31 Free Things To Do In November


It’s November, and you know what that means—the last blast of fall is giving way to the holidays now with plenty of free family fun. Try sugar skull decorating at the Dead of the Dead Community Celebration in Princeton, kick off an Old Fashioned Christmas with candlelight tours in Cape May, and check out the charms of a Charles Dickens’ Christmas at Dickensfest in Smithville. And for more to do before the season ends, don’t miss our guide to fall activities in NJ. (featured photo credit: Cape May MAC)

(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events)

Harry Potter Magic Show
November 4 at 7 PM
Come see Madeleine The Magician perform magic spells and learn the art of wizardry. And don’t forget to dress up and represent your Harry Potter House with colors and clothing.
Brunswick Square, 755 NJ 18, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Villas Fire Company 12th Annual Christmas Bazaar
November 4-6
Holiday shopping starts now, with vendors, food, a basket raffle, and a 50/50. Then on Saturday, Santa will be visiting between 12 PM-3 PM.
Villas Volunteer Fire Department, 1619 Bayshore Rd, Villas, NJ 08251

Artists in the Park
November 5 at 10 AM
Bring your family and hike the newly restored trail in Runnemede Lake Park while artists reimagine Runnemede within a day of free art in Runnemede Lake Park. The rain date will be Sunday, November 6.
525 Sheppard Ave, Runnemede, NJ 08078

Santa Arrival PJ Party
November 5 at 10 AM
It’s time to welcome Santa with a fun-filled PJ party in Grand Court. Wear your pajamas and enjoy music, crafts, magic, face painting, holiday characters, and a special appearance by the Rock N Roll Chorus. Santa arrives in style on a fire truck, and you can purchase photos with the big guy.
Cherry Hill Mall, 2000 Route 38, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Art in the Park
November 5 at 11 AM
It’s the first ever Art in the Park, where participants will learn about natural dyes and create beautiful art. This event is for all ages. There will also be sheep shearing and spinning demos, art stations, and displays by local artists.
Hanson Park Conservancy, 38 Springfield Ave, Cranford, NJ 07016

The 2022 Rahway Craft and Art Fair
November 5 at 11 AM
Start your holiday shopping with handmade crafts and art from vendors with items like quilts, stained glass, clothing, soy candles, organic body lotions and oils, greeting cards, handbags, jewelry, and original fine art.
The Rahway Recreation Center, 275 East Milton Ave Rahway, NJ 07065

Day of the Dead Community Celebration
November 5 at 3 PM
Celebrate el Día de Los Muertos at this free, family-friendly outdoor festival to learn about this culturally rich holiday featuring Music by Mariachi de Oro, sugar skull decorating, folk dance by El Grupo De Danza Folklorica La Sagrada Familia, delicious food from El Sabor Oaxaqueño and La Lupita’s Groceries, “Skull” Public art installation by local artists, and a Day of the Dead Altar.
Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08542

Fall Saltwater Fly Fishing
November 12 in Long Branch and November 20 in Manasquan
Learn from a Park System Naturalist how to target striped bass during their fall migration and everything you need to know to fly fish. The demonstration and discussion will address gear, line and leader set-ups, flies, reading water, and creating a plan of attack. This event is open to ages 12 and up, under 18, with an adult.
Seven Presidents Ocean Front Park, 221 Ocean Ave. N., Long Branch, NJ 07740
Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area, 383 3rd Ave., Manasquan, NJ 08736

Winterfest By the Sea
November 12 at 9 AM
Where can you see Santa and the Grinch in the same place? Kick off the season with a Holiday Shopping Extravaganza, where the big guy will visit with kids while mom and dad shop for gifts.
Ocean City Civic Center, 500 Boardwalk, Ocean City, NJ 08226

Princess and Pirate Day at the Zoo
November 12 at 11 AM
It’s Cape May County Park and Zoo’s annual “Princess and Pirate Day.” Everyone is encouraged to wear their best dress-up apparel to this fun family event, which includes activities for the kids, a craft station, games, entertainment, animals, and an inflatable pirate ship.
707 US 9, Middle Township, NJ 08210

Vernon Annual Craft & Vendor Fair
November 13 at 10 AM
The Vernon Twp. Fire Dept. Co. #1 is hosting its Seventh Annual Fall Craft and Vendor Fair with 30+ local artisans and vendors, showcasing jewelry, art, sewn creations, and many other handmade and unique items.
Vernon Township Fire Department Company #1, 537 County Route 515, Vernon, NJ 07462

Cider Making Howell Living History Farm
November 13 at 12 PM
Help the farm staff press this year’s apple harvest into cider. Sample some fresh cider and talk about other uses for cider on the farm.
44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel, NJ 07733

Avalon Thanksgiving Week Activities
November 18-26
Start with Avalon’s Festival of Trees from November 18-26, then be a part of the Turkey Trot on November 25. Then it’s Avalon’s Festive Friday, where you can stroll down Dune Drive on Friday and enjoy live music to children’s performances, character appearances, face painting, an art bar, crafts, giveaways, and hot chocolate. The weekend finishes with Santa Lights on Friday on Dune Drive and Snowfest on Saturday, November 26.
Avalon, NJ 08202

Old Fashioned Christmas
November 18-January 1
See the seaside town of Cape May transform into a Dickens village just in time for the holidays, and don’t miss free events like the Holiday Tree Lighting on November 19, the Christmas Candlelight House Tours, and the Virtual Christmas Candlelight House Tour.
Cape May, NJ 08204

Holiday Crafters & Artisan Fair
November 19 at 10 AM
Browse through an array of local artists and crafters while the kids can enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Santa will be there from 12 PM-3 PM.
Rutherfurd Hall, 1686 County Road 517, Hackettstown, NJ 07840

Gratitude Fest
November 19 at 10 AM
Get outdoors for an outdoor festival featuring artists, creatives, and vendors.
6111 New Jersey Avenue in Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260

Smithville Holiday Light Show on the Lake
November 24-January 6
Over 120 Christmas trees from over 50,000 Christmas lights magically float on Lake Meone in the center of Historic Smithville and the Village Greene. The moment darkness falls, an orchestrated show of lights and music is played across the lake. The show can be seen from either side of the village and the bridge.
Route 9 & Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ 08205

Fanwood’s Famous Christmas House Grand Lighting
November 25 at 4 PM
Come to see Fanwood’s Famous Christmas House Light up for the first time this season. Donations are appreciated, and all donated money goes to NJ Institute for Disabilities. The display is lit every night from dusk to 10 PM, right through January 8, 2023.
83 Paterson Road, Fanwood, NJ 07023

First Annual Christmas Block Party
November 25-27
Enjoy special events every night like a hot chocolate bar and shopping in your pj’s on Friday night to a Kids holiday market and family fun on Sunday Funday.
3100 Atlantic Brigantine Blvd, Brigantine, NJ 08203

Collingswood Holiday Parade
November 26 at 10 AM
Come out to this festive parade with seasonal entertainment, including marching bands, dancers, holiday characters, giants on stilts, floats, mummers, sports mascots, and live music.
The parade will begin at Zane Avenue at 10 AM and continue to West Linden Avenue through the heart of historic Collingswood, NJ 08108

Bordentown City Christmas Tree Lighting
November 26 at 4:30 PM
Music, songs, and Santa on the firetruck will bring lots of holiday spirit to Bordentown City this November.
Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ 08505

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar
November 25-December 18, days may vary per location; check ahead
Shop, celebrate, and enjoy holiday decor and entertainment in Asbury Park at the Grand Arcade of the Convention Hall and The Asbury Hotel this holiday season.
Grand Arcade of Convention Hall, 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
The Asbury Hotel, 210 5th Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Cape May County Zoo Tree Light Ceremony
November 26 at 3:30 PM
Enjoy the sounds of the John Walter Band and a small group of musicians that will stroll the grounds playing familiar Christmas carols. And don’t miss the tree lighting.
Cape May County Park and Zoo
707 Route 9N, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

Annual Holiday Toy Drive
November 26 at 6 PM
Dress for the North Pole and bring a toy or Amazon gift card for a child in the hospital to brighten their day. Then visit Santa and enjoy a hot chocolate bar and s’more’s station, along with popcorn, fire pits, holiday music, and lots of holiday fun.
Moorestown, NJ 08057

Dickens Festival in Smithville
November 26-27
See an original musical adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens’ heartwarming tale, by Riddlesbrood Touring Theatre Company performed on their portable outdoor stage. Visit the shops and restaurants after the show, along with the Smithville Train and Carousel.
Route 9 & Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ 08205

Long Branch Holiday Bazaar
November 26-December 11, Saturdays and Sundays
Bring the whole family to this holiday tradition featuring music, food and libations, and kids’ craft workshops on Saturday. Families will also get to meet special holiday characters and take memorable photos at our Instagram-worth selfie station with the Grinch, Elf on a Shelf, and Frosty the Snowman.
Whitechapel Projects (WCP), 15 2nd Ave, Long Branch, NJ 07740

No More Grist For the Mill
November 27 at 11 AM
Celebrate the end of the milling season and the start of the holidays as the mill grinds the last of 2022’s corn. Decorate a paper stocking, take a selfie in a sleigh, and sip on a cup of hot cocoa in the early 20th-century Cow Barn. Then explore the 18th-century house and see the gristmill in action.
62 Walnford Road, Upper Freehold, NJ 08501

Winter Wonderwalk Cape May
November 2022-Winter 2023
Enjoy free admission to the grounds of Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum, the Emlen Physick Estate, as it’s been transformed for the holiday season. Walk the grounds and view fun and whimsical displays of celebrations during the Victorian era.
Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., Cape May, NJ 08204

RWJBarnabas Health Events

Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen
November 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 4:30 PM
Come in person or join virtually for this hands-on cooking for ages 8-12. Your child will learn how to cook with nutritious ingredients, read a recipe, learn kitchen safety tips, measurement techniques, and learn knife skills.
Cost: Free
Online or Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community Health and Wellness Center at Newark Beth Israel
Medical Center, 208 Lyons Ave., Newark, NJ 07112

Healthy Kids Cooking Class
November 5 at 11 AM
Grab your apron and join Ms. Jenn in a hands-on cooking class at the LiveWell Center. Young chefs aged 4 and up are welcome to attend with an adult!
LiveWell Center, 200 Wyckoff Rd. Suite 1200, Eatontown, NJ 07724

Kids Craft: Gratitude Trees and Grateful Turkey Table Toppers
November 17 at 4 PM
Bring the kids to LiveWell Center to create gratitude trees or grateful turkey table toppers – a sweet addition to your tablescape this season. Children ages 5-10 are welcome.
LiveWell Center, 200 Wyckoff Rd. Suite 1200, Eatontown, NJ 07724

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.