Chilly temperatures, mittens, hot cocoa, twinkling lights, the fresh smell of evergreen and holly….
The holidays are in the air in New Jersey and it’s time to grab the family and some friends and celebrate all the state has to offer.
Here are 15 of some of the coolest, most unique, and even the most well-known holiday festivals to check out in New Jersey for the 2022 season.
Morristown Christmas Festival
2021 The Morristown Green
10 N. Park Place, Morristown, NJ
Fri. Dec. 2 through Sun. Dec. 18
The Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green, presented by the Morristown Partnership, kicks off with Santa Claus’ arrival on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m.
For over 100 years, generations of residents and visitors have come to downtown Morristown to enjoy the magic of the Christmas season. It began in 1913 with a small group of festive volunteers lighting a single star on top of one tree in Morristown.
The tradition continues, but now, countless families come to the Green to spread holiday cheer.
There is a Santa House, holiday music, crafts, a vintage-style rocking horse, ice sculpture demos, free rides around the Green on a miniature electric trail, and more.
All activities are free. The only exception is photos with Santa. The cost is $10.
A full calendar of family-friendly activities will be posted for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the month of December.
Warren Holiday Festival
46 Mountain Blvd, Warren, NJ
Sat. Dec. 10 from 4 pm. To 7 p.m.
This fun holiday festival includes a bonfire at 4:15 p.m., a tree lighting at 6:50 p.m., and fireworks by Garden State Fireworks at 7 p.m.
Come enjoy horse and carriage rides, a petting zoo, an iceless skating rink, food vendors, carnival games, free hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa.
Festival of Trees
Morven Museum and Garden
55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ
Wed. Nov. 16 through Sun. Jan. 8
This is a must-see on the holiday event celebration list! Visitors will enjoy the museum’s elegant galleries, mantles, and porches beautifully and artfully decorated with a collection of trees for the holidays by local businesses, garden clubs, and non-profits. The installation is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays only. These exquisite and whimsical holiday decorations will leave you in awe.
Tickets range from $8 to $10.
99 Elizabeth St, Phillipsburg, NJ
The trip runs Nov. 25-27 and Dec. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, and 18
This cool train ride makes you feel like you’re living in the movie or the book. The Polar Express at the Delaware River Railroad Excursions is operated by the New York Susquehanna and Western Technical and Historical Society, a non-profit.
Families come from all over the world to ride the Polar Express as this holiday favorite comes to life.
During the ride, families will listen to the wonderful story of the Polar Express while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies served on board the train.
Santa will greet the children and each child will receive their own sleigh bell, just like in the movie, to those who “believe.”
Everyone is encouraged to wear their pajamas!
Tickets sell out fast. The cost is $32 per child and $42 per adult.
Magic of Lights at PNC Bank Arts Center
PNC Bank Arts Center
Exit 116 Garden State Parkway, Holmdel, NJ
Fri. Nov. 18 through Fri. Dec. 30 (Sun-Thurs 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Fri-Sat 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
The Magic of Lights has been a favorite among New Jerseyans and visitors for years. This dazzling, drive-through holiday lights experience features favorite holiday scenes and characters using LED technology and digital animations. There will be a larger-than-life Christmas Barbie display, a supersized BigFoot Monster Truck, and life-sized dinosaurs.
The best part is you can enjoy this sparkling show from the comfort of your own car. One carload, one price of $20.
The all new-Toyota Holiday Village is for those who wish to exit their cars and do interactive activities, like take photos with Santa, decorate cookies, watch classic holiday movies, look at illuminated mega trees (240 feet of synchronized music and lights), roast s’mores on an open flame, skate in the outdoor skating rink (which is new this year), see the Grinch, and pet animals in the petting zoo.
New Brunswick’s Winter Wonderland for the Holidays
New Brunswick City Center
Monument Square Park, New Brunswick, NJ
Fri. Dec. 2 through Mon. Jan. 2
Starting with the annual Tree Lighting at Monument Square Park on Dec. 2, and every day until the new year, the season will be filled with tons of activities celebrating the holidays.
Enjoy live ice carving demonstrations while Hub City Sounds provides music before the tree lighting ceremony.
Santa’s elves will transform Catherine Lombardi’s into The Miracle Bar. The halls will be decked to the nines and guests can enjoy something from the special “Miracle” cocktail menu.
Horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered on certain winter evenings in December for $20 per carriage family.
Feel the festive nature of shopping and dining in New Brunswick’s city center while listening to beautiful holiday songs sung by strolling costumed Victorian carolers on George Street.
Enjoy the festival of trees, hand-blown glass demonstrations, as well as a holiday food drive, performances of The Nutcracker, a Salute to Vienna New Year’s Eve concert, and so much more.
Winter Village — Festival of Trees
The Red Mill
56 Main St., Clinton, NJ
Fri-Sun Nov. 25 – 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sat. and Sun. Dec. 3 -18 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The 13th annual holiday festival features a beautiful display of gorgeous decorated trees designed and decorated by community members and local profits. The trees will be displayed on the grounds of the Red Mill Museum Village. Tickets start at $10.
The Winter Village, an outdoor holiday market will also take place during the November dates. More than 45 unique craft artisans will be on hand. After visiting the German-style holiday market, step back into the Victorian era with “Dickens Days.” Enjoy Father Christmas, carolers, and a horse-drawn carriage ride in downtown Clinton.
Christmas trees, designed and decorated by community members, local businesses, and organizations, will be displayed on the grounds of the Red Mill Museum.
Annual Dickens Festival
Main Street, Medford, NJ
Saturday, Dec. 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Rain or Shine)
Admission and parking are free.
Main Street will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring holiday festivities with an old-time flair in this time-honored annual tradition.
The festival typically attracts thousands of people, not only from Medford but from surrounding communities.
There will be holiday carolers, great food, hot chocolate, magic, comedy, juggling, live presentations and so much more for all ages.
Christmas at Allaire
The Historic Village at Allaire
4263 Atlantic Avenue, Wall, NJ
Sunday, Dec. 4, 11, and 18 from noon until 4 p.m.
Talk about a Christmas festival! This one is straight out of the pages of Currier and Ives.
Come see Allaire Village transformed into an enchanting showcase with candle-lit windows and glowing open hearths as you wander from the chapel to Allaire House. The air will be filled with the joyful sounds of live caroling.
Visit the historic buildings and watch talented craftspeople forge, smith, cook, and carve holiday wonders into existence.
Participate in Victorian holiday celebrations like ornament making and traditional party games for all ages.
Search for the subjects in “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Whoever finds them all will win a special Allaire candy cane reindeer craft ornament.
Drop by the general store and do a little holiday shopping.
Enjoy a visit to the vintage model train and village. Drop holiday cards off at the Allaire Post Office.
Enjoy a hot, soothing, holiday drink from the Village bakery, or stop by the Pilsen Gourmet food truck for a delicious meal.
See historic sleds and wagons, and possibly a surprise visit from Santa Claus.
Finally, watch the Night Before Christmas unfold by candlelight at the Manager’s House.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $8 per person (children 2 and under are free) or at the door for $10, if available.
Atlantic City Holiday Bazaar
Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University
2200 Fairmount Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ
Sat. and Sun., Dec. 3 and 4, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
During this 2nd annual holiday bazaar, guests can enjoy shopping in a beautiful arts and crafts-focused event space.
The holiday bazaar is inspired by the traditional “Weihnactsmarkts” held in Germany.
According to www.germany-insider-facts.com, these German markets were the oldest, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. The original purpose of these markets was to stock up for the long winters and to add some light to the dark months. These markets also became a source to buy Christmas presents for children and an opportunity for local artists and craftsmen to sell their work.
There will be nonstop live music, food and drink vendors, an indoor Biergarten, arts and crafts activities for kids and adults, as well as pictures with Santa and shopping from local artists and craftsmen.
Convenient parking is available in the attached WAVE parking garage.
Six Flags Great Adventure Holiday in the Park
Six Flags Great Adventure
1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson, NJ
Nov. 15 and runs weekends and select days through Jan. 1
It’s sparkling, it’s festive, it’s thrilling and it’s entertaining! With glittering lights, festive foods, and thrilling new rides, this is one-holiday festival that’s perfect for the entire family.
Enjoy holiday shows and dazzling lights. Visit the North Pole and deliver letters to Santa, stroll down Main St. and take in all the sights, visit Gingerbread Junction, take part in the holiday mirror maze, toast s’mores in the holiday firepits and so much more.
Make sure you wave to the Peppermint Princess and the Poinsettia Princess!
Sip on a “Root Deer Fizz.” It’s a festive drink made with classic Barq’s root beer mixed with cookie butter syrup in a festive cup. It’s topped with whipped cream, a mini candy cane, and a red cherry nose!
Visit www.sixflags.com for tickets
Byron Barn Christmas Market Festival
626 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro Township, NJ
Fri. Dec. 2 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sun. Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This cool festival offers a wonderful selection of artisans and handcrafters, live music, food trucks, and a cozy fire pit.
Support local small businesses by shopping and buying the perfect gift for that special person, or maybe pick up a treat for yourself.
Don’t forget to enjoy delicious food and drinks.
Christmas on the Farm
Howell Living History Farm
70 Woodens Lane, Lambertville, NJ
Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This 130-acre farm offers special tours and activities to celebrate the season.
Christmas crafts, farm animal visits, and opportunities to look inside a decorated circa-1900 farmhouse are some of the fun things to do on the farm.
Help pick corn and return to the barnyard to help shell it, grind it, and bake it into cornbread.
Children are invited to help cut and decorate the tree before St. Nick arrives to her their wish lists and give out cookies.
Throughout the day, there will be live music and wagon rides.
Families are welcome to take selfies in the horse-drawn bobsled used for sleigh rides.
In the gift shop, visitors can purchase the farm’s own maple syrup, honey, wheat flour, and popcorn, as well as handmade straps of sleigh bells, and hand-knitted garments made from Howell Farm sheep’s wool.
Warm drinks, homemade cookies, and other light refreshments will also be for sale.
Visitors are encouraged to bring canned goods for the farm’s Share the Harvest Program, which this year, has produced 28,000 pounds of grain products, fresh veggies, eggs, and woolen wear for local food banks and pantries.
Toys for Tots will also be on hand, accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys for less fortunate children.
Parking and admission are free.
Roselle Park Winter Market
Michael J. Mauri Park, Roselle, NJ
Fri. Dec. 2 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat. and Sun. Dec. 3 -4 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The 2nd Annual Winter Market is a three-day long event filled with activities and vendors for residents of all ages to enjoy.
The Borough’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will kick things off on Friday. There will be craft vendors, food vendors, free kids’ activities, and a beer garden.
Expect live performances from the Roselle Park School District Choir and Christmas carols by the Roselle Park High School marching band.
An ice skating rink and free family portraits with Santa and Mrs. Claus also await visitors.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Winter Market gets underway. Besides food and craft vendors, kids’ activities, and the beer garden still available, there will also be cool rides such as a kiddie carousel, a kiddie Ferris Wheel, and a human snow globe.
Beginning at 3 p.m., live performances from local musical artists will take place every hour.
An Old-Fashioned Christmas in Cape May
Cape May, NJ
Fri. Nov. 18 through Sun. Jan. 1 (open daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas)
There’s no better place to get into the spirit of Christmas than in Victorian Cape May. The seaside town is transformed into a Dickens village with garlands of fragrant greens and twinkling gaslights.
The holiday season in Cape May kicks off with a holiday tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
There will be Christmas Candlelight house tours, Santa’s Trolley rides, musicians, and carolers, plus tons of restaurants to enjoy a nice meal, and lots of places to get some last-minute shopping done.
There are endless festivals, tree-lighting ceremonies, and events to bring holiday cheer to everyone in New Jersey.
Find one near you and let the magic of the season fill your spirit.
Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.
LOOK: These Are the 50 biggest retailers in America