Traveling in 2021? Please check with each state/destination for its current COVID-19 guidelines, as these are constantly changing and the most accurate, up-to-date information may not be reflected here.
Are you dreaming of a magical New England Christmas town, just like the ones you see in a Hallmark Christmas movie?
Look no further, you’ve found them! If you’re looking for small-town sweetness coupled with big Christmas charm, you’ll find it here on this list of the top 18 Magical New England Christmas Towns that are Straight Out of a Christmas Hallmark Movie… and some of them actually are in Christmas Hallmark movies!
Beautiful Portsmouth has so many great things to do all year round, but come Christmas, this cute coastal community puts on Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth, a month of fabulous holiday festivities! There are performances, a gingerbread house contest, a scavenger hunt downtown, and beautiful Puddle Duck Pond becomes an outdoor ice-skating wonderland!
Join The Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke Museum, where role-players in period holiday dress walk among the guests that come to see the historic holiday décor of handmade wreaths and candle lanterns. With so many great places to eat and stay in Portsmouth, it would be easy to plan a long, holiday visit to this lovely coastal community!
North Conway’s adorable downtown becomes an irresistible holiday destination once the magic of the season takes over, with twinkle lights and wreaths adorning every storefront. North Conway has so many great things to do (including one of the best indoor water parks in New England), and stores like the one-of-a-kind Christmas Loft are a part of its holiday charm.
Take a ride on Santa’s Holiday Express at the Conway Scenic Railroad, and if you’re looking for where to stay, look no further than Christmas Farm Inn & Spa up the road in Jackson, one of the best spa getaways in New England. Plus, Jackson hosts a Jingle Bell Chocolate Tour on the weekends throughout December, and yes, Christmas Farm Inn does participate!
Heads up, keep your eyes peeled for the covered bridge that is seen in Hallmark’s “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!”
Concord kicks off their holiday fun with a Christmas parade the weekend before Thanksgiving, giving everyone a nice jump on the Merry & Bright sentiments of the season, and the official Christmas Tree Lighting happens the day after Thanksgiving with music, games, hot chocolate, cider, and Santa, ending with a fireworks show.
Be sure not to miss Midnight Merriment, a festive night of shopping, dining, and entertainment in Concord’s lovely downtown that ends at midnight on the first Fridays of December. Decorated to the nines with holiday décor, you will be doing your holiday shopping in style. Cute Concord is a great place to visit all year, but Christmas in Concord is an absolute delight!
At any time of year, Newport’s Gilded Age mansions are a sight to behold, but at Christmas, they become a glamorously gorgeous spot of Christmas cheer. You’ll find towering trees dressed and decorated in a variety of themes, hundreds of stunning poinsettias in crimson bloom, and grand displays of fresh-cut evergreen garlands; the already grand and glittering mansions lend themselves very, very well to fine and festive Christmas decorations!
There are so many great things to do in Newport, but the holiday season in Newport is full of fabulous festivities like Christmas concerts, candlelit house tours, a Dickens Christmas Dinner Theater, a Newport Harbor Illuminated Boat Parade, and more throughout December. Newport is also home to wonderful restaurants, hotels, and Airbnbs, so plan on spending a few days in town enjoying the Newport Christmas cheer!
North Kingston is home to the village of Wickford, known for its holiday transformation into a scene straight out of Dickens! The Wickford Village Festival of Lights begins the first weekend in December, the village becoming a winter delight of twinkle lights and Christmas greenery. Santa leads the way when he arrives by boat behind his team of kayaking “reindeer” to kick off the celebration.
Carolers in period costumes make their way around the village spreading Christmas cheer, and the beautifully decorated businesses open their doors for holiday shopping. Christmas at the Castle features mulled-cider and fresh baked treats for all to savor while enjoying wholesome fun and entertainment like cookie decorating, traditional music, and crafts. For a wholesome and historical Christmas experience, Wickford Village is it!
Christmas in Providence is its own kind of magic! There are so many things to see and do in Providence, and the Winter Lights Market and Tree Lighting kicks off Christmas festivities with entertainment, carolers, art, and a marketplace with unique holiday gifts. Downtown Providence is a sight to see lavishly decorated with twinkling lights, colorful baubles, and fresh garlands.
You’ll have great fun ice skating and playing ice bumper cars at the ice rink, but the ultimate in Christmas festivities in Providence is WaterFire’s lighting of the basins. This unique and immersive art experience is always a treat to witness, but the Christmas WaterFire Lighting is a part of what makes Providence so very Merry and Bright for the season!
Have you ever wanted to step into a Norman Rockwell painting? In Stockbridge at Christmas, you can! The town was made famous by the painter’s work called “Home for Christmas (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas),” featuring the charming town’s Main Street at Christmas.
The first weekend of December, the city recreates the piece with their Main Street at Christmas celebration, with vintage cars parked along the street, carolers singing from beautifully decorated store-fronts, and horse-drawn carriage rides with Santa. Stockbridge is one of the most charming small towns in all of New England; add in a little Christmas magic, and it’s hard to think of a better place to go for small town Christmas charm!
Newburyport is an absolutely darling beach town with so many great things to do; come Christmas time, this coastal cutie becomes a place of pure holiday enchantment! Santa arrives on a US Coast Guard boat to lead the town’s Annual Santa Parade on the first Sunday following Thanksgiving, with caroling and a tree lighting to begin the holiday fun.
Newburyport Invitation Nights take place on the first three Fridays of December, with live entertainment and holiday festivities in Newburyport’s lovely downtown to accompany shoppers. With so many unique and interesting shops along the Newburyport waterfront, you are sure to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list!
With a nickname like “The Christmas City,” you know that Taunton is one of the best spots in New England for Christmas magic! Taunton’s Lighting of the Green & Lights On Festival is a marvelous kick off to the holiday season, with a generous display of twinkle lights, games and activities, live entertainment, and even a fireworks show to really get into the spirit of things.
The gorgeous Christmas decorations all throughout Taunton’s sweet little downtown will remind you of every Hallmark Christmas movie you’ve ever seen, but head to the city green for the immersive holiday displays that will give you all of the sparkling, twinkling, joyous Christmas feels that a person could want!
Woodstock is the picture of small-town charm in every season, but come winter, it is easily one of the most picture-perfect Christmas destinations in the entire country! There are many great ways to celebrate Christmas in Vermont, but Woodstock’s Wassail Weekend tops the list with festivities like bonfires, snowshoeing, gingerbread ornament making, hot wassail and other tasty holiday treats, and so much more!
A parade led by Santa ends with a “yule log” lighting, and special luminaries are lit along the walkways in remembrance of those we’ve lost. With so many great things to see and do in Woodstock, Woodstock makes for the perfect Vermont weekend getaway, so plan to spend a little time exploring this sweet little area. Just a few minutes outside of town, you can even stay in a cabin at the ultra-adorable Fat Sheep Farm and get a generous helping of farm-life, Vermont style!
Manchester is one of the best places to visit in Vermont any time of year, but come Christmas, this lovely little town becomes the perfect embodiment of small-town holiday enchantment with its twinkle lights, freshly crafted wreaths, and gorgeous Christmas tree that is lit in a Community Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Factory Point Town Green.
Tour historic Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home and Museum, traditionally decorated for a 1912 Christmas with all the traditions of the day, and then hop on the Elf Express, the decorated holiday train that takes guests on a one-hour tour through the Green Mountains with music, entertainment, and treats by the “elves” who host! There are lots of great things to do in Manchester (and great eats, too!), and it is an excellent winter getaway spot.
Stowe is about as picturesque a spot as Vermont has to offer, with so many fun things to see and do, whether those sleigh bells are ringing or not! Come Christmas time, Stowe’s Traditional Christmas celebrations turn the entire town into the perfect holiday destination with wagon rides with Santa, parades, tree lightings, and real, live reindeer!
You’ll find wreath making demonstrations, cookie decorating, yummy treats, ice skating and more during Stowe’s Traditional Christmas, and with storybook places to stay like the Trapp Family Lodge offering Christmas charm on top of the mega-dose of charm they embody year-round, you have the perfect recipe for that Hallmark-movie Christmas magic!
P.S. Stowe actually serves as the setting of “Always and Forever Christmas,” but the movie was not actually filmed there.
What better way to kick off Christmas festivities than to enjoy a full week of seasonal activities like a Cookie Crawl, a “Pooch Parade,” ginger-bread house making, Christmas caroling, and more? This is Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude, and when Santa arrives by lobster boat, you’ll be feeling the Christmas spirit in this coastal community!
There are many fun things to do in Kennebunkport, and after the official Christmas tree lighting ceremony, a fireworks show lights up the sky as bright as the twinkling lights below. Coastal Christmas charm in Maine is a whole other level of Christmas magic!
When Martha Stewart’s website refers to you as one of the “Most Charming Small Towns to Visit during the Christmas Season,” you know you’ve made it! Not only is the entire town of Freeport decked out for the season, but the Sparkle Celebration brings people in from all around who come to have fun in Freeport for Christmas.
Visit the Talking Christmas Tree that leads festive sing-a-longs, then check out the Northern Lights celebration at the L.L. Bean campus and walk through the twinkle light tunnel while enjoying the entertainment provided. Don’t forget to take a picture with the giant boot while you’re there, and if you’re getting a little chilly, take advantage of the heated benches to get comfy and cozy again!
Boothbay Harbor is one of the best places to visit in Maine, and each winter this lovely coastal community transforms into a magical holiday vacation destination! Boothbay Lights sees this mid-coast town become a sparkling scene of twinkle lights, and the already adorable downtown is now a twinkling shopping adventure!
There are so many great things to do in Boothbay Harbor, but the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens Aglow event is an absolute must-see during your Christmas visit to Boothbay Harbor. Running from late November to early January, this immersive, drive-through light show is all that is Merry and Bright for the season. Gardens Aglow is one of many reasons why a Maine Christmas is simply the best!
The lovely Litchfield Hills region is a great vacation destination anytime of year, but if you’re looking for small town Christmas magic, Litchfield Hills has heaps and heaps of it! All around Litchfield Hills, picturesque Connecticut towns go out of their way to deck their halls, storefronts, and Main Streets. There is much twinkle light eye candy to be found just driving from town to town!
During your tour, visit the Christmas Village in Torrington, where Santa and his elves greet visitors with steaming cups of hot chocolate. Then on to adorable Kent for their Annual Holiday Champagne Stroll for boutique shopping while enjoying a little bubbly. Follow the star to the little town of Bethlehem on the first weekend of December when they hold their Christmas Town Festival with train rides, hayrides, live entertainment, and of course, Santa! Litchfield Hills is chock-full of small-town sweetness.
The waterfront town of Mystic is one of Connecticut’s best travel spots, and Mystic’s Lighted Boat Parade sees Santa arrive by tugboat! Once Santa is in town, the festivities are in full force with a lovely holiday stroll in downtown Mystic and a Festival of Lights at historic Olde Mistick Village.
Mystic has so much happening during the holidays, be sure to follow their calendar of events for details on where and when; be on the lookout for the Community Carol Sing-A-Long, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past Strolls in downtown Mystic. There are lots of great things to see and do in Mystic during your Christmas vacation.
P.S. Mystic has actually had a couple of recent Hallmark Christmas movies shot there. Check out “A Very Nutty Christmas” and “Holiday for Heroes” to see if you recognize anything!
The sweet little town of Wethersfield is small in size but big on charm, and Christmas time is no exception! Wethersfield’s Annual Holidays on Main Celebration features a tree lighting event, fire jugglers, silent auctions, carolers, a craft beer garden, horse and wagon rides, and of course, Santa!
Wethersfield doesn’t just look like the kind of place you see in a Hallmark movie, it is the kind of place you see in a Hallmark movie! Check out Hallmark’s “Rediscovering Christmas” and “Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane,” and you can even stay at Silas Robbins Bed and Breakfast where “Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane” was shot! It so happens to be one of the dreamiest B&Bs in the state, it’s no wonder Hallmark chose it.
What is your favorite of New England’s Christmas destinations?
You might also like:
- 10 Merriest Memory-Making Celebrations in New England
- 9 of the Coziest and Best Winter Getaways in New England
- 7 Magical Things to Do for Christmas in Boston
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 and cats, & drinking a maple latte.