15 Fun & Festive Things to Do: Christmas in Newport RI 🎄 2023

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If you’re looking for festive things to do for Christmas in Newport RI, you’ve come to the right place!

During the holiday season, Newport really goes heavy on the charm with Christmas boat parades, cozy inns to stay in, festive, colored lights, outdoor ice skating, and so much more!

Newport at 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 in Newport activities to do!

Christmas in Newport RI: Things to Do for Festive Fun

See Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff

Ballerina posing in Nutcracker publicity shot in Newport Rhode Island at Christmas
The Nutcracker is such a classic Christmas performance!

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!

The Nutcracker at Rosecliff 2023 Schedule

Wednesday, November 22

Friday, November 24 – Sunday, November 26

Tuesday, November 28 – Friday, December 1

Matinee and Evening Performances each day

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.

Visiting these opulent mansions 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!

2023 Christmas at the Newport Mansions

November 18, 2023 – January 1, 2024

All houses closed Thanksgiving Day, November 23, and Christmas Day, December 25, and close at 2pm on December 24.

Rosecliff is open daily December 2 – January 1 but is not decorated for the holidays.

PS if you’re looking for a local restaurant recommendation that’s a quick drive from the Newport Mansions, I love Mamma Luisa! The ambiance is warm and intimate, and it is absolutely delicious. It’s a fantastic option for a holiday dinner with the one you love.

A glass of wine and a candle on a table at a Newport RI restaurant

Go on a Newport Christmas Cruise

With two different Newport Christmas Cruise options, Coastal Queen Cruises offers a Holiday Cocktail Cruise for the adults to enjoy, with holiday music and a tour of some of Newport’s finest seaside sights with a glass of champagne, of course. This would make a cute Christmas in Newport date night activity!

There’s also a Meet & Greet with Santa Cruise for the kiddos, with hot cocoa, candy canes, and of course, Santa. Book your tickets quickly, these sell out fast.

2023 Newport Christmas Cruise Dates

Holiday Cocktail Cruise – December 10, 16

Meet & Greet Cruise with Santa – December 17

Holiday Bubbly Cruise – December 17

Cozy Up at Castle Hill Inn

Couple with wool socks cozy in front of fire during a Newport Rhode Island Christmas.
This is a very cozy Newport RI Christmas idea here!

Newport is full of fantastic hotels, but if the Christmas spirit for you includes comfort, pampering, and exemplary service, Castle Hill Inn is the luxury hotel in Newport for you! With fine dining onsite, spa services, and seriously stellar coastal views, Castle Hill Inn is the perfect spot to cozy up for your Christmas getaway to Newport.

Their gourmet holiday feasts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are hard to beat, too! 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 like the most romantic Christmas in Newport RI?

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

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!

Newport, Rhode Island Illuminated Boat Parade 2023

November 24th (November 25th Weather Date)

Book a Spot at the Igloo Village

The Reef’s Igloo Village is one of the top places to eat during Christmastime in Newport RI, both because its offerings are delicious and also because these heated igloos are absolutely gorgeous all styled for the season!

Heated, of course, they are the perfect place to meet up with friends, family, or even just that one special someone for a lovely night out in Newport at Christmas.

Partake in Christmas in Newport Festivities

Couple christmas shopping for Christmas in Newport RI
Just a cozy little Christmas in Newport RI scene!

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,  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. If you have kids, don’t miss the Breakfast with Santa hosted by the Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina on December 10.

Oh, and the very elegant, luxurious Chanler at Cliff Walk hosts a Hot Chocolate Bar that is open to the public on weekends November 25 – December 24 from 1pm – 4pm. They offer artisanal hot chocolate… sounds delish!

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 Christmas has been celebrated 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.

2023 Holiday Lantern Tour 

Fridays & Saturdays, November 17 – December 30

Glide on the Ice at Newport Harbor Island Resort

Formerly known as Gurney’s, the Newport Harbor Island Resort offers one of the more unique Christmas in Newport activities of outdoor ice skating on Narragansett Bay!

Located on gorgeous Goat Island, there’s something so fantastically festive about seaside ice skating in Rhode Island. This would be a great Christmas activity in Newport for families or a great holiday date idea for couples visiting Newport RI at Christmas, especially if you decide to book a room at this lovely resort.

(Heads up, there is an awful lot of construction happening in the resort as of November 2023!)

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

Attend the Annual Bowen’s Wharf Tree Lighting Ceremony

Man and woman standing close together looking down with an outdoor decorated Christmas tree in Newport Rhode Island
Christmastime in Newport Rhode Island is absolutely lovely.

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, a Newport Christmas event that has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated!

Bowen’s Wharf Christmas Tree Lighting 2023

Saturday, December 2

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.

For a three-course, family style Christmas Eve supper specially curated by the expert culinary team at the Vanderbilt, book dinner December 22 – 25!

Finish Up your Christmas Shopping in Newport

There are plenty of great places to go Christmas shopping in Newport RI, but if you’re looking for some fun, holiday gifts in a very Christmassy store, look no further than A Christmas to Remember on Thames St.

Of course there are great Christmas decor items, but also tons of locally made Newport style gifts like pillows, pictures, candles, and so much more. Not only can you pick up some great holiday gifts for others, but you can also find the perfect souvenir of your Christmas in Newport!

Head Up the Road to Bristol’s Grand Illumination

White picket fence with green holiday garden and white lights with big red bow in Rhode Island at Christmastime.
Rhode Island at Christmas is just so charming!

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!

Give Yourself the Gift of a Spacation

Newport has plenty of options for luxury hotels, but my husband and I are Team Hotel Viking! Our stay at this historic hotel was so lovely, and the onsite Spa Fjor was the perfect antidote for those winter winds in New England.

Two massage tables at a fancy hotel in Newport Rhode Island

You’ve got onsite dining, room service, and full service spa treatments. We opted for a couples massage that incorporated Balinese ritual. To say we were blissed out is an understatement! This would be the perfect Christmas gift for you and your favorite person.

A man and a woman sharing a kiss and a toast in a hotel bed

Click Here to Check Prices & Book!

Enjoy Sparkling Lights at the Breakers

Sparkling Lights at the Breakers is an illuminated, immersive holiday light experience that consists of hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights, Christmas decorations, and holiday figures along about a half-mile trail.

Along the way you’ll find several fire pits to warm yourself by and a great selection of holiday treats for both adults and kiddos, including hot cocoa, apple cider with bourbon, s’mores kits, and more. This is one of those Newport Christmas things to do that would be a blast with the entire family or as a fun holiday date night activity.

Newport Sparkling Lights at the Breakers 2023

November 17 – December 30, Admission at 4 pm, 4:30 pm, 5 pm, 5:30 pm and 6 pm. Gates close at 6:30 pm, and the house & grounds will close at 8 pm.

Newport RI 2023 Christmas Events

Here are a few more Christmas events in Newport, Rhode Island to look forward to!

Holiday Extravaganza – Ugly holiday sweater contest, writing letters to Santa, hot cocoa bar, holiday cookies, and live music at the Newport Vineyards, December 1

Christmas by the Sea – Local holiday shopping at the Newport Harbor Marina & Resort, December 2

Christmas at Whitehall – Celebrate a Colonial Christmas with Wassail, refreshment, and music, December 3

Where to Stay in Newport RI for Christmas

Hotel Viking: I know I already said it, but Hotel Viking is a lovely property. I’m a big fan of comfy, cozy vibes, and you definitely get that and more when staying at this beautiful, historic hotel! They also host fun seasonal events, like their Christmas Cookie Decorating Class (December 2), Nutcracker Tea (December 3), and their Breakfast with Santa (December 17).

Newport Harbor Island Resort: With outdoor ice skating and the always charming Goat Island Lighthouse all dressed up for Christmas, this is definitely a great choice for Christmas lodgings in Newport.

Christmas in Newport RI Wrap-Up

A woman stands in front of a coffee shop in Newport, Rhode Island, dressed for winter.

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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