How to Celebrate the Holidays in the Suburbs This Year

Dec 19, 2023

From NYC to Austin to DC and more, here’s how we’re celebrating the holidays in the suburbs

The holidays are a time to celebrate—and some of our favorite suburbs are hosting incredible events and activities this year. The best part? Many can’t-miss experiences are happening from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, so it’s easy to find time to explore different towns on your must-see list and celebrate the holidays in the suburbs. 

See Santa in the DC Suburbs

“If you’re exploring the Maryland suburbs for the holidays, 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 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 for the Holidays at Jones Beach Suburbs on Long Island

Each year, Jones Beach lights it up with its Magic of Lights Drive-Through Show, running now through the beginning of January. 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 for the holidays in the suburbs. 

New York Strategist Robin Hoberman describes the event as, “really fun and unique, and a perfect way to enjoy the season.” She recommends grabbing some friends and caravaning over. “Remember to book your ticket in advance – you’ll need one ticket per car.”

To enhance your family’s experience, check out the add-ons when you’re checking out. Along with your ticket, there’s the option to buy a holiday treat box that includes cookies, Santa hats, lightbulb necklaces, and more.

Line up for a Westchester winter parade

This year marks the inaugural holiday parade hosted by the New Castle Recreation & Parks, set to take place before Christmas in mid-December. The parade will commence from both the Millwood and Chappaqua fire stations, making its way through local neighborhoods. Anticipate a festive procession featuring fire trucks and other attractions, weaving through the streets to spread holiday cheer among both the community residents and visitors. 

Get out (literally) at these open-air holiday 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.”

She highlights the annual Festival of Lights in Rose Tree Park, a beloved Delaware County tradition for over 40 years. This year’s festival is particularly grand, featuring 50 decorated trees representing the 50 municipalities, one for the county, and an additional 75 lighted trees. The event also boasts an array of seasonal lighting displays, including toy soldiers, a gingerbread family, reindeer, and more.

Jodi recommends a visit to Kennett Square for the annual Longwood Christmas. Here, you can wander through the gardens, marvel at the beautifully lit massive trees, enjoy the Garden Railway, and warm up by the fire pits, a favorite among kids.

Longwood Christmas is open until early January. Another festive destination she mentions is Peddler’s Village, open daily throughout the holidays. This open-air experience offers shops, restaurants with both outdoor seating and takeout, access to the Golden Plough Inn, and engaging family mystery tours. The village is adorned with stunning light displays. With Peddler’s Village operating at reduced capacities this year, it’s best to visit early or on weekdays, including weekday evenings, to ensure the best experience.

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 that do amazing lighting — I can’t wait to check it out and spend some time with our friends and neighbors.” 

Santa’s Spectacular in the South Florida suburbs for the holidays

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 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 the end of December. 

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 and ways to celebrate holidays in the suburbs? Let’s talk! Get in touch now and schedule your FREE Suburbs Strategy session.

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