Where to See Vibrant Holiday Light Displays in Boston

Boston is home to some full-fledged winter wonderlands.

City of Boston
Commonwealth Avenue Mall | City of Boston
Commonwealth Avenue Mall | City of Boston

It’s the holiday season, and there’s no better time to enjoy a stroll around Boston than right now. Sure, it might require some base layers. But the city’s array of twinkling holiday lights is worth bundling up. So in an effort to get you out and about, making sure not to miss any of the worthwhile, awe-inspiring sights, we’ve rounded up the top destinations around Boston to catch some of the best light displays. Check out the list of festive trees and decked out skating rinks here, and join in on some fun holiday celebrations along the way.

Tree for Boston
Tree for Boston

The creme de la creme of holiday light peeping and city strolls, check out the Common and Public Garden for a worthwhile jaunt. On December 1, at approximately 7:55 pm, the City of Boston will officially light its annual gift from Nova Scotia, this year, a 45-foot white spruce hailing from Christmas Island—seriously, that’s what the place is called. Leading up to the event, you can head over to the Frog Pond for a Skating Spectacular kicking-off at 5 pm. If you can’t make it that early, don’t fret—you have an entire season of ice skating to enjoy at this iconic rink.

City of Boston
Columbus Park Trellis | City of Boston

For walks along the waterfront, the park’s 260-foot-long trellis will sport 50,000 blue lights all season long. It’s like an LED tunnel of your dreams. Plus, it’s a pretty ideal location as you’re super close to Faneuil Hall, which hosts one of the most massive trees in the city, and the North End for some serious food and drink selections—not to mention you’ll find another tree worth stopping for at the corner of Hanover and North Street.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Faneuil Hall Marketplace

It wouldn’t be a trip to see the city lights without a stop in Faneuil Hall. And as mentioned, there’s one massive tree smack dab in front of Quincy Market for your viewing and picture-taking pleasure. This year’s tree, coming to Faneuil Hall via Pennsylvania, might look a little different. Not only is it placed in a different spot, it will take on a classic, warm white light look decked out in red and white ornaments instead of its typical spread of bright multicolor lights.

City of Boston
Commonwealth Avenue Mall | City of Boston

Given the city is known for its breathtaking brownstones, it’s only appropriate to find yourself strolling down the Commonwealth Ave Mall. Actually, it’s necessary. Starting December 1, the trees that line the Mall for miles will officially be lit up for the holidays. The ceremony will kick-off at 8:30 pm, with cookies and hot chocolate provided by The Newbury. The classically beautiful light display looks straight out of a Hallmark movie—and it is certainly something you don’t want to miss.

Boston Parks and Recreation Department
Copley Square | Boston Parks and Recreation Department

Copley Square

If you find yourself in the area to shop, Copley Square is a great destination to channel your holiday spirit and see some lights. It’s also worth mentioning that its official tree sits in front of the city’s historic Trinity Church for quite the gorgeous backdrop. While you’re in the area, you can also grab quality hot chocolate and treats at L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates, pop by Lenox Boston for drinks and their holiday decor, or simply walk down Clarendon and Newbury Street for local shops and restaurants galore.

Charles Street and Beacon Hill

With street lights wrapped in ribbon and garland and residential brownstones dressed in their holiday best, Beacon Hill is guaranteed to fulfill your festive dreams. Stroll down Charles Street, where storefronts are decked out in decor and lit up for a nightly stroll like no other, or venture further into the neighborhood to see how each individual home does it up.

Boston Seaport
Light Up Seaport | Boston Seaport


Starting December 2, Seaport will officially turn into Snowport for the holiday season. The celebration kicks off with its annual Light Up Seaport event featuring music, aerial performances, tree lighting, and a holiday stroll, including a bunch of sweet freebies from nearby participating vendors. There’s also Snowport’s Holiday Market, which has been up and running already this winter. The market, which has doubled the size of last year’s, features more than 120 makers, a tree market, food, and cocktails.

Somerville Arts Council
Illuminations Tour | Somerville Arts Council


Returning in 2022, you’ll be able to make your way to Somerville for the neighborhood's annual Illuminations Tour. Beginning December 8, the Somerville Arts Council will provide an online map featuring the area’s best decor and holiday light displays so you can peruse throughout the night. If you’re interested in being on the map, sign up online before December 5. What’s more, the council has planned caroling on December 15 and a bike tour on December 17 for added fun.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Jillian Hammell is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Instagram.