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Top 5 FREE Christmas & Holiday Activities on Cape Ann

Christmas in Gloucester MA - Cape Ann Christmas - Things to Do
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Things to Do on Cape Ann

Even though the holiday season can get expensive after the gifts, decorations and other related items are purchased, the good news is that the "holiday spirit" is free! There are plenty of free events and activities on Cape Ann and across the North Shore to put you in a festive mood. Here are some of our favorites:

​1. Visit Cape Ann's most unique Christmas tree, the amazing Lobster Trap Tree in Gloucester, on Rogers Street. The Lobster Trap Tree Lighting will be held on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at 4:30pm. The following time-lapse video of the building of the tree by Shawn G. Henry highlights the positivity that this local holiday symbol brings to the community.

2. Shop (or window shop) local for the season in charming downtown districts. Area towns have special "shopping nights" designated, where stores stay open late and serve refreshments and good cheer as well as special discounts. Gloucester holds a special Ladies' Night and Mens' Night for Main Street shopping, and  Christmas in Rockport is also a popular event.

Ladies' Night in Gloucester - Shopping - Men's Night in Gloucester

3. Find the seasonal local festival or pageant. Gloucester's Middle Street Walk and Rockport's Annual Christmas Pageant are fun and family-friendly events that will fill you with both cheer and nostalgia. Rockport also hosts a large New Year's Eve celebration, with both free and paid events and activities.

Rockport MA Nativity Christmas Pageant
The Rockport Annual Pageant. Photo: First Congregational Church of Rockport (UCC)


4. Take a drive to see the holiday lights during Winter Lights. Cruising about Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, and Manchester-by-the-Sea's main streets, through local neighborhoods and side streets to ooh and aah over the festively decorated businesses is sure to put a smile on your face.

Drive around Gloucester and Rockport to see the Christmas lights.

5. Nothing puts you in the holiday spirit like giving your time and attention. Volunteer opportunities abound across the North Shore. Some ideas include:

Have a happy, healthy and safe holiday season from all of us at Atlantic Vacation Homes!

Where to Stay on Cape Ann for the Holidays

Atlantic Vacation Homes offers a wide variety of vacation rental homes across Cape Ann that would be perfect for your North Shore holiday getaway. To book your accommodations, simply view available rentals and enter your desired dates to get a quote. You can also call toll-free at (855) 853-9143 to speak with a Guest Experience Specialist.


  Atlantic Vacation Homes (AVH) is the premier vacation home rental & real estate company on Boston's North Shore, with over 35 years of creating dream vacations for our guests. Situated a little more than a half-hour’s drive from downtown Boston, the North Shore is the ideal spot for an east coast vacation. We specialize in coastal vacation rentals for families, large groups, and anyone else who wants a beach vacation in Massachusetts.