New England: December Events 2014
Ho, ho, ho – it’s holiday time in New England! Listed below are some of the region’s major holiday events and attractions and some that are just sheer fun. Please note: the first part of this list shows events that begin in November and those that run throughout the month of December. See individual web sites for confirmed dates, hours and associated fees. Some events may require pre-registration or ticket purchases.
For a complete list of New England events in December 201, check the state tourism links at the bottom of this page.
Make plans today with other New England winter travel ideas.
Late November - New Year's Eve 2014 (Closed Christmas Day)
Come tour The Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in Lenox, Massachusetts, for the holidays with its beautiful decorations, holiday events, Victoria teas, museum shop and more. Ventfort Hall is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion built in 1893 for Sarah Morgan, the sister of American financier J. P. Morgan. This magnificent Berkshire “Cottage” was rescued from demolition and has undergone substantial restoration. It was even used in the Academy Award-winning film The Cider House Rules. Ventfort Hall is now the home of The Museum of the Gilded Age, which interprets the great changes that occurred in American life, industry and society during the Nineteenth Century, a fascinating period of American history.
Late November - January 1, 2015 (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Newport, Rhode Island
Step back into a Christmas of the Gilded Age at the famous Newport Mansions. Make holiday memories with your family by visiting The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House, all decked out for the holidays with thousands of poinsettia plants, spectacular evergreens, trees, wreaths, fresh flowers and 19th century style ornaments. The mansions feature dining tables set with period silver and china and music of the season. Also on offer are special evening events.
Late November - December 31, 2014
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
BLINK!, featuring the music of the Holiday Pops, is a fun new feature at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Each night an LED light & sound production fills the marketplace with sounds and scenes of the holiday season. There will be 12 performances each night.
Mid November 2013 - Mid-March 2014 (pending weather)
Greater Kennedy Plaza – Providence, Rhode Island
As one of New England’s most popular winter destinations, the Bank of America City Center offers a fun, family activity at an affordable price. The 14,000-square-foot skating rink is twice the size of Rockefeller Plaza’s ice rink in New York City! Skate rentals available. (May close pending weather conditions – call first.)
Late November 2014 - January 1, 2015 (closed Dec 2/3)
One of New England’s best Holiday lighting experiences with more than 600,000 lights along a 3-mile route.
Late November - early December 2014
Wickford, Rhode Island
Several days of holiday celebration in this picturesque Rhode Island coastal town. Santa arrives at the Town Dock aboard the Sea Princess led by kayaks from The Kayak Centre. Enjoy the tree lighting and hayrides with Santa. Shops are open until 9pm!
Select dates throughout November and December
Edaville Railroad – Carver, Massachusetts
During the Christmas season, Edaville is transformed into a winter wonderland of holiday delights! Passengers can relax comfortably in warm and dry coaches while riding through a spectacular holiday setting featuring an explosion of lights. Kids of all ages will enjoy an array of vintage amusement rides and a visit with Santa in one of our indoor play areas. Stay for a delicious full meal or enjoy seasonal treats while roaming our beautifully decorated grounds.
Late November and select dates in December
Jackson, New Hampshire
Lincoln, New Hampshire
A short drive from Boston, the Hobo Railroad offers a Santa Train that takes you through New Hampshire’s White Mountains region. Santa will be on board to visit with each family. Santa’s Elves will serve hot chocolate and cookies. Purchase tickets online.
Opera House - Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker Ballet is a must-see holiday event for the whole family! Join Clara on her magical journey through an enchanted winter wonderland to a palace of sugary confections.
Conway Scenic Railroad – North Conway, New Hampshire
The Jolly Old Elf will visit with all children during the ride and give each a small gift. In addition to seeing Santa, passengers can enjoy a relaxing train ride through the Mt. Washington Valley countryside aboard heated coaches, powered by one of the Conway Scenic Railroad’s powerful diesel locomotives.
Open select days in December
Jefferson, New Hampshire (White Mountains Region)
December 1-31, 2014
Newport, Rhode Island
The Christmas in Newport celebration boasts multiple activities for nearly each day of the December calendar. In a community collaboration, clear bulbs illuminate Newport’s scenic harbor and wharves, the restored colonial homes in the Point and Historic Hill sections and the Victorian splendor of Bellevue Avenue. The lights are meant to recapture the candlelit holidays of bygone days. Take a Holiday Lantern Tour, buy gifts at harborside shops or the Christmas Bazaar and enjoy one of the many holiday concerts.
December 1 – 31, 2014 (closed December 24-25)
Hildene: The Lincoln Family Home – Manchester, Vermont
Come see a Victorian Christmas as Robert and Mary Lincoln celebrated it when they stayed at Hildene through the holiday season in 1909. Hildene was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. Enjoy the holiday season in the scenic Shires Region of Vermont and shop at the nearby upscale Manchester Designer Outlets.
A month-long celebration - specific dates for the Candlelight Stroll
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
A month of Strolls, Shows and Stayovers in the historic seaport of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Listed as “one of the Top 100 Events in North America” (American Bus Association) and “one of the Top Ten Things not to miss in New England” (Boston Globe),Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth has people returning year after year. The signature event is the Candlelight Stroll special nights in December when the quaint lanes of Strawbery Banke Museum are aglow with hundreds of luminaries, the historic homes are festively decorated, and alluring scents and sounds of the holiday season fill the air. Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth also offers live holiday shows, opera broadcasts and films in The Music Hall’s landmark Historic Theater and the new intimate Music Hall Loft on Congress Street, and welcoming stays in the elegant and delightful holiday downtown.
Salem, Massachusetts (North of Boston)
Explore 18th and 19th century homes all decorated for the holidays, all within easy walking distance. Enjoy Free Trolley Service, dining and shopping discounts, special museum offers, concerts, lectures, theater and movie tie-ins, wine tasting and more.
December 5-7, 2014
Enjoy the season in Cape Cod’s liveliest town – a favorite with gay and lesbian travelers. Partake in the Snow Ball, the Holly Folly Inn Stroll, Holly Folly Sing-A-Longs and Holiday Drag Bingo. Lots of fun in a beautiful seaside location with many shops and restaurants.
December 5-6 and 12-13, 2014
Kennebunkport, Kennebunk, and Cape Porpoise - Maine
The charming seaside village of Kennebunkport, Maine, was voted America’s #2 Christmas town by Home and Garden Television (HGTV)! Christmas Prelude is a magical season of shopping and special events including a champagne reception, candle light caroling, tree lightings, arts & crafts shows, 12 music programs, a pancake breakfast, lobster bake, the arrival of Santa by lobster boat and much more. Shops offer extended hours and many provide special treats to celebrate the season.
Select dates in December
Symphony Hall – Boston, Massachusetts
Experience the wonder of a Holiday Pops concert this season. For a few weeks in December, historic Symphony Hall is transformed into a magical place for all ages as the Boston Pops perform the most beloved holiday music. Join together with other New Englanders, Bostonians and visitors around the globe to continue your family’s tradition or start a new one. Order your tickets now to ensure you’ll be a part of it all.
Weekend throughout December - check website for specific dates
Newport, Rhode Island
Bring the whole family to see Frosty the Snowman, Santa, and Mrs. Claus for an evening of Christmas cheer in America’s favorite sailing town. Make a day of it and check off that holiday gift list at Newport’s many retail shops. Festivities begin at 4:30 with Frosty the Snowman, followed by a Christmas Carol Sing-a-long and the tree lighting. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by boat (weather permitting) at 6 pm. Retail shops open until 9 pm.
Canterbury, New Hampshire
A Christmas celebration from a simpler era, Shaker-style! Canterbury Shaker Village will be lit up and decorated for the season. Enjoy a candlelight stroll and horse-drawn sleigh or wagon ride. Enjoy musical performances and Shaker entertainment. See a 19th-Century Magic Show and traditional craft demonstrations. Visit the Gingerbread Spectacular and more!
North Kingstown, Rhode Island
Smith’s Castle-Cocumscussoc is an award-winning historic site where four centuries of Rhode Island history are preserved and interpreted through tours, historic reenactments and educational programs for both adults and children. For this special weekend, the halls of Smith’s Castle are decked in period fashion for a celebration of Christmas past. Nibble on home-baked treats, sip hot mulled cider and enjoy live music from an earlier era.
Ogunquit, Maine (Southern Maine)
A festival of holiday activities designed for the young at heart in quaint Ogunquit Village. Tree lightings, caroling, bonfires, shopping, open houses, Chowderfest and more.
December TBD (closed Christmas Day)
Sunday River Ski Resort – Newry, Maine
Come see dozens of “Santas” headed down the slopes at this favorite resort in Maine. Celebrate the arrival of winter and the upcoming holiday season while raising money for a good cause. Dress in a full Santa costume, and you can ski or ride for free. Pre-registration required.
Only a short drive or train ride from Portland, Maine (via Amtrak’a Downeaster train starting in Boston), Freeport is home to the flagship store of the outdoor retailer L.L. Bean and home to many designer outlets and other interesting shops. This annual event features the Sparkle Parade of Lights, carolers, a Talking Christmas Tree, Santa, horse drawn carriage rides and much more. At the L.L. Bean “campus” see the Northern Lights display and the giant L.L.Bean boot!
December 12-14, 2014
Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard
This island celebration begins with the lighting of the lighthouse and continues with the Great Chowder Cook Off, a Christmas Parade and other events through this historic town. Edgartown is filled with shops and restaurants — perfect for a pre-Christmas getaway!
President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site – Plymouth, Vermont
Plymouth Notch, Vermont is the birthplace and boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States. The village is virtually unchanged since the early 20th century. The homes of Calvin Coolidge’s family and neighbors, the community church, cheese factory, one-room schoolhouse, and general store have been carefully preserved and many of the buildings have their original furnishings. On this day enjoy the traditions of the season. Visit the Coolidge Birthplace, decorated as it would have been in 1872, the year the future president was born. Winter exhibits at the Aldrich House, Plymouth Cheese Factory, and 1924 Summer White House office. This event features old-time music, craft demonstrations, sleigh rides, lunch at the Wilder House Restaurant, special cancellation at the historic Plymouth post office and children’s holiday activities.
Intervale, New Hampshire
December 31, 2014
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
December 31, 2014
Burlington & Montpelier, Vermont
Come ring in the New Year with the 28th New Year’s Eve Festival of the Arts. Enjoy performances and events at these annual substance-free, New Year’s Eve festivals in the cities of Burlington and Montpelier.
December 31, 2014
Boston’s First Night Festival of the Arts showcases the work of 1,000 artists in 200 performances and exhibits at 35 indoor and outdoor venues located throughout the downtown area on New Year’s Eve. This signature Boston event is the oldest and largest of its kind in North America, typically attracting about one million people from throughout the region. The day-long celebration runs from 1 pm to midnight each year on December 31. In addition to the broad range of lively music, dance, theater, visual art, and film programs offered, First Night’s traditional activities include a Family Festival at the Hynes Convention Center, a Grand Procession down Boylston Street, colossal ice sculptures that dot the city’s landscape and a spectacular fireworks display at midnight.
December 31, 2014
Explore MORE NEW ENGLAND EVENTS:
- Connecticut Events
- Maine Events
- Massachusetts Events
- New Hampshire Events
- Rhode Island Events
- Vermont Events