The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to experience winter at its best on Cape Cod. With cozy inns, festive celebrations, boutique shopping, and the chance to sip your favorite cocktails next to a roaring fire, even the most diehard beach bums will fall in love with the Cape all over again this December.

Fireside dining
The temps have plummeted, but it's warm inside these Cape Cod restaurants with inviting dining rooms and flickering fires. Sip a pint or grab a bite to eat next to the toasty fireplace at the Tavern at Dan’l Webster Inn in Sandwich. Enjoy piano music and a martini by a roaring fire in the lounge at Hyannis' Roadhouse Café. Nibble on small plates and sip more than 120 varieties of wine in the restored colonial that houses the Chatham Wine Bar, while a fire crackles in the background. When you're craving classic Italian, Alberto’s Ristorante in Hyannis is a great spot for a romantic meal with your special someone in between holiday events. The Scargo Café in Dennis is another enticing option for a sumptuous dinner and cocktail by the fire.

Cozy Getaways
Whether you want to spend a weekend shopping or need an escape from all the holiday stresses, Cape Cod is full of quaint inns and classic B&Bs. Book a room at the Belfry Inn, set inside a restored Abbey featuring original stained glass, and the Painted Lady mansion next door, which exudes Victorian charm. For more classical New England charm, Chatham Gables Inn offers overstuffed furnishings and a bountiful breakfast within walking distance of downtown Chatham shops. The elegant Captain’s Manor Inn, nestled in Falmouth just steps to Main Street shops and restaurants, provides boutique accommodations in a romantic setting. Historic charm meets modern luxury at Woods Hole Inn, an ideal escape with cozy rooms, homemade breakfast pastries, and an easy walk to shops and the inviting Quicks Hole Tavern.

Cultural Holiday Traditions
Browse spectacular glass art at the Glassblowers Christmas at the Sandwich Glass Museum. Local and national glass artists create one-of-a-kind ornaments that adorn festive trees and make the halls merry. Sing along to Christmas classic with the whole family at the annual Cape Symphony Holiday Pops November 30 through December 2 at the Barnstable Center for the Performing Arts; the Chatham Chorale joins the orchestra to perform holiday favorites. And the beloved classic "Mary Poppins" flies in for the holidays to Cotuit Center for the Arts through December 16.

Sparkling Lights
Sandwich lights up in December at the annual Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums & Gardens. The vast gardens twinkle with nine miles of holiday light displays, along with carolers, a reindeer scavenger hunt and warm indoor activities. See Santa's boat parade at the Hyannis Harbor Lighting (Saturday, December 1), as part of the village's Christmas stroll. Experience the Enchanted Village at the Cape Codder Resort, a family favorite and glowing spectacle that will delight kids of all ages. In Provincetown, bask in the glow of the illuminated Pilgrim Monument and iconic Lobster Pot Tree- a tree built using over 100 lobster pots. Drive through Route 6A in Sandwich and Dennis and spot the seasonal light sculptures created by artist Michael Magyar - dubbed "The Giants" - which dot the landscape. Meanwhile, in Mashpee, the Mashpee Rotary gets a winter facelift with more than 18 trees and shrubs adorned in more than 5,000 lights.

Unique Shops
For Main Street shopping, head to Oyster Island Emporium in Osterville for boutique finds that range from coastal jewelry and colorful handbags to nautical-inspired home goods. Harvest of Barnstable lets you bring the outside indoors with handmade goods made from dried flowers, shells and baskets. Mashpee Commons is a one-stop-shop for everything from national brands to local retailers and restaurants. They also host holiday events, including photos with Santa, brass ensembles and horse-drawn carriage rides. Visit the Very Merry Market at Cape Cod Beer for artisanal gifts, pop up vendors, and beer, of course! And don't forget the Cape Cod Mall with more than 100 retailers and extended December hours.

Head to our town-by-town guide for even more shopping tips, village strolls, and parades!