It’s beginning to look like the holiday season, and there are lots of family-friendly ways to get a head start on the festivities this weekend. Bundle up and glide on an outdoor rink while taking in views of New York City at Newport Skates in Jersey City, listen to live music at the 50-foot Big Santa Lighting at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, or get illuminated at the Christmas Light Show & Village at Skylands Stadium in Augusta. And for more family fun, check out our free things to do in November.
Featured Photo Credit: Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show and Christmas Village
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(Note: Since COVID-19 rules and regulations are continually changing, it’s best to check ahead for in-person events)
American Dream Celebrates Blues Clues 25th Anniversary with November “Kids at AD”
November 16 from 3:30 PM-4:30 PM
It’s Blue’s Clues 25th anniversary, and American Dream is hosting a big clued-in party. Littles ages 4 and up will love watching a special Blue’s holiday episode, making arts and crafts, and meeting Blue, along with fun giveaways. “Kids at AD” is a monthly event series that welcomes guests to American Dream to enjoy physically-distant, family-friendly activities.
Cost: Free, but pre-registration is required
American Dream, Court A, Level 1, 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073
Holidig Drive-Thru Light Show at Diggerland
Starting November 17
Take a drive through America’s only construction theme park and enjoy the lights, tunnels, holiday displays, and more. Don’t forget to tune into Diggerland USA’s radio station and get the whole family to sing along to holiday favorites.
Cost: $29.95; priority will be given to online purchases
Diggerland USA, 100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091
Christmas Light Spectacular at Allaire Community Farm
November 18-December 30
Take a holiday hay wagon ride around the farm while taking in the twinkling holiday lights. Hayrides leave promptly according to ticket time, and you must purchase tickets in advance. Poinsettias and hanging trees will be available for purchase, as well as snacks.
Cost: Prices start at $15
1923 Baileys Corner Road, Wall Township, NJ 07719
What could be better than gliding along a beautiful skyline? Jersey City’s only outdoor skating rink is open for skaters of any level to enjoy stunning views of the New York City skyline. Online ticketing is available, and Newport Skates offers private lessons and party packages as well.
Cost: $8 (Newport residents get half-price admission) skate rental $7.95
River Drive S, Jersey City, NJ 07310
Big Santa Lighting Westfield Garden State Plaza
November 19 from 5:30 PM-7:30 PM
Get ready—Big Santa’s arrival atop the Westfield Garden State Plaza signals the official start of the holiday season. There will be performances from Broadway stars, emerging artists from the Performing Arts School at bergenPAC, and The Grinch. And Paramus High School’s Marching Band will lead the way to welcome Santa Claus in a fire truck. There will also be special appearances, trivia challenges, giveaways and prizes, food trucks, and a DJ.
Parking Lot adjacent to Nordstrom and Design Within Reach, Westfield Garden State Plaza, One Garden State Plaza, Paramus, NJ 07652
Nature on the Move – Autumn Nights
Follow a Park Naturalist for a 45-60 minute hands-on interactive program. Look for the colorful Nature on the Move van in Perrineville Lake Park, Millstone, the Agress Road parking area, or Historic Walnford in Upper Freehold.
Historic Walnford, 62 Walnford Road, Allentown, NJ 08501
South Jersey Holiday Light Show
November 19-December 30
Get in the festive spirit at this drive-through holiday light show that features dozens of dazzling displays and scenes that celebrate everything your family loves about this season. Pack a snack and turn on the car radio to a station that syncs the light show with holiday tunes as you drive among the twinkling lights on the mile-long route.
Cost: $25 per car; tickets must be purchased in advance
Bridgeport Speedway, 83 Flood Gate Road, Swedesboro, NJ 08085
Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular
November 19-December 31, select dates
Grab your winter coat and get ready to stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo to see over 50 winter and animal characters. The event will feature weekend Santa visits, a train, carousel, reptile house, aquarium, and Essex Farm and Pony rides.
Cost: Donation recommended
560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ 07052
Old Fashioned Christmas Cape May
November 19-January 2
Get into the spirit of Christmas in Victorian Cape May? The seaside town becomes a Dickens village with fresh garland, twinkling gaslights, and more for the holidays. Get into the holiday spirit and sample a variety of fun tours and events.
Cost: Prices vary per event
1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ 08204
Magic of Lights New Jersey
November 19-January 2
Strike up a holiday mood by seeing a dazzling holiday light display entirely from the comfort of your car. Set your radio to their light show station, and then enjoy festive music as you drive through a merry arrangement of Christmas lights, trees, and decorations that will surely put your whole crew in the holiday spirit.
Cost: $25 per car if bought in advance, $30 per car at the gate
PNC Bank Arts Center, 116 Garden State Pkwy, Holmdel, NJ 07733
2nd Annual Winter Wonderwalk
November 19–into winter 2022
Wrap yourself in the warmth of the holiday season as the grounds of Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum. The Emlen Physick Estate will be lit up and glowing. Join the Winter Wonderwalk to walk the grounds and view these fun and whimsical display of winter’s past. And continue the festivities by walking along the streets of Cape May’s decorated homes.
Cost: Free admission to the grounds
1048 Washington Street, Cape May, NJ 08204
Annual Hoboken Turkey Trot
It’s the 8th annual Hoboken Turkey Trot 5K and 1-mile, and runners, joggers, walkers, and strollers are welcome. Challenge yourself to see how fast you can finish or have fun with friends while you run alongside the New York City skyline–all money collected will go towards supporting local charities.
Cost: Prices vary
Pier A Park, 100 Sinatra Drive, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Logging and Firewood Cutting
November 20 from 10 AM-4 PM
Come out to help the farm prepare for the winter season by cutting and chopping firewood, splitting locust logs into fence rails, and making real barn pegs for use in barn frames around the farm. Watch the farmers use horses to skid saw logs out of the woods and haul firewood to the sap house in preparation for maple sugaring season. Farmers will be cutting boards for horse stalls, fences, and a new hog shed at the sawmill.
Howell Living History Farm, 70 Woodens Lane, Hopewell Twp., NJ 08530
November 20 from 11 AM-4 PM
Get a jump on holiday shopping and take in the sea air at this outdoor festival featuring artists, creatives, and vendors of all kinds.
6101 New Jersey Avenue, Wildwood, NJ 08260
For more information, visit chrissymariedesigns.com or (609) 780-2761
Surati’s Lights of Diwali-Festival and Holiday Bazaar
November 20 at 12 PM
This lively festival will feature live performances, Rangoli, an outdoor heated tent, Diva decorating, and more. Don’t miss the Fashion Show, Story of Diwali, vendors, food, drink, kids corner, henna, and Diwali specials for the whole family.
Cost: Free, but you must register
Exchange Place, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Bergen County Children’s Business Fair
November 20 from 1 PM-4 PM
Come and support young entrepreneurs and experience young minds marketing, selling, counting money, and feeling accomplished. Children develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, and open for business in this one-day marketplace.
Cost $20 to participate
335 Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423
Cape May Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 20, 5 PM-8 PM
Start the holiday season right in the charming coastal village of Cape May. Santa and his elves will be in attendance to light the impressive tree, followed by a reading of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and delicious hot chocolate. Cape May Community Food Closet will collect donations of non-perishable food items at the event.
Washington Street, Cape May, NJ 08204
Horse and Carriage Rides
November 20-21, 26-27
The Asbury shopping district in Ocean City will transform into a “Miracle on Asbury Avenue,” celebrating the holiday with decorated shops and special holiday offers. There will also be free horse and carriage rides throughout the downtown and much more.
6th and Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, NJ 08226
Christmas Light Show & Village
November 20-January 3, dates and times vary (check ticket schedule for full details)
Drive through a beautiful exhibit that twinkles with over two million dazzling lights: Your littles will be amazed by all the sparkle and shine on this mile-long course. The displays include two light tunnels, a wreath arch, skating bears, and more. Afterward, head to the village to spot Santa, go ice skating, dine on hot cocoa and s’mores, and play lots of festive-filled games.
Cost: $29 per car; tickets must be purchased online and in advance.
Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Pl., Augusta, NJ 07822
Skating on the Square Princeton
November 20-February 27, select days
Lace up and skate on a synthetic skating rink under twinkling lights outdoors in the Princeton downtown. Bring your own skates or borrow skates (included in the ticket price). Tickets are only sold at the door; there are no reservations. All skaters must sign the electronic waiver to be eligible to participate.
Cost:$10 cash per person/ $12 +fees with credit card
40 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542
Allaire Village History Kids Club
November 21 from 1:30 PM-3:30 PM
Kids can learn about holiday traditions while making holiday wheat ornaments for the tree.
Cost: $10 per child
4263 Atlantic Avenue, Farmingdale, NJ 07727
Head out to Diggerland for the diggers and stay for the Winterfest fun. The whole family can spend the day operating all the fantastic machines while enjoying live music, the famous Parade of Machines, specialty food, hayrides, and fun and games. Of course, you’ll get to celebrate all things winter with Photos with Santa, a Candy Cane Hunt, Fire Truck rides, and more.
Cost: $44.95 per ticket
100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091
Christmas Fantasy with Lights
Now-December 30, dates and times vary
The magic of Christmas has taken over Storybook Land for one of the most unforgettable light shows in NJ. Santa Claus is ready to wave his magic wand and light the park with over one million lights for the holiday season. Your littles will love seeing the park glow after dark, as well as be thrilled to go on rides and attractions (all open at night) during this magical time.
Cost: $26.95 per person if bought in advance, $29.95 per person at the door.
Storybook Land, 6415 Black Horse Pike (Routes 40/322), Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
All aboard a train ride through millions of Christmas lights with a meet and greet with Santa and his elves in his workshop. Don’t miss the Holiday Movie tent and take a photo with your favorite snowman and the Toy Market and Walkthrough Holiday Village.
Cost: 12 months and younger are free, $17.95 online, $19.95 at the door, there is a discount after December 26
1151 South White Horse Pike, Hammonton, NJ 08037
The Polar Express Whippany
Punch your golden ticket and get all aboard The Polar Express. Experience the magic of The Polar Express and take a one-hour trip to the North Pole with the whole family. Experience the sites and sounds of the motion picture while enjoying hot chocolate, Walkers’ Shortbread, storytime, and a silver sleigh bell surprise too.
Cost: $48 and up
1 Railroad Plz., Whippany, NJ 07981
Holiday in the Park Six Flags Great Adventure
Get ready to experience your favorite amusement park in a festive way that puts you in the holiday spirit. Hope on the Ferris wheel, ride a coaster or take a spin on the carousel, all while being surrounded by glittering lights. There will be shows, rides, food, and of course, beautiful holiday displays along with the arrival of Santa.
Cost: $24.99 and up
1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, NJ 08527
Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience
now through January 9, select dates
Six Flags Great Adventure is also hosting its drive-through lights show again so you can experience the magic from the comfort of your car. Ten immersive scenes include the Jolly Jamboree with live entertainment and the new Merry Market Place Walk-Thru Experience. And make sure your kiddos keep an eye out for Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Cost: $14.99 per person, reservations required.
Six Flags Great Adventure, 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson Township, NJ 08527
RWJBarnabas Health: Cooking Classes for Kids
Dates and times vary depending on the program
Kids of all ages will love cooking up healthy treats in these virtual hands-on cooking classes (adult supervision required during class): Try Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen for kids 8-12, where they’ll learn to use a recipe, cook with nutritious ingredients, and utilize kitchen basics or try Taste Testers in Hannah’s Kitchen, a Mommy and Me style class for 2-4-year-olds.