The weeks leading up to Christmas are packed with festive events with a good-cause twist—whether you want to support local organizations you care about or make sure all local kids in need have a gift in their hands on Christmas morning.
Keep reading below for some of the week’s highlights, including a holiday lights bike ride with local biking advocate group the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, a festival of ice sculptures in Fishtown and a dreamy lantern parade in the shadow of City Hall that’s worthy of a scene in Miracle on 34th Street.
Things to do in Philly this week for a good cause
We here at The Citizen have been working our butts off to put together our second annual Ideas We Should Steal Festival, which is finally happening this week at the Comcast Technology Center. We’ve pulled together a top-notch array of speakers for the daylong event, which is all about looking at smart ideas that have made an impact in other cities and how we could bring them here to our City of Brotherly Love. The day’s speakers include MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, oh-so-witty Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, New York Attorney General Letitia James, The Beat DC founder Tiffany Cross and many more. There’s still time to register. You can do that here. Hope to see you there! Tuesday, December 10, 8am–5pm, $35–$65, Comcast Technology Center in the Ralph J. Roberts Forum, 1800 Arch Street.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia leads a spirited caravan of pedalers—some who show up in costume—around the city to check out some of Philly’s most decked-out streets, including Miracle on 13th Street and some spots around town you may not know about. The leisurely ride kicks off at Transport Cycles at the Bok Building, where riders can decorate their wheels and enjoy gratis coffee and hot chocolate from Two Persons Coffee. From there, start turning those wheels and prepare to be dazzled! The event is totally free, but RSVPing is required. No bike? Indego will have a limited supply on hand, so be sure to hit that option when you sign up. Thursday, December 12, 5:30pm, free, Transport Cycles at the Bok Building, best to enter at 821 Dudley Street.
What could be more fun than spending an evening during the holidays with the folks at WURD—the only African American-run talk radio station in Pennsylvania? Your chance happens this Friday, when the station hosts its third annual Empowerment Experience and Holiday Party. The soiree takes place in the swanky Cambria Hotel (pictured) and, in true WURD fashion, includes a special celebrity guest: Tina Lifford, star of TV series Queen Sugar and author of The Little Book of Big Lies, will serve as the evening’s empowerment speaker. Also expect appetizers and drinks to circle the room, a game room with giant Jenga, and an evening packed with empowering messages to set the tone for the amazing new year—and decade—to come. Friday, December 13, 5–10pm, $25–$40, Cambria Hotel, 219 S. Broad Street.
The Fishtown neighborhood gets in on the holiday fun with a daylong, community-wide festival on Saturday. The centerpiece of Fishtown Freeze is more than two dozen custom ice sculptures that will be on display outside businesses along Frankford and Girard avenues and Front Street, like Barcade, Jinxed Fishtown and Johnny Brenda’s. You can also catch four live carvings, scheduled at different times from noon to 4pm, at Rivers Casino, Sancho Pistola’s, Lutheran Settlement House and Suraya. On top of all that, the fun continues with DIY photos with Santa at Frankford Hall, a gingerbread workshop at Play Arts and the chance to do some local holiday shopping at the Fishtown Flea Holiday Market at La Colombe. Happy Fishtowning! Saturday, December 14, 9am–8pm, pay as you go, various locations including La Colombe, 1335 Frankford Avenue.
If you’re looking for an traditional, warm-and-fuzzy kind of holiday event to distract you from these crazy political times, this German-inspired lantern parade might be your jam: Dozens of locals—kids and grownups, alike—hit the streets around City Hall singing holiday songs and carrying illuminated authentic German lanterns—some of which participants have made on their own. The parade begins and ends at Christmas Village in LOVE Park, and includes an amble around Dilworth Park and its outdoor ice skating rink. If you’re looking for an extra do-gooder element, stop by the massive glowing present in the middle of Christmas Village. The installation doubles as a donation point where you can give to Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation or Project HOME, an organization working to help the homeless in Philadelphia. Saturday, December 14, 5pm, free, Christmas Village at LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street.
More things to do in Philly this week for a good cause
That only scratches the surface of what events are happening around town this week for a good cause. Check out these extra to-dos for more fun ways to fill your calendar.
- Comedian Chip Chantry does standup at Helium Comedy Club to benefit PAWS.
- Catch a free screening of PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.
- Support Philly’s geek set—and meet Skeletor Claus—at The Nerd Nite Philly Holiday Spectacular.
- The African American Museum in Philadelphia hosts Disruption, a sure-to-be-uplifting poetry and open-mic night.
- Sleigh, an ultra-sassy party at Valanni, benefits Toys for Tots—and features drag queens!
- Applied Mechanics and the Philadelphia Young Playwrights present STEM Femmes, a three-night play about women in science.
- The Army-Navy Philly Fun Run at Schuylkill River Park benefits veterans.
- Tired of Trump and Pence? Let the world know at this Refuse Fascism Philly protest (pictured) on Saturday.
- Delaware Valley Legacy Fund hosts TOY, its long-running holiday soiree and toy drive for local kids in need.