Winters in central New York make the perfect backdrop to every holiday celebration, and Syracuse is no stranger to holiday festivities. The entire month of December is full of celebrations. Live music, light festivals, decorated mansions, gingerbread houses, and more — there’s something for everyone this holiday season. Check out our curated list of holiday festivals in Syracuse and enjoy the season with your family and friends.
Christmas on the Farm
Saturdays November 28 - December 20, 2022
Enjoy different activities for the whole family every weekend through Christmas — breakfast with Santa, the candy cane hunt, Christmas ballet and holiday shopping from local crafters during Christmas at Abbott Farms. Adults can sample some of the farm-fresh wine and cider while the kids enjoy varying Christmas events every weekend!
Festival of Trees and Lights
December 3 - 17, events / activities vary
Walk among over one hundred beautifully decorated Christmas trees on display throughout the museum during Everson’s annual Festival of Trees and Lights. Live performances and more activities than ever, this beloved Central New York tradition celebrates the season with a wide variety of trees, wreaths and other seasonal items available for purchase, and the Museum Gift Shop has plenty of sections for your holiday gift-giving. View the full festival calendar here.
November 18, 2022 - January 8, 2023 @ 10am - 4pm daily
The Erie Canal Museum
This year celebrates the 37th anniversary of the gingerbread gallery at the Erie Canal Museum. Each year the museum transforms into a festive 1800s canal town street scene with gingerbread creations on display in storefront windows. Entrance is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $4 for children 3-17 (children 2 & under free). Be sure to explore the rest of the museum before or after your visit to the Gallery.
Lights on the Lake
November 14, 2022 - January 13, 2023 @ 5pm - 10pm daily
Onondaga Lake Park
Another classic Syracuse tradition is Lights on the Lake in Liverpool. Enjoy the two-mile-stretch of lights and holiday music along the lake. Admission is $10 per car Monday-Thursday, $20 Friday through Sunday.
Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles
Saturdays & Sundays, November 25 - Christmas, 12pm - 4pm & Final Limited Show December 24, 12pm - 2:30pm
Village of Skaneateles
A charming and popular tradition, Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles features Charles Dickens and his cast of over 40 characters, interacting with residents and visitors in the streets, shops and restaurants. Don't miss performances at the Gazebo, visits with Old Saint Nick, live music, shopping and horse and wagon rides around the Village.
Celebrating the Holidays at the Lorenzo State Historic Site
Guided Christmas Tours, December 6 - 9, 1 - 4pm
Lorenzo's Christmas Celebration, December 8 & 9, 7 - 9pm, and December 10 & 11, 1 - 4pm
Lorenzo State Historic Park & Mansion
Enjoy a traditional tour of the Mansion, complete with decorations, or celebrate Christmas at Lorenzo as the Mansion is adorned as "Snow-Covered Jewel." With support from the Friends of Lorenzo, this annual holiday celebration features refreshments, live music and horse-drawn sleigh & wagon rides. $6 per person, $2 ages 12 and under.
Holiday Nights presented by Amazon
Fridays & Saturdays, December 2 - 17, 5 - 8pm
Rosamond Gifford Zoo
Enjoy a festive and fun after-hours stroll amid sparkling displays of holiday lights that transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. Warm up by the fire pits and enjoy hot chocolate, s’mores, live performances of holiday music, ice carving, roving entertainers and animals on evening exhibit. Advance sale member tickets $7, Advance sale non-member tickets $7, children 2 & under are free. View the schedule and get your tickets here.
Additional Holiday Events in December
Community Chanukah Celebration
Sunday, December 18, 12:30 - 3pm
Jewish Community Center of Syracuse
Families are welcomed to join for a fun-filled afternoon — the eyes of the children will brighten as soon as they walk through the doors and see inflatables, crafts, face painting, balloon twisters, a photo booth and more. Refreshments will be provided and delicious food will be offered including latkes, bagels, fruit, and everyone’s favorite sufganiyot (jelly donuts). Learn more here.
Holidays at Hendricks
Sunday, December 4, 4:30 & 7:30pm and Virtual Show Sunday December 11, 7pm
Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University
The university’s holiday concert is not to be missed. Expanded to two performances, live and virtual, the event is an ongoing tradition anchored by the Hendricks Chapel Choir under the direction of Wendy Moy and Peppie Calvar. While the concert is free to attend, registration is required.
Ted & Amy’s 93Q Christmas Spectacular
Saturday, December 10 @ 10am - 2pm
Get in the holiday spirit with everyone's favorite local radio personality duo Ted & Amy! Broadcasting live music from top local bands, this free event features Santa's Workshop where children can receive a free toy (while supplies last), arts and crafts, ornament making, coloring contest, free photo booth and more holiday fun for the whole family!
Sensory-Friendly North Pole Pajama Party @ The M.O.S.T.
Saturday, December 17, 6 - 8pm
Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology
Celebrate the season with the MOST – pajamas encouraged! Join us for your classic favorites like the Hot Cocoa Bar, as well as new and exciting activities exploring the North Pole, from arctic animals and geomagnetic poles to snowflakes, ice melt, and more sensory-friendly activities. Grab your tickets before they're gone!
Holiday Movie Screenings & Shows
Movies and live theatre galore this holiday season. Check out Syracuse Stage as they ring in the holidays with their dazzling and magical live performance of The Little Mermaid (Nov. 25 - Jan 8). Go all out with the Syracuse City Ballet's presentation of Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater, where you can also catch Dasher's Magical Gift (Dec. 10), the Nutcracker! Magical Christmas Ballet (Dec. 12), Symphoria Holiday Pops (Dec. 17) and even The Beach Boys with John Stamos and The Holiday Vibrations Orchestra (Dec. 7)! And Christmas is ON at the Landmark Theatre — experience the MannHeim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis (Dec. 8, 7:30pm), Nutcracker Twist: An Enchanted Journey with Symphoria, the Orchestra of Central New York (Dec. 10, 3pm), Christmas at the Landmark featuring the DeSantis Orchestra (Dec. 11, 6pm), a screening of The Polar Express (Dec. 17, 2pm) and more!
More Holiday Festivals
Of course there are many more events not listed here. Check your local churches, libraries, and schools for more breakfasts with Santa, cookie exchanges, theatrical performances, holiday music, and Christmas shopping. Plus, if you venture a little bit outside of Syracuse, you’ll find several more holiday festivals to enjoy.