Holiday Street lights

Winter Things to Do

The weather outside may be frightful, to say the least, but here in Elizabeth, there’s even more fun to be had during the holiday season. 

Spend a day gliding around an indoor ice skating rink. Then start a friendly snowball fight at any one of the local parks. Maybe tour the historical sites and landmarks adorned with ornamental wreaths and tinsel. And cross a couple of items off your holiday list—and even buy a gift for yourself—at the outlets. 

Though the holiday season signals another year coming to an end, it’s also a reminder that a new one is right around the corner. If you plan on spending the holidays in Elizabeth, know that there are many ways to celebrate the jolly season here and that typically starts with good food in your belly, our city is home to a multicultural dining scene after all.

Don’t know where to start first? Here are some festive winter things to do in Elizabeth, NJ.

Festive Events 

Some holiday functions include Santa Claus himself  

A tree lighting ceremony is an important holiday tradition, one that Elizabeth hosts every December at each ward citywide. Be a part of the festivities—and remember to dress warmly—for a night of holiday fun with Santa Claus himself. Holiday events are also hosted locally by the Elizabeth Avenue Partnership, and that typically includes a tree lighting ceremony as well as a festive party on Union Square plaza, the latter of which features a petting zoo, pony rides, and Santa’s mailbox.

For more holiday cheer, head on over to the Liberty Hall Museum & Academic Center, which hosts holiday events all month long. Learn how to decorate a gingerbread house, enjoy holiday-inspired tea time, or chat with Santa over breakfast—maybe all three!

Outdoor Fun

Enjoy time outdoors at a park or football stadium 

Elizabeth is home to more than 45 parks featuring plenty of fun outdoor activities, even during wintertime, unless of course there’s a snowstorm. Start a friendly snowball fight and then build an Instagram-worthy snowman at Mattano Park or take a winter stroll through the Chatfield Garden at Warinanco Park. If you don’t mind the cold breeze, visit Veteran’s Memorial Waterfront Park for spectacular views of the port and the New York City skyline.

If Elizabeth doesn’t have everything you’re looking for, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy the many other New Jersey attractions, like the MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, home of the New York Giants and Jets. If you don’t want to watch a live game outside in the cold, upgrade your experience to suite level.

Indoor Activities

Catch the latest holiday movie or hockey game

When it’s just too cold outside, there’s still fun to be had indoors this holiday season. 

Rent ice skates and glide around Warinanco Park’s state-of-the-art indoor ice skating rink. Then catch a holiday movie with your family at AMC Jersey Gardens 20 located at The Mills outlets. Reserve recliner seats and order food and drinks in advance to fully enjoy any IMAX movie of your choosing. 

For an educational yet festive experience, visit the Liberty Hall Museum for a guided tour of the historic Victorian mansion built in the 1700s by the state’s first elected governor, William Livingston. During the holiday season, the historical landmark, which saw the American Revolution, is decked out in holiday decor. Warning: You may see the ghost of Christmas past. 

Sports lovers can enjoy a game of hockey at the Prudential Center in Newark, home of the New Jersey Devils. The venue also features a beer garden and a variety of concessions that go beyond hotdogs and hamburgers (although those are there too), as well as bars and restaurants.

Holiday Shopping 

Shop for big-name brands at discounted prices then buy local 

Need to do a little holiday shopping? Between our outlet mall and historic shopping district, you’ll probably cross everyone off your list in one day. With more than 200 stores to choose from, The Mills at Jersey Gardens offers deals on top of holiday deals. The best part is clothes and shoes are tax-free in New Jersey. Even more of a reason to do your holiday shopping here.

Continue your holiday shopping at IKEA next door. Take advantage of all the holiday sales while the kids lounge at the children’s play area.

If you’re looking to buy local, make a pit stop at The Market at Elizabeth Avenue. This historic shopping area off our historic avenue features family-owned stores, boutiques, and a variety of international restaurants. There’s also a weekly farmer’s market in the Peterstown section of Elizabeth.

Winter is a great time to visit Elizabeth, just make sure to check this list twice so you don’t miss out on anything fun.

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