From dazzling floats (bring your sweet tooth!) to idyllic Victorian streetscapes, our favorite holiday strolls this year
Street lights dressed for the season, a nip in the air, the warmth of a little hand in yours – it must be stroll season. As Capital Region natives, we dare Mother Nature to keep us inside during the holidays, and there are outdoor events from Rhinebeck to Saratoga Springs standing ready to call our bluff. Ready for the challenge? Here’s what some of our favorite annual events have planned this year – so break out that new scarf you’ve been dying to show off and turn on your holiday spirit!
Saturday, November 23
51st Annual Holiday Parade
Downtown Schenectady • discoverschenectady.com
Cookies, cakes, and candy, oh my! Downtown Schenectady’s parade of lights kicks off the holiday season with a mouth‐watering “Sugar Rush” theme, promising floats adorned with Candyland‐worthy houses, candy cane forests, and costumed gingerbread men marching with the performers, bands and fire trucks. The parade steps off at 5 pm, but make sure to get there early and armed with a thermos of hot chocolate and a blanket for the littles to camp out on. Watch their delight as the largest nighttime parade in the northeast rolls by culminating with the landing of the big man in red…Santa!
Saturday, November 30
Sinterklaas Send‐Off Celebration
Kingston • sinterklaashudsonvalley.com
This holiday tradition harkens back to the Dutch traditions of the Hudson Valley. Blending crafts, vendors, art markets and food, this celebration is a feast of fantasy and a sight to behold. Family‐friendly activities begin at noon in downtown Kingston. But the highlight of the festivities is the parade that kicks off at dusk and heads straight to the waterfront to send off Sinterklaas (the Dutch iteration of Saint Nicholas) on his week‐long journey across the river.
Saturday, December 7
Rhinebeck • sinterklaashudsonvalley.com
His week‐long journey completed, Sinterklaas is joyously welcomed home to the eastern shore of the Hudson with dance, music and theatrical performances throughout the village of Rhinebeck (don’t miss the Crowns and Branches workshop!) More than 250 performers will be on display this year, ensuring something special for everyone. The day of family fun is capped off by the magical Children’s Starlight Parade at 6 pm. The two‐story tall puppets will delight the child in all!
Thursday, December 5
Saratoga Springs Victorian Streetwalk
Saratoga Springs • saratoga.com
Old‐fashioned Christmas cards come to life with costumed performers, carolers, candlelit trees and Victorian holiday magic. Adorned storefronts up and down Broadway invite strollers in for warmth and loads of shopping (all of the holiday hoopla will get you in the mood). Down the street at the City Center, the Festival of Trees offers inspiration to even the grinchiest of folks in the decking of their halls. Santa and Mrs. Claus make their dramatic entrance to the sound of carols and the jingle of sleigh bells, while Mayor Meg Kelly has the honor of lighting the tree, ushering in the holiday season. More than 40 sites around Broadway offer merry entertainment, while eateries such as Hamlet & Ghost and Cantina serve up treats for extra cheer.
Thursday, December 7
Hudson Winter Walk
Hudson • hudsonhall.org
Troops of costumed carolers, Mr. & Mrs. Claus with their reindeer, storefronts aglow, and fireworks over the river all come together for this much‐anticipated holiday happening. Warren Street will welcome more than 20,000 visitors to the decorated street for an evening of holiday merriment, shopping, wonderful food and mugs of cheer!
Sunday, December 8
37th Annual Troy Victorian Stroll
Downtown Troy • victorianstroll.com
The northeast’s largest free holiday festival is in its 37th year and once again celebrates the season in high Victorian style. Downtown Troy bustles with food trucks, local vendors, children’s exhibits and special presentations. More than 100 live performances throughout the day will delight your senses and ignite your holiday spirit. Local storefronts don their holiday best for the annual shop window decoration competition and offer wonderful samples and specials for the occasion. The eateries (hit up favorites such as the Illium Café, Mudaddy Flats, and Hudson‐Chatham Winery) around Monument Square are ready with warming treats to take the chill off.