Looking for things to do in NJ this weekend? With Christmas right around the corner, get in the spirit with musicals like Elf Jr. at the Wharton Institute in Berkeley Heights or A Christmas Carol at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts in Toms River. Celebrate the holidays by going back in time with British Occupation Day at the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton, or take a Historic Holiday House Tour at the Kingsland Manor in Nutley. And your kids definitely won’t want to miss PJ Masks Live: Save the Day at the State Theatre!
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.
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
Community Nativity Exhibit
This nativity exhibit will have more than 300 festive displays and live local music.
This weekend, hit the Strand Center for the Arts to see Elsa, Anna and Arendelle come to life on stage with songs from both the movie and the Broadway show.
Head to the Wharton Institute to learn the true meaning of Christmas when Buddy journeys from the North Pole to NYC to find his birth father.
Seasoned, Festive Stories From Our Table To Yours
Celebrate the holidays with munchies at Art House Productions, then watch the Speranza Theatre Company present dramatized stories about how their favorite recipes came to life.
Breakfast with Santa
Your little one can dig into the most important meal of the day with Kris Kringle and listen to songs and stories at the Garden State Discovery Museum.
Head to Lord Stirling Stable for hayrides through the woods, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Then, take a look at Santa’s Workshop, which is home to games, crafts, pony rides and more.
Colonial Weekend at Paws Discovery Farm
Visit Paws Homestead for tours of its historical buildings, plus play old-fashioned games, make colonial crafts and sit around a campfire.
$10, $6/residents, free/ages 1 and under
Head to the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center to see this beloved classic about a young girl, her enchanted Nutcracker doll and their adventure in the Land of Sweets.
FRIDAY (DECEMBER 6)
Festival of Trees
Hit the Morven Museum & Garden for this fest, where you can see Christmas displays from the 18th through 20th centuries.
$10, free/members of Morven
Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments
Ages 3-8 can make their own ornaments using cinnamon salt dough and various cookie cutters from Santa to Star Wars at the Warren County Library. Registration required.
Snowmen & Stars Workshop
Craft flat snowmen and holiday stars using traditional flat basketry reeds for your holiday decor at the Hunterdon County Arboretum. Registration required.
Elf: The Musical
Follow Buddy the Elf on his journey to find his true identity at UCPAC, which results in him teaching New Yorkers about the true meaning of Christmas.
A Celtic Family Christmas
Watch award-winning fiddle musicians Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy play their Christmas album ‘A Celtic Christmas,’ at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts.
SATURDAY (DECEMBER 7)
Winter Bird Walk
Ages 12 and up are invited to join this hike to search for wintering birds at the Watershed Institute.
Check out Historic Cold Spring Village’s winter makeover and celebrate with crafts, live music, holiday treats and a chance to meet Saint Nick himself.
Seasonal Traditions Holiday Program
The East Jersey Old Town Village will host its annual holiday event featuring horse and wagon rides, children’s crafts, holiday carols and more.
Annual Cookies with Santa
The Princeton Shopping Center will host its Annual Cookies with Santa event, which includes cookie decorating, a holiday craft station, photos with the big guy and live performances at the McCarter Theatre Center. Registration required.
Morristown National Historical Park will put on a concert featuring musicians from the Baroque Orchestra of NJ playing seasonal favorites and traditional classics.
This annual craft fair at Hillside High School features vendors with homemade items and brands like Thirty-One Bags and Paparazzi Jewelry.
British Occupation Day
Travel back in time to 1776 and meet reenactors from the 17th regiment of Infantry. Watch drills and musket demonstrations, cook over the outdoor camp kitchen and more at the Old Barracks Museum.
$10/adults, free/military members and ages 5 and under
Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Stop by Reeves-Reed Arboretum for cookies and cocoa, plus take a picture with Santa himself.
Willow’s Holiday Bazaar 2019
The Willow School will host its annual holiday bazaar featuring local artisans and handmade products made from organic materials.
VNA Annual Cookie Sale
Prepare for the holidays by stocking up on homemade cookies, baked goods, holiday boutique items and handcrafted Christmas trees at the VNA of Somerset Hills.
Holiday Wreath Decorating Workshop with Pam Mount
Pam Mount, known for her beautiful holiday displays at Terhune Orchards, will be teaching her secrets in a decorating workshop where participants will make a colonial Williamsburg-style fresh wreath decorated with fruit, holly and pine cones at Terhune.
Winter Evergreen Trees
Ages 5 and older are invited to Liberty State Park to learn to identify different evergreens and the important role they play in nature.
Work on festive crafts, play games and visit Santa at Casino Pier. Bring a new or gently used coat and canned goods for entry, and don’t forget your ugly sweater.
Fun with Gingerbread
Hudson County Community College will show you how to make gingerbread trees, snowflakes, gingerbread people and the houses they live in.
A Christmas Carol
Stop by the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts for a musical adaptation of the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean, old man who gets a visit from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future
Family Evergreen Walk & Craft
Ages 5 and up can take a wintry walk and learn about pines, spruces and hemlocks, plus the differences between conifers and evergreens. Collect greenery during your walk to make crafts at the Hunterdon County Arboretum. Registration required.
Welcome the holiday season at the Morristown National Historical Park with a special concert featuring seasonal favorites and traditional classics.
Historic Holiday House Tours
Explore a Kingsland Manor, a 1700s brownstone Dutch colonial full of history and beautiful scenery decorated for the holiday season.
Perfect Little Planet
Ages 6-12 can journey to the surface of Pluto, sail around Saturn, see Jupiter’s storms and the red-packed surface of Mars at the RVCC planetarium. If your little one’s not into science, take them to Kids Jam Laser Concert where they can listen to a mix of songs like “YMCA” by The Village People and “Waka Waka” by Shakira.
The Christmas Light Show
View a multimedia Christmas light show featuring controlled lights, pyrotechnics and robotic effects along with live Christmas music at the Spring Meadow Golf Course.
SUNDAY (DECEMBER 8)
Roxey Ballet’s Annual Holiday Nutcracker
Take a seat at The College of New Jersey for Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, filled with classic characters like marching soldiers, magical mice, snowflakes, waltzing flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Go at 1 pm for a sensory-friendly performance.
Visit the Demarest House for a visit with the man in red: Sinterklaas. You’ll also celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, watch a menorah lighting and learn more about the Jewish holiday. Check out an authentic Jersey Dutch out-kitchen and watch cooking on an open hearth. Kids can also make pinecone bird feeders and ornaments at Historic New Bridge Landing.
Breakfast with Santa
Stop by iPlay America for a breakfast buffet including eggs, yogurt, granola and pancakes along with live music and photos with Santa.
Photos with Santa for Children with Disabilities
This sensory-friendly visit with Santa is for children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Play games, crafts and take photos with Saint Nick.
PJ Masks Live: Save the Day
Head to the NJ State Theatre to watch a live musical featuring Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko along with their new friend, PJ Robot. Will they save the day from their foes?
Cookie Decorating, Decorating Holiday Ornaments and Toy Drive
Celebrate the holidays at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where there’ll be festive activities like cookie and ornament decorating, plus raffles and prizes.
Take your little ones to the Miller-Cory House Museum where they can make a decorative, inedible gingerbread house and an additional craft to take home.
Angelina Ballerina The Very Merry Holiday Musical
Angelina Ballerina and her friends will perform in a holiday pageant at SOPAC. When their plans go awry, they have to use their creativity and problem-solving skills—the show must go on!
ONGOING things to do in NJ this weekend
Hit Liberty Science Center
If you’re looking for things to do in NJ this weekend and throughout the month of November, look no further than the 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).
62nd Annual Model Railroad Show
Every weekend, the Garden State Model Railway Club will showcase a 1,200-square-foot layout of steam and diesel locomotives, Thomas the Train and friends, plus freight and passenger trains with working signals.
$6/adults, free/ages 12 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 at food trucks, listen to holiday music, watch performances and visit the creativity pavilion.
$19.99/adults, $14.99/ages 3-12, free/ages 3 and under
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.
Holiday Light Show
Head to Historic Smithville for its annual Holiday Light Show Thursdays through Sundays in Dec. 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.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show Experience
From November 29-December 29, the South Street Seaport Museum will have an interactive puppet show, activities and the opportunity to take a picture with The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
$25, $5/ages 1 and under
29th Annual Holiday Model Train Exhibit
Every Saturday and Sunday you can visit this display featuring more than 300 feet of track with 11 different trains operating simultaneously at the Barron Arts Center. On December 6, visit the annual Woodbridge Twp. tree lighting ceremony, too. Reservation required.
Festival of Trees
Head to the the Red Mill Museum Village in Chester for a peek at holiday trees, wreaths and centerpieces, plus a silent auction that benefits the museum.
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.
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.
$29.95/adults, $22.95/kids, free/ages 2 and under
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 throughout December.
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.
Beauty and the Beast
From this week into next weekend come watch the Broadway classic about a young woman named Belle who falls in love with a young prince trapped under a curse that turns him into a beast.
Visit the Festival of Trees at the EEC
Starting this weekend through December 29, stop by the Somerset County Park Commission Environmental Education Center for a winter spectacular featuring displays of holiday trees created by local groups, clubs and businesses.
Friday Friends Story Time
Every Friday at the Warren County Library bring your little ones for storytime and crafts with Miss Lindsay. Registration 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.
Santa Visits Kale’s Garden Center
Through next week, stop by Kale’s Christmas shop for photos with Santa and browse the winter wonderland for decorations.
Holiday Glass in the Studio
Every Saturday until December 21, you can head to WheatonArts Glass Studio to watch glass artists create holiday-themed glass objects both big and small, and view other glass sculptures on display, like a record-breaking giant glass ornament.
At Studio Playhouse, Madeline’s peers and teacher suddenly come down with the flu after a walk around Paris, which means they may not be able to go home for Christmas! That is, until there’s a knock at the front door.
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, let us know in the comments below.