel, and a new German-style food court with seating. Visitors will feel like they are wandering the romantic winter street of a historic town in the heart of Germany. Admission for Christmas Village is free as always, with food, drink and shopping is pay as you go.

For a complete list of vendors, click here. Keep reading to find out what’s new this year, attractions, and special events!

New this year!
* The Courtyard section of City Hall gets a major upgrade with wooden vendor huts in front of the historic backdrop of City Hall that will have visitors imagining they are wandering a market in Europe.

* In an effort to promote equity and reflect the diversity of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department partnered with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to provide grants to support minority-owned vendors at the Christmas Village. Through these grants, The Welcoming Center and Sable Collective and the Magic Makers Marketing Collective will each recruit three or more local minority-owned businesses to vend at the Christmas Village and provide them with a booth at little or no cost.”

* For the first time ever, crowd favorite food options like the charcoal grilled Bratwurst, the Swiss Raclette Cheese and the Belgian Fries will pop up at the Courtyard along with a brand new German style Beer Garden, selling local craft brews by Brewery Techne and Mainstay Brewing Co. Look for a special surprise exclusive new beer to bring home and put under the tree!

* The Spaetzle booth, Germany’s take on mac’n’cheese, will even get its own booth in 2021 to feature the biggest soft egg noodle menu ever.

* Children will have twice the fun, while riding not one, but two tiers of the historic carousel in the Courtyard.

* New exclusive Spirits Tasting Events will be offered with local PA distillery Boardroom Spirits distillery.

* For beer lovers, this year there will be Beer Flights that can be ordered exclusively online together with a small surprise and enjoyed, for example, in the German style beer garden called “The Alm” sponsored by the German Consulate General in New York.

* There will also be a collector mug in a new design for 2021. Also be on the lookout for our popular boot mugs and the return of our beer stein mugs, which have been sold out completely in the past.

* The most exciting new upgrade for Christmas Village this year is the transformation of the City Hall Courtyard into a German-style food court and beer garden. Step through City Hall’s majestic stone passageways to the Courtyard and travel from Philadelphia to the streets of Munich! The old layout and vendor tents will be replaced with an all new layout, the addition of the charming and signature wooden booths from LOVE Park, the addition of outside seating, and a new beer garden. Cheese lovers will now also have the opportunity to purchase the popular cheese sandwich from Raclette Chalet in this new location. Foodies can now get the beloved sandwich at Love Park AND the City Hall Courtyard for the first time ever. In addition, there will also be another Schwenkgrill (swivel grill) on which traditional German bratwursts will be grilled. Together with a cold beer, or a warm mulled wine, the food can be enjoyed afterwards in the newly created seating area, whose twinkling lights and Christmas decorations create a truly festive atmosphere. A real eye-catcher is the old school carousel in the center of the courtyard, which this year even has two tiers with :”dancing” wooden horses and reindeer. Its old world charm is sure to be a hit with kids and adults of all ages.

Returning traditions!
* Well-known German ornament and gift vendor Käthe Wohlfahrt will be back as well in the large heated tent.

* The Ferris wheel presented by T-Mobile will once again transport visitors to lofty heights and give them a stunning view over the Christmas market. Right next to it, kids can ride the Christmas Village Kids train presented by SEPTA.

* On Wednesdays 11am, the Free Library of Philadelphia will offer kids reading hours to the public. On Dec 8th, Mayor Jim Kenney will join the fun to read cheerful stories with the little ones.

* At the Make A Wish® Wall, visitors will have the opportunity to inscribe their wishes on wooden hearts.

* At the German-American weekend, visitors have the opportunity to prove their skills at traditional German games such as a beer stein holding competition and celebrate German-American friendship with a German style Bratwurst and traditional German performances.

* In partnership with PAWS, Philadelphia visitors will again have the opportunity to adopt a dog directly at the market and give them a forever home.

*Santa plans to be back for photos this season.

ATTRACTIONS
The Christmas Village Carousel– Look for a special two-tiered Christmas Village Carousel this year, located in the middle of City Hall Courtyard, surrounded by a new food court. This old school carousel is great fun for the whole family with its horses, carriages and reindeers to ride on. The carousel will be open from Friday to Saturday 11:00am to 8:00pm and from Sunday to Thursday from 11:00am to 7:00pm.

Ferris Wheel Presented by T-Mobile– Get ready to take in a view of the Christmas magic from on top of the tallest Christmas attraction in Philadelphia! Christmas Village will again feature a 65′ high Ferris Wheel presented by T-Mobile on the North Apron, keeping watch over the City of Philadelphia Christmas Tree, and facing down North Broad Street. The Ferris Wheel will be open from Friday to Saturday 11:00am to 8:00pm and from Sunday to Thursday from 11:00am to 7:00pm.

Kids Train Presented by SEPTA– This classic ride rides into town with a new design ready to bring joy to the market’s littlest visitors.The train will be located with great views of the Ferris Wheel and the Christmas Tree – plus all of the festivities and vendors around the North Broad Section of Christmas Village. The Kids Train presented by SEPTA will be open from Friday to Saturday 11:00am to 8:00pm and from Sunday to Thursday from 11:00am to 7:00pm.

Sweet Treats from Ritter Sport– This year, the rides at Christmas Village are twice as sweet as usual: Every ride on the Christmas Village Carousel, the Ferris Wheel and the Kids Train comes with a sweet surprise from Ritter Sport on top. If you can’t get enough of German chocolate, you have the chance to run into brand ambassadors every weekend as they stroll through the market and hand out free chocolate bars, or you can also visit the Ritter Sport Hut in the City Hall Courtyard.

SPECIAL EVENTS
Look for music, performances, and entertainment to celebrate at our weekend specials. Full schedules and additional info can be found here: www.philachristmas.com/activities

Christmas Village Opening Ceremony “Willkommen Zurück” (Welcome Back) (11/28)
Christmas Village will have a holiday season kick-off event called “Willkommen Zurück” (Welcome Back) on November 28th starting at 3:00pm. Invite your family and friends to join Mayor Kenney and other city representatives to kick off the new season. Come sing along to holiday cheers by the Camden Catholic High School Band. Christmas Village’s beloved mascot Phil the Reindeer will then take photos with the children and families, as he leads visitors on a traditional march through the market. Be on the lookout, as Phil won’t be coming empty-handed!

Sunday, December 5th is family day at Christmas Village! There’s nothing more beautiful in the world than a child’s laugh that comes straight from the heart. Come celebrate the bonds of family and celebrate with your little ones with University of Pennsylvania’s nonprofit organization A Moment of Magic. With the help of lovingly detailed dresses, students transform into the children’s movie heroes and heroines, making their hearts beat faster. The characters will visit the Christmas Village this year on Family Sunday, December 5th, giving children the opportunity to meet them at the market. Together with Christmas Villages mascot Phil the Reindeer they can either be watched on stage for 2 hours starting 3pm, or before and after their performance during a walk through the market.

To celebrate Philadelphia’s rich German American heritage, Christmas Village is welcoming all visitors to the annual German American Weekend on December 11th and 12th. Enjoy traditional German dance performances by the local Schuhplattler Dancers from GTV Almrausch, where performers stomp, clap and strike the soles of their shoes, thighs and knees with their hands held flat. Wash down a delicious Bratwurst with some beer to embrace the full authentic German experience on this side of the Atlantic.

On Sunday, December 12th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, Christmas Village will host its German Games competition again! Contestants can put their skills to the test in three exciting disciplines, like a beer stein holding competition and other traditional Bavarian games. The winners will receive a gift package containing a variety of Christmas Village products. Interested in participating? Sign-up by sending an email with your name and contact details to event@philachristmas.com.

Make-A-Wish® Wall
Christmas time is also time to make wishes that come from the heart! Together with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley, visitors will have the chance to donate by buying a hanger for our Wish Wall, which can be purchased at the events info-booth at LOVE Park. After writing their personal wish on it, the heart shaped message can be hung up on the Wish Wall to be seen by everyone. $1 of each sold heart will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia, Delaware & Susquehanna Valley to support their goal.

School Tours and German Culture Lessons
Christmas Village is once again offering classes a wonderful journey through time with merchants, craftsmen, and traders. Explore the history of European Christmas markets from the very beginning to the present day with a professional tour guide. The guided tour through Christmas Village includes storytelling in a cozy Christmas atmosphere, a traditional German lunch, a sweet treat for every participant, and an interactive quiz where students have the opportunity to explore the market!

If you are interested in booking a “Live History Lesson at Christmas Village” this Holiday season, please send an email to event@philachristmas.com.

Storytimes in Partnership with the Free Library
Every Wednesday at 11:00am, the Free Library of Philadelphia will once again bring storytimes to Christmas Village in Philadelphia! A variety of seasonal and holiday books will be read to children of all ages. Seating will be provided for kids and parents to ensure a comfortable cozy experience! On Wednesday, Dec 8th Mayor Kenney will join for a special Holiday reading.

Entertainment (Daily)
Look for more live music, concerts, dance performances, children’s choirs, big bands, and festive fun, taking place on our stage right in the center of LOVE Park. Music schedule on the main stage: Monday through Thursday – 4:00pm to 7:00pm, Fridays and Saturdays – 11:00pm to 8:00pm, Sundays – 11:00pm to 7:00pm

Dog Adoption Events with PAWS
Once again, the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) will be coming back to Christmas Village with their furry friends. PAWS is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving Philadelphia’s homeless, abandoned, and unwanted animals. Come meet homeless dogs that need a forever home. Friday, December 3rd and Friday December 17th, from 5:00pm – 7:00pm. 

Beer, Wine or Spirits Tastings
More information and tickets for tasting events from Chaddsford Winery, Boardroom Spirits, and Brewery Techne/Mainstay Brewing, click here. VIP options are also available! 

Christmas Village is one of the many great events taking place at LOVE Park this season. Visit https://www.phila.gov/spotlight/fall-in-love-2021/ to learn more.

Exposure to COVID-19 is an inherent risk in any public location where people are present; we cannot guarantee you will not be exposed during your visit. The CDC advises that older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from Coronavirus. Guests should evaluate their own risk in determining whether to attend. People who show no symptoms can spread Coronavirus if they are infected, any interaction with the general public poses an elevated risk of being exposed to Coronavirus. By coming to the market, you acknowledge and agree that you assume these inherent risks associated with attendance.

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