10 Things to do in New England this Holiday Season

The holiday season in Rhode Island and Massachusetts is a sight you can’t miss. From Boston to Providence, each city you’ll go to is full of Christmas cheer. During the wintertime, these states provide beautiful views and endless holiday festivities. Check out these ten things to do this holiday season to make lasting memories.

  • Springfield Bright Nights at Forest Park

Enjoy this 3-mile holiday lighting drive-thru with over 675,000 lights! Included displays are Suess Land, Winter Woods, Happy Holidays Springfield, Everett Barney Mansion, and more. Bright Nights has had over 6 million visitors since 1995 and is known as the Northeast’s premier holiday lighting experience. It’s a magical holiday event for the whole family to enjoy that will create long-lasting memories.


  • Stockbridge Home for Christmas

During Christmastime, Stockbridge, MA becomes a real-life painting. During the 1950s, Norman Rockwell started working on the “Home for Christmas” painting, which he completed in 1967. It depicts Main Street in Stockbridge during the holidays. Stockbridge brings “Home for Christmas” back to life each year during a weekend of Christmas festivities. Each year to recreate the scene, over 50 antique cars park along the road in the same fashion they were when Rockwell created the painting. As part of the festivities, you can do the Historic Holiday Property Tour, which includes multiple historic properties decorated for the holiday season. There’s also a holiday market, a Christmas concert, or you can visit the Naumkeag gardens decorated with thousands of holiday lights.


  • Providence WaterFire Celebration

On Friday, December 2, Santa’s Village opens at 5:30 pm with Santa arriving on a boat during the WaterFire lighting. Waterplace Park will have twenty 6-foot Christmas trees all decorated for the season, and at the center of it all, an 24-foot Christmas tree in all its glory. There will be Holiday ArtMart vendors and food trucks offering seasonal treats. Each night of the event, performers will be on the river during the WaterFire lighting and on the river walk. At the end of the event, the Christmas trees will get donated to veterans and families of veterans in need. The WaterFire is something you don’t want to miss. Best of all, the event is free to enjoy.


  • Providence Roger Williams Park & Zoo Holiday Lights Spectacular

The zoo will be hosting its annual Holiday Lights Spectacular, which feels like a winter wonderland when you experience it from November 25 to January 1, 2023. The walk-through event will feature more than 3 1/2 million lights strung up. Santa will be at the event on select Thursday nights in December, so the kiddos get to visit him during the spectacular. Food and drink stands will offer adult beverages, hot chocolate, smores, and other holiday favorites. There will also be dinner options like burgers, hot dogs, chicken tenders, and french fries. The walk-through is about an hour to an hour and a half long and will make you feel like you’re walking through a winter wonderland with all the lights and festive music.


  • Rockport Winter Lights Celebration

Head down to Rockport, MA and experience their second annual Winter Lights Celebration on Cape Ann. Over 100 locations throughout the town will have festive lights and decorations that will give you holiday cheer. On Sunday, December 4, Santa will arrive by a lobster boat at 1 pm, and later at 4 pm, the Tree Lighting Ceremony will commence. On December 19, the 76th annual Christmas pageant will take place. Throughout the holiday season, Rockport offers horse-drawn carriage rides, a North Pole mailbox, and much more. Rockport has many different holiday activities and is worth a visit.


  • Taunton Lighting of the Green

The “Christmas City” will host their 109th Lighting of the Green on December 3, with Santa paying a visit. The Christmas parade will start the day after the Lighting of the Green and features the 7th Annual Basket Raffle. There will be a Gingerbread House Decorating Contest and a Downtown Holiday Window Decorating Contest. At Winthrop Street Baptist Church, there will be a free Christmas kids fair, including free carnival games, a trackless train ride, and free hot chocolate, cookies, and hot dogs. Taunton is offering many other activities this year that there’s something for everyone to do to feel the cheer.


  • Somerville Illuminations Tour

Somerville, MA is the host to an illuminated path. The path includes houses covered top to bottom in decorations and lights that make it feel like you’re in a holiday movie. They provide a map that shows where the most festive holiday displays are. This year the Illuminations Tour starts at 6 pm on December 8. As part of the festivities, they offer city-wide caroling that will take place on December 15 from 6 to 8 pm. They also will have the Illuminations Bike Tour on December 17 at 6 pm. If you take part in the bike tour, you’re encouraged to decorate your bike with any lights or decorations!


  • Boston Tree Lighting & more

Boston is a sight to see during the Christmas season. There are so many different traditions and activities to celebrate here. You can join other people in SantaCon, where you dress up as Santa and go bar hopping or an Ugly Sweater crawl. At Faneuil Hall you can watch the famous tree lighting and enjoy live entertainment. The Christmas tree at Faneuil Hall is the largest in New England. If you join the Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll, you can walk through the neighborhood enjoying holiday drink and snack stands, visits to Santa, and carriage rides. A light show called Boston Blink! that takes place at Faneuil Hall is an event to see. During the light show, the lights strung blink to holiday music. The light show occurs multiple times during the day for December and January and lasts about 30 minutes. Each year a charity run happens at the beginning of December for the Play Ball Foundation. The name of the run is Santas in Speedos, but you don’t have to wear a speedo to join the run. At Frog Pond, located in the middle of the Boston Common, you can go ice skating while getting views of downtown Boston in all its holiday cheer. To tie up the festivities, you can join one of the Boston First Night events on New Year’s Eve. On this day, you can enjoy performances, arts and crafts, ice sculpture creations, and fireworks at the end of the night!


  • The Hyannis Village Christmas Stroll & The Polar Express

The Hyannis Village Christmas Stroll will be on December 3, located on Main Street and the Waterfront. The Christmas Stroll includes a petting zoo, pony rides, a visit from Santa and much more. There are 100+ businesses on Main Street, so you can get all your holiday shopping done while enjoying the holiday cheer around you. Down at the harbor at dusk will be Santa’s Boat Parade with music, snacks, drinks, and of course, a visit from Santa himself! At the Cape Cod Central Railroad will be the Polar Express! In a real-life recreation of the movie, families can enjoy the Polar Express experience with hot cocoa and cookies, performances, and music. The ride takes about an hour and a half and brings everyone to meet Santa. At the end of the trip, all children receive a sleigh bell and a golden ticket. Hyannis provides lots of fun activities to enjoy this holiday season.



  • Carver Edaville Family Theme Park

Head to Edaville Family Theme Park for their 75th season and experience their Christmas Festival of Lights. At the park, they will have a European-style Christmas market, an arcade, amusement rides, visits from Santa, rides on their steam trains, and more. For the Christmas festival the park is decorated with millions of lights. They’ll be open for the holiday season until January 1, 2023. They now offer a general admission price ticket for anyone who wants to be able to walk through and enjoy the Festival of Lights. Help keep the tradition alive and visit Edaville for a day of Christmas fun for the whole family.


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