(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- Victorian Cape May is ready to welcome visitors for the Christmas season and Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture) offers tours, activities and events to celebrate hope and togetherness during this special time of year. Amble the gaslit streets and take in the ambiance of fragrant evergreens and festively decorated Victorian inns, hotels and homes in this National Historic Landmark City during the holidays.
Cape May is a popular destination at Christmas to celebrate with friends and family during six weeks of holiday tours, activities and events through the New Year! Tickets are limited. Enjoy these Cape May MAC holiday tours, activities and events this season:
Holiday Preview Weekend and Tree Lighting Ceremony: Daytime and evening holiday tours and events begin the weekend before Thanksgiving during Holiday Preview Weekend, November 19-21, at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., when Santa arrives by trolley to switch on the lights on the huge estate Christmas tree during the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, Saturday, November 20 from 5:00pm to 7:30pm. The evening features a free performance of holiday favorites by the Atlantic Brass Band.
48th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours: Cape May’s Christmas Candlelight House Tour has been a beloved annual tradition for nearly half a century! Since 1973, thousands of people on three nights in December walk the city’s stone walkways and gas lit streets and visit homes, inns, B&Bs, churches and hotels, stepping across the thresholds to take in interiors beautifully decorated for the holidays. Join us Saturday, December 4, 11 and 18 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm for the return of this annual tradition. Tickets are limited.
Virtual Christmas Candlelight House Tour Video: Last holiday season, Cape May MAC announced a new way to experience Cape May at Christmas: the Virtual Christmas Candlelight House Tour Video. This virtual video tour created in 2020 is an intimate look inside 10 Cape May homes and inns, with the stories behind each one that can be enjoyed over and over. This is a timeless Cape May experience for viewing anytime, anywhere. Click here for tickets and more information.
1879 Physick House Museum Tours
Physick Family Christmas House Tour: On this guided living history tour of the magnificent 1879 Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, decorated in authentic Victorian style for Christmas, your guide portrays a member of the Physick family in the early 1900s and shares stories and traditions.
Evening Yuletide House Tour: On this guided tour of the first-floor rooms of the 1879 Physick House Museum, authentically decorated for a Victorian Christmas, see and hear how the Physick family might have entertained friends and family and celebrated in traditional Victorian fashion during the holidays.
A Dr. Physick Christmas: Join Dr. Physick for a first-person tour of the 1879 Physick House decorated in true Victorian style in this interpretive step back into the Victorian era.
The Unexpected Gift: The Physick House decorated for a Victorian Christmas is the setting for a very relatable and timeless holiday story that will make you laugh out loud.
Tours of Cape May Inns and Homes
Lamplighter Christmas Tour: See inside a selection of Cape May bed & breakfast inns and private homes, specially decorated for the holidays on this self-guided evening walking tour that includes a visit to An Old-fashioned Christmas Exhibit at the Physick Estate Carriage House and a gift.
Holiday Inns Tour: See several of Cape May’s bed & breakfast inns festively decorated for the holidays during this self-guided afternoon tour with continuous trolley shuttle service.
Cheery Cherry House Christmas Tour: Frank and Beth Acker invite you into their circa 1849 home, “The Cherry House,” decorated for the holidays. It features a fully set table for Christmas dinner and the parlor Christmas tree ornamented with family decorations from the 1800s.
Holiday Trolley Rides and Tours
Holiday Lights Trolley Ride: Listen to Christmas music and enjoy hearing about the history of Victorian Christmas traditions on this evening trolley ride. Victorian Cape May at Christmas is magical, and this is a ride to share with friends and family.
Ghosts of Christmas Past Trolley Ride: Listen to dramatic tales of Christmas woe featuring Victorian ghosts, told by a member of the East Lynne Theater Company, on this ride along the historic streets of Cape May. You’ll be happy you live now, not then.
New! All That Glitters - Victorians Ring in a New Century Combo Tour: Travel by trolley through Cape May in the year 1899 with a friend of the Physick family shopping for the biggest party of the new century! Then meet the Physick family at the Emlen Physick Estate and experience the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations.
Tours and Activities Especially for Families
Santa’s Trolley Rides: Mrs. Claus comes direct from the North Pole to lead this tour. She tells stories and leads holiday songs on this jolly holiday trolley ride through town. Santa joins the fun at the gazebo on the grounds of the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate.
Breakfasts with Santa: Share a delicious breakfast with family and friends and welcome special guest Santa Claus, himself, at Cape May’s Aleathea’s Restaurant, the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean St. during the weeks leading up to Christmas. He will meet and greet with time for visits, photos and sharing wish lists. Event is limited. Event is limited.
An Old-fashioned Christmas Exhibit: The wonders of the season are on display at “An Old-Fashioned Christmas Exhibit: Holiday Traditions through the Years,” in the Carroll Gallery, at the Carriage House on the grounds of the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Here you can experience an exhibit of holiday traditions complete with a giant Christmas tree, a Dept. 56 Dickens Village, model trains, nostalgic photos from Christmas past and more. Admission is free.
Complete your holiday gift-giving list during the Holiday Crafts & Collectibles Shows. Shop for unique hand-made gifts and seasonal decorations over two days inside Cape May Convention Hall. Friday, November 26 and Saturday, November 27 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Cape May Convention Hall, Beach Avenue at Stockton. Admission is $2. Cape May MAC has two museum shops: the Carriage House Museum Shop at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., that offers a variety of gifts and holiday ornaments, and the Cape May Lighthouse Museum Shop, Cape May Lighthouse, 215 Lighthouse Ave. offering maritime gifts, clothing, toys and more.
Cape May MAC offers admission year-round to the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St., the Cape May Lighthouse, 215 Lighthouse Ave., and the World War II Lookout Tower, on Sunset Boulevard, as well as trolley, walking, house and boat tours throughout the year. Dates and times vary seasonally. Visit capemaymac.org for schedules and to purchase tickets online. Tickets may also be purchased at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth during open hours, and at the Carriage House Visitors Center at the Emlen Physick Estate, 1048 Washington St. Call 609-884-5404 for visitor services information and to purchase tickets by phone. Holiday tours are limited and sell quickly.
Masks or facial coverings are required on all trolley and indoor tours; limits on admissions will be managed to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and CDC guidelines. Schedules subject to change.
Cape May MAC (Museums+Arts+Culture) is a multifaceted, not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. Cape May MAC membership is open to all.