Your unofficial “gritty” guide to the holiday season in Philadelphia / by Mackenzie Maloney

Philadelphia loves its Christmas traditions – from the ice rink in Dilworth Park to the classic Macy’s light show, some things never change (not that that’s a bad thing!). If you’re a longtime Philadelphian, though, you might be looking for some alternatives to the typical holiday happenings. The FSPR team dug up some fun, unique, and dare we say, “Gritty” holiday activities that are slightly off the beaten path.

Die Hard Christmastime Reading at Tattooed Mom, December 10

Welcome to the party, pal. It’s well established at this point that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and Tattooed Mom has put together an excellent cast of Philly actors to do a special Christmastime reading of the beloved action film. The event is free, but all donations and proceeds will benefit Theatre Contra's 2018/19 season. First come, first serve!  

Art Star Holiday Market at Cherry Street Pier, December 15-16

If you’ve been meaning to check out the recently opened Cherry Street Pier, this is the perfect excuse! The Art Star Holiday Market, open for one weekend only, will feature 30 curated vendors, all selling handmade goods that make for perfectly unique gifts. Find something for everyone on your shopping list while supporting local artists and vendors.  The event will also include Photos with Santa, a gift-wrapping station, and make and takes!


Yuletide Cheers & Beers, every Thursday November 15 - December 27

This tour, organized by Historic Philadelphia, will transport you back in time to the winter of 1777, when the British were occupying Philadelphia. A Red Coat soldier provides a tour of four cozy pubs, with a unique perspective on the American Revolution at every stop.


Miracle on South 13th Street, November 28 - January 1

For nearly 20 years, residents of the 1600 block of South 13th have welcomed visitors to take in their truly spectacular holiday lights display. Each household has a unique style that inspires the decorations and adornments that they choose. You can drive down to South 13th (this block is located between Tasker and Morris Streets), but we recommend visiting on foot for the full effect.