Christmas Things to do in Pennsylvania

The 10 Most Christmasy Things to Do in Pennsylvania

When it comes time for Christmas in Pennsylvania, many cities and towns across the state go all out in their celebrations. However, with so many places to choose from, how do you know what christmas things to do in Pennsylvania?

To help you, I’ve put together a list of my top 10 recommendations for places in Pennsylvania to get yourself in the Christmas spirit. While I haven’t visited everywhere on this list myself, the ones I haven’t visited have come highly recommended to me, including by readers of this site.

So, before you finalize all your travel plans for the holiday season, check out our list of the top Christmas destinations in Pennsylvania:

Market Square and PPG Place in Pittsburgh

The heart of Christmas in Pittsburgh can be found at Market Square and PPG Place. The two squares, which are basically right next to each other, make for a great destination for anyone looking for Christmas things to do in Pittsburgh.

In Market Square, shop at the authentic German Christmas market from November 17 – December 23. Explore the many shops, taste some German snacks, and even visit Santa all in the confines of a quaint Christmas market.

Once you are done, walk the short distance to PPG Place to see Pittsburgh’s Christmas tree and show off your skills while skating around the rink that encircles it. The ice rink is open from November 17, 2017 through late February 2018, but enjoy early to see the giant Christmas tree centerpiece.

Mifflinburg Christkindlmarkt

Things to do at Christmastime in Pennsylvania: Mifflinburg Christkindlmarkt

The Mifflinburg Christkindlmarkt is one of Pennsylvania’s most authentic Christmas markets.

The Christmas Market in Mifflinburg is an amazing experience that any lover of the season should experience. While I’ve never been to Germany to see their Christmas markets, this is exactly what I’ve always imagined they are like.

Even better, the Christmas market in Mifflinburg claims to be the oldest, authentic German Christkindl Market in the country, and I have no reason not to believe them.

Unlike many of the Christmas markets in larger cities, the one in Mifflinburg is only open three days a year (in 2017, it’s open December 14-16). Because of this, it can get a bit crowded, but it’s worth braving the crowds to experience this great tradition.

National Christmas Center in Lancaster County

Visiting the National Christmas Center in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

The entrance to the National Christmas Center in Paradise, Pennsylvania.

If you’re looking for something a bit different from the other places on this list, head to the National Christmas Center in Lancaster County to learn about the history of Christmas. This 20,000-square foot museum dedicated to all things Christmas features interactive displays for the kids, collections of old toys and Christmas decorations, and even visits from Santa during the Christmas season.

The National Christmas Center is closing in early January, so this holiday season is your last chance to visit it. Click the link to read my full review of the National Christmas Center.

Wanamaker Organ in Philadelphia

The Christmas Light Show inside the Wanamaker Building is one of Philly's best Christmas traditions.

The Christmas Light Show inside the Wanamaker Building is one of Philly’s best Christmas traditions.

Located inside of the Macy’s Department Store across the street from Philadelphia’s City Hall, the Wanamaker Organ is the largest, functional pipe organ in the world. During the year, it puts on daily concerts which are simply beautiful.

However, during the Christmas season they turn it up a notch with Christmas carols and a wonderful light show, all in the atrium of the department store. Make sure you visit for the noon show Monday-Saturday, as the Wanamaker Organ puts on a live show after the completion of the light show.

When you visit, it’s also worth heading upstairs to the 3rd floor Dickens Village, where you can walk through some of the most memorable seasons from “A Christmas Carol.” I was really impressed with the effort put into recreating the details of this classic story. (Click here to uncover more great Christmas things to do in Philadelphia.) Events run November 24 through the end of the year.

It’s a Wonderful Life Festival in Indiana

The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA is a perfect destination at Christmas time.

The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA is a perfect destination at Christmas time.

Of all the Christmas movies ever made, one of the most classic is “It’s a Wonderful Life” starting Indiana, Pennsylvania-native Jimmy Stewart.

Today, Stewart’s hometown is home to The Jimmy Stewart Museum. Located in the heart of downtown Indiana, the museum really ramps up at Christmas time as visitors come to learn about about not just Stewart’s famous Christmas movie, but his entire life and career.

Since the museum is located in downtown Indiana, checking out the rest of the area is quite easy. Many of the shops downtown are decorated for the holidays, making Indiana a great Christmas destination, especially during their It’s a Wonderful Life Parade, which is being held on November 17, 2017. If you can’t make it for the parade, other festive events will be going on each weekend during the holiday season.

Hersheypark’s Christmas Candylane in Hershey

Christmas Candylane Hersheypark PA

Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark is a great way to spend the holidays.

Featuring more than two million lights, Christmas Candylane at Hersheypark is a great place to get in the holiday spirit. Whether you want to ride some of the park’s rides or simply gaze the beautiful lights, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the park.

I’m honestly not a huge fan of amusement parks, but I really enjoy visiting Hersheypark at Christmas time for the wonderful displays, sounds, and smells. Christmas Candylane is open November 10-January 1. Also check out my favorite holiday attractions in Hershey and Harrisburg.

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square


Christmasy Things to do in Pennsylvania: Longwood Gardens

Christmas is a beautiful time to visit Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens is one of the most beautiful gardens in the entire country, and during the holiday season, it gets all dolled up for Christmas. Outside, 500,000 lights brighten up the gardens, while fountains dance to the sounds of Christmas music. Inside, rooms are set up with a variety of Christmas trees and other holiday displays.

While the crowds might be a bit crazy, a stroll through Longwood Gardens is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. “A Longwood Christmas” runs from November 23, 2017 through January 7, 2018.

For more information, check out our full article on Christmas at Longwood Gardens.

Christmas in Downtown Bethlehem

Where to spend Christmas in Pennsylvania: Bethlehem

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is known as Christmas City USA

Bethlehem is one of the most heralded Christmas destinations in Pennsylvania and is known as “Christmas City USA.” However, when I visited a few years ago, I was left quite underwhelmed with their well-known Christkindlmarkt. After visiting the market, though, I headed into downtown Bethlehem, and I discovered a quaint small town that screamed “Christmas City USA.”

The shops in the downtown area feature a wide-variety of items, making it a great place to do your Christmas shopping. Even better, there is a small, traditional Christkindlmarkt called “Christmas City Village” in the downtown area. The village is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 17 – December 23.

So, while you might want to skip the expensive and inauthentic Christkindlmarkt, check out our top picks for things to do in Bethlehem during the holiday season.

Koziar’s Christmas Village Near Reading

Visit Koziar's Christmas Village in Berks County for a great time this holiday season!

Visit Koziar’s Christmas Village for a great time this holiday season!

Started in 1948 for the enjoyment of the Koziar family, Koziar’s Christmas Village has grown into one of Pennsylvania’s best Christmas destinations.

The lights and displays at Koziar’s are quite intricate and feature everything form an outdoor model trail to a scenes from various Christmas stories. Tens of thousands of lights are strung up throughout the village, creating a scene that is simply magical.

This is a great Christmas destination for kids because there is always something new and exciting around the next turn to keep them occupied. Click the link to read my full review of Koziar’s Christmas Village. Koziar’s Christmas Village is open November 4, 2017 through January 1, 2018.

Olde Time Christmas in Jim Thorpe

The Carbon County borough of Jim Thorpe is worth visiting any time of the year. However, at Christmas time the town turns itself into an old time Christmas village.

The official events take place during the first and second weekends in December and include a beautifully decorated downtown, roaming carolers, train rides, Christmas contests, and more. There are even extended hours at many of the shops and restaurants in the downtown area.

There are few places in the state that can compete with the quaint Christmas atmosphere of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.

Do you have a favorite Christmas thing to do in Pennsylvania? Let us know in the comments section below!

(Article updated to reflect 2017 holiday season operating dates on October 30, 2017)

AUTHOR - Jim Cheney

Jim Cheney is the creator of Based in the state capital of Harrisburg, Jim frequently travels around Pennsylvania and has visited all 67 counties in the state. Jim has also traveled to more than 30 different countries around the world.


  • Jen Grove

    I love to visit Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, PA and also New Hope – Bucks County has some beautiful spots this time of year.

    • Jim Cheney

      I’ve heard that Peddler’s Village is very nice this time of year. Thanks for mentioning it, Jen.

  • Greg Manning

    I haven’t been but I have heard great things (and want to visit) the Dickens of a Christmas event in Wellsboro that is held the first Saturday in December.

    • Jim Cheney

      I’ve heard great things about that as well, Greg, but when you are boiling down the whole state to 10 places, you can’t include everything! Thanks for mentioning it.

    • Cyndy

      It is amazing! I grew up in Wellsboro & now have children of my own. We make it a point to go every year. 🙂

  • Marty Best

    The closest place on this list is almost three hours from home. May I suggest Kraynak’s “Santa’s ChristmasLand” for the Western PA folks?

    Found in Sharon, PA, Santa’s Christmasland is open from mid-September until the end of the year and offer multiple themed displays reminiscent of storefronts. Maybe you’ll see how they might celebrate Christmas on Sesame Street or which woodland creatures like to toast marshmallows. There are beautiful ways to use lights to enhance your decorations, both inside and out and new ideas as well. End the tour with a visit with St Nick himself.

    The store contains old-fashioned toys like tractors, models and puzzles, many of the decorations you have just seen, a full greenhouse, a lovely curio shop and model train section. Oh, candy and baked goods too. When you are looking at a place with something for every person in the family – this is a great place to go.

    And, if you miss it this Christmas Season, you can go for Easter, when they do it AGAIN with lovely spring and bunny displays. It also should be pointed out that there is always a display reflecting on the religious meaning of each Holiday.

    MBee – (PS: I have nothing to do with the store, but our family goes twice a year and I just wrote some info down for a scout troop. It is a great field trip idea and place for families to meet to do something Christmas-y together)

    • Jim Cheney

      There are a few western PA things on the list, Marty, but that display does sound very neat. I’ll have to check it out if I’m out that way this time next year. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kerri

    Neat article but I’m pretty sure the dates for the Mifflinburg Christkindl Market are Dec 11-13, 2014 this year. It’s on their website:
    Would hate for someone to miss out on it!

    • Jim Cheney

      Thanks so much for letting me know, Kerri! Not sure where I got those dates (I wonder if the page I got the info off of listed last year’s dates). Either way, I’ve fixed it. Thanks so much for pointing it out to me. Sorry for the error.

  • Nancy Handwerk

    Thanks for all the info. Lots of great places to go exploring.

  • Nicole Orris

    Lights on the lake….altoona, pa

  • John Robinson

    Everyone is invited to Christmas at the Mansion and Holiday Market on December 13 from 1-6 pm at the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion, 219 S. Front Street, Harrisburg. Natural decorations, vintage toy exhibit, a visit with Santa Clause for the kids, and in the Holiday Market, ten of the finest artisans in Central Pennsylvania. Free parking. For more information, visit or phone (717) 233-3462.

    • ann Lalinski

      Great ideas

  • Karen McAuliffe

    I have been to a lot of these as well as sites that others have recommended. I would like to add Bellefonte Victorian Christmas celebration. There is home tours, craft shows, walking tours, carriage rides, strolling carolers, high tea, and much more.

  • Norma J. Troutman

    Five years ago we fell in love with Dickens if a Christmas in Wellsboro Pa. If you have a chance go to it. It’s always the first weekend in December.

  • Bo

    What about Holiday Lights on the Lake at Lakmemont Park in Altoona? They transform the entire amusement park into a winter wonderland that you can drive through. It’s definitely worth mentioning!

  • Walk In Art Center

    Spirit of the Holidays -Holiday Market Saturday, December 5th 10am to 6pm and Sunday, December 6th 12pm to 5pm. Check out for the entire Art Tour agenda.

  • Dawn logsdon

    Dickens Of a Christmas in Wellsboro is a wonderful little festival to attend.

  • Michelle Strange

    Dickens Of A Christmas, in Downtown Wellsboro… Trolley Rides, Horse and Carriage Rides, Craft Vendors, Kids Events, and the lighting of the Gas Lights down Main Street. It’s an all out event to see. They close off the entire Main Street and fill it! I recommend the Apple Dumplings they have every year! And there are a ton of local and negional Artesian Crafter of soaps, lotions, Maple Syrup…

  • Brian Remmey

    Thanks for recognizing the German Christkindl Market in Mifflinburg! we have made that trip an annual trek. Shade Mountain Vineyards are not far south of the town to pick up you winter stockage, and around the corner from there are two Christmas tree farms to cut your own and bring back. I grew up near Philly and now live in Lancaster. While my parents live right behind Peddlers Village in Bucks County and we enjoy visiting there of course, the traditional old country simplicity of Mifflinburg is wonderful.

  • Linda Williams

    You should come to Wellsboro the first Saturday in December and check out our Dickens of a Christmas. More fun if you dress like a Dicken’s character! Food Vendors on the street, lots of Arts and Crafts, all with a Dickens’ flair. Plus Dickens players performing on the street. Check it out at

    • Jim Cheney

      I do need to get up there for that some year. Looks like a really great time.

  • larry light

    you missed Kraynak’s in Sharon PA. great store with a Christmas tree show.

    • Frederick Scott

      A Christmas Carol rendition by Gerald Charles Dickens at the Country Cupboard in Lewisburg, (and other locations) and the all male caroling in Glen Rock.

  • Kim McGinnis

    I visited Market Square in Pittsburgh last November and loved it! Stayed in the cultural district on Penn Ave. and you can walk everywhere! I highly recommend this excursion!

  • Leslie Jensen

    I found National Christmas Center in Lancaster a great disappointment. Indiana and the Wanamaker organ are my faves on your list, and I would also add Wellboro’s Dickens weekend as my never-miss-it experience.

  • Faith Crusan

    Overly’s country Christmas, Westmoreland county fairgrounds

  • Louann Michaelangelo

    Just curious why Pittsburgh’s Phipps Conservatory at Christmas has never made your list?

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