Christmas in cape May
General,  Visiting Cape May

Christmas in Cape May

There is something extra magical about Christmas in Cape May. Let’s face it, most people agree that just being in Cape May lifts one’s spirits and lowers the blood pressure. However, during the holidays that feeling is amped way up! It seems everywhere you look, there is sparkle, tinsel, bows, red and green, silver and gold… Even the horse drawn carriages are all decked out. Gerard and I went for the first time a few years ago and we were in awe.

Christmas Tree Lighting Rotary Park

Many people say that the tree lighting ceremony kicks off the holiday season in Cape May. This family friendly event is held on December 3rd this year. It features caroling, tons of Christmas cheer and of course, Santa himself. Rotary Park is located on Lafayette Street and Perry Street.

Christmas Parade

Other folks say the holiday season kicks off in Cape May with West Cape May Community Christmas Parade. The annual parade is traditionally held the first Saturday in December. 2021 marks the 55th year for this event, which is funded completely by donations and volunteers. It begins at the West Cape May Volunteer Firehouse and then proceeds South on Broadway, East on Perry Street and ends at the start of Carpenter Mall in Cape May. It is a tradition for the young and young at heart, with floats, string bands, high school bands, dancers, first responder vehicles and more. The streets are often full of spectators early to get the best spot.

Cape May Christmas House

Cape May MAC-Christmas

As always, Cape May MAC is on top of things and has so many wonderful offerings for the holidays! It begins with the tree lighting ceremony at the Physick Estate. The estate is decorated with thousands of lights and all the festive trimmings. Holiday music will be played, refreshments will be available and of course Santa and his elves will be in attendance. It is quite a spectacle!

Another annual tradition is the Christmas Candlelight house tours. These self-guided tours showcase some of the most breathtakingly decorated homes, inns, Bed & Breakfasts, churches, and hotels in Cape May. You are actually able to step inside and view the impeccably decorated interiors. The tours began in 1973 (that’s nearly half a century) and are one of the most significant fund-raisers for Cape May MAC.

Can’t be in Cape May over the holidays? They have you covered with the Virtual Christmas Candlelight house tour. From the comfort of your own home, you can enjoy this beloved annual tradition. Build a fire (or hit the remote), put your feet up, grab a hot chocolate or hot toddy and feel like you’re in a holiday wonderland.

Breakfast with Santa is always a hit. At Aleathea’s Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May the kiddos can meet Santa, have their pic taken with the big guy and give him all the details on their list. This event also benefits Cape May MAC.

Trolley and House Tours

A new tour has been added, All That Glitters Trolley Tour. You are transported back to the year 1899 as Victorians ring in the new century. The tours will be available right after Thanksgiving and follow a friend of the family through town as she shops for the New Year’s Day celebration. Santa’s Trolley Rides led by Mrs. Claus herself telling stories and leading everyone in holidays songs. Santa greets everyone at the Gazebo on the Physick Estate grounds. Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Tour features dramatic tales of Victorian ghosts as you travel through the historic district. Holiday Lights Trolley rides are a wonderful way to see the spectacular decorations while learning about Victorian traditions and listening to Christmas music. There are also house tours of both the Physick Estate and The Cherry House, a private home built in 1849 in the Federal Style. Both are lavishly decorated and a sight to see during the holidays.

You can get more info and purchase all your tickets here.

Congress Hall

Once again, Congress Hall is having a Winter Wonderland. Christmas at Congress Hall has to be seen to be believed. It begins with their own tree lighting ceremony—an awe-inspiring 30 foot Christmas tree. The following day is a performance by Turning Pointe Dance team. Breakfast with Santa is held every Saturday and Sunday in the Grand Ballroom—reservations are required. This is a unique photo op with Santa. Wednesdays they have Holiday Bingo with Blue the Pig—also a reservation event. Winter Igloos are back on the lawn this year. They can accommodate up to parties of 8 and feature an elevated prix fixe menu. These are super popular so reserve yours now. Also returning is The Congress Hall Express with train rides around Congress Hall’s North Pole (from the veranda to the Flagpole and back). Train rides are only available to guests of Cape Resorts and those dining at Congress Hall due to limited availability. There is even a Santa’s Workshop for Cape Resort guests. Founder’s Hall hosts the event every weekend and features a variety of holiday inspired crafts.

Washington Mall Christmas


Washington Mall, Washington Commons and Carpenters Square Mall will be decking the halls as well and the shops will be full of wonderful gift and stocking-stuffer ideas. There are also many other shops off of the mall as well that will be open and festive. Pick up a memorable Christmas ornament for yourself or as a gift. Or go all out and create a Cape May gift basket!

I hope I have inspired you to spend even one day in Cape May over the holidays. It is such a perfectly festive time. Dine at some of the wonderful restaurants, take a tour or two, do a little shopping or simply walk the streets and look at all the sparkling decorations. It is perfect for a couples, family or girlfriends visit. For a full list of activities check out a calendar here.

If you’ve been and have a special memory, please let me know. I would love to hear about it. We will definitely be in Cape May again this year. Christmas in Cape May is a new family tradition.

Did I miss anything fun to do? I want to hear about that too!!!

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