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The first two major holiday attractions open in Philly this week

Josh Middleton

Halloween may still be in the rearview mirror, but local businesses, parks and public spaces are already gearing up for the holidays. While most Christmas attractions in Philadelphia don’t open till after Thanksgiving, Franklin Square and Dilworth Plaza are getting started a little early to offer locals a head start on their holiday festivities. Starting this week, you can ogle Christmas lights, enjoy seasonal beers and foods and slip into some ice skates to take a twirl around the ice rink at Dilworth Park. Here’s a rundown of what to look for.

Thursday, November 9

Franklin Square

Photograph: Jeff Fusco

Franklin Square Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle; 4:30pm; pay as you go
Franklin Square spreads the holiday cheer with its annual celebration centered around its dazzling light show, Electrical Spectacle, which features more than 50,000 lights and a 12-foot-tall glowing kite in the center of the fountain that recalls Ben Franklin’s famous experiment that was supposedly performed there. Wintry comfort foods, the Winter Beer Garden—which is always stocked with seasonal beers and cider—and holiday music blaring overhead round out the seasonal fun.

Friday, November 10

rothman ice rink, dilworth park
Photograph: Jeff Fusco

Rothman Ice Rink and America’s Garden Capital Maze at Dilworth Park; 6am; $5
Get the full holiday experience at this charming rink in the shadow of City Hall. Besides endless skating, this year’s Wintergarden features the Rothman Institute Cabin, where you can cozy up with seasonal cocktails, craft beer and light bites; the America’s Garden Capital Maze, a “popup maze-meets-garden” full of photogenic plants and lights; and the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market, which features wares from area artists, craftspeople and confectionary wizards. If you don’t have your own skates, you can rent a pair for $10.

More early holiday fun


Photograph: Courtesy SkyLodge

Skylodge at Three Logan Square; Wed, Thu 5–10pm, Fri, Sat 5–11pm; $5
Located 51 floors above the city, this cozy and quirky ski lodge-inspired watering hole offers seasonal adult beverages and a stunning panoramic view of the city. At the bar, you’ll find seasonal brews such as the Pennsylvania Tuxedo, Dogfish Head’s evergreen-infused pale ale—toddies and more. The spiked hot chocolate bar is where to get creamy, booze-forward hot chocolates and spiked coffees topped with sprinkles, marshmallows, whipped cream and other treats. On the food front, there’s rib-sticking fare like beef and veggie burgers, buffalo wings and mac and cheese balls. The $5 cover charge grants you hand warmers, access to a giant projection screen showing a crackling fireplace, and a lounge corner with rocking chairs and bean bags. To further the lodge theme, the venue is adorned with a bear-skin rug, a talking deer head, toboggans, skis and mounted antlers.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in Philadelphia in November

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