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

The best Boston Christmas lights

The best Boston Christmas lights include everything form twinkling trees to full-on light shows

By Gerrish Lopez and Time Out Boston Staff

When 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 a choreographed show set to music, seeing Christmas lights is one of the essential things to do in Boston during the holiday season. Here's our perfect day: Get your engine going by lacing up at one of the best places for ice skating in Boston, then warm yourself with a cup of the best hot chocolate in Boston. Next, 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

Boston Common Tree-Lighting Ceremony
Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Boston Common Holiday Tree Lighting

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. The tree lighting itself is a festive annual tradition, with music, refreshments, the Frog Pond Skating Spectacular, and fireworks. After enjoying the lights in the Common and the Public Garden, stroll up to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall to check out the illuminated lights strung among the trees.
December 5, 6pm-9pm; tree lighting 7:55pm

Photograph: Courtesy Stone Zoo

3. 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. Pose for pics with Dasher and Dancer the reindeer, and be sure to check out Santa’s Castle. This year, Spot LEGO animals on a new "Brick Safari".
November 22-January 4 (closed November 28 & December 25)

Winter Reimagined
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Emily S.

4. Night Lights: Winter Reimagined

Each year, Tower Hill Botanic Garden celebrates the season by decorating with thousands of lights. Visit at night to experience mesmerizing nature patterns displayed in light throughout the 15 acres of gardens and woodlands. Enjoy s’mores, warm drinks, singalongs, activities and photo ops.
November 29-December 30

Winterlights Naumkeag
Photograph: Courtesy The Trustees/Stephanie Zollshan

5. Winterlights

Three beautiful historic homes maintained by The Trustees have their gardens decked out in beautiful lights for Winterlights. Visit Naumkeag in Stockbridge, The Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover, and the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton to enjoy sparkling lights, scavenger hunts, crafts, refreshments, holiday characters, and more.
Times vary, Nov 21-Dec 31

Somerville City Hall
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Chris Devers

6. Somerville Illuminations Tour

Somerville residents display their creativity each holiday season by decking their houses with glowing lights and holiday figurines. It’s easy to enjoy the lights any time on your own, but make an event of it by joining the Somerville Arts Council for the Illuminations Tour, a one-night-only tour of the lights. The 45 minute trolley ride leaves from City Hall and hits all the highlights. Hot chocolate and cookies are served, and there are activities for kids.
December 14, 4:30pm-9:15pm 

Christmas in Faneuil Hall
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Emilio Velilla-Diez

7. Blink!

Things to do Event spaces Quincy Market

The twinkly-light season officially kicks off with the return of the infectious light and sound installation that blankets Faneuil Hall through the holidays. More than 350,000 LED lights join forces with Holiday Pops tuneage for a seven-minute looped performance that miraculously manages to be addictive, not grating. Complementing the spectacle is the city’s largest Christmas tree—an estimated 20 feet taller than the one in Rockefeller Center.
November 28-January 1, daily 4:30pm-10pm, hourly on the half-hour


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