24 Festive Things to Do in Delaware in the Winter: Activities and Christmas Events

Merry Christmas outline on beach

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If you’re thinking about coming to Delaware this winter to get into the Christmas spirit – do it!

Delaware is an excellent spot for a weekend or even a day trip because of its proximity to so many major cities; NYC, Philly, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. are all less than 3 hours away.

Another great reason to visit Delaware is its size; it only takes about an hour and a half to drive from north to south, so you can get a lot of ground covered (quite literally) in just a few days.

December weather in Delaware is relatively mild, with a low of  30°F and a high of 50°F, so you can still enjoy many indoor and outdoor activities, especially in the daytime. 

You might not think there are many things to do in Delaware in the winter, but this guide will definitely prove you wrong. 

We’ve put together a list of favorite activities as well as Christmas events in Delaware you can enjoy.

If your travel plans are leaning more toward autumn, you can check out the best things to do in Delaware in the fall. 

Delaware Christmas Events

You can find wintery and Christmas-themed events all over the state starting from early November and extending into early January.

In New Castle County, you can tour historic homes decorated for the season, grab a drink at a Christmas-inspired bar, and take a train ride through some of the most beautiful scenery.

Heading to Kent County, you can go ice skating (or opt for the bumper cars on ice), walk through a replica of a late 19th-century village turned into a winter wonderland, and go Christmas caroling.

You can start off your Christmas adventures in Sussex County by shopping at an artisan fair, bringing the family to an enchanted winter wonderland, or staying warm indoors watching a professional theater production of a Christmas musical.

Let’s take a look at what festive events take place around Delaware starting with New Castle County.

Things to Do in New Castle County, DE for Christmas 

New Castle has many amazing things you can do during the Christmas season, especially if you’re into history. 

You can wander the halls of the gorgeous mansions in Wilmington or walk through some of the historic areas that will take you back a few centuries, or just hang out with the locals and watch the parades.

Want to know all of the best things to do in Wilmington, DE? Read this guide.

Yuletide Winterthur

There’s never a bad time to visit Wilmington’s Winterthur (5105 Kennett Pike), but it is especially popular in the winter when the Yuletide exhibit is on.

This is where you can see and hear all about the history of America’s Christmas traditions.

Wilmington Christmas Parade 

The Wilmington Christmas Parade has been a tradition for generations.

Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, you can watch local dance troupes, marching bands, floats, antique cars, and more lead the way for Santa to make his first appearance of the season.

The parade usually takes place at 5th and Market Streets in downtown Wilmington.

Wilmington and Western Railroad Holiday Lights Express

Take a seat on the festively decorated 100-year-old coach and enjoy the Wilmington and Western Railroad Holiday Lights Express ride through Red Clay Valley as you try to spot some of the decorated homes and other festivities.

Holiday Season at Nemours 

Head to Wilmington to see the “American Versailles” lit up at the Holiday Season at Nemours as you tour the French-style mansion and try to spot all 17 Christmas trees on display.

The Christmas Spirit at Historic New Castle 

Every second weekend in December, Historic New Castle goes back in time for a town-wide celebration that has become a must-do activity, with the historic homes offering tours that would fit into A Christmas Carol.

Tour the Historic House of Odessa

Historic Odessa (201 Main Street) is the perfect combination of Christmas and American History.

Visit the historic house turned into an exhibition of classic children’s literature.

There are candlelight tours, festive food demonstrations, decorations, and card making for the whole family.

Candlelight Theatre

Arden’s Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Rd) was the first dinner theater to open in the state over 50 years ago and puts on a Christmas show every year.

Different shows are showcased every season and tickets you purchase includes your meal.

Holidays at Hagley

Whether you’re looking for a unique thing to do in Delaware for Christmas or simply want to learn more about the holiday’s history, visiting Hagley’s Library and Museum (298 Buck Road) is sure to be a memorable experience.

Each year, the Holidays at Hagley in Wilmington chooses a new theme for the inspiration of their Christmas activities like gingerbread house making, tours of the DuPont family home, visits from Santa, twilight tours, and more.

Skate at Riverfront Rink

Skating at the Riverfront Rink (308 Justison St) in Wilmington, Delaware is a great way to enjoy the Christmas season.

The rink offers a great view of the city and is open from Thanksgiving to February.

Skating at night is especially magical because the lights give the rink a bit of extra sparkle. 

Try Drinks at Blitzen Bar 

Open only from mid-November until Christmas Eve, Wilmington’s Blitzen Bar pop-up has got cocktails like “Santa’s Cough Syrup” and “Moose Milk” that you have to try at least once.

The Sleigh Bar 

From early November until early January, Klondike Kate’s (158 E Main St) in Newark transforms into The Sleigh Bar, and every aspect of it- from the decorations to the food and the drinks, becomes a Christmas dream come true and is a great spot for a holiday-themed date night.

For more date night ideas, read this guide full of the most romantic things to do in Delaware.

Things to Do in Kent County, DE for Christmas

Get into the spirit with a spin around the ice skating rink or a stroll through a Christmas Market, and you definitely don’t want to miss the chance to experience the immersive 19th-century winter wonderland!

Enjoy the festive events happening around towns in Kent County like Harrington and Dover.

Visit Bobola Farm & Florist

Bobola Farm and Florist (5268 Forrest Ave) has what you need to make your house festive and beautiful during Christmas.

This local flower shop offers pre-cut Christmas trees for customers, as well as a variety of products like garlands, wreaths, and holiday decorations.

Head to the Centre Ice Arena

Even though it is (nearly) open year-round, Harrington’s Centre Ice Arena (644 Rd 316) at the Delaware State Fairgrounds is a spot to take the family for ice skating and bumper cars on ice.

During winter, you can also find events like ice hockey and figure skating being held here.

Milford Christmas Market and Holiday Stroll

The Milford Christmas Market and Holiday Stroll is a chance to shop local, sing carols, and eat great food in the historic downtown area. 

A Farmer’s Christmas 

From late November to mid-December, the Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village in Dover becomes a late 19th-century winter wonderland for A Farmer’s Christmas, complete with hot cider, holiday crafts for the kids, and traditional Christmas caroling.

Things to Do in Sussex County, DE for Christmas 

Sussex County is not only home to beautiful beach towns like Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach but also to fun activities that are worth at least a weekend getaway to start off your holiday season right. 

You might not think that going to the beach in December is the best option, but you can check out parades and Christmas theatre shows, go shopping, meet Santa, and having fun in local winter wonderlands.

Want to visit the Delaware beaches in the summer? This guide has all you need to know for your next summer vacation.

Winter Wonderfest

Milton’s Winter Wonderfest is a one-mile drive through their light spectacular, “Fields of Christmas Dreams”.

It is also a charitable organization that raises money for local community charities.

The Lewes Christmas Parade

At the themed Lewes Christmas Parade, you’ll see everything from antique cars to marching bands.

After the parade, everyone is invited to join the Mayor in the lighting of the Christmas tree in Zwaanendael Park followed by candlelight caroling in the park.

You may also like our guide to Lewes.

Lewes Private Beach Delaware house

City of Rehoboth Tree Lighting and Sing-a-long

The City of Rehoboth Tree Lighting and Sing-a-long is a community favorite.

You can watch the tree light up and enjoy some Christmas caroling in downtown Rehoboth.

Holiday Happenings In Bethany

On the three Saturdays leading up to Christmas, Holiday Happenings In Bethany will have photos with Santa, a cocoa crawl, an “Elf On the Shelf” scavenger hunt, and more. 

This annual event is held in downtown Bethany Beach.

Bethany Beach, Delaware, USA. A long, low band of beautiful white clouds along the beach on the Atlantic Ocean.

Explore the Biggest Christmas Store in Delaware

Rehoboth offers more than just beautiful beaches- it also boasts a variety of unique shops that are perfect for holiday shopping. 

You can visit Rehoboth and explore Christmas Spirit (129 Rehoboth Ave), the biggest Christmas store in Delaware.

The store is full of Christmas decorations, trees, and ornaments and you can find everything you need to decorate your home for Christmas. 

Rehoboth Art League Holiday Fair

Get a jump start on your holiday shopping at the Rehoboth Art League Holiday Fair, which features a variety of artisans exhibiting and selling their work, including jewelry, glasswork, ceramics, mixed media, and more.

Tax-Free Christmas Shopping

One of the most popular reasons for visiting Delaware is to take advantage of the tax-free shopping. 

Tanger Outlets is located near Rehoboth Beach and features well-known brand names such as Calvin Klein and Nike.

Ideal for holiday shopping at a discounted price!

Clear Space Theatre

Stay warm indoors at Clear Space Theatre (20 Baltimore Ave) in Rehoboth and watch a holiday-inspired show.

In previous years, they’ve done shows that the whole family will love, like Elf, A Christmas Story, and Frozen.

Schellville Enchanted Winter Celebration

Bring your friends and family to the Schellville Enchanted Winter Celebration in Rehoboth for snowball battles, visits with Santa, a Christmas village (with 18 miniature decorated houses), live entertainment, a beer garden, crafts, food by local vendors, and more.

Final Thoughts

Anywhere you end up in Delaware this winter, you’ll see lots of twinkling lights, opportunities to see the historical side of the season, and Santa sightings!

If you love Delaware at Christmastime, you’ll love it even more in the summer; use these guides to plan your trips to Rehoboth Beach, Lewes Beach, Bethany Beach, or Dewey Beach.

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