Holiday Tidings & Santa Sightings Last Updated: August 2023

Fun-filled Connecticut events brimming with holiday cheer at this special time of year!

Lights, Winter Markets & Fun Festivities

Fantasy of Lights
November 18-December 31 / Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven
Drive through this bright and colorful light display illuminates Lighthouse Point Park for the holiday season.

Mantels for the Season
November 18-December 30 / American Clock & Watch Museum, Bristol
The mantels in the museum’s eight galleries are decorated by members of Bristol's Museum Collaborative who have created a wide range of designs that showcases their history and collections.

Magic of Lights
November 23-January 1 / Pratt & Whitney Stadium, East Hartford
A family-friendly drive-through holiday lights festival with a tremendous amount of twinkling and magical light displays to celebrate the grandest holiday of the year.

Holiday Lights Spectacular
November 18-January 31 / Olde Mistick Village, Mystic
Holiday light display with over a half-million lights decorate the Olde Mystic Village square of shops and restaurants for families and holiday enthusiasts to enjoy.

Holiday Train Show
November 22-February 19 / Connecticut River Museum, Essex
A true locomotive extravaganza and a perfect outing for train fans of all ages, this year's show brings a 26-foot model train layout with more trains, new scenery, .and lots of surprises. Challenge yourself to an I-SPY scavenger hunt for objects hidden throughout the displays and exhibit gallery. 

Fesitval of Silver Lights
November 23-January 2 / Hubbard Park, Meriden
Illumination of more than 350,000 twinkling, white lights. There are over 200 figures and buildings that are decorated with the lights in this spectacular display.

Winterfair: Hartford's Holiday Market
November 26-December 23 / Great Hall at Union Station, Hartford
Shop a large selections of local vendors for unique gift items.

Hebron Lion Lights in Motion
November 24-January 1 / Hebron Lions Fairgrounds
The Hebron Lions Fairgrounds has been transformed into a holiday light wonderland. This event is a one-of-a-kind experience as visitors get to drive over a mile to view over one million lights digitally synchronized to music.

Glow Gardens
November 25-January 1 / Connecticut Convention Center
Join in on a fun, one-of-a-kind, family-friendly indoor festival of lights! Dazzling light gardens, glowing activities, delectable seasonal treats, and live entertainment are all in store for you.

A Holiday Wonderland at the Mansion
November 25-December 31 / Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk
This exhibit captures the magical excitement of the holiday season with historic-era tree displays, vintage toys, and exploration of the history of Christmas cards, a holiday dinner party table setting, and glamourous Victorian gowns.

Northern Lights Limited
November 26-December 23 / Railroad of New England, Thomaston
Leaving under the cover of nightfall, experience the magic as the lights inside and out of each car are lit, illuminating the entire train in a soft, cheerful glow. Upon departure, you will be taken directly to the North Pole, picking up Santa and Mrs. Claus for all to see.

Holiday Lights
November 19-December 31 / Lake Compounce, Bristol
Enjoy spectacular light shows around the park set to your favorite holiday music, decorate cookies, build a gingerbread house, and write a letter to Santa.

Holiday Magic
November 25-December 31 / Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme
This year there will be over 220 palettes on four stunning palette trees in the Krieble Galleries.

Niantic Holiday Stroll
November 26 / Town of East Lyme
Enjoy store specials, sales, and giveaways while shopping local this Small Business Saturday.

Holiday Dazzle Light Parade
November 27 / Town of Putnam
Enjoy this family-friendly and fun holiday tradition with floats, music, and lights to kick off the holiday season in a brilliant style.

Bethlehem Christmas Town Festival
December 2-3 / Town of Bethlehem
The festival includes vendors selling handcrafted items just in time for holiday shopping, a Roaming Railroad choo-choo train ride, hayrides, free musical entertainment, and a 5K Road Race.

Festival of Trees & Traditions
December 1-11 / Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford
Celebrate the holidays by enjoying trees and wreaths decorated by community members, artists, and organizations. All items are for sale.

Christmas in Connecticut: Candlelight Tours
December 3 / Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington
Join the festivities of the season in a holiday tour of the 1720 historic house, decorated for the holidays.

Torchlight Parade
December 3 / Town of Windsor
The Torchlight parade of more than 20 large brightly lit vehicles and marchers proceed through the town center with lots of holiday lights, music, and fanciful decorations!

Holiday Express Train Show
December 3-January 2 / Fairfield Museum & History Center, Fairfield
The Museum is transformed into a winter wonderland, with antique model trains traveling through villages, mountainsides, and snowy fields.

Torchlight Parade
December 10 / Town of Old Saybrook
More than 20 different fife and drum corps march along Main Street to the Town Green, leading the musician groups will be the 2nd Company Governor's Foot Guard marching unit.

Lobster Trap Tree
On display from November 26 - January 15 / Stonington
Stonington's 35-foot Lobster Trap Tree is nothing short of a Christmas miracle. See this holiday icon for yourself!

Santa Sightings

Santa's Trolley
November 25-December 18 / The Shore Line Trolley Museum, East Haven
Take a ride to visit Santa on his special trolley car which he’s set up for social distancing.  Wave “Hi” and grab your holiday photos!  Santa’s elves will be standing by to make sure every child gets their free gift. Walk through the decorated trolley barns and take a ride on a real antique trolley car.

Santa Arrives by Tugboat & Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
November 26 / Town of Mystic
Santa Claus is coming to town and so is Mystic’s Holiday Lighted Boat Parade in historic downtown Mystic.

Winterfest & the Tunnel of Lights
November 25-December 30 / Connecticut Trolley Museum, East Windsor
Celebrating over 40 years of family holiday tradition, halls are decked both inside and outside with thousands of light bulbs. Outside, closed trolley cars transport jolly guests down a tunnel of lights as they sing traditional Christmas carols.

Santa Express
November 25- December 23 / Railroad Museum of New England, Thomaston
As the trains travel through the cold winter wilderness, passengers will be able to visit Santa and play with his Elves. Each child will also get a special gift from Santa’s own toy bag.

Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa's Workshop
November 25-December 24 / Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouse, Greenwich
The cherished town tradition continues for the thirteenth consecutive year at this expansive nursery where visitors can have their photo taken with Santa, meet the reindeer and also enjoy the new Santa's Workshop.

Shark-Diving Santa
December 3-31 / Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk
Santa dives among the sharks and swims over to the exhibit window to pose for pictures so be sure to bring a camera.

All Aboard the Snow Clipper
December 3-18 / Danbury Railway Museum, Danbury
Take a ride in a vintage train through the historic railyard to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Heights & Lights
December 4 / City of Stamford
From 22 stories high above Stamford Downtown, watch and cheer for Santa Claus, Rudolph, Grinch, and friends as they make their daredevil descent, twisting and flying from the top of one of Stamford’s tallest buildings, Landmark Square.  Then follow Santa and friends up Bedford Street to Latham Park for an evening of holiday music and join in the countdown of the annual lighting of Stamford’s Holiday Tree.

40th Annual Santa's Workshop
December 10-23 / Wickham Park, Manchester
Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, elves making toys, set in a log cabin with decorations and music, and a fire in the great stone fireplace.

Christmas Village - A Tradition in Torrington
December 11-24 / 150 Church Street, Torrington
This magical place features individual rooms to meet both Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, a Toy Shop with Elves hard at work, reindeer, and seasonal lights and displays.

Music, Theater & Performing Arts

Christmas in Connecticut: A New Musical
November 18-December 30 / Goodspeed Musicals, East Haddam

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
November 25-December 25 / Hartford Stage, Hartford

World Ballet Series: Nutcracker
November 25 / Place Theater, Waterbury

Ballet Theatre Company Presents: The Nutcracker
December 10-11 / Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford

‘Tis The Season With The Beach Boys
November 26 / Premier Theater/Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
December 6 / Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford

Cirque Dreams: Holidaze
December 9-10 / Toyota Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
December 9-18 / Sherman Playhouse/Sherman Players, Sherman

Hartford Symphony Orchestra: Holiday Cirque
December 10 / Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford

2022 Connecticut Ballet: The Nutcracker
December 10-11 / Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Hartford

Torrington Symphony Orchestra: A Holiday Concert
December 17 / Warner Theatre