8 Most Festive New Jersey Suburbs for the Holiday Season

Nov 28, 2022

Celebrate the season in these towns with tons of holiday spirit. 

The New Jersey suburbs go big for the holidays – think seasonal decorations, Menorah lightings, Santa meet-and-greets and more. If you’re out searching for a new neighborhood and a new home this holiday season, why not stop by these most festive New Jersey suburbs to get in the spirit and see what these sought-after towns are all about?

#1. Morristown, NJ

Downtown Morristown seriously decks the halls every year in the lead up to its annual Christmas Festival. Head to the Morristown Green on November 27th for the official lighting, a tradition that’s been going strong for almost 100 years. This year, Santa will even make an appearance, and there will be tons of arts, crafts, and festive goodies to enjoy.

For even more holiday fun, check out the seasonal lineup at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. This year you’ll be able to catch a performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, The Nutcracker as well as holiday concerts performed by the Celtic Angels and Darren Criss.

#2. Princeton, NJ

Princeton is one of the best towns for holidays in New Jersey. Between ice skating in Palmer Square, an annual Menorah lighting and tons of chances for the kids to meet Santa, there’s always something going on. The Festival of Trees at the Morven Museum and Garden is a big draw and you can’t miss the chance to try eggnog or gingerbread ice cream from The Bent Spoon.

Another annual tradition? Get dressed up and head to The McCarter Theater Center to see a performance of A Christmas Carol. Enjoy a pre-theater meal at The Dinky Bar and Kitchen, a nearby favorite that usually puts up festive decorations for the season. 

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#3. Millburn/Short Hills, NJ

Take a drive through Short Hills and you’ll see just how much the town gets into the holiday spirit. Downtown businesses and residential homes are adorned with lights, garlands and wreaths – and some go all out with animatronic characters, synchronized light displays, and more. 

If you have kids in your crew, bring them to the Short Hills Mall so they can join Santa’s Flight Academy and help prepare the sleigh for Christmas Eve. Got a four-legged family member who wants in on the holiday action? Take your pup to the mall on November 13th for the annual Santa Paws photo-op. And the Short Hills Station transforms into a Winter Village on December 10th and 11th complete with carolers, hot chocolate and s’mores.

#4. Maplewood, NJ

Maplewood residents go all out during the holidays, so expect to see huge displays and endless decorations everywhere you look. The annual Menorah and Christmas tree lightings are held at The Springfield Avenue Gazebo and there’s a Dickens Village in Ricalton Square. 

The Handmade Holiday at The Woodland Market is another beloved community tradition. Here, you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts from local merchants, perfect for everyone on your list. In between shopping, head to the nearby Village Coffee and warm up with a hot chocolate or seasonal latte.

#5. Montclair, NJ

Visit Montclair and you can’t help but get in the holiday spirit. Beyond the rows and rows of homes decked out for the season, Montclair is home to the Lights on Myrtle display, an annual must-see. There’s also an annual tree lighting in Church Street Plaza (insider tip: Santa always makes a “surprise” appearance). Locals also look forward to the seasonal performance of The Nutcracker put on by the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble.

Local restaurants get in the spirit, too. Check out Egan & Sons and Halcyon. Paper Plane Coffee Co. is another must – they serve up tons of seasonal drinks in festive cups every holiday season.

#6. Westfield, NJ

Every year Westfield turns into a winter wonderland. The town hosts a home decorating contest and residents can vote on their favorite displays. In addition, Westfield puts on a Gingerbread House display – and locals never miss the annual Menorah and Christmas tree lighting or endless holiday shopping downtown. Parking is free for shoppers during the season and you can get your gifts wrapped at the North Avenue Train Station.

And if you’re looking for a holiday pick-me-up between all the action? Boxwood Coffee makes some of the best peppermint mochas and eggnog lattes around.

#7. Chatham, NJ

Chatham gets into the spirit with its annual Menorah and tree-lighting events. Throughout December you can catch a performance of A Christmas Carol at the local Chatham Playhouse. And each Christmas Eve, Santa rides through town on a firetruck called the “North Pole Express” before he takes off to deliver toys. 

For a holiday treat, try some peppermint ice cream from Chatham Scoops. Their festive Hanukkah and Christmas cakes are also perfect for holiday parties.

#8 Ridgewood, NJ

Ridgewood’s residents have enjoyed the annual Downtown for the Holidays tree lighting event for over 35 years. This year it will take place on December 2nd from 6 to 8:30pm. Check out the beautifully lit trees, enjoy the holiday music, indulge in s’mores and even catch a glimpse of Santa. 

Want to explore the suburbs this holiday season? Get in touch today! We’re here to help you find the town that checks all of your boxes!

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