Tree Lighting Celebrations to Kick Off the Holidays in Westchester

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to herald its arrival than with a grand (or cozy) holiday tree lighting? You don't have to head to Rockefeller Center to enjoy that holiday magic. Many events in Westchester have live music, toasty refreshments, a visit from Santa himself and—in some cases—some extra bells and whistles.

We’ve rounded up several tree lighting festivities, starting as early as this weekend(!) and ranging from grand celebrations to cozier 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.

Sugar-Hi: A New Sweet Spot for Westchester Families that's Simply to Die for

A new sweet shop has arrived in Westchester, and it’s so good that it’s worth a drive from wherever you live. Introducing: Sugar Hi.

At first glance, the sugar shack may resemble other similar spots—and with respect to the selection of candy and ice cream, a comparison can fairly be made. But make no mistake: The baked goods and frozen beverages are to die for. And while the ice cream and candy are provided by other suppliers, the baked goods are made by the Sugar Hi team for a one-of-a-kind tastebud experience.

Read on to learn more about our recent visit and sign up for our newsletters to have news like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Biscuit on Stage, Star Wars Days

All kinds of fun is coming up this weekend for Westchester and Hudson Valley kids. Whether you're a fan of Star Wars or STEAM, magic acts or parades, there's all this and more.

Thanksgiving starts early with the Annual Valenti Thanksgiving Day Parade, this year featuring a pancake breakfast. Several theatrical performances are tailored to kids, including the page-to-stage Biscuit. The Mini Maker Faire is an extravaganza allowing families to be inspired by maker encounters and seeing their creations. STEM fans can get their fill of circuitry, rockets and more at the free STEAMFest. And with about a month to go before the release of the next Star Wars film, unleash your family’s excitement at Lego Star Wars Days.

These are just a few of our top picks for the weekend; the rest can be found below, and there are even more fun and enriching opportunities on our Event Calendar. Consult our November GoList to plan ahead, and sign up for our weekly newsletters to stay current with all our great findings!

10 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 holiday lights, and even a North Pole village.

From right-in-our-backyard picks to rustic Christmas fun in Mystic, Connecticut and Hudson Valley, here are 10 holiday outings—listed from nearest to farthest from Midtown—worth a drive or train trek.

10 Free Weekday Events for Westchester Kids (Gratitude Included)

November is a time for gratitude, and one thing we can all be grateful for is the abundance of opportunities to enrich our kids' lives with the wide variety of programs tailored to varying tastes and abilities. This week is a great time to celebrate that, both for the cultural diversity at hand and the emphasis on preparing for Thanksgiving. We can also be grateful that so many of these opportunities are free!

A standout is Being Thankful, which provides several tactics for promoting gratitude, executed in a fun format. Also seasonal is the Pumpkin Clock Experiment, where STEAM lovers can create a time-telling device using actual squash. On the subject of diversity, A Taste of Korea introduces families to the preparation of—and enjoyment of—Korean cuisine.

Below we've rounded up our 10 favorite FREE ways for kids to have fun (and be grateful) in Westchester. Read on, then head to our Event Calendar for many more options, this week and beyond!

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Photo: San Jose Public Library, via Flickr.

Breakfast with Santa for Kids and Families in Westchester

Though Santa is busy preparing for his famous ride on Christmas Eve, he still somehow has time to break bread (or pancakes) with children in Westchester this holiday season. These cozy get-togethers have become increasingly popular, typically featuring a full breakfast and holiday activity, with added perks at some. The best part? Quality time and photo-op with St. Nick.

We’ve rounded up some top picks for Breakfast with Santa throughout Westchester to help you spread some holiday cheer. Advance registration is either required or recommended, so don't delay. And don't forget to bring your wish list! 

If you're looking for more holiday activities, check our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters.

Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Pirate Antics, Joanie Leeds, Lenape

Such a motley assortment of activities are on tap this weekend for Westchester and Hudson Valley families, there's something for every mood and taste. 

Fans of pirates—or silly fun—are sure to get a kick out of the interactive and improvisational Greatest Pirate Story (N)ever Told, while more traditional entertainment awaits at the Joanie Leeds and the & the Nightlights concert. Local Native American history, including a wigwam, are the focus of The Lenape of Westchester. Hobbyists can browse to their heart's content at the Train & Hobby Show, and though Thanksgiving hasn't yet arrived, it's already time to gear up for December holidays at Ring in the Season.

Read on for all this and more, and be sure to check our Event Calendar. Don't forget to sign up for our weekly newsletters and consult our November GoList to plan the rest of the month!

National Geographic's Interactive Ocean Odyssey Makes Waves in Times Square

A new experience is making a major splash in Times Square. National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey takes visitors on a virtual underwater journey beneath the Pacific Ocean, unlike anything we've ever seen before. Using breathtaking state-of-the-art technology, lighting, and audio effects, the self-guided walk-through journey explores different areas of a wondrous undersea world including coral reefs, kelp forests, and open ocean expanses.

Ocean Odyssey opened in mid-October, and my family and I couldn't wait to go. The visit left us awestruck and eager to return. It's a fantastic destination for all ages, filled with stunning visuals and interesting facts about ocean wildlife and habitats, human impact, and what each of us can do to help keep our oceans beautiful and clean—all without getting wet! Read on for more about this amazing new experience, plus what you need to know before visiting with kids.

12 Free and Fun Events Happening This Week for Westchester Kids

With Election Day and Veterans Day falling the same week, many Westchester parents are scrambling to plan ways to keep their kids busy. Fear not: It’s Mommy Poppins to the rescue, as always!

Below we’ve listed a dozen things to do this week that are entirely free! Spend Election Day morning with a lineup of activities and treats at Lounging at the LOFT; brighten the spirits of hurricane victims at Stars of Hope; and get started on Thanksgiving fun by making a Recycled Book Turkey.

This is just the beginning: Read on and also consult our Event Calendar for more options. Want to receive alerts? Sign up for our weekly newsletters! And our November GoList can help you plan the rest of the month.

13 Holiday Craft Fairs and Markets in Westchester and the Hudson Valley

‘Tis the season for holiday craft fairs, where an abundance of handmade goodies is presented by the local makers across Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley. Whether it’s soft-smelling soaps, handmade jewelry or blown glass, you are sure to find something special for everyone on your Nice list. 

We’ve gathered up some of our favorite holiday markets occurring across the area, many of which pack in extra kid-friendly events like games and photos with Santa. Looking for more holiday activities? Check out our Event Calendar and sign up for our newsletters!


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