Boston's festive Christmas tree lighting ceremonies start in late November, and by early December, the city sparkles with glowing lights.
If you have the chance to attend one of these special events, you'll enjoy seeing the beautiful lights suddenly brighten the winter darkness.
In addition, many ceremonies feature entertainment, appearances by Santa, and perhaps refreshments and singing.
By the time the last lighting event takes place, holiday lights almost blanket the city, covering not only the large Christmas trees dotted around the city but also hundreds of trees in Boston Common, the Public Garden, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Copley Square, the North End, and along the waterfront.
Holiday Tree Lighting Events in Boston in November
Faneuil Marketplace: Giant Christmas Trees and Blink! Light Show
Saturday, November 19 - Outdoor festivities begin at 2pm at the "Big Tree" in the Marketplace Center. Look for carolers and other performances all afternoon, with the Tree Lighting ceremony and entertainment beginning at 7pm. Lights go on at about 8pm.
Starting on November 20, the music-light show Blink! will start at 4:30 and run every hour on the half-hour through January 1 from 4:30pm-9:30pm daily - More about Blink
More to do nearby: Get all your holiday shopping done at Faneuil Marketplace. Reward yourself with refreshments at one of the historic taverns along nearby Union Street.
Annual Lighting of the Trellis
The Mayor turns on the 50,000 glowing blue lights along the 260 foot trellis (shown in photo below) and 14 nearby trees on Monday, November 21, 5pm in Christopher Columbus Park (110 Atlantic Ave), transforming the waterfront park into a magical light garden through the holiday season. The event includes music, entertainment, and refreshments.
More to do: Don't miss the chance to have dinner in the North End! You'll find most restaurants along Salem and Hanover Streets.
Massachusetts State House Tree Lighting
A giant Christmas tree in the Rotunda lights up in the annual tree lighting event ceremony at 5pm on November 27, followed by an open house and visit from Santa in Doric Hall. This marks the official kick-off of the holiday season in Massachusetts.
More to do: After the ceremony, explore the special treasures in the State House. Then walk across Beacon Street to Boston Common, rent skates, and take a twirl around the Frog Pond ice rink. More about where to ice skate in Boston
Copley Square Tree Lighting
Monday, November 28, 5:00pm-6:00pm - Wreaths with red bows decorate Copley Square, and the Old South Church bell tolls when the lights go on - look for appearances by Santa, the Boston Pops, and Rudolph! The Boston Public Library and Catered Affair host a story time and candy cane tea at the Fairmont Copley Plaza from 3:30-5pm (tea is free but you must make reservations - call 617-859-2282). More family fun begins at about 4:30pm with Jugglers, stilt walkers, and holiday music provided by Magic 106.7.
More to do: Get a head start on your holiday shopping - check out the national-brand stores along Boylston Street or explore boutiques and galleries on nearby Newbury Street.
Holiday Tree Lighting Events in December
Boston Common Holiday Tree Lighting
Thursday, December 1, from 4pm-8pm. Lights on the tree go on at about 7:55pm, followed by lights on 80+ other trees throughout the Common and the Public Garden. Refreshments and entertainment will be provided by local groups. This exciting event takes place near the Visitors Information Center on Tremont St and stars the special tree sent as a gift from Nova Scotia (shown in photos above). A free ice-skating show takes place at Frog Pond from 5pm-6pm. The Mayor will be joined by Santa and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the show will close with a brief fireworks display. When the Mayor turns on the lights, the Boston holiday season officially begins!
Commonwealth Avenue Mall
Tuesday, December 1 - Thousands of twinkling white lights transform this tree-filled parkway, transforming the Mall into a sparkling forest.
31 Nights of Lights
From December 1 through New Year's Eve on December 31, Prudential Tower displays lights of a different color each night to bring awareness to non-profit organizations.
North End Tree Lighting
Friday, December 2, 6pm-8pm, at the corner of Cross and Hanover Streets. Come hear carolers and enjoy some light refreshments from Caffé Paradiso and the St John's Chool Bake Sale (all proceeds benefit the school's programs). The North End's Holiday Stroll takes place this evening too!