It’s that time of year. Cue the music to Deck the Halls and watch as Philly’s own City Hall gets decked out with the return of the Dilworth Park Wintergarden.
Wintergarden, which opened Friday, brings back the popular Rothman Institute Ice Rink, Rothman Institute Cabin and America’s Garden Capital Maze, along with a brand-new attraction this year, the Deck the Hall Light Show, all residing on the west side of City Hall.
The all-local Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market also pops up for a second season in Dilworth Park, and an array of seasonal events are scheduled to add to the ongoing Wintergarden fun.
Read on to learn more about all of the must-do activities in Wintergarden this year.
Skate (for cheap!) under the eyes of Billy Penn and take in majestic cityscape views. The Rothman Institute Ice Rink is at the foot of City Hall, allowing you to admire its intricate, Victorian-style architecture as you cruise round and round (and round) and enjoy the experience of skating in the heart of the city. Admission is just $5 per adult and $3 for children 10 and under. Skate rentals are available for $10 per pair.
Cozy up afterward with a spiked hot cocoa inside the Rothman Institute Cabin. Adjacent to the ice rink, the Cabin offers a heated refuge to hang out, post-skate. The spot serves up a variety of alcoholic beverages, including seasonal warm cocktails, alongside kid-friendly beverages and comfort food like chili and poutine.
Not sure how to skate? Sign up for lessons. Before you retreat from the rink for fear of falling on your bum, consider enrolling in one of Rothman’s four-week series led by professional skate instructors. For $100, you’ll attend a 30-minute class each week, which includes rentals and all-day admission to the rink following the lesson.
Plan to work off Thanksgiving dinner on the rink, open till 8 p.m. on the holiday. The Rothman Institute Ice Rink is open seven days a week, including select hours on holidays. On everyone’s favorite Turkey Day, the rink is open from noon to 8 p.m., leaving plenty of time to fit in some skate-ercises before or after your feast.
Make a Saturday or Sunday skate a brunch-time affair with bloody Marys and mimosas at the Cabin. The weekend brunch ritual elevates to a whole other level when you add skating into the mix. The rink opens at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, as does the Cabin, which offers weekend-only, breakfast-appropriate cocktails.
Come at night to catch the brand new Deck the Hall Light Show. The show debuts on Nov. 20 and will be cast each night onto City Hall every hour on the half hour (and more frequently on weekends). Created by design firm KLIP Collective, the choreographed display will be synchronized with holiday tunes to create a festive experience for those of all ages.
Make sure to bring a camera for photos inside America’s Garden Capital Maze. Back for a second season, the labyrinth of lights, seasonal plants, decorated archways, and festive decor returns to Dilworth Park. The pop-up display showcases more than 30 public gardens, arboreta, and historic landscapes located within 30 miles of Philadelphia, and brings plenty of photo-ops of which to make use.
Make your own “winter garden” at the free Terrarium How-To class offered inside the Rothman Institute Cabin. Presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, a variety of free classes are scheduled this year as an addition to America’s Garden Capital Maze. Advanced registration is required; the full list of offerings can be found online at phsonline.org/wintergarden.
Plan a 100 percent local shopping outing at the Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market. Want to give back to the community while checking off all of those loved ones on your holiday shopping list? The Made In Philadelphia Holiday Market is a good place to start, featuring artisans, designers, crafters, and confectionaries from the region selling giftable goods inside tents at Dilworth Park. The market runs Nov. 18 through Jan. 1.
Wintergarden at Dilworth Park
Nov. 10-Feb. 25
(Closing dates vary per attraction); All attractions free or pay-as-you-go, excluding the Rothman Institute Ice Rink ($5 for adults, $3 for children; $10 for skate rentals)