A Rhode Island Christmas is beyond magical. Not only is our scenery visually compatible with the season, but Christmas in RI is home to many annual events that take the spirit of the season to a whole new level.
No matter if you prefer to spend your time indoors or out, there are many Christmas events in Rhode Island to keep you occupied through the New Year. Gather your family and friends and partake in one of the events below and perhaps start a new holiday tradition in process! Merry Holidays!
Providence Area Holiday Events
PVD Winter Lights Market & Tree Lighting
This two-day downtown festival is a great way to kick off Christmas in Providence RI. It begins with the lighting of the City Hall Holiday Tree and ends with a festival market, live performances and events, and food vendors from across the state.
This free event is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the capital city! Don’t forget to visit the Bank Newport Skating Rink after the tree lighting!
A Christmas Carol- Trinity Rep
A tradition amongst Providence Christmas events, Trinity Rep dazzles audiences each year with the story of the infamous Ebeneezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim. All ages will enjoy this classic holiday tale on stage.
Festival Ballet Providence Presents The Nutcracker
Dazzling sets, enchanting music and beautiful choreography all come together in the timeless holiday story of The Nutcracker. Watch in awe as this holiday tradition comes to life on stage for the whole family’s merriment.
Christmas at the Lippitt House
After a holiday-themed tour of the Lippitt House, you can experience what it would be like during the Victorian era at Christmastime. Make traditional holiday decorations, eat some classic Christmas cookies or read a book that was commonplace for the era.
Winter Festival at the Carousel Village
Spend an afternoon at the historic carousel village inside Roger Williams Park and partake in some family-friendly holiday cheer. Visits with Santa, ice carving demonstrations, horse drawn hayrides and food trucks are just some of the activities planned. Of course, don’t forget to take a ride on the carousel!
Blackstone Valley Area Holiday Events
An Old Fashioned Christmas
If you ever wondered what Christmas was like during the colonial era, than a visit to the Hearthside House Museum is the perfect place for you. Here you will find three floors of this 200-year old mansion decorated for the holidays.
You will even learn where some of our most cherished traditions come from, such as why stockings are hung, and why holly became a symbol of the holiday. Tours can be scheduled at your leisure.
Pawtucket Winter Wonderland
Slater Park is transformed into a winter wonderland for the whole family to enjoy. Complete with over 500 festive tree displays, visits with Santa, food vendors, face painting, crafts and even an 18 foot talking Frosty-the-Snowman! Historic Daggett House is open for tours and decorated for the season. Don’t forget a ride on the historic Looff Carousel!
The Polar Express
Hop on board the historic Blackstone Valley Train for a three-hour journey that brings Chris Van Allsburg’s Christmas classic to life. Storytelling, sing-a-longs, games, scrumptious cookies, and delicious hot cocoa make this event a true delight for children. Santa himself even delivers the first gift of the season to each child aboard!
Newport Area Holiday Events
Christmas at the Blithewold
Each year volunteers are tasked with decorating the 19th century Blithewold mansion with a new theme that will surely delight all who visit. Events include children’s tea, tours, topiary displays, musical events, wreath making and more.
Christmas in Newport
A month-long celebration, each day boasts a new event or activity such as walking tours, craft fairs and museum visits. Downtown Newport is transformed with clear bulbs that are meant to replicate candles, which brings back memories of the candlelit holiday of the past.
Bowen’s Wharf even has a tree lighting and stores have special promotions just in time for the holiday shopping season.
Christmas at the Newport Mansions
Three Newport National Historic Landmarks and iconic homes of the Gilded Age are decorated for the holidays and open for tours. Poinsettias, gingerbread houses, 30-foot Christmas trees, period china and silver are displayed in a grand manor. Prepare to step back in time and celebrate the holidays in style.
Bristol Area Holiday Events
Audubon Society of Rhode Island
Holiday Happenings at the Audubon are a great way to celebrate the season. From holiday fairs, to special animal encounters and photos with Santa, the Audubon Society is perfect for all members of the family. They also have a wreath making class that guides you in making an edible wreath for birds!
Christmas at the Linden Place Museum
Gather with friends and family and partake in one of the many holiday themed events happening at Linden Place. A 200-year old Gothic style mansion is transformed for the holidays with decorations, elegant tables, special musical events and even a visit from the big jolly old elf himself.
Kent County Area Holiday Events
Stone Ridge Candlelight Tour
A yearly tradition that spans over 30 years, the neighborhood of Stone Ridge dazzles locals with their holiday light display. Featuring over 3,500 paper bag lanterns and traditional holiday decorations, Rhode Islanders from all over flock to drive through this neighborhood display.
Holiday Stroll Nights
Garden City Center in Cranston organizes special nights that complement your holiday shopping visits. Listen to carolers as you walk from store-to-store, watch ice carving demonstrations, listen to steel drummers, and check out the walking snowman!
Many of the stores will have special promotions as well. If you have holiday shopping to do, you might as well do it festively!
Victorian Holiday Tea
Enjoy a bit of elegance and lots of family fun at a Victorian Holiday Tea at the Old Jail in East Greenwich. Sponsored by the EG Historic Preservation Society, this is a festive tea with sweets and savories, hot chocolate, mulled cider and tea.
Photos with Santa, a Rhode Island keepsake for each child, crafting a holiday ornament, a lesson on Victorian tea etiquette, and a story and a raffle are all part of this festive event. Guests are encouraged to dress up and bring along a favorite doll or plush toy.
Washington County Area Holiday Events
Festival of Lights Wickford
The Festival of Lights is a three-day event that begins with Santa arriving by boat at the town dock and culminating with a community chorus performance.
Downtown Wickford is transformed by thousands of twinkling white lights and holiday events happening throughout the three-day festival. Art shows, Smith Castle tours and hayrides with Santa are just some of the activities planned.
Holiday Stroll & Luminaria
Downtown Westerly is lined with luminaria as shoppers enjoy special store promotions, listen to carolers sing and even take a hayride with Santa. Complimentary hot cocoa and cookies will make your candlelit stroll through downtown complete.
Nearby Massachusetts Holiday Events
LaSallette Festival of Lights
Just over the border in North Attleboro, MA lies LaSallette with over 300,000 twinkling lights that will surely amaze the whole family. This religious lights display also features a creche museum, religious store, food court, kids activities and more.
Once the holiday season is over, there is still much fun to had during the winter season here in Rhode Island. Be sure to check out the favorite winter activities in Rhode Island and things to do in Newport in winter to learn how you can keep busy all throughout the winter season here in Little Rhody!
Or, if you are going a little further, plan a weekend getaway at one of these great holiday destinations.
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Note: feature photo credit N.Millard/GoProvidence.com.
This post is written by Joy Adamonis. Joy is a full-time wife and mother to a twice-exceptional child. She advocates for better education, food allergy awareness, positive self-esteem and ending the mental health stigma.To fill her little piece of spare time, she is a blogger, freelance writer and runs a successful yoga & art therapy business. She encourages those around her to write and tell their stories, even if they think no one is listening. Keep the art of storytelling alive. You can read more about her at Joyfulnoise.blog