The season for holiday magic is upon us and one of the best ways to share the wonder of winter with your family is by touring local light displays in Somerville. Residents take the phrase “deck the halls” to heart by creating fabulous displays that include homemade wooden characters, lights linking multiple houses and life-sized nativity scenes. The City of Somerville goes all out too, decorating the major squares and City Hall Plaza with lights and trees. Here’s where to find the best lights in Somerville this holiday season!
Highland Avenue lights
City Hall Plaza and Highland Avenue
One of my personal favorite light displays is right at Somerville’s City Hall, where the building itself gets a big, beautiful wreath. On the lawn in front of City Hall is Somerville’s Christmas Tree and Menorah, which cast a warming glow all season long. Follow the twinkly white lights down Highland Avenue away from City Hall toward the library’s Central Branch for a cozy winter stroll.
A tree at Assembly Row
While the City of Somerville makes sure each square and major road has wreaths and kissing balls adorning it light poles, the best displays can be found in Davis Square, Union Square and Assembly Row. Twinkly lights, trees decked out from top to bottom and a special art display at Assembly light up the night.
Illuminations Bike Tour at City Hall
Illuminations Tour (Bike and Trolley)
One of the biggest holiday events in Somerville is the Arts Council’s Illuminations Tour, which is on December 19 this year. Tickets go fast for the trolley portion, but adventurous families can join the Illuminations Bike Tour on the same day at 5:50 p.m. at City Hall. The Bike Tour winds its way through the city taking in lights and participants are encouraged to decorate their bikes in the spirit of the season.
A house on Otis Street, courtesy of Somerville Arts Council.
D.I.Y. Illuminations Tour
The Monday after the Illuminations Tour (Dec. 21), you can pick up a copy of the map the Illuminations Tour follows for both its West and East Somerville tours so you can see the lights on your own. The maps can be purchased for $3 at Blue Cloud Gallery in Ball Square or at Magpie in Davis Square. Tour highlights include a pass by a home on Central Street where Somerville Arts Council Artist of the Month Lenny “Iggy” Rigione hand makes incredible characters like Santa, angels and elves out of wood, metal and paint that adorn his house.
Top photo: The tree at Somerville City Hall