5 Festive Outings for the Whole Family in Connecticut (2023)

There’s nothing quite like being a kid during Christmastime. Twinkling lights all around you, carols playing wherever you go, and all the cookies and candy canes your heart desires— there’s a reason they call it the most wonderful time of the year! As adults, it’s our duty to make sure this season is as magical for our children as it was during our childhoods. (Don’t worry; there’s plenty of time to plan!) Here are five festive places to bring the kids to make this coming Christmas season one they’ll always cherish:

Christmas Town Festival 

Great for: Keeping the kids occupied for the whole day. 

It’s not surprising that Connecticut’s own Bethlehem gives Christmas their all! With over 70 food and gift vendors, plenty of arts and crafts, and a hayride where kids ride free, there’s no shortage of activities to keep the whole family entertained. To top it all off, admission is free— and so are the parking and shuttles! There’s a unique special event each day of the festival, so make sure you check their website and plan for the days that sound the most fun. (Or go all three!) 

Dates: Dec. 1 – Dec. 2.
More information here.

North Pole Express

Great for: If they can’t stop watching The Polar Express. 

What could be more in-season than a train ride to the North Pole? Don your pajamas and join Santa and Ms. Claus for a sing-along performance of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” right on-board. As a treat, kids get sugar cookies, hot chocolate (never, ever let it cool!), and a gift straight from Santa himself! Though it’s a nighttime ride, it’s only 90 minutes, so you can still get the kids to bed on time; they also offer a daytime version for younger children.   

Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 23. 
Tickets available here. 

The Friends of Wood Memorial Library & Museum Annual Gingerbread House Festival 

Great for: Future architects, or anyone with a sweet tooth.  

While the title may be a mouthful, the Friends of Wood Memorial Library & Museum Annual Gingerbread House Festival is certainly a treat for the eyes! Kids will love looking at the sweet works of art on display— and many of the houses can be brought home, too, should you be lucky enough to win the raffle. All proceeds go towards the Wood Memorial Library & Museum, so it’s all for a good cause.  

Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 17. 
More information here. 

Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop 

Great for: Those who love animals of all shapes and sizes. 

They may have heard their hooves on your roof last Christmas Eve; now the kids can meet Santa’s reindeer live at the Greenwich Reindeer Festival! The site also features Santa’s Workshop, where kids can color, write letters, and play as they wait for a picture with Old Saint Nick himself. Even better, they’re dog-friendly, so your four-legged friends can join in on the festive photo fun! 

Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 23. 
More information here. 

Glow Hartford 

Great for: Amazing lights and photo opportunities.  

If there’s one thing Glow Hartford understands, it’s the beauty of the Christmas season. With one million lights throughout the venue, including interactive light structures, Glow really lives up to its name— and creates the backdrop for the perfect holiday photos. Plus, pictures with Santa are free with admission, so consider your Christmas cards this year set! Fill up your scrapbook with beautiful shots that capture the childlike joy of Christmas for years to come.  

Dates: Nov. 18 – Dec. 23 
Tickets available here. 

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