Some towns just seem like they were built to be decked in holly and dusted with snow. We here in the Bay State are blessed to have a bevy of small towns that look like they were modeled after Christmas cards, but there are some that stand apart from the rest in terms of bright and festive atmospheres. Here are 12 towns in Massachusetts that transform into winter wonderlands during the holiday season.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
Taunton is actually nicknamed "The Christmas City," so its residents obviously know how to make the holidays magical. During the month of December, the town green transforms into a sparkling jewel of lights and festive activities. Don't miss the annual Lights On festival and parade on December 3 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Come Christmastime, Somerville is a semi-urban oasis of holiday lights. Visitors should check out the Illumination Trolley Tour, which takes you on a 45-minute journey through the brightest displays in town. There are cookies and hot chocolate for all, and even the option to take the tour on your decorated bike. Besides the trolley tour, Somerville has plenty of festive events scheduled for the month of December, including craft fairs and caroling.
Deerfield is full of original colonial homes and winding cobblestone paths, making it as pretty as a Christmas postcard. It's also home to the Yankee Candle Village, an indoor wonderland where it's always Christmastime, and Santa's influence can be felt year-round. Plus, the nearby Christmas tree farm means that the town's holiday trees are fresh and full of that intoxicating tree scent.
During the holidays, Attleboro plays host to one of the most beloved wonderland of lights in the state. LaSalette Shrine's Festival of Lights is 61 years old, and features over 400,000 twinkling lights. The town is flooded with visitors coming to marvel at the lights of the shrine, which infuses Attleboro with a lot of festive cheer.
The trip to the tip of the Cape is definitely worth it for this Christmas community. The Lobster Pot pyramid may be less green than most Christmas trees, but it's an iconic holiday landmark in Provincetown during the month of December. Be sure to check out the glow of Pilgrim Monument, and don't miss out on events like holiday-themed drag bingo, a special Christmas champagne brunch, community gingerbread decorating and lots more.
6. Shelburne Falls
Shelburne Falls is the perfect family Christmas town. Nestled along the Mohawk Trail, this sleepy town is full of lights and charm around the holidays. The annual Moonlight Magic event fills the streets with colored lights and candles. Visitors can try their hand at holiday crafts, or get toasty in a night-time trolley festooned with sparkling lights.
Springfield makes the list due to the town's stunning Bright Nights at Forest Park light display. Cruise through the largest holiday light display in New England on a horse-drawn carriage, or from the comfort of your own car. This town puts on a show that really makes you feel like you've entered another another world.
Tyringham is a wonderful Christmas town simply because of its pure, traditional wintery beauty. This rural community is within throwing distance of a number of wonderful Christmas tree farms, and local spots like the Ashintully Gardens and Santarella Gingerbread House make it a fairytale destination for some simple but magical holiday fun.
If you're looking for the perfect combination of holiday magic and seaside charm, this island destination delivers. You'll find decorations and lights no matter where you go on Nantucket, but Main Street is particularly enchanting. Over 150 Christmas trees line the streets during the annual Noel celebration, and Christmas Stroll Weekend (December 2-4) brings carolers, minstrels and crafting opportunities to the glowing town.
This seaside town really pulls out all the stops for the holidays. However, this is one of those Christmasy towns that truly doesn't need much decoration other than a fresh coat of snow. The old colonial homes, cobblestone streets and tinkling bells on the doors of local shops make strolling around downtown Newburyport a true holiday treat. Stop by Market Square to take in the beauty of the town's Christmas tree, and then stop in for a hot chocolate just around the corner at Souffles.
The lighting of the massive wreath on Chatham Light signals the start of an enchanting holiday season in this cozy Cape Cod town. Stroll the decorated streets of downtown, or catch one of the many free holiday concerts throughout the month of December. Be sure to visit for Chatham's "Christmas by the Sea Stroll" weekend, happening December 9-10. There will be a tree-lighting ceremony, carolers, a brass trio, horse and carriage rides and plenty of Christmas cookies to go around.
12. The Gingerbread Village, Oak Bluffs
You can't get much more Christmasy than an entire town of homes that look like full-scale gingerbread houses. This community features 318 (!) gorgeous Victorian cottages that look absolutely magical with a light coating of snow. Though it may not be a proper town, the community of Wesleyan Grove holds holiday events and celebrates the season in picture perfect style.