New Jersey kicks off the holiday season with brilliant tree lighting events throughout the state. These celebrations bring on the holiday cheer with fun and free festivities, such as Santa visits, live music, ice skating and carriage rides. From the cities of Northern New Jersey to the towns along the shore, there’s no brighter start to the holidays than with a visit to one of these local holiday tree lighting events.
Official Holiday Tree Lighting at Tropicana
Where: Tropicana Atlantic City, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City
When: Friday, November 17 at 1:00 pm
Details: You can bet that this Atlantic City tree lighting is something unique. The 35-foot tree is adorned with lights synchronized to holiday music and is located indoors at Tropicana. The debut celebration includes refreshments. Once lit, the tree will be on display with its music and lights through early January.
More info: Visit tropicana.net or call 800-843-8767.
Holiday Express Concert & Town Lighting
Where: Broad and Canal Streets, Red Bank
When: Friday, November 24 at 7:00 pm
Details: There’s lots to celebrate as Red Bank hosts its 25th annual welcoming of the season. The festivities include live music, holiday lights, hot cocoa and the arrival of Santa via train. Santa will then lead the parade by fire truck to the official tree lighting.
More info: Visit www.redbank.org or call 732-842-4244.
Winter Wonderland 2017
Where: 2 City Hall Plaza, Rahway
When: Friday, November 24 at 1:00 pm
Details: Rahway pulls out all the stops every holiday season when its downtown is transformed into a magical wonderland. This year’s theme is “The Force is Happening,” with Jedi-themed festivities in honor of Star Wars. The fun includes ice skating, Santa pictures, carriage rides, food and, of course, the annual tree lighting.
More info: Visit www.facebook.com/events/1405914272856560/ or call 732-827-2000.
Christmas Tree Lighting at Palmer Square
Where: Palmer Square, 40 Nassau Street, Princeton
When: Friday, November 24 at 5:00 pm
Details: More than 32,000 lights illuminate the 65-foot tree at Palmer Square. This year’s celebration features live holiday music, a performance by the Princeton Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker and a visit from Santa.
More info: Visit www.palmersquare.com or call 609-921-2333.
Collingswood Tree Lighting
Where: Borough Hall, Collingswood
When: Friday, November 24 at 7:00 pm
Details: Watch Santa descend from the roof of Borough Hall, with the help of a fire truck! Afterward, Santa leads the official town tree lighting, along with live music and greetings from the mayor.
More info: Visit www.collingswood.com or call 856-854-0720.
Holiday Lighting Xchange at Secaucus Junction
Where: Secaucus Junction, Secaucus
When: Sunday, November 26 at 5:00 pm
Details: This lighting celebration is bursting with activities, including Santa photos, inflatables, snacks and both tree and menorah lightings. Plus, for an extra bright finale, the evening tops off with fireworks.
More info: Visit secaucusnj.gov or call 201-330-2000.
The Annual Long Branch Tree Lighting at Pier Village
Where: Pier Village, Long Branch
When: Sunday, November 26 at 4:00 pm
Details: Pier Village brings on the winter season with a Santa visit, ice skating and live music. The highlight of the evening is, you guessed it, the lighting of the tree.
More info: Visit piervillage.com or call 732-923-0100.
Tree Lighting at The Ryland Inn
Where: 115 Old Highway 28, Whitehouse Station
When: Thursday, November 30 at 6:00 pm
Details: This elegant eatery hosts a holiday celebration for all, complete with horse drawn carriage rides, cookies, carolers, a visit from Santa and the lighting of their tree.
More info: Visit rylandinnnj.com or call 908-534-4011.
Downtown for the Holidays & Tree Lighting Celebration
Where: E. Ridgewood Ave and Memorial Park, Ridgewood
When: Friday, December 1 at 5:30 pm
Details: Ridgewood welcomes December and the holiday season with the lighting of their spectacular Christmas tree. The event is accompanied by a Santa visit and live music by the RHS Marching Band and Holiday Chorus. Attendees are encouraged to continue the fun at the shops and restaurants of downtown Ridgewood, which will be open for the evening.
More info: Visit www.ridgewoodchamber.com or call 201-445-2600.
Where: Main Street, Medford
When: Saturday, December 2 at 6:00 pm
Details: For nearly three decades, Main Street in Medford has become an old-fashioned winter wonderland at the start of the holiday season. The official tree lighting begins when a town crier transports Santa and Mrs. Claus to the center of downtown. Upon Santa’s arrival, the town gets busy with tons of activities, like pony rides, ice sculpting, a moon bounce, jugglers and a live nativity scene. Plus, there is a contest held for the Best Dressed Victorian.
More info: Visit medfordsunriserotary.org.