Hanukkah celebrations start on Sunday with menorah lighting celebrations and other events through Dec. 26. “Jurassic Quest” brings natural history to life – if only temporally – using animatronic dinosaurs that look like the real thing. But, it’s local music talent that leads the holiday weekend. Snacktime celebrates its debut album with a record release party in East Passyunk, while York Street Hustle hosts its 10th annual Holiday Spectacular. And, Chester. Pa.’s very-own Avery Sunshine brings a little summer warmth with her to City Winery.
Arts & Culture
Hidden City: All Aboard! Philly’s Trains & Trolleys
- Where: Starts and ends in front of the Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St.
- When: Saturday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m.
- How much: Free
Public transportation in Philadelphia can be fraught with frustration, but it’s also a place where interesting things lie beneath the surface. Jerry Silverman of Hidden City is your guide for All Aboard! Philly’s Trains & Trolleys that explores the subterranean world of SEPTA and PATCO. Participants will get a front-row seat to the never-finished trolley station, ‘ghost’ stations, and the terracotta mosaics hidden under the Ben Franklin bridge, along with other secrets of the underground city.
- Where: Various venues
- When: Sunday, Dec. 18
- How much: Various prices
Hanukkah begins Sunday, Dec. 18 with celebrations throughout the Delaware Valley. The Chanukah on the Avenue event takes place at the Singing Fountain in East Passyunk. At the Betsy Ross House in Old City, the annual menorah lighting celebration gets going at 4:30 p.m. West Philly synagogue Kol Tzedek’s also celebrates 18 years with a hybrid Hanukkah event that includes a Jewish bake-off.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
- Where: Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad St.
- When: Saturday, Dec. 17, 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m.
- How much: $59 – $89
The Philadelphia Orchestra presents The Muppet Christmas Carol, their version of the Dickens classic. The classic children’s film stars Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, with Muppet castmates Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. The orchestra, directed by Constantine Kitsopoulos, plays along with the movie’s original score composed by Miles Goodman and Paul Williams.
Anthony Nunziata: The Italian Broadway Christmas Show
- Where: Sellersville Theater, 24 W. Temple Ave., Sellersville, Pa.
- When: Sunday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m.
- How much: $29.50 – $39.50
At the intersection of Italy and Broadway stands Anthony Nunziata. The Brooklyn-born, Nashville-based crooner is bringing The Italian Broadway Christmas Show to the burbs in support of his 2021 holiday release “Together for Christmas.” The album was deemed Broadwayworld’s top holiday album of the year.
- Where: Arden Theater, 40 N. 2nd St.
- When: Through Sunday, Jan. 29
- How much: $28 – $45
Arden’s Children’s Theater is back with the beloved classic Charlotte’s Web. As Charlotte and Wilbur explore the boundaries of friendship between a pig and a spider along with their animal buddies, a new generation of children makes lifetime memories. The production, starring Casie Gervin, is directed by Whit MacLaughlin and will be performed through the end of January.
- Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St.
- When: Saturday, Dec. 17, Sunday, Dec. 18
- How much: $29 – $45
Dinosaurs walk the earth again – but only inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Jurassic Quest returns to the city with a life-size T-rex and a 50-foot megalodon, along with exhibits and demonstrations for the kids.
3rd Annual Hot Cocoa and Books
- Where: Net Community Care, 2701 N. Broad St.
- When: Saturday, Dec. 17 noon – 4 p.m.
- How much: Free, with registration.
Join Asil Greer, a. k. a. Asil the Kidpreneur and 11-year-old children’s book author Mayah the Girl Boss host the 3rd Annual Hot Cocoa and Books Holiday Celebration. Not only is Elmo scheduled to make a special holiday appearance, but Marie Lambert of Cook with Books is hosting reading time.
York Street Hustle 10th Annual Holiday Spectacular
- Where: World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St.
- When: Saturday, Dec. 18, 8 p.m.
- How much: $19
York Street Hustle has evolved from a popular wedding band to a group selling out shows around Philly. The sixties-inspired multicultural tribute band pays homage to the soul of Detroit, Chicago, and Memphis with their music.
- Where: City Winery, 990 Filbert St.
- When: Sunday, Dec. 18, Monday, Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.
- How much: $40 – $55
Singer/songwriter Avery Sunshine hails from Chester, and like so many of her Philly-area peers, Sunshine’s music is romantic and powerful. The singer/songwriter has yet to release a full Christmas album but with songs like “Never Knew Christmas” and “Sunshine for Christmas,” it’s only a matter of time. Her most recent album “Four Songs & a Bootleg” came out in July.
Snacktime Record Signing
- Where: Latchkey Records, 1502 E. Passyunk Ave.
- When: Saturday, Dec. 17, noon – 2 p.m.
- How much: Free
Homegrown band Snacktime formed during the pandemic, and the jazzy, R&B, soul, funk, rock, and any genre you can think of squad has quickly become a Philly fave. The band is hosting a listening party Saturday at Latchykey Records to celebrate “Sounds From The Street: Live! (2ndPressing)” where they will offer signed copies of the release and free pizza from Angelo’s Pizzeria while supplies last.
Winter Wonderland Illuminated Walking Trail
- Where: 111 Tuckerton Rd., Medford, N.J.
- When: Through Friday, Dec. 30
- How much: Children 2 – 12, $12, Adults, $16
It’s lit at the Indian Acres tree farm in South Jersey. The Winter Wonderland Illuminated Walking Trail includes snowmen, a ‘secret’ gnome village, and tens of thousands of lights leading to the live Christmas tree fields. After the walk, snuggle up at one of the bonfires with your hot cocoa and s’mores.
Pam Tillis: Belles and Bows: Country Hits and Christmas Favorites
- Where: The Queen Wilmington, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, Del.
- When: Sunday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
- How much: $38 – $53
Country queen Pam Tillis brings her Belles and Bows: Country Hits and Christmas Favorites to Wilmington. The daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis, Pam found success in her own right with six number-one hits and three platinum albums. In Sunday’s performance, she’ll draw on the catalog that made her a two-time Grammy and three-time Country Music Association winner as well as holiday classics and selections from her “Just in Time for Christmas” release.
Saturdays just got more interesting.