Macy’s Christmas Light Show
A Philadelphia Holiday Tradition since 1956
- Mon.-Thurs. | 4pm & 6pm
- Fri.-Sun. | 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm & 6pm
- Sat. 12/24 | 10am, 12pm & 2pm
Beautiful windows and holiday music grace the bustling Market Street street scene outside the Store. These attractions were put together (2022) under the supervision of Manuel Urquizo, Macy’s Director of Campaigns and Windows, and were built by Square One Design. They were styled and lit by Macy’s Center City Visual Merchandising, and are definitely worth a detour! The 2022 year’s windows were featured from Black Friday through New Year’s Day. Animated toys pointed up some of the offerings available in the Toys “R” Us in-store shop at Macy’s.
Macy’s is located inside The Wanamaker Building at 13th & Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Basic store Information is at 215-241-9000. There is parking underneath the Store, with lot entrances on Juniper and 13th Streets.
PLANNING A LIGHT SHOW TRIP? BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN FOR HELPFUL INFORMATION!
The Light Show itself lasts about eleven minutes. Buying Wanamaker Organ items from the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ webstore helps support the Organ as you fulfill your holiday gift list. Just click on the link below! Immediate Direct Shipping!
At the Dickens Christmas Village (Third Floor, Market Street) there is also a concession for photos with Santa (open through Christmas Eve) and a Christmas gift shop (“Holiday Lane”) nearby. Macy’s now hosts a Toys “R” Us secion on the Third Floor (13th Street Side) as well. Public bathrooms are located there. There is covered public parking under the Wanamaker Building, with a stairway, escalator and elevators, all along the Juniper Street side leading to Street Level. Enter the garage from Juniper Street (off City Hall Square) or from 13th Street headed north.
THE WANAMAKER ORGAN is used for the finale of any noon Light Shows (except Sundays), and at the end of any 6 pm Light Shows. Recorded Wanamaker Organ finales conclude the show at all other times.
Christmas Eve day and New Year’s Eve day the second of the Wanamaker Organ daily concerts are generally cancelled due to potential curtailed store hours and to accommodate the personal needs of the Organ staff.
The Store’s fabulous light show has always been one of Philadelphia’s most hallowed traditions since its inception as fountains with lights in November 1955. This feature spotlights eary Grand Court displays followed by Larry Kerecman’s wonderful chronology of how the John Wanamaker Light Show grew year by year. The John Wanamaker Light Show was initiated […]
Fun Facts and Figures Past and Present There are 34,500 LED lights on the Macy’s Magic Christmas Tree in six colors: red, yellow, green, blue, purple, and cool white, which breaks down to about 5,750 lights in each color. It is topped by a red Moravian (or Advent) star. The lights on the tree, the […]
MEALS, LODGING, NEARBY ATTRACTIONS, TIPS AND OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION IS HERE. Covered parking is available under the Wanamaker Building, but additional options are here. Read the fascinating story of Bert Medland, father of the Magic Christmas Tree here. An annotated bibliography by Adrianna Riccioni tracing the history of the Light Show is here. Our Philadelphia Visitors Guide is here. Escalators are located […]
Retailers have always kept the Light Show up-to-date, and the latest version, produced by Macy’s, is no exception. While retaining all the beloved elements of the John Wanamaker original, the revamped production — dubbed the Millennium Edition by designer Larry Kerecman — modernizes the equipment while allowing the Grand Organ to cast its holiday spell. […]
As far as the Wanamaker Organ was concerned, the main problem with past Christmas shows was that the instrument was covered by a huge theater curtain, muffling the Organ’s sound and robbing the hall of reverberation. Until the Grand Court was repainted for the American Bicentennial in 1976, this sound-deadening continued throughout the year as […]
Macy’s acquired the celebrated Dickens Christmas Village from Philadelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier Department Store. Numerous animated figures depict scenes in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” (1843). While not as popular as the Wanamaker Light Show, the village drew customers to the fourth floor Strawbridge’s, and on one occasion a Dickens descendant presided at the season opening. […]
Macy’s has also enlivened Market Street with a series of fanciful windows spreading holiday cheer to the sidewalks. Festive holiday music from sidewalk speakers adds to the enchantment of this grand old department store tradition.
During the off-season the show is stored in the passageways around the Organ, making the area look like Santa’s workshop. The Magic Christmas Tree is kept on the second floor, Chestnut Street, behind the ladies suit department. The branches are hung from trusses in the ceiling and the endpoints are color-coded for easy installation on […]
Wanamaker’s maintained a large Toy Department at the south end of the Eighth floor. It included a real monorail for kids that made a circuit around the department from 1946 to 1984, and a sprawling electric-train layout. The rocket monorail cars have been moved to the Please Touch Museum.
John Wanamaker was a leading Christian layman and founder of Bethany Presbyterian Church, and his family built on that faith. During the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s the Grand Court included a Christmas Cathedral at the rear (also with a thick blue-green drapery behind it) that had a Nativity scene as its focus and saints and […]