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Safely Celebrate the Holidays in Connecticut With Drive-Through Light Displays, Socially Distant Santa Sightings, Outdoor Activities, Virtual Performances and More

Connecticut Office of Tourism offers ways to #SupportCTBusinesses this holiday season

HARTFORD, Conn. (Dec. 3, 2020) – Connecticut residents and families can stay closer to home this holiday season and still enjoy a number of safe and festive activities happening throughout December and January—while supporting Connecticut businesses. From drive-through light displays and socially distant pictures with Santa to exciting outdoor activities and virtual musical and dance performances, tourism businesses, cities and towns throughout the state have created new experiences and modified old favorites to provide safer ways to celebrate this year.

To learn more about safe, seasonal fun in Connecticut and see a list of upcoming events, visit the Connecticut Office of Tourism’s official website:

Here are just a few safe and festive holiday happenings available this season:

Holiday Lights:

Santa Sightings & Holiday Characters:

Outdoor Experiences:

  • Journey through time at Mystic Seaport Museum’s new Lantern Light Village, featuring live music, horse-and-carriage rides, crafts and much more.
  • Stroll through 10 festive vignettes including Snowman Way and Gingerbread Boulevard during the new Winter Wonderland Walk at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.
  • Celebrate “Christmastime in Torrington,” featuring the Christmas Village and Storywalk on Franklin.
  • Explore the Gingerbread Trail in Putnam to see creative gingerbread displays throughout downtown.

Arts & Culture:

  • Celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza and Three Kings Day during the city of New London’s Holiday Celebration: A Multicultural Countdown.
  • Discover over 220 hand-painted palettes hung on Christmas trees at the annual Magic of Christmas celebration at The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme.
  • Watch dancers perform excerpts of “The Nutcracker” in an outdoor snow globe and tour the Through the Tulle holiday costume exhibit at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington.
  • Tour a decorated Victorian home featuring vintage dolls and toys in a new holiday exhibit at Norwalk’s Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.

Virtual Performances:

Winter Dining: 

  • Be mesmerized by the spectacular holiday decorations at Cava in Southington, featuring over 200,000 lights, 65 Christmas trees and movie-themed rooms including Willy Wonka and Polar Express.
  • Dine outdoors in a private greenhouse at Millwright’s in Simsbury or on the restaurant’s partially enclosed and heated bridge that overlooks a flowing waterfall.
  • Have a holiday meal to remember at West Street Grill in Litchfield, Tavern at Graybarns in Norwalk or Fresh Salt in Old Saybrook, all of which are featuring special Christmastime or New Year’s Eve menus.

Festive Staycations:

  • Cozy up at the Whaler’s Inn in Mystic, featuring a special Winter Warm Up package or shop local with the Inn’s VIP Mystic Holiday Shopping Experience.
  • Unplug at Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington, featuring curated experiences including a wreath making class, nightly bonfires and gift shopping at the inn’s boutique. 
  • Book a stay at the DELAMAR hotels in Greenwich, Southport or West Hartford, which are offering a special staycation package for Connecticut residents.

“The holiday season is a special time in Connecticut and tourism businesses across the state are working hard to provide safe and fun ways families can celebrate this year,” said Randy Fiveash, director, Connecticut Office of Tourism. “However you choose to celebrate, we encourage those who can to shop, dine, donate and stay local while following closely the rules and guidance provided by state and public health officials.”

Read the State of Connecticut’s holiday guidance here.

For more ideas and ways to #SupportCTBusinesses this holiday season, check out 33 Things to do in Connecticut this December and Safe Holiday Shopping that Supports Connecticut Businesses on

And, join the social media community on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.


About the Connecticut Office of Tourism

The Connecticut Office of Tourism, a division of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), is dedicated to enhancing the economic growth of Connecticut’s tourism industry. Together with its many state and industry partners, the Office of Tourism works to bolster the state’s reputation as a destination that offers a diverse mix of activities and attractions, all in close proximity to each other—from the exciting and relaxing to the historic and innovative to the culture and nature-focused. For more information, visit





Emily Pangakis

Adams & Knight

860-676-2300 x 129


Randy Fiveash

Director, Connecticut Office of Tourism