Things to Do in Boston in the Winter

Boston is a beautiful place in the winter months, especially when it’s decked out in its holiday finery—a real winter wonderland! Visit this historic city’s traditional and modern holiday destinations starting around Thanksgiving time for a taste of New England holiday spirit… Don’t forget your mittens and hat!

Ice Skating at the Frog Pond

Mid-late November, weather permitting.

Bundle up and head to Boston Common for some quintessential holiday ice skating at the country’s oldest city park.

Blink! at Fanuel Hall Marketplace

Late November – Early January

Blink! is a state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza that transforms every inch of Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

This unforgettable light show uses over 350,000 LED lights to illuminate Boston’s skyline to the song stylings of the Holiday Pops in a seven-minute spectacle that runs continuously each night.

27th Annual Faneuil Hall Tree Lighting Ceremony

Lit in late November

Take part in a Boston tradition at Faneuil Hall marketplace. Stay warm in the crowd and watch the (75-foot tall!) tree lighting, as well as bell ringers, holiday choir groups, dance troupes, celebrity appearances, and photo opportunities with Santa! The Faneuil Hall festivities take place between 11am and 7pm.

Visitors may use their Go Boston Card for access to attractions in the Faneuil Hall area, such as The New England Aquarium, and the Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tours of Boston.

Thanksgiving at Plimoth Plantation

Just before Thanksgiving Day

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by visiting the place where it all started? Learn about the lives of the country’s first Puritan settlers, as well as the native Wampanoag people who inhabited the land, as you enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving meal and a festive walk back in time to the 17th century. Meal options are available to suit various budgets and dining preferences, from a buffet line to a white linen spread.

Visitors may use their Go Boston Cards or Go Select Passes for entrance to the Plantation, but dining is not included.

Holiday Tea at Boston Harbor Hotel

late November – December 30

Enjoy a festive and traditional tea at Boston’s iconic Harbor Hotel. Select your treats from a tiered pastry tray and drink from delicate china as you listen to a classical harpist (Saturdays and Sundays) and savor the beautiful holiday decorations at this waterfront gem.

The Nutcracker Ballet


Evoke childhood memories as you relive the story of Clara and Fritz and their magical Christmas Eve adventure. This classic winter ballet performed at the Boston Opera House will warm your heart and fill your head with beautiful music and holiday memories of your trip to Boston.

Lights at the Prudential Center


Experience the lights of Boston from up above! See the beautiful Christmas tree at Boston’s monumental Prudential Center, get your holiday shopping done, and then ride the elevator to the top to see the twinkling wintery skyline at the Skywalk Observatory.

Visitors may include the Skywalk Observatory when building their Go Select Boston Pass.

Trolley Hopping and Holiday Shopping


Ride around Boston on the Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour, getting off at stop #8 (Copley Square) for a round of holiday shopping on Boston’s iconic and very hip Newbury Street. Walk around the extravagant Copley Mall and find a gift for everyone!

The Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour is included with the Go Boston Card.

Fine Art and the Holidays

Open year-round, except on major holidays

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is an iconic structure, made even more beautiful by holiday lights and (usually) a layer of snow gracing its grounds in the winter months. Visit all the galleries and check out Childe Hassam’s “Boston Common at Twilight” to get you in the spirit.

Visitors can use their Go Boston Card for free entry to the MFA.

Christmas Eve at Harvard Square

A few days before and after Christmas Day

Around Christmas, the businesses, museums and restaurants in and around Harvard Square open their doors for special holiday celebrations and events. Each venue offers something unique—from a visit to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, to Christmas Eve candle and hymn services at several of the churches in the Harvard area. This American landmark university campus and its surrounding area offer a special holiday treat.

Visitors can use the Go Boston Card for free access to the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Boston’s “First Night”

December 31

Ring in the new year at Boston’s world-famous New Year’s celebration, First Night. Activities run from the early afternoon to after midnight at a variety of museums, churches, theaters and venues scattered around the city and on the Harbor. Purchase a First Night button, and don’t forget to bundle up—especially if you’ll be on the water watching fireworks!

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