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Boston Holiday Lights Events and Celebrations 2020

Festive Holiday Lights & Celebrations in Massachusetts and beyondBoston Holiday Lights and Drive-Thru Christmas Displays

photo credit: City of Boston

While 2020 has been a challenging year for events and festivities, you can still find lots of joyful holiday light displays in the area.  Below are some fun holiday traditions that have been re-imagined for safety this year.  

Boston

Christopher Columbus Park Trellis Lighting - Boston
November 23, 2020 at 5:00pm

Located at 110 Atlantic Avenue on Boston’s historic waterfront, Christopher Columbus Park will be transformed into a beautiful holiday display when the park’s 260 feet of trellis are illuminated with 50,000 blue lights along with 14 decorated trees at the Christopher Columbus Park Trellis Lighting.  

Boston Holiday Lights Christopher Columbus Trellisphoto courtesy of Friends of Christopher Columbus Park

Boston Common Tree and Festive Lights - VIRTUAL Lighting
Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and The Honourable Karen Casey, Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia, will celebrate the 79th Annual Boston Common Tree Lighting Spectacular VIRTUALLY on Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on WCVB-TV.

The usual festivities surrounding the lighting will not take place this year, but everyone will be able to enjoy the lights all around the common thru January. 

Boston Holiday Lights

photo courtesy of Boston Magazine

Commonwealth Avenue Mall 

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and The Committee for the  Lighting of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall will light the trees on the Mall immediately following the Boston Common Tree Lighting.  Trees along the Mall will be illuminated with elegant white lights all winter.

The usual festivities surrounding the lighting will not take place this year, but everyone will be able to enjoy the lights thru January. 

Boston Holiday Lights Commonwealth Mall

photo credit: Boston.gov

Copley Square Tree Lighting - VIRTUAL (WCVB-5)
Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 5:00pm - 6:00pm 

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and The Friends of Copley Square will welcome revelers virtually to the annual Copley Square Tree Lighting. The usual festivities surrounding the lighting will not take place this year, but everyone will be able to enjoy the lights thru January. 

Boston Holiday Lights Copley Place

photo credit: Milford Street

NORTH

North Shore Holiday Lights Show - Haverhill
November 19, 2020 - December 30, 2020

The North Holiday Light Show is the only drive-through holiday light spectacular on the North Shore - featuring dozens of dazzling, larger-than-life holiday themed displays to delight the entire family.

 

Castle Hill Illuminated - Ipswich
November 28, 2020 - January 10, 2021

Experience the magic of the Winter Solstice as a multi-sensory experience in the landscape.  The 40-minute Castle Hill Illuminated show featuring music, narration, and lights will take you from scene to scene around the exterior of the Great House.

Warm up by our campfires while you wait for the show to start. Hot chocolate and coffee available for purchase. 

Boston Holiday Lights Castle Hill Illuminated

photo courtesy of Trustees of Reservations

Gift of Lights at NH Motor Speedway - Loudon, NH
November 26, 2020 - January 3, 2021

It’s time for New Hampshire Motor Speedway to trade in the checkered flags for more than 2.5 million twinkly LED lights for the 10th annual Gift of Lights at NH Motor Speedway . The 2.5-mile drive-thru light show will feature the Tunnel of Lights , 520 displays and 80 different scenes.

Boston Holiday Lights Drive Through

photo credit: kcasso81 (IG)

Somerville's Illuminations Holiday Tour - Somerville, MA
December 12 - December 30, 2020

Come celebrate the folk artistry of residents who transform their houses and yards with lights, ornaments, and shrines of devotion and fantasy.  Somerville's Illumination Holiday Tour will self-guided for the 2020 season, and will not include the tradition trolley ride. 

A Google Map is being created (available Dec. 12) for people to use as a guide for their own socially distanced tour.

Boston Holiday Lights Somerville Illuminated

photo courtesy of Somerville Arts Council

Zoolights at Stone Zoo - Stoneham, MA
November 27, 2020 - January 3, 2021

Zoolights at Stone Zoo's  winter wonderland will take visitors on a one-way stroll through the Zoo, along tree-lined paths lit by twinkling lights. Spanning the 26 acres of Stone Zoo, visitors will walk through the beautifully lit Yukon Creek and see black bears, a bald eagle, Canada lynx, arctic foxes, and even reindeer!

Boston Holiday Lights Zoolights

photo courtesy of Stone Zoo

SOUTH

La Salette Festival of Holiday Lights - Attleboro, MA
November 26, 2020 - January 3, 2021

La Salette Festival of Holiday Lights is one of the most beloved and popular Christmas displays in the state. Featuring: 300,000 Lights illuminating over 10 acres of winter wonderland.

The event is held at The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, so many of the displays celebrate the spiritual side of the holidays.

Boston Holiday Lights La Salette

photo credit: Robert Gillis / La Salette Shrine 

Magic of Lights at Gillette Stadium - Foxboro, MA
November 13, 2020 - January 2, 2021

Magic of Lights at Gillette Stadium is a dazzling, drive-through holiday lights experience featuring favorite holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations. 

Experience Magic of Lights from the comfort and safety of your own car as you wind through the sparkling path of Foxboro’s favorite holiday tradition. One carload, one price.

Boston Holiday Lights Magic of Lights Gillettephoto courtesy of Magic of Lights

Roger Williams Drive-Thru Holiday Lights Spectacular - Providence
December 10, 2020 - January 10, 2021

Brighten your holidays and celebrate the magic of the season with Roger Williams Park Zoo! Bring family and friends to experience Holiday Lights Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo – an all new drive-through experience just in time for the holidays.

Featuring dozens of luminous displays and over 1.5 million illuminated lights, it’s the most wonderful way to ring in the holidays!

 

Holiday Wonderland: Newport Mansions - Newport, RI
November 21, 2020 - January 10 2021

Celebrate the Holidays at the Newport Mansions 2020 - both indoors and outdoors!  For the first time, the exterior of The Breakers and its landscape will be awash in thousands of festive colored lights, including 28 spruce trees glittering and glowing.

The Children’s Cottage will be outlined in lights and visitors will be able to peek through the windows at Santa’s Workshop inside. Holiday music will fill the air.  

Holiday Lights Newport Mansions

photo courtesy of Newport Mansions

Sparkling Lights at the Breakers: An Outdoor Wonderland - Newport
November 21, 2020 - January 10, 2021

The exterior of The Breakers and its landscape will be sparkling with 28 spruce trees covered in holiday lights; three large decorated evergreen trees at the house entrance; and illumination of the historic paths & hedges as visitors stroll the grounds.

Holiday Lights Breakers Newportphoto credit: Louis Walker III 

Middleborough Festival of Lights: A Drive Thru Holiday Light Show
December 12, 13, 19, 20, 2020

The 7th Annual Middleborough Festival of Lights will take place on December 12, 13, 19 and 20 from 4:00pm- 9:00pm at the Boston/Cape Cod KOA. Unlike previous years, 2020 will be a drive-thru only event.

Drive through acres decorated with over 500,000 lights including the all new Candy Cane Forest and Reindeer Row. Bring your own drinks and snacks, and tune into your favorite radio station with holiday music from the warmth of your car. 

 

Gardens Aglow: A Celebration of Holiday Lights - Sandwich
November 27 - December 27, 2020

Gardens Aglow is an OUTDOOR ONLY experience for 2020. Join us for the celebration of lights that has become a treasured holiday tradition. This event features beautiful light displays throughout the gardens, as well as many activities throughout the grounds:

  • Roast marshmallows at the fire pits
  • Participate in a reindeer scavenger hunt
  • Eat festive treats, drink hot beverages, and warm yourself up at the Magnolia Café
  • Visit Santa Claus at the Outdoor Stage
  • Enjoy Cape Cod Donuts, a warming area, games, and music at the Parade Field
  • Capture your experience at fun photo opportunities throughout the grounds
  • Shop for fabulous holiday gifts at The Shop at Heritage
  • Stroll the gardens with family and friends, and enjoy Heritage in a whole new light

Boston Holiday Lights Gardens Aglow Sandwich

photo courtesy of Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce

Marshfield Drive-Thru Holiday Lights Display - Marshfield
November 19 - December 23, 2020

The Holiday Lights display at the Marshfield Fairgrounds is returning for its second year for those looking for a drive-thru lights display on the South Shore.

Visitors will get to enjoy dozens of large displays along the mile, and they’ll twinkle in sync with a radio program as you drive through the course.

photo courtesy of Marshfield Holiday Lights IG

 

Lobster Pot Tree - Provincetown, MA
November 28, 2020 - January 3, 2021

This cool tradition in Provincetown (yep, it's built out of lobster pots and a giant anchor), is truly an impressive sight to behold.  As with most 2020 lighting events, no fanfare or activities will surround the official lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree (there will be a virtual video released on 11/28).  The tree will then be on display for all to enjoy in Lopez Square.

Boston Holiday Lights Provincetown Lobster Pot Tree

photo credit: Julian Popko

WEST

Greater Boston Celebration of Lights - Waltham
November 27, 2020 - January 3, 2021

The Waltham Lions present a new Drive-Through Holiday Light Show at the Former Fernald School.  Enjoy a 1 mile of a glittering lights display featuring of over 1 million LED lights and animatronic scenes for you to enjoy from the safety and comfort of your car.

Listen to festive music played through FM radio in your own vehicle during this safe, holiday experience.

Boston Holiday Lights Waltham photo courtesy of Great Boston Celebration of Lights

Festival of Trees and Snow Village at Mass Hort - Wellesley
November 27, 2020 - December 20, 2020

Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s Festival of Trees showcases dozens of decorated trees as well as Snow Village, including a model railroad display.

The Festival offers beautifully decorated holiday trees that are donated and decorated by local businesses, garden clubs and other organizations, and individuals. Visitors ‘vote’ with their raffle tickets, selecting the tree they would like to win at the end of the event.  

Outside there will also be decorations in The Gardens at Elm Bank.  Visitors can keep warm and cozy melting S’mores at the fire pit.  This is a visual treat for young and old alike and each year it is a little different.

Boston Holiday Lights Festival of Trees

photo courtesy of Mass Horticultural Society

Boston Holiday Lights Mass Hort Wellesley

photo courtesy of Mass Horticultural Society

Winter Lights at Southwick Zoo - Milford, MA
November 27, 2020 - January 3, 2021

Join us for our annual holiday-themed event: Winter Lights at Southwick Zoo! This year’s Winter Wonderland guests will stay warm and cozy in their vehicles as they drive through the zoo to admire light displays.

Boston Holiday Lights Southwick Zoo

photo courtesy of Southwick Zoo

 

Six Flags Holiday Lights - Agawam
11/27/2020 - 1/2/2021

While the rides at Six Flags New England are still closed for the rest of the season, prospective parkgoers are invited drop by for a one-way stroll through the park to enjoy over a million lights decorating the grounds at Six Flags Holiday Lights 2020..

massachusetts holiday lights six flags agawam

photo courtesy of Six Flags New England

Winter Lights at Naumkeag & Bradley Estate - Stockbridge & Canton
SOLD OUT!
11/27/2020 - 1/2/2021

Two of our beautiful garden properties will sparkle with thousands of shimmering, artfully designed holiday lights at Winter Lights. Bring the whole family for a magical, fun, and safe outdoor experience – with food, refreshments, and more.

Boston Holiday Lights Naumkeag

photo courtesy of Trustees of Reservations

Bright Nights at Forest Park - Springfield, MA
November 27 , 2020 - January 5, 2021

Bright Nights is New England's largest holiday lighting display. Enjoy the wonders of Seuss Land, Jurassic World, Toy Land, North Pole Village, and many more from the comfort of your own car.

Visitors can tune their car radio to 98.5 FM to enjoy holiday music. Don't forget to stop at 'Bright Nights Gift Stop' for refreshments and souvenirs!

Boston Holiday Lights Bright Noghts at Forest Park Springfield

photo courtesy of Bright Nights at Forest Park

VIRTUAL

First Night Boston - VIRTUAL 
December 31, 2020 - January 1, 2021

First Night Boston 2021 has been converted to a broadcast only event. Join us on @NBC10Boston, @NECN , & @NBCUTelemundo as we celebrate NYE with the hope, unity, & optimism that we’re ready to embrace. Share your hopes for '21 & at-home celebrations w #Together21

First Night in Boston is a city-wide New Year's Eve celebration that is free and open to the public.  For over 40 years, Boston’s First Night has been a New Year’s Eve celebration of artistic performances, ice sculptures, light shows, the wonders of the season and the beginning of a new year. 

Boston Holiday Lights First Night

photo credit: BostonUSA

 

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*Please note: due to COVID-19, dates for the following 2020 events are currently either pending or cancelled.  We are working hard to gather information and will update the page as soon as we are aware of active dates or cancellations.*

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Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting - CANCELLED for 2020
Stay tuned for 2021 Dates 7:30pm -8:00pm

Join thousands of Bostonians in lighting the city's first holiday tree of the season! Visit Faneuil Hall Marketplace for a day full of holiday entertainment, delicious food and shopping! The Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting also includes a special appearance by Santa.

The lighting usually marks the start of Blink!, a six week state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza featuring more than 350,000 LED lights with daily performances between 4:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.  Sadly, The BLINK holiday light show is also cancelled for the 2020 season.

Boston Holiday Lights Blink Faneuil Hall

photo courtesy of Fanueil Hall Marketplace

Downtown Crossing Tree Lighting - Boston
(Pending for 2020)

Tree Lighting celebration usually takes place from 5-7PM

Kick off the holiday season with Santa and his elves at the Downtown Crossing Tree Lighting at Macy's Downtown Boston. Join in on afternoon family fun activities such as face painting, balloon artists and more.

From 5-7pm, enjoy special performances by the Tufts University Beezelbubs, Urban Nutcracker, and singer-songwriter, Natasha Bedingfield; and perusing the dazzling holiday windows and the lighting of the Christmas Tree.

Boston Holiday Lights Downtown Crossingphoto credit: Rob Havasy 

Mayor's Enchanted Trolley Tour - Boston
(Pending for 2020)

The Mayor's Enchanted Trolley Tour will continue the festive tradition of lighting holiday trees in 2021 while bringing holiday spirit to children across Boston. Next year, the Mayor's Enchanted Trolley Tour will visit sixteen neighborhoods throughout Boston.

Illuminus Festival of Lights - 2019 
December 5 - 6, 2019 from 6:00pm - 11:00pm

Illuminus Festival of Lights is a nighttime festival where Boston’s artists, designers, performers, and creative technologists converge to showcase their most thoughtful, innovative, and imaginative works.   The Free Annual Nighttime 'Illuminus' Festival in Downtown Boston features more than a dozen regional artists working in new media technologies, light & sound.

Boston Holiday Lights Illuminous

photo courtesy of Illuminous

Looking for more December events in Boston?  Check out our handy guide to winter fun. 

Traditional winter activities like Ice Skating and Skiing Near Boston are also popular for families.  And for more ideas about fun things to do in Boston anytime of year., we have oodles of options for you.

stacey saoStacey Sao has been the Managing Director of the family-friendly events and activities website, BostonCentral for almost 20 years.  She continues to enjoy discovering and exploring new places to visit in the Greater Boston area.