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Quincy Market tree and tower
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Eric KilbyQuincy Market tree and tower

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.

JQ Louise
Tanya Edwards
Edited by
JQ Louise
Written by
Tanya Edwards
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There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than elaborate displays of glimmering holiday lights, so let’s get jolly over festive decor! We found gorgeous lights displays, tastefully decorated trees and more all around The Hub and beyond. Get ready to drink in lights in town, or take a day trip to celebrate the sparkliest 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. Removed Mrs. Claus info here

Nov 18—Jan 8 (closed Nov 25 and Dec 25)

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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 1

Three beautiful historic locations maintained by The Trustees of Reservations have their gardens decked out in beautiful displays for Winterlights. Wednesday through Sunday, 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 25 2022 – Jan 7

Closed Dec 24 & 25

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For something a little different, take a stroll through the lobby of the former Charles Street Jail—and the current-day Liberty Hotel—where seven inverted Christmas trees hang from the ceiling. Decorated by Boston florist and event designer Cityscapes, these holiday trees are suspended from the hotel lobby’s stunning 90-foot rotunda.

Trees go up first week of November. 

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. 

Check their official website for dates.

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Seaport Holiday Tree
Photograph: Courtesy Boston Seaport/Chris Anderson

9. Seaport Holiday Tree

For the fourth 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 all December long. Holiday highlights often also include iceless curling, light-up Bocce and large-scale versions of classic games like Battleship, Jenga, KanJam and more. 

  • 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. Lights on the tree - all 7,000 plus of them - normally go live at 7:55pm, followed by lights on over 80 trees throughout the Common and Public Garden. It’s a festive and magical event, and when the mayor lights up the tree, the holiday season feels official. 

Tree lighting on December 1

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11. Lights on the Cape at Pelham House

If you’ve never headed to the Cape during the holidays, consider this your invitation. There’s still lots to do, and resorts like The Pelham House are decked out with over a dozen decorated, twinkling trees on the property, and festive decor decking the resort's restaurant. Ocean views and twinkle lights, what’s more Christmas in New England than that?

From Nov 25 - Jan 2

Ptown always does things their own way, including traditions like holiday lights. The Lobster Pot Tree, a Provincetown tradition, rings in the holiday season and was started in 2004 by artist Julian Popko who wanted to design a holiday celebration that recognized the hard-working local lobstermen. Shaped somewhat like a tree, the traps festooned in lights and red ribbons is a sight to see!

Tree lighting on Nov 26

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13. Lights in the Necklace

Celebrate our gorgeous Emerald Necklace this year, with  the trees at Charlesgate Park sparking green as part of the annual Boston tree lighting. The lights will extend from Commonwealth Ave. all through Charlesgate Park. Then after the holiday season festivities, the "Lights in the Necklace" will expand where select bridges and some trees across the Emerald Necklace parks will be awash with an emerald glow.

Lighting Dec 1

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