Starting in late November, the city of Boston lights up for the holiday season, making it a festive and fun time of year to take in this New England city. Through the New Year, this is when you can check out—and take plenty of photos of—iconic and unique holiday displays, from gigantic Christmas trees to lit up neighborhoods.
No matter where you go in the city, especially once the sun goes down, you're bound to get in the holiday spirit. But if you're looking for particularly festive destinations, here are the best to see.
Tree for Boston on Boston Common
The Tree for Boston, located on the Boston Common, is a beautiful spruce Christmas tree. It has been received as a gift from Nova Scotia every year and commemorates the relationship between the people of Boston and Halifax following the Great Halifax Explosion of 1917.
The tree lighting is a big annual event taking place in late-November, where the entire Common lights up, including the trees, Frog Pond skating rink, and more. On that day, you can also watch fireworks and the free ice show, the Frog Pond Skating Spectacular.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace Tree
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace is not only the perfect spot for Christmas shopping, but also home to the tallest decorated Christmas tree in the area. The tree has been as tall as 85 feet tall in past years, with the latest in 2018 being a 60-foot spruce tree from New York.
During the holiday season through January 1, you can also experience Blink!, an LED light and sound show with more than 350,000 LED lights, set to music from the Holiday Pops. This free show is seven minutes long and runs many times each evening starting at 4:30 p.m.
"Make Way for Ducklings" at the Boston Public Garden
Next to the Boston Common is the Boston Public Garden, which also gets lit up and becomes picturesque for the holidays, including the George Washington Statue. Here you'll find the "Make Way for Ducklings" statues, which get dressed up for the season as well, providing another great photo opp.
Commonwealth Avenue Mall
After you've walked through the Boston Common and Public Garden, keep walking on over to the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, where you'll find all the trees lining the pathway lit up, along with beautiful Victorian brownstones on both sides with seasonal decor and lights. This area extends between the Boston Public Garden and Back Bay, so walk over a couple blocks to Newbury and Boylston Streets to get your shopping in.
Copley Square Tree & Prudential Tower's 31 Nights of Light
When you're in Back Bay, be sure to stop by and see the Copley Square tree. This part of the city, including the Boston Public Library and Fairmont and Lenox hotels, also deck the halls for the holidays.
Also walk over to the Prudential Tower in the evenings, as you'll see their 31 Nights of Light display along the side of the building. Every day is dedicated to a different local nonprofit and makes for a pretty Boston skyline photo.
Macy's Tree in Downtown Crossing
If you're shopping in Downtown Crossing, you won't be able to miss the Macy's holiday tree overhead on at 450 Washington Street. The retailer is also known for their festive window displays to go along with the tree.
Trellis at Christopher Columbus Park
As you reach the North End neighborhood and cross the Greenway by the waterfront, you'll see blue light at the center of Christopher Columbus Park at 110 Atlantic Avenue. This is the Trellis, which is covered in 50,000 blue and white LED lights. Go ahead and take a photo underneath its arch.
Somerville Illuminations Tour
Just north of the city in Somerville is a unique opportunity to take in holiday decor: the Illuminations Tour. Every year, residents in this area go all out with decorating their homes for the holidays, and this 45-minute trolley ride put on by the Somerville Arts Council takes you to see some of the best. Tickets go on sale in early December, but get yours ASAP, as they tend to sell out fast. If you prefer to walk, you can get a $3 map to help guide the way.
ZooLights at the Stone Zoo
Also a short distance north of the city is the Stone Zoo. The holiday season is when visitors can experience ZooLights when the Zoo comes to life at night via tree-lined paths and lights. Visit the animals and pose for photos with Santa.
Light Up Seaport
One of the city's newer holiday light displays is in the Seaport neighborhood. Now in its third year in 2018, this kicks off with a Light Up Seaport event in late November, which celebrates the Seaport's support of the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes and The Gavin Foundation.