Lights, Ice, and Everything Nice
Winter on the Worcester Common
Worcester transforms into our own winter wonderland, with local spots serving up seasonal magic. 

The Festival of Lights, a staple Central Massachusetts celebration, returns to the Worcester Common and adjacent streets on Friday, December 2, gracing the space with live performances, food vendors, carriage rides, a visit from Santa, a beer tent, and complimentary ice skating from 4:30 to 9 p.m. The evening’s main spectacle, the official tree-lighting at 6 p.m., marks the beginning of holiday happenings for locals and visitors alike.
Public ice skating on the Oval officially opens for the 2022–2023 season during the Festival. (Visit the Oval's Instagram or Facebook pages for updates on weather-related rink closures or cancellations.)
Headliners Kara McKee and Worcester native Cara Brindisi, both contestants on this year’s season of The Voice, will perform for festival-goers following the tree-lighting. And in commemoration of Worcester’s Tercentennial year, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill will display seven large-scale, Worcester-themed light sculptures and hanging orbs in partnership with the City and the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District. 
The Festival of Lights is the first night of the City’s winter lighting installation, on display through February 28. For additional wintertime wonderment, keep an eye out for details on our Downtown Worcester Winter Festival, on tap for February 4, 2023!
Shop Small, Give Big
Spend Small Business Saturday Downtown on November 26
’Tis the season to spread love to all things local. Shopping small brings big rewards, like a unique handmade touch, unparalleled homegrown flavor, and personal customer service. Shopping local small businesses makes a big economic impact as well: Many studies show that local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy, as they create locally-owned supply chains and invest in their employees.
A few gift ideas from Downtown small businesses: 

Gather a gourmet basket with goods from Maker to Main, teeming with flavors that stem right from your neighborhood. 

Soothe the soul with a gift card for a massage from Sea Grass Therapies, Downtown Worcester’s newest oasis of relaxation. 
Give the gift of style from Perfect Fit Tailoring on Commercial Street… and add some sparkle with fine jewelry from Markos Jewelers on Main Street.
Wear the Heart of the Commonwealth on your sleeve with limited edition holiday/Black Friday gear from Worcester Wares
Support local artists and a fabulous local arts organization at once — visit the galleries at ArtsWorcester to inquire about purchasing a special piece of original artwork.
Treat them to a Downtown “experience” with a gift card for a memorable meal at one of dozens of locally-owned restaurants or axe-throwing at Far Shot Worcester.
Consider a gift that lasts forever at the newly opened Forbidden Imprint, and welcome “the most memorable tattoo parlor in Worcester” to the neighborhood.
We hope to see you Downtown on #SmallBusinessSaturday!
Downtown Parking Guide
The haste of the holidays can catch up with us all, and the last thing you want to worry about is finding a parking spot. We’ve got the inside scoop on parking Downtown this season, with an array of parking options, including on-street, garages, and lots.
Your quick-hit list of parking resources:
Federal Plaza Garage
Major Taylor Garage
Pearl-Elm Street Garage
Worcester Common Garage
Francis J. McGrath (Library) Lot
Private Garages 
Franklin Square Parking Garage
Mercantile Center Garage
One Mercantile Street Garage
Worcester Plaza Garage
Tips From a Local
  • Pay for metered street parking seamlessly via the Passport app
  • Explore an interactive map of Downtown parking options before you head out.
  • Planning a night out Downtown? Park for $3 or less at several City garages when you enter after 5 p.m. and leave before 3 a.m. The Pearl-Elm and Federal Plaza Garages both have a $1 evening rate, and the Worcester Common Garage has a $3 evening rate. 
  • Low on battery? Charge up your EV in the Mercantile Center, Pearl-Elm, Federal Plaza, or UNUM Garages.
Recent Events Recap
Celebrate Our Library! Fundraiser: November 3 brought cocktails and conversation to celebrate the Worcester Public Library, courtesy of the Worcester Public Library Foundation and several notable sponsors.

Photo credit: Mike Hendrickson for Worcester Public Library Foundation
BID November Community Meeting: On November 11, we gathered at the Worcester Regional Food Hub Marketplace at 446 Main Street, where Director Shon Rainford shared more about the organization's work. Attendees enjoyed refreshments courtesy of the Food Hub, and grabbed an early lunch from food vendors like Loly’s Chicken, BBQ Underground, Tu Arepa, and more.

Pictured: Chris Miller from BBQ Underground
Connecting through Culture: November 13 was “A Night to Remember” at Mechanics Hall thanks to an immersive celebration of diversity, culture, and community presented by Guardians of Traditions and Mechanics Hall, with stage performances by the likes of Ritmos Dance Studio, Crocodile River Music, and Samba Viva.
Over the Edge: Canines for Disabled Kids invited guests to rappel from the roof at 120 Front Street on November 19, during the organization’s second annual “Over the Edge” event to raise awareness and funds supporting service dogs and the independence they provide.
December Community Meeting 
The BID’s December Community Meeting will take place on Friday, December 9, from 9 to 10 a.m. in a festive setting at the AC Hotel Worcester, 125 Front Street. All are welcome to join these informative gatherings. 
The Downtown Worcester BID can provide an interpreter for this event if requested at least two weeks in advance. Please contact our Office Manager to request accommodations.
Upcoming Events to Have on Your Radar
A hit New York comedy takes the JMAC BrickBox Theater by storm December 3 and December 4, straight from the wits of Brad Zimmerman in My Son the Waiter.
With two remaining shows in the Brown Bag Concert Series this year, several area players spice up the season at Mechanics Hall—first on November 30 with Greg Abate Jazz Quartet, then December 7 featuring Navy Band Northeast with the NEC Chamber Singers.

Photo credit: Bo Wriston
The contemporary dance spectacle that is Hip Hop Nutcracker returns to The Hanover Theatre December 29 to wrap the holidays with a bang.
More Local Events

The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts 
Chelsea Handler | December 3
The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts 
Mechanics Hall 
Mechanics Hall
The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts
A Christmas Carol | December 17–23
The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts

Find additional info and more Downtown Worcester events here.
October Street Report
In October, Downtown Worcester Ambassadors have been keeping sidewalks clear and keeping up with steady leaf removal. They’ve also started prepping for winter. For more info and Ambassador stats from the last month, read our full report.
Worcester Now | Next Goals Survey
Worcester Now | Next is an 18-month citywide planning process exploring issues like housing, economic opportunity, transportation and mobility, cultural resources, open space and recreation, services and facilities, and more. The project will result in a long-range plan for the city, and the Now | Next planning team is now seeking public comment on its draft goals. This is an opportunity to advocate for Downtown Worcester and the priorities that matter most to you.
Please take the 10-minute Priority Draft Goals Survey now to ensure your voice is heard as Worcester develops plans and priorities that could shape Downtown, and the entire city, for years to come. 
BID Progress Report
In our first three years of operation, we have accomplished a lot together Downtown. Read about the BID’s work and achievements in detail in our FY2019–FY2022 Progress Report.
Get Social
Follow us for all things #DowntownWorcester!