30+ Free Holiday and Christmas Events for NJ Kids

It's the most wonderful—and expensive—time of the year. While big-budget gifts take a toll on your wallet, our gift to you is a list of holiday events that don't cost a penny. Treat the family to free and fun holiday festivities throughout the state, including Christmas lights extravaganzas, Santa visits, carriage rides, New Years Eve crafts, storytimes, and more.

Mark your calendars with these 30 no-cost events that take place nearly every day of the season. For more budget-friendly holiday fun, check out A Dozen Must-Do Holiday Events for NJ Kids and The Best Nutcracker, Christmas, and Holiday Shows for NJ Kids

Tree and Menorah Lightings To Kick Off Holiday Fun in Westchester

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to herald its arrival than with the lighting of Christmas trees and menorahs? You don't have to head to Rockefeller Center to enjoy that holiday magic.

Many tree lighting events in Westchester have live music, toasty refreshments, a visit from Santa himself and—in some cases—some extra bells and whistles. Menorah lighting celebrations include parties, music, and plenty of tasty treats. 

We’ve rounded up several lighting festivities, ranging from big celebrations to cozy, small-town affairs. 

Looking for more seasonal fun? Check out our November GoList and be sure to browse our Event Calendar. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date on our latest info.

Best Holiday Train Shows in NYC for Kids: Botanical Garden and Beyond

Trains are a way of life for most New Yorkers, but there's something particularly special about the little engines and cabooses that take center stage during the holiday season. The New York Botanical Garden's Holiday Train show is one of the best things to do with kids in New York City during the Christmas season, with electric model trains whizzing by more than 150 NYC landmarks made out of acorns, twigs, bark, berries, leaves, and other botanical bits and pieces. My family and I make it a point to go every year—it's truly a quintessential New York holiday experience. There's a reason it's on our list of the top 100 things to do with kids in NYC.

But the big NYBG display isn't the only holiday train show in town. Read on for more details on all the Christmas train shows the city has to offer this season (including the Botanical Garden's big spectacle). And for an extra special holiday treat, take the kids on a full-size Christmas train ride with these nearby Polar Express and Santa locomotives.

50 Awesome Santa Activities in Connecticut

Shopping mall Santas have been de rigueur since store owner James Edgar donned a red suit and snowy beard to entertain children in 1890. Today the tradition is alive and well in malls across Connecticut, including Stamford Town Center, Danbury Fair, and Westfarms.

If you're looking to mix it up with a Santa outing that's a little bit different, we have rounded up our 50 favorite Santa activities across the state. Some events are free and require no preregistration, but many of those that do require advanced tickets are VERY popular and can sell out early, so you'll want to buy tickets as soon as possible. In a separate post we've also rounded up where to have a yummy breakfast with Santa. Don't forget to check our Holiday Fun Guide and events calendar often for more holiday happenings!

Free Things to Do at Christmas and the Holidays with LI Kids

If your wallet is feeling the pinch from endless holiday spending (and, seriously, whose isn’t?) there are still plenty of things you can do with your family that won't cost you a thing.

From Christmas tree and menorah lightings to visits with Santa and holiday light displays, we’ve put together a list of our favorite FREE events that will keep your family entertained and you able to afford those last-minute gifts.

To find even more things to do, check out our guide to holiday fun on Long Island, December GoList, and events calendar.

As always, happy holidays.

15+ Trampoline Parks and Bounce House Play Zones Near Philly

Trampoline parks and bounce houses aren't just for kids' birthday parties. The entire family can enjoy an afternoon of fun and exercise at one of the many places to jump and bounce around Southeastern PA. Most of these places offer special areas for young kids and toddlers, while some specialize in activities for kids under 12. You can also find arcade games, laser tag, mini-golf, and other family-friendly indoor fun at a lot of these parks and play zones. Here's a list of some our favorite places to get our jump on!

25 Fun Things to Do in Jackson Hole with Kids

Old West charm? Check. Rugged natural beauty? Check. Toss in four seasons of family-centric fun, and Jackson Hole is an ideal place to introduce kids to the American West. Our extended family—including eight kids between the ages of 3 and 13—went to this postcard-perfect Wyoming valley situated south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park over the summer. But we're already dreaming of returning in the winter for ski and sleigh-ride adventures. 

To quote my 6-year-old during one action-packed July day that started with a zip on a "cowboy coaster" and ended with a moose sighting in the backyard of our rental house: "There's just too much to do in Jackson Hole!" To help guide little cowpokes and parents, we've handpicked 25 special activities that will see you through both warm and wintry weather in Wyoming.

For a Mountain West adventure in a more urban setting, read our guide to Denver. Happy trails!

LA's Christmas Boat Parades: Newport Beach, the Marina, and 9 More

Unlike certain other parts of the country that shall remain nameless (no need to go rubbing it in the noses of cities like, say, Boston), LA is all about outdoor activities at Christmastime - and nothing says "This is why I moved to Southern California" quite like a Christmas boat parade. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, boat owners gussy up their crafts and parade them up and down waterways for applauding spectators, who line the harbors and marinas from Dana Point to Ventura. Driving around looking at holiday lights is great; letting them float by you is even better...

40 Free Christmas & Holiday Events in Houston

The holidays are expensive enough without having to worry about forking out cash for a fun activity to enjoy with family and friends. We've rounded up FREE things to do this holiday season in Houston for the whole family. From parades and tree lightings, to Santa sightings and outdoor movies, there truly is something for everyone on our list. Be sure to check out our calendar for things to do every day with the kids.

21 NYC Holiday Activities Every Kid Should Try Once

From train shows to Christmas-season theater, New York City serves up so many festive offerings there's no way one family can see and do it all in a single holiday season. Our holiday bucket list grows every year. In fact, for 2018 we found 15 must-do Christmas events for kids, and twelve picture-perfect holiday-themed day trips.

But there are a few holiday activities that are extra special, extra big, and extra over the top that can only be found in NYC, which we believe every kid ought to experience at least once in a childhood. These include ice skating under the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and walking the illuminated streets of Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, among other holiday delights.

Whether you call NYC home or you're in for a holiday visit, our list of 21 once-in-a-lifetime experiences for families represents the very best of a NYC Christmas. The best part? More than half are FREE.

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