fb-pixelSomerville Illuminations Tour 2023: Where to find the best holiday displays Skip to main content

This interactive map shows you where the best holiday lights are in Somerville

You can take a guided bike tour of the festive “razzle dazzle” around the city, or use the map, provided by the Somerville Arts Council, to discover some holiday delight on your own.

An interactive map, where residents can add their address, shows where light displays are visible this holiday season in Somerville.Somerville Arts Council

A version of this story first appeared as a column in Camberville & beyond, our free weekly newsletter that contains links to interesting stories and events happening in Cambridge and Somerville. If you’d like to receive it via email every Thursday morning, sign up here!

Fluorescent palm trees. Dinosaurs decked out in holiday gear and flashing bulbs. Bright red candy cane displays as far as the eye can see. It’s all part of Somerville’s annual “Illuminations Tour” this winter.

Beginning in December, people can once again take a stroll, ride a bike, or do a tour by car to take in the various light displays that residents are putting up around the city. Some of them are so intricate and bright, they would make Clark Griswold jealous.

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Unfortunately, there won’t be a trolley for this year’s event, which is organized by the Somerville Arts Council. So when it comes to getting around, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure type of festivity.

“We’re not doing trolley tours for several reasons,” the council said on its website. “Namely the price of trolley rental has become very expensive — forcing us to charge a lot for tickets. We feel the way to make this event as inclusive as possible is to have it be free.”

But people can embark on self-guided tours of the decorations using the interactive online map provided by the group. Participating residents can submit a picture of their house and the location of their lights online, making it easier for visitors to find them. Already, nearly a dozen homes have been added, and there’s more than a week left to be part of the action.

There is also a bike tour led by members of the Somerville Bike Advisory Committee, which brings cyclists to the best spots.

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Rachel Strutt, cultural director for the arts council, said there are many “old-school, razzle dazzle favorites” for people to enjoy, as well as “newer to the mix” decorations including an “abstract and playful display on Holyoke Road that features over 25,000 individual lights!”

Here are three key dates to keep in mind for this year’s holiday event, according to organizers:

Dec. 8 is the deadline to add your home to the map.

Dec. 9 through early January is when the self-guided tours will take place.

Dec. 16 is when the bike tour, which meets at Somerville High School at 5:45 p.m., is happening.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him @steveannear.