Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas in Philly: Wanamaker Light Show



The Wanamaker Light Show in Macy's is my favorite thing about Christmas in Philly and has been a tradition in this city since 1956. The grand old Wanamaker Organ, a sight in its own right, is covered up with a huge tree and light display during the holidays. It runs from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve with shows at 10, noon, 2, 4, 6, and 8 (no shows on Christmas Day).

I remember taking the train down as a child with Gamma, claiming our spots on the ground floor, and waiting for the magic. The excitement is still there today and since I work a few blocks away, I make it a point to catch a show every year.

Everyone comes in and crowds the floors and balconies to get their spot. Arrive early to get a good one, and don't try to shop during it because it's a cluster.
Since you're already there, you might as well check out the Dickens Village that's been happening in Macy's for the past 20 years. The third floor of Macy’s is transformed into a 6,000 s.f. Dickens Village for the holiday season to bring A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to life with more than 100 fully animated figures reenacting 26 of the story’s most memorable moments.

Then maybe walk through City Hall to see the Christmas tree and out to Dilworth Park to check out the Rothman Ice Rink and the little shops on the side.
What's your favorite local holiday excitement?

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Joining SaraPinky, and Katie for Countdown to Christmas

26 comments:

  1. This post just made me realize that Boston doesn't really have a big department store anymore...that's sad! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  2. I know we have tons of exciting holiday ish here, but I think because I grew up in the NE (Buffalo, NY) this post makes me miss the Christmas traditions there - we had a similar department store that we went to every year. I don't think it's actually there anymore though.

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  3. Yet another reason to visit Philly. I love that you would do this with your Gramma!! :) they do a light show similar to this in Grand Central Terminal, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever!

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  4. kirk was a major grinch that i made him wait 40 minutes for the light show. but whatever, he needed to put on his big boy christmas pants and deal with it. we attempted the dickens village but holy, the lines! the room to get into the village was packed. i did love the organ though. that thing, and the grand court organist, are damn impressive!!

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  5. The light show looks fabulous and the ice rink makes me so nostalgic. Thank you for linking up with us today!

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  6. This reminds me of Christmases past in Detroit growing up. Old cities have the greatest traditions! Your Macy's looks so beautiful!!!I don't think Atlanta has anything quite like this!

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  7. Hope we can take Lola some day! I don't know my way around town to save my life.
    You are like a tour guide showing me things via this blog I have never seen. I love it.
    Stay high and dry. Love. Your. Momma

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  8. i love philly!! i've never been at christmas, but i can imagine how many great memories were formed there. ps--I love that your mom comments on your blog. too precious!

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  9. How beautiful! And wow at the crowds! I don't think it would be good to go if someone's claustrophobic-haha Merry Christmas!

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  10. So pretty! I totally want to go and see this if we have time when we're up in Philly!

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  11. You have just had the best Christmas experiences around you.
    The one bad thing of living in the country & far away from 'city' things... I think our excitement has been one house a few miles down the road that puts up lights :) haha...

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  12. What a wonderful tradition! And thanks for sharing a video! Love the idea of the Dickens Village- definitely something different. The little shops by City Hall sound very similar to one of the pop-up markets in NYC that I absolutely love. I think I need to visit Philly around this time next year!

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  13. This looks beautiful! We don't really have any traditions at the moment although we didn't joy Christmas in the park over the weekend. We do have a pretty famous MainStreet in my hometown and Father Christmas visits every weekend and walks around town granting wishes to children. That's pretty awesome.

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  14. Kansas City has the Plaza Lights - simply beautiful. It's prettier in the snow (although I detest snow). It's a definite must for the holiday season here.

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  15. theres an light show in the town next to my hometown. We always go every year on christmas eve! sometimes i miss being in a big city for the holidays. when I lived in milwaukee the entire downtown was decked out in lights and with the skyscrapers mixed in it was like eye porn.

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  16. I hate crowds but everything looks so beautiful that I would do my very best to look past them in order to enjoy the lights and decorations. I didn't realize this was unique and local until I moved away and talked about it and everyone thought I was nuts...but around these parts Santa drives around in a firetruck through all of the little communities and waves. And most Christmas parades ends with Santa on a firetruck. So Santa on a firetruck gets my vote for best local attraction!

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  17. Wow lots of holiday spirit in Philly and pretty decorations to see. I have hardly seen many displays this year but probably because I've avoided the malls completely.

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  18. Love that light show too! Didn't know the 3rd floor is Dickens Village, how cool! We don't have any traditions but many like to go down to DC to see the tree lighting, Zoo Lights, or cut their own tree at local farms. Merry Christmas!

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  19. How much fun! I remember my parents taking me to fun events like this when I was little, love that the Macys in Philly still does this! My favorite festive shows here are the boat parade at the lake (sailboats all decked out in Christmas lights) and ICE at the Gaylord Palms. We were supposed to go to ICE tonight, but are throwing in the towel due to maxed out schedules and we're both fighting our annual Christmas cold. Tis the season!

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  20. I need to go to Philly- this looks awesome!

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  21. Light shows really are the best! When we were in NYC people were lining up everywhere to get a spot to watch the lights at Saks, and this sounds just as spectacular!

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  22. Ohhhh this light show looks so fun!!!!! We didn't do any fun light looking or anything this year but one of the race tracks here sets up this cool drive through show and our zoo has a Christmas light safari that I want to check out one of these days!

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  23. oh i love this, it looks so awesome.. i don't even know if Louisville (or Sydney for that matter) has anything like this, i will have to do some research for next year because this looks awesome! i would love to go to Philly, KC has been and he loved it.

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  24. We don't have any here (shame on us), but in Watertown, it's meeting people out for Tom and Jerrys, for sure.

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  25. What a beautiful tradition! Boston used to have Jordan Marsh, which organized a number of community-based holiday events. Macy's just doesn't cut it here.

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  26. Dickens Village?!?! That sounds awesome!!!! LOVE a Christmas Carol. Can't go wrong with it. Classic.
    There's a town nearby that has a "main strip" where every store COVERS their front in lights... it looks AWESOME!

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