When I booked a weekend getaway for the family, I mainly wanted a change of scenery, access to some fun holiday activities, and a short drive from home. I got all of that when I took advantage of a Kimpton special and planned two nights at the Hotel Monaco. While food was a big part of our weekend, we got to take in so much holiday cheer that it really set the stage when we got home on Sunday night and prepared for a holiday week at home.
Here are some of the great family and holiday-themed activities to take in while visiting the City of Brotherly Love (by the way, with the exception of a loud Vietnamese woman hurling obscenities at her probably deserving nephew and the convenience store clerks who offered no help to a child in desperate need of a bathroom, I can totally see how the city gets its nickname).
1. Franklin Flea Vintage Holiday Market
Admittedly, this is more of my kind of thing than my family’s but I did get to show Evan an actual, real, live, working record player (and then promptly explained what it was). We went during the last two hours of the last day of the Vintage Holiday Market but I did snag come cool wares (a handmade pottery ornament and some flower clips for my hair). I loved the vintage feel but the prices were definitely less than vintage.
2. Macy’s Center City
This may be the first time I visited Macy’s and didn’t buy a thing. But we didn’t go there for shopping. We went for the main attractions that draw a huge crowd there every year for the holidays.
Outside the building, you’ll see some of their famous window displays, definitely worth a gander. And in the center court, there’s a large Christmas tree and approximately every two hours, they put on a light show. Unfortunately, it was so crowded that we never really got a full view of the show but we saw enough of the lights to be awed.
The bigger attraction for me, though, was the 6000 square foot display on the top floor where an entire Charles Dickens village is recreated and tells the story of “A Christmas Carol” (the only Dickens story I actually like).
I had high hopes for this one. Being touted as a German village, I expected to find a lot of German food and beer, handmade wooden toys and ornaments, and some Christmas spirit. What we found in stead was a very crowded flea market with lots of hats and scarves from various vendors.
I wasn’t disappointed, however, with the grilled cheese on a stick and the authentic Austrian cherry strudel!
Our final holiday stop was right along the Delaware River where we got to take in the outdoor skaters at an ice rink (we were short on time and opted not to skate). We enjoyed the lights, some indoor games ad activities, and ended our trip with a little snack in front of a fire pit (I think I still smell like smoke).
But the best part of our holiday trip…
The bets part was spending time as a family with no other agenda than to explore and have fun. And along the way were some of my favorite moments that captured the spirit of the city.
Like a random Santa on a motorcycle. While he was stopped at a traffic light, he fully played the part!
Or the Jewish crowd that excitedly welcomed us to join their Hanukkah celebration and even gave Evan a little goodie bag complete with a few plastic dreidels.
Even my husband, who usually stays a few steps removed from the spirit of the season, told me at the end of the trip that we should consider making this a new holiday tradition. Mission accomplished.
Happy Holidays from my family to yours!