101 Ideas for Holiday Family Fun in the Capital District in 2021 | Kids Out and About Albany

101 Ideas for Holiday Family Fun in the Capital District in 2021

by Katie Beltramo



KidsOutAndAbout is America's online guide to everything for kids, teens, and families! Typically we list (MORE than) 101 ideas for holiday family fun, but. . . it's 2021, which means a bit less is happening than usual. The activities we've listed here are confirmed for this year, but many require reserving ahead of time, and events can be canceled due to COVID, so click through to make arrangements.

P.S. If you don't already receive our free weekly e-newsletter for the Capital District, sign up today to make sure you're in the know about free stuff, festivals, classes, camps, vacation ideas, and all the best events near you!


Santa Sightings

Wednesdays to Sundays in December Santa is at Crossgates
Nov 27-Nov 29, Dec 5-6, Dec 12-13, 2021 Meet Santa at Bob's Trees
Thursdays - Sundays beginning Nov 20, 2021 Wintertime Wonderland
Beginning Saturday, November 20, 2021 Santa is at Colonie Center
Saturdays & Sundays, Nov 28 - Dec 20, 2021 Photos with Santa at Christmas Land 
Saturdays and Sundays at 4 pm in December Santa's Magical Express
Saturdays in December Pictures with Santa at Rocking Horse Ranch
Saturday, December 11, 2021 Outdoor Photo Opportunity with Santa at Pruyn House
Sunday, December 19, 2021 Santa Brunch at Bountiful Bread in Schenectady


Christmas Community Events

Saturday, Nov 20, 2021 Daily Gazette Holiday Parade in Schenectady
Saturday, Nov 20, 2021 Holiday Lighted Tractor Parade in Greenwich
Friday, Nov 26, 2021 City of Amsterdam Tree Lighting
Thursday, Dec 2 - Sunday, Dec 5, 2021 Saratoga Victorian Streetwalk Weekend and Tree Lighting
Saturday, Dec 4, 2021 Sinterklaas Festival Day in Rhinebeck
Saturday, Dec 4, 2021 Winter Hangarland in Latham
Saturday, Dec 4, 2021 Winter Walk in Hudson
Sunday, Dec 5, 2021 Holiday on the Avenue in Scotia
Begins Sunday, Dec 5, 2021 Troy Victorian Stroll
Saturday, Dec 11, 2021 Christmas in Esperance
Sunday, Dec 19, 2021 Annual Victorian Holiday Celebration, Altamont NY


Holiday Theater (or just fun-for-the-family theater) Performances


Wed, Nov 24, 2021 The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical at The Palace Theatre
Dec 3-5, 2021 It's a Wonderful Life Live Radio Play at Theatre Institute of Sage
Dec 6, 2021 Santa' Sing-a-Long at Cohoes Music Hall
Sun Dec 12, 2021 Christmas Oratorio at UPH
Dec 17, 18, 19, 2021 A Christmas Carol - The Farmers' Museum (Check in Nov to see if Virtual or in Person)
Weekends in December, depending on location Princess Holiday Caroling Visits


Sat, Nov 27 & Dec 4 and Fri, Dec 10 & 17, 2021     

New Paltz Ballet presents The Nutcracker at Rocking Horse Ranch

Sat, Dec 11 & Sun Dec 12, 2021

Albany Berkshire Ballet's Nutcracker at The Egg

Sat Dec 18, 2021

Saratoga City Ballet's Nutcracker at The Egg

Sat Dec 18, 2021

Saratoga Springs Youth Ballet's Nutcracker at U Albany

 Wed Dec 22 & Thurs Dec 23, 2021      

Northeast Ballet's Nutcracker at Proctors


Holiday Concerts

Sat, Nov 27, 2021

Poinsettia Pops with the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra at UPH

Fri, Dec 3, 2021

Jonathan Antoine's ChristmasLand Live! at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

 Sun, Dec 5, 2021

The Magic Christmas at The Palace Theatre

Tue, Dec 7, 2021

Cherish the Ladies 'Celtic Christmas' at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

Sat, Dec 11, 2021

Albany Symphony - The Nutcracker

Fri, Dec 17, 2021

It's a JAZZY Christmas at Proctors

Sat, Dec 18, 2021

It's a JAZZY Christmas at UPH in Saratoga

 Sat, Dec 18, 2021

The McKrell's Christmas Show at The Egg

Sun, Dec 19, 2021

The Spirit of the Holidays An ESYO Holiday Spectacular

 Sun, Dec 19, 2021

The Many Moods of Christmas at  Troy Savings Bank Music Hall


Christmas Tree Experience

  Cut Your Own Tree at Ellms Family Farm
  Cut Your Own Tree at Ioka Valley Farm
  Cut Your Own Tree at Bob's Trees
  Cut Your Own Tree at Bailey's Trees
Sat Dec 4-Thur Dec 23, 2021 Festival of Trees at Schenectady Historical Society


Holiday Lights

Fri Nov 26, 2021 - Sun Jan 2, 2022

Price Chopper/Market 32 Holiday Lights in Washington Park


Begins Thanksgiving Nov 25, 2021

Santa's Play Land Open House


Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021

Holiday Lights Drive-Thru Parade at BH-BL High School


Fridays Nov 26, Dec 3, Dec 10, Dec 17

Lighting the Blue Lights at Rocking Horse Ranch


Saturday, Nov 20 - Monday, January 3

Schenectady Illuminocity


Crafty Christmas 

 Sat Nov 6, 2021

Herb-Infused Holiday Candles at Clermont

 Fri Nov 12, 2021

Woodland Stroll Paint and Sip at Art in Mind

Sat Nov 13, 2021

Cedar, Seed Pods, and Sumac: Crafting Winter Centerpieces at Clermont

Sat Nov 27, 2021

Holiday Wreath Making at CREATE Community Studios in Schenectady

 Sat Nov 27, 2021

Decorating with Native Greenery at Landis Arboretum

 Sun Nov 28, 2021

Starry Night Light-Up Bottle Paint and Sip at Art in Mind

Sat Dec 11, 2021

Sinterklaas Gourds Workshop at Schenectady County Historical Society

Sat Dec 11, 2021

Yule Log Class


Festive Flicks

Sat Nov 27, 2021

Polar Express is playing at select Regal Cinemas

Mon Dec 6, 2021

Die Hard at The Palace Theatre

Sat Dec 11, 2021

Elf is playing at select Regal Cinemas

Mon Dec 13, 2021

Love, Actually at The Palace Theatre

Wed Dec 15, 2021

An Evening with Chevy Chase and a screening of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Sat Dec 18, 2021

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at select Regal Cinemas

Sun Dec 19, 2021

Bolshoi Ballet's The Nutcracker (2021 Encore) at select Regal Cinemas

Mon Dec 20, 2021

The Muppet Christmas Carol at the Palace Theatre

 Thurs Dec 23, 2021

It's a Wonderful Life at The Palace Theatre


Ice Skating (mostly indoor facilities and shows) 


limited public skate on weekend

Bethlehem YMCA

Public Skate every Saturday and Sunday 2 pm-3:50 pm

Capital Arena in Clifton Park

Public Skate on Sundays from 2-3:45 pm

Messa Rink at Union College

Check monthly schedule

Schenectady County Recreational Facilities

Opening Friday, December 3, 2021

Empire State Plaza

Opening December 10th

Schenectady River Rink - new outdoor rink at Mohawk Harbor

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Holiday Happiness Ice Skating Show

Fri Jan 14 - Mon Jan 16

Disney on Ice (not technically holiday, but family fun!)

still closed this 2021-2022 season:



Knickerbacker Ice Arena in Troy



 Tue Nov 30, 2021

Baby & Tot Love Chanukah




Kwanzaa Umojo Community Celebration in Hudson (not confirmed)

 Sunday December 26, 2021 - Saturday, January 1, 2022

Kwanzaa Celebrations  at different venues held by the Capital Region Kwanzaa Coaltion


An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Nov 26, 27, 2021 Thanksgiving at The Farm - Farmers' Museum
Nov 28-29, Dec 5-5, Dec 12-13, Dec 19-20, 2021 Christmas Land at the Vineyard
The first three weekends of December 2021 Holiday Lantern Tours at the Farmers' Museum
Dec 11 - 12, 2021 Christmas in Museum Village
Begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs every Saturday and Sunday through Dec 23, from noon to 4 pm, plus Dec 24 from noon - 2:30 pm Dickens Christmas at Skaneateles
Tues Dec 28, 2021 A Mabee Christmas Carol 
Tue Dec 14 & Fri Dec 18, 2021 Holiday Stockade Stroll with the Schenectady County Historical Society
Awaiting confirmation for 2021  
  Christmas at Clermont Open House
  Winter Wonderland: A Children's Walking Tour of Clermont
  Pruyn House Holiday Open House
  Holiday American Girl Tea with Samantha Parkington


Shopping & Craft Fairs 

Fri Nov 19 - Sun Nov 21 Country Folk Art Craft Show at HVCC
through Dec 19, 2021 Shaker Holiday Market
Nov 27, 2021 Saratoga Annual Holiday Craft Fair
Sat Nov 27 - Sun Nov 28, 2021 Holiday Express Gift Show at Colonie Center
Thursdays to Sundays beginning Nov 27, 2021  Artisan's Market at Brookside Museum
Dec 3 - 12, 2021 Rotterdam Christmas Market at Viaport
Sat Dec 4, 2021 Holiday Market at Irish American Heritage Museum
Sat Dec 4 - Sun Dec 5, 2021 Holiday Bazaar at Thacher Nature Center
 Sat Dec 11, 2021 Indoor Craft Fair at Samascott's Garden Market
Unconfirmed for 2021  
  Christmas Open House at The Garden Bug in Amsterdam
  Holiday Art & Craft Fair at Arkell Museum
  Faddegon's Holiday Open House
  Home for the Holidays Show at Colonie Center
  Taste NY Holiday Market at the NY State Museum
  Rudolph's Runway at Colonie Center



New Year's Eve

 Dec 31, 2021

Ring in the New Year at Rocking Horse Ranch

 Dec 31, 2021

Torchlight and Fireworks Show at Stowe

 Dec 31, 2021

New Year's Eve Celebration at Windham Mountain

Unconfirmed for 2021 (so far)  

First Night Saratoga


First Night Bethlehem


Torchlight and Fireworks Show at Stowe



Beginning Friday, Nov 26, 2021

Model Train Show at miSci

Sun Dec 5, 2021

Great Train Extravaganza at Empire State Plaza

Sat Dec 11, 2021

Albany Last 5 K Run

Sat Dec 18, 2021

Winter Solstice Celebration at Olana


what typically happens


Rock for Tots in Waterford


Saratoga County Convey for Tots



If you are affiliated with a business hosting a holiday event that should be on our calendar, we'd love to see it there...it's free to post! Click here for instructions about how to add your organization to our list and easily post your events to our calendar!

If we're missing an activity that should be on our list, please email Katie Beltramo, Albany editor of KidsOutAndAbout.com, at katie@kidsoutandabout.com. Please make sure to include a link to the event when you email. Thank you!