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The best holiday lights around Philly, mapped

Prepare to be dazzled

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published in December 2016 and has since been updated with the most recent information.

Believe it or not, the holiday season is fast approaching. It can be a crazy time of year, but one thing that's always wonderful is seeing so many places in and around Philly decked out in twinkling lights and festive decor.

So behold: 21 spots in the Philadelphia region that really go above and beyond the call of holiday duty. We don’t just mean big, beautiful Christmas trees—we're talking blow-up Santas, mesmerizing light shows set to music, and just downright gorgeous decor.

Know of another spectacular spot? Share the wealth and let us know in the comments!

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Peddler's Village

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Every year Peddler’s Village in Bucks County transforms into a gorgeous Victorian village, showing off its charming town in one million twinkling lights. The village kicks off its holiday season with the Christmas festival in early December. There will be holiday parades and a gingerbread house competition, with more to come throughout the month.

A post shared by Raffaella (@straffaella) on

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

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The always enchanting Morris Arboretum goes in a slightly different direction during the holidays with its Holiday Garden Railway. It’s a quarter-mile-long train track that winds through the arboretum. Tiny homes and buildings line the tracks and are lit up in holiday lights.

Historic Houses at East Fairmount Park

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Fairmount Park is filled with historic mansions, but only five of them will open up their doors this holiday season as part of the annual Very Philly Christmas. Visit each house throughout the season to take part in special events celebrating food, music, family, and friends.

Boathouse Row

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One of Philly’s most iconic sites is lit up in LED lights year-round, but there’s something about Boathouse Row during the holidays that makes the place feel extra special. This year is the row of boathouses will light up in an array of holiday colors for the rest of the season.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Climb to the top of the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see its magnificent Christmas tree lit up in all of its holiday glory. Then, keep going through the museum’s front doors, where you’ll find the Grand Hall Staircase lined with Christmas trees, highlighting the iconic Diana sculpture gilded in copper.

A post shared by G Callan (@glcallan) on

Franklin Square

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Franklin Square's holiday lights never disappoint. The Electrical Spectacle light show returns, featuring over 75,000 lights set to Christmas music by the Philly Pops.

Comcast Center

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Take a walk through this dreamy tree-lined sidewalk at the Comcast Center, then head inside to catch the tower's Holiday Spectacular Show.

Dilworth Park

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Dilworth Park has gone all out for the holidays. If the giant ice skating rink in Dilworth Park, then consider the Deck the Hall show that projects a mesmerizing light display onto City Hall every single night starting at 5:30 p.m. in late November. It goes every hour until the last show at 8:30 p.m.

Elfreth's Alley

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One of Philly’s most iconic and instagrammable streets, Elfreth’s Alley, is a great place to take a stroll during the holiday season. The historic homes that line the charming street go all out for the holidays, somehow becoming even more charming that they already are.

This is a no-brainer. The Macy's Christmas Light Show has been taking place in its Grand Court for over 20 years. And save for a few tweaks here and there, not much has changed. It’s made up of over 34,000 LED lights in six different colors and happens multiple times a day. Plus, it’s free.

A post shared by Albert Lee (@urphillypal) on

Rittenhouse Square

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One of the city’s original squares is a must-visit during the holidays. Dozens of lanterns hang from the park’s large, old trees, and the Christmas tree is always a sight to behold.

Jewelers' Row

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The first Diamond district in the nation always gets gussied up for the holidays, with its iconic "Seasons Greetings" signs lighting the way. You’ll be enchanted by both the lights and the jewelry displays in the windows.

Blue Cross RiverRink

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If you want to sit beneath thousands of twinkling holiday lights while being warmed by a fire, head to the Blue Cross Riverrink’s Winterfest on the Delaware River. There will be a huge Christmas tree, and all of the cozy cabins are strewn in pretty lights, too.

Parade of Lights at Independence Seaport Museum

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This magical display of holidays lights on the water is a one-time show, so mark your calendars for December 7. At the annual Parade of Lights, you can watch a bunch of boats decked out in lights float on by along the Independence Seaport Museum on the Delaware River. Hint: The best seats in the house are on the museum’s second-floor balcony.

'Twas the night before #ParadeOfLights... here's everything you'll need to know for our holiday event on the waterfront tomorrow: phillyseaport.org/lights

Posted by Independence Seaport Museum on Friday, December 9, 2016

Addison Street

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These lights are up year-round at 17th and Addison, but it's especially lovely to stroll down this street during the holidays. This year, expect the trees to be brighter than ever—they installed some new LED lights last year.

Miracle on South 13th Street

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Named one of the best streets in the U.S. for Christmas Lights, the Miracle on S. 13th Street is one of the most beloved holiday spectacles. It's even a little more special, because the street teamed up with Samsung to use more energy-efficient smart technology. Check it out at the corner of 16th and S. 13th Street.

Collingswood’s Main Street

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You'll feel like you've stepped into another time at Collingswood during the holidays. The small New Jersey town strings up its whole borough with thousands of twinkling lights each year, complete with carolers every weekend.

A post shared by Tim Brodwater (@timmybphotos) on

Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular

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Smedley Street's Christmas Light Spectacular takes over the middle of the street every year, transforming the neighborhood into a winter wonderland. It's between 16th and 17th, and Moyamensing and Oregon avenues.

Longwood Gardens

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There's just no beating Longwood Gardens during the holidays. From its fountain shows set to holiday music to the incredible collection of poinsettias to its impeccable decor, every turn wows both inside and out. Make sure to snap a photo in front of one of their many brightly lit trees. Also, the gardens have a new interactive map so you can plot your best trip around all the holiday attractions (welcome to the age of technology).

A post shared by Brandon Paige (@brandonpaige) on

Yuletide at Winterthur

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Winterthur, one of the most famous mansions in the country, transforms its 175-room property into a spectacular display of holiday decor every winter season for Yuletide at Winterthur. There’s a lot to gawk at here, but don’t miss the 18-room dollhouse mansion, the Christmas tree adorned with 458 handmade ornaments, or the colorful light displays outside—they’re the earliest types of lights used to decorate homes. If you’re interested in the full experience, you can book a holiday tour .

Smith’s Christmas Lights

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The Smith House on Top of the Hill in Wilmington, Delaware has been putting other homes to shame for decades. You can see the incredible display off I-95, but it's worth getting off the highway and seeing it up close and personal. Plus, this one has a heart-wrenching or heartwarming (or both) story behind it; the home’s owner put the lights up after losing both parents within months of each other, as a way to memorialize and remember them over 30 Christmases ago.

A post shared by Nyah Wilson (@nyah_wilson_) on

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Peddler's Village

Every year Peddler’s Village in Bucks County transforms into a gorgeous Victorian village, showing off its charming town in one million twinkling lights. The village kicks off its holiday season with the Christmas festival in early December. There will be holiday parades and a gingerbread house competition, with more to come throughout the month.

A post shared by Raffaella (@straffaella) on

Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

The always enchanting Morris Arboretum goes in a slightly different direction during the holidays with its Holiday Garden Railway. It’s a quarter-mile-long train track that winds through the arboretum. Tiny homes and buildings line the tracks and are lit up in holiday lights.

Historic Houses at East Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park is filled with historic mansions, but only five of them will open up their doors this holiday season as part of the annual Very Philly Christmas. Visit each house throughout the season to take part in special events celebrating food, music, family, and friends.

Boathouse Row

One of Philly’s most iconic sites is lit up in LED lights year-round, but there’s something about Boathouse Row during the holidays that makes the place feel extra special. This year is the row of boathouses will light up in an array of holiday colors for the rest of the season.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Climb to the top of the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see its magnificent Christmas tree lit up in all of its holiday glory. Then, keep going through the museum’s front doors, where you’ll find the Grand Hall Staircase lined with Christmas trees, highlighting the iconic Diana sculpture gilded in copper.

A post shared by G Callan (@glcallan) on

Franklin Square

Franklin Square's holiday lights never disappoint. The Electrical Spectacle light show returns, featuring over 75,000 lights set to Christmas music by the Philly Pops.

Comcast Center

Take a walk through this dreamy tree-lined sidewalk at the Comcast Center, then head inside to catch the tower's Holiday Spectacular Show.

Dilworth Park

Dilworth Park has gone all out for the holidays. If the giant ice skating rink in Dilworth Park, then consider the Deck the Hall show that projects a mesmerizing light display onto City Hall every single night starting at 5:30 p.m. in late November. It goes every hour until the last show at 8:30 p.m.

Elfreth's Alley

One of Philly’s most iconic and instagrammable streets, Elfreth’s Alley, is a great place to take a stroll during the holiday season. The historic homes that line the charming street go all out for the holidays, somehow becoming even more charming that they already are.

Macy's

This is a no-brainer. The Macy's Christmas Light Show has been taking place in its Grand Court for over 20 years. And save for a few tweaks here and there, not much has changed. It’s made up of over 34,000 LED lights in six different colors and happens multiple times a day. Plus, it’s free.

A post shared by Albert Lee (@urphillypal) on

Rittenhouse Square

One of the city’s original squares is a must-visit during the holidays. Dozens of lanterns hang from the park’s large, old trees, and the Christmas tree is always a sight to behold.

Jewelers' Row

The first Diamond district in the nation always gets gussied up for the holidays, with its iconic "Seasons Greetings" signs lighting the way. You’ll be enchanted by both the lights and the jewelry displays in the windows.

Blue Cross RiverRink

If you want to sit beneath thousands of twinkling holiday lights while being warmed by a fire, head to the Blue Cross Riverrink’s Winterfest on the Delaware River. There will be a huge Christmas tree, and all of the cozy cabins are strewn in pretty lights, too.

Parade of Lights at Independence Seaport Museum

This magical display of holidays lights on the water is a one-time show, so mark your calendars for December 7. At the annual Parade of Lights, you can watch a bunch of boats decked out in lights float on by along the Independence Seaport Museum on the Delaware River. Hint: The best seats in the house are on the museum’s second-floor balcony.

'Twas the night before #ParadeOfLights... here's everything you'll need to know for our holiday event on the waterfront tomorrow: phillyseaport.org/lights

Posted by Independence Seaport Museum on Friday, December 9, 2016

Addison Street

These lights are up year-round at 17th and Addison, but it's especially lovely to stroll down this street during the holidays. This year, expect the trees to be brighter than ever—they installed some new LED lights last year.

Miracle on South 13th Street

Named one of the best streets in the U.S. for Christmas Lights, the Miracle on S. 13th Street is one of the most beloved holiday spectacles. It's even a little more special, because the street teamed up with Samsung to use more energy-efficient smart technology. Check it out at the corner of 16th and S. 13th Street.

Collingswood’s Main Street

You'll feel like you've stepped into another time at Collingswood during the holidays. The small New Jersey town strings up its whole borough with thousands of twinkling lights each year, complete with carolers every weekend.

A post shared by Tim Brodwater (@timmybphotos) on

Smedley Street Christmas Light Spectacular

Smedley Street's Christmas Light Spectacular takes over the middle of the street every year, transforming the neighborhood into a winter wonderland. It's between 16th and 17th, and Moyamensing and Oregon avenues.

Longwood Gardens

There's just no beating Longwood Gardens during the holidays. From its fountain shows set to holiday music to the incredible collection of poinsettias to its impeccable decor, every turn wows both inside and out. Make sure to snap a photo in front of one of their many brightly lit trees. Also, the gardens have a new interactive map so you can plot your best trip around all the holiday attractions (welcome to the age of technology).

A post shared by Brandon Paige (@brandonpaige) on

Yuletide at Winterthur

Winterthur, one of the most famous mansions in the country, transforms its 175-room property into a spectacular display of holiday decor every winter season for Yuletide at Winterthur. There’s a lot to gawk at here, but don’t miss the 18-room dollhouse mansion, the Christmas tree adorned with 458 handmade ornaments, or the colorful light displays outside—they’re the earliest types of lights used to decorate homes. If you’re interested in the full experience, you can book a holiday tour .

Smith’s Christmas Lights

The Smith House on Top of the Hill in Wilmington, Delaware has been putting other homes to shame for decades. You can see the incredible display off I-95, but it's worth getting off the highway and seeing it up close and personal. Plus, this one has a heart-wrenching or heartwarming (or both) story behind it; the home’s owner put the lights up after losing both parents within months of each other, as a way to memorialize and remember them over 30 Christmases ago.

A post shared by Nyah Wilson (@nyah_wilson_) on