Holidays in Center City: Macy’s Dickens Village and Light Show Sneak Peak!

Macy's Philadelphia Light Show

Originally published November 24, 2017


This Tuesday night, I was pleased to attend a special “sneak peak”  event for the Macy’s Center City Dickens Village and Light Show.  And boy, was I surprised by all that was there!

The Dickens Village is located on the third floor in the Egyptian Room (close to the Human Resources office, restrooms, and kids’ section).  Once inside, you don’t feel like you’re in a department store anymore!  The experience is a nostalgic journey to traditional Christmas which reminds you of all this building, and Christmas, used to be.

The journey begins with a walk down a long corridor adorned with Christmas decor.  You’ll take family photos there.  Charles Dickens opens up the visit with a short presentation.  From there, you’ll walk through an elaborate exhibit with wonderful attention to detail.  It’s one of the most thorough exhibits like this I’ve seen!  There are cobblestone streets, faux houses, snow, and street lights to build the feeling of authenticity.  Signage from A Christmas Carol guides your path.  The windows present a comprehensive reflection of the novel.  Some of the figures move, dance, and talk.  A few of these figures could be seen as a little scary for little ones.  But with that being said, I personally appreciated the more accurate textual portrayal of the novel as opposed to a cartoon-ish representation.

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At the end of the Dickens Village, you reach the coveted prize: Santaland!  Here you can visit and get a picture with Santa!  Photos are available for purchase there (conveniently located around toys).  You’ll also be able to make a donation to a local chapter of the Make a Wish foundation in this area.

There are plenty of employees in character dressed in Victorian costumes to guide you along the way.  I liked how they would interact with the kids to keep them interested.

When you’re done with Dickens Village and your Santa visit, I suggest you go see the light show in the Grand Court (sit by the Eagle statue).  It was really cute to sit down with the kids on the floor and look up at the show.  Because the show is up so high (and people sat since the show is close to 10 minutes long), you don’t have to worry much about someone blocking your view.

The show was really nice too.  The length makes it worth the trip down to the city.  It’s not too long, but substantial enough that you feel like you saw something of value to warrant the journey.  Julie Andrew’s voice (how can you not love that?!) narrates and the Wanamaker Organ plays renditions of The Nutcracker, Rudolph, and Frosty the Snowman to guide the animated lights.  There are more than 100,000 LED lights in the show.  With the scenery of the enormous store around you, it’s a unique experience that triggers nostalgic sentiments.  Personally, I enjoy the traditional lights, presentation, and music.

The light show opens today – November 24th and runs through December 31st (except for Christmas Day).  The light show is free for the public.  Show times are at: 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm.  Visit the Macy’s Events page for up-to-date times in the event of a change.

Santa is only available in Santaland until December 24th, but Dickens Village will be open until the end of the year.  The tour is free as well, and your photos are available for purchase.  The hours for this closely mirror regular store hours, but it closes shortly before store closing.  Check hours on the Macy’s Events page.

Macy’s Center City is located at: 1300 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA.