CIRCUS

UniverSoul Circus

Founded in 1994, UniverSoul Circus was the creation of Cedric Walker, a man who sought to create a circus featuring a diverse ensemble of performers primarily made up of people of color. Today, the show, carried out more than 14,000 times across the country, returns to Philly, filling a section of Fairmount Park with all sorts of eye-catching stunts, acrobatics, and vibrant theatrics. Buy tickets now to catch one of the daily performances, scheduled to unfold through Sunday. -- Grace Dickinson

Through Sunday, 4800 Parkside Ave, $20 and up, universoulcircus.com

COMEDY

Magic for the Holidays

“When have you experienced magic?” To be answered by audience members, the question is designed to inspire a night of hilarious improv and monologue created by unscripted theater company Tongue & Groove. Before the show kicks off, local magician-monologist Fred Siegel will walk around and perform close-up, table-side magic tricks for all guests to enjoy. -- G.D.

8 p.m. Friday (and Dec. 14), L’Etage Cabaret, Bar and Restaurant, 624 S. 6th St., $18, tongue-groove.com

EMPOWERMENT FAIR

WURD Empowerment Experience

Local African American talk radio station WURD is set to host a day-long celebration on Saturday featuring a holiday marketplace full of local vendors alongside an array of health, wellness, and career prep resources. Don’t miss the keynote presentation, to be delivered by author, motivational speaker, and TV host Iyanla Vanzant at 1 p.m. -- G.D.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch St., free admission, $25 for keynote address, wurdradio.com

PARTY

The Ultimate Ugly Sweater Party

BYO sweater to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and you’ll be given all the materials you need to craft the perfect hit conversation starter for your next holiday party. The museum’s own ugly sweater party will feature festive, live music, spiked hot cocoa, photo booth fun, and additional DIY opportunities, such as holiday card-making. -- G.D.

5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Friday, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, free with general admission, philamuseum.org

GAMING

PAX Unplugged

Jump into a Settlers of Catan tournament, join a game of Dungeons & Dragons, or sit down at a free-play table and choose from hundreds of options in the “lending library” at PAX Unplugged, a three-day gamers paradise. Panels with game makers and masters will unfold throughout the weekend, as will opportunities to watch expert players from around the world go head-to-head in some of today’s most popular games. -- G.D.

Friday through Sunday, Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St., $10-$65, unplugged.paxsite.com

HOLIDAY HISTORY

Deck the Alley at Elfreth’s Alley

Singing carolers and Santa Claus are set to bring Elfreth’s Alley to life on Saturday. The highlight of the holiday event, however, will be the opportunity to peek inside the dozens of decorated 18-century houses that line the historic street. The occasion marks one of only two per year that current homeowners open their doors to let visitors peek inside. -- G.D.

3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 124-126 Elfreth’s Alley, $25, elfrethsalley.org/events

SHOPPING

Cricket Cringle

Head to downtown Ardmore this weekend for a shopping extravaganza, featuring an open-air marketplace filled by more than 40 vendors. Food trucks and stands will also bring festive treats and drinks to enjoy, and Santa will make a special appearance on Friday night. For those headed out on Saturday, be sure to arrive early — free hot cocoa will be handed out outside The Bercy (7 East Lancaster) while supplies last. -- G.D.

Friday and Saturday, Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, pay as you go, destinationardmore.com

Handmade Holidays and Greens Sale

Bartram’s Garden, the iconic 18th-century arboretum only 20 minutes from Center City, is hosting its annual holiday market with live music, food, and crafting for children and their adults. Stop in to explore the offerings of more than 20 local sellers or learn how to make wreaths and centerpieces for your home. — Thea Applebaum Licht

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd. 215-729-5281, http://bartramsgarden.org/.

FAMILY

Family Holiday Celebration at the Wildwoods Convention Center

Bring the whole family out for an afternoon of holiday fun at Wildwoods Convention Center, where Santa Claus plans to park his sleigh outside as early as 11:30 a.m. Face painters, balloon twisters, and local vendors from which to shop will also fill the area, and craft-making and stocking-making tables will be set up, too. When you’re ready to relax, movie screenings ranging from Rudolph to A Charlie Brown Christmas to Polar Express are scheduled throughout the entire event. -- G.D.

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Wildwoods Convention Center, 4501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, N.J., free, wildwoodholiday.com

The Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum will help keep the season's spirit going.
GIOVANNI INGEGNERI
The Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum will help keep the season's spirit going.

Holiday Garden Railway Nights

The model trains in Morris Arboretum’s wintertime display run through a landscape of miniature Philly landmarks, all crafted from raw materials like leaves, twigs, and moss. Although the railway (which is a quarter-mile long) will be open through the end of December, these evening events are the best way to see the show in its finest form: with warm lights and some warm food. — T.A.L.

4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until the end of December, Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Ave. $15 member adult, $8 member child, $19 nonmember adult, $10 nonmember child. 215-247-5777, http://www.morrisarboretum.org/.

DRINK

The Ice Bar

Philadelphia’s own Lemon Hill Mansion, a luxe mansion built in 1800 and named for the trees that stood in its greenhouse, is putting on a very special winter bar event. Featuring ice art (including an ice lemon tree) from Ice Philly Sculpture and lighting from local designer Drew Billiau, you can enjoy drinks, food, music, and a warm atmosphere while looking out over the Schuylkill. — T.A.L.

5 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and Sunday, Lemon Hill Mansion, 1 Boathouse Row. $5 suggested donation. 215-988-9334, https://myphillypark.org/.

MUSIC

Khruangbin

Houston instrumental trio Khruangbin is a funk band whose curiosity leads them to musical styles from all over the globe, with initial inspiration coming from the Thailand music blog Monrokplengthai. That might make the band fronted by bassist Laura Lee and guitarist Mark Speer featuring drummer Donald Johnson sound unduly obscure or abstruse, but the band’s new Con Todo El Mundo offers evidence to the contrary. Khruangbin are always intelligently restrained as they draw from dub, surf music, and R&B. They cast a mesmerizing spell on their set of wordless originals, as they also do on the cover of Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts classic “Christmas Time is Here,” which they released this month. Ginger Root opens. -- Dan DeLuca

8 p.m. Friday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden. $21-$24. 215-232-2100. utphilly.com.

Ricky Hell & the Voidboys

Cleveland rocks, or at least Ricky Hell & the Voidboys do. The Ohio quartet led by Ricky Hamilton have a name that plays on New York punk rock legends Richard Hell & the Voidoids, and a refreshing rule-breaking approach that doesn’t fall in line with routinized punk orthodoxy, instead incorporating clarinet, drum machines, and overdriven guitar into their effectively sleazy “gutter pop” arsenal. Philly bands Mt. Vengeance and Poppy open. -- D.D.

9 p.m. Friday, Dawson Street Pub, 100 Dawson St., Manayunk. $10. 215-482-5677. facebook.com/dawsonstreetpub.

Lindsey Buckingham

Is Fleetwood Mac still Fleetwood Mac without Lindsey Buckingham? Philadelphians will have to wait until April to decide for themselves, when the band comes to town with Neil Finn and Mike Campbell, the two new members the Mac has added since booting Buckingham out of the band earlier this year. But in the meantime, Buckingham is still Buckingham, and the singer, guitarist and author of such enduring Mac hits as “Go Your Own Way” and “Second Hand News” is a on tour on his own, playing material from his decades-long solo career as wells as a smattering of Mac songs. -- D.D.

8 p.m. Saturday, Scottish Rite Auditorium, 315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood. $39.50-$69.50. 856-858-1000. scottishriteauditorium.com.

Middle Kids

Australian trio Middle Kids sounds ready for large-scale venues on their debut, Lost Friends. Singer-guitarist Hannah Joy possesses a big, emphatic voice with a hint of a rasp, and she relishes choruses that lock into place with anthemic glory. The Elton John-approved “Edge of Town” is one of several highlights that would fit into a playlist with tracks from Florence + the Machine and Metric. Middle Kids might not be playing small rooms like Johnny Brenda’s for long, but these grand, glossy songs should sound great there Saturday night. — Steve Klinge

9 p.m. Saturday, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. $15. 215-739-9684, johnnybrendas.com.

Travis Scott

We’ll never know for sure whether Travis Scott — the MC/marketing magnet behind the Astroworld concept, album, and tour — got the idea for this new hip-hop universe from his baby’s mama, aka Kendall Jenner. All we are certain of is that the AutoTune-heavy rapper with the wild imagination and the Kayne fixation found his mark with this, his best, most melodic and most personal album to date. -- A.D. Amorosi

7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1, Wells Fargo Center, 3601 S. Broad. $29.95-$129.95, wellsfargocenter.philly.com

Cloud Nothings / The Courtneys

After toning down and brightening up their heavy, dark, post-rock on last year’s Life Without Sound, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings return to glorious abrasiveness on the new Last Burning Building, their fifth album. While “Leave Him Now” and “Another Way of Life” zip along with pop-punk abandon, the album is equally at home in sludgy, roaring tracks such as “The Echo of the World” or the nearly-11-minute “Dissolution.” Openers the Courtneys come from Vancouver, British Columbia, but last year’s wonderful The Courtneys II recalled the ’80s jangle pop associated with their record label, New Zealand’s Flying Nun. — S.K.

8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden St. $17. 215-232-2100, utphilly.com.