There’s a reason why Country Living Magazine named Corning one of “America’s 25 Best Small Towns for Christmas.”

Glass Christmas Tree at The Corning Museum of Glass
The Corning Museum of Glass

It’s hard to beat a one-of-a-kind glass Christmas tree made of 2,000 handblown ornaments at the world’s largest museum devoted to glass art and artifacts when it comes to adding some sparkle to your holiday season. Located in America’s Crystal City, the spectacular holiday tree is just one of the reasons Corning is the place to be for the holidays which officially kick off the Saturday after Thanksgiving with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by the tree lighting ceremony in Centerway Square (named one of the 15 Most Beautiful Town Squares in America by Travel + Leisure). The evening’s festivities also include the Annual Parade of Lights.

Parade of Lights
Alexandra Elise Photography

A sing-along tree lighting ceremony and evening parade where floats, special displays, and participants are covered tip to toe in lights.. The following weekend, the holiday season culminates in Corning on with the Annual Sparkle, a hugely popular event featuring horse-and-wagon rides, special shopping and dining promotions, outdoor entertainment, and more.


Dating back as far as 1974, Sparkle has been a highlight of the holiday season for folks living near and far. Begun by the Market Street Restoration Group as a way to inspire people to shop local and get excited about the Holiday season, the annual event has become a not-to-be-missed sensation as Market Street is transformed into the perfect place to shop, explore, taste, and truly capture the holiday spirit. This event remains a holiday favorite.

Start a new family tradition blowing your own glass ornaments at The Studio found at the The Corning Museum of Glass. Or, for what Country Living calls “a more personalized, family friendly experience," anyone age two and up can blow an ornament at Hands-on Glass Studio.

Glassblowing at The Corning Museum of Glass
The Corning Museum of Glass

With about 100 boutiques, galleries, studios and restaurants, Corning’s Gaffer District is the perfect place to satisfy your holiday shopping fix. And what better way to get into the holiday spirit than by visiting Vitrix Hot Glass Studio located on historic Market Street. Known around the world for their wonderful glass art, during the holidays one of Vitrix’s specialties is the colorful and playful glass snowmen made in the studio. You can watch the glassblowers create theses delightful pieces while you shop.

Vitrix Snowman
Cagwin Photography

The holidays are a special time of year spent with the people who matter most, honoring family traditions or maybe making some new ones, sharing stories of the past, watching faces light up with joy over dreams come true. Whether you’re looking to get away for some holiday shopping or you’re craving special events that bring back the magic of days-gone-by, you’ll find the holiday spirit throughout Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes.

To learn more about the specific holiday events throughout Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes including dates and times, visit our Holiday Events page.

“Since 2008, the world-renowned museum . . . has been drawing thousands of visitors each winter to marvel at its sparkling tree. There’s no other holiday tree like it in the world, and no two of the tree’s ornaments, which are created by a team of resident glassmakers, are the same. The tree is so elaborate that it takes several days to install inside the museum’s glass-walled lobby. Once the final sphere has been hung, lights from within the tree illuminate it from the inside, making it glow like a giant, festive lightbulb.”

Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine