13 NJ Cities That Are Transforming Into Magical Vacation Attractions

If you just want to get in the Christmas spirit and stroll through a beautifully decorated city at Christmas, New Jersey has a wide range of attractions to offer.

You don’t have to travel to Manhattan or Philadelphia to see an all-encompassing Christmas exhibition.

Cities in the Garden State have stepped up their game in recent decades.

Whether you’re in North Jersey, Central, South or the Jersey Shore, there are great cities to visit on vacation.


About Madison Santa on Facebook

About Madison Santa on Facebook

Whether it’s Santa’s Village or the Christmas Parade, the town is definitely decked out and ready for the holidays.


Via Google Maps

Via Google Maps

It’s one of Hunterdon County’s most picturesque towns with the state’s most photographed site, The Red Mill.

The Winter Village in the Red Mill will feature food trucks and craft vendors.

The city itself is also lit up and ready for the holidays.


About Essex County Place on Facebook

About Essex County Place on Facebook

Each December, downtown features Dicken’s Village designed like a village from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

There is a busy calendar of events and plenty of free parking.


Via Michael Oconnor on Facebook

Via Michael Oconnor on Facebook

Downtown is small but hosts the annual Dickens Festival and Main Street is filled with visitors and characters in classic Dickens attire.

There is a living nativity scene with animals, wise men, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. It’s a beautiful older colonial town decked out for the holidays.


About Downtown New Brunswick on Facebook

About Downtown New Brunswick on Facebook

Downtown, known as New Brunswick City Center, is a great place to visit year-round, but Christmas is certainly special in this college town.

There’s action at New Brunswick Winter Wonderland from the end of November and the calendar is packed until Christmas.

Don’t miss the horse-drawn carriage rides during the weekend of December 16th to 18th.


Known as one of the wealthiest and best-endowed cities in South Jersey, it really shines during the holidays.

It has an old colonial flair with a fantastic downtown area along the Kings Highway decked out for the holidays.

Check out the calendar of events for the bank holiday in beautiful Haddonfield.


One of the most beautiful towns in the state any time of the year, Red Bank is magical at Christmas.

They offer a Christmas scavenger hunt, festive horse and carriage rides, and Christmas carolers in the downtown Red Bank district.

Visit Santa in the Galleria or see one of the many Christmas productions at The Count Basie Theatre.


Via Google Maps

Via Google Maps

Downtown Summit gets visitors in the holiday spirit with its shops, restaurants and hidden elves!

Try to discover more than 100 hidden elves in Summit companies to win prizes.

They also offer carriage rides through the city center with Christmas music every Saturday.

Enjoy fresh groceries and holiday items at the weekly farmer’s market on Sundays.


About Downtown Somerville New Jersey on Facebook

About Downtown Somerville New Jersey on Facebook

The town has quickly become one of the most popular towns in Central Jersey.

At Christmas time the atmosphere is warm and inviting.

The highlight of every holiday season is its bank holiday anniversary on December 3rd this year.

With its traffic-free promenade through the city center lit up for the holidays, it’s a must-see at any Christmas time.


Farnsworth Avenue via Google Maps

Farnsworth Avenue via Google Maps

Historic Bordentown, on the northern tip of what many refer to as South Jersey, has enjoyed a renaissance over the past 20 years, attracting visitors from across the state.

Farnsworth Avenue is home to quirky shops and great restaurants of all kinds.

Easy to get to by car, just off I-295 or on the Riverline light rail.


Point Pleasant boardwalk

Point Pleasant Boardwalk (Bud McCormick)

We consider Point Pleasant a summer destination, but it has a really nice downtown area that’s worth visiting any time of the year.

The holidays in downtown Point Pleasant Beach and Point Pleasant Borough are very special.


Downtown Cranford via Google Maps

Downtown Cranford via Google Maps

Downtown has seen explosive growth over the last decade and a half and is always bustling.

During the holiday season, enjoy creative, one-of-a-kind Christmas trees sponsored by local organizations.

Check out the town’s gnome for the holiday scavenger hunt that you’ll find all over town.

On Fridays, December 10th and 17th, you can enjoy smores and hot chocolate as you ride horses and carriages through downtown.


It’s Haddonfield’s blue-collar cousin with lots of character and a dizzying array of shops and restaurants lining Haddon Ave.

Every year during the holiday season there is a holiday home decoration competition that makes for a beautiful display on every street.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the city features Christmas carols throughout downtown.

They really give everything they do in this very happy little town.

The opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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