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Winterlights Naumkeag
Photograph: Courtesy The Trustees/Stephanie Zollshan Winterlights Naumkeag

The best Boston Christmas lights

Get in the holiday spirit with these spots to see holiday lights in Boston, from twinkling trees to bedecked homes.

By Time Out Boston Staff and Eric Grossman
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Whenever you want to get in the mood for the holidays, displays of Christmas lights are bound to do the trick. Whether a simple decorated tree or an elaborate trail of lights, seeing Christmas lights is one of the essential things to do in Boston during the holiday season. For a perfect holiday 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, then enjoy these beautiful holiday light displays.

RECOMMENDED: See the full Christmas in Boston guide

Where to see Christmas lights in Boston

ZooLights at Stone Zoo Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Zoo New England

2. ZooLights at Stone Zoo

Bundle up and head to ZooLights where twinkling lights decorate the paths and areas around the animal enclosures. Wander the festooned Yukon Creek Pavilion among bald eagles, porcupines, lynx, reindeer and arctic foxes. This year, experience that magic of several beautiful large-scale lantern displays around the Zoo, lighting up the night sky.
Nov 27 - Jan 3

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Somerville Illuminations Tour
Photograph: Courtesy Somerville Arts Council/Ron Newman

3. Somerville Illuminations Tour

Somerville residents and businesses display their creativity each holiday season by decking out with glowing lights. This year, Illuminations will be self-guided, driven by a digital map featuring businesses and residences that are brightly decorated. The map will also feature user-submitted “don’t miss” locations as well as businesses offering Illuminations specials.
Dec 12 - Jan 1

Winterlights Naumkeag
Photograph: Courtesy The Trustees/Stephanie Zollshan

4. Winterlights

Two beautiful historic homes maintained by The Trustees have their gardens decked out in beautiful lights for Winterlights. Visit Naumkeag in Stockbridge and the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton to enjoy sparkling lights, refreshments, and more.
Nov 27 - Jan 1

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Downtown Boston Holiday Market
Photograph: Courtesy Downtown Boston

5. Macy's Holiday Tree

The Downtown 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 lanters, and socially-distanced Santas taking orders via microphone.

Boston Seaport Christmas Tree
Photograph: Courtesy Boston Seaport/Chris Anderson

6. Seaport Holiday Tree

This holiday season, the Boston Seaport has been transformed into Snowport, a magical winter wonderland. Stroll the Winter Wonder Walk, check out the brightly-lit holiday tree, and keep an eye out for Betty the Yeti, who will be making nightly appearances.

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Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Yaran S.

7. Commonwealth Avenue Mall

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

Boston Common Tree-Lighting Ceremony
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. Boston Common Holiday Tree

Attractions Parks and gardens Boston Common

Each year, Boston receives a tree as a gift from Nova Scotia. As the tree is lit, the Common is transformed into a winter wonderland of lights and decorations. This year, the tree lighting was held virtually on Dec 3; it was broadcast on WCVB-TV. Entertainment included the Boston Gay Men's Chorus, Nicholas Christopher from Hamilton, Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, and Grammy Award-winning artist Shaggy. Santa Claus joined Mayor Marty Walsh virtually for a special countdown to the lighting.

More holiday fun

Boston Christmas
Photograph: Shutterstock

Christmas in Boston

Things to do

This holiday season will look unlike any other, but still, after all, it’s that time of the year when we stay in with the family — or book in at one of the best restaurants in Boston for a feast prepared by someone else—more on that below. Looking for things to do in Boston over the holidays, as well as places to eat and play? We’ve got you covered.

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