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Comm Ave Boston Christmas
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best Boston Christmas lights

Here’s where to find bright lights shining in the night, bringing holiday spirit and delight to you and yours.

Written by
Tanya Edwards
Written by
Eric Grossman
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The holidays are here, and we’re so ready to get jolly over some festive decor. Whenever you want some good cheer, elaborate displays of glimmering Christmas lights are bound to do the trick. Whether a tastefully decorated tree or an intricate swath of lights, admiring Christmas decorations is one of the essential things to do in Boston during the holiday season. To complete your Yuletide experience, lace up at one of the best places for ice skating in Boston, warm yourself with a cup of the best hot chocolate in Boston, check out the best holiday markets in Boston—and then enjoy these beautiful holiday light displays.

RECOMMENDED: See the full Christmas in Boston guide

Where to see Christmas lights in Boston

Bundle up and head to ZooLights, where twinkling lights decorate the paths and areas around Stone Zoo’s animal enclosures. Wander the festooned Yukon Creek Pavilion among bald eagles, porcupines, lynx, reindeer and arctic foxes. Starting Nov 30, you can meet Mrs. Claus as she spreads holiday cheer through the Zoo every Tuesday from 6—9 p.m.

Nov 19—Jan 9 (closed Nov 25 and Dec 25)

New this year, the Boston Parks and Recreation department is hosting the first annual Holiday Ship Lighting at Martin's Park in South Boston. Santa will be joining the festivities, after arriving via boat, and they’ll be serving hot cocoa, caroling and holiday fun!

Ship lighting on Nov 27

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Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Commonwealth Avenue Mall

If you're shopping on Newbury Street during the holiday season, remember to scurry over to Comm Ave. A stroll along the beautifully lit, tree-lined pedestrian strip always provides a cheery holiday pick-me-up.

Tree lighting on Dec 2

Three beautiful historic locations maintained by The Trustees of Reservations have their gardens decked out in beautiful displays for Winterlights. Visit Naumkeag in Stockbridge, the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton and Stevens-Coolidge House and Gardens in North Andover to enjoy sparkling lights, refreshments and more festive fun.

Nov 26—Jan 9

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The Downtown Crossing landmark sports a large tree expertly decorated with twinkling lights. While you're there, take in the beauty that is Downtown Holiday Magic—special window installations, glowing lanterns and live musical performances (to be confirmed).

Tree lighting on Nov 26

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Somerville residents and businesses display their creativity each holiday season by decking out their buildings with glowing lights. The Illuminations Tour is self-guided, and you can drive the route using a digital map showing where to find all of the brightly decorated sites. The map will also feature user-submitted “don’t miss” locations, as well as businesses offering Illuminations specials. New this year, there will be caroling.

Dec 9—Jan 1

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Seaport Holiday Tree
Photograph: Courtesy Boston Seaport/Chris Anderson

9. Seaport Holiday Tree

For the third holiday season, the Boston Seaport transforms into Snowport, a magical winter wonderland. Stroll the Winter Wonder Walk, check out the brightly-lit Christmas tree and enjoy outdoor play for all ages. Holiday highlights also include iceless curling, light-up Bocce and large-scale versions of classic games like Battleship, Jenga, KanJam and more. 

Tree lighting on Dec 3; Menorah lighting on Dec 5

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Boston Common

Each year, Boston receives a tree as a gift from Nova Scotia, Canada. When the tree is lit, the Common and Public Garden is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights and decorations. Newly elected Mayor Michelle Wu and The Deputy Premier of Nova Scotia will host the 80th annual tree lighting spectacular.

Tree lighting on Dec 2

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