If you’re looking for festive things to do for Christmas in Newport RI, you’ve come to the right place! Newport is an amazing travel destination any time of year, but during the holiday season, Newport really goes heavy on the charm.
Newport during Christmas is the place to go if you’re looking for Christmas fun in Rhode Island that has elegance, charm, history, and oh so many gorgeously decorated places to go and fun, festive Christmas activities to do!
See Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff
One of Newport’s beloved Gilded Age mansions, Rosecliff, is host to a traditional Nutcracker performance with a unique spin: The first act has the audience following the performers from room to beautifully decorated room, and the second act sees the audience seated in the ballroom. The Nutcracker at Rosecliff is an immersive journey through both Newport’s Gilded Age history and the beloved Christmas tale of the Nutcracker, and an absolute must-see if you time your Newport getaway right!
Tour Christmas at the Newport Mansions
Oh, the Newport Mansions! Absolutely beautiful and very worth touring all year-round, but their Christmas at the Newport Mansions takes the cake when it comes to magnificence in decoration and festivities. Tour the decadent decorations both indoors and out, as they hearken back to the glamour, luxury, and prestige of a Gilded Age Christmas. Events like Marble Houses’ Holiday Brunch at the Chinese Tea House invite visitors to experience a taste of what Christmas past at the Newport Mansions might’ve been like; as you approach the grand staircases in these opulent historical gems, you will feel like you are a bit of early American “royalty,” too!
Cozy Up at Castle Hill Inn
Newport is full of fantastic hotels, but if the Christmas spirit for you includes comfort, pampering, and exemplary service, Castle Hill Inn is the place for you! With fine dining onsite, a full-service boutique spa, and seriously stellar views, Castle Hill Inn is the perfect spot to cozy up for your Christmas getaway to Newport! If you’re spending Christmas in Newport with your sweetheart, it also happens to be an excellent romantic getaway destination, too, and their gourmet holiday feasts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are hard to beat! Grab your loved one and cozy up next to the roaring fire with a couple of hot toddies as the snow comes down outside… doesn’t that sound perfect?
Watch Newport Harbor Illuminated Boat Parade
One of the most beloved holiday traditions of Newport is the Newport Harbor Illuminated Boat Parade. This coastal city is very proud of its rich nautical history, and the Christmas homage of the boats as they cross the harbor, decorated to the nines with twinkling lights, is a lovely show of respect to its nautical traditions. Festive Christmas music provides the perfect soundtrack as this dressed-up boat parade illuminates the harbor to the delight of all on the shore!
Partake in Christmas in Newport Festivities
The entire month of December is full of Christmas in Newport festivities! In addition to the bigger events like the Newport Harbor Illuminated Boat Parade and the Christmas at Newport Mansions tours, you will also find a myriad of different activities occurring over the course of December, including Christmas concerts, decorating contests, craft fairs, holiday shopping, candlelit historic home tours, and more. The city of Newport began Christmas in Newport as a two-week event 50+ years ago, and it has grown over the years into the month-long holiday celebration that it is today!
Take a Holiday Lantern Tour with Newport History Museum
Every year during the holiday season, Newport History Museum leads holiday lantern walking tours that leave from the museum in the early evening and lead around the historic community, describing how and where Newport residents have celebrated the holidays over the years. Whether you’re a hardcore history buff or not, this holiday lantern walking tour is a great way to learn more about the history of the holidays in Newport.
Attend the Annual Bowen’s Wharf Tree Lighting Ceremony
This annual event at historic Bowen’s Wharf is a lovely kick-off to Newport’s Christmas festivities! There are live musicians, unique, one-of-a-kind holiday shopping opportunities, a Christmas carol sing-a-long, and in fitting tradition for a coastal community, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to join in by boat! The main event is the lighting of the spectacular Bowen’s Wharf tree, an event that has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated!
Have a Cozy Dinner at The Dining Room at the Vanderbilt
It’s likely no surprise that Newport has an incredible selection of wonderful places to eat, but if you’re looking for cozy fireside dining during the holiday season, there’s no better option than The Dining Room at the Vanderbilt. They call it “elevated pub food,” but the best description would be absolutely delicious! You’ve got plenty of options for where to go to grab a bite in Newport, but if you’re looking for cozy and intimate dining during your Christmas Newport trip, this is it!
Head Up the Road to Bristol’s Grand Illumination
Nearby Bristol is a charming little community that has plenty of sweet small-town things to do, and their Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Bristol’s Grand Illumination, is a fantastic event that features local music, family fun, a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and of course, the lighting of the gorgeous evergreen! Bristol is just a quick drive from Newport and well worth adding to your Newport Christmas itinerary!
Live Like a Newport Local
Newport has so many amazing Airbnb and vacation rental options, so there is certainly a great selection of charming cottages, loft apartments, historic downtown digs, and on to choose from! Whichever fabulous vacation rental you end up choosing from, you’re sure to position yourself well to spend your Christmas vacation like a Newport local might!
A Christmas in Newport RI is full of so many fun and festive things to do; wherever you go and whatever you do, enjoy your holiday!
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Amy is the founder of New England with love. A proud Vermonter, she hopes to share her love of New England and help you find the best adventures in the region. Amy is also blogger/founder at Two Drifters, where she writes alongside her husband about romantic and couples travel, relationships, honeymoons, and more. When not working on websites, Amy is probably reading, cuddling with her husband, son, and cats, & drinking a maple latte.