12 stunning (and COVID-friendly) festive light displays in Massachusetts

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means the holiday glittering lights are already flashing across the state.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, this winter has been a bit of an awkward time for the holidays – no one is sure to be sitting on Santa’s lap – but plenty of displays are adapting. Some introduce a one-way overview in addition to mandatory masks and social distancing, while others turn to drive-only events. Here’s a selection of 12 light displays across the state to help you and yours feel bright and festive when we need it most.

Walking tours

Shrine of La Salette (Attleboro)

Shrine of La Salette in Attleboro.

The religious illumination of the shrine of La Salette has risen every winter since it opened almost 70 years ago, and the tradition is not lost in a pandemic. This year’s theme is “Light from afar,” commemorating the Star of Bethlehem that led the three sages to Bethlehem. The sanctuary’s director, Father Flavio Gillio, writes that in challenging times, “light from afar is all we need to continue our lives.”

Daily, Nov. 26-Jan. It is free from 3, 17 to 21 hours. 947 Park Street, Attleboro, MA 02703

Illuminations Tour (Somerville)

Some Somerville residents decorate their homes for the holidays every year. Typically, the Arts Council of Somerville organizes trolley tours of spectacular residences, but they insist on “deconstructed” tours this year. On December 12, the council will distribute an interactive map for self-guided tours, highlighting all the demonstration homes as well as local businesses offering art installations and promotions. This is a great (and free) homemade showcase showcase near the city.

Daily, December 12-January. 1. Free. In Somerville.

ZooLights at Stone Zoo (Stoneham)

The ZooLights ZooLights returns one-way walk to the zoo’s 26-acre grounds, with tree-lined paths and lantern displays illuminating the way. An important highlight is the wintery Yukon Creek section, where visitors can discover black bears, polar foxes, and even reindeer (though probably not red-nosed).

Many Fridays and weekends are already sold out, but there is plenty of space available for weekends, Christmas and beyond.

Daily (except Christmas), Nov. 27th. 3, from 16:00 to 9:30 USD 13.95, free for children 2 years and younger, discounts for members, four discount packages available. Separate from the living room zoo entrance. You must make scheduled bookings. 149 Pond Street, Stoneham, MA 02180

Aglow Gardens in Heritage Museums and Gardens (Sandwich)

The Heritage’s beautiful gardens sparkle with a full acre every year. In addition to the lights, visitors can bake marshmallows, meet Santa Claus and see a new model of the train.

The schedule of the event is inconsistent throughout the month – it runs from Thursday to Sunday, except for Christmas week, when it will be available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays instead of Christmas and Xmas. A few days are over, but there are still plenty of weekend options available.

Choose days (especially Thursday to Sunday) between November 27 and December. 27, 16:30 to 20:30 $ 18 adult, $ 9 3-7 children, free for children 2 years or younger, discount for members. You must make scheduled bookings. 67 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA 02563

Festival of Trees (Wellesley)

Posted by Massachusetts Horticultural Society on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s 12th Annual Tree Festival is one of the few light displays you’ll find indoors this winter. There are dozens of decorated trees donated locally, and visitors can “vote” for their favorite tree in a raffle. You can also visit Snow Village, which is an intricate model train that occupies an entire room. Next stop is Fenway Park!

Wednesday to Sunday, November 27-Dec. Between 8, 10 and 8 p.m., $ 20 for adults Wednesday through Friday, $ 25 on weekends, $ 5 for children ages 3-7, ages 2 and under, free for members. You must make scheduled bookings. The Gardens at Elm Bank, 900 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA 02482

Six Flags in the Park Light (Agawam)

Six Flags New England riding is still closed for the rest of the season, so you won’t be able to jump to Superman, Goliath or Thunderbolt this winter, but prospective parkers can still take a one-way walk with millions of lights adorning the park. You have to wait for the sausages and corkscrews, but at least you have fried dough and hot cocoa on hand.

Friday to Sunday (excluding Christmas), November 27-Dec. 27., 17.15-21.00, $ 19.99 for adults, $ 11.99 for children 48 years or younger. Free pass or membership. You must make scheduled bookings. 1523 Road, 1623 Main Street, Agawam

Drive-through displays

Bright nights in Forest Park (Springfield)

This year, I really like the passing light display – not only does it stay warm and toasty inside, you don’t even have to wear a mask. The concept is not new to Bright Nights for 26 years now. It contains dozens of large and intricate dioramas, including several dedicated by Springfield to his own Dr. Seuss. You can even tune in a special FM station for a festive music accompaniment.

Daily, Nov. 25-Jan. 6, 16:45 to 20:45 $ 23 per car, $ 6 opening night, $ 10 certain Tuesdays. You have to buy in advance. Extra for larger vehicles. It is free for those working on the front on November 30 and for military and emergency rescuers on December 2, with a valid ID card, without a ticket. 300 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, MA 01108

Winter Wonderland at Southwick Zoo (Mendon)

At the Southwick Zoo, the tour has more than a million lights on sections like Frozen Forest (a fallow deer!) And Whoville (the Grinch!). Obviously there is a jeti too free.

In addition to the drive-through, guests can visit Santa’s enchanted village on foot, which is included in the entrance. In the village there are petting zoos (goats!), Games and entertainment programs, as well as a socially distant encounter and greeting with the big-bearded man himself.

From Wednesday to Sunday (excluding Christmas), November 27 to December 30, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., $ 50 per car is available on certain days. There are only cars, no larger vehicles. You must make scheduled bookings. 2 Southwick Street, Mendon MA 01756

Middleborough Light Festival

The Middleborough Tourism Commission is hosting the Light Festival for the 7th time at a price that is hard to beat. The fold-out display has more than half a million lights in areas like the new Candy Cane Forest and Rainbow Row.

On weekends, December 12-Dec. Between 8pm, 4pm and 9pm, $ 5 per car online, $ 10 at the gate. Boston / Cape Cod KOA, 438 Plymouth Street, Middleborough, MA 02346

Marshfield Holiday Light Show

The Marshfield Fairgrounds exhibition is back for the second year in a row for those who want to stay on the South Shore by car. It has dozens of large displays throughout the trip and will flash and turn off in sync with the radio show.

Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 19-Dec. December 13 and daily, December 17-Dec. 30, 17:00 to 21:30, $ 23 per car from Sunday to Thursday, $ 25 on Friday and Saturday. There are only cars, no larger vehicles. S River Street 33, Marshfield, MA 02050

North Coast Festive Headlight (Haverhill)

Event organizers from the South Shore to the North behind the Marshfield Exhibition (above) will also make their debut at a similar keynote event in Haverhill. You have options!

November 19 and December Thursday to Sunday. December 13 and daily, December 17-Dec. 30, 17:00 to 21:30, $ 23 per car from Sunday to Thursday, $ 25 on Friday and Saturday. There are only cars, no larger vehicles. Crescent farms, 1058 Boston Road, Haverhill, MA 01835

The magic of lights at Gillette Stadium (Foxborough)

The New England Patriots ’home will host its own drive for the first time this winter. The Magic of Lights event at Gillette Stadium, one of many in North America, offers more than 40 displays and a 200-meter tunnel of light. (He’s in the parking lot anyway, so don’t expect to meet Rudolf or Frosty at the 50-yard line.)

Some Fridays and Saturdays are sold out in the coming weeks, but there is still plenty of room for other days and everything is available on December 20th.

Daily, Nov. 13-Jan. 2, 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm, $ 50 per car on most days, $ 35 on selected weekdays. You have to buy in advance. Extra for larger vehicles. 67 Washington Street, Foxborough, MA

Canceled and sold events

While many local holiday shows adapt to the winter epidemic, many popular events are straight out. A Christmas festival of lights at Carter, Edaville Family Park, night lights at Boylston’s Tower Hill Botanical Gardens, Enchanted Village with Jordanian furniture in Avon and Blink! they will not return this year at Faneuil Hall in Boston.

There will still be shows in downtown Boston like Boston Common, Copley Square and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, but public wood-burning ceremonies will be canceled. Nevertheless, the city is an easy choice for free and local impressions.

The trustees ’winter light events at Naumkeag in Stockbridge and the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton are completely sold out.

Do you know of any Massachusetts light displays that we missed? Tell us at [email protected]