The holiday season in Newport is a magical time. The giant Bowen’s Wharf Christmas tree is sparkling. Residents and local businesses beautify their entryways as they vie for the top prize in the annual Doorway Decorating Contest. The already ornate and distinguished mansions on Bellevue Avenue are decked to perfection. And residents and visitors alike bundle up and head out to Newport’s many holiday-themed events to enjoy this enchanting season.
Much of this magic is thanks to Christmas in Newport, a non-profit organization that helps coordinate and advertise many of the city’s holiday events, all of which are required to offer either free admission or donate the proceeds of the event to a charity. This year marks the 53rd annual Christmas in Newport celebration.
There is plenty of holiday enchantment to go around at these numerous events, spreading festive cheer throughout the city. Check out some of our favorites
Explore the glamour of the former Vanderbilt estate.
Runs Nov.17, 2023, through Dec.30, 2023, on select evenings; 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Holiday lights enthusiasts would be remiss to miss the Sparkling Lights at The Breakers event, during which the 13-acre grounds of the property are bedazzled with thousands of bright lights captivating spectators as each garden is embellished in a festive theme. Features include a tunnel of light and brightly lit holiday staples, including reindeer, snowmen and Santa’s workshop. After touring the grounds, warm up on the back terrace with a hot beverage and s’mores, then head inside the mansion for an indoor tour.
Be awed by the gilded halls of yesteryear.
Runs Nov. 18, 2023, through Jan. 1, 2024.
Admission: Prices vary.
Continuing a grand tradition of years past, several of Newport’s notable mansions including The Breakers, Marble House and The Elms will be dressed in their holiday best in a striking tribute to the glitz and glamour of Newport’s Gilded Age. At the Breakers, visitors can find the annual poinsettia tree, constructed of 150 poinsettia plants towering an impressive 15 feet overhead in the Great Room. And don’t miss the Gilded Age holiday fashion display in the music room.
Watch the classic holiday ballet performed in an imaginative venue.
Runs Nov. 22, 24, 25 and 26, and Nov. 28 through Dec. 1.
Join fellow guests on a walk through the ornately decorated rooms of Rosecliff and watch members of the Newport Contemporary Ballet perform scenes from the “The Nutcracker.” Featured scenes from the traditional ballet include the Waltz of the Snowflakes, and arabesques and pirouettes performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Land of the Sweets in the Grand Ballroom.
Newport Harbor sparkles with nautical holiday delight.
Nov. 24, 6 p.m.
See Newport in all its holiday glory as sailboats, fishing boats and powerboats light up Newport Harbor with their festive decorations as they parade through the water, much to the joy of the many spectators on land. Some of the best viewpoints include the popular Bowen’s and Bannister’s Wharfs, where you’ll also find plenty of dining and shopping opportunities.
Beautifully lit gardens, just a short drive from Newport.
Nov. 24 through Dec. 31, Thursday-Sunday.
Admission: $70 per four-person carload, $35 per two-person carload.
Christmas in Newport events span throughout Newport and Bristol counties. In the seaside town of Bristol, this nighttime holiday display on the grounds of the Blithewold Mansion estate is not to be missed. Follow the illuminated paths to discover holiday light displays, cozy fires in the Enclosed Garden, handmade bamboo lanterns and fun photo ops. You can add a s’mores kit to your ticket to make your trip even sweeter! Complete your experience inside the mansion and marvel at the big tree.
Admire the glistening shimmer of Newport’s towering evergreen.
Dec. 2. The tree is lit at 6 p.m.
Bowen’s Wharf’s official holiday season commencement begins at 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 and will include an appearance by Santa Claus and musical entertainment, including carols the whole family can sing along with. Be sure to visit the wharf’s restaurants and take some time to do some shopping. After the tree is lit, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will make a grand entrance onto the wharf via boat. The event is fun for all ages.
Hang with Santa in true Newport style – on the water.
Dec.17, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Admission: Prices start at $20 for children aged 5-12, $35 for adults.
Hop aboard the Coastal Queen, a tour boat that offers themed excursions around Newport Harbor. This special holiday tour will feature a very important guest on board: Santa Claus! The boat ride will be child-centric and allow young ones to share their holiday wishes with the North Pole’s most infamous resident. Choose to stay inside the heated interior of the boat, or if you’re feeling adventurous, head out onto the open decks for a few minutes to take in the views. After meeting Santa and disembarking the boat, children will receive a cup of warm hot chocolate and a candy cane to complete the holiday experience.
Get in the holiday spirit. Visit Discover Newport today.