Best Christmas Events and Holiday Activities for Kids in NJ 2023

Best Christmas Events and Holiday Activities in NJ for Kids in 2023

DiDonato's Magical Holiday Express

Select dates from Friday, November 17-Saturday, December 23, 2023

All aboard DiDonato's Magical Holiday Express! Experience a train ride through millions of Christmas lights, meet Santa and his elves in his workshop, chat with Mrs. Claus, and so much more.


Let It Glow: A Holiday Lantern Spectacular

Select dates from Thursday, November 9-Sunday, January 14, 2024

The Bergen County Zoo is illuminated with holiday cheer in the evening all season long. Larger-than-life glowing lanterns have been installed, creating 30+ glowing scenes. See animals real and imagined laid out throughout the zoo. 


Holidig Drive-Thru Light Show at Diggerland

West Berlin
Select dates from Friday, November 17-Monday, January 1, 2024

Diggerland shines this holiday season with a 1-mile drive-thru course covered in hundreds of twinkling lights. America’s only construction theme park is illuminated with holiday displays, and visitors can enjoy tasty treats. Stream its radio station to fill your car with holiday spirit. 


Morven's Festival of Trees

Select dates from Wednesday, November 15-Sunday, January 7, 2024

Morven’s annual winter exhibition, Festival of Trees, has become a must-see holiday tradition. Come enjoy the museum’s elegant galleries, mantels, and porches artfully decorated for the holidays by local businesses, garden clubs, and nonprofit organizations. 


PNC Bank Arts Center Magic of Lights

Daily from Friday, November 17-Saturday, December 30, 2023

Take a drive through this spectacular holiday light experience, which uses LED technology and digital animation. Tune your radio into a holiday soundtrack and wind past themed displays like "Christmas Around the World," "Toyland," "Nativity," and more. 


Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights

West Orange–FREE
Select dates from Friday, November 17-Sunday, December 31, 2023

Take a nighttime stroll through the Turtle Back Zoo to see more than 50 illuminated winter scenes and animal characters. Santa stops by the fun on select days.  


Free Horse & Carriage Rides

Ocean City–FREE
Saturdays from November 25-December 23, 2023

Start off the holiday season on a scenic horse and carriage ride through downtown Ocean City. The rides are first-come, first-serve. 


Christmas Fantasy With Lights at Storybook Land

Egg Harbor Township
Select dates from Saturday, November 18-Saturday, December 30, 2023

Help welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to Storybook Land through the end of December. Each night at dusk, Santa appears at the chimney and waves his wand, magically lighting up the park. 


Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

Cape May–FREE
Saturday, November 18, 2023

The Physick Estate hosts this festive evening to kick off the holiday season. The fun begins with a concert by The Atlantic Brass Band, followed by a Physick Estate Open House, and finally Santa's tree lighting.  


Black River & Western Railroad Santa Express

Weekends from Sunday, November 19-Saturday, December 30, 2023

A ride on the Santa Express is the perfect way to get the entire family into the Christmas spirit. This popular annual event features an onboard meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, gifts for children, and photo-ops.  


Orchard of Lights

Select dates from Wednesday, November 22-Friday, December 29, 2023

It's that magical time of year when Demarest Farms is adorned with holiday lights. Take your car on a guided tour through 32 acres of brilliant holiday light displays. Then, visit Santa, warm up by the fire pit, and enjoy hot cocoa and treats in the retail farm market. 


Skylands Stadium Light Show & Christmas Village

Select dates from Wednesday, November 22-Saturday, December 30, 2023

Sussex County’s favorite stadium hosts this dazzling winter wonderland, showcasing a mile-long drive-thru course glittering with displays and an enchanting Christmas Village full of fun activities, delicious treats, memory-making photo ops, and much more. 


Bergen County Winter Wonderland

Friday, November 25-Monday, January 2, 2023

Spend the day at Van Saun Park for wintertime fun–including skating, train rides, carousel rides, and much more.  


Holiday Light Show

Thursdays through Sundays from Thursday, November 23-Saturday, January 6, 2024

Watch in wonderment as over 100 Christmas trees magically float on Lake Meone and light up to the music around you. 


Six Flags Holiday in the Park

Select dates from Friday, November 24-Monday, January 1, 2024

Six Flags Great Adventure transforms into a holiday wonderland with millions of glittering lights, dazzling holiday entertainment, delicious seasonal treats, and a little flurry of magic nightly. Visit the North Pole Village, and hop aboard many popular rides.  


Cape May Seashore Lines Santa Express

Select dates from Saturday, November 25-Saturday, December 23, 2023

Take a ride on the train at Cape May Seashore Lines with Santa this holiday season. Board the train at Richland Village or Tuckahoe Village for a 35-minute ride.  


Palmer Square Tree Lighting

Friday, November 24, 2023

Princeton's charming Palmer Square gets decked out in its holiday best with a little help from Santa. Jolly old St. Nick is on hand to help flick the switch on the 32,000 lights that illuminate the giant spruce.  


Winter WonderLights Annual Holiday Light Drive-Thru

East Brunswick
Daily from Friday, November 24-Sunday, December 31, 2023

The spectacular Winter WonderLights drive-thru boasts more than 1.5 million lights animated to favorite holiday tunes, with 12 trees, a tunnel of lights, a tribute to first responders, and stunning, larger-than-life, holiday-themed displays synchronized to music playing in your car. 


Fanwood's Famous Christmas House

Saily from Friday, November 24-Monday, January 8, 2024

Stroll by Fanwood's Famous Christmas House, which boasts a spectacular 30,000-light display. Monetary donations are accepted to support the NJ Institute for Disabilities.  


Christmas Underwater with Scuba Santa

Friday, November 24-Sunday, December 24, 2023

Adventure Aquarium invites holiday lovers to splash into the spirit of Fishmas for an experience worth writing to the North Pole. The fun includes Scuba Santa, Snowtunda and the World's Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree.  


Santa's Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Cape May County Zoo

Cape May–FREE
Saturday, November 25, 2023

Santa Claus is coming to the Cape May Zoo and bringing plenty of festive holiday cheer. Enjoy live holiday music, an ice sculpture demonstration, bounce house, character appearances, and free treats for all. Plus, get a visit with jolly old St. Nick himself. 


Toms River Winter Wonderland Weekend

Toms River–FREE
Select dates from Friday, December 1-Saturday, December 9, 2023

Toms River hosts a weekend of fun to ring in the holiday season. A tree lighting kicks off the weekend and Santa arrives for photo-ops. Shop the Winter Village all weekend long for wares from local vendors, plus enjoy children's activities and music. 


Dickens Village

Maplewood – FREE
Saturdays, December 2-16, 2023

The Dickens Village returns to Maplewood for the holiday season. The Christmas Carol-inspired houses are decorated with fireplaces, stockings, and antique toys. Other activities include horse and wagon rides, a petting farm, and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. 


Palmer Square Menorah Lighting

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Celebrate Hanukkah at Palmer Square's annual menorah lighting ceremony. Enjoy music and activities in addition to the lighting.  


The Nutcracker Ballet and Other Holiday Shows for Kids in New Jersey

Multiple Dates and Locations

Get in the holiday spirit with live performances of holiday classics.   The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol are among the seasonal classics to look forward to over the holidays, when New Jersey theaters come alive with dancing sugar plum fairies, singing elves, and more than a few Christmas ghosts. 

If your child is nuts about The Nutcracker, you don't have to go to New York City to see a superb production—several top-notch companies perform the holiday favorite right here in New Jersey, including Roxey Ballet and New Jersey Ballet. For a fun twist on the classic, don't miss The Hip Hop Nutcracker at NJPAC.



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