From the day after Christmas until the day after the New Year, December 26, 2011 through January 2, 2012, there are plenty of exciting and entertaining things for families, couples, singles, sports fans, culture vultures and everyone in between to do day and night in the Philadelphia region.

Celebrate New Year’s all week long with live performances, incredible exhibitions, exciting sporting spectacles and much more leading up to the explosive New Year’s celebration in Philadelphia.

Check out some of the fantastic happenings throughout the week, below:

Holiday Lights | Museums & Exhibitions | Theater | Sports | New Year’s Fun

Holiday Lights, Camera, Action

Macy’s Christmas Light Show

A Philadelphia tradition since 1956, the Christmas Light Show at Macy’s in Center City illuminates a large wall inside the Wanamaker building, a National Historic Landmark, with almost 100,000 LED lights and finishes with sounds from the Wanamaker Organ. Through December 31.

Comcast Holiday Spectacular

It’s year four for Philadelphia’s high-tech holiday show, The Comcast Holiday Spectacular, at the 57-story Comcast Center. Onlookers stand in awe of the original holiday imagery set to the music of a 64-piece orchestra and shown on the 2,000-square-foot, 10 million-pixel LED wall in the building’s lobby. The 15-minute show occurs at the top of the hour, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (no show at 5 p.m.). Through January 2.

A Longwood Gardens Christmas

The holidays go red, white and green at Longwood Gardens during A Longwood Gardens Christmas. Hundreds of thousands of lights, strolling carolers, daily concerts, sing-alongs and ice-skating performances brighten the gardens’ vast grounds and conservatory. Through January 8.

Penn’s Landing Ice Sculpture

Beginning Tuesday, December 27, a team of four ice sculptors will craft a massive, 2,500-pound ice sculpture for display at the Blue Cross RiverRink. Ice artists will use a variety of chainsaws, chisels and power tools to create a 10-foot long sculpture of the Blue Cross RiverRink mascot Rinky and friends. The piece will be constructed from 16 blocks of ice, each weighing approximately 300-pounds.

Museum Fun

Enchanted Colonial Village

Please Touch Museum® presents the Enchanted Colonial Village Supported by The Philadelphia Foundation, with intricately restored Colonial scenes depicting the Bakery, Blacksmith Shop, Toymaker, Tailor Shop, Watchmaker and others. The village first made its home at the Lit Brothers department store from 1962 until 1975. Through January 2.

A Brandywine Christmas

A Brandywine Christmas takes over the Brandywine River Museum, home to a large collection of Wyeth family paintings. On view: a display of trees featuring “critters” and all-things natural, a Victorian dollhouse, a model railroad with more than 2,000 feet of track and exquisitely crafted jewelry inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s paintings. Through January 8.

National Constitution Center Exhibitions

The National Constitution Center welcomes visitors to explore two fascinating exhibitions. Spies, Traitors and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America dramatically illustrates the challenge of protecting the country without violating civil liberties. Through January 8. Also on view, Fighting for Democracy: Who Is the “We” in “We the People”? combines a hands-on traveling show and a 25-minute original theater piece to delve into the lives and contributions of seven diverse Americans who fought for justice during the World War II era—and it connects their truly personal stories to today’s issues. Through January 16.

African American Museum In Philadelphia

Celebrate Kwanzaa with special exhibitions, workshops, documentary screenings and more at the African American Museum in Philadelphia starting December 26. Get ready for the New Year with the museum’s family-friendly Kwanzaa Celebration on December 31.

All-Star Week at the Academy of Natural Sciences

The Academy of Natural Sciences celebrates its most popular attractions with live animal shows, museum specimens, craft-making and storytelling during the four-day All Star Week, featuring days dedicated to butterflies, animals and dinosaurs. December 27-29.

Bugs…Outside the Box

Art and science converge in the world-premiere Bugs…Outside the Box at The Academy of Natural Sciences. Through giant, anatomically correct insect sculptures by Italian artist Lorenzo Possenti, visitors examine the intricate details of a butterfly wing, the eye of a dragonfly and the appendage of a long-horn beetle—all without a microscope. Through January 16.

Rosenbach Museum & Library

Head to the Rosenbach Museum & Library and explore incredible illustrations from famed children’s book author Maurice Sendak. On December 28, your museum admission includes a free hour tour exploring the Jewish History & Heritage in the Rosenbach home.

Art After 5 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s weekly Art After 5 gets festive, with celebrator cocktails, upbeat music and plenty of art, of course. It’s the way to get in the New Year’s Eve spirit. December 30.


The Philadelphia Orchestra

Start your New Year’s celebration on Saturday, December 31 with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Enjoy the timeless music of old Vienna in an evening of music and dance inspired by the legendary waltzes before heading out to ring in the New Year. Click here for ticket information.

George Balanchines’s The Nutcracker

A Philadelphia tradition perfect for holiday lovers of all ages, the Pennsylvania Ballet dazzles at the Academy of Music during George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™. Through December 31.

The King and I

The King and I, Roger and Hammerstein’s classic musical about a charming love story amidst starkly different cultures, captures the hearts of a new generation at the Walnut Street Theatre. Through January 8.

Jersey Boys

The Grammy®- and Tony Award®-winning Jersey Boys makes musical magic at the Forrest Theatre. Audiences clap, sing and dance along as the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons—a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks that became overnight pop sensations—unfolds onstage. Through January 15.

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte, Wilbur and the entire barnyard gang take the stage at the Arden Theatre for the family favorite Charlotte’s Web. Through January 29.

Sports Spectaculars

Flyers/Rangers Alumni Game

As a preview to the NHL Winter Classic (see January 2 listing), Citizens Bank Park hosts the Flyers/Rangers Alumni Game at 1p.m.—a perfect way for sports fans to end 2011. Former Flyers and Rangers will step onto the ice and back in this legendary rivalry. December 31.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins

After Auld Lang Syne, E-A-G-L-E-S will echo through the streets of Philadelphia. The first big sporting event of the weekend, Philadelphia Eagles take on the Washington Redskins at 1:00 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field for their last regular-season game. January 1.

2012 NHL Winter Classic

Outside in the chilly January air, a historic rivalry heats up in South Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers will hit the ice in Citizens Bank Park for the fifth annual NHL Winter Classic, now a New Year’s tradition that brings hockey back to its roots—outside. Those who can’t make it to the game can catch all the action at sports bars and restaurants around the city. January 2.

New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day

Twice the Fireworks

This year, partiers along Penn’s Landing ring in 2012 two times, with SugarHouse Casino Presents Twice the Fireworks and Twice the Fun illuminating the night sky at 6 p.m. and 12 midnight. December 31.

Countdown to Noon

Please Touch Museum® celebrates 2012 early with Countdown to Noon on December 31. The museum opens at 9:00 a.m. and holds “Noon Year” party activities with music and confetti. Countdowns take place two times this year at 12 noon and 1 p.m.

Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown at Franklin Square

Those with early bedtimes can still enjoy an evening New Year’s Eve party at Franklin Square’s Kids’ New Year’s Eve Countdown, with festivities and a 6 p.m. “square” drop, topped off with the early fireworks show from Penn’s Landing. December 31.

Independence Seaport Museum

Maritime merriment abounds when the Independence Seaport Museum stays open late for the Annual Family Fireworks Viewing Party (4:00-6:30 p.m.) on the museum’s second-floor balcony, complete with a sparkling cider toast and panoramic views of the sparkling sky. The seascape celebrations continue at 8:30 p.m. with the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Gala, featuring dinner, dancing and a brilliant view of the second Penn’s Landing fireworks show. December 31.

Blue Cross RiverRink

Winter sports enthusiasts celebrate at the Blue Cross RiverRink’s New Year’s Eve Party on Ice, a family-friendly affair that boasts one of the best views of the city’s breathtaking fireworks displays over the Delaware River. Skaters can catch both of the sparkling shows during the early (5 – 7 p.m.) and late (11 p.m. – 1 a.m.) parties. December 31.

Mummers Parade

As synonymous with Philadelphia as the cheesesteak and the hoagie, the Mummers Parade welcomes 2012 with sequins, feathers, music and revelry. The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Broad Street and Snyder Avenue and proceeds to City Hall, followed by a ticketed competition at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Spectators should purchase tickets ahead of time to sit in the judging stand or get there early to find a spot along the parade route. January 1.