12 Picture-Perfect Holiday Day Trips Near NYC

New York City is magical during the holiday season. However, if you're looking to experience some holiday happenings not too far from home, we've rounded up great options for family day trips, where kids can see Santa, dazzling Christmas lights, and even a North Pole village.

From right-in-our-backyard picks to rustic Christmas fun in Mystic, Connecticut and the Hudson Valley, here are a dozen holiday outings—listed roughly from nearest to farthest from Midtown—worth a drive or train trek this holiday season.

Weekend Fun: North Pole Express, Holiday Lights , Friendsgiving

This mid-November weekend sparkles and shines with the debut of holiday light displays throughout the state. Take a nighttime stroll through Turtle Back Zoo with its brilliant winter scenes, or drive though Skyland Stadium's dazzling, musical light displays. Storybook Land's holiday parade features the lighting of the park's tree, while Tropicana's interactive Christmas Tree synchronizes to music.

There's plenty of family-friendly theater to choose from this week, including performances of A Christmas Story: The Musical, Pinocchio, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Elf The Musical, and Sesame Street Live. And Thanksgiving prep is underway with PAWS Discovery Farm's Friendsgiving Feast and Early 19th Century Day of Thanks.

Find even more options in our Fall Fun Guide for NJ Kids, plus plan ahead for all those days off with 25 Family Staycation Ideas for the NJ Holidays. And look to our November GoList and event calendar for a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond.

Holiday Volunteering With Kids in Boston

We all have our hands full with family and work obligations, and the pending holidays certainly don't lighten the load. And yet, it's the time of year when we're also inspired to count our blessings—and teach our children to do the same. To inspire my children to think about what they are grateful for this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, we’re going to try one of the Fun Projects That Help Kids Give Thanks. But I also want my kids to think about other people and do something to make a difference in our community, and we've found some great opportunities for volunteering as a family during the holiday season. With just a bit of planning, lending a hand with kids can be easy—and maybe the most meaningful and memorable experience in a season full of them.

10 Special Holiday Tea and Treat Events for Boston Kids

Getting kids to don some decent clothes and use some manners is a struggle. But that's less the case, we've found, around the holidays. Many children—girls and boys—get excited to dress up and head out to a fancy, festively decorated place, especially when special treats are involved. These restaurants and hotels are rolling out the red carpet (and some pretty fantastic pastries) for kids and their parents this month. Make your reservations soon for a perfectly sweet and civilized afternoon. (Some are more of a splurge than others, so be sure to call ahead for updated prices for your group.)

Santa Photos in Boston: Where Kids Can See and Meet Santa

This time of year, kids can find Santa ho-ho-ho-ing it up at most holiday events in the area, like tree lightings, craft fairs, and festive breakfasts. We've rounded up some of our other favorite places where the kids can see Santa in and around Boston, especially for a photo.

These visits pair well with holiday shopping or a fancy meal out...after all, children might be happy they're already wearing their holiday finest for a photo with the man of the hour. See our list below for more than a dozen places where you can get a photo with Santa near Boston, some are even FREE. All the kids have to do is be sure that they're good, for goodness sake! 

New Trolls Experience in Midtown Is a Fun-Packed Party for Kids

What's rainbow-hued, covered with yards of soft, pettable fur, and sprinkled with just the right amount of sparkly glitter? The brand-new Trolls Experience in Midtown West.

While it's part kid-centric, photo-friendly wonderland, there's definitely more to this installation than other recent Instagram-friendly pop-ups like Candytopia, The Museum of Pizza, and others. (For starters, there's actually a coherent, kid-friendly story to help guide your visit—it doesn't feel like a random collection of rooms.) You and your family are invited to a magical, fun-filled world where energetic staff members excitedly await your arrival, and are ready to help you prep for Poppy's Best Day Ever Party.

The Top Baby Names of the Next Decade Are Here

Doesn’t everyone wish for a crystal ball during the baby naming process? Aren't we all looking for that perfectly unique but not too weird baby name? Just us?

Well, Nameberry.com just released its list of the baby names it expects to be the most popular in 2028. So get ready all you expecting parents! Pull up a chair and scroll through this futuristic list to see which baby girl and baby boy names are rising to the top in the next decade—and which are tanking. For those who have already gone through the baby naming milestone, Nameberry's list might just give you a hint as to whether or not your little Olivia or Oliver will be sitting next to half a dozen other kids who share their name come schooltime.

Breakfast, Brunch & More Christmas Festivities with Santa for Houston Kids

Ready or not, the holidays are officially here, and there are tons of family-friendly events around the city to kick off the festivities and see Santa before he drops off all his presents. One of our favorite ways to celebrate the holidays is by having a good, old-fashioned breakfast with Santa... especially when breakfast is followed by lots of crafts and activities and plenty of photos with the man in red. 

And if that wasn't enough, in addition to breakfast with Santa we also included brunch with Santa, cookies with Santa, and more fun events, ensuring you have plenty of face time with the big guy so he knows exactly what you want for Christmas this year. 

Looking for even more Christmas activities and festivities? You'll definitely want to check out our guide to all things Christmas, Hannukah, and holiday fun in Houston this year.

New Indigo Bookstore Brings Kid-Friendly Fun to Short Hills Mall

I have fond memories of finding a quiet spot to read Curious George in Waldenbooks and B. Dalton as a child. Then in college, I flocked to Barnes & Noble and Borders, which offered cool cafes and products beyond just books.

But other than Barnes & Noble, it seems most of the big bookstore chains wrote the last page in their stories years ago. You don’t hear about too many bookstore openings these days—until now.

Indigo, Canada’s largest bookseller, opened its first U.S. location in the Short Hills Mall last month, and it’s just what we needed. Billed as a "cultural department store," Indigo is a cross between an upscale bookstore and Crate & Barrel, with neutral colors, clean style, and an elegant use of space. But most importantly, there is a huge children’s section, complete with plenty of space to play and explore, as well as a calendar packed with storytimes and special events, like the recent visit from Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. 

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities for Long Island Kids, 2018

No matter their ages, most kids (and adults) can’t help but get caught up in the gift-getting, list-making, shop-till-you-drop frenzy of the holidays. In 2018, why not show your children how rewarding it can be to donate to needy families or to help make a sick child’s holiday a little brighter simply by volunteering time?

From fundraising to food drives to helping make wishes come true, we’ve put together a list of Long Island organizations looking for volunteers this holiday season as well as throughout the year. You can also check out the Long Island Volunteer Center, which is a great resource of nonprofits in your area. And don’t forget to check with your local houses of worship, which often need help with food pantries and soup kitchens, your child’s school or Scouting group, and your local library.

The importance of giving back to those in need is a wonderful lesson to teach your children, especially at this time of year. 

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed