Christmas in Boston turns the city into a festive wonderland of lights, spectacular decorations, special holiday music and shows, and plenty of good cheer. 

The winter holiday season is a wonderful time to visit!

Stop by Boston Common for a round of ice skating, or walk over to Columbus Park to see 50,000 dazzling blue and white holiday lights glowing from the trellis and nearby trees. 

Enjoy a spectacular performance of The Nutcracker or Black Nativity . . . sing along at a Holiday Pops concert at Symphony Hall . . . take a special Boston Harbor Holiday Brunch, Cocoa & Carols,or New Year's Eve fireworks cruise . . . or attend Christmas Eve midnight mass or church services . . . enjoy hot mulled wine and holiday shopping at one of Boston's holiday markets. 

Or, just walk around and enjoy all the gorgeous lighted trees, serenading carolers, and maybe even snow that make Christmas in Boston so special.

Top photo: Lighted Christmas tree at Faneuil Marketplace

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Where to Find Lighted Christmas Trees

By late November and early December, Boston sparkles with beautifully decorated and festively lit Christmas trees. 

Christmas trees in Boston's Downtown Crossing
Lighted Christmas tree on Boston Common - This annual gift from the people of Nova Scotia is Boston's most special Christmas tree

Two of the biggest trees stand proudly in Boston Common and Faneuil Hall Marketplace, site of the Blink! holiday lights and music show. 

You can find more lighted trees near Macy's in pedestrian-friendly Downtown Crossing - plus plenty more in store windows, hotel lobbies, and restaurants.

Christmas trees in Boston's Downtown Crossing
Christmas trees in Boston's Downtown Crossing

Want to actually see the Christmas lights turned on?  Holiday tree lighting events take place in late November - early December.  Find the schedule here

Christmas in Boston - Trellis with holiday lights is the gateway to Boston's North End
Christmas in Boston - Trellis with holiday lights in Boston's North End

Holiday Concerts, Shows, & Performances

Boston's Downtown Theatre District in December
Boston's Downtown Theatre District in December

Take a look at the fantastic line up of Christmas holiday shows and concerts in Boston this year, and use these ticket discount codes to save on your tickets:

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good through 12/31/24.


Top Boston Christmas and Holiday Shows & Concerts

Save with this event discount code: 

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good through 12/31/24.

Christmas Shows Schedule & Tickets

Boston theater during December focuses on the holidays, with three different Nutcracker shows for you to choose from and everyone's favorite Boston Pops. Toward the end of the month, Disney on Ice brings its magic back to Agganis Arena:

Holiday Pops Schedule & Tickets

See More Seasonal Holiday Show Dates & Tickets


Christmas Eve Events in Boston

Boston's Old South Church on Newbury Street in Back Bay
Boston's Old South Church on Newbury Street in Back Bay

If you're looking specifically for events on Christmas Eve, you'll find an excellent mix of music, entertainment, and religious services. 

Keep in mind that many businesses close early, some restaurants will be open only for lunch while others may close all day, and stores will be packed full of last minute shoppers.  Some attractions and tours may also be closed for part or all of Christmas Eve.

Scroll down this page to find information - or use these Quick Links:  Music  |  Entertainment  |  Church Services


Boston Hotels with Christmas Specials

Christmas tree in Park Plaza Hotel Boston Lobby
Holiday decorations at the Park Plaza Christmas Tree

Boston hotels deck their halls - and their lobbies - with lavish seasonal splendor throughout December and the holiday season. 

Better yet, they get into the spirit of giving by offering special holiday packages.

  • Eliot Hotel - "Winter in the City" and "Make Room for the Holidays!"  Check rates
  • The Newbury Boston - "Holiday Tea for Two" - Check rates 
  • Lenox Hotel - "Fireside Experience Package" - Check rates 
  • Bostonian Boston Hotel - "Winter Wonder" - Check rates

Holiday Savings with Boston Discount Cards

Save BIG with Go Boston discount card
CityPASS Boston discount card at www.boston-discovery-guide.com

Don't forget that Boston discount passes can save you up to 50% and more on top attractions during the holidays.  They also make nice holiday gifts.  Using a discount card is the easiest way to save money when visiting Boston!


Christmas Shopping in Boston

Shopping at Christmas in Boston in Faneuil Marketplace
Shopping at Christmas in Boston in Faneuil Marketplace

Boston stores deck their halls - and walls, windows, aisles - with holiday decorations designed to put you into the spending, and of course giving, spirit.

Just seeing all the decorations can be lots of fun.

Shopping Shopping along Washington Street in Downtown Crossing on a sunny December afternoon
Shopping along Washington Street in Downtown Crossing on a sunny December afternoon

But if you're serious about shopping, read our recommendations for the best places for Christmas shopping in Boston, especially if you want to accomplish a lot in a short time.

For biggest savings at discount outlets, check out Wrentham Village and Assembly Row.


Boston's Christmas Markets & Winter Festival Markets

SoWa Winter Festival and Holiday Market
SoWa Winter Festival and Holiday Market

Enjoy hot mulled wine, hot chocolate, and plenty of other good things to sip and nibble on while you explore Boston's biggest and best Holiday Markets this year! 

Depending on what's on offer on any particular day, you may get to see live ice sculpting, holiday workshops, plenty of artisans and vendors - plus it's the perfect way to get all your holiday shopping done in one place at this family-friendly event.

Find out about this year's Christmas Markets in Boston, Cambridge, & Somerville


Special Holiday Cruises on the Northern Lights

Celebrate the holidays while relaxing and sightseeing on the festively decorated Yacht Northern Lights on these special cruises around Boston Harbor:

 

Carolers - Where to Enjoy a Performance

One of the serendipitous delights about walking around Boston in December is happening upon a group of Christmas carolers.  

Christmas carolers in front of Brattle Book Store, Boston Massachusetts

Some perform in predictable places like Faneuil Hall Marketplace and in Downtown Crossing near Macy's, but others appear in random places, singing just for the sheer joy of sharing traditional holiday music and Christmas carols. 

Walk around Beacon Hill on almost any evening as Christmas draws near, and you're likely to hear a caroling party or two singing as they wind their way around the narrow streets, carrying candles and spreading holiday cheer. 

Want to participate?  Gather a few of your friends, neighbors, and family members, light a few candles, and form your own caroling party.

More things to do in Boston in December


Christmas in Boston - The Movie

The holiday season brings the perfect excuse to watch Christmas in Boston (#ad), a light-hearted chick-flick movie. 

The plot is silly but sweet - pen pals since middle school, Gina and Seth have never met ...until finally Seth needs to make a Christmas week trip to Boston where Gina works. 

The problem?  All these years, they've been exchanging photos ... but of their best friends rather than of themselves.  You can probably guess what happens - but still, it's fun to watch. 

Note - don't watch this movie with your young kids unless you want to explain a non-culinary use of chocolate syrup.

The Boston part?  Wonderful scenes of Back Bay and the giant Christmas tree in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. 

More about fun Boston Christmas movies (#ad)


Where to Find Santa in Boston

Boston has plenty of Santas to grant Christmas gift wishes - or at least listen to your child's fantasy gift list. 

You'll get some great photos - a perhaps a few surprises as you hear the wish list unfold.

Globe Santa in Back Bay's Copley Square - Boston Christmas spirit in action
Globe Santa in Copley Square in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood

But to get into the real spirit of Christmas in Boston, watch for Globe Santa, who usually appears at various places throughout the city during the holiday season. 

This is a special Santa, one who really does make wishes come true for the city's neediest families.  When you see him (or her) - give generously!  Find out more about how to donate

You can find plenty more Santas throughout the city - try the Shops at Prudential Center, Assembly Row, the Snowport Holiday Market at Seaport, Downtown Crossing - look for pop-up Christmas markets.  You can also find Santa at times at almost every Boston shopping mall.


Visiting Boston for Christmas? Fun Ways to Explore the City


Christmas Eve Midnight Services & Special Music, Plus Hanukkah Observances

Christmas tree on Boston Common - gift from Nova Scotia

If you're visiting Boston and want to attend Christmas Eve services, Midnight Mass, Christmas Day church services, or Hanukkah or Shabbat services, you'll find a warm welcome from our famous churches and synagogues, regardless of your personal beliefs or religion.  

Here are Boston churches, synagogues, and places of worship with Christmas Eve and Hanukkah services, and strong ties to Boston history.  Please check their websites for service times and possible weather-related updates:

- Arlington Street Church (Unitarian Universalist; 351 Boylston Street, Back Bay; 617-536-7050, www.ascboston.org) - Renowned for its music and Tiffany windows
- The Boston Synagogue - (Unaffiliated post-denominational egalitarian Jewish shul with a lay-led congregation; 55 Martha Road, West End, http://bostonsynagogue.org) - The only synagogue in downtown Boston; Shabbat and Holiday services every week; award-winning modern building built in 1971
- Cathedral of the Holy Cross (Roman Catholic; 1400 Washington St, South End; 617-542-5682; www.holycrossboston.com) - Gothic Revival style; largest in New England); midnight mass on Christmas Eve
- Emmanuel Church/Center (home to Episcopal and Boston Jewish Spirit congregations; 15 Newbury Street, Back Bay, 617-536-3355; www.emmanuel-boston.org) - Famous for Bach cantatas presented during Sunday services
- King's Chapel (Ecumenical; corner of Tremont and School Streets, Historical Downtown Boston; 617-227-2155; www.kings-chapel.org) - Founded in 1686, Freedom Trail site, renowned for its music
- Old North Church (Episcopal; 193 Salem Street, North End; 617-523-6676; www.oldnorth.com) - Freedom Trail site where Paul Revere arranged for 2 lanterns to be hung; built in 1723; oldest standing church building in Boston; usually has carols on Christmas Eve
- Old South Church (Congregational; corner of Dartmouth & Boylston, Copley Square, Boston; 617-536-1970) - The congregation dates back to 1669 and the second generation of Boston's founders; the magnificent Northern Italian Gothic building is the congregation's third home (you can visit the first, the Old South Meeting House, on the Freedom Trail)
- Park Street Church (Evangelical; One Park Street, across from Boston Common; 617-523-3383; www.parkstreet.org) - Freedom Trail site
- Saint Leonard Church (Roman Catholic; 320 Hanover Street, North End; 617-523-2110) - Founded in 1873 and the first Roman Catholic Church built by Italian immigrants in New England.  Close to the Freedom Trail
- Trinity Church (Episcopal; 206 Clarendon St, Copley Square; 617-536-0944; www.trinitychurchboston.org) - World-famous architectural masterpiece by H.H. Richardson; afternoon and midnight services, with special organ music.
- Vilna Shul (Jewish cultural center and historic synagogue; 18 Phillips Street, Beacon Hill neighborhood, Boston; 617-523-2324; www.vilnashul.org) - Built in 1919 but home to a traditional Jewish synagogue of Lithuanian immigrants formed in the 1890s.  Beautiful murals are currently undergoing restoration.  Hosts Hanukkah events and special Shabbats.  Check Vilna Shul's website for details about Chanukah celebrations.


More Christmas and Hanukkah Celebrations in Boston during December

The giant Menorah in Copley Square (that's the Boston Pubic Library in the background)
The giant Menorah in Copley Square (that's the Boston Pubic Library in the background)
  • A community-wide Hanukkah A Cappela Concert featuring a wide range of university musical groups takes place at Vilna Shul on December 3, 3pm-4:30pm.  $10/person or $25/family.  On Sunday, December 10, 10-11:30am, Vilna Shul hosts a Hanukkah Celebration for families with young children featuring crafts, singing, donuts, and more.  $25/family.  (18 Phillips Street, Beacon Hill neighborhood).
  • Menorah lights glow on the 32-foot tall menorah in Copley Square during each night of Hanukkah (begins December 7).  Sponsored by Chabad of Boston.  You'll see more menorahs at the Massachusetts State House, Faneuil Marketplace, Seaport, Boston Common, and other locations.  A special Chanukah celebration usually takes place - but no details have been released yet.
  • Hanukkah Festival of Lights at Museum of Fine Arts - December 7, 5-10pm.  Come meet up for an evening of art, music, and other activities to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.  Activities include face painting, story time, stained glass designs, a photography popup, a klezmer band, and more.  Free, except for the prix-fixe meal (not kosher) offered in the museum's Cafe. 
  • Chorus Pro Musica - Candlelight Christmas Celebration featuring Old South's Mitchell Crawford on the Skinner Organ, special guest instrumentalists, and sing-along carols; December 8 at 8pm. Old South Church (Copley Square, corner of Dartmouth & Boylston, Back Bay, Boston.  Tickets are $25-$55.  Get your tickets.
  • Christmas with the Back Bay Ringers - The handbell ringers presents a program of Christmas music; December 9, 7:30pm at First Church Boston (66 Marlborough Street, Back Bay, Boston) and additional concerts in Bedford, Hanover, and Rockport.  Get tickets ($20-$25) on their website.
  • Silent Night, Silent Light - Holiday Concert by the Boston Choral Ensemble celebrating the season, including old and new traditional and secular songs and carolsfrom around the world; Old South Church (Copley Square, corner of Dartmouth & Boylston, Back Bay, Boston), Sunday December 9, 3pm - for tickets ($5-$30) check the Boston Choral website   
  • Menorah Lighting at One Seaport - Join Chabad of Downtown Boston for their annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony and holiday Chanukkah treats on December 10 at 6pm.
  • Old South Ringers Christmas Concert - The church's resident handbell choir presents a program of Christmas music; free admission; December 15 at 7:30 pm; Union Church in Boston (485 Columbus Ave, Boston's South End); more info: website
  • Central Reform Temple of Boston, 15 Newbury Street (Emmanuel Church), Back Bay neighborhood; free and open to the community - Check their December website for Chanukah events:  www.crtboston.org
  • Friday Night Chanukah Dinner & Music at The Boston Synagogue (55 Martha Road in Charles River Park/West End) - Check the temple's website for dates.- More info: http://bostonsynagogue.org/dinners
  • Old North Church Advent Christmas Concert (193 Salem Street in the North End).  Check their website for Chirstmas services and music.

Secular Entertainment on December 24

Try these suggestions for secular entertainment on Christmas Eve (make reservations as early as possible):

Matzo Ball at the Royale (279 Tremont Street, Theatre District) - Music and dance beginning about 9pm on December 24 and ending 2am December 25 for the nation's largest Jewish singles event (according to the sponsors), and no, you don't have to be Jewish to attend this 21+ event. Tickets required, and it always sells out quite early; check for ticket availability in early November:  Matzo Ball website

Loews Boston Common Theater - 19 screens of entertainment (175 Tremont Street, across from Boston Common); call 888-262-4386 for shows and times.

Chinatown restaurants - Many, although not all, are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 


Boston Attractions on Christmas - Open or Closed?

Most theaters, stores, the Frog Pond ice skating rink, and museums will be closed on Christmas.  So what can you do on Christmas Day in Boston? 

Holiday lights on Boston Common near Massachusetts State House
Holiday lights on Boston Common near Massachusetts State House

Most Boston movie theaters will be open (be sure to check first), including AMC Loews Boston Common 19 (175Tremont Street, across from the Common). 

Many Boston restaurants, including most hotel restaurants plus a number of others, will be serving Christmas dinner.  Reservations are a MUST on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, because this is a popular time to go out.  If you don't plan ahead and can't get reservations, keep in mind that many Chinatown restaurants will be open, as well as most hotel bars where you'll usually find excellent bar menus. 


New Year's Eve & New Year's Day Cruises

Boston's New Year's Day Brunch Cruise
New Year's celebration aboard the Northern Lights

Welcome the New Year aboard the elegant yacht Northern Lights on these special New Year's Eve and New Year's Day cruises around Boston Harbor:

  • New Year's Eve Cruise - Say goodbye to 2024 and welcome 2025 on this elegant Boston Harbor cruise with fireworks, live music, and gourmet appetizers; purchase the beverage of your choice onboard - or pre-order a bottle of Moet & Chandon when you book - Book now
  • New Year's Day Brunch Cruise - Welcome the New Year with a tasty hot 3-course brunch on this relaxing sightseeing tour around Boston Harbor - perfect start to the New Year! - Book now
  • Gift Card - Give the perfect holiday gift!  Shop now

First Night Boston - Welcome the New Year

Fireworks at Boston's First Night celebration

Sometimes Christmas in Boston feels like it ends too soon - but no worries, Boston's gala First Night extravaganza is just around the corner.

So even if Christmas is still in the future, it's not too early to plan for NYE. 

Most important, if you're coming into the city for the big event, make your hotel reservations NOW to avoid disappointment - check out all the Boston New Year's Eve hotel specials.


Blink at Faneuil Hall Marketplace

This show has been canceled for the past few years, and there's no announcement yet about whether it will return - but in case it does, here's what normally happens:

Blink! combines 350,000 flashing LED lights and holiday music to set Faneuil Hall Marketplace ablaze every evening through early January. 

Catch the free show, which runs numerous times between 4:30pm and 10pm from late November through early January as you stroll around the country's open-air marketplace, site of the largest Christmas tree in New England.   The show, which changes year-to-year, is especially fabulous this year.

Faneuil Marketplace also offers excellent shopping opportunities - lots of unique "only in Boston" boutiques mixed in with larger national chains where you'll often see "40% off" signs.

More holiday shopping recommendations 


Questions & Answers about Christmas in Boston

Romantic Things to Do in Boston during the Christmas Holidays

Hello!  My name is Shelly. I moved to Massachusetts about a year ago but I don't know much about the state. My boyfriend of three years lives in Florida and he is coming to visit for the Christmas holidays . . . More

Holiday decorations in Back Bay
Holiday decorations in front of XV Beacon Hotel

More Fun Ways to See Boston


More to Do in Boston in December

Events and things to do in Boston in December

Check Out More Top Boston Events Each Month

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