Although it may be bitterly cold, winter can be one of the best times of the year in Pennsylvania if you take advantage of all the activities going on. While most of us spend the snowy season cooped up inside complaining about the weather, there are tons of festivities going on that you could be enjoying instead.
Believe us, we totally get it, a warm fireplace, a Christmas movie and a cup of hot cocoa area practically calling your name. But this year do yourself a favor, get out from under the warm blankets, layer up, and celebrate the holiday season doing these seasonal activities in PA - you will be glad you did.
Crystal Cabin Fever
Where: 311 Purdytown Turnpike, Lakeville
If you think sliding down 50ft of solid ice sounds like a good time, then Crystal Cabin Fever is an event you do not want to miss. And if you think that is impressive, wait until you see the dozens of other meticulous ice sculptures that will truly blow your mind. The photos alone are impressive - so just imagine how surreal they would look in person!
Bethlehem Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt)
Where: E 1st St, Bethlehem
They say you just don't get Christmas Markets anywhere in the world quite like those in Germany... But this little PA town, appropriately known as the Christmas City Village, is challenging that stipulation with their very own Christkindlmarkt. The town has done such a great job hosting the annual event that has been named one of the best Christmas Markets in the USA several times! No need to travel to Europe for a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping experience when this one is practically in your backyard.
Kalahari Indoor Water Park
Where: 250 Kalahari Blvd, Pocono Manor
Stop dreaming about that tropical getaway this season, it is not as far as you think. This Pocono waterpark is open all year round and features tons of water activities including slides, pools, rides, a spa area, a lazy river, mermaids, a children's area, a water obstacle course, and just about everything an outdoor waterpark has - the only difference is this one keeps you warm when it is oh-so-cold outside. So if you are ready for a day of fun in the artificial sun, there is no better choice than the one and only Kalahari Indoor Water Park.
Where: E 1st St, Bethlehem
Celebrate Pennsylvania's questionably favorite marshmallow candy, PEEPS, at none other than PEEPSfest! This annual 2-day New Year's Eve festival draws in a crowd from all over the country to partake in the exciting festivities like the Chick Drop – a 4-feet, 9-inches tall, 400-pound lit PEEPS Chick that descends at 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 31 to commemorate the beginning of the new year. If you consider yourself a Pennsylvanian then you can't miss out on this sweet celebration.
Arctic Paws Dog Sled Tours
Where: 1 Manor Drive, Pocono Manor
Admit it, after the release of Balto you have always wanted to go dog sledding. Well, now you can fulfill your childhood dream and explore the snow-covered Pocono Mountains via a dog-pulled sled! And you thought dog sledding was only a thing in Alaska... Oh, and remember to give your team of good puppers some lovin' afterward.
Where: Presque Isle, Lake Erie
Presque Isle State Park is many Pennsylvanian's beach getaway in the summer - and in the winter it becomes a winter wonderland for sportsmen because this is one of the best places in the tristate area for ice fishing due to the shallow waters and abundance of fish. So this winter when you get the itch to go fishing before the waters thaw, Presque Isle will be awaiting your arrival.
Phipps "Let It Glow" Light Festival
Where: 1 Shenley Drive, Pittsburgh
Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh puts on one of the most spectacular light displays for the holiday season. The colorful lights are perfectly paired with their flower and glass exhibits, making it a truly magical "walk in the park." It is no wonder that many couples end up getting engaged during this event - I mean seriously, think of the uniquely romantic scenes perfect for engagement photos!
Where: 237 7th St, Pittsburgh
Nothing says it's Christmas quite like The Nutcracker - and that is exactly why this should be the year you go to see the live performance at the Pittsburgh Benedum Center. There are plenty of dates to choose from and tickets start at only $28! Take it from me, this is a show you won't forget.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Where: 777 Water Wheel Dr, Champion
If you just want to have a good old fashion time playing in the snow, Seven Springs is the place to do it. No matter if you choose to competitively ski down the slopes, ride the ski lift, start a snowball fight, or just relax in the lodge with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, there is something here to keep you busy every moment of the day when the ground is covered in the chilly white stuff.
Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest
Where: 101 S Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia
With an Olympic-sized skating rink, Christmas trees decorated in tens of thousands of lights, and plenty of eggnog to keep you warm, this Philadelphian riverfront park turns into a true winter wonderland for the holiday season. You can even skate during the New Year's Eve celebration, watching the fireworks from the skating rink for a truly amazing start to the New Year.
Reading Fire & Ice Festival
Where: Penn Square, Reading
While ice sculptures are the main attraction of this event, the Reading Fire & Ice Festival offers so much more than art to gawk at! There are both indoor and outdoor activities to partake in, and everything outside is free while those inside have nominal entry fees. Taste the different chili cook-off samples, dance the night away at the Snowball Ball, watch the fire performances, listen to live music, eat a pancake breakfast or enjoy the concession stand food, and witness the professional ice-carvings.
Warren County Winterfest
Where: 4790 Chapman Dam Road, Clarendon
Crafters, vendors, dog sled races, horse-drawn carriage rides, a cardboard box derby, ice fishing, and a Polar Bear Plunge, there is no shortage of family-friendly winter-weather activities going on during the Warren County Winterfest.
Coudersport Ice Mine
Where: 176 Ice Mine Rd, Coudersport
This is one of those Pennsylvanian oddities that you just have to experience at least once in your life. The Ice Mine is a roadside attraction in Coudersport, boasting an opening in the ground that is icy during the summer and thawed during the winter. Seems like it should be the other way around, right? It's a phenomenon that has baffled visitors for many years and likely will continue to do so for many years to come. The mine would be a great pit stop during your holiday travels!
Where: Gobbler's Knob, Punxsutawney
Every year we rely on Punxsutawney Phil's shadow to tell us if we will have an early spring or not, but this year you do not need to wait to hear the news when you can instead witness it as it happens during the annual Groundhog Day Ceremony in Punxsutawney. While there is not much purpose to the ceremony since we all know that Phil's shadow doesn't really predict the weather, much like PEEPSfest, this is a Pennsylvanian tradition that is not going anywhere anytime soon - after all, you do not need science to have a good time.
Ligonier Ice Fest
Where: Downtown/Historic District Ligonier
Ice sculptures are impressive, so an entire event dedicated to this art is bound to be electrifying. The Ligonier Ice Fest is no mediocre event either - it features some of the best ice sculpting artists around, in addition to the other festivities like horse-drawn carriage rides, craft and food vendors, live music and entertainment, and much more.
Pittsburgh Light Up Night
Where: Downtown Pittsburgh
A full day of winter events in downtown Pittsburgh is wrapped up with a Christmas light finale - coinciding with the unofficial start of the Winter holiday shopping season. There will be ice for skating, a holiday market for shopping, and plenty of live entertainment for enjoying.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
Where: 1001 Lafayette Dr, Farmington
Treat yourself and spend a weekend in style at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort - the one and only pet-friendly Pennsylvania resort that has a casino, winter weather activities, a spa, and indoor and outdoor entertainment. This is the ultimate resort when you are craving a little well-deserved rest, relaxation, and of course, amazing food.