The Christmas lights of Boston are currently putting a little warmth into the hearts of residents and visitors. Alex and I believe Christmas lights and Christmas markets were created to make people feel happy in the days leading up to the shortest day of the year. And they certainly offer a pleasant distraction on cold dark days. In the US, Christmas markets are harder to find compared to many European cities, but beautiful light displays are plentiful. The origins of lighting a Christmas tree date back to upper class homes of Germany in the 18th century, where residents lit their trees with candles.
If you are in Boston over the holidays, take a stroll down Newbury Street. Newbury St. has several high end shops and restaurants and is very pretty to take in the holiday spirit. It’s also worth popping into one of several commercial art galleries that dot one of Boston’s most exclusive streets. And you can further warm up over a nice coffee and pastry at a lovely cafe like Thinking Cup.
Boston Public Gardens are always beautiful, regardless of the season, and at the moment the main path from Newbury St. through Boston Common is lit up with lights and feels magical. Boston Common was established in 1634 as America’s first public park and the adjacent Boston Public Gardens were founded in 1837 as America’s first public botanical garden. In summer you can take swan boat rides in the public gardens, but for now, just enjoy the lights!
Boston Common offers beautiful views of the city skyline, and particularly when there’s a light sheet of snow, the contrast with the Christmas lights is dazzling. The Frog Pond is great for ice skating among the holiday lights, but can be a little crowded this time of year. In summer we love packing a picnic or just grabbing some Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches in nearby Chinatown and enjoying them in the Common or on the pond of the Public Gardens.
Historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which dates back to 1743 has a light show too. Blink! is a state of the art light and sound extravaganza featuring music from the Boston Pops. We didn’t make it down there to take photos, with the wind chill creating below freezing temperatures this past weekend, this was the best that could be documented this year. For Christmas itself we’re escaping to Florida to spend time with family, friends and some warm sun!
What are some of your favorite things to do in Boston over Christmas or in your neck of the woods?