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Top Festive Christmas & Holiday Events in New England 2023


Grab your Santa hat and embark on a festive journey through the enchanting holiday events of New England! From charming Christmas markets and dazzling light displays to cozy winter festivals and living history that celebrates the Christmases of yore, discover the region’s magical seasonal offerings. Join us as we unwrap the joy and warmth of New England’s holiday spirit.

Gardens Aglow, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

In its ninth season, Gardens Aglow at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, ME, introduces fresh walking routes and scenic paths, unveiling new vistas and welcoming back familiar faces (like the beloved Wade the Moose). Illuminating 14 acres of central gardens with over 750,000 LED lights, the Gardens boasts Maine’s most dazzling display. Innovative designs and sustainability initiatives enhance the brilliance, transforming the space into an immersive wonderland with illuminated trails, nature-inspired sculptures, themed areas, and captivating undulating effects. Don’t miss out on this magical experience! Visiting hours: 4 – 9 p.m. Thursday – Sunday through December 31. Buy tickets

Holiday Lights Spectacular, Roger Williams Park Zoo

Gather your loved ones for Holiday Lights Spectacular, a sensational annual walk-through experience at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, RI. This year, the event is grander than ever, featuring over 3 ½ million lights that transform the Zoo’s 40 acres into a captivating winter wonderland. Embrace the holiday spirit with nightly festivities, bundle up and enjoy a hot chocolate or winter treat, and savor the enchanting displays, from radiant reindeer to sparkly snowmen. Plus, Santa will make special appearances for the little ones on Thursday nights in December. Open nightly 5 – 9:30 p.m. through December 31 (closed Christmas Eve/Day), with last admission at 9 pm. Tickets sold online only. Buy tickets

Winter Lights, Shelburne Museum

As winter evenings set in, Shelburne Museum‘s campus in Shelburne, VT, illuminates in a dazzling fusion of lights and music. Winter Lights captivates visitors of all ages with creatively adorned iconic structures and gardens across the campus. From the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga to the enchanting Beach Woods and Bostwick Garden, 18 installations create a breathtaking walking tour adorned with thousands of lights. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Museum Store for unique artisan-made holiday gifts, and join the special Ice Bar event today (December 7) for outdoor bars, food trucks, and festive cheer. Winter Lights will be open for drive-throughs on specific dates through January 6, 2024. See website for details. Buy tickets

Holiday Pops: Keith Lockhart & the Boston Pops

An authentic holiday tradition akin to the Nutcracker, The Boston Pops’ Holiday Pops concert is a delightful celebration for the eyes, ears, and spirit. Led by  renowned conductor Keith Lockhart, this time-honored production is a family-friendly extravaganza brimming with Yuletide joy. Featuring lively arrangements of classic carols, beloved Christmas tunes, a cheerful sing-along, and a special appearance by St. Nick himself, it promises a festive and heartwarming experience for all. This year’s performances will be happening on stages not just in Massachusetts but across New England, including in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Check website for all dates and locations. Buy tickets

Holiday Lights Spectacular, Olde Mistick Village

Now through the month of January, Olde Mistick Village in Mystic, CT, will sparkle with over half a million holiday lights adorning its 40 shops and restaurants during its annual Holiday Lights Spectacular. The enchanting display features archways, trees, reindeer, and elves, transforming the village into a magical wonderland. Free to the public and open every night throughout the season, this extraordinary illuminated ambiance invites visitors to immerse themselves in the festive charm of one of Connecticut’s quaintest villages. Hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday – Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sundays. (Photo courtesy of Rileighs Outdoor Decor and Olde Mistick Village)

A Rough Point Holiday, Rough Point Museum

Explore the Newport Restoration Foundation’s Rough Point Museum during the coziest and merriest days of the year and learn about its holiday traditions and winter caretaking rituals past and present, including how museum staff cares for the home’s elaborate chandeliers and marble surfaces. First built as a summer cottage in 1891, the Newport, RI, house was generally in the process of being covered up for the winter season, rather than being decorated for the holidays. But now you can experience it in all of its holiday glory, with a tour of its historic period rooms, behind-the-scenes talks with conservation and housekeeping staff, and stories from past Rough Point caretakers. Buy tickets

Christmas By Candlelight, Old Sturbridge Village

Experience the history of holiday festivities with Christmas By Candlelight at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA. Relish old traditions and create new ones as you watch demonstrations of classic Christmas projects, stroll through the decorated Village and Christmas Tree Trail, listen to stories and live music, sample sweet treats, ride the horse-drawn carryall, and more. See website for exact dates. Buy tickets

Breakfast With Santa, Plimoth Patuxet Museums

During the month of December the head elf himself will be making appearances at Plimoth Patuxet Museums, in Plymouth, MA. Don’t miss Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 9, Sunday, Dec. 10, and Saturday, Dec. 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Kids and their parents will delight in festive activities, including decorating their own holiday gingerbread man, writing letters to Santa, crafting holiday ornaments, and visiting with Santa himself. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture these precious moments! On the menu is a mouthwatering Breakfast Buffet featuring scrambled eggs, French toast sticks with syrup, yogurt and granola, fresh fruit and berries, mini muffins, breakfast pastries, bacon, sausage, home fries, assorted juices, milk, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. It will certainly be a celebration filled with fun, delicious treats, and holiday cheer for the whole family! Buy tickets


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