Family Fun, Live Performances, Festive Decorations, Holiday Shopping, and a lot more!

Holiday Happenings 2018 Printable Brochure

Thursday, November 29th
Holiday “Tree-view” Party
Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum, 396 County St.
Get a preview of the festive trees brightening the halls of the RJD by community groups, schools, artists and designers. Enjoy seasonal cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment. Tickets on sale at the RJD website starting October 15. 6PM-8PM

Friday, November 30th
Christmas Wonderland Holiday Spectacular
Zeiterion Theatre, 684 Purchase St.
Start Christmas in style as Santa and his merry helpers take you on an unforgettable journey featuring all the holiday favorites. Christmas Wonderland is pure holiday magic – with enough fun and festive cheer to power all the Christmas lights in town! 8PM

Friday, November 30th – Sunday, December 9th
A New Way to Celebrate the Season
Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum, 396 County St.
For two weeks in early December, the halls of the RJD will be decked with lights, ribbons, baubles and boughs of greenery.  Trees which have been decorated and donated to the museum will be displayed within the rooms of the mansion. Purchase a tree for your home or donate it to a local charity. Monday-Saturday 10AM – 4PM; Sunday 12PM-4PM

Saturday December 1st
City of New Bedford Tree Lighting
William Street & Pleasant Street
Join Mayor Jon Mitchell, New Bedford City Councilors and the New Bedford community for the annual tree lighting celebration! At 4:30PM Santa and Mrs. Claus will lead a parade up William Street to the Main Library. The countdown celebration will begin at 5:00PM with greetings from elected officials, holiday music, and an appearance by Santa Claus! Rain date is December 13th.  

Saturday December 1st
Mayor Mitchell’s Classic Movie Series
Zeiterion Theatre, 684 Purchase Street
Mayor Mitchell invites you to a free showing of the holiday movie Home Alone following the conclusion of the City of New Bedford Tree Lighting. 7PM

Saturday December 1st
Family Day at Rotch-Jones-Duff House
Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum, 396 County St.
Drop by the RJD to see the display of trees and holiday decorations.  Warm yourself with a hot beverage, do a seasonal craft, and play a scavenger hunt throughout the museum. Free to members, or with admission. 12PM-3PM

Saturday December 1st & Sunday December 2nd
Holiday Shop & Stroll
Downtown New Bedford
On December 1st and 2nd everyone is invited to stroll the festively decorated streets of downtown, shop locally for gifts, hear festive holiday music, dine out, jump aboard fire truck rides (12-4PM), meet Santa and more. Saturday 11AM-5PM, Sunday 11AM-4PM.

Saturday December 1st & Sunday December 2nd
Friday December 7th – Sunday December 9th
A New England Nutcracker
New Bedford Ballet, 2343 Purchase St.
Journey back to the 1850s, as this favorite holiday story is reimagined through New Bedford’s historic whaling era, and prepare for the “City That Lit the World” to light up your holiday season. December 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 9th at 1:30PM and 3PM. December 7th at 6:30PM and 8PM.

Wednesday, December 4th
County Street Christmas
Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum, 396 County St.
Hear how different holidays were observed by the original residents, and enjoy a house tour with an RJD docent. Free to members or with admission. 5:30PM

Saturday December 8th
Santa Sightings 5k Run/Walk
MacArthur Boulevard
A fun and festive 5K Run/Walk. Hundreds of runners in Santa suits will run the USATF certified course along the working waterfront. Registration Required.

Sunday, December 9th
Festival of Lights Celebration
Clasky Common Park
Join the countdown celebration to illuminate festive displays of dazzling lights throughout Clasky Common Park. A musical chorus will perform and Santa Claus is expected to join the celebration! 5PM

Thursday, December 13th
AHA! City Sidewalks
Downtown NB
A perfect night for shopping, dining with friends, and enjoying Downtown New Bedford all decked out for the holiday season! Complete program flyers with maps are available at all AHA! venues starting the Tuesday prior to each event. 5PM-9PM

Saturday, December 15th
New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops
Zeiterion Theatre, 684 Purchase St.
Join the NBSO for the best holiday concert in town! The Family Holiday Pops Concerts feature all the holiday music you love, played by our magnificent Orchestra, with appearances by the Southeastern Massachusetts Youth Orchestra and Showstoppers! Share the joy of the season with friends and family in the festively decorated theater and take part in a South Coast holiday tradition! 3:30PM and 7PM

Saturday December 15th, Sunday December 16th & Saturday December 22nd
Breakfast with Santa & Friends
Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn St
Whether you’re NAUGHTY or NICE you’re invited to join us for Breakfast with Santa & Friends! Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, share your wish list with Santa and meet some of the Zoo’s favorite resident animals.  9:30AM-11:30AM

Saturday December 15th & Sunday December 16th
27th Annual Holiday House Tour
Wamsutta Club, 427 County St.
Capture the holiday spirit on the New Bedford Preservation Society’s 27th Annual Holiday House Tour. Visitors will be inspired by the varied architecture and interiors, all beautifully decorated for the season. The tour runs Saturday the 15th, 4PM-8PM Candlelight Tour and Sunday the 16th, 1PM-5PM Afternoon Tour.

Sunday December 16th
White Christmas Sing-A-Long Movie
Zeiterion Theatre, 684 Purchase St.
Experience the holiday classic on the big screen! The beloved 1954 film features the lyrics embedded on-screen so you can sing along to such songs as “The Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing,” “Snow,” “Sisters” and, of course, the iconic “White Christmas.” 2PM

Sunday, December 16th
Christmas Candlelight Service
Seamen’s Bethel, 15 Johnny Cake Hill
The public is cordially invited to attend the annual Christmas Candlelight Service at the Seamen’s Bethel. 4PM

Wednesday, December 19th
A Christmas Celtic Sojourn
Zeiterion Theatre, 684 Purchase St.
One of the true highlights of the holidays, A Christmas Celtic Sojourn returns once again! For the last 15 years, the Christmas-time live version of the show has drawn on Celtic, Pagan, and Christian traditions to celebrate the music of the season for a festive performance that is a delight for the whole family. 7:30PM

Saturday, December 22nd
Free Horse Drawn Carriage Rides
Custom House Square, Downtown New Bedford
Downtown will be full of holiday spirit with free horse drawn carriage rides at Custom House Square. 1PM-5PM

Monday, December 31st
Noon Year’s Eve
Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn St
Who says you have to wait until midnight to ring in the New Year?  Grab your party hats and dancing shoes and head to the Zoo for a Noon Year’s Eve celebration! 10:30AM-12:30PM



Ring in the New Year with amazing street performers, stilt walkers, jugglers, fire-eaters, and… a spectacular FIREWORKS display from State Pier on the working waterfront at 8:30PM.

Click here for your own printable City Celebrates New Year’s Eve Map

Checkout pictures from the 2017 City Celebrates on our Facebook page:


The downtown laurel program is supported in part by a grant from the New Bedford Local Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Holiday Happenings and City Celebrates! New Year’s Eve is presented by Mayor Jon Mitchell, City of New Bedford in collaboration with:


Great appreciation and thanks to this year’s Event sponsor:

Bristol County Savings Bank

Fireworks in-kind sponsors: AGM Marine Contractors, Inc. and Tucker-Roy Marine Salvage & Towing

amg logo     tucker-roy-logo


PARTNER VENUE LOCATIONS: UMass Dartmouth CVPA, New Bedford Harbor Hotel, New Bedford Public Library, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Fishing Heritage Center, YMCA of Southeastern MA, Gallery X,  Seamen’s Bethel, Zeiterion Theatre, Parks, Recreation & Beaches (Custom House Square and Wing’s Court)