The Inside Scoop on the Philadelphia Christmas Market

The time between Thanksgiving to Christmas may bring chilly weather and finals season to Philly, but it’s also replete with holiday cheer. Until December 24th, the annual Christmas Village in Philadelphia will be open, and you don’t want to miss it! Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas, this festive market is the perfect place to take a study break and enjoy live music, shop for trinkets and holiday gifts, and most importantly, drink lots of hot chocolate. 

The Facts: 

The Christmas Village in Philadelphia is an outdoor market modeled after German Christmas Markets. It’s open on Sunday to Thursday from 11 am to 7 pm, as well as Friday to Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm. Admission into the market is 100% free. It’s located at Love Park in Center City; while you can walk there from Penn's campus, I suggest taking public transportation or car-pooling in an Uber or Lyft with friends.

Here are all of the things to do at the market this season!

  1. 1. Admire/Buy Arts & Crafts 

    Arts & Crafts vendors offer handmade ceramics, sculptures, coasters, puzzles, and hand-painted glass! Out of all the places, I definitely recommend visiting Lovepop. Located in booth two, this shop sells gorgeous 3D paper sculpture cards.

  2. 2. Shop Fashion & Beauty

    In this section of the market, shops offer everything from handmade sweaters to French soaps. Most of the fashion items offered are winter-themed, but there are some exceptions, such as beaded Moroccan bags. All of these artisanal offerings make the market a unique experience.

  3. 3. Browse Jewelry

    With over 13 Jewelry and Accessories vendors, there’s certain to be a watch, bracelet, hat, or wallet for you! If you’re looking for something unique, visit Mistura Timepieces. This watch store, located in booth 46, makes one-of-a-kind wooden watches.

  4. 4. Buy Ornaments!

    Even if tree-decorating isn’t an annual tradition you celebrate, the impressive array of ornaments is worth seeing. This year, there are 13 ornament vendors (I counted!).

  5. 5. Experience the Amusement Rides

    This year, the Christmas Village will feature a Ferris wheel, holiday train, and carousel. Be prepared to pay a small fee for these features (rides on the train cost $3 each).

  6. 6. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry!

    Last but not least…eat the food! There is no shortage of food vendors at the Christmas Village. Traditional German vendors offer bratwurst, strudel, spaetzle, and an array of German Christmas sweets. If that’s not your thing, there’s also entire booths dedicated to french fries (booth 68) and waffles (booth 69). A returning fan-favorite is booth 43, which makes sweet and savory crepes. And if you’re over 21 and in the mood for something alcoholic, you must try the mulled wine!

I know that with final exams looming, taking a break for longer than an hour to head to Center City seems unfeasible. That being said, tasting delicious food, smelling festive candles, and purchasing a gift for yourself or a friend is definitely a better option than procrastinating with Netflix or YouTube. Productivity ebbs and flows, so give yourself a break and enjoy what Philly has to offer this holiday season!