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People ice-skating at night, surrounded by illuminated trees. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Where to see holidays lights in Boston

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston Common, the Public Garden, Seaport Common, and elsewhere—yuletide cheer by the bulbful

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Given that darkness blankets Boston around 4:30 every afternoon during the winter, the city provides plenty of time for taking in big Griswoldian holiday light displays.

These are the 10 best public options. Most are easily reachable via mass transit, if not on foot from much of downtown.

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1. Commonwealth Avenue Mall

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484 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

Always worth a stroll, the 1.3-mile, 32-acre ribbon through Back Bay also hosts some delightful illumination during much of the winter.

People running in a clump through the night between two lines of a lighted-up trees. Boston Globe via Getty Images

2. Copley Square

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Copley Square
Boston, MA 02116

One of Boston’s most vibrant areas, with the main Boston Public Library branch and the historic Trinity Church on its edges, Copley Square features a large lighted tree this time of year and other decorations.

A guy in a Santa Claus suit ringing a bell on a stage as a Christmas tree nearby lights up. Boston Globe via Getty Images

3. Boston Public Garden

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4 Charles St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 635-4505
Visit Website

America’s oldest public botanical garden includes several illuminated evergreens during the winter as well as lights along its Lagoon Bridge.

A person walking between two rows of illuminated bushes at night in a public park in a city. Boston Globe via Getty Images

4. The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston

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215 Charles St
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 224-4000
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The hotel’s cavernous lobby features upside-down lighted Christmas trees this time of year.

5. Boston Common

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139 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 635-4505
Visit Website

America’s oldest public park is home to Boston’s official tree during the holiday season, and also has an abundance of illumination—never mind a skating rink on the Frog Pond and plenty of T access via Park Street Station.

People ice-skating at night, surrounded by illuminated trees. Boston Globe via Getty Images

6. Downtown Crossing

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Downtown Crossing
Boston, MA

Holiday themes understandably drench the district best known for its shopping. But pay particularly close attention to the Macy’s tree on the Summer Street side of the store as well as the famed retailer’s window dressings.

A lighted-up Christmas tree mounted on the side of a building, and people are taking pictures of the tree. Boston Globe via Getty Images

7. Faneuil Hall Marketplace

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4 S Market St
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 523-1300
Visit Website

The busy, busy tourism spot with a long history includes the tallest Christmas tree in New England and thereby a ton of illumination.

A large Christmas tree in a public square, and the tree has not been decorated, and there is a lone person with an umbrella looking at it. Boston Globe via Getty Images

8. Christopher Columbus Park

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Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 635-7275
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One of the Boston waterfront’s top attractions and an integral part of the North End, this park’s trellis also features some of the most beautiful lights of the season.

A trellis entwined with bright lights, and people are walking under the trellis. Boston Globe via Getty Images

9. Rose Kennedy Greenway

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Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 292-0020
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The 1.5-mile linear park hosts its annual Winter Lights. The Greenway’s carousel is also open every day except Christmas from December 20 to January 1.

A carousel lighted up at night in a city park. Shutterstock

10. Seaport Common

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85 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 636-3114
Visit Website

A sizable tree with plenty of lighting illumines this area—as do the surrounding buildings and other hanging lights.

Unlighted lights suspended on wires above an urban setting. Shutterstock

1. Commonwealth Avenue Mall

484 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
People running in a clump through the night between two lines of a lighted-up trees. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Always worth a stroll, the 1.3-mile, 32-acre ribbon through Back Bay also hosts some delightful illumination during much of the winter.

484 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02116

2. Copley Square

Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116
A guy in a Santa Claus suit ringing a bell on a stage as a Christmas tree nearby lights up. Boston Globe via Getty Images

One of Boston’s most vibrant areas, with the main Boston Public Library branch and the historic Trinity Church on its edges, Copley Square features a large lighted tree this time of year and other decorations.

Copley Square
Boston, MA 02116

3. Boston Public Garden

4 Charles St, Boston, MA 02116
A person walking between two rows of illuminated bushes at night in a public park in a city. Boston Globe via Getty Images

America’s oldest public botanical garden includes several illuminated evergreens during the winter as well as lights along its Lagoon Bridge.

4 Charles St
Boston, MA 02116

4. The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Boston

215 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114

The hotel’s cavernous lobby features upside-down lighted Christmas trees this time of year.

215 Charles St
Boston, MA 02114

5. Boston Common

139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111
People ice-skating at night, surrounded by illuminated trees. Boston Globe via Getty Images

America’s oldest public park is home to Boston’s official tree during the holiday season, and also has an abundance of illumination—never mind a skating rink on the Frog Pond and plenty of T access via Park Street Station.

139 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111

6. Downtown Crossing

Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA
A lighted-up Christmas tree mounted on the side of a building, and people are taking pictures of the tree. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Holiday themes understandably drench the district best known for its shopping. But pay particularly close attention to the Macy’s tree on the Summer Street side of the store as well as the famed retailer’s window dressings.

Downtown Crossing
Boston, MA

7. Faneuil Hall Marketplace

4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109
A large Christmas tree in a public square, and the tree has not been decorated, and there is a lone person with an umbrella looking at it. Boston Globe via Getty Images

The busy, busy tourism spot with a long history includes the tallest Christmas tree in New England and thereby a ton of illumination.

4 S Market St
Boston, MA 02109

8. Christopher Columbus Park

Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110
A trellis entwined with bright lights, and people are walking under the trellis. Boston Globe via Getty Images

One of the Boston waterfront’s top attractions and an integral part of the North End, this park’s trellis also features some of the most beautiful lights of the season.

Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110

9. Rose Kennedy Greenway

Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110
A carousel lighted up at night in a city park. Shutterstock

The 1.5-mile linear park hosts its annual Winter Lights. The Greenway’s carousel is also open every day except Christmas from December 20 to January 1.

Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110

10. Seaport Common

85 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210
Unlighted lights suspended on wires above an urban setting. Shutterstock

A sizable tree with plenty of lighting illumines this area—as do the surrounding buildings and other hanging lights.

85 Northern Ave
Boston, MA 02210