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2018 Holiday Season Activities & Events for Families in the Capital Region

Season’s greetings – it’s time to get into the holiday spirit! Here’s some 2018 Capital Region holiday activities for families to help you do so.

Saratoga Springs Victorian Street Walk and Tree Lighting
Thursday, November 29, 2018 | 5 pm – 10 pm
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

There are a couple of events happening in Saratoga Springs, NY on this Thursday evening. First, the National Museum of Dance (99 South Broadway) is hosting a Kingdom of the Sweets Family Fun Night from 5 pm – 7 pm at a cost of $5 per child. There are performances to watch, craft activities, a candy bar and you can park for free at the museum and shuttle downtown for the Victorian Street Walk. The Victorian Street Walk itself is free to attend with plenty of entertainment and performances, an appearance from Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, and the Saratoga Tree Lighting Ceremony at Putnam Market. Here is more information.

Saratoga Festival of Trees – Family Day
Saturday, December 1, 2018 | 8 am – 2 pm
Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Family Day and Santa’s Workshop are part of the Saratoga Festival of Trees which takes place from November 28 – December 2, 2018. The cost of a ticket for Family Day is $8 per person which covers admission, food and a photo with Santa. There are also options for a Breakfast with Santa and Sundaes with Santa for an additional charge (with reservation required). There are also Santa’s Workshop activities for $1 per activity. Here is more information.

Schenectady Festival of Trees
Saturday, December 1 – Sunday, December 16, 2018 | 10 am – 5 pm
Schenectady County Historical Society, 32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, NY 12305
YWCA Northeastern NY (YWCA of Schenectady), 44 Washington Ave, Schenectady, NY 12305

Each year the Schenectady County Historical Society and the YWCA partner for the Festival of Trees. There are approximately 50 trees of all kinds of themes that are lit up for viewing. The cost is $6 for adults and free for all children under age 12. Here is more information.

Halfmoon Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting
Saturday, December 1, 2018 | 2 pm – 7:30 pm
Halfmoon Town Hall, 2 Halfmoon Town Plaza, Clifton Park, NY 12065

The Town of Halfmoon hosts a free day of activities for family and friends at their town hall. Activities include an Elf Yourself station, pictures with Santa, face painting, horse-drawn wagon rides, and holiday music. All of this is followed by the Holiday Memories Program where the town lights trees in memory of loved ones lost and also the town tree. This takes place from 6:30 – 7:30 pm. Here is more information.

Troy Victorian Stroll
Sunday, December 2, 2018 | 11 am – 5 pm
Downtown Troy, NY 12180

This year is the 36th Annual Troy Victorian Stroll which takes place in downtown Troy. It is free to attend and there are performances by musicians, dancers, magicians and storytellers along with refreshments, arts & crafts and more. Here is a full list of events and more information on directions and parking.

Empire State Plaza Holiday Tree Lighting and Fireworks Festival
Sunday, December 2, 2018 | 1 pm – 6 pm
Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12210

There’s a lot happening at Empire State Plaza on Sunday, December 2! For those foodies out there, you can attend the free Taste NY Holiday Market at the New York State Museum from 11 am – 4:30 pm. For just $7 for adults and free admission for children under 12, you can also check out the “Great Train Extravaganza” inside the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. The day ends with the official lighting of the New York State Holiday Tree with fireworks to follow.

Mad Science Chanukah Celebration
Sunday, December 2, 2018 | 4 pm – 6 pm
Boscov’s – Clifton Park Center, 22 Clifton Country Rd, Clifton Park, NY 12065

This year, Chanukah begins on Sunday, December 2. Clifton Park Chabad is hosting a Mad Science Chanukah Night with a Mad Science show, music, refreshments, and a holiday-themed makerspace. The event is free for the whole family. Here is more information.

TOYS Exhibit Tour with Daniel Fay at MiSci
Thursday, December 6, 2018 6:30 pm
Saturday, December 8, 2018 11 am

It’s the holiday season, so kids have toys on the brain! The 20th Century Toy Chest is an exhibit now running at MiSci that explores the engineering of toymaking.  On these dates, museum guests can enjoy a guided tour of the exhibit with Daniel Fay, the collector behind the exhibit. Admission is free for members, $8 for children (3-12), $12 for adults (13+) and $10 for seniors (65+). Here is more information.

18th Annual Santa’s Play Land Open House
Friday, December 7 – Saturday, December 8, 2018 | 5:30 PM – 9 pm
Quick Response Restoration, 2077 Route 9, Round Lake, NY 12151

When driving along Route 9, many of you may have seen the lights on display at Quick Response Restoration. Each year, they transform their property into a winter wonderland with a “Quick Express” tractor-drawn train ride, a horse and wagon ride and a visit with Santa. Admission and refreshments are free, along with free offsite parking and round-trip bus transportation. Here is more information.

Ballston Spa Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting
Friday, December 7, 2018 | 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Milton Avenue to Wiswall Park, Milton Avenue Ballston Spa, NY 12020

The village’s annual holiday parade kicks off at 6:30 pm followed by a tree lighting by Santa in Wiswall Park on Front Street. After Santa lights the tree, kids can meet him at Ballston Spa National Bank. This festive tradition is free for all ages. Here is more information.

Downtown Schenectady’s City Hall-iday
Saturday, December 8, 2018 | 12 pm – 4 pm
143 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12303

Families can spend the afternoon enjoying free activities, crafts and a visit with Santa (along with a free photo opportunity). Check back with the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation as they put out their full list of events.

2018 Altamont Victorian Holiday Celebration & Wintermarket
Sunday, December 9, 2018 | 12 pm – 5 pm
Village of Altamont, NY, 12009

Altamont Community Tradition hosts an annual, village-wide celebration. Family events are free except for the holiday house tour, which is $10 for adults (and free for children) and includes travel in a van/trolley to visit historic village homes. Other highlights include a holiday tree lighting in Orsini Park and the arrival of the Santa Train. Here is a full list of events and more information.

Palace Theatre Movie Series: A Muppet Christmas Carol
Monday, December 10, 2018 | 7 pm
19 Clinton Ave, Albany, NY 12207

Have a family night at the theater! The Palace Theater is showing The Muppet Christmas Carol. The cost is only $5 for all ages. Here is more information.

Capital Region Kwanzaa Celebration
Wednesday, December 26, 2018 – Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Hamilton Hill Arts Center, 409 Schenectady St, Schenectady, NY
Events take place at various locations

Since 2013, the Kwanzaa coalition (a group of Capital Region community organizations) has come together to plan the annual Kwanzaa celebration in the Capital Region. At this time, the full schedule for the 2018-2019 Capital Region Kwanzaa Celebration has not been published, but you can check back with the Hamilton Hill Arts Center’s website for updates and more information.

Check back with us soon as we’ll put together a list of low cost, family-friendly activities in the Capital Region to help beat the winter blues in 2019.

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