Macy’s Christmas Light Show
A Philadelphia tradition since 1956
A source of awe and wonder for children of all ages
Daily Light Show Showtimes: 10 am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm, 8 pm. (In the past, on occasion, additional unscheduled shows have been presented when the Store became too congested. Good times for viewing are Monday through Thursday.) The Store is closed on Thanksgiving and on Christmas Day but open on New Year’s Day.
Third Floor Holiday Lane (walk below the Magic Christmas Tree for up escalators. Elevators are on Market Street.) The redemption story of Ebenezer Scrooge runs the day after Thanksgiving through December 31 (Closed Christmas). Open daily: 10am-7pm. Viewers of the classic film Miracle on 34th Street will not be at all surprised that Macy’s has a special relationship with a certain gentleman from the North Pole, and indeed Santa may be visited here through December 24.
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. (Note that most weekdays the lot fills early with commuter parking, with more spaces opening in the early afternoon.)
PLANNING A LIGHT SHOW TRIP? BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN FOR LOTS OF HELPFUL INFORMATION!
At the Dickens Christmas Village (Third Floor Market Street) there is also a concession for photos with Santa (open through Christmas Eve), a studio to design a personalized teddy bear, and a Christmas gift shop (“Holiday Lane”) nearby. There is covered public parking under the Wanamaker Building with elevators leading to Street Level.
THE WANAMAKER ORGAN is used for the finale of the noon Light Show (except Sundays), and at the end of the 6 pm Light Shows (except Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Recorded Wanamaker Organ versions conclude the show at all other times.
Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve Alert
Christmas Eve Day and New Year’s Eve day Wanamaker Organ concerts are generally cancelled due to potential curtailed store hours. The final daily light show on any given day might also not be held if it falls exactly at closing time.
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 [Read More]
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. [Read More]
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 [Read More]
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 [Read More]
The Store’s famous light show has always been one of Philadelphia’s most hallowed traditions since its inception in November 1955. It was devised by Frederick Yost, a Yale University theatre-lighting graduate who came to John Wanamaker and pioneered many of the beautiful Grand Court displays that kept the store in the forefront of retailing. Yost [Read More]
During the 1960s various panels of figures set on plywood panels, were added, based on a narrative similar to that used today. Mrs. Yost’s voice was used for the Sugar Plum Fairy. The stentorian voice of legendary Philadelphia WCAU-TV newsman John Facenda, voice of NFL Films, added a powerful note of authority. Over the years [Read More]
Today’s show features two Bears, four Frostys, eight Reindeer, 50 Snowflakes, two Toy Soldiers, three Clocks, five Ballerinas, one Nutcracker, one Girl, one Prince, one Princess, two Candy Canes, Santa and the Conductor on the Santa Express Train.
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. [Read More]
Macy’s has also enlivened Market Street with a series of fanciful windows spreading holiday cheer to the sidewalks.
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 [Read More]