Home CultureEntertainment 8 Non-Touristy Things to Do During the Holidays in NY + NJ

8 Non-Touristy Things to Do During the Holidays in NY + NJ

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
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We are currently in what millions call the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” But, for those of us who live in close proximity to NYC, it’s a time for seemingly endless amounts of traffic and large crowds of people with a side of holiday cheer. Scrooge no more — if you want to get in the holiday spirit and not be in the crowds, check out these non-touristy {read: less touristy} things to do during the holidays in New York and New Jersey:

The Imbible: Christmas Carol Cocktails {777 Theatre: 777 8th Ave, New York}

things to do during the holidays


Take a spin on the classic Christmas tradition of seeing a holiday show in the city with this off-Broadway comedy. A revamped version of the beloved “A Christmas Carol,” this production chronicles the newly-changed Ebenezer Scrooge as he attempts to throw the best Christmas party in London. Along the way he meets the “spirits” of Christmas—past, present and future. With each ticket coming complete with three cocktails to enjoy while watching the show, it’s a true Christmas miracle. Get your tickets here.

Brunch with Santa at Birch Hoboken {92 River St, Hoboken}


If you are looking for something for the whole family, Birch has got you covered. Grab the kids and head downtown to dine and take photos with the Big Man in Red on Saturday, December 17th from 11am-4pm. Kids will score a free scoop of gelato and adults can enjoy boozy brunch options. Be sure to make a reservation as space is limited.

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Check out the event details here.

Liberty Science Center Laser Wonderland {222 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City}

things to do during the holidays

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A year-round Jersey City family favorite has gotten a makeover for the holidays. For a limited time, Liberty Science Center is hosting “Laser Wonderland,” a 40-minute laser show set to the tune of holiday favorites from classics like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Eurythmics, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, and more. Shows are Tuesdays through Sundays at 4:15pm. Check out the full event details here.

Holiday Market at Hudson County Community College {70 Sip Ave, Jersey City}

This annual Hudson County holiday staple is back for another year. Boasting fun for the whole family, the Holiday Market will be held at HCCC’s Culinary Conference Center in Jersey City. While children enjoy entertainment from a magical puppet show, create-your-own ornament station, face-painting and even a visit from Santa himself adults can shop from local vendors. The market will be open on Saturday, December 17th from noon to 4PM. Full details here.

Holiday Train Show at the NY Botanical Gardens {2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY}

things to do during the holidays

One of the most beautiful places in NYC is all dressed-up for the holidays. Trains {sans delays} ride through over 150 landmark replicas all made of natural materials on a half mile long track. There’s no need to schlep to all the major landmarks after seeing this exhibit at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory — as it features NYC favorites like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the Chrysler Building. Advance tickets are recommended as daily tickets do sell-out quickly. The exhibit will remain open through January 15th. Buy your tickets here.

NYC Holiday Markets {Multiple Locations}

Yes — some holiday markets are touristy. But even in a city as busy as New York, you can easily navigate through one of the many pop-up ones to find the perfect gifts. Sprinkled throughout Manhattan in places like Bryant Park, Union Square, Columbus Circle and Grand Central Station, you are sure to stumble upon something special…and find some holiday cheer along the way.

Also check out some of our favorite holiday markets in Hoboken and Jersey City and our Holiday Market for Charity happening on Tuesday, December 19th!

Ice Skating at Prospect Park {Brooklyn, NY}

things to do during the holidays


Rockefeller Center and Central Park are not the only places offering ice skating in the city. Prospect Park’s LeFrak Center Lakeside Skate Rink is now open for winter fun. For just $7 during the week and $10 on the weekends, you can enjoy hours-worth of zipping along the ice. In case you get hungry while you skate, Bluestone Café is the rink’s signature restaurant and is open for business in the park.

Pilsener Haus Igloos {1422 Grand St, Hoboken}

things to do during the holidays

Experiencing a little outdoor/indoor fun in the cold—even if just for an evening—is not exclusive to NYC. Right here in Hoboken you can have the famed igloo experience at Pilsener Haus on Grand and 14th. Open beginning December 14th, you can reserve an igloo for a private event or a night of fun. Be sure to give them a call or send an email as igloos are reservation only. Make your reservations here.

What are some of you favorite things to do during the holidays? Tag us on Instagram or Facebook #HobokenGirlBlog.

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