It’s your last chance to squeeze in some local holiday fun for the season, and if you’re looking for things to do in NJ this weekend, try a unique twist on traditional holiday shows and grab tickets to The Hip Hop Nutcracker at NJPAC in Newark, a modern take on Tchaikovsky’s classic. Or, check out The Nutcracker ROCKS, a rock ‘n’ roll version of the show at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park. If you’re trying to keep your last weekend before Christmas and Hanukkah low-key, settle by a campfire with a cup of cocoa and listen to stories at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit. 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.
Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace
Stop by NJPAC’s most popular marketplace to celebrate culture and community with arts and crafts, music, live performances and dance activities.
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 Santa. Stick around to see his swimsuit later in the day.
$9.99 plus admission
Fiddler on the Roof
Spend a night at the State Theatre and be transported to Russia with Tevye and his five daughters. They wish to marry for love while their father does what he can to keep his family true to the customs of their faith amidst the Tsar’s declaration that the Jews be evicted from their village.
The Nutcracker ROCKS
When Clara’s uncle shows up with amazing toys—and his electric guitar—her family’s holiday party takes a turn. See the classic show with a modern rock musical twist at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center.
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.
Watch Roald Dahl’s iconic, sweet story hit the stage. Willy Wonka, known for his candy empire, is on a journey to find an heir in this chocolate-covered musical.
Bring your little one to the Avenel Performing Arts Center to see a story about an orphaned girl who no longer believes in Christmas—until a trip to the North Pole changes her mind.
The Hip Hop Nutcracker
Watch this unique reimagining of Tchaikovsky’s classical ballet performance with urban choreography featuring rap artist Kurtis Blow at NJPAC.
A Christmas Carol
Celebrate the holiday season with Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through Christmas past, present and future in this timeless holiday tale about compassion and generosity.
Holidays in Collingswood
Take a trip to downtown Collingswood for a live show featuring the all-women trio Hotsy Totsy and a variety of quartets.
Kids 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 The Alien Who Stole Christmas event. 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. Or, solve a Mystery at the North Pole and find out who sabotaged Christmas.
FRIDAY (DECEMBER 20)
Winter Solstice Celebration
Kick off the shortest day of the year with stories, crafts and cocoa around the campfire at Reeves-Reed Arboretum.
New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet Presents the Nutcracker
Watch professional dancers from around the world perform Tchaikovsky’s classic tale about a girl, her nutcracker doll and the adventures they have together.
A Candlelight Tour & Reading of “A Christmas Carol”
Head to Kingsland Manor for a visit to the 19th century for a reading of this iconic holiday tale, as well as a candle-lit tour of the manor.
SATURDAY (DECEMBER 21)
©istockphoto.com / LaperladiLabuanMetuchen Cookie Walk
This holiday fundraiser for the Fucile Foundation supports those impacted by tragedy. Visit the First Presbyterian Church and browse thousands of homemade cookies for sale.
SUNDAY (DECEMBER 22)
Angelina Ballerina The Very Merry Holiday Musical
Angelina Ballerina and her friends are performing in a holiday pageant and must use their creativity when plans go awry at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts. $17/adults, $12/kids
Latkes and Applesauce
Celebrate Hanukkah at Paws Discovery Farm with homemade latkes and applesauce at the Latke Bar.
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 classes and practice sessions on Wednesdays and Sundays through 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.
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.
Holiday Light Show
Head to Historic Smithville for its annual Holiday Light Show Thursdays through Sundays this month. 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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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
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.
# things to do in NJ this weekend # things to do in NJ this weekend