While Hershey, Pennsylvania, just two hours west of Philadelphia and three hours southwest of New York City, is a wildly popular place to visit year-round, it is an especially fun destination during the Christmas season. Many families will flock to the Hershey theme park or Hershey Chocolate World to take part in the holiday festivities. Make sure to plan your trip in advance as it can get quite busy with crowds.
Along with the annual holiday events at Hersheypark, there are shows and festivities at many other local attractions and hotels.
- Hersheypark Christmas Candylane: The theme park's big yearly Christmas event features more than 4 million twinkling lights and many family and kiddie rides, as well as Santa and his nine live reindeer. You can also expect to see choreographed light shows and festive live entertainment. The event runs from November 15, 2019, through January 1, 2020. Check out the park's special package from November 15, 2019, through December 30, 2019, that includes a one-night stay at the Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge resort, a Hersheypark day pass for the entire family, admission for one vehicle to the Hershey Sweet Lights display, complimentary milk and cookie delivery, and more.
- Hershey Sweet Lights: This holiday drive-through spectacular features almost 600 animated and illuminated displays on nearly two miles of wooded trails. Sweet Lights will be open from November 15, 2019, through January 1, 2020.
- Little Elves Workshop: At The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue, families can have fun using chocolate clay to create and package their own ornaments from November 23, 2019, through December 31, 2019. You can also play with some vintage toys and take a fun family holiday photo against a snowy Hershey backdrop.
- Live Music Shows: Each year, a selection of live music is performed during the Christmas holiday season at various locations in Hersheypark. Typically, performances offer Christmas songs, wacky elves, prancing reindeer, and appearances from Santa himself.
- Noel: This light show in the Hollow at Hersheypark consists of over 250,000 dancing lights synchronized to popular Christmas music. There are four different shows every night, running every half hour.
Other Activities in the Area
Besides the Hersheypark amusement park, there are plenty of other family-friendly events and activities nearby. It's worth checking out ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park, and the Dutch Wonderland family amusement park geared to younger kids, 30 minutes away in East Lancaster (Pennsylvania Dutch country). Also, visitors enjoy The Hotel Hershey, a grand old hotel featuring a spa with chocolate treatments, of course; the Hershey's Chocolate World visitors' center that has a free 30-minute Factory Tour; and The Hershey Story, an interactive museum that tells Milton Hershey's life story and has fun classes for kids and adults in a Chocolate Lab.
Weather in Hershey Over the Holidays
For November and December visitors, Hershey has a pretty moderate winter. Expect the temperature to be in the 30s to 40s Fahrenheit (about -1 to 9 degrees Celsius) with only a few days of snow or rain. You'll want to pack typical winter wear (jackets, gloves, long pants, and such), but you should be quite comfortable walking around the outdoor light displays and events over the holidays.