Sure, not everyone goes in for all the traditions and tchotchkes that are associated with the holiday season. But we don't know anyone—young or old—who isn't delighted by winter wonderlands filled with lighted displays, twinkling trees, and sparkling scenes. We've rounded up some of the best light displays in or around Boston, from newer sensations like Blink!, downtown, to the storied La Salette Shrine, south of the city. Whether you venture out to a dazzling display or just drive around to these spectacularly decorated neighborhood homes, set aside an evening, bring a thermos of cocoa, and experience some magic as a family.
Please note: Updates for 2018 coming soon!
ZooLights at the Stone Zoo—Stone Zoo, Stoneham
Get into the holiday spirit by strolling along tree-lined paths lit by thousands of twinkling lights. Visit Yukon Creek with its bald eagles, a North American porcupine, a gray fox, and arctic foxes. Children meet Stone Zoo’s reindeer up close during the nightly photo opportunities and can visit with Santa, who awaits their arrival in Santa’s Castle.
ZooLights at Stone Zoo is an annual favorite. Photo courtesy of Zoo New England
The Enchanted Village—Jordan's Furniture, Avon
The Enchanted Village: The tradition lives on. Once called the Enchanted Village of St. Nicholas, the holiday display was created in 1958 for Jordan Marsh Downtown Crossing. It has passed through City Hall Plaza (late 90s) and the Hynes Convention Center (2006-2009), and now is at Jordan’s Furniture, where it has been restored and on display. The surviving collection includes 59 mechanical figurines and 18 vignettes. FREE
LITE, the Laser Imagination Theater Experience: Commissioning the country’s foremost experts in laser technology, Jordan’s Furniture has developed an amazing, one-of-a-kind arrangement of high-powered, solid-state lasers and Hollywood-style special effects. Come sing along, tap your feet, and blow your mind with this energizing musical tribute to the season. ($ admission for LITE; only the Enchanted Village is free.)
$-$$; Members and children under 6 FREE
Marvel at glittering light displays indoors and out at Tower Hill Botanical Garden. The decorated trees hold thousands of handcrafted ornaments, and there are fire pits, children's activities and live music.
Blink! is a feast for the eyes and ears, downtown. Photo courtesy of Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Blink! is a state-of-the-art LED light and sound show in which over 350,000 LED lights are choreographed to the music of the Holiday Pops. Five shows each night.
With acres of storybook-like light displays, La Salette Shrine is worth the drive. Photo courtesy of Heartlover 1717 via Flickr, CC 2.0
La Salette Shrine Lights—Attleboro
FREE; donations welcome
The La Salette Shrine lights have been shining each year at Christmastime since 1953. Visitors can see angels, snowflakes, the Three Kings, the Peaceable Kingdom and more lit up in over 300,000 lights (nearly a third of them are energy-efficient LEDs). There is also the Outdoor Creche of Bethlehem with Clopper the Christmas Donkey and concerts with Father Pat and various artists.
Somerville residents decorate their homes with festive strings of lights and collections of holiday figurines, transforming our cold winter nights with a blaze of light and beauty. In celebration of this community expression, the Somerville Arts Council conducts the Illuminations Tour, a 45-minute trolley ride featuring the city's brightest displays. Tours leave from Somerville City Hall where coffee, hot chocolate and cookies are served. There are also craft activities for children and live music. Tickets go on sale 12/3/17 and sell out very quickly.
Festival of Lights—Edaville, Carver
Edaville is transformed into a winter wonderland of holiday delights for the Christmas season. Passengers can relax comfortably in warm and dry coaches while riding through a spectacular holiday setting featuring an explosion of lights. Plus, enjoy an array of vintage amusement rides and a visit with Santa in one of the indoor play areas.
Winterlights—North Andover and Stockbridge
Post published Nov 2013; updated Nov 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017