Christmas & Holiday Events 2018-19

New England’s lively cities, snug towns, and snow-swept mountains are a perfect backdrop for Christmas 2018, holiday celebrations & traditions. Come enjoy classic favorites, like stage performances of “The Messiah” or “The Nutcracker, or local traditions such as the festive lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse in Maine. Lodgings offer plenty of ways to combine a holiday getaway with pastimes like skiing, shopping, or theater-hopping.

Click to find Holiday Fairs & Festivals in New England.

Christmas in Stowe - VisitNewEngland Holiday Events Calendar 2018

Find the dates you plan to travel or simply search the full events list below.

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All Ages

Festival of Silver Lights 2018 - Meriden, CT

Nov 20, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019 Hubbard Park, 1000 West Main Street Meriden, CT

A spectacular display with 200,000 white lights and more than 300 lighted characters throughout the Park. Displays in trees, on the ponds and nestled in the natural habitat.

Hill-Stead for the Holidays 2018

Nov 20, 2018 - Jan 6, 2019 Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road Farmington, CT

This 1901 Colonial Revival house is beautifully decorated for the holidays. Come for a Holiday Tea & Tour, holiday boutique and Family Discovery Day. Schedule.

Children & Families

Holiday Train Show 2018

Nov 16, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019 Connecticut River Museum, 67 Main Street Essex, CT

This family exhibit, created by train artist Steve Cryan, features more trains, new scenery, and lots of surprises to be found in the fully operational 26-foot model train layout. Visitors can also challenge themselves with the I-SPY scavenger hunt for objects hidden with the displays and throughout the exhibit gallery. Smaller visitors set can get hands-on at an American Flyer and Lionel Train layout designed for toddler size viewing.

Holiday Lights 2018 at Lake Compounce

Nov 23, 2018 - Dec 23, 2018 Lake Compounce, 186 Enterprise Drive Bristol, CT

 holiday lights at lake compounce

The theme park is drenches in many thousands of lights and a light show set to holiday music is performed every half hour. Enjoy family rides, food, and an opportunity to see Santa.


Rudolph's Holiday Cruise

Nov 25, 2018 - Dec 22, 2018 Lady Kate Cruises, 80 Harbor Drive Middletown, CT

Welcome the season on a family holiday cruise! Gather family and friends and take in all the sights, sounds and warmth that the holiday season has to offer. Dine on a hot buffet brunch then gather with Santa and his elves for story time. Children love creating a special holiday keepsake as they enjoy live music. This family holiday tradition sells out quickly.


Three Centuries of Christmas 2018 -- Wethersfield

Dec 1, 2018 - Jan 7, 2019 Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, 211 Main Street Wethersfield, CT


Each year, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum’s “Three Centuries of Christmas” tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season has evolved over the past 300 years.


Sultans of String Christmas Caravan

Dec 20, 2018 - Dec 20, 2018 Infinity Music Hall, 20 Greenwoods Road West Norfolk, CT

Come hear this wildly talented group of string musicians. Stringed instruments and sounds produce a wonderful sound.

Handel’s Messiah 2018 with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Dec 20, 2018 - Dec 22, 2018 See description below New Haven and Madison, CT

Hallelujah! New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Christ Church Choir celebrate the holiday season with Handel’s beloved vocal masterpiece, Messiah.
December 20 -- Woolsey Memorial Hall, 168 Grove Street, New Haven. 7:30 p.m.
December 22 -- First Congregational Church of Madison, 26 Meeting House Ln. Madison. 7:30 p.m.

Cherish the Ladies - A Celtic Christmas

Dec 21, 2018 - Dec 21, 2018 Garde Arts Center, 325 State Street New London, CT

For more than three decades, Cherish the Ladies - one of the top Celtic groups in the world - has shared timeless Irish traditions and good cheer through its television special, An Irish Homecoming.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve Black & White Ball 2018 at Mystic Aquarium

Dec 31, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018 Mystic Aquarium, 55 Coogan Blvd. Mystic, CT

Don your best black/white attire and kick up your heels to live entertainment by Nancy Paolino & The Black Tie Band. A pair of endangered African penguins will make an appearance, Guests will savor Ocean Blue Catering’s gourmet food and drinks.For guests age 21 and older.

New Year's Eve Bash 2018 With Wicked Peach

Dec 31, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018 Mystic Hilton, 20 Coogan Blve. Stonington, CT

Ring in the New Year with Wicked Peach at Hilton Mystic. Ticket price includes an intimate concert with Wicked Peach, a Champagne toast at midnight, and breakfast buffet at 1 a.m. For guests age 21 and older; dance party; standing room only.

Magic of Motown by Motown Revue NYE ’18

Dec 31, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018 Downtown Cabaret Theatre, 263 Golden Hill Street Bridgeport, CT

Admission fee includes the concert, dance party, parking, service fees, party favors, concessions, noise makers, balloon drop, and coffee and Danish. As part of the Cabaret tradition, you are allowed to BYOB and Picnic.

First Night Hartford 2018-19

Dec 31, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018 Many locations; see event website Hartford, CT

Hartford's premiere New Year's Eve party. A family-friendly, multicultural, artistically unique, alcohol free New Year's experience with countless professional musicians, artists, performance groups and exhibits that inspire thousands of people of all ages to attend each year. Two spectacular fireworks shows in Bushnell Park at 6 p.m. and midnight. See schedule of entertainment. Buy your wristband

First Night Westport 2018-2019

Dec 31, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018 Jesup Green and other venues Westport, CT

You can walk to all the venues in the downtown area to enjoy tons of venues for children of all ages, and fireworks. Pyrotechnic display is at 8:15 p.m. Schedule of events.

Outdoor Activities

Holiday Light Fantasia 2018

Nov 22, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019 Goodwin Park, 1130 Maple Avenue Hartford, CT

A beautiful collection of over one million lights is situated along a two-mile drive through Goodwin Park . Whimsical holiday sights, familiar characters and local tributes shine bright in over 200 individual displays. The lighted animations celebrate not only Christmas, but also Hanukkah, New Year’s and Three Kings Day.

Tunnel of Lights Trolley Ride 2018

Nov 23, 2018 - Dec 30, 2018 The Connecticut Trolley Museum, 58 North Road East Windsor, CT

Join hundreds of others and start a family tradition of coming for a trolley ride during the holiday season. Join your motormen in singing traditional Christmas carols as the trolley travels through the Tunnel of Lights. After the ride, to see model trains and decorations, enjoy entertainment, and sip hot cocoa. Pose for a picture with Santa inside one of the historic trolleys. Dates for 2018 Winterfest: November 23-25, and 30; December 1, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30.

Performing Arts, Theater, Dance

Legends in Concert Holiday Show 2018

Nov 23, 2018 - Dec 31, 2018 Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Blvd. Mashantucket,, CT

The holiday show will feature the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest finalist Patrick Dunn, along with Michael Jackson, The Blues Brothers, Whitney Houston, David Bowie and George Michael.

Cirque Celebration at Mohegan Sun

Dec 29, 2018 - Dec 30, 2018 Mohegan Sun, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd. Uncasville, CT 06382

Cirque Celebration 2019 is a 75-minute heart-pounding, non – stop colorful explosion of athleticism, acrobatic audacity and festive imagination. This magnificent stage production will be performed in Mohegan Sun Arena, where guests will have a full 360-degree view of the action. Tickets.


A Connecticut Christmas Carol 2018

Nov 30, 2018 - Dec 30, 2018 Terris Theatre at Goodspeed, 33 North Main Street Chester, CT

Actor and local legend William Gillette leaves his castle on the Connecticut River to adapt Dickens’a holiday classic. Nutmeggers Mark Twain, P.T. Barnum and others make spirited appearances opposite Gillette’s Scrooge in a highly theatrical twist on a family favorite. Custom-made for Goodspeed with all-original music, here’s a tuneful, heartfelt confection. Schedules and tickets.

“Coney Island Christmas”

Dec 13, 2018 - Dec 23, 2018 Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street Ivoryton, CT

“Coney Island Christmas” introduces us to Shirley Abramowitz, a young Jewish girl who is cast as Jesus in the school’s Christmas pageant. As Shirley, now much older, recounts the memorable story to her great-granddaughter, the play captures a timeless and universal tale of what it means to be an American during the holidays.

Train Excursions

North Pole Express 2018 with Essex Steam Train

Nov 8, 2018 - Dec 23, 2018 Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, 1 Railroad Avenue Essex, CT

Board a festive train for a magical nighttime journey to the North Pole. Watch and live performance of “The Night Before Christmas,” say hello to Santa and Mrs. Claus, sing along to your favorite Christmas music, and snack on hot chocolate and sugar cookies. Each child will receive a small gift from Santa. Children are invited to wear pajamas. Ride length is about 90 minutes.

Northern Lights Limited & Santa Express

Nov 23, 2018 - Dec 23, 2018 Thomaston Station, 242 E. Main Street Thomaston, CT

Join the Railroad Museum of New England on a magical journey to celebrate the Christmas season. The Santa Express and Northern Lights Limited run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from the day after Thanksgiving to the weekend before Christmas. Rides are 1 hour and 20 minutes in length.
Upon departure, you will be taken directly to the North Pole, picking up Santa and Mrs. Claus. They will take turns visiting with all those on board. The Santa Express is the earlier train; the Northern Lights Limited is the evening train, where you can feel the magic as the lights are lit. Pick up tickets at Thomaston Station on the day of the event. Tickets