As the days get shorter and darker, the season also brings winter holiday lights to Center City. Tourists, residents, shoppers even busy workers — and photographers — can catch a bit of the magic, glimpsing some of the hundreds of thousands of lights dazzling all around.

A windshield on North Broad Street reflects the City Hall tree.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
A windshield on North Broad Street reflects the City Hall tree.

Philadelphia can be full of holiday cheer, whether you are shopping at Christmas Village in LOVE Park, where staff writer Bethany Ao picked eight booths you shouldn't miss, or strolling through Rittenhouse Square or Franklin Square. Looking for a jolly old elf? Christmas Village has a Santa in a shack. He allows kids to pull on his beard for a "beard check!" 

If you don't see what you want at the Christmas Village, columnist Elizabeth Wellington suggests giving an experience, such as theater tickets, a chance to design a custom shirt, or a rock-climbing or helicopter adventure.

Searching for a festive place to go for a drink with friends? Inquirer Food Critic Craig LaBan shared his recommendations.

In the meantime, enjoy the city sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style. Even SEPTA is getting into the spirit with "jolly trolleys," decorated with "hundreds of lights, yards of garland and tons of ornaments."

The Holiday Tree lights are reflected in the highly polished granite columns of the North Portal of City Hall.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Holiday Tree lights are reflected in the highly polished granite columns of the North Portal of City Hall.
City Hall tower rises over the lights of the Christmas Village in LOVE Park.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
City Hall tower rises over the lights of the Christmas Village in LOVE Park.
The December supermoon rises over lights of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The December supermoon rises over lights of the Franklin Square Holiday Festival.
Inside “America’s Garden Capital Maze” in Dilworth Park at City Hall.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Inside “America’s Garden Capital Maze” in Dilworth Park at City Hall.
Rain falls on the hand of the bronze “Duck Girl” sculpture by Paul Manship (1885-1966) in Rittenhouse Square, near the park’s Christmas Tree.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Rain falls on the hand of the bronze “Duck Girl” sculpture by Paul Manship (1885-1966) in Rittenhouse Square, near the park’s Christmas Tree.
The lights of the Philadelphia Holiday Tree are reflected in a sidewalk slick with rain at City Hall.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The lights of the Philadelphia Holiday Tree are reflected in a sidewalk slick with rain at City Hall.
The “Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market” in tents topped with original Herrnhut Stars, in Dilworth Park at City Hall.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The “Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market” in tents topped with original Herrnhut Stars, in Dilworth Park at City Hall.
The lights of the Philadelphia Holiday Tree at City Hall are reflected in a car window (from left), the granite columns of the North Portal, and the rain wetted sidewalk.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The lights of the Philadelphia Holiday Tree at City Hall are reflected in a car window (from left), the granite columns of the North Portal, and the rain wetted sidewalk.
The Franklin Square Holiday Festival, with an electrified key (from left), projected snowflakes on the sidewalk, and the bar at the “Winter Beer Garden.”
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
The Franklin Square Holiday Festival, with an electrified key (from left), projected snowflakes on the sidewalk, and the bar at the “Winter Beer Garden.”
A wreath glows in a Rittenhouse Square apartment window, overlooking the park’s lighting.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
A wreath glows in a Rittenhouse Square apartment window, overlooking the park’s lighting.