Winter in Philadelphia can be magical. When a soft blanket of snow falls across the city, the world seems to slow down. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with your family and discover new places.
Looking for fun things to do with your family this winter? We’ve gathered activities you can do outdoors, on those days when the cold weather feels brisk and inviting, and indoors, when ice or wind makes playing outside impossible. Here are six ideas to inspire you.
1. Explore a Museum
Winter provides the perfect opportunity to check out museums around Philadelphia that you may not have gone to before. Learning more about history, art, science, and other subjects gives you the chance to engage in an educational experience you’ll also enjoy. Try these Philly museums:
- Museum of the American Revolution: This history-focused museum on Third Street tells the story of the American Revolution from many perspectives, using items that belonged to luminaries like Marquis de Lafayette and Patrick Henry.
Admission: Adults, $21; kids 6-17, $13; seniors, $18
- Fireman’s Hall Museum: Benjamin Franklin created the first Philadelphia firefighting company in the 1700s, and this museum traces its roots back to the founding father, with interesting antique equipment and stories about both old-time and more recent firefighters.
Admission: Free; donations are accepted.
- Wagner Free Institute: This hub of natural history has exhibits including skeletons of endangered animals and the country’s oldest collection of minerals and fossils.
Admission: Free; the museum encourages a donation of $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
2. Check Out a Local Library
Libraries have a lot to offer during the winter. So many people love curling up on the couch with a good book on cold days. You can pick out books together to bring home and enjoy or participate in organized activities at the library. Check out the events schedule in advance and sign up if required.
Don’t forget to make your own fun as well! Challenge your family members to a library “treasure hunt” by compiling a list of books everyone must find, such as one written by an author with five vowels in their last name or one with a green cover. Let everyone pick out a DVD, and vote on which one you want to watch for family movie night.
Try out these Philly libraries:
3. Go Sledding
Sledding is the quintessential winter activity. There’s nothing like flying down a hill at top speed, racing the person next to you. This year, find a hill you haven’t gone to before. Discovering the best place to sled and seeing which sledder can go the farthest will keep you occupied for hours.
Bring hand warmers to keep everyone toasty during your marathon sledding session. Make sure everyone wears boots and two pairs of socks, because nothing ruins a sledding trip quicker than cold, wet feet. Race each other up the hill after you sled for some extra exercise that won’t feel like work.
Philly has some great sledding hills:
4. Try Ice Skating
Whether you have the skills to compete in the next winter Olympics or you can barely skate five feet without falling, you can have fun at an ice arena. While you need to have some balance, you can also get special equipment to hold onto if you feel uncertain on the ice. Skating also encourages your family to be active for hours, leaving you all pleasantly tired at the end of your session.
Only skate at professionally designated skating areas. Consider investing in your own skates if you plan to go skating often. You can save money on rentals, and you can usually find skates cheap at secondhand sports stores or in online classified ads.
Discover these local Philadelphia rinks:
5. Enjoy the Holiday Lights
Holiday lights bring a festive feeling to any winter evening. Many neighborhoods encourage everyone to put up lights to celebrate the season, which means you can find lots of wonderful sights within a short drive.
Ask your friends where they usually go to look at lights to find a new holiday light destination. You can ask others to go with you, too. Gather a group of your kids’ friends or invite some neighbors to walk around the neighborhood with you. Keep these tips in mind:
- If you drive in a car to see the lights, bring some festive snacks along, like seasonal cookies or hot apple cider.
- You can also consider going to a commercial location to see the lights. Keep in mind that you often have to pay at an amusement park, whereas seeing lights around a neighborhood is free.
6. Make Your Own Hot Chocolate Bar
One of the greatest joys of winter has to be hot chocolate. This delicious treat becomes even more spectacular when you set up a hot chocolate bar for your family to indulge in. This involves buying toppings for your hot chocolate and setting them out buffet-style for your family to pick and choose from. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Buy several different types of marshmallows for the bar, including big ones, little ones, and ones in fun shapes.
- Try other toppings, too, such as sprinkles, crushed peppermint, crushed graham crackers, white chocolate chips, and caramel sauce.
Winter may be cold, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors all day with nothing to do. Try our winter family fun activities, and enjoy spending special moments with the ones you love.
The best part is, many of our ideas are free or almost free. Learn more money-saving tips by visiting our WalletWorks page.