12 Cool Things to Do in Philadelphia This Winter
Ski trips, tattoo conventions, and more winter fun.
Winter brings gray skies, wind chills, and snowstorms—but it also provides perfect conditions for ice skating, museum-hopping, and hitting the slopes. Philly maintains a certain charm thanks to its still-active parks and open air spaces (looking at you, Dilworth Park, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, and Franklin Square), bustling commercial corridors, and cozy diners slurping down warm bowls of soup. So don’t let the cold deter you: Wrap yourself in a scarf and partake in all Philly has to offer with these cool things to do in the city this winter.
Friday, January 20 – Sunday, January 22
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Sure you can always just hit up a tattoo parlor on any old day. But a number of local tattoo artists, as well as some big names (think Ink Master alums), will be taking appointments at the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention in the coming weeks. In addition to ink and accessories, there’ll be tattoo contests, live entertainment, and seminars.
Saturday, January 28 – Sunday, February 5
Pennsylvania Convention Center
Between new vehicles, exotic cars, antiques, and super high-end models, the Philadelphia Auto Show is a dream for car enthusiasts (or even those in the market for a new ride). A different kind of art appreciation, the show will at least give you something to do on those cold January days.
Opens Saturday, February 11
Museum of the American Revolution
A brand new exhibition at the Museum of the American Revolution focuses on James Forten and his ancestors. Forten was born a free man of African descent who came of age in Revolutionary-age Philadelphia and went on to become a successful businessman, philanthropist, and abolitionist. Objects, documents, and immersive environments help detail a century of the Forten family’s life and role in history.
Cost: Included in museum admission
Opens Saturday, February 18
The Franklin Institute
A new exhibit coming to Philly proves Mickey Mouse looks good for his age. The media behemoth that is Disney will celebrate a century of entertainment with a world premiere exhibition at the Franklin Institute this season. Containing rarely seen original artworks and artifacts, costumes and props, and other memorabilia, Disney 100: The Exhibition is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes info. From the company’s beginnings to the inspiration for the popular movies, the show covers it all and you’ll leave with a newfound appreciation for your favorite childhood characters.
Now through Sunday, February 26
The holiday season has come and passed, but Franklin Square will stay beautiful through the end of February. Synched with music, the lights will flash and dance for the Electrical Spectacle Light Show each night. The park is also outfitted with a beer garden (complete with warm beverages and comfort food), mini golf, a carousel, and—wait for it—street curling.
Cost: Free light show, food and drink pay-as-you-go
Saturday, March 4 – Sunday, March 12
Pennsylvania Convention Center
If the sweltering sun of a flower show in FDR Park was too much for your tastes, you’re in luck! The Philadelphia Flower Show is back inside and back to its winter scheduling. Floral and landscape designers will fashion extravagant displays around the theme “The Garden Electric!” for you to marvel and enjoy. Plus, look out for special events like dog night and family day.
Now through Sunday, March 5
Dilworth Park and Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
The city boasts two particularly picturesque outdoor ice rinks: one by City Hall, and the other at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River Waterfront. The Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink is open until February 26 and offers skate rentals and 90-minute skating sessions, as well as a ski chalet-inspired cabin with food and drinks to warm up. The Blue Cross RiverRink operates through March 5 and boasts fire pits, festive lighting, cabins, food and drink, skate rental, arcade games, and more.
Give a standing ovation
Now through Monday, March 20
When it’s too cold outside to do anything but sit inside a theater, head to any one of the city’s performing arts centers, like the Academy of Music, Millier Theater, Forrest Theater, and Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, for a world-class production within city limits. This winter, big-ticket shows include A Soldier’s Play (January 24 - February 5), Come From Away (February 7-12), 1776 (February 14-26), CATS (March 14-19), and more.
Glide down some bunny slopes
Now through March
In need of a new winter hobby? Take a road trip to the Poconos and take part in this year’s ski season, running until March or early April depending on what the groundhog says. A number of nearby mountain resorts like Jack Frost Big Boulder, Blue Mountain, Camelback Mountain, and Shawnee Mountain offer dozens of trails in varying levels of difficulty, plus snow tubing and ski-in and -out restaurants.
Cost: Varies per resort
There’s nothing like a generous hunk of meat to satiate you in the dead of winter. Our historic city has an unsurprising steakhouse scene ready to secure your red meat fix. South Philly mainstay Saloon offers up a mean New York Strip while Michael Schulson’s Alpen Rose has romantic date night vibes, and our full list of the hits are all perfect for cold nights and hungry appetites.
2146 E Susquehanna Avenue
After launching in 2021 in Kensington, Mural City Cellars now has a temporary Fishtown tasting room where you can sip wines made from locally sourced grapes. Until the permanent space is ready, cozy up in a string-light adorned Frankford Avenue-adjacent location and try pinots, cabs, and rosés.
Root, root, root for the hometeam
Now through April
Lincoln Financial Field, Wells Fargo Center
Yay, sports! The Eagles have begun what many hope will be their path to the Super Bowl later this year. Or you can head to the Wells Fargo Center to watch the Flyers wrap up their regular season with over a dozen regular season games left on home ice. If you’d rather be courtside, the Sixers continue to excite for over 15 more home games through April. And finally if you can’t score tickets, you can always tailgate or hang at a sports bar.
Cost: $25 and up