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Boston Christmas Lights + Decorations

Updated: January 23, 2024

Nothing is more special than Holiday time in New England.

Jack Frost is nipping at your nose, stars shine brighter in the sky, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, bell ringers herald the season and nothing tastes better than hot chocolate.

And as local tour guides, we know a thing or two about seeing the Christmas lights in Boston.

We visit them with our own families as well as taking visitors to see them every day.

Though this tour is self-guided, we do offer a guided Christmas light walking tour.

we offer a variety of guided tours in Boston, even in the winter.

Our self-guided tour takes you from Faneuil Hall’s Holiday Tree and its fabulous light and sound show to the window displays at Macy’s, shopping at Downtown Crossing, Boston’s official Christmas Tree and lights on Boston Common, the Commonwealth Avenue spectacular.

The tour ends at Copley Square/Place shopping center (and the shops at the Prudential Center). 

Stories, lights, carols, and shopping will all be part of the fun for adults and children alike.

Find out more about what to do in Boston over the holidays or in December.

Use this self-guided tour to check out all the best Holiday Light displays in Boston.

Stop 1: Christopher Columbus Park Lighting 110 Atlantic Ave

Nov. 21st at 5:00 pm

View the blue-lighted arch symbolizing the anticipation of the coming holiday and the birth of the newborn king.

Mayor Michelle Wu will turn on the 50,000 white and Blue lights on the 260 feet of trellis and 14 trees near the trellis at 5:00 pm.

This will transform this public Garden into a waterfront winter wonderland.

Also, enjoy music and refreshments as the city transforms that area into a beautiful holiday spectacle.  

Stop 2: Quincy Market

206 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109

While the Puritans once banned Christmas, it is alive and well at Quincy Market.

The largest Christmas Tree in New England is located here and is over 60 feet tall, 35 feet across, and weighing more than six tons.

Note: Blink at Quincy Market is not happening this year.

Stop 3: Faneuil Hall Marketplace

4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109

Nov. 21st at 6:00 pm

The lights on this tree will be turned on by Santa Claus. While there you can explore the shops, taverns, and restaurants of Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.

If you attend the celebration of light of Columbus Park at 5:00 pm it is a short walk to the lighting of Faneuil Hall at 6:00 pm.

Stop 4: Omni Parker House

Enjoy hot chocolate and Boston Cream Pie, and read The Christmas Carol together at the oldest continuously operating hotel in the US.

Stop 5: Old City Hall

45 School St, Boston, MA 02108

Look at the front facade of this magnificent French Second Empire building and enjoy its decorations and tree.

Stop 6: Downtown Crossing

View the light show on the corner of Washington and School Streets.

Stop 7: Macy's

450 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

Start date: November 22nd

Take in the beautiful displays at Macy’s windows, look up at its magnificent tree, and discover the story of Santa in America.

Stop 8: Boston Common Christmas Trail Lighting 

Start date: Nov. 30th at 7:55 pm

Enjoy Boston’s official Christmas Tree (and Menorah) while learning about its story and relationship to our sister city, Halifax Nova Scotia.

Mayor Michelle Wu will light the tree's 7000 lights followed by 80 other Boston Common Trees which will also be lit.

Some of the special guests include Santa, Rudolph The-Red-Nose-Reindeer, as well as members of the Canadian Mounted Police. 

After the lighting of the Boston Common Tree, the lighting of the more than 80 trees on the Boston Common and Public Garden will also be lit. 

A wonderful treat for the eyes as you stroll through.

Stop 9: Charles St.

Walk down Boston’s famous “Antique Row” and relive the feeling of a “Dickens Christmas”

End your journey with libations at the Liberty Hotel, Boston’s former County Jail, 215 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114.

Stop 10: Commonwealth Avenue Mall

Wander down the Mall and experience the warm glow of its bright winter lights and wondrous surroundings.

End your walk at the Copley Plaza Tree.


State House Tree Lighting

Nov. 21st at 5:00 pm

A visit from Santa in Doric Hall. This tree lighting marks the start of the holiday season in Boston.

Copley Square Tree Lighting

Start date: Nov. 27th, 5:00 pm

Both Santa and Rudolph The-Red-Nose-Reindeer, music from local music groups including the Boston Children Chorus and the Boston Pops Brass Ensemble. 

That night the Fairmont Copley Hotel will host a photo op and cookies with the big guy, Santa.

Seaport Common Tree Lighting

85 Northern Ave

Start date: Dec. 1st, 5:00 pm

Live music, giveaways, and food from local restaurants. 

Check out the holiday market called Snowport for great holiday shopping.

USS Constitution Tree Lighting

Charlestown Naval Yard

Start date: Dec. 3rd at 4:30 pm

The crew of the USS Constitution (1797) welcome all to join the annual tree lighting ceremony at the Charlestown Navy Yard. 

A view of the sail frigate USS CONSTITUTION (IX-21) decorated with lights and a Christmas tree for the holiday by The U.S. National Archives
A view of the sail frigate USS CONSTITUTION (IX-21) decorated with lights and a Christmas tree for the holiday by The U.S. National Archives,

A visit by Santa, free hot chocolate, and holiday music will all be at this event.

Best Holiday Lights in Harvard Square

Tree Lighting Ceremony at Charles Hotel One Bennett St.

Start date: Nov. 26th, 4:00 pm

The sounds and sites of the holiday season will be on display at the upper-level courtyard of the Charles Hotel Harvard Square. 

Featuring Friends of The Harvard Coop who will be reading winter classics for kids, hot chocolate and a visit by Santa at 5:00 pm are all on the agenda of this holiday event.

There will also be a photo op and to meet with members of the Cambridge Fire Department who will be there to collect donations for Toys for Tots on Bennett Street. 

The Harvard Square Holiday Fair 

Will be held at a different location this year at 33 Dunster St. 

The fair opens on Dec. 9th and hours are Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. through December 18th.

Harvard Square Holiday Market at the Smith Center

Harvard Smith Center Arcade 1350 Massachusetts Ave.

Dec. 1st to 3rd and 8th to 10th 11:00am to 6:00pm


Zoolights at Stone Zoo

149 Pond St, Stoneham

Nov. 17 - Jan. 7, 4:00 - 9:30 p.m. (Closed Nov. 23 and Dec. 25)

Zoolights at Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA is a special event where they decorate the 26 acres of the zoo with bright night lights that look like animals.

It's a fun place to go with your family during the holidays to see the magic of lights.

Visitors can meet black bears, arctic foxes, Canada lynx, and even reindeer while walking through the beautifully lit Yukon Creek.

About The Author

Brian Burgess

I was born in Cambridge and have been living in the Boston area all my life. I am a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. I have been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoy sharing my knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on my tours, but with everyone I meet. <a href="" Read More...
Updated: January 23rd, 2024
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