10 Best Things to Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season

From tunnels of twinkling lights to a theatrical visit to Bedford Falls, here are some of our favorite holiday things to do in Connecticut this year!

By Yankee Editors

Nov 10 2021


Mystic Seaport Lantern Light Tours

Photo Credit : Dean Digital Imaging Inc. | Courtesy of Mystic Seaport
Whether you’re an out-of-stater planning a visit or a local looking to add a new tradition, here’s a sampling of the best holiday events in Connecticut, inspired by Yankee’s 2021 feature “The New England Holiday Bucket List.” How many have you experienced?
Costumed performers entertain strollers-by during Lantern Light Village evenings at Mystic Seaport.
Photo Credit : Dean Digital Imaging Inc. | Courtesy of Mystic Seaport

10 Best Things to Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season

November 21 Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular Park Party Mill River Park This year a free community park party takes the place of the parade, but with all of the same bells and whistles. You’ll find giant helium balloons, marching bands, and dance/performance groups set up around Mill River Park, allowing spectators to safely enjoy the festivities. Late November – January 1 Christmas at The Mark Twain House & MuseumHartford  Despite its imposing High Gothic grandeur, this manse was brightened by the holiday spirit of its celebrated original owner, who once wrote that “that old hallowed Christmas legend … warms the torpid kindnesses and charities into life” and whose family would put together yuletide gift baskets for the less fortunate. Meanwhile, the speaking tubes in the nursery were “connected” to the North Pole so the children could tell Santa what they wanted. November 26 – December 19Gingerbread House Festival at Wood Memorial LibrarySouth Windsor The gingerbread house tradition began in 19th-century Germany, after which immigrants brought the lebkuchenhaus to America. Take in the wonder of modern-day cookie constructions at the Gingerbread House Festival, where gingerbread houses range from professional-grade village-scapes to little graham cracker cottages stuck together with oozy icing by festive 5-year-olds. November 26 – December 26It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio PlayHartford Stage | Hartford A theatrical twist on the film classic, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is performed in the style of a 1940s radio broadcast complete with sound effects. These 27 shows celebrate the Bedford Falls–like outpouring of support Hartford Stage received after its own moment on the brink during the pandemic. November 26 – December 30, Select DatesWinterfest and the Tunnel of LightsEast Windsor Friday through Sunday, ride the rails at the Connecticut Trolley Museum and join the motormen in singing traditional carols as you glide through the “Tunnel of Lights” display. Afterward, warm up with some cocoa in the visitor center, where you can get a photo op with Santa. December 2 – 12Festival of Trees & TraditionsThe Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art | Hartford Find decorating inspiration—or just buy some impeccable examples to take home—at this Wadsworth Athenaeum fund-raising event. One-of-a-kind decorated trees and wreaths are displayed in the galleries, and all are for sale; music, kids’ activities, and visits from Santa keep things lively. December 5Mannheim Steamroller Christmas TourFoxwoods Casino | Masantucket This year marks the reunion of the No. 1 Christmas music artist in history with its fans, live and in person, as Mannheim Steamroller builds on a 35-year tradition of touring. Even if you think you don’t know their songs, you’ve heard them before—and we bet you’ll find yourself humming along. Additional New England shows available.

December 10, 11, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22Lantern Light Village at Mystic SeaportMystic 

Horse bells jingle, bonfires sizzle, and costumed performers entertain strollers-by during Lantern Light Village evenings at Mystic Seaport. It’s drama with a seafaring twist, thanks to the softly lit backdrop of shimmering water and ships.

December 11 – 12New Haven Symphony Holiday ExtravaganzaLyman Center for the Performing Arts | New Haven Join the New Haven Symphony for a celebration sure to lift the spirits as it performs seasonal favorites like “White Christmas” and “Winter Wonderland” and leads a Christmas carol sing-along. December 11 – 12The NutcrackerGarde Arts Center | New London The venerable holiday ballet gets a Nutmeg State twist in this Eastern Connecticut Ballet production at the Garde Arts Center. Set in New London in the 1850s, the story plays out against a backdrop of tall ships, lighthouses, and other whaling-era icons. December 18 – 19A Very Voce Christmas!St. Alban’s Episcopal Church | Simsbury (12/18)Immanuel Congregational Church | Hartford (12/19)With rich resonance and next-gen harmonies that lift listeners onto a heavenly sound cloud, Voce—New England’s Chamber Choir—celebrates the return of live choral music with A Very Voce Christmas! featuring seasonal works by some of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary composers.What would you add to the list of the best holiday events in Connecticut? Let us know in the comments below! And see more festive things to do in Connecticut (and beyond) in “The New England Holiday Bucket List.” Don’t miss our top 10 holiday events in all six New England states! Check out Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.