Guide to Must-Do Events for Madison Newbies

A week after my husband and I moved to Madison 14 years ago, we decided to take a walk in to town on a beautiful fall Saturday morning. What we came across made us fall even more deeply in love with Madison—our first Bottle Hill Day. Thinking back, if we hadn’t stumbled upon it, we would not have known about the amazing event. Maybe we would have heard people mention “Bottle Hill Day,” but we would have had no clue what it was.

So, to help out all the newbies in the area, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite don’t-miss events in Madison (mostly family events). I’ve blogged about many of them individually already, so I’ve included links for more info. The first not-to-be-missed event is coming up next Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, so be sure to mark your calendars!



Holiday Arts Festival

When: Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. For 2018, it is Fri, Nov 23 from noon-6pm; Saturday, Nov 24 from 1-5pm.

What: 35 free art, music, and theater events/performances. Click here for the schedule.

Where: 12 venues throughout the center of Madison (see schedule link above). Information tent at the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts at the corner of Main St and Green Village Rd.

Personal Note: Such a fun way to start off the holiday season—enjoy songs and shows while you wander around town starting your holiday shopping.

Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting

When: Friday after Thanksgiving. In 2018, Nov. 23, parade starts at 5:30pm, followed by the tree lighting

What: Annual evening holiday parade

Where: Parade runs along Main Street from Prospect St. (by Nautilus Diner) to Green Village Rd (Museum of Early trades and Crafts). Tree lighting after the parade is at Waverly Place/Main Street.

Personal Note: Going to this parade always makes me feel like I’m in a Norman Rockwell painting. Such a beautiful town!


A Visit with Santa

When: Starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving, through just before Christmas. In 2018, starts Saturday, Nov 24. Monday, Wednesday & Friday 1-5:30pm; Sat & Sun, 12:30-5pm

What: Kids will love visiting Santa in his little house! For details, visit Santa’s Facebook page “Madison Santa.”

Where: In Santa’s House in front of the Madison Train Station along Kings Road

Personal Note: Madison has the BEST Santa!

Hanukkah Menorah Lighting

When: During one of the nights of Hanukkah. Check Web site for dates. For 2018, the menorah lighting is Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 6pm.

What: The Chabad of SE Morris County travels around to local towns to hold a community Hanukkah menorah lighting. After the lighting and some singing, everyone is invited to the Hartley Dodge Bldg for latkes, donuts, and chocolate gelt!

Where: The menorah is in front of the train station, along Kings Road.


Easter Fun Fest

When: A Saturday before Easter

What: Kids visit local businesses in downtown Madison to collect Easter candy. The Easter Bunny visits, too!

Where: Shops in downtown Madison

Opening Day of Baseball and Softball parade

When: Saturday in mid-April

What: Parade of baseball and softball players, from kindergarten through high school to celebrate the opening day

Where: Parade starts at Main St/Green Village Road, and makes its way to Dodge Field at Central Ave/Chapel St for the opening ceremony.

Personal Note: We’ve loved watching our kids in the parade for the past 7 years! So cute to see the progression from tiny kindergartners holding their parents’ hands through high schoolers who tower over their coaches.



May Day

When: First Saturday in May.

What: Groups and individual residents can help clean up Madison, spreading mulch, weeding, and planting.

Where: Various locations in Madison.

More info in my blog here.


Farmer’s Market

When: Thursdays, from 2pm-7pm, from late May through late October

What: Great farmer’s market featuring fresh produce and other goods from local farms and small businesses, along with live music

Where: On Central Ave, between Cook Ave and Main Street

*** New in 2018, they are extending the market indoors at the Madison Community Arts Center (10 Kings Road) for the first Harvest Market from November 1st through December 20th. 

Giralda Music & Arts Festival

When: Usually the last Sunday evening in June

What: Family-friendly outdoor concert by the NJ Symphony. Families can picnic and also have their picnic judged to possibly win prizes.

Where: On the grounds of Giralda office park along Madison Ave.

More info in my blog here.

Downtown Concert Series

When: Various Friday evenings in the summer through early September

What: Local bands play on the lawn while residents can bring dinner and sit to enjoy the music.

Where: The lawn of Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, with seating along closed Green Village Rd.


Bottle Hill Day

When: Usually the first Saturday in October, about 10am-5pm.

What: HUGE annual street festival with food, crafts, musical performances, kid amusements, beer garden, and car show.

Where: Along the closed streets of down Madison, along Central Ave, Waverly Place, Kings Road.


More info in my blog here.

Halloween Hoopla

When: Usually the Saturday before Halloween. Parade usually starts at 12, followed by magic show, then trick-or-treating.

What: Halloween costume parade, magic show, and trick-or-treating around Madison businesses

Where: Parade usually starts at on Kings Road, then up Green Village Rd, down Kings Rd, and ends at Waverly Place by the train tracks.

More info in my blog here.