Please make sure to call ahead before heading out to any of these venues, many spots require advanced tickets and registrations and have COVID-19 safety restrictions in place.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4
Where: Newton Town Hall, 39 Trinity St., Newton, 5 pm
Swing by town hall for a live tree lighting, then listen to a DJ while munching on milk and cookies and take socially distanced photos with Santa Claus. Kids can also write letters to Kris Kringle if they don’t get a chance to meet him.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5
Where: Historic Smithville, 615 E. Moss Mill Rd., Galloway, 6-8 pm
Shop for presents in the village, listen to music and do some food tastings. The kids can hop on carousel and train rides, paddle boats and other activities. Stick around for the annual Holiday Light Show around Lake Meone.
Holiday Lights Parade
Where: 170 E Main St., Somerville, 6 pm
Starting at dusk, fire and emergency vehicles, plus personal floats will all be dressed to the nines and headed down Main St. Prizes will be awarded to local houses and businesses, so take a stroll around the block to see the festive competition.
Where: Jacobus Vanderveer House, 3055 River Rd., Bedminster, noon-5:30 pm
Think outdoor activities like a colonial market, live historic demos, a socially distanced meet and greet with Santa and the lighting of the Liberty Tree.
Holiday Market for Kids
Where: Westfield Garden State Plaza, 1 Garden State Plaza, Paramus, times vary
Kids can learn how to manage a budget and shop for their family and friends. While you’re there, stop by The Grinch’s Grotto for an interactive photo meet and greet.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6
Where: Imagine That!!! Museum, 4 Vreeland Rd., Florham Park, 11 am-12:30 pm
The whole family can take a photo with Santa Claus (masks must be worn), then the kids can hit the open play area which features a new pet vet center, LEGO racing, train exhibit and more.
Christmas at Allaire
Where: The Historic Village at Allaire, 4263 Atlantic Ave., Wall Twp.
Step into an Old World Christmas, where you can listen to musicians and storytellers by the open hearth, visit the Allaire Mansion for French Christmas, stop by the Gingerbread House contest and more. Keep your eyes peeled for the big man in red for a photo opportunity. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
The Sicilian Tenors: Christmas Amore!
Where: MPAC, Morristown or virtual, 3 and 7 pm
For this performance, you can choose to watch live at this limited capacity concert at MPAC or stream from the comfort of your couch. Three tenor voices, backed by a pianist, will perform fan favorite holiday music to lift spirits this season.
Atlantic City Holiday Bazaar
Where: Bourre Atlantic City, 201 S New York Ave., Atlantic City, noon-5 pm
The first annual Atlantic City Holiday Bazaar is a great opportunity to shop for holiday presents while supporting local craftsmen and businesses. Think handcrafted and vintage finds, plus live music, food and drinks, holiday decor and lights.
VIRTUAL FUN FOR THE WEEKEND
Ask a Geologist: Digging into Archaeology
When: 12/4, 1-2 pm
Sophia Hudzik, project assistant at Montclair State University, will discuss the basics of archaeology, plus talk about her field experience excavating sites near Rome. There’ll also be a live Q&A session so your lil’ diggers can ask questions.
When: 12/4, 4-4:45 pm
Kiddos in grades 2-5 can hop on the Somerset County Library System’s online program, meant to explore the world of optical illusions. With paper, scissors, markers, a pencil and tape, your kids can see if they can trick their brain. Reserve a spot online.
Virtual Stars In My Backyard
When: 12/5 at 3 pm
Ages 6-11 can join Captain Cara for a tour of the stars visible from your backyard. Your lil’ astronomers will learn about moon phases, stars, planets and more. They’ll also watch a cartoon story of the Legend of Orion. Space is limited.
Darlene Love Streaming Concert: Love for the Holidays
When: 12/5, 8 pm
Listen to Grammy Award winner and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love sing holiday hits including her signature holiday song, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” through the NJPAC in Your Living Room series.
Holidays Around the World
When: 12/5, 10-10:45 am
The Somerset County Library System will host a virtual performance that celebrates holidays from across the world, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia Day and the Lohri festival.
Hanukkah in Space
When: 12/6, 3 pm
This free virtual family program, hosted by the Jewish Museum of Maryland, for ages 5-7, will discuss Hanukkah traditions, plus how astronauts celebrate in space. Can you light a menorah on the International Space Station? Make sure to have 10-15 playing pieces like buttons or pennies on hand. Registration required.
BAMkids Film Festival 2020
In this virtual program of gentle, colorful animated films curious animals and adventurous kids alike sing, grow up, fly high and celebrate the magic of life in all its lovely rainbow colors.
Milk & Cookies
When: All weekend
The State Theatre is offering two Milk & Cookie (ages 3-10) virtual events, which can be accessed at any point (even beyond the weekend) with a donation of at least $10. Storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston will tell tales from African, German and African American traditions, plus you’ll learn some fun snack ideas to pair with her stories. Joanie Leeds, a kindie rock singer, will perform her “Mother Earth” sing along, and kids will also learn how to make a fun cupcake snack.
She Persisted, The Musical
In this virtual production of the Atlantic Theatre Company’s show for young audiences, based on Chelsea Clinton’s best-selling book, fourth-grader Naomi’s field trip to a Women’s History Museum turns into a time travel adventure where she encounters inspirational women overcoming barriers and making waves.
Virtual Visits with Santa
Paramus Park is ready for you to reserve your time to visit with Santa from the comfort of your home and you can even add on Storytime with the Clauses to your session.
ONGOING IN-PERSON ACTIVITIES
Kringle Railway Adventure
When: Saturday-Sunday, 12/5-12/20, times vary
Where: 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
All aboard! If your kids have been itching for a Christmastime train ride this year, you still can. Running at 25 percent capacity, tickets are sold in pods of four or six and passengers can choose their seating pod in a themed car of their choice. Take a photo with Santa in front of his personal locomotive (socially distanced).
When: Friday-Sunday, Now-12/23, 2, 3 and 4 pm
Where: Johnson’s Corner Farm, 133 Church Rd., Medford
Bring your camera to snap a photo of Santa on his red tractor, which pulls all his gifts! Since sitting on Santa’s lap isn’t a real possibility this year, grab a quick picture of your kids as Saint Nick rolls on by. Your family can also check out the Light Show on the Lake, then roast marshmallows at the fire pit, or hop on the Christmas Light Show Hayride. Reservations required.
Carriages & Carolers
When: 12/5, 12/12, 12/19, 1-4 pm
Where: Lyric Park, 17 Beechwood Rd., Summit
On select Saturdays through December, step away from the shops and hop on a free horse and carriage ride and listen to festive music. You might also score a free hot chocolate! Until 12/19, kids can also participate in the Hill Top Elf Scavenger Hunt, hidden within 80 different downtown businesses. The more elves you find, the better your chance of winning VISA gift cards.
Where: Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City
LSC is hosting a bunch of holiday experiences, like the outdoor Snowflake Maze, where kids can learn scientific facts about flakes; the Sock Skating Rink, an ice rink made of synthetic ice, plus they can experiment with phosphorescence by leaving a show on the glow-in-the-dark Shadow Wall and more.
Winter Walking Tours
When: Saturday-Sunday, 12/5-12/20, 11 am
Where: Historic Cold Spring Village, 720 US 9, Cape May
Talk a wintry walk through the Village buildings and learn the history of the people who worked and lived in them. Tour also includes a complimentary mini flight taste at Cold Spring Brewery.
When: Sundays, 12/6-3/28, 10 am-1 pm
Where: Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown
Hit the market for fresh foods like cheese, pie, quiche, seafood, pickles, cobbler, soup and more. A number of full-time vendors will be there every week with other part-time vendors rotating their goods into the market, too.
Christmas Light Show & Outdoor Village
Where: Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Pl., Augusta
This annual drive-thru light show and outdoor village features two million lights and themed displays. After your family makes their way through the lights, hop out of the car for socially distanced activities like carnival rides, photos with Santa and seasonal food and drinks.
The Grinch’s Grotto
Where: Westfield Garden State Plaza, 1 Garden State Plaza, Paramus
This free-standing location at the Grinch’s cave is perfect for both social distancing and the Grinch, who’s known for preferring his own company. This interactive photo meet and greet requires you to reserve a spot—plus, your kids won’t leave empty handed.
Horse & Carriage Rides
When: 12/5-6, 12/12-13, 12/19-20, noon-3 pm
Where: 6th St. & Asbury Ave., Ocean City
Bundle up and treat your kids (or sweep your SO off their feet) with free horse and carriage rides this weekend.
South Jersey Holiday Light Show
When: Thursday-Sunday, 12/3-12/30, times vary
Where: Bridgeport Speedway, 83 Flood Gate Rd., Swedesboro
This holiday light show, the only drive-through spectacular in Southern NJ, features large themed displays on its mile-long route. Turn on the radio and listen to music synched up to the light performance. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
Beyond Rubik’s Cube
Where: Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City
Discover the art, history and skill behind the iconic cubed puzzle. This show has been on a worldwide tour and now returns home to LSC.
Lights. Camera. Santa!
Where: Menlo Park Mall, 700 Paramus Park, Paramus
Get your photo with Ol’ Saint Nick in a safe, socially distanced environment. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
Skating on the Square
Where: Palmer Square, Hulfish St., Princeton
Palmer Square’s outdoor, eco-friendly synthetic skating rink is back for another holiday season. Bring your own skates or rent a pair.
Photos with Santa at South Court
When: Now-12/25, 11 am-7 pm, 9 am-5 pm on 12/24
Where: Paramus Park, 700 Paramus Park, Paramus
Celebrate the season with festive professional photos during a socially distanced visit with Kris Kringle.
Visit with Santa at Bridgewater Commons
Where: Bridgewater Commons, 400 Commons Way, Bridgewater
Take photos with Santa and enjoy a festive walk-thru experience. Reservations are required and masks must be worn throughout the entire visit, including the photo, so make sure your mask is festive,
Holiday in the Park
Where: Six Flags Great Adventure, 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson Twp.
Visit Jolly Jamboree and Wild Lights National Park, two new holiday-themed areas at Six Flags this holiday season.
Magic of Lights
When: Now-1/2, times vary
Where: PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel
Check out this massive drive-through event at PNC. It’s a holiday light show that’s perfect for families and for social distancing.
Springfield Avenue Open-Air Market
When: Saturdays, 12/5-12/19, 10 am-2 pm
Where: Springfield Ave., Maplewood
For the next few Saturdays in December, you can visit local makers, support community businesses, do your shopping and listen to live music.
DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
When: 12/1-12/6, 4-9 pm
Where: DiDonato Family Fun Center, Hammonton
Ride on a train through the light display and walk through the holiday village. Timed tickets required.
North Pole Express Train
When: Weekends until Christmas, times vary
Where: New Hope Railroad, New Hope, PA
Each weekend from now until Christmas, you can take a ride on the North Pole Express. Starting post-Thanksgiving, you’ll be able to ride on Santa’s Steam Train. All require advance tickets.
Long Branch Holiday Bazaar
When: Thursdays-Sundays, 12/3-12/20, noon-5 pm
Where: Pier Village, 1 Chelsea Ave., Long Branch
This open-air market features shopping, holiday workshops, festive decor, music and entertainment, holiday-inspired food and hot drinks, photos and more. Plus, admission is free.
A Christmas Carol
When: Now-12/13, 2-4 pm
Where: Sitnik Theatre, 715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown
Come see the classic Charles Dickens tale on stage during a socially distanced performance. The theatre will have limited capacity seating.
Holiday Light Spectacular
When: Now-1/3, 5-10 pm
Where: Orange County Fairgrounds, 239 Wisner Ave., Middletown, NY
Wind your way through the spectacularly lit fairgrounds, enjoy the multi-media light show in the covered arena or order delicious treats from vendors, all from the comfort of your car.
Shop the Block
When: Saturdays, Now-12/19, 1-7 pm
Where: The Eclectic Chic Boutique, 547 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair
Local shops on Bloomfield Ave., starting at the corner of Bloomfield and Maple Pl., will have tables, racks, vendors and wares outside for safe and social distanced shopping.
Festival of Trees
When: Wed-Sun, Now-1/10, 10 am-4 pm (closed 1-1:30 pm for cleaning)
Where: Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton St., Princeton
An annual highlight of the holiday season showcasing a juried collection of trees and mantles displayed throughout the museum’s galleries, upstairs and down. This year’s festival opens earlier and stays open even longer into 2021!
Where: Congress Hall, 200 Congress Pl., Cape May
With exciting events including Breakfast with Santa and the Congress Hall Express train ride, this town has seasonal fun for families that will make the holidays memorable.
Holidig Light Show
When: Now-1/3, most nights 5:30-9:30 pm
Where: Diggerland, 100 Pinedge Dr., West Berlin
Woven across the park’s 21 acres, this drive-thru holiday light show features Diggerland’s construction vehicles all dressed up with lights and garlands galore.
Where: Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Dr., Camden
See the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas tree and Scuba Santa diving in Ocean Realm along with sea turtles, stingrays and other fishy friends.
Winter Wonderlights Spectacular
Where: 655 Cranbury Rd., East Brunswick
See more than 1.5 million lights animated to some of your favorite holiday tunes at this drive-thru event.
Santa Visits at Kale’s Garden Center
Where: 133 Carter Rd., Princeton
Santa will visit Kale’s Garden Center in the Greenhouse with a face covering. Seating for your loved ones will be positioned in front of Santa. Saint Nick may also be available in the tree yard for more distancing photos.
Orchard of Lights
Where: Demarest Farms, 244 Wierimus Rd., Hillsdale
Take your vehicle on a guided tour through 32 acres of brilliant holiday light displays, warm up by the fire pit and enjoy hot cocoa and treats in the retail farm market.
Blue Cross RiverRink at Winterfest
Where: 101 South Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA
General admission Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is free; ice skating, games and rides are pay-as-you-go.
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