Merry & Bright

‘Tis the season of traditions, new and old! There’s nothing like the charm of storefronts, homes, churches, and boats aglow
with twinkling lights and festive decor. Whether you immerse yourself in the historic charm of a palace in candlelight,
or check off your Christmas list at our downtown shops, you’ll find a home for the holidays in New Bern.


Day 1

french toast, eggs, bacon, and grits on a plate

Christmas Coffee

Savor the season & start your day off with the delicious delights of Nautical Star Coffee. The Veteran-owned and operated café roasts and blends their beans in-house. With a holiday twist on quality coffee, their festive flavors bring the taste of Christmas to Middle Street. From “Peppermint Patty” lattes to breakfast treats, this coffee house will fill you up with the holiday spirit.

Discovering Tryon Palace Tours

Take a tour of Tryon Palace, where the historic halls are decked head to toe with festive decor. North Carolina’s first governor’s mansion is the perfect canvas for twinkling lights and heirloom holiday adornments. You can also take a trip through the traditions of Christmas past on their guided Holiday Homes Tour of 18th century homesteads, or search for mistletoe in the gardens on the palace grounds.

man pouring drink for couple sitting at bar

Canterbury Lights

Every year, a colorful display of bright lights enchants the Canterbury Road neighborhood for Christmas in Trent Woods. There’s no better way to enjoy this community tradition than bundled up in a blanket alongside your loved ones. With hot chocolate in tow, Christmas-lovers travel near and far to take a trip down our very own candy cane lane.


Christmas Cocktail

Make your way back to Nautical Star Coffee, this time for an adult beverage. Sip on their signature espresso martini before you venture to your last stop of the night. Hidden above the coffee house is the newest addition to New Bern’s night scene: Pinky’s the Pub Upstairs. The veteran-owned Irish Pub serves an array of seasonal cocktails made from their very own distillery, in addition to traditional Irish beers on draft and full bar of Irish whisky.

Day 2

family of three playing a game at a coffee shop

Downtown Shopping

Shop for your loved ones while supporting local businesses. Our downtown streets are full of boutiques and gift shops for everything on your Christmas list. Update your wardrobe at Juliette’s, or prep for your next adventure at Surf Wind & Fire. Shop your favorite brands at the coastal corner-store of your dreams, Nautical Wheelers, or pickup a classic souvenir from the Birthplace of Pepsi Cola.

couple enjoying a meal on a restaurant rooftop

Ice Skating in Union Point Park

Our riverfront park becomes even more magical this time of year! Surround yourself in the spirit of Christmas as you walk along the sparkling water reflecting light sculptures and a 30 foot tree illuminating the center of Union Point. This year, an outdoor ice skating rink will add to the festive atmosphere all the more!

Southern fried chicken with collard greens, mac and cheese and biscuit

Bear Plaza


2023 marks 11 years of
Beary Merry Christmas in Downtown New Bern! After Thanksgiving, Santa and his special elves turn Bear Plaza into a winter wonderland, welcoming children and families to share their Christmas wishes, take photos, or even cozy up on a horse-drawn carriage ride. Secure your spot on the nice list and book your visit
with Santa soon!

plate of shrimp with steam rolling off of it

Holiday Events

‘Tis the season for full hearts, full bellies, and a full calendar of events! On Dec. 2nd, the river will glow with the boats of the 39th Annual Coastal Christmas Flotilla. Watch our charming streets come alive with Live Window Displays on Dec. 8th. Celebrate a local tradition at Tryon Palace’s annual Candlelight event on Dec. 9th and 16th.