Five Holiday Events Near South Philadelphia

Neighborhoods, restaurants, and breweries light up for the holidays.

Over the next few weeks, Philadelphians will welcome the most festive time of year with a host of holiday tree lightings. The Passyunk Post has ranked its top five family-friendly events in or near South Philadelphia. All are free and open to the public, with pay-as-you-go food, drink, and shopping offerings. 

#5 Twas An Evil Christmas – Tree Lighting and Holiday Kick-off

Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Evil Genius Beer Company, 1727 N. Front St.  

Evil Genius Beer Company will launch their Christmas season on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 7:30pm with the lighting of their 19-foot tall Christmas tree. The brewery will transform their beer garden into a winter wonderland where visitors can have a beer, hot cider, or hot wine while picking out a Christmas tree from Front Street Trees.

Holiday festivities continue on Sunday, December 8, 2019 with a Santa .5K race. Dress in your favorite Santa attire and run point-five kilometers—around the block—before meeting back at Evil Genius for beer. The $30 entrance fee includes a Santa hat, two beers, and a swag bag. Proceeds benefit North Light Community Center.  

Love to stuff your face? Think you can do it better, faster, stronger than last year’s 8-year-old winner? Sign up for the cookie eating contest and see how many cookies you can devour in two minutes. Winner gets a $50 gift card to Evil Genius.

What we likeEvil Genius will serve its Santa! I Know Him! Festive Saisona Saison brewed with rose hips, chamomile, black currants, and dark Belgian candi syrup. At 7.2% ABV, it’s guaranteed to ward off cold winter nights. 

#4 Christmas at Craft Hall

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
4:00pm to 11:00pm
Craft Hall, 901 N Delaware Ave.

Craft Hall in Northern Liberties—Philadelphia’s largest family-friendly restaurant, beer hall, and craft maker space—will kick off Christmas at Craft Hall with the lighting of a 20+ foot-tall floor-to-ceiling indoor holiday tree.

Come out and celebrate on December 4th with holiday decorations, music, free tours of Lost Bread Company and Mainstay Independent Brewing Company, family fun in the indoor playground, and other surprises.

Craft Hall will be decked in twinkling lights, decorations, and ornaments through the New Year. Kids and their families can enjoy ornament making and crafts with kits available for $5. Activities for Christmas at Craft Hall end on Sunday, December 22, 2019. For more information, visit  

What we likeSanta will be in town on Sundays from 10am-2pm and kids can take a “Selfie with Santa” as he hands out candy canes around Craft Hall. Enjoy Holiday Happy Hour specials on Wednesdays-Fridays from 4-6pm, including $5 bites and $10 Mainstay beer pitchers. Special festive drinks will also be available all season long!

#3 South Street Headhouse District Winter Wonderland

Sunday, December 1, 2019
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Headhouse Square and the Historic Headhouse Shambles, 2nd and Pine Street

Celebrate the spirit of the season at the South Street Headhouse District’s annual Winter Wonderland. Santa Claus will arrive on a firetruck with our city’s finest, then greet children and collect their wish lists. CBS3’s Kimberly Davis will help Santa count down to the official lighting of the tree at 5:00pm.

Parents should bring cameras for photos with Santa. Music, treats, and gift shopping will also be part of the event. Bring your family, friends, and neighbors! Free admission.

For more information, visit their website, or call (215) 413-3713. During the event, follow along on Twitter at @officialsouthst #SouthStHoliday.

What we like: SSHD, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57 will collect unwrapped toys for children in the region through the Salvation Army. Find collection bins under the Shambles during the event.

#2 Old City District Tree Lighting

Thursday, December 5, 2019
5:30pm to 7:30pm
6:30pm Tree Lighting Ceremony Begins
Betsy Ross House Courtyard, 239 Arch Street

Old City District presents the third annual Historic Holidays Tree Lighting Ceremony with festivities starting at 5:30pm and the lighting at 6:30pm. The kickoff celebration will take place at the Betsy Ross House courtyard (239 Arch Street) and will feature music performances, seasonal sips, and bites

For more information about Old City District and Historic Holidays in Old City, visit: or call (215) 592-7929.

What we like: A tree lighting at Betsy Ross’s house? What can be more Philadelphia than that? Don’t miss this year’s holiday tree, designed by Old City’s Petit Jardin en Ville—a Parisian Florist and Garden Designer.

#1 East Passyunk Avenue Tree Lighting

Thursday, December 5, 2019
4:00pm to 8:00pm
5:00pm Tree Lighting Ceremony Begins
Singing Fountain on East Passyunk at 11th & Tasker Street  

Call it media bias, but we at the Passyunk Post are partial to this one.

East Passyunk Avenue BID and Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation invite you to start the holidays with neighbors and friends at the annual Tree Lighting. The evening will be filled with holiday music from Alphabet Academy Child Care, Andrew Jackson School HOME rock band, and more.

This year, look for an East Passyunk Pop-Up Holiday Market on the 1500 block, just north of the Singing Fountain. From 4:00pm to 8:00pm a variety of East Passyunk businesses will have holiday specials on-site, and a number of restaurants will have food and beverages too.

Santa Claus will help spread holiday cheer and be on hand to take photos with children. 

East Passyunk’s Christmas tree lighting party is free and open to everyone. Deck the Avenue and come kick off a whole month of merrymaking in South Philadelphia!

For more information, visit their website, follow @eastpassyunk on Instagram and Facebook, @epassyunkave on Twitter, or call 215-336-1455.

What we like: After the party, strut down the Avenue with the Pennsport Stringband for extended shopping hours. Knock some items off your shopping list and celebrate all at once!