Looking for things to do in NJ this weekend? If your little ones loved Frozen 2, let it go at the Learning Experience Center in Parsippany for Cookies with Santa, Elsa and Anna. If they want to go for a dip with the big guy in red, stop by Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin for Santa’s Snack and Swim and indulge in French toast, waffles and more before hitting the water park. And if you’re looking for more Christmas activities like holiday attractions, photos with Santa or free Christmas lights, there’s plenty around NJ.
If you want to stay inside, take a look at our favorite indoor activities. Got a bunch of younger kids to entertain? We’ve got activities that cater just to them, plus free events for the whole fam. Check out our calendar for events near you, or browse things to do in NJ this weekend by county below.
NJSO Family: Peter and the Wolf
Hit NJPAC for this fairy tale told by a narrator with live music by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Watch the American Repertory Ballet bring young Clara’s dreams to life, featuring a brave Nutcracker, the Mouse King and Tchaikovsky’s live, enchanting score at the State Theatre.
Santa’s Snack and Swim
Santa’s trading in his big red coat for swim trunks at Sahara Sam’s. Pile your plates high with French toast sticks, waffles, scrambled eggs and more at the breakfast buffet, then snap photos with Kris Kringle.
Christmas Carol Karaoke
Listen and sing along to Christmas carols at the Garden State Discovery Museum.
Included with museum admission
Beauty and the Beast
Watch the Broadway classic Beauty and the Beast, a story about a young woman named Belle who falls in love with a young prince trapped under a curse which keeps him in beast form—and his palace staff as household objects.
Settle in at Studio Playhouse for a story about you and your kids’ favorite Parisian redhead. After a walk around Paris, Madeline’s peers and teacher suddenly come down with the flu, which means they may not be able to go home for Christmas! That is, until there’s a knock at the front door.
FRIDAY (DECEMBER 13) Things to Do in NJ this Weekend
Gingerbread Wonderland & Craft Show
View more than 150 edible exhibits crafted by families and schools at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum.
$2, free/ages 2 and under
A Very Electric Holiday
All ages are invited to the Kean Stage for this uplifting performance of family and friendship set to classic holiday hits at the Wilkins Theatre.
Friday Friends Story Time
Every Friday at the Warren County Library, your little ones can sit down for storytime, then work on crafts with Miss Lindsay. Registration required.
Cocoa With Santa
Visit the Gateway YMCA with your kids for some delicious cocoa and a sit down with the man in red.
The Velveteen Rabbit
Head to Investors Bank Theater for a story about a child’s toy that comes to life and the adventures he has with his little rabbit.
DIY Hot Cocoa Mix
Ages 8-17 are invited to the Warren County Library to make their own hot cocoa using a mix of different ingredients. They can even try putting cayenne pepper or Oreos in their hot chocolate.
SATURDAY (DECEMBER 14) Things to Do in NJ this Weekend
HCA Christmas Craft & Vendor Expo
Check out a variety of handcrafted items, clothing, accessories, toys and more at the Hawthorne Christian Academy while your little one tries activities like face painting.
The Christmas Light Show
View a multimedia Christmas light show featuring controlled lights, pyrotechnics and robotic effects, plus listen to live Christmas music at Spring Meadow Golf Course.
Holidays Around the World
Grades K-8 can learn about new places, cultures and holidays like the Lohri Festival, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas at the Shea Center for the Performing Arts at this show about two tour guides who are accidentally separated while traveling the world.
The Alien Who Stole Christmas
Ages 6-10 can get a closer look at stars visible during the winter, then take a journey through the Milky Way with Santa Claus at the RVCC Planetarium. What happens when Santa gets kidnapped by an alien? You can also see Winter Wonder Lights at the planetarium featuring holiday hits like “Jingle Bells” by the Clancy Brothers and “Little St. Nick” by the Beach Boys.
Cookies with Santa, Elsa and Anna
Head to the Learning Experience Center for cookies, crafts and games with popular characters from Disney’s Frozen, including Arendelle’s royal family.
Winter Waterfowl Walk
Ages 5 and up can visit Liberty State Park for a walk along the river to learn about migrating waterfowls. Bring binoculars for a closer look. Registration required.
Staten Island, NY
Celebrate the magic of science by learning how to build mini-robots that can draw complicated doodles at the Staten Island Children’s Museum.
Included with museum admission
HCCC Holiday Event
This holiday event boasts a magic show, craft stations, face painting, selfies with Santa and tons of vendors at the winter wonderland inside the Gerbert Library.
Story Time with Santa & Mrs. Claus
Bring your camera to capture that perfect moment between Mrs. Claus, Santa and your 10-and-unders at Kingsland Manor.
Hot Chocolate Hike Weekend
Stop by Cora Hartshorn Arboretum for a guided walk through the grounds. After, warm up with a cup of hot cocoa at the Historic Stone House.
A Christmas Carol: The Story of Ebenezer Scrooge
Watch the classic holiday tale about an old man whose love for Christmas is rekindled after a ghostly visit at the Castle Theater.
$5, free/ages under 3 and under
Candle Making Workshop
Your 8-and-uppers can celebrate the holidays by learning how to make and decorate candles from scratch at the Watershed Institute.
Free Holiday Crafts for Kids: Winter Themed
This winter-themed workshop will help your kiddos (ages 4-8) make a creative art piece with the help of an instructor at the DT234 Gallery & Art Studio. Registration required.
The Muddy Puddles Project
The Little Gym at Brentwood Plaza Shopping Center will host a fundraiser with all its proceeds going to research for childhood cancer. While you’re there, play Christmas-themed games and activities, plus take pictures with St. Nick himself.
Santa Visits Kale’s Garden Center
Stop by Kale’s Christmas shop for photos with Santa, then browse the winter wonderland for festive decorations.
Jazz and Gingerbread
Decorate gingerbread houses, listen to holiday music and eat cookies with hot cocoa at NJPAC.
Seasonal Scavenger Hunt
Jump in the car and head to Tenafly Nature Center with the fam to solve nature riddles as you hike along the center’s trails.
SUNDAY (DECEMBER 15)
Join the Grain House Restaurant for its annual cookie decorating brunch and decorating celebration. Don’t forget to bring canned goods and other items to donate to The Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center in Morristown.
$29.95/adults, $12/ages 4-10
Cookies with Mrs. Claus
Stop by Paws Discovery Farm for cookies, crafts and storytime with Mrs. Claus.
Included with admission
Martina McBride: The Joy of Christmas 2019
Grab tickets to see Grammy-nominated country singer Martina McBride perform her holiday album “It’s The Holiday Season” at UCPAC.
Visit Santa at The Hermitage and listen to holiday stories, sing songs, win prizes and tour the museum.
ONGOING Things to Do in NJ this Weekend
Hit Liberty Science Center
If you’re looking for things to do in NJ this weekend, look no further than Liberty Science Center. Take your little ones to see the Angry Birds Universe Exhibit, where they can shoot at life-size Angry Birds with massive slingshots ($30-35). After, ages 2-8 can climb aboard the Dinosaur Train and head back to the Mesozoic period, where your tot can check out steam engines, excavate fossils, learn about dino diets and chill in a dinosaur nest (included with museum admission). Exhibit ends January 20.
Bronx Zoo’s Holiday Lights
Visit the Bronx Zoo’s Holiday Lights, a dazzling walk-through experience with themed LED displays, custom Asian lanterns and light shows. There’ll also be ice carving demos, caroling, train rides and holiday music. Ends January 5.
$29.95/adults, $22.95/kids, free/ages 2 and under
Vernon Lights Festival
Head to Glenwood Lake Art Park on weekends through Jan. 5 for the Vernon Lights Festival, where they’ll marvel at lantern displays, splurge on food truck fare, listen to holiday music, watch performances and visit the creativity pavilion.
$19.99/adults, $14.99/ages 3-12, free/ages 3 and under
Visit the Festival of Trees
Starting December 6 until the 29, stop by the Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center for a winter spectacular featuring holiday trees decorated by local groups, clubs and businesses.
$5 suggested donation
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show Experience
From November 29-December 29, the South Street Seaport Museum will have an interactive puppet show, activities and an opportunity to take a picture with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
$25, $5/ages 1 and under
Festival of Trees
Hit the Morven Museum & Garden for this fest, where you can see Christmas displays from the 18th through 20th centuries. Ends January 5.
The Marketspace at Westfield
For the next two weekends in December, there’ll be a revolving selection of local handmade wares. On December 8 and 21, bring your kids for complimentary photos with Santa.
29th Annual Holiday Model Train Exhibit
Every Saturday and Sunday until December 30, you can visit this display featuring 11 different trains operating simultaneously on more than 300 feet of track at the Barron Arts Center. Reservation required.
Experience Historic Chester
Historic Downtown Chester is welcoming the holidays with outdoor music, strolling Dickens carolers, sculpted ice works and more. Hit a variety of shops for delicious treats, gifts and activities planned throughout the month until December 22.
DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
Ride through millions of Christmas lights, meet Santa and his elves at his workshop, walk through the holiday village and more every weekend at DiDonato’s Family Center until December 30.
Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show and Outdoor Village
Venture to Skylands Stadium to see a festive display of more than two million lights from the comfort of your car from now through December 30.
Holiday Light Show
Head to Historic Smithville for its annual Holiday Light Show Thursdays through Sundays in December. You’ll see more than 100 Christmas trees float on Lake Meone and light up to music. Don’t leave until you’ve checked out The Magical Talking Tree, Christmas train and storytime with Mrs. Claus on select dates.
Mommy and Me Toddler Art Classes
Let your little one explore his creativity while bonding with you at DT234 Gallery and Art Studio. Sessions every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday until December 21.
Holiday Glass in the Studio
Every Saturday until December 21, head down to the WheatonArts Glass Studio to watch glass artists create holiday themed glass objects both big and small. View other glass sculptures on display, like a record-breaking giant glass ornament.
December in Historic Smithville
Now until December 22, this Christmas-themed village boasts a magical talking tree, train ride and storytime with Mrs. Claus in her Christmas cottage.
Learn to Skate USA
The Flemington Ice Arena is offering open registration for its ice skating program, which welcomes all skill levels (ages 3 and up) to instructed classes and practice sessions on Wednesdays and Sundays through December 22.
62nd Annual Model Railroad Show
Every weekend until January 5, the Garden State Model Railway Club will showcase a 1,200-square-foot layout of steam and diesel locomotives, featuring Thomas the Train and friends, plus freight and passenger trains with working signals.
$6/adults, free/ages 12 and under
Every weekend until December 27, MPAC will host a live performance of this holiday classic about a girl and the magical adventures she has with her nutcracker.
FIND MORE THINGS TO DO IN NJ THIS WEEKEND
If you have any upcoming events you’d like to add to our calendar, click here! And if you know of other things to do in NJ this weekend, leave us a comment.