Winter Fun & Food in and around Jersey City

There’s no denying that winter is one of the most magical seasons of the year. One of my favorite images of winter can be found in Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,” where he writes “The only other sound’s the sweep of easy wind and downy flake.” Snowflakes, snowy woods, hot chocolate, holiday lights, holiday parties with friends and colleagues, gingerbread cookies, eggnog and candy canes are all popular December archetypes that have been used as icons of the holiday season. Thankfully, Jersey City has many events and attractions to cherish this year, from gliding across the ice on skates like in the movies, to sipping a holiday cocktail with friends and coworkers, to bringing home your favorite baked bread as has become a tradition in your family, there’s much to look forward to, to make this holiday season memorable. 


Holiday Events 
Gala and Art Show at Arthouse Productions

345 Marin Boulevard, Jersey City

Every year, Arthouse Productions holds two very popular events for this time of year: the Snow Ball Gala and the Affordable Art Show. Andrea McKenna, the Creative Director and the designer of the gala says plenty is in store for those who want to join, donate to charity and have a great time. McKenna says it’s the “biggest fundraiser of the year,” and the “most popular,” since it’s been a tradition for 16 years. The donations will directly benefit Arthouse Productions and will be used for programming for next year. This year’s creative black tie gala has a theme of “Midnight Bloom,” and will feature a costume contest for those who love to dress up. Artists, sponsors, and local politicians are some of the guests to expect in attendance. Normally about 350-400 guests participate in this event. Held in the Lackawanna building, Harmonica Sunbeam will be the Master of Ceremonies. The food will be delivered by CSW Catering and BuyRite Liquors will be providing the alcohol. Attendees can expect an open bar and a silent auction as well. 

The Affordable Art Show will be available for viewing until December 23rd, 2023. McKenna says it’s the 6th edition (it’s a tradition every year) and is the best one yet. 


Holiday Activities 
Ice Skating and More at Winter Village in Bryant Park

1065 Avenue of the Americas Suite 2400- about 35 minutes from Jersey City 


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If you’re looking for family fun, then the Winter Village in New York City’s Bryant Park is perfect for you and your loved ones. Set in the middle of the Big Apple, beneath holiday lights, surrounded by Christmas trees and treats galore, is the ice skating rink that’s available for skating and for winter entertainment! Dust off your pair of skates and hit the ice. Don’t own a pair of skates? No problem! Admission is free at the rink, just rent a pair of skates and begin gliding on the ice like a pro. Want to bring out your inner child? Schedule an evening with the family and try the bumper cars and reminisce on those chilly childhood days where you’d slide down a snowy hill with your neighborhood friends and siblings. Maybe you’re a professional figure skater? Set aside some time to refresh your skills and fall in love with the sport all over again. For those that aren’t really big on ice skating, but want to enjoy Bryant Park’s scenery, try some of the other activities. Trying the famous sport of curling, grab a seasonal hot beverage from the Lodge or say hi to Santa. He will be sure to fill your evenings with joy and laughs. 

Are you looking for a taste of home or a unique shopping experience? Check out the European inspired holiday market featuring beautiful crafts from local artists and from others around the world. Want to celebrate the holidays in style and amongst colleagues? Reserve your spot at the Curling Cafe and enjoy a drink at the bar and savor food and drinks in an incandescent igloo. For more private events, reserve your own cozy igloo for a culinary experience unlike any other the city has to offer.

Tickets are available here: Ice Skating, Bumper Cars on Ice, Bar and Food Hall at New York City’s Bryant Park


Newport Skates in Newport, New Jersey 

95 River Drive South, Jersey City 


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If you have seen holiday movies like Elf, you’ll know that one of the most magical experiences available during the holidays is that of ice skating. This season, grab a friend or loved one and head down to Newport Skates where you can skate across the ice and witness breathtaking views of New York City. It’s the perfect opportunity to enchant a loved one or special someone on a date or anyone who hasn’t tried ice skating before. Do your kids want to learn how to ice skate? Bring them over and sign up for the Fireworks Academy open on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10am on and have them enjoy a lesson. Private lessons are also available for adults for both individual skaters and groups of up to 6 people. Newport residents are offered discounts and skate rentals are available for seven dollars.

Tickets are available online only: Newport Skates Online Registration System (


Luminocity Festival  

Eisenhower Place, East Meadow New York- about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Jersey City 


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Holiday Light shows have a rich history that can be traced back to 18th Century Germany. Wealthy families would place candles to light up their trees until Thomas Edison came along and created the light bulb, which would then be used to decorate Christmas trees and front yards. By the 1960s, houses were being adorned just in this fashion and thanks to this we now have holiday light shows. Are you a big fan of light shows? Have you ever been to one? Fifth Avenue in New York City offers a brief light show in front of the Sax on Fifth store. But if you’d like a more indepth and colorful holiday experience, then you’ll want to travel a bit to experience the wonder. Set in Eisenhower Park in New York, you can explore glowing sculptures, hypnotic exhibits and an exploration of art and color all in one. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. Take a trip into the Mystical Jellyfish Forest or into the Wonderland Tea Party. Watch your child’s holiday dreams come true in this year’s “Wonder Journey”, themed experience as you see wild characters and familiar holiday icons come to life. Go ahead and take a photo in front of the large carousel or make your child’s dream come true with the dinosaur animatronics! You’ll be dazzled and amazed as art and creativity mesh together and will be able to enjoy this festive carnival with the whole family! 


Winter Lantern Festival in Queens

73- 50 Little Neck Parkway Queens, New York- about 1 hour and 10 minutes away from Jersey City 


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It’s well known that Chinese lanterns have been around for thousands of years and are mainly used as an expression of celebration in the East. For centuries, these lanterns have been used as symbols of prosperity, and good luck, religious devotion, abundance and wealth and family reunions and gatherings. With Chinese New Year right around the corner after the holidays, what better way to enjoy some Chinese culture than at the Winter Lantern Festival in Queens, New York. The large towering and festive displays are made from 1000 Chinese lanterns and show folkloric creatures come to life with powerful storytelling for an interactive experience. The lanterns, made by LED lights, hand crafted frames and classical Chinese silk cloth are made by artisans with over a decade of experience perfecting their craft. Admire pterodactyls and electric blue and purple lions stand with regality. Take in ducks and other adorable animals that your kids are sure to enjoy! See vivacious flowers and plants in bright pinks and oranges, reminiscent of scenes from Alice in Wonderland and walk through these gardens and snap a photo! Marvel at LED Christmas trees that seem larger than life! The attraction takes about 45 minutes to walk through and is available to all.

Tickets are available for purchase here: Winter Lantern Festival – Queens, New York – Tickets | Fever ( 


Holiday Drinks  
Miracle on Mercer at Franklin Social 

292 Barrow Street, Jersey City


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Eggnog made with liquor is one of the most traditional drinks to enjoy during the glacial months and has been a Christmas favorite since the time of the colonies in the United States. The ending of the word, “nog,” is derived from the Old English word meaning strong beer. Miracle on Mercer, a small homey and cozy restaurant and bar, located on Barrow Street offers a great selection of holiday cocktails to enjoy with friends, family and colleagues alike. Some of their most sought out drinks include the following cocktails with funny Christmas names: the Chrismapolitan, Snowball Old Fashioned, Carol Barrel, Marshmallows and Unicorns and Elfing Around Number 2. The bartender will tell you that their two most popular drinks are the Christmas Cricket (made with blanco tequila, vanilla liqueur, minty amaro, coco pandan, cream and mole bitters) and the Rudolph’s Replacement (made with vodka, coffee liqueur, white creme de cacao, orange curacao, chai, almond milk and aromatic bitters). Patrons can choose from a total of 14 cocktails and 2 speciality shots from the alcoholic drinks menu. For non-alcoholic beverages, savor the Snowquito (caleno dark and spicy, cream of coconut, allspice, cinnamon, chamomile, egg whites) or The Claus’s Cocoa (milk chocolate, steamed whole milk, whipped cream, cinnamon and charred marshmallow). For some delicious holiday snacks, relish their traditional Campfire Smores, the Holiday Trail Mix (Chex cereal, M and M’s, bugles, mini pretzels and dried cranberries) or the Gingerbread Popcorn (made with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon sugar). 


Holiday Baked Treats 
Donuts and Croissants at Hidden Grounds

148 1st Street, Jersey City, NJ 

Donuts are a sweet treat that can be enjoyed all year round. But if you’re on the lookout for special donut flavors, you may want to check out Hidden Grounds located on First Street in downtown Jersey City. Their seasonal donut flavor is Peppermint Mocha Donut and while their year round flavors are not seasonal, they certainly scream fall. To get into the fall spirit, try their year round flavors: Salted Caramel, Pistachio, Rose, and Apple Cider donuts. Croissants are big this season too, so you may want to grab one from their selection of chocolate or almond. And nothing says fall more, than accompanying these baked treats with one of their Pumpkin Spice lattes. 


Choc o Pain 

530 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 

Bread has long been a staple of food in cultures all over the world. And in France it’s no exception. For a taste of French bread and treats, head on down to Choc O Pain. With a wide array of seasonal breads and treats to choose from, you won’t go wrong bringing a baked dish home to your family. Around this time of year, their tarts are quite popular. Sample their Tarte Tatin (Apple Tatin tart), Tarte Aux Noix de Pécan (Pecan tart), Spicy Pear Almond Tart, or their Vegan Chocolate Tart with Almond. For breakfast, you may want to grab a cup of coffee and taste their almond croissant. As a treat for the family, grab some Escargot Gingerbread or some seasonal Sourdough bread. 


Holiday Cold Treats 
Ice Cream and Crepes at Angel’s Recipe 

312 Central Avenue, Jersey City 


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Nestled right in the middle of Central Avenue, is Angel’s Recipe, the ice cream shop that feels a bit like your neighborhood Carvel. A popular ice cream store, you’ll be able to indulge in sweet crepes and ice cream flavors that are sure to captivate ice cream lovers. Their two seasonal crepes include the caramelized apple crepe and the special sweet lovers crepe which is made with apricot cream sauce, blueberry and mascarpone cheese and are available at all times of the day for purchase. Their most popular crepe is the strawberry banana with Nutella and their seasonal ice cream flavors include creamy cookies and cream, so creamy it melts right in your mouth! If you’re a bubble tea aficionado, try the taro or mango bubble teas. And if you’d like a caffeinated beverage go for the caramel latte or the mocha latte, you can’t go wrong either way. 


Ice Cream Flavors at Torico 

20 Erie Street, Jersey City, NJ 


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If you’re like many people, you know that ice cream can be enjoyed all year round including in winter. Instead of having some of your old favorites, why not go out and try some creative flavors that you’ve never had before? Walk into Torico on Erie Street and you’ll get just that- an endless list of seasonal flavors that are quite uncommon. Approach the counter and ask the friendly server for three flavors that you’d like to sample. Then take a look at their list on the wall of flavors you’re willing to try. Their fall and winter flavors include: Java Mocha Donut, Ginger, Blueberry Cheesecake, Maple Walnut, Chocolate Hazelnut, Peppermint, Red Velvet Cake and more. For those feeling brave, sample the Spicy Eggnog! Pints that are available all year round that can be included on this list of seasonal flavors are Pumpkin Pie, Banana, and Strawberry. For a more festive holiday season, bring home one of their ice cream cakes. Choose from their: Great Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Caramel Cake (made with butter pecan ice cream), Mrs. B’s Pecan Pie ( made with homemade graham crust), Raspberry Ruffle Cake, Holiday Poinsettia Cake (vanilla and chocolate ice cream with fudge and cake crunch). Coquito is a favorite drink in Puerto Rico that goes back to the early 20th Century. The beverage is made from eggnog, coconut milk, and local rum. Torico’s most popular seasonal flavor is just this: Coquito flavored ice cream made with these bold flavors. 

So whether you have friends or family visiting from another state, want to get together with your office buddies or want to spend a fun night out with that special someone, come out and celebrate the holidays with Everything Jersey City, at one of these events. You’ll be glad you did! 

Lina Estrada
Author: Lina Estrada