One of the most iconic holiday traditions in our area WILL open this year, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Philadelphia's Christmas Village JUST announced that they will open this holiday season, with extreme safety procedures in place, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

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The village, which is located at Love Park and City Hall in Center City Philadelphia, will open for the 2020 season on Thanksgiving Day (November 26). It will be open through Christmas Eve (December 24), and officials say there will be safety procedures in place. The village typically draws thousands of visitors to the city each year.

The village will once again open for a Preview Weekend on Saturday, November 21, and Sunday, November 22.

“We are extremely thankful to the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Philadelphia Health Department for their support and guidance to give Philadelphians something positive to look forward to during the holiday season and to bring back a piece of normalcy in 2020," Christmas Village President Thomas Bauer said in a statement.

Organizers say the normally bustling layout will be modified to allow for social distancing and safety precautions in response to COVID-19.

The authentic German Christmas market typically features 80 local and international vendors, selling arts and crafts, jewelry ornaments, and giftware. Plus, organizers say that the food court will return again, and this time it will be socially distanced, according to their website.

Philadelphia Christmas Village at Night. NOTE SOCIAL DISTANCING: Photo from a previous year.

Here are some of the changes that guests can expect to see this year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The outdoor shopping area will be set up with a one-way system around in the outer limit to allow for proper social distancing.
  • All vendors will be ten feet apart from each other at a minimum.
  • Vendors around the outer permitter will also all face outward toward the street.
  • The market will run at 50% of exhibitors (but still with more than 60 vendors offering seasonal decorations and unique gifts for the holidays).
  • Plus, crowd-favorite Kathe Wohlfahrt, will offer German Christmas decorations and ornaments in a well-ventilated tent, allowing a limited number of guests a time, organizers say.
  • Waiting areas for access to the food court and shopping will all be socially distanced.

It's important to note that the village is open 7 days a week, and if you're looking to avoid crowds weekdays can be a little less crowded.

Christina Kalff via Philadelphia Christmas Village

"No matter when you visit, we want to remind everyone to wear their masks and stay at least ‘one Christmas tree length’ (six feet) away from all other guests! Santa will indeed be watching – and the rules will be enforced," the Christmas Village's President Thomas Bauer said on Tuesday.

Here's footage from last year's village:

I LOVE visiting the holiday village every year. Plus, it's the perfect space for a socially distanced date during the winter.