It’s not just the most wonderful time of the year—It’s also one of the busiest. Take a break from gift wrapping to catch a show at Philly’s newest concert venue or bring the whole family to take in one of of the holiday season’s time-honored traditions. Here are five must-dos for the month:
The highly anticipated venue will open its doors for the first time on December 3 following the completion of renovations to transform the former Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House to a modern arts and entertainment venue. December’s lineup includes an opening night performance from Bob Dylan & His Band followed by a Christmas tour stop by John Legend the following day and the popular a cappella group Pentatonix on Dec. 15 and 16.
The Met Philadelphia, 858 N. Broad St., 1-800-653-8000, themetphilly.com
The Philly Pops plays holiday favorites Dec. 1-22 in A Philly Pops Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season, joined by Broadway vocalist Mandy Gonzalez and the Philadelphia Boys Choir. The Philadelphia Orchestra offers a reprieve from the season’s hustle and bustle with George Frideric Handel’s Messiah Dec. 6-9. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts. Philly’s favorite orange mascot has a guest spot with the orchestra Dec. 15 for the Christmas Kids' Spectacular Family Concert at the Kimmel Center. The show includes a Gritty appearance and the first act of The Nutcracker. It’s traditional for Santa, to make a surprise visit, too.
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker returns to The Academy of Music this month for a 27-show run. Touted as one of the best holiday shows in the country, the classic ballet features premier dancing, elaborate sets, and a live orchestra.
Dec. 7-31, Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad St. $35-164, 215-893-999, www.kimmelcenter.org
The skating extravaganza returns to Philadelphia with an all new performance that promises to take guests of all ages on an treasure-hunting adventure full of stunts and acrobatics. Expect appearances from fan favorite characters including Aladdin, Peter Pan, and Ariel as well as performances from newer faces like Moana and Miguel from Coco.
Dec. 24-31, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad St., $22-158, 215-336-3600, www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com
Ring in 2019 watching free fireworks along the Delaware River Waterfront. There are two shows to choose from, at 6 p.m. and midnight, depending on your aptitude for late night activities. Looking to extend your experience? Watch the fireworks ice-side as part of the Blue Cross River Rink’s New Year’s Eve Parties on Ice.