Looking for free things to do in January? Now that the holidays are over and the cold is setting in, January is all about budget-friendly winter fun.

Want more fun stuff? Check out can’t miss events for your preschoolers, venture outdoors to these local hiking trails or stay inside at these indoor spots.

free things to do in January
©istockphoto.com / Imgorthand

Wednesday, January 1

First Day Hike
Jersey City
Start 2020 with a casual three-mile hike to Caven Point in Liberty State Park. Spot the NYC skyline, the Statue of Liberty and the manmade and natural shoreline of the upper bay. Registration required.

Expressions of Nature Art Walk Artists
Morris Twp.
Stop by the Frelinghuysen Arboretum and take a stroll through the gallery’s Expressions of Nature Art Walk exhibition, containing mixed media from various artists and crafters.

Friday, January 3

Story Time & Craft
Rochelle Park
Your lil’ readers can listen to a story, work on a craft, sing songs and play with scarves and maracas.

Friday, January 3, 17 and 31

Game ON!
Trying to get your kids off the couch and out of the house? Bring your gamers to the Ridgewood Public Library for board and video games. Who knows—maybe the kids will find a new obsession in the form of Dungeons & Dragons.

Saturday, January 4

Pokémon Club: Pokken Tournament
All ages are invited to Warren County Library to play in a Pokken Tournament on a projector screen. Kids can bring their cards and handheld gaming devices. Registration required.

Kids Club
Head to the Freehold Raceway Mall for Kids Club, where your little ones can try activities, enter prize drawings, hop on the carousel and work on crafts (crafts and prizes available while supplies last).

Fine Feathered Friends: Birds as Mainstay and Muse
Mark your calendar for the opening of this exhibit in conjunction with National Bird Day at the State Museum. There’ll be exhibit tours and plenty of artifacts to learn about. Museum admission is free, but the planetarium shows are an additional cost.

Snowman Spoon Craft
Ages 5-10 can take a wooden spoon and transform it into a decked-out snowman at the Dennis Branch Library. Registration required.

free thing to do in January
©istockphoto.com / UrsaHoogle

Sunday, January 5

Storytime at the Fire Department Museum
Ages 2-5 can spend half an hour listening to stories about city life read by museum staff and librarians from the Hoboken Public Library.

Monday, January 6

Music for Families
Jersey City
Hit the Harborside Atrium to listen to some tunes with your little ones.

Tuesday, January 7

Read to a Dog
New Providence
Grades K-5 can choose a book from the library and practice their reading skills with seeing eye dogs in training. Registration required.

Friday, January 10

Fairy Village
Take your kids on a scavenger hunt around the library to find fairy families that were blown from their new fairy village. Come back on Wednesday, January 22 to put the village together.

Saturday, January 11

Winter Festival, Fireworks and Bonfire
Park it at the Municipal Complex Baseball Field for live music, a petting zoo, horse-drawn carriage rides, carnival rides, ice carvings, marshmallow roastings and free hot chocolate. There will also be food trucks like Angry Archies and the Empanada Guy in case the kids get hungry.

Pollinator Garden: Seed Starting Workshop
Kids can learn about pollinators and the gardens they frequent at the Madison Public Library. Find out why it’s important to plant in January, what native seeds to plant and how to mimic winter in a protected environment. Your kids will leave with four plants they made themselves!

Thursday, January 16

Jazz Jam Sessions
Sit back and relax at this event made possible by NJPAC and the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark. See great musicians from around New Jersey perform alongside veteran players.

Saturday, January 18

Makey Makeys, Scratch Coding and Play-Doh
Girls in grades 6-8 can learn to code their own games, create controllers using everyday items and food and more. They can even use a Makey Makey Inventor’s kit to build a custom keyboard that they can pair with a game of their own creation made on Scratch. Registration required.

Sunday, January 19

Jigsaw Puzzle Tournament
Bring your competitive edge to the Princeton Public Library—and up to three of your family and friends—to complete a 1,000-piece puzzle before any other teams. Registration required.

Tuesday, January 21-Saturday, January 25

Chinese New Year Dragons Craft
Take your 3-and-uppers to the Evesham Library for a sensory-friendly Chinese New Year Dragon craft.

Friday, January 24

Lunar New Year
Stop by the Clifton Public Library with your 5-and-uppers to celebrate the Lunar New Year with crafts, games and stories. Registration required.

Sunday, January 26

Free Family Fun Concert
South Orange
Join the South Orange Symphony for a family-friendly concert featuring music by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, plus a musical instrument petting zoo where the kids can get up close and personal with instruments.

Schuyler-Hamilton House
If you’ve got Hamilton fans at home, they won’t want to miss visiting the room—the house—where it happened. The house is located near General Washington’s Headquarters and is where Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton first started courting. Call ahead to schedule a tour.

Monday, January 27-Friday, January 31

Super Bowl Crown Make-n-Take Craft
Browns Mills
Stop by the Pemberton Library any time this week with your kiddos to make a Super Bowl crown to wear during the big game in February.

Thursday, January 30

Story Time
East Amwell
Tots can gather for picture book stories, finger rhymes, a felt board and crafting at the South County Branch Library.

Looking for more free things to do in January? Check out our calendar.

See What Our Readers Are Saying