Each year, the city of Boston lights up, much to the delight of locals and tourists alike. This festive display is spread out through the city, so you can admire tall Christmas trees, illuminated streets, and even impressive individual home decorations. The best way to discover these festive illuminations is of course to simply take your time and walk through the city, but we also have some specific spots in mind. Both Boston Common and the Seaport put up the most dazzling Christmas trees that light up, Boylston and Newbury streets come alive as the 270 trees that line each of their pavements are adorned with numerous lights, and Faneuil Hall puts on an impressive display, which truly shines against the space’s historic grandeur.
Massachusetts winters are famously brutal, but there’s no denying the magic that seems to wash over Boston around the holidays. Although the weather may be severe, there’s nothing quite like festive activities to warm the soul. That’s why we’ve compiled some of our favourite holiday-related events to do in the city this winter.
See the lights
Head to the MFA
Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts is putting on all kinds of holiday events this year that are perfect for getting into that festive spirit. Why not get creative and head to one of their drop-in art making: miniature paintings events that happen on certain Thursdays this November and December? It’s a fantastic way to bring your family together and have a go at depicting some of those iconic Boston Winter scenes. For Hanukkah, the Museum invites you to share in an evening of art, festivities and music to celebrate the Jewish festival of light. Complete with kid-friendly activities, various relevant pop-ups and traditional foods, you simply can’t miss this event on December 7. On Sunday 10 December, the MFA invites you to a screening of Henry Selik’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. A beloved classic, watching this film against the backdrop of the Museum is a perfect family-friendly event.
And while you’re at the museum for all these festive happenings, why not discover some of its Winter works, like Childe Hassam’s moody and beautiful "At Dusk" ("Boston Common at Twilight") (1885–86).
See the Nutcracker
Nothing says “welcome to the festive season” quite like the Nutcracker. The Boston Ballet’s staging of Mikko Nissinen’s version of the legendary ballet is a staple of Bostonian holiday life. Whether it’s your first time attending the Nutcracker, or you go every year, there’s something about that Tchaikovsky score that instantly puts people in a festive mood. The production runs from November 24 until December 31, so be sure to book your tickets online ahead of time as soon as possible.
28th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature at the Concord Museum
Each year, the Concord Museum invites children and grownups alike to celebrate its literary legacy in the most creative fashion, by adorning various trees with decorations inspired by beloved moments from children’s books. Running from November 22 to January1, this event is a perfect way to engage children with reading, while giving back to the community. Find out more about it on their designated webpage.
A quintessential festive activity, Boston has it figured out when it comes to ice skating venues and events. The Frog Pond Ice Skating Rink at Boston Common is conveniently located in the city centre and when the sun sets, the space comes to life with festive multicoloured lights. Nestled in the historic Fenway neighbourhood, the Ice Rink at 401 Park is another great option for skaters,and as it happens, it’s located right next to the Time Out Market, perfect for grabbing a post-skating snack!
A festive place to stay
Located in the historic Fenway neighbourhood, the Residence Inn by Marriott is an ideal place to stay during the festive season. The rooms are large and clean and the location is simply unbeatable.