Craziest Christmas Displays in Philadelphia

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and holiday cheer has popped up all over the city. From traditions that have continued for more than half a century, to the latest in modern technology, there's Christmas displays for all ages and interests. Here's a list of the biggest, craziest and best displays in and around Philly.

Macy's Christmas Light Show and Dickens Village

The Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy's is a Philadelphia holiday tradition that dates back more than half a century. During the light show, more than 100,000 bright, energy-efficient LED lights combine to create fantastic holiday images. For shows starting at noon, the finale of the light show is accompanied live by festive music from the world-renowned Wanamaker Grand Organ.

A Philadelphia tradition for more than 20 years, the third floor of Macy's is transformed into "Dickens Village" for the holiday season. The 6,000-square-foot Village on the 3rd floor of Macy's Center City brings Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol to life with more than 100 fully animated figures reenacting 26 of the story's most memorable moments. The Village is open daily, excluding Christmas.

Miracle on 13th Street

In South Philly, just a few blocks off of bustling East Passyunk Avenue, the 1600 block of South 13th Street is known in Philadelphia as the Miracle on South 13th Street. The elaborate lights hung on neighborhood homes along this stretch, which has been a holiday-lights destination for more than a dozen years, is definitely a must-see.

Franklin Square Holiday Festival & Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show

The holiday magic at Benjamin Franklin's namesake park comes in the form of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival featuring Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show. The show features more than 50,000 twinkling lights paired to a dynamic holiday soundtrack. It's just one part of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival, which includes a bunch of attractions and activities, including visits from Santa, rides on the holiday train and more.

Shady Brook Farm

You haven't seen the Statue of Liberty, Leaning Tower of Pisa or Great Wall of China until you've seen them made out of Christmas lights. Weave your car (or let a tractor pull you) along the two-mile path past the Seven Wonders of the World at Shady Brook Farm, and through tunnels made of twinkling lights as you view more bedecked trees, snowmen and toy soldiers than you can possibly imagine. You'll end up at the farm market for hot chocolate, s'mores by a bonfire, and, if you want, the perfect tree to haul home.

Light Up a Life

When Jack Yoast bought a home right on Butler Pike, he knew it was the perfect canvas for a glowing spectacular. Ten years later, his sprawling front lawn holds a legion of animated LED Santas — playing basketball, in a helicopter, pulling reindeer — that attracts 4,000 visitors on a weekend. Toss a few bucks in the donation bins for the effort (it takes more than 1,000 man-hours, a staff of about 25 and a $2,000 electric bill to run); this year the money goes to the Philly chapter of the ALS Association and the Variety Club Camp & Development Center.

The Comcast Holiday Spectacular

Shown on the state-of-the-art Comcast Experience video wall at The Comcast Center, The Comcast Holiday Spectacular is filled with sights and sounds of the season. Since its debut in 2008, more than 1.6 million people have experienced the wonderful must-see holiday show in the Comcast Center lobby. The 15-minute Comcast Holiday Spectacular takes visitors on a festive, musical journey featuring classic family favorites like Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bell Rock, and The Twelve Days of Christmas. The show also includes a snippet of The Nutcracker performed by the renowned Pennsylvania Ballet.
The family friendly show also features a magical sleigh ride from the Philadelphia countryside to high above the city skyline, made all the more breathtaking by the massive Comcast Experience video wall.
The Comcast Holiday Spectacular includes audio description and closed captioning, and is one of the world's largest highest-resolution LED displays, spanning 83.3 feet wide by 25.4 feet high.

Elisa Domenick is a writer and documentary filmmaker with a passion for adventure and exploring places off the beaten path.