Home Essex County A Guide to Winter Festivals in North Jersey

A Guide to Winter Festivals in North Jersey

by Jean Lee
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It’s beginning to look a lot like the holiday festival season! For those looking to get some holiday cheer, look no further than northern New Jersey. From drive-through experiences to epic light displays, this list has it all. Keep reading for a list of holiday festivals and events running into January to fill the calendar with holiday spirit including shopping, skating, giving back, and more in North Jersey.

winter festivals events north jersey 2021

Turtleback Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular | West Orange

November 19-December 31

Visit the Turtleback Zoo to see the animals getting into the holiday spirit. Visitors can also see more than 100,000 lights depicting over 50 winter and animal characters, a carousel, a touch tank, pony rides, and more. There are no reservations required and admission is free, though donations of non-perishable food items, new toys, and gently used coats are strongly encouraged. Make sure to check the website for the select days to visit the holiday lights from 5PM-9PM. 

Dasher’s Lightshow (A Christmas Drive-Thru) | Newark

November 19-January 2

Visitors can still enjoy the season from the comfort of the car in Newark. Tickets for this drive-thru range from $30 to $35 per car depending on the date and time. Participants can drive through the route which takes about 20-25 minutes and listen to the car radio to hear the synced music.  

Read More: The Essex County Holiday House Tour is Back, Here’s the Lineup

Orchard of Lights at Demarest Farms | Hillsdale

November 23-January 9

Another drive-thru festival can be found about 25 miles north of Newark in Hillsdale, NJ. Take a guided tour across 32 acres filled with holiday light displays and make sure to turn the car radio to 107.9 to hear the matching music. Visitors can’t purchase tickets on-site, so reserve your ticket online at $35 per car. Attendees can also take pictures with Santa, make s’mores, visit the farm’s market, and more.

Skylands Stadium Light Show & Christmas Village | Augusta

November 25-January 9

Sometimes it can be hard picking between visiting a drive-thru light show and a Christmas village. At Skylands Stadium, visitors get the best of both worlds. Visitors can drive through a mile-long display and also visit a Christmas village complete with a Ferris wheel, skating rink, and beer garden. Tickets cost $29 per car for the light show, but admission to the village is free, though the rides, games, food, and Santa photos are extra. 

Let It Glow – A Holiday Lantern Spectacular | Paramus

November 26-January 30

Head to the Bergen County Zoo to see 30 lit scenes filled with hand-made artistic light displays of various animals. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children and include a train ride to show you even more light-up animals. Head to the website to get tickets, which everyone, including members, will need to purchase.

Holiday Adventure at Liberty Science Center | Jersey City

November 27-January 3

The Liberty Science Center has created some holiday-specific exhibits to check out including a snowflake maze, synthetic ice rink, snowman riddle scavenger hunt, holiday lights and music show, and more. Make sure to bring proof of vaccination for anyone 12 and older, with adult tickets costing $27.99 and children tickets costing $22.99.

Christmas Festival at the Morristown Green | Morristown

November 28-December 19

Morristown can be fun to visit any time of year, but during the holidays the Morristown Green is transformed into a winter wonderland. Visitors can check out the holiday nights at night, take photos with Santa, see the ice sculptures, and on certain days hear live music in the heated tent. There are also various arts and crafts during select times, including creating holiday cards for children who will be spending their holidays at Goryeb’s Children Hospital. Check out the website for a complete list of activities. 

Weihnachtsmarkt German Christmas Market | Augusta

December 3-5

As Christmas markets go, this is one of the biggest Christmas markets in New Jersey, plus it’s completely free (and yes, that includes free parking). Participants can feel good while shopping for holiday presents because 100% of all proceeds will be donated to local Sussex County charities. Various vendors and food trucks will be set up inside and outside to cover any shopping or dining needs. Bring the kiddos to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, but leave the pets at home (although service dogs are allowed).

Joyeux Noel – A Medieval Christmas in France | Montclair

December 4

This event includes music from the Montclair Early Music ensemble, and guests can also visit the Christmas market. The event starts at 5 pm, and proof of vaccination is required. Head to the ticket website to purchase tickets, with general admission costing $28.16 (including fees) and children under 12 free.

See More: A Guide to Hanukkah Events + Treats in North Jersey | 2021

Holiday Craft Fair | Morristown

December 10-12

Getting holiday gifts for friends and family can sometimes be a daunting task, but visitors to this craft fair can find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on their lists. Artists and businesses across the country come to this fair to give visitors more than 160 pop-up shops to purchase everything from clothing to ceramics, and art and prints to gourmet food specialties. Visitors 12 or older must bring their proof of vaccination. Tickets purchased onside for cash or check only are $10 for general admission, $8 for anyone 62 years and older, and kids under 16 are free.

The Newark Museum of Art’s Winter Wonderland | Newark

December 11

The museum transforms its garden into a wonderland to celebrate holidays around the world. Check out the schedule for performances and masterclasses for hip-hop, and all visitors can shop with some local vendors and enjoy local food from Hot Dog lady and Tonnie’s Minis. Admission is free, but visitors 12 and older must show proof of vaccination. 

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