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Macy's Christmas Light Show

Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Macy's Holiday Light Show

Macy's in Center City is housed in a grand old department store that was formerly called Wanamakers with its history dating back to the mid-late 1800s.  Macy's Christmas Light Show has been a Philadelphia family tradition for many years...

Macy's Christmas Light Show, Photo Credit: photosbykathym (Instagram)

At this great annual event, you'll delight in seeing snowflakes, ballerinas and reindeer glow high above Macy's Grand Court in the store's four-story atrium. More than 100,000 LED lights combine to shape amazing holiday-themed images. Macy’s Magic Christmas Tree that appears during the Macy's Christmas Light Show features approximately 34,500 LED lights in six different colors.

Dickins' Village & Santaland

See one of the most beloved Christmas books of all time, Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," come to life at Macy’s Center City in downtown Philadelphia from Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) to December 24th (Christmas Eve). Every year, Macys' magically transforms its 3rd Floor into Dickens’ Village which is a 6,000 Square Foot walk-through version of "A Christmas Carol."

Visiting Dickens’ Village is a cherished Philadelphia holiday family tradition, which concludes in another must-do experience, an opportunity to sit on Santa Claus' lap and take a photo taken with him.

Holiday Windows

Since the 1870s, Macy's in New York has been delighting shoppers and visitors alike with their festive holiday windows.  Macy's in Center City Philadelphia is no exception whereby Macy’s stuns spectators with its famed holiday window displays and celebratory events. 

Macy's Holiday Windows, Center City Philadelphia

The Grand Court Eagle

Long before the Philadelphia Eagles captured the hearts and minds of Philadelphians, Wanamaker's bronze Eagle became an important Philadelphia symbol.  The Eagle was made in Frankfurt, Germany, it weighs 2,500 pounds and sits on a large granite base in the Grand Court of Macy's.  There are 1,600 sculpted feathers on the head alone, and 5,000 on the entire Eagle. According to legend, the Eagle began the long-practiced Philadelphia tradition of a Center City rendezvous whereby people often said, "Meet me at the Eagle!"

Wanamaker Organ

The Wanamaker Organ is world famous and features approximately 28,500 pipes, and it is also the world's largest musical instrument.  John Wanamaker purchased the organ in 1909, and it was installed in the Grand Court in Wanamaker's several years later. The organ has been designated as a National Historic Landmark since 1980. Public concerts are performed twice daily.

Insider Information

John Wanamaker (1838-1922) was a famous Philadelphia merchant, best known for the department stores bearing his name. In 1861, Wanamaker opened his first store.  He pioneered the department store concept in Philadelphia when he founded Wanamaker's in 1866. John Wanamaker made retail history with his department store being the first to guarantee a refund policy, use a one-price system, and to have electricity power its lighting. In 1911, the store became the first of its kind when Wanamaker built an opulent new 12 story building that occupied a full city square block. On December 30, 1911, President William Howard Taft dedicated the new store. 

Wanamaker was quite active in public life, and he built schools, churches, and missions in the United States and abroad. As U.S. Postmaster General, 1889-93, Wanamaker fostered rural free delivery and introduced the commemorative stamp.

According to AdAge, "Advertising's highest standards at the beginning of the 20th century were embodied by John Wanamaker, whose Philadelphia and New York department stores pioneered fixed prices and money-back guarantees with honest, consistent ad support." Wanamaker was a religious man who refused to advertise on Sundays. Wanamaker hired the great John E. Powers in 1880 as the first full-time (and highly paid) department store copywriter. As a marketing pioneer, Wanamaker is also remembered in the advertising business for turning a phrase still talked about today: "Half my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half."

Today, Macy's "only" occupies 157,000 square feet of the massive 12 story building which has been sub-divided to also offer commercial real estate for offices,  Macy's features the latest fashion and home goods.

How to Get There

Macy's is located at 1300 Market Street (13th & Market Streets) in Center City Philadelphia.  For guests of The Constitutional Walking Tour, the Macy's is just a short 0.8 mile walk from the National Constitution Center. From the Constitution Center, walk up 6th Street heading North and make a right onto Market Street.  Macy's will be on your left (South side of Market at 13th Street). 

Additional Information

Macy's
1300 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.241.9000

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