From infamous Nor’easters to occasional sub-zero temperatures, there’s no doubt that winter in Boston can get pretty chilly. Although some of the city’s top attractions are outdoors, when the cold weather takes over and the snow piles up, there are still plenty of interesting things to do in Boston in the winter. Here are some of our favorites!
Ice Skating on the Frog Pond at Boston Common
Every winter, the Frog Pond turns the city center into an ice skating rink. The ice skating season typically starts in late November when it’s cold enough outside to maintain the rink easily. Skating around on the ice underneath the twinkling lights hanging from trees makes for the perfect family outing in this Boston park.
Free Museum Outings
With its academic culture and abundance of universities, Boston’s many museums offer an amazing array of art, architecture, and history—most offer free admission days, so be sure to check their websites to see when the next one is!
On Wednesdays after 4 p.m., the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has free admission. If you can only visit one museum, this should be at the top of your list. Discover amazing art and historical artifacts in the four wings, plus check out the beautiful atrium cafe at the center. Other Boston museums to consider include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the MIT Museum in Cambridge, and of course, the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, which offers free tours on the architecture and history of the building.
Must-See Indoor Attractions
Boston’s Theatre District
Explore the theatre district close to downtown; when the weather outside isn’t cooperating, seeing a Broadway show is always a fun thing to do in Boston in the winter. There are lots of delicious restaurants in nearby Chinatown, plus several beautiful old theaters and cool shows to see. Every winter, the historic Boston Opera House hosts The Nutcracker ballet—a holiday classic.
Watch a Film at Brattle Theatre
In Harvard Square in Cambridge, the historic Brattle Theatre showcases many events and indie movies. From comedy variety shows to international films, the theater has been playing art-class films since 1953.
Brewery Tour at Samuel Adams
Learn all about the history of this classic American brewery with a fun tour at the mainstay’s old brick building. Plus, you can round out the experience with a tasting flight to warm you up.
Seasonal Winter Events
Annual Reenactment of the Boston Tea Party
Every year on December 16th, the Old South Meeting House and Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum hold a reenactment of that famous protest back in 1773. The reenactment starts at the Old South Meeting House, then marches over to the ships on the harbor for the full experience.
First Night on New Year’s Eve
If you’re in the city during New Year’s, there’s plenty to experience with Boston’s extensive First Night celebrations. From local performances and attractions in Copley Square and the Boston Common to the stunning New Year’s Eve fireworks display, don’t miss this 40-year-old Boston tradition.
Snowmazing! at Boston Children’s Museum
For some family-friendly fun with the kiddos, head to the Snowmazing! skating rink at the Boston Children’s Museum. In this one-of-a-kind sock skating rink, kids can spin, slide, and jump in their socks to practice those skating skills.
Santa at the Franklin Park Zoo
Don’t miss a chance to get that coveted photo with Santa Claus at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. Outside the city in Stoneham, MA, the Stone Zoo also features an amazing annual ZooLights event with tree-lined paths complete with twinkling lights, reindeer, and winder wonderland displays.
Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting
Every year, a stunning 80-foot tree placed in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace marks the beginning of the Boston holiday season. The annual Blink! Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting show features a free light and sound display to commemorate the occasion. Venture out to watch the show, then get started on a little holiday shopping in the marketplace.
From indoor museum excursions to ice skating in an outdoor winter wonderland, there are plenty of things to do in the winter in Boston. Plan your winter trip today to make the most of your stay in this beautiful, historic city.
Article written by Kalie Eyman | Featured photo courtesy of Oleg.