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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 light displays designed to put everyone in a festive state of mind. TravelingMom with Pets Judy Antell reveals some of the best Christmas lights in the Northeast. Don’t forget your hat and mittens!
Christmas 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 t0 bundle up!
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 40th annual production runs on weekends, November 23 – December 22 and starts at 5pm, with multiple shows daily. Recommended for children over age four.
Holiday Traditions in Massachusetts
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 14 – Early January. Make reservations at least 24 hours in advance.
The annual spectacle Blink! returns to Faneuil Hall Marketplace November 25 – January 1, with more than 350,000 low-energy LED lights and recorded music by Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops. Performances run 4:30 – 10 pm daily.
Highfield Hall & Gardens kicks off the season with Holidays at Highfield, November 29 – December 8. The Falmouth Village Green celebrates the holiday season for a month starting December 6. December 7 festivities include a 5K Jingle Jog and kids’ Elf Run and the lighting of the Falmouth Village Green with caroling by the Falmouth Brass Choir and a visit from Santa. On December 8, the 56th Annual Christmas Parade, one of the largest holiday parades in Southern New England proceeds down the Main Street of Falmouth. Dress even more warmly.
Heritage Museums & Gardens closes for winter, but opens for its annual Garden Aglow. The special event runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 29 – December 29, 4:30-8:30pm. Christmas lights brighten the garden. There are also special outdoor activities, carolers, and a Polar Playhouse. A fire pit and indoor holiday displays keep you warm. Buy tickets in advance.
Vintage Christmas in New Hampshire
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 November 29 with the 29th Annual Gingerbread House Contest exhibit, running until December 22. It’s indoors and FREE. There is also an annual Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Museum, December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22. Warm up with free apple cider.
Holiday Lights, Lights, Lights in New York
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. And you can bring your dog! Go to 83rd thru 86th Street between 11th and 13th Avenues.
New York City
The 2019 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lights up December 4, with a performance by the Rockettes, 8-10pm. The lights remain lit until January 17, 2020. The 20th annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square is December 2, with a tree lighting, led by Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes. There are also food tastings and music.
This town in upstate New York offers the annual Village of Lights display at Santa’s Workshop on December 8, 15, 22-23 and 26 – 30. It features Christmas lights, caroling, a Nativity Pageant presentation, marshmallows roasting over an open fire and reindeer feeding.
It gets cold in upstate New York, but you can stay warm in your car at the drive through Lights on the Lake. The 30th annual event is open November 14, 2019 – January 5, 2020, from 5-10pm. The two-mile winter extravaganza includes a radio accompaniment. There is a Land of Oz and Fantasy Forest. Admission is by the car load; $10 weekdays, $20 on weekends. If you prefer to walk, come to the preview Lights on the Lake Stroll, November 12. On November 13, Lights on the Lake has its annual dog walk.
The 5th 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 29 at 5pm and runs through December 22nd.
Sweet Holiday Spirit in Pennsylvania
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. There are 4 million lights. The spectacle runs from November 15 to January 1, starting at 5pm. Carpooling pays off; admission is per vehicle. Hersheypark Christmas Candylane includes Santa with his reindeer and six roller coasters, open for the holidays.
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 14 – December 31, (closed on Thanksgiving and 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 22, 2019 – January 5, 2020 and features daily concerts and elaborate light displays in the water fountains. Fire pits keep you warm as you stroll outside.
Stroll Christmas Magic, a half mile walking trail with nearly 600,000 LED lights, animation and holiday scenes from November 29 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. Admission to Christmas Magic on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays is by timed tickets only. Reservations are required: no walk-ins.
Historic Holidays in Rhode Island
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 29, 2019 – January 1, 2020.
Did we miss your favorites? Comment below with your suggestions for best holiday lights in the Northeast!