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New Year’s Revelry and the Philadelphia Mummers Parade

Program No. 13589RJ
Nothing compares to New Year’s in Philadelphia. Find out why as you attend live performances, explore the festively decorated du Pont estate and experience the iconic Mummers Parade!

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
Dec 29 - Jan 2, 2025
Starting at
Special Offer

Enroll by May 31, 2024 to save $200 off the price shown!

DATES & starting prices
Dec 29 - Jan 2, 2025
Starting at
Special Offer

Enroll by May 31, 2024 to save $200 off the price shown!

At a Glance

See Philadelphia as it glitters and shines, dressed for the holidays. Take field trips to fabulous estates with incredibly beautiful “decked” halls. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, followed by revelry in the grand rotunda of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Then, experience the merrymaking of the Philadelphia Mummers New Year’s Day Parade, an extravaganza with thousands of marchers in extravagant costumes.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to a mile per day, indoors and out; some use of public transportation. Walking/standing at museums and historic sites; wheelchairs available on a limited basis.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Admire the holiday finery at the estate of Henry Francis du Pont and take in its unsurpassed collection of antiques.
  • Thrill to stunning horticultural displays at Longwood Gardens, the legacy of Pierre S. du Pont.
  • Watch the Mummers Parade outdoors, and head to the Convention Center with ticketed seats to see Broadway Revue performances by the Fancy Brigade Competition.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Tish Byrne
An artist and historian, Tish Byrne is passionate about all aspects of her native city and its environment after having lived in and led explorations at the Physick House, which belongs to Philadelphia Landmarks. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts later becoming an administrative assistant to the Director of the school. Presently, she leads excursions for the mural arts program, is a docent at Historic Christ Church and leads explorations of Philadelphia landmarks.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tish Byrne
Tish Byrne View biography
An artist and historian, Tish Byrne is passionate about all aspects of her native city and its environment after having lived in and led explorations at the Physick House, which belongs to Philadelphia Landmarks. She is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts later becoming an administrative assistant to the Director of the school. Presently, she leads excursions for the mural arts program, is a docent at Historic Christ Church and leads explorations of Philadelphia landmarks.
Profile Image of Mitchell Kramer
Mitchell Kramer View biography
Mitchell Kramer has a B.A. in playwriting from Hampshire College and attended Circle in the Square acting conservatory. He has worked off-Broadway and in regional theater including the New York Theater Workshop and Dorset Theater Festival. He is a costumed Historic Interpreter portraying Benjamin Franklin in Old City Philadelphia. Mitchell has written and produced plays for children and adults and a series of historically accurate stories about 18th century Philadelphia for Historic Philadelphia, Inc. He is on the Board of Directors of Mount Sinai Cemetery.
Profile Image of Lauren Kain
Lauren Kain View biography
Lauren Biddle Kain is the site coordinator for Philadelphia Landmarks Road Scholar. She received her BS/BA from Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. After marriage and transfer to the San Diego area, she began working at EVENT NETWORK, a leading experiental retail operator, on behalf of cultural attractions such as zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, museums, science centers and other cultural attractions. Lauren and her family now reside in the Philadelphia area. She started working with Road Scholar as a junior Group Leader for Grandparent Programs.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The House of Barnes: The Man, The Collection, The Controversy
by Neil L. Rudenstine
The House of Barnes: The Man, The Collection, The Controversy provides the first scholarly study on the historical, art history, and political context during which Dr. Barnes purchased masterpieces and attempted to redefine aesthetics with groundbreaking new terminology.
Philadelphia - Portrait of an American City
by Wolf, Edwin 2nd
Building the City Beautiful: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway & the Philadelphia Museum of Art
by Brownlee, David B.
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5 days
4 nights
8 meals
3 B 1BR 1 L 3 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Philadelphia, PA
The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously). Minimal walking; three short blocks.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:30-4:30 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Alcoholic beverages available for purchase with cash only.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Our experienced and knowledgeable Group Leader will also serve as our Study Leader, presenting lectures and conducting field trips. We will also learn from a series of local experts who will do the same. Program-related travel and transfers will be via private bus unless noted otherwise. We will have meals in the dining room and local restaurants. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Winterthur Estate, Longwood Gardens & Holiday Lights
Philadelphia, PA
The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; driving about 76 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time. Lots of leisurely walking at your own pace. Depending on your activity level, you could walk up to 5 miles today. Wheelchairs and electric scooters available to rent at Longwood.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, Aqimera.

Morning: En route to Delaware in our private bus, our educator will point out local landmarks along the way. Designed in the spirit of 18th- and 19th-century European country estates, Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) was the childhood home of collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont and is now one of the most extraordinary museums in the country — premier showcase of American decorative arts — with an unparalleled collection of nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860. The collection is displayed in the magnificent 175-room mansion, much as it was when the du Pont family lived here, as well as in permanent and changing exhibition galleries. We will be divided into small groups of 10 as we enjoy our private exploration through holiday decorated rooms. During our private exploration, we will see exquisitely decorated trees, beautiful rooms that are only open during this season, and traditions such as the evolution of holiday meals from the colonial period to the early national period. Depending on weather, we may also meander through a recreated woodland path offering vistas of the lovely Winterthur Garden. Yuletide at Winterthur is a feast for the spirit.

Lunch: At Winterthur. Boxed lunches will be provided.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will depart for Longwood Gardens. The legacy of Pierre S. DuPont is one of the great gardens of the world, with a four-acre conservatory and outdoor gardens spanning 1,077 acres. As it is winter, you may wonder what you will see. The illuminated displays of plants, ornaments, and fountains — indoors and outdoors — are extraordinary. We will marvel at banks of poinsettias and other blooming plants, magnificent Christmas trees, and half a million twinkling lights that come on at 3:30 p.m. each day. We’ll time our visit so that we can enjoy the full magnificence of the illuminated outdoor winter landscape and the indoor display of holiday plant rooms inside the conservatory.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. There is so much to see and do in Philadelphia during the holidays, so we have set this time aside for your personal enjoyment.

Fralinger Clubhouse, Light Show, New Year's Eve Concert
Philadelphia, PA
The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. The Wanamaker organ is housed at Macy’s Department Store, across the street from the hotel. Walking to dinner, then to Kimmel and back from Kimmel Center is under a mile, approximately 20 minutes. Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: In the hotel lobby.

Morning: We’ll head out to learn about the Mummers, a 113 year old tradition from a mummer at the Fralinger’s Club house on 2nd Street for a behind-the-scenes look at their costumes. 2012 Fralinger won First Prize in the String Band Division. They are nationally and internationally recognized having performed at New Orleans’ Mardi Gras in 2012 and 1973, The Chinese New Years Parade in Hong Kong 2007, The Pearl Harbor Memorial Concert 1997, and many more.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy local fare.

Afternoon: We will enjoy another Philadelphia tradition. The holiday spectacle, titled “Christmas Pageant of Lights,” features narration by the legendary Julie Andrews and the glorious sounds of the famous Wanamaker Organ. The Light Show takes the audience on a journey through popular Christmas stories including The Nutcracker, Frosty the Snowman, and a magical Christmas tree.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: We’ll hear the incomparable Philadelphia Orchestra at the magnificent Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. This state-of-the-art facility — designed and built especially for the orchestra — will be dressed in holiday splendor. Check back in late 2024 for information on the concert. After the concert, we’ll return to the Ritz for a complete change of pace. Make your own New Year’s Eve revelry as you listen to lively music, mingle with the group, and enjoy a toast at midnight. We will have a private room to gather and ring in the New Year together.

Mummers Parade, New Year’s Day Ritz Brunch, Fancy Brigades
Philadelphia, PA
The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile in the morning depending on personal choice. Walking 6 blocks to the Fancy Brigades show. Due to parade/street closures, transportation is not available.

Morning: The Philadelphia Mummers Parade has been happening since the 1800s, and became an official city event in 1900. It features amazing costumes, music, and pageantry organized by many individual clubs of volunteers who work all year on their lavish costumes and routines. The parade lineup begins around 8:30 a.m. at City Hall and concludes in South Philadelphia sometime in the early evening. For early risers, your Group Leader will walk you over to see the props and costumed mummers before they start the parade. The five divisions march at different times during the day (see PhillyMummers.com for details). While the show is great fun, timing is erratic. There is no way to see it all, but if you’re adventurous and would like to get out and about on your own, you are welcome to try! We will have tickets for seats in the reviewing stands near the hotel. Just be aware that if you vacate your spot, someone else in the crowd will hop in.

Brunch: In a private room at the hotel.

Afternoon: After brunch, we will continue to enjoy the parade with the string bands performing as they proceed up Broad Street. As noted before, timing with this parade is unpredictable; be prepared for anything! We will walk over as a group to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, three blocks from the hotel, to see the Fancy Brigades compete for prizes. This 2-1/2 hour ticketed show presents performances by each of the competing Fancy Brigades. The excitement — and the decibel level! — are high.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure tomorrow.

Barnes Foundation, Program Concludes
Philadelphia, PA

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus. Walking around the galleries; benches in each gallery. Wheelchairs available for rental. Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant.

Morning: We will board our bus to The Barnes Foundation for an independent exploration of the galleries. The city’s cultural landmark is the new home of the world-renowned Barnes Foundation museum on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, housing the collection of Dr. Albert C. Barnes. Celebrated for its exceptional breadth, depth, and quality, the Barnes Foundation's art collection includes works by some of the greatest European and American masters of Impressionism, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern Art, as well as African sculpture, Pennsylvania-German decorative arts, Native American textiles, metalwork, and more. The current campus – which opened to much fanfare in May 2012 – boasts the greatest collection of Post-Impressionist art outside of Paris, including masterpieces by Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh. We’ll then return to the hotel; those who wish may stay on at the Barnes. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.