Reasons to visit Pennsylvania in December

10 Great Things to Do in Pennsylvania in December

Without a doubt, December is one of my favorite months of the year. With the holiday season in full swing, there are many fantastic things to do in Pennsylvania in December.

However, just because it’s the holiday season, that doesn’t mean that all of this month’s events are holiday related. This month also offers the chance to see historical reenactments, sample delicious beers, and celebrate the new year.

Check out our list below and start planning your travels around Pennsylvania in December.

(Article updated on November 10, 2017 for events in December 2017.)

The First Commonwealth Bank It’s a Wonderful Life Festival in Indiana, PA – Through December 18 [Sponsored]

Things to do in Pennsylvania in November: Its a Wonderful Life Festival

The First Commonwealth Bank It’s a Wonderful Life Festival continues this December. (Photo used courtesy of the Indiana County Tourist Bureau)

The First Commonwealth Bank It’s a Wonderful Life Festival continues through the month of December in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Each weekend through December 18, downtown Indiana comes alive with family activities, visits with Santa Claus, festive music, great shopping, and much more.

During the month, you can also take in a “It’s a Wonderful Life” 24-hour movie marathon at Indiana Theater or see a live adaptation of the film at the Indiana Playhouse. 

For more information, visit

St. James European Christmas Market in Mansfield – December 8-10 [Sponsored]

Reasons to visit PA in December: St. James European Christmas Market

Visit the first St. James European Christmas Market in Mansfield, PA.

Visit Mansfield in December for the community’s first European-inspired Christmas market. The event is being held in the courtyard of St. James Episcopal Church from December 8-10. The St. James European Christmas Market will feature vendors selling hand-crafted goods and delicious food, including cotton candy, ribbon candy, chocolates, and more.

The event kicks off on Friday night with the Christmas Across Europe dinner and ends on Sunday evening with the annual Lessons & Carols, a musical program held in the church sanctuary. Other activities during the market will include live music, a French cafe, a tree lighting ceremony, traditional morning service, an ornament design tent, face painting, photos with St. Nicholas, Train Town, A Dolls’ Christmas, Story Time, fire dancers, jugglers, and much more.

For more information, visit the church’s website or its Facebook page.

Dickens of a Christmas in Wellsboro – December 1-3

Wellsboro, one of my favorite small towns in Pennsylvania, comes alive during the first weekend of December. Walk through this quaint downtown as it transforms into a Victorian holiday scene straight from a Dickens novel.

In addition to costumed reenactors, visitors can also browse vendor stands, listen to live music, see a performance of “A Christmas Carol”, experience the community’s tree lighting, and much more.

For more information, visit the event’s website.

Fegley’s Craft Beer Festival in Allentown – December 2

If you love craft beer, you won’t want to miss Fegley’s Craft Beer Festival. Held inside Fegley’s Allentown brewery, the event features beer from more than a dozen local and national breweries. There will be over 50 beers available at the event, and tickets will also include a buffet and live music.

For more information, click here.

PiratesFest in Pittsburgh – December 9

PiratesFest at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA

PiratesFest is being held this December at PNC Park in Pittsburgh

Baseball fans won’t want to miss PiratesFest at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Saturday, December 9. This free event will include autographs for kids, a chance to meet players, free games, and much more.

The event will also features an autograph session the evening before for those interested in meeting even more of their favorite players.

For more information, visit the team’s website.

Crossing Reenactment in Washington Crossing – December 10 and December 25

One of the most well-known events of the Revolutionary War was Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas day in 1776. Each year on the anniversary of the event, Washington Crossing Historic Park hosts a reenactment of this legendary event with reenactors crossing the cold river towards New Jersey.

If you don’t want to head out on Christmas Day, they host a dress rehearsal on December 10 that is open to the public.

For more information, visit

Mifflinburg Christkindl Market in Mifflinburg – December 14-16

Reasons to visit PA in December: Mifflinburg Christkindl Market

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

Every year, the small central PA borough of Mifflinburg hosts their annual Christkindl Market. Based on the markets held every year in Germany, the Mifflinburg Christkindl Market is one of the most authentic German Christmas markets in Pennsylvania. The event features live music, dozens of vendors selling authentic German food and many handmade goods, and much more.

Unfortunately, the market is only held one weekend a year, which can make it kind of busy, but it’s well worth braving the crowds to experience.

Find out more at

Christmas at the Stadium in Reading – Through December 23

Christmas at the Stadium in Reading turns FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Fightin Phils minor-league baseball team, into a winter wonderland. Open from the day after Thanksgiving through December 23, visitors can watch a light show on the field, meet Santa, visit the live nativity, and explore an ice cave that is home to the Ice Princesses.

For more information, visit the event’s website.

Holiday Train Display at the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum in Gibsonia – All December

There are many railroad events and activities around the holiday season, but one of the best is the Holiday Train Display at the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum near Pittsburgh. While the display itself isn’t holiday related, it is only open to the public from early November through mid-January, making December the perfect month to visit.

The main display is a recreation of the railroad journey during the 1950s from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Cumberland, Maryland. This is the route that the Great Allegheny Passage travels today, making this a must-see display for those that have spent time on this fantastic rail trail.

For more information, visit the museum’s website or check out this review from Discover the Burgh.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations in PA – December 31

New Year's Eve celebrations in Pennsylvania

Celebrate the new year at one of the many New Year’s Eve celebrations in Pennsylvania.

Ring in 2018 at one of the many New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout Pennsylvania. Communities both big and small get in on the fun with fireworks, live music, and much much more.

Pennsylvania also leads the world is weird things dropped on New Year’s Eve, making our celebrations here all the more unique.

Looking for other things to do in Pennsylvania? Check out our list of things to do in Pennsylvania in November and our list of things to do in PA in January. Also check out our list of the most Christmasy things to do in PA and the most festive towns in Pennsylvania.

Do you know of any great things to do in Pennsylvania in December? Let us know in the comments section below!

Do you have an upcoming event you think should be included in a future monthly edition? Click here for more information and to submit your event.

10 Great Things to Do in Pennsylvania in December

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.


  • Beth McKinstry

    We visited Indiana today (12/03/17) for the It’s a wonderful Life Festival. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at all as you described. We arrived at 3:30pm to find 4 booths with cookies to sell and nothing more. Only 12 people were there. No Santa. some stores were open but most were closed. We walked to the Jimmy Stewart Museum to find that it was closed. It was to close at 4pm. One might have thought that they would consider extending the hours to accommodate visitors. Very disappointing. It has the potential to be so much more.

    • Jim Cheney

      Sorry to hear that, Beth. I’ve personally only visited on the festival’s parade day, which was really great, but have generally heard good things about the other weekends of the festival.

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