Best time to go to Boston

Christmas Tree Lighting 2021

The official start of the holiday season in Boston

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Disclaimer: Due to COVID-19 concerns, many events might be canceled, postponed, or changed into limited versions, sometimes at very short notice. Please check with event organizers directly for the latest updates (view the "External Resources" section below).

The much-awaited Boston Christmas tree lighting ceremonies usually begin right after Thanksgiving in late November. By December, the city is all dressed up and shining. The switch-on ceremonies attract large crowds with free live entertainment and appearances by Santa, loved by everyone.

Boston Common Tree Lighting (December 3, 2020)

The official Boston Christmas Tree has been lit each year since 1941 in the Boston Common. Since the 1970s, the tree has been provided every year by Nova Scotia in gratitude for Boston's assistance after the 1917 Halifax Explosion.

Boston Common Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony is held on the last Thursday in November or the first Thursday in December from 6 pm till 8 pm by the Visitors Information Center on Tremont St. The ceremony is conducted by the Mayor, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and, of course, Santa. About 7,000 spectacular Christmas tree lights are followed by lights on dozens of other trees in the Common. Live music and entertainment and a free ice-skating show are completed with the grand finale and fireworks.

Holiday Trellis Lighting: Christopher Columbus Park (November 23, 2020)

The annual lighting of the trellis in Christopher Columbus Park is also done by the Mayor who switches on the 50,000 lights along the 80-m (260-ft) trellis at the beautiful waterfront. The event features music and other entertainment.

Massachusetts State House Tree Lighting (November 24, 2020)

Massachusetts State House features a giant Christmas tree in the Rotunda, which lights up after Santa gives a kick-off of the holiday season in Massachusetts state. Once you are there, explore the treasures of the State House. After the lights are switched on, walk across Beacon Street to Boston Common and enjoy skating on the Frog Pond ice rink.

Giant Christmas Trees and Blink! Light Show at Faneuil Marketplace (December 1, 2020—January 1, 2021)

Faneuil Marketplace features the largest Christmas Tree in Boston and the "Blink!" light show. The lighting ceremony takes place at the Marketplace Centre with carolers, performances, and other entertainment in early December. The music-light show Blink! runs every half hour from 4:30 pm to 10 pm. Besides the festive program, you can do holiday shopping at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Grab a bite at one of the historic taverns along Union Street.