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Restaurants Open on Christmas Day in New Jersey

Too pooped to put on Christmas this year? Not to fret! There are plenty of restaurants in New Jersey where you can pull up a chair on Christmas Day. So, once all the presents under your Christmas tree have been unwrapped and the stockings scavenged, you can lounge in your PJs, sip your coffee, and watch the kids play with their gifts and goodies without having to worry about cooking and cleaning before guests arrive.

We’ve rounded up 11 of New Jersey’s best haunts to feast on festive fare. Call ahead to secure your spots at the table, and then start mapping out the holiday light displays you can catch after dinner. You won’t have to build in extra travel time, because chances are you’ll have the roads all to yourselves. Merry Christmas!

30 Christmas and Holiday Events for NJ Babies and Toddlers

Now that Santa has paraded into our living rooms and shopping malls, the 2018 ho-ho-holiday season is officially underway. And whether you have an infant who can really only look cute in his or her "First Christmas" footie pajamas, a toddler who’s a bit more clued-in to the Santa scene, or a preschooler who’s been on his or her best behavior to impress your Elf on the Shelf, you can rest assured that you’ll have enough fun things to keep your under-5 crew occupied.

We’ve made a list (and checked it twice) of some wonderful holiday must-dos to take you through the New Year—from Christmas light displays to breakfasts with Santa, rides aboard the Polar Express to the merriest musicals—and we’re pretty sure you’ll find them nice!

So, cue up that seasonal soundtrack and make a note of all the local little one–friendly yuletide hangs in our Holiday Guide, plus be sure to check out everything festive flagged in our Event Calendar.

Best Places To Take Pictures with Santa in New Jersey

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he's ready for his close-up. From simple setups to elaborate events, there's no shortage of opportunities for your little elves to pose for phots with Santa this Christmas season. We've rounded up our favorites, and there's something for every budget.

Want more QT with jolly St. Nick? Book a breakfast with Santa. And for even more seasonal activities, check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

Best and Brightest Christmas Light Displays in New Jersey

It may be hard to believe, but Christmas is right around the corner, which means holiday shows, visiting Santa, snowy sleigh rides, and, of course, checking out the amazing light displays throughout the state. New Jersey really shines during the holidays, with many different ways to see some holiday sparkle—from walk-through spectacles at amusement parkszoos, and aquariums to massive drive-through displays; plus private homes and entire towns that go all-out!

These sparkling spectacles—some of which feature more than a million lights—are sure to impress even the grinchiest member of your family. So bundle up the kids and head out to one of these illuminating shows soon! And of course, you can find even more ways to be merry in the Mommy Poppins Holiday Fun Guide.

Sherlock Exhibit Solves the Most Confounding Mystery of Them All

Calling all sleuths! There’s a mystery brewing in Jersey City, and Liberty Science Center needs your help to solve it. At The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes, the latest exhibit at the favorite New Jersey science spot, children and adults hunt for clues in a beautifully detailed exhibit that teaches the science behind detective work and puts it to the test to solve an elaborate murder mystery.

Hunt for clues on the streets of Victorian London, learn about poisonous plants, forensics, send Morse code messages, and then, detective notebook in hand, document your deductions by embossing, stamping, rubbing, and punching holes in paper. Finally, puzzle out what the all evidence means to solve the mystery.

This highly interactive and educational exhibit solves the one mystery families are always looking to crack: where to spend a great day that the whole family will enjoy. And we’re here to clue you in on what to expect, who it’s best for, and what you need to know before you go.

A Dozen Must-Do Holiday and Christmas Experiences for NJ Kids

This year, 2018, has the earliest possible date for Thanksgiving: November 22. What we lost in turkey prep time, we'll make up for in a lovely, elongated holiday season on the road to Christmas and New Year's. In between your Christmas shopping and holiday to-dos, we've assembled our annual list of activities kids will love—and won't cost an arm and a leg. From holiday light shows to breakfast with Santa to Christmas trains, we’ve compiled 12 great memory-making activities for this month.

Check out our full calendar of events and our holiday guide for even more options.

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. 

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner in New Jersey

Not feeling up to hosting Thanksgiving this year? Here's something to be thankful for: There are plenty of restaurants open throughout the state on Thanksgiving Day. Having your holiday out means that you can sit back and enjoy the party—and you won't have to wash a single dish.

We've chosen 21 of New Jersey's best spots to enjoy a holiday feast. Call ahead for a reservation, and then use your extra time to plan some fall fun with the family, or try out one of these Thanksgiving crafts. Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Trick-or-Treating Neighborhoods for New Jersey Kids

Halloween is nearly here, and in several New Jersey neighborhoods the locals are thinking, “Bring it on!” These Halloween-obsessed towns deck out their homes every year with fabulous decorations that delight trick-or-treaters big and small. Others turn their streets into festive Halloween block parties.

Where can you join in the fun near your home? We’ve compiled a list of more than 30 towns and neighborhoods that are worth a visit. Those who make the trip can expect lots of treats—not to mention some prime photo ops.

Find more fun in our New Jersey Halloween Guide, including pumpkin patches and the best FREE Halloween events for local kids.

Paterson Great Falls: History and Natural Beauty for NJ Families

Waterfalls are one of those treasures in life that we don’t often come across—but when we do, we’re mesmerized.

While New Jersey has a handful of picturesque cascades, most are tucked away on hiking trails or in wooded areas, such as Hemlock Falls in the South Mountain Reservation in West Orange or Boonton Falls in Grace Lord Park in Boonton.

If you’re not much of a backpacker, however, or are just looking for a quick jaunt, check out Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson. It’s an easy day trip with a view to remember—and one you can drive right up to.

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