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If you’re looking for fun Christmas things to do in CT with kids, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or unique, we’ve got you covered.
Connecticut is a small state with big holiday fun from festive activities, beautiful light displays, and even something a little more adventurous. There’s sure to be something that will appeal to your family.
Let’s start planning now and make the most of the holiday season. Here are ten of our personal picks to get you started.
1) Visit One of Connecticut’s Christmas Shops.
Connecticut is home to a number of independent Christmas shops. Stop in and find the perfect ornament for the tree, start a collection of Byer’s Choice carolers, or browse to kick off the holiday season.
These locally owned stores offer a unique selection of Christmas gifts and decorations you won’t find at the big box stores. If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, be sure to check out one of the festive Christmas shops in Connecticut.
The Best Christmas Shops in CT
- Sofia’s Mystical Christmas (Mystic)
- The Pink Sleigh (Westbrook)
- The Christmas Barn (Woodstock)
- The Historical Christmas Barn (Wilton)
2) Welcome Santa on the Mystic River
If you want a truly unique Santa experience, visit Mystic for the Lighted Boat Parade. See all of the boats decked out in holiday lights and decorations and welcome Santa as he arrives on a tug boat.
After the arrival of Santa, stick around for the tree-lighting ceremony. Few places in Connecticut are as festive as Mystic during the holidays.
3) Ride the North Pole Express
In the cute shoreline town of Essex, your family will enjoy a ride on the North Pole Express. Wear your pajamas on this old-fashioned steam train ride, complete with sing-alongs and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
4) Ride the Rides at Lake Compounce
During Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce, add a new level to the experience while you ride the rides while they’re decorated with Christmas lights set to Christmas music.
Kids can also decorate cookies and write a letter to Santa. Check the calendar for additional special activities such as Gingerbread Weekend, ugly sweater day, and more.
5) Make Your Own Gingerbread House
Lyman Orchards in Middlefield is one of our favorite New England orchards to visit in the fall, but don’t forget about them during the Christmas season.
The orchard is open year-round and has several holiday events on the calendar, including a Kids’ Gingerbread House Workshop. Adults can also get in on the fun with their Gingerbread House Workshop for adults.
6) Catch a Holiday Show
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford has lots of holiday entertainment to suit any interest. See classics like the Nutcracker ballet or the hip-hop Nutcracker for a modern twist.
If you want to see something more unique, get tickets for a holiday-themed magic show or Mannheim Steamroller. There is something fun and festive for everyone at The Bushnell.
7) Take a Stroll Through One of Connecticut’s Historic Towns
Nowhere does Christmas quite like New England small towns do. With their quaint downtowns decked out with lights and decorations, visiting the historic towns of Connecticut during the holiday season is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.
The following towns are some of the best to visit and take a stroll with a warm coffee or a cup of hot cocoa and feel like you stepped right into a Hallmark movie. In some cases, you have since quite a few of them are filmed in Connecticut.
- Mystic – Mystic is one of the most charming towns in Connecticut, and that is especially true during the Christmas season. The town comes alive with decorations, lights, and many festive events. From the Holiday Lights Spectacular at Olde Mistick Village to the Lighted Boat Parade on the Mystic River, there is no shortage of holiday cheer here.
- Old Wethersfield – if Wethersfield looks familiar to you, there’s a reason why. It’s the location of several Christmas movies, you’ll soon see why. Step back in time and look at the holiday decorations or visit Santa and get some great food and more during Holidays on Main.
- Milford – the town of Milford really knows how to get their holidays on! Many houses in town are decorated, and the town has a list of addresses with the best displays. Drive around this quaint shoreline town and see some spectacular Christmas lights. Don’t miss “That House in Milford“
- Essex – Essex is another beautiful New England town that is full of holiday spirit. Go for a ride on an old-fashioned steam train that is turned into the North Pole Express during the holiday season. Join in on the Christmas stroll through town, lighted with luminaries and features a horse-drawn carriage ride with Santa.
These towns are just a starting point. Countless small towns in Connecticut go all out during the Christmas season. Any one of them will be worth a stroll to look at the lights and decorations and stop in one of their cafes for a cup of something warm.
8) Take a Trolley Ride and Meet Santa
The Shoreline Trolley Museum in Branford, CT, is fun for kids of all ages. Ride the old-fashioned trolley and see the Christmas lights along the oldest continuously operating suburban trolley line in the United States.
After the ride, kids will get the chance to meet Santa for face painting, cookies, and hot chocolate.
9) Visit Santa’s Reindeer
Visit Sam Bridge Nursery & Greenhouses to see Santa and some of his live reindeer at The Greenwich Reindeer Festival, the yearly event that celebrates all things Christmas.
Meet the reindeer, get a photo with Santa, write him a Christmas letter, and more. You can even bring your dog for a photo with the big guy!
The Greenwich Reindeer Festival is full of fun for families during the holiday season.
10) Drive Through a Holiday Light Show
A drive through one of the several annual Christmas lights shows in Connecticut.
- Fantasy of Lights at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven.
- Holiday Light Fantasia at Goodwin Park in Hartford.
- Magic Lights at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
- Festival of Silver Lights at Hubbard Park in Meriden.
Stay in your car and take a leisurely ride to look at all of the light displays while staying warm. Since you won’t leave the car, the kids can enjoy the lights in their pajamas with snacks and holiday music.
Make one of these festive light displays a part of your Christmas tradition this year.
There are plenty of fun and festive things to do with your family in Connecticut. From light displays and Christmas traditions to theater performances and Santa sightings, there’s something for everyone in the Nutmeg State.
What are you waiting for? Bundle up and enjoy all that Connecticut has to offer this Christmas!