Catch a glimpse of Santa at Christmas Village. Photo courtesy of The City of Torrington, CT
Catch a glimpse of Santa at Christmas Village. Photo courtesy of The City of Torrington, CT

Best Holiday and Christmas Events and Activities for Connecticut Kids in 2020

Kids might say presents are the best part of the holidays, but we parents know that special experiences are the stuff of lasting Christmas memories. Across Connecticut, plenty of towns and businesses are planning (and in some cases, reimagining) holiday and Christmas events and activities to combine safe social distancing with festive family fun. New for 2020, you can hit drive-thru holiday light displays in Bristol and Wallingford, walk through a Winter Wonderland at the zoo, or take a reindeer-guided train ride. Here are some of the holiday happenings we are putting on our calendars this year.

For an extra-special day trip or weekend getaway in November or December, see our list of 25 Must-Do Christmas Events and Activities in New England with Kids, and keep tabs on our Connecticut Holiday Fun Guide for top toy lists, Elf on the Shelf ideas, and more activities to do with kids around the state.

Note that due to the fluctuating nature of COVID-19, events could be changed or canceled at any time, so be sure to check with the venue itself before heading out. While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our events calendar to find something else to do.

Best Christmas Lights and Decorations in Connecticut in 2020

Bundle up in the car and take a drive through Fantasy of Lights—New Haven
Fantasy of Lights is an annual tradition in the Elm City, and open mid-November until after Christmas. 

Behold the Magic of Lights—Wallingford 
Complete with a Blizzard Tunnel, this one mile drive through holiday light experience uses the latest LED technology and digital animalts. 

Christmas light displays Wonderland at Roseville

Photo courtesy of Wonderland at Roseville/Facebook

Be amazed by the amazingly decorated Wonderland at Roseville—Fairfield
People flock to Roseville Terrace every year to see the amazing lights put up by a family.

See the absolute best Gingerbread exhibit in the state—South Windsor
A teeny, tiny library just over the river is the annual location of two floors of gingerbread creations. Beautiful decorations surround an adorable shop with homemade goodies.

Do not miss the Christmas Village put on by the Bozenski's—Torrington
A huge holiday display with Santa always in attendance, the Christmas Village is a sparkling, holiday event for all.

Drive through the much-loved Holiday Light Fantasia—Hartford
Hartford's own sparkling, twinkling light display in Goodwin Park.

Take a ride through Santa's Village - Bristol 
Santa Lights up the Lake this year at the Indian Rock Nature Center. You can see Santa and his elves hard at work from the comfort of your own car. 

Best Holiday and Christmas Festivals in Connecticut in 2020

See live reindeer (perhaps flying?) at the Greenwich Reindeer Festival—Greenwich
Santa is staying busy at the North Pole, but his reindeer are back at the Greenwich Reindeer Festival and Santa's Village. 

Take a trip to Bethlehem...Connecticut, style—Bethlehem
Enjoy the Christmas Town Festival in a little town in Connecticut, December 4 and 5. There will be outdoor performances, tree lighting, safe photos with Santa, and more.

Christmas Playtime at the Mansion. Photo by Alex Rosenfeld Photography

Best Holiday Experiences for Connecticut Kids in 2020

Skip the trains, and try a trolley at the Santa's Trolley Winter Wonderland—East Haven
Starting on December 1, ride a historic trolley decorated for the season and spend some time with Santa as you go. No reservations are needed, and the trolley comes every 20 minutes.

Go pick out an amazing Christmas tree at Angevine FarmWarren
There are so many places to tree shop, but Angevine offers trees in a slew of different sizes with different price points.

Annual Holiday Train Show at the Connecticut River Museum - Essex 
This annual Train Show is always full of wonder. There are more trains, more scenery, and lots of new surprises at this annual family-friendly exhibit created by train artist Steve Cryan.

Learn about holiday traditions at a beautifully decorated mansion—Norwalk
Learn all about the children who played on the third floor of the Mansion, which was filled with toys and dolls and even featured a theater where they may have performed. This year's Christmas Playtime at the Mansion displays the museum's doll and toy collection. 

Celebrate the Season at the Hill-Stead Museum 
For 2020, Hell-Stead is reimagining The Nutcracker. Enjoy a costumed exhibition, dance performances, and more at the Holiday Through the Tulle exhibit. 

Walk through a Winter Wonderland --Bridgeport 
See and walk through festive vignettes at the Beardsley Zoo's Winter Wonderland.

Strike a pose with a goat for this year's holiday card. Photo courtesy of Bradley Mountain Farm

Strike a pose with a goat for this year's holiday card. Photo courtesy of Bradley Mountain Farm

Take a one-of-a-kind family holiday photo - Southington 
The photogenic goats at Bradley Mountain farm are ready—with bells on! The goats are all dressed up to pull Santa's sleigh. 

Take a lantern-lit walk around Mystic Seaport 
Mystic Seaport transforms itself into a Lantern Light Village this season. Enjoy live music, horse-and-carriage rides, fire pits, and a visit from Santa himself. 

Ride with Rudolph - Essex 
New for 2020, Reindeer on the Rails is a holiday adventure that features a journey through a whimsical evergreen and candy cane forest. 

Watch The Nutcracker on a big screen - Ridgefield 
Watch the Nutcacker on the big screen at the Ridgefield Playhouse. Watch Clara's magical adventure through lands where sugar plums dance and flowers waltz.

Places featured in this article:

Connecticut Trolley Mueum

Lakewood-Matthews Mansion2

Holiday Light Fantasia Goodwin Park

Torrington Christmas House

New Haven Green
Putnam's Great Pumpkin Festival
Union Square - 10:00 AM Pick
Wee Faerie Village
Florence Griswold Museum - 10:00 AM Pick
The Connecticut Renaissance Faire
Lebanon County Fairgrounds - 10:30 AM Pick
CT Trolley Museum Pumpkin Patch
Connecticut Trolley Museum - 10:00 AM Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides