There are a lot of fabulous Christmas light displays in Philly, and one of the best is the Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular.
The Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular was held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Montgomery County for its first two seasons, but moved to FDR Park in South Philly in 2023, the year that I had a chance to check out this festive display.
The display takes up nine acres in the northern portion of FDR Park between the American Swedish Historical Museum and the park’s boathouse. All told, there are said to be more than two million lights in this fantastic display.
As soon as you enter through the gates into Tinseltown, you are immediately met with some really fun and unique light displays and the bustle of festive fun.
The majority of the light displays in the event are light-wrapped trees, as well as large stand-alone displays such as presents, ornaments, and snowflakes. You’ll also find some really whimsical designs including Teddy bears, giant reindeer, and rubber ducks.
My favorite displays though, were the Philly-specific designs. These included most of the city’s major sports teams’ logos, a lit sign that said “Jawn”, a replica of the LOVE statue, and Gritty in lights.
These really make for some fun photo spots, and they were a bit crowded with people wanting to get photos with these fun displays.
Another great spot is the Light Trail in the back of Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular.
Here, you’ll find some of the largest displays including giant reindeer (Look for Rudloph), one of the two light tunnels at Tinseltown, and even a very large Liberty Bell in lights.
In addition to some fabulous light displays, there are also several activities that you can do at Tinseltown.
Some, like listening to Mrs. Claus read Christmas stories, shopping at the Mistletoe Marketplace, or grooving on the light-up dance pad, are included in the price of admission. However, the most prominent extra activities do cost an extra fee.
So, if you want to go ice skating, glide down the 160-foot ice slide, or visit with Santa, be prepared to spend a rather surprising amount of extra money in addition to the ticket prices that you already paid.
The same can be said for the food and drink offerings. While the selection is decent and the food I saw looked good, the prices are definitely on the high end and the lines can get rather long.
And therein lies my only real issue with Tinseltown Holiday Light Spectacular: it’s very expensive.
For my Saturday night visit, I had to pay for a $33 ticket that came with nearly $8 in extra fees. Add to that $12 in parking, and it was over $50 for me to visit on my own. A family of four (2 adults and 2 kids), would be looking at a total cost of $160 to visit (for tickets, fees, and parking).
And, add in the fact that things like ice skating ($15-20 per person) and photos with Santa ($45 per group) are extra, and you could be looking at quite an expensive visit, even if you don’t buy food.
If you can, go on a weeknight (Monday-Thursday) because the same package listed above would run about $100 on those evenings. However, note that the prices for parking, food, and activities stay the same every night.
While I found Tinseltown to be very cool, I know that is quite a lot to spend for many. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t spend money on some of the extra activities or for food, you could easily walk through the display, check out the vendors, and snap some fun photos in about an hour.
All that is to say that the cost of the event does make it a bit hard for me to give Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular my full endorsement, especially for a weekend visit, which is a shame because it has some very unique lights and is a wonderful overall experience.
Ultimately, if it’s something you can afford, it’s definitely a fabulous experience that’s worth checking out this holiday season. However, those looking to save some money might be better off checking out other great attractions in the area like the Christmas Markets in Center City, the Miracle on South 13th Street, or Wild Lights at the Elmwood Park Zoo.
In 2023, Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular is open in FDR Park from November 17 through January 1. Advanced tickets are recommended and can be purchased on their website. Ticket pricing varies by date and time.