From the seaside towns on Connecticut to the historical treasures of Massachusetts all the way to the North Pole (the one in New York), the Northeast United States has a wealth of holiday lights displays designed to put everyone in a holiday state of mind. Here are some of the best holiday lights in the Northeast U.S. Don’t forget your hat and mittens!

best holiday lights

Franklin Square in Philadelphia lit up for the holidays. Photo: Jeff Fusco for Historic Philadelphia, Inc.

Holiday Lights in the Northeast US

Let it snow! Winter is here and so are the holidays. Celebrate the festivities with the best holiday lights in the Northeast U.S. Don’t forget your hat and mittens!

Connecticut: Holiday Light Show

Mystic Seaport offers an interactive holiday light show, Lantern Light Tours. The 70 minute theatrical production runs every 15 minutes, with participants walking through the lantern lit Seaport. The 38th annual production runs on weekends, November 24 – December 22 and starts at 5pm, with multiple shows daily.

Holiday Traditions in Massachusetts

Boston

Learn about how holiday traditions evolved in Boston on a guided Freedom Trail Historic Holiday Stroll. Guides in 19th century costumes lead the 90 minute tour Thursday-Sunday November – January. Make reservations at least 24 hours in advance.

The annual spectacle Blink! returns to Faneuil Hall Marketplace November 29 – January 1, with more than 350,000 low-energy LED lights and recorded music by Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops.

Looking for the best places to check out holiday lights in New York City and the Northeast? Here's our top picks!

Falmouth

Highfield Hall & Gardens kicks off the season with Holidays at Highfield, November 24 – December 3. The Falmouth Village Green celebrates the holiday season for a month starting December 2. The day starts with 5K Jingle Jog and kids’ Elf Run; at 7pm, the Lighting of the Falmouth Village Green includes caroling led by the Falmouth Brass Choir and a visit from Santa. On December 3, the 54th Annual Christmas Parade, one of the largest holiday parades in Southern New England proceeds down the Main Street of Falmouth. Dress even more warmly.

Vintage Christmas in New Hampshire

Portsmouth

Celebrate a Vintage Christmas throughout December in this seaport town. The small town celebrates the holiday in a big way, with lights, caroling, Santa in a horse-drawn carriage and a free Vintage Christmas trolley through the streets to see the lights. Festivities kick off December 1 with the 27th Annual Gingerbread House Contest exhibit, running until December 23. It’s indoors and FREE. There is also an annual Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Museum, December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16  and 17. Early bird planners can purchase discounted tickets by November 30.

Holiday Lights, Lights, Lights in New York

Brooklyn

In Dyker Heights, light displays go up after Thanksgiving and last until the New Year. The lights are on private homes and the best way to see them is to dress warmly and stroll the streets. Go to 83rd thru 86th Street between 11th and 13th Avenues.

best holiday lights

Longwood Gardens holiday lights. Photo: L. Albee for Longwood Gardens

New York City

The 2017 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lights up November 29, with a performance by the Rockettes, 7-9pm. The lights remain lit until January 7, 2018. The 18th annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square is November 27, with a tree lighting led by The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz. There are also food tastings, ice sculpting and circus performers and music.

North Pole

This town in upstate New York offers the annual Village of Lights display at Santa’s Workshop on December 3, 1o, and 17 – 23. It features Christmas lights, caroling, a Nativity Pageant presentation, marshmallows roasting over an open fire and reindeer feeding.

Syracuse

It gets cold in upstate New York, but you can stay warm in your car at the drive through Lights on the Lake. The 28th annual event is open November 15 – January 7, 2018, from 5-10pm. The two-mile winter extravaganza includes a radio accompaniment. There is a Land of Oz, Fantasy Forest and Victorian Village. Admission is by the car load; $10 weekdays, $15 on weekends.

Westchester

The 4th annual Winter Wonderland will transform the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla with more than 2.5 million LED lights set to holiday music. There will also be outdoor ice skating, sleigh-rides, a heated indoor food court with beer and wine and holiday vendors. Winter Wonderland opens November 24 at 5pm and runs through December 31st.

Sweet Holiday Spirit in Pennsylvania

Hershey

Hersheypark brings you the holiday spirit from the warmth of your car. You drive through Sweet Lights, two miles of wooded trails to see almost 600 illuminated, animated displays. The spectacle runs from November 10 to January 1, starting at 5pm daily. Carpooling pays off; admission is per vehicle. Hersheypark Christmas Candylane includes Santa with his reindeer and five roller coasters, open for the holidays.

best holiday lights

York, PA holiday lights. Credit: York County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Philadelphia

The Franklin Square Holiday Festival with Electrical Spectacle: A Holiday Light Show includes a beer garden and holiday shopping marketplace. The free festival runs November 9 – December 31, 4-8pm (closed on Christmas Day). The nighttime spectacle is set to music. Warming stations, train rides and seasonal food keep everyone happy.

Just outside Philly, the Longwood Gardens Christmas Display runs November 23 – January 7, 2018 and features daily concerts and elaborate light displays in the water fountains. Fire pits keep you warm as you stroll outside.

York

Stroll Christmas Magic, a half mile walking trail with nearly 600,000 LED lights, animation and holiday scenes from November 24 through the end of the year – except December 24 and 25 – at Rocky Ridge County Park in York. Five enclosed, heated buildings on the route feature food stands, a large G-gauge train display, entertainment and Santa Claus.

Historic Holidays in Rhode Island

Bristol

Step back in history at Blithewold, with Christmas at Blithewold. The 45-room English-style manor mansion is filled with hand-crafted ornaments and the illuminated gardens and greenhouse add Christmas cheer. Sing carols and warm up with hot cocoa and roasted marshmallows around a roaring bonfire in Blithewold’s Enclosed Garden. November 24 – January 1, 2018. It kicks off with a holiday marketplace, November 19.

Did we miss your favorites? Comment below with your suggestions for best holiday lights in the Northeast!

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