From NYC to Austin to DC and more, here’s how some of our favorite communities are getting in the spirit…
Just because this holiday season looks a little different, doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate with friends and family. In fact, many suburban communities are kicking things up a notch, offering fun, festive and safe activities and events to ensure the season is extra bright this year. Check out our latest roundup of coast-to-coast holiday must-sees — and (bonus!) many are happening as soon as this weekend so you and your crew can get out, explore suburbia and cap off your town-to-town travels with one of these local events.
See Santa in the DC Suburbs
“If you’re exploring the Maryland suburbs, definitely check the Santa Schedule — this weekend he’s heading to Bannockburn, Bannockburn Estates, Al Marah and Wilson Knolls,” says Suburban Jungle DC Strategist Sarah Roggie. “All month long Santa’s been heading to tons of Maryland towns, blasting festive beats with his seasonal siren blaring.”
In the area this weekend? Rally your crew, come out and say hi — and be sure to bring new, unopened gifts to load onto Santa’s sleigh. All donations benefit the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda and the Scotland Drive Community Association in conjunction with Montgomery County Police.
And if you’re going to the Virginia ‘burbs? “Take a quick peek at Holly’s Tacky Christmas Lights — the site rounds up the craziest and most fun holiday lights in the area,” Sarah says. “There’s a new recommended drive-through tour of Fairfax County and picks for the craziest installations — who doesn’t love a light-up Santa on waterskis?”
Light it up at Jones Beach on Long Island
Each year Jones Beach lights it up with its Magic of Lights Drive-Through Show running now through January 2. This year the Jones Beach crew has gone even bigger, with more displays than ever. In addition to its classic LEDs — reindeer, dancers, elves and more — expect additional digital animations and stunning immersive stretches of lights.
“It’s a great event — really fun, really unique and, especially this year, a perfect way to get out and enjoy the season,” says New York Strategist Erika Ades. “The lights are really beautiful — grab some friends and caravan over.”
Be sure to book your ticket in advance — it’s one per car. The drive-through display is open 5pm to 10pm on weekdays and 5pm to 11pm on weekends. If you want to make your family’s experience even more fun, be sure to browse the add-ons at checkout. In addition to your ticket, you can purchase a holiday treat box filled with cookies, Santa hats, lightbulb necklaces and more.
Line up for a Westchester winter parade
This year, the New Castle Recreation & Parks is hosting its first-annual holiday parade. Stepping off from both the Millwood and Chappaqua fire stations on Saturday, December 19 at 4:30pm, this first-ever festive parade will wind through the local neighborhoods (check out the full routes here). Expect fire trucks and more, weaving through the streets and bringing some extra special holiday joy to local families and visitors.
Get out (literally) at these open-air events in the Philadelphia suburbs
“There’s so much happening in the Philadelphia suburbs this holiday season,” says Philadelphia Strategist Jodi Bloom. “The best part: so much is outdoors and open-air.” This, she says, includes the annual Festival of Lights in Rose Tree Park.
Started more than 40 years ago, the festival has long been a Delaware County tradition. This year, the community has gone all out, with 50 decorated trees to represent the 50 municipalities and one to represent the county, plus 75 lighted trees. There will also be lots of seasonal lighting displays including toy soldiers, a gingerbread family, reindeer and more.
“I’d also recommend heading to Kennett Square for the annual Longwood Christmas,” Jodi says. “You can walk through the gardens and take in the seasonal sights — the massive trees all lit up, the Garden Railway. And, as you’re strolling through, you can warm up at the fire pits, which kids love.” Longwood Christmas is open now through January 10.
Peddler’s Village, she notes, is another popular seasonal go-to, open daily through the holidays. This open-air experience includes shops, restaurants (with ample outdoor seating as well as takeout), access to the Golden Plough Inn, and fun family mystery tours. You can also check out the amazing light displays throughout the village.
Because Peddler’s Village is operating at lower capacities this year, be sure to arrive early or head over on weekdays or weekday evenings for the best access.
Touring the Lost Creek lights by golf cart
“I live in Lost Creek, situated around the Lost Creek Golf Course,” says Suburban Jungle Strategist Katie Cranis. “We’re all getting together in our golf carts and riding around together, checking out the holiday lights in the neighborhood,” she says. “There’s some great seasonal decor and plenty of houses who do really amazing lighting — I can’t wait to check it out and get to spend some time with our friends and neighbors.”
Santa’s Spectacular in the South Florida suburbs
No need to hop on the Polar Express this year. Instead, pack up the crew and head to Santa’s Spectacular in Tamiami Park. Drive through stunning holiday vignettes, dazzling light displays and more, all while waving to Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves and even Rudolph himself, all from your car.
“We’re excited this is coming to South Florida!” says Melissa Schneider, Suburban Jungle’s South Florida Strategist. “If your family loves holiday music, this is right up your alley — tons of caroling and festive music, plus an opportunity to hop out and snag a few gifts, seasonal goodies and holiday-inspired cocktails at the holiday market.”
The fun runs through December 27. Be sure to book your tickets in advance.
“I’d also check out Sandi Land, if you’re looking in the West Palm Beach area,” Melissa says. “In true Florida style, Sandi Land is centered around a 35-foot tree…made of sand.” At night, the tree is lit up by 5,000 sparkling lights — and is surrounded by tropical-meets-seasonal sand sculptures. There’s also a snowman-building area and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf.
Looking for more festive fun? Let’s talk! Get in touch now and schedule your FREE Suburbs Strategy session.