From the moment you check into your hotel and are handed a Hershey chocolate bar with your room key, sweets will be central to your time in Hershey, Pennsylvania as you celebrate a Hershey Park Christmas.
The festive small town may be the perfect spot for a dessert-loving family or couple to spend an indulgent winter weekend. The charming community that calls itself “The Sweetest Place on Earth” is a quick two-and-a-half-hour drive from Washington, D.C.
Here are just a few of the ways to make the best your trip during Christmas in Hershey, PA (tip one: wear an elastic waistband and leave calorie-counting at home).
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Book Your Stay at the Hotel Hershey or Hershey Lodge
That Hershey bar upon arrival? It happened at Hershey Lodge, where I recently spent a weekend eating more chocolate than I probably have all year.
At this chocolate-themed hotel, even the bath products are cocoa-scented, and you can buy this unique shampoo and conditioner in the impressive lobby gift shop. Its sister property, The Hotel Hershey, boasts many of the same amenities in addition to a renowned spa where chocolate facials are all the rage.
Hershey Lodge is generally considered the more family-friendly of the two, while The Hotel Hershey is more upscale. Convenient for families who may have to wrangle kids from place to place, the hotels have an array of dining options on site so you don’t really have to leave if you don’t want to.
At Hershey Lodge’s Revelry restaurant, you’ll want to taste the savory offerings as well as the sweet—while the Reese’s peanut butter chocolate cake and signature chocolate martinis were undeniably delicious, the highlights for me were the perfectly cooked filet mignon, jumbo lump crab cakes and seared scallops (I said this was a place to indulge, didn’t I?).
For a quick bite on the go, stop by the Cocoa Beanery cafe where the creamy Mac and Cheese is as good as the chocolate molten cake, which comes topped with a Hershey kiss. Warm up with a seasonal beverage like a delicious gingerbread chai.
When you’re not eating your way across the resorts, there are family-friendly activities including swimming pools, sports courts and reading in front of a cozy fireplace.
Check out the Cookies from Santa package, which includes you hotel stay, free milk and cookies from Santa, plus admission to Hersheypark Christmas Candylane®, Hershey Sweet Lights® and more during your weekend in Hershey, PA.
See All of the Lights
Hershey’s annual “Sweet Lights: A Holiday Drive-Thru Spectacular” lights show is an ideal family-friendly activity. You’ll spend the entire time in your car, only encountering another person at the check-in gate (where, of course, you’ll be handed Hershey Bars to enjoy on the ride).
The whole family will enjoy gazing at nearly 600 illuminated displays across two miles of wooded trails. See how fast you can spot every animated item mentioned in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
The show typically runs from 5-9 p.m. in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Take Part in a Hersheypark Christmas
At nearby Hersheypark, they have gone all out to deck the halls and celebrate the holiday season. A staggering five million sparkling lights can be seen across the amusement park. The annual NOEL light show, a crowd favorite that will put you in the holiday spirit, features choreographed Christmas music each evening at 5 p.m.
What else can you expect from the chocolate event of the year?
- Rides on your favorite roller coasters: Candymonium, Sidewinder , Wild Mouse, Wildcat, and Cocoa Cruiser.
- Kissmas Tree display
- Kisses Fountain decked out for Christmas
- Photos with your favorite Hershey Characters
- Visit Santa and his reindeer at Santa’s Reindeer Stables (there is a newly expanded viewing platform to give everyone a little more space to spread out)
- TREEville At The Boardwalk: walk this festive trail to see over a dozen tree that tell the story of Hersheypark, The Sweetest Place On Earth®. An all new photo scavenger hunt has been set up too. Those who complete it will get a complimentary treat!
Enjoy Hersheypark Christmas Candylane
Get ready to meet Rudolph in person! Hersheypark is the only place in the Northeast where you can find all nine reindeer in one spot, with beloved red-nosed Rudolph included.
The park goes all out for its annual Christmas Candylane experience from around mid-November to January 1 annually — expect costumed characters, twinkling lights, Santa photo ops, extra-large hot chocolates and so much more.
What to expect at a Hersheypark Christmas?
Even during the holidays you can have fun throughout Hersheypark. The all-ages theme park offers something for everyone: award-winning roller coasters for the daredevils, a zoo for animal lovers and plenty of chocolate for those who are only along for the sweets.
And yes, you heard that right– there’s an 11-acre zoo with around 200 animals and 75 species included in the price of admission to Hersheypark!
The park recently completed a $150 million expansion that resulted in a 23-acre development that includes Candymonium (the park’s largest roller coaster yet), Hyperdeck (an immersive, virtual reality experience), a tribute to founder Milton Hershey, and so much more.
Load up on holiday treats at Hershey’s Chocolatetown
Before you hope on Candymonium, the tallest, fastest, longest, and sweetest coaster in Hersheypark, you will want to grab your caffeinated beverage of choice at the first Starbucks in Hersheypark, to keep up with the kids. Make sure you stop by the Kisses Fountain to grab your Christmas card photo too!
The historic Carrousel has also been moved to Chocolatetown. Don’t worry parents, it still has that same old-world charm you grew up with as a child.
No trip to Hersheypark Christmas would be complete without a stop at the Hershey’s Chocolate World. There is a convenient passage through Chocolatetown that brings you right to Chocolate World, making it easy to shop for those last-minute stocking stuffers. During Christmas, you can pick up unique Hershey Kiss flavors that can’t be found in other U.S. stores.
That’s just one more perk of visiting so close to the holidays.
Christmas Hersheypark Planning Guide
Official Resorts of Hersheypark
- Hershey Lodge: Free shuttle service, family rooms, Free Wi-Fi and a Pool
- The Hotel Hershey: Spa onsite, heated pool and several free resort amenities
- Hersheypark Camping Resort: Free Wi-Fi and Pets allowed
Hotels near Hersheypark
- Tru By Hilton Hershey Chocolate Avenue: Children’s activities, pool and free Wi-Fi
- Hampton Inn & Suites Hershey: free parking, free breakfast and family suites
- Courtyard Hershey Chocolate Avenue: TripAdvisors travelers Choice Hotel
Hershey PA Airbnb + VRBO Vacation rentals
- The Sweet Escape Large Family House: sleeps 8 in 5 bedrooms + 2.5 baths
- Entire House In the ❤ of Hershey! : sleeps 9 in 3 bedrooms + 1.5 baths
- Luxury Vacation Villas at the Suites at Hershey: sleeps 8 in 2 bedrooms + 2 baths
Hershey PA Tours to Book
Car Rentals in Hershey, PA
Need a car while in Hershey, PA? Find the best price on car rentals HERE.