Holiday Light Shows in the Hartford Area

11/1/16 - By Donald Eng

This post will be updated soon.

It's that magical time of year: Thanksgiving is over and spectacular holiday lights have sprung up seemingly overnight throughout neighborhoods and towns. There are elaborate, professional displays in parks, as well as fabulous light shows and seasonal displays at people's residences, such as the Christmas House in Torrington and numerous light shows in Fairfield County. Many of these displays can be visited for free or for a small charge or donation, a bonus when your wallet may be feeling a bit lighter after all that holiday shopping!

An annual visit to one of these light shows is a great tradition to start with your family; put it on your holiday to-do list along with holiday strolls and tree lighting events. And don't forget to check out our holiday guide for all there is to see and do in Hartford County, and all of CT, during this exciting time of year!


Hartford’s Holiday Light Fantasia is a two-mile drive through Goodwin Park with whimsical holiday sights. Familiar characters and local tributes shine brightly over 35 scenes and 200 individual displays. Be sure to stop in to the Candy Cane Café in the clubhouse for a bite to eat and to meet with Santa Claus. Open now -January 1.

1130 Maple Avenue, Hartford

Hartford's Winterfest, formerly the Festival of Lights, features an array of dazzling lights illuminating Bushnell Park. While you are there, enjoy the free ice skating and free skate rentals at the lighted Winterfest Hartford rink, open daily now through February 1, and visit Santa at the Pump House Gallery on weekends.

99 Trinity Street, Hartford

Hubbard Park in Meriden has a free light display called The Festival of Silver Lights that loops around Mirror Lake and other tiny roads filled with figurines and displays around the park. It runs from now - January 5 and is open daily.

999 West Main Street, Meriden

Lake Compounce in Bristol has Holiday Lights, a fun holiday event that transforms the amusement park into a winter wonderland filled with thousands of lights, entertainment, and activities. Some of the festivities include a spectacular light show that runs every half hour and the usual Lake Compounce train turned into the North Pole Express. Family-themed rides will be in operation. There will also be indoor activities such as gingerbread house making, photos with Santa, and cookie decorating. Open now through December 20.

186 Enterprise Drive, Bristol

Every year since 1978, the owner (now 90) of the New Britain Christmas House, also her residence, has decorated the outside and inside of her historic home with thousands of glittering lights, decorations, moving dolls, Santas, reindeer, nativity scenes, and more. Visitors will be amazed by the sheer scale of the decorations. The lights are so extensive that they can be seen from the other side of Walnut Hill Park, across the street, at night. Admission is free but visitors are asked to make a small donation or bring along a canned food item. All proceeds are donated to local food banks. The home will be open to walk through December 18-22, 6-8 pm.

61 Lexington Street, New Britain

At the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor you and your family can ride a restored trolley as you travel through a tunnel of colored lights. Return to the winter wonderland that features model trains, entertainment, refreshments and a visit with Santa. Open weekends through December 30.

58 North Road, East Windsor

Although not in Hartford County, the Christmas House in Torrington is worthy of a not-too-lengthy road trip to the Western corner. This house is festooned in tinsel, lights, and every type of Christmas-related decoration you can imagine. The owner does not charge admission but does accept donations. The house is open for inside tours from 6-9 pm and outside tours from 6-11 pm, daily, from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas.

258 Main Street, Torrington

Originally published 12/2/14.


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