New Jersey Offers Holiday Programming And Events For Every Traveler This Season
With Thanksgiving marking the official start to the holidays, the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism (NJTT) welcomes the return of annual events, along with new programming and openings, for families and friends to enjoy all season long.
Throughout the state, visitors and locals alike are invited to delight in the following spirited celebrations:
Atlantic City: The season starts off merry and bright with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Musical Light Show at The Quarter at Tropicana, presented every hour on the hour starting at noon, now – Jan. 2. Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino also welcomes Mannheim Steamroller Christmas and the Atlantic City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” while the Atlantic City Holiday Bazaar at the Noyes Arts Garage presents local and regional artists and vendors with music and craft workshops.
Cape May County: Throughout December, Cape May’s 48th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours returns with both in-person and virtual experiences. The beloved tradition of self-guided tours of homes, inns, churches and hotels allows visitors to step across thresholds and step back in time to take in historic interiors beautifully decorated for the holidays. The magic of Christmas in Cape May continues with a myriad of themed trolley tours available all season long, including the Ghost of Christmas Tour, Holiday Lights Tour, and the All That Glitters Tour which invites passengers into Victorian Cape May, sharing stories from 1899 as locals prepared for the new century.
Hudson County: Spirited Hobokenites encourage visitors to jog, run, or walk for a cause at the annual Jingle Bell 5K race on Dec. 18 while soaking up the Mile Square City’s waterfront sights, boasting skyline views, public murals and more. The Liberty Science Center’s many holiday experiences are sure to get kids – and adults – into the festive spirit, from the Snowflake Maze complete with scientific facts about snowflake formation, to the Laser Wonderland Holiday Lights and Music Show, featuring songs from Mariah Carey, Frozen and Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Meadowlands: For those making their list and checking it twice, The Avenue – the new luxury shopping and dining experience at American Dream in East Rutherford – is the haute holiday hot spot. The DreamWorks Water Park opens Nov. 26 for a tropical holiday experience at a toasty 81 degrees year-round. For those who prefer to hit the ice with Santa and his elves, it’s hard to beat The Rink, an NHL regulation-size rink with open skating, lessons, figure-skating events and more.
Middlesex County: New Brunswick’s holiday festivities kick off on Dec. 3 with The Holiday Tree Lighting at Monument Square Park. Attendees enjoy live ice carving demonstrations and horse-drawn carriage rides while Hub City Sounds provides musical entertainment. City Center will continue its celebrated tradition Dec. 17-19, offering horse-drawn carriage rides in the evening, while costumed Victorian carolers stroll along George Street.
Morris County: Art and culture aficionados feel at home at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, where the greatest cirque entertainers unite for a spellbinding holiday themed production of A Magical Cirque Christmas on Dec. 4. The New Jersey Ballet’s 50th Anniversary of “The Nutcracker” then takes the stage alongside the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Dec. 17-26. For music lovers, other upcoming performances include Jonathan Antoine’s Christmasland Live (Dec. 1), a tribute to Motown with A Forever Motown Holiday Celebration (Dec. 5) and Sara Evans Blue Christmas Tour (Dec. 10).
Ocean County: The Tuckerton Seaport once again offers themed 50-minute Tuckerton Creek’s Holiday Boat Rides Dec. 1-12, inviting guests to learn about local holiday traditions on the water and how a Tuckerton tree once saved Christmas for Times Square. The Strand Theater also hosts The Wag’s Christmas Spectacular on Dec. 11, featuring iconic holiday songs by the four-piece NJ-native group, along with fun dance numbers, costume changes and comedy sketches.
South Jersey: Christmas Underwater at the Adventure Aquarium kicks off Nov. 26 through Dec. 24, featuring the “World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree” and interactive shows with Scuba Santa as he dives with sharks, sea turtles and stingrays. The Collingswood Holiday Parade then returns to Haddon Avenue on Saturday, Nov. 27. Heralded for its one-of-a-kind Main Street experience, the parade features lively seasonal entertainment, including marching bands, dancers, holiday characters, giants on stilts, floats, and live music.
Sussex County: At the luxury Crystal Springs Resort, “A December to Remember” package features holiday activities including horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa and a live nativity scene, along with bonus experiences for each night of the stay – from eco-friendly “glice” skating and wreath-making workshops, to gingerbread decorating, family holiday photos and more. Also on the resort grounds, Winter Workshop at Minerals Hotel features Frosty’s Cantina, marshmallow roasts, and mini tree decorating.
The Wildwoods: Five weekends of holiday fun include light shows with complimentary hot chocolate and popcorn at Holly Beach Park, Christmas parade, a Holiday Beach Bonfire, and the official Family Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 11 at the Wildwoods Convention Center, with free admission, photos with Santa, face-painting, and performances by the Avalon String Band.
“The holidays present a special opportunity to explore the state whether a resident or visitor, with a mix of history and tradition, as well as modern-day seasonal experiences,” said New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism Executive Director Jeff Vasser. “This season, we are thankful that our partners are able to resume their treasured holiday activities and grateful for the many travelers that will choose to spend their holidays in New Jersey.”