Winter is settling in and many are experiencing pandemic fatigue, dreading a long season of quarantining at home. For now, though, there are still many safe options to keep you busy over the next few months. Here a few local ideas to consider:


Snow Sports – For the outdoor enthusiast, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and tubing will be mostly unaffected by the coronavirus. Check out local spots like Campgaw Mountain or Mount Peter or take a day trip (about 1.5 hours) to the Poconos for even more options.


Holiday Lights – Enjoy some of the local drive-thru holiday light displays at Demarest Farms, Skylands Stadium or PNC Bank Arts Center. Some include holiday markets, fire pits and kids activities and are open thru the end of December or even into January. You can also keep it simple and drive or walk around your local neighborhood to admire holiday decorations.

Zoos & Gardens – The local Bergen County Zoo is open and offering free admission all winter long. Ice skating will also be available in Van Saun Park. The Bronx Zoo is open year round and currently has a nightly holiday light display. Both the New Jersey & New York Botanical Gardens are a great option for some winter forest bathing.


Volunteer – Band together with friends and spend a few hours serving meals, organizing donations, or cleaning up at a local charity. Call or do some online research to see whether organizations are taking volunteers, how many, and what their COVID-19 guidelines are. If you’d prefer not to volunteer in person, consider holding a clothing, food or supply drive or hosting an online fundraiser to raise much needed monetary donations.


American Dream – If you’re looking for some indoor fun, the new American Dream Mall in East Rutherford has many options to choose from, including the Nickelodeon Universe indoor amusement park, DreamWorks Water Park, themed mini golf, Big Snow indoor skiing and public ice skating at The Rink.