23 Fun Things to Do in Boston in The Winter

Winter in Boston may be cold, but it’s also magical. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland, with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and plenty of activities to keep you busy and entertained. From traditional holiday events to unique experiences, iconic attractions like Fenway Park and The Museum of Fine Arts, to fresh seafood dinners at cozy restaurants, there are endless things to do in Boston in the winter.

Whether you’re searching for outdoor adventure or indoor entertainment, there is something in Boston that will make your trip memorable. Let’s explore all the wonderful things to do in Boston in the winter!

Boston Christmas Tree Lightings

One of the most iconic events in Boston during the winter is the lighting of the city’s Christmas trees. The main tree in Boston Common is a sight to behold with its thousands of sparkling lights and dazzling decorations. But that’s not the only tree-lighting event in town – there are also ones at Faneuil Hall, Copley Square, and other neighborhoods throughout the city. Bundle up and join in the festivities as the holiday season officially kicks off with these spectacular tree-lighting ceremonies.

Boston Common Tree Lighting

Another iconic event of the holiday season in Boston is the Christmas tree lighting at Boston Common. This tradition dates back to 1941 and has become a beloved event for locals and visitors alike. The ceremony typically takes place in late November or early December, with live music, hot cocoa, and a visit from Santa himself. The tree remains lit throughout the holiday season, making it the perfect backdrop for a festive photo.

Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting

Another must-see tree-lighting event in Boston is at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This historic spot transforms into a winter wonderland, with twinkling lights and decorations galore during the holiday season. The tree lighting ceremony in late November includes live performances, a visit from Santa, and even a parade. After the tree is lit, you can explore the holiday market or grab some hot cider at one of the nearby vendors.

Copley Square Tree Lighting

Head to Copley Square in downtown Boston for a more intimate tree-lighting experience. This annual event features a giant Christmas tree, menorah, live music, and festive treats. The ceremony typically takes place in early December, so mark your calendars if you don’t want to miss it. After the tree is lit, walk around the square and admire the holiday decorations or warm up with some hot chocolate at a nearby café.

Lighting of the Ship

Every winter, Boston’s seaport district comes alive with the annual lighting of the ship at Christopher Columbus Park. This unique event features a massive illuminated boat docked in the park’s harbor, live music, and festive performances. The ceremony typically takes place in early December and is followed by a holiday parade through the streets. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the lit-up ship and stroll along the water for stunning views of the city.

Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall

No winter trip to Boston is complete without experiencing the sounds of the season at Holiday Pops. This annual concert series at Symphony Hall features beloved holiday classics performed by the world-renowned Boston Pops orchestra. The performances are accompanied by stunning light displays and festive decorations, making it a truly magical experience. Tickets sell out quickly, so make sure to plan and secure your spot for this holiday tradition.

Holiday Lights in Boston

In addition to the Christmas trees, Boston also boasts some incredible light displays during the winter months. The streets of downtown are lit up with colorful lights and decorations, creating a festive atmosphere for strolling and taking in the sights. One of the must-see displays is at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, where thousands of twinkling lights surround a large Christmas tree. The Boston Harbor also hosts an annual “Lighting of the Ship” event, where a ship decorated with lights sets sail for a dazzling display on the water.

Boston Pops Concert

No winter in Boston would be complete without attending a Boston Pops concert. This iconic orchestra puts on a special holiday performance every year, featuring classic Christmas tunes and other seasonal favorites. The concerts take place at Symphony Hall, a stunning venue with excellent acoustics, making for an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss your chance to see the world-renowned Boston Pops perform during the most magical time of the year.

Mariah Carey Christmas Concert

For music lovers, another must-see event in Boston is the Mariah Carey Christmas concert. The pop diva brings her soulful voice and festive spirit to town for a special holiday show that is sure to get you in the Christmas mood. Sing along to all your favorite holiday hits and enjoy an unforgettable evening with one of the biggest names in music.

Elf in Concert

If you’re a fan of the movie “Elf,” then you won’t want to miss this unique experience in Boston. The beloved holiday film is brought to life at Symphony Hall with a full orchestra and live choir performing the soundtrack as you watch the movie on the big screen. This interactive concert is perfect for the whole family and is sure to bring some holiday cheer to your winter in Boston.

Urban Nutcracker

A beloved tradition in Boston, the Urban Nutcracker puts a modern spin on the classic ballet. This contemporary production features multicultural characters and incorporates different dance styles, making it a truly unique experience. Follow Clara’s journey through a winter wonderland filled with hip-hop, tap, and other dance styles set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. It’s a must-see performance that will leave you in awe.

Black Nativity

For those looking for a more spiritual experience during their winter trip to Boston, the Black Nativity is a powerful and moving holiday production. This gospel-style musical tells the story of the Nativity through song, dance, and poetry. It’s a beautiful celebration of the season and a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

Boston Winter Festivals

Boston hosts various winter festivals that attract visitors from all over. These festivals celebrate the holiday season and showcase what the city offers. One of the most popular winter festivals is the Boston Winter Festival, which takes place at City Hall Plaza. Here, you can experience ice skating, shopping for handmade goods, and delicious food from local vendors.

SoWa Winter Festival

If you are a fan of art and culture, the SoWa Winter Festival is a must-visit during your trip to Boston. This annual festival features over 100 local artists, designers, and makers selling their unique creations. You can find everything from jewelry to home decor at this festive market. And don’t forget to try some delicious food and drinks from the various food trucks and pop-up eateries.

Harvard Square Holiday Fair

Harvard Square transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, with its charming cobblestone streets lined with festive decorations. The annual Harvard Square Holiday Fair is a great place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones. With over 50 vendors offering a variety of handmade goods, you will surely find the perfect present for everyone on your list.

Boston Common Frog Pond

Located in the heart of Boston, the Boston Common Frog Pond is a popular spot for ice skating during the winter months. This outdoor rink offers stunning city skyline views and is perfect for beginners and experienced skaters. Don’t worry if you don’t have your skates, as rentals are available at the pond.

Downtown Holiday Magic

For a truly magical experience, head to Downtown Boston for their annual holiday celebration. This event includes a tree-lighting ceremony, festive music performances, and even a visit from Santa Claus himself! You can also stroll around the downtown area and admire the beautiful holiday lights and decorations.

ZooLights at Stone Zoo

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to Stone Zoo for a unique winter experience. During December, the zoo transforms into a dazzling winter wonderland with over one million twinkling lights. You can also enjoy hot cocoa holiday treats and ride a carousel while taking in the festive atmosphere.

Christopher Columbus Park

Located on Boston’s waterfront, Christopher Columbus Park is a popular destination for locals and tourists. During winter, the park is transformed into a magical wonderland with lights, decorations, and ice sculptures. Stroll through the park and enjoy the beautiful views of the harbor while sipping on some hot cocoa.

Boston Blink

One of Boston’s most popular holiday events is the Boston Blink light show at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This spectacular light and sound extravaganza feature over 350,000 LED lights synchronized to festive music. The show takes place every half hour from 4:30 pm-10 pm and will leave you in awe.

Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll

Step back and experience an old-fashioned celebration at the annual Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll. This charming neighborhood comes alive with festive decorations, carolers, and horse-drawn carriage rides. You can also enjoy hot cocoa, mulled wine, and delicious treats from local vendors while enjoying the beautiful sights and sounds of the holiday season.

Boston Tea Party

No trip to Boston is complete without learning about its rich history. During the winter months, you can visit the famous Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and experience a reenactment of this historic event. You can enjoy interactive exhibits and live performances and even dress up like a colonist for a truly immersive experience.

TD Garden

Sports fans, rejoice! The winter season is the perfect time to catch a game at TD Garden. Home to the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins, this arena offers a lively atmosphere and exciting games. So bundle up and join in on the fun with fellow fans of these beloved Boston teams.

Boston Harbor

Just because its winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beautiful Boston Harbor. Take a scenic cruise around the harbor and admire the city’s skyline from a different perspective. You can also learn about Boston’s maritime history and spot some winter wildlife, such as seals!

Christmas Carol

End your day with a heartwarming performance of the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol. This beloved story comes to life on stage at the historic Colonial Theatre. With talented actors, beautiful sets, and festive music, this is a must-see show for anyone visiting Boston during the holiday season.

Wrap Up

Boston in the winter can be a magical adventure. With the city blanketed in snow, it’s transformed into a winter wonderland with charming activities and stunning scenery. Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride through the snowy streets of Beacon Hill.

Whether you prefer outdoor excursions or something more indoors and cozy, there are plenty of things to do in Boston during the holiday season. So, gather up your loved ones and have an unforgettable adventure exploring all the incredible things to do in Boston in the winter!

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