Make it a family movie day at "Spies in Disguise." Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
Make it a family movie day at "Spies in Disguise." Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

What's Open on Christmas Day in New Jersey: Fun Things To Do

Christmas Day is traditionally a homebound holiday, but once all the gifts have been opened and the feast polished off, the kids are still raring to burn off the last of their sugar-plum high.

Since shopping malls are largely out of the question, and most indoor play spaces are closed for biz on December 25, there’s not too much recreation readily around the corner. But Mommy Poppins searched high and low to find out what’s open on Christmas Day—and happily, there are quite a few fun finds, including holiday light displays, ice skating, and even a scuba-diving Santa.

Read on for our list, and don't miss our Holiday Guide for even more festive fun. However you spend your day, have fun and enjoy the spirit of the holiday season!

Go to the movies

Several family-oriented films coming out this month are worthy of a few hours spent sipping soda and pigging out on popcorn. Spies in Disguise opens December 25, and is bound to be a fun flick for all ages. If you have an older child who's a dance lover, they won't want to miss Cats, starring Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, and other big Hollywood names. There's also Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker  and the latest ​Little Women remake. Check your local theater listings for show times.

Catch a Hanukkah show

Discover the true meaning of Hanukkah at a performance of Mitzvah Man and the Unlit Menorah by Mainstages Theater. Watch Mitzvah Man and his sidekick, Kavod Kid, stop a tycoon from ruining Hanukkah! The show runs from 10:30–11:30am at Kaplen JCC on the Palisades and is best suited for children up to age 8.

RELATED: 30 Best Kids Christmas Movies for Families this Holiday Season


Say hi to Scuba Santa at Adventure Aquarium. Photo courtesy of the aquarium

Visit the aquarium

You might not be able to spot a North Pole narwhal, but you’ll still have a blast at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden (which is open from 11am to 3pm). Stop by to see the largest underwater Christmas Tree and save up those sassy dance moves for the snow shower dance party. And if you haven’t gotten enough of Santa or his elves yet this season, don’t forget to mosey on over to Merry Elfish Storytime at 1pm.


Go for a spin around the ice skating rink in Roosevelt Park in New Brunswick. Photo courtesy of Middlesex County, NJ

Go ice skating

There’s no better way to kick off the winter season, officially, than to head out on the ice, and you don’t need to know how to lunge or lutz either! Check out some of the best indoor and outdoor ice rinks in NJ, and either call ahead or check their public skating schedules online. For starters, Ice at the Pier in Long Branch offers public skating on Christmas Day from 6-9pm.

...or roller skating

Prefer to have fun without bundling up? Try roller skating! The Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center in Newark has a special Christmas Day Bash public skate session from 6-9pm. Admission is $3 for everyone, and even the Grinch, Santa, and Rudolph will be getting their skate on!  

 ... or bowling

Stay warm indoors AND wear cool shoes at a local bowling alley. Some open lanes include AMF Strathmore Lanes in Aberdeen Township, Bowlmor in Green BrookBowlero DeptfordBowlero Belleville, and Bowlero Lanes.

RELATED: Best and Brightest Christmas Light Displays in New Jersey


Head to Atlantic City for the Tropicana Holiday Musical Light Show. Photo courtesy of the venue

See a holiday light show

Looking for something a little more Christmasy? Check out one of holiday light shows happening on Christmas Day. Drive through the Magic of Lights display at PNC Bank Arts Center, head to Smithville for a Holiday Light Show on the water, or check out the Holiday Musical Light Show at the Tropicana in AC. 

Enjoy a holiday feast away from home

There are a number of restaurants open for the holiday, and Mommy Poppins has the scoop on where you can find them!


Join history buffs at this Bucks County Christmas Day Tradition. Photo courtesy of Washington Crossing Historic Park

Honor our Founding Father

Do something patriotic and watch literally hundreds of costumed re-enactors present Washington's famous Christmas Day crossing of the Delaware River. The ceremony begins at 1pm, but arrive early for a viewing spot as this event draws a big crowd.

Take on Santa’s job with your own elves

Other than singing loud for all to hear, the biggest way to spread Christmas cheer is to volunteer. From food banks to homeless shelters to food and clothing drives, there are so many ways to give back with your families on December 25.  

Break out the board games 

If your kids asked for board games this year, don’t waste any time breaking out those babies for an afternoon of healthy family competition! Whether it’s Sorry!, Pictionary, Pie Face, or any new Monopoly iteration, it’s guaranteed to be a good time.

Take a wintry walk or a family trip to the park

According to the extended weather forecast, New Jersey should be fairly mild on Christmas Day. So, even though you might not have flurries to furnish your family walk, you won’t need to dress in too many layers. Most NJ parks are open until dusk so whether you venture out early in the morning or decide to play a family round of hide-and-seek later in the day, you shouldn't have a problem. 

Marathon all the Christmas movies

Flaunt your flannel footie pajamas and let the kids pick their respective spots on the couch as you snuggle up to screen all the best Christmas movies from Noelle (Disney+’s 2019 holiday comedy) to The Polar Express. Toggle between ABC, Freeform, and Disney+ all day, because there’s no shortage of festive flicks to feast your eyes on!