With the glow of the NYC skyline, Hudson County’s waterfront neighborhoods enjoy a dazzling light show every night. But come the holiday season, the area shines even brighter. The holidays in Hudson County charm visitors and residents alike with can’t-miss events and attractions, whether it’s catching a local Nutcracker performance, shopping for gifts at local boutiques, or dining out for festive meals.
This Hudson County holiday getaway guide is the perfect winter vacation, whether it’s a staycation for locals wanting to experience life in this scenic and easily navigable getaway, or for out-of-towners hoping to enjoy the region’s winter beauty, without the stress or cost of staying in Manhattan. VisitHudson.org has curated the ultimate guide to planning a holiday adventure in Hudson County to remember from local hotel recs to 5Ks to family-friendly outings and more.
Book a City-View Hotel
First things first: Where to stay? To really get in the spirit—and soak up those NYC lights—grab a city-view room at one of the many waterfront hotels, from the shiny new EnVue Hotel at Weehawken’s Port Imperial to the W Hotel in Hoboken or the Hyatt House in Jersey City. Each of these hotels offers gorgeous views of the jaw-dropping Manhattan skyline, not to mention rooftop venues and waterfront restaurants for enjoying the scenery. Guests will be within walking distance to public transportation, making it easy for visitors to hop onto the PATH and into the city for a day of enjoying the Manhattan markets, Fifth Avenue lights, and beloved sights, then heading back across the river to relax on the calm Hudson County waterfront.
See a Holiday Performance
(Photo credit: @njpac)
Few experiences bring back the nostalgia of childhood holidays like live music and performances, and North Jersey is packed with these fun and festive events, particularly at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), which is just a quick walk from the Newark PATH station (technically in Essex County). This year’s events include The Nutcracker performed by State Ballet of Ukraine (12/11), Mannheim Steamroller Christmas (12/15), and The Hip Hop Nutcracker with MC Kurtis Blow (12/18). Keep an eye on the events calendar for more Hudson County holiday performances.
DIY Hudson Restaurant Week
Due to Covid-19, the annual and beloved Hudson Restaurant Week is canceled for winter 2021—but that doesn’t mean missing out on the best bites! Visitors can DIY their own restaurant week while supporting local businesses when they need it most. Make a reservation from a host of local establishments that participate in restaurant week each year, such as Amanda’s in Hoboken, Battello in Jersey City, and Fork Hill Kitchen in Union City. Grab your food to go and enjoy it with that scenic city view from the comfort of your own hotel room.
Join a JC Friday Event
(Photo credit: @manacontemporary)
Enjoy local art during Jersey City’s winter JC Friday event on December 3, 2021. Through this limited-time experience, participants can tour galleries, businesses, event venues, and art spaces to see the widespread creative community throughout New Jersey while meeting some of the many talented local artists. Even better? The event is free! Check here for the latest experiences on tap for December 3.
Run a Jingle Bell 5K
Jog, run, or walk alongside festive Hobokenites at the annual Jingle Bell 5K race on December 18, 2021. This is a great way to get that heart pumping while seeing the Mile Square City’s variety of waterfront sights—think skyline views, scenic parks, murals, and more. The race starts at Pier A Park in Hoboken. Participants can even donate everything from toys to coats at the start line. And, to warm up after crushing those three miles, reserve a table for brunch at a local spot like Halifax or Bluestone Lane.
One of the most quintessential holiday experiences is shopping at a local market, and Hoboken Main Street Pops will offer a variety of pop-up shopping experiences under the 14th Street Viaduct throughout December, including December 5th, 12th, and 19th. Here, shoppers can find everything from hand-crafted goods to artwork from Jersey’s talented creatives. And that’s just the start of Hudson County shopping. The area is a haven for holiday shopping, particularly given that New Jersey has no sales tax on clothes and shoes. Whether visitors are seeking kid-friendly gifts or a little something for everyone, our Hudson County holiday shopping guide will ensure shoppers find everything needed, and then some.
Try Ice Skating or Indoor Skiing
One of the best places to enjoy winter sports without the cold is the American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just beyond Secaucus. Here, visitors can go skiing indoors at Big Snow, North America’s first and only indoor, real-snow, year-round ski resort. And, for those looking to hit the ice, it’s hard to beat American Dream’s The Rink, an NHL regulation-size ice rink with open skating, activities, lessons, figure-skating events, and more. Newport Skates in Jersey City also announced the dates for its 2021-2022 season.
Enjoy a Family-Friendly Holiday Adventure at Liberty Science Center
(Photo credit: @libertysciencecenter)
Liberty Science Center does not skimp on the holiday fun. Whether it’s the onsite Snowflake Maze, complete with scientific facts about snowflake formation, or the Laser Wonderland Holiday Lights and Music Show with songs from Mariah Carey, Frozen, and Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Liberty Science Center’s many holiday experiences are sure to get kids—and adults—into the holiday spirit.