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Boston winter
Photograph: Shutterstock/Marcio Jose Bastos Silva

Best things to do outdoors in the winter in Boston

Enjoy the chilliest time of the year with these fun wintertime activities in the Hub

By Time Out Boston Staff and Eric Grossman

Bundle up and get outside! Winter in Boston doesn't mean it's time to hibernate. There are many things to do outside during the snowy season. Outdoor enthusiasts can ski, snowshoe and snowboard. There are plenty of ice skating rinks in Boston for taking a spin, plus prime spots for a winter stroll. To warm up, there's nothing better than the best hot chocolate in Boston. For other ways to warm up after winter activities, perhaps try the best ramen in Boston, or head to one of these Boston restaurants with fireplaces.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Boston

Best things to do outdoors in the winter in Boston

Nashoba Valley Ski Area
Photograph: Courtesy Nashoba Valley Ski Area

1. Hit the slopes

Things to do

One of the many delights of living in Boston is that day skiing is a breeze. While no one can predict the traffic, many ski areas are within a two-hour drive. While the region’s most in-demand slopes are farther out from the city—in other words, more in line with the best winter day trips from Boston—these ski spots offer well-groomed trails for all skill levels, plus terrain parks, lessons, and good base camp facilities.

Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Bradley Dunn

2. Get some thrills by snowboarding

Things to do

Most of the best places near Boston to snowboard are within a two-hour drive. These snowboarding spots offer options for all skill levels, from beginner to shredder. You'll find lessons and great facilities too, so there's no reason not to go for it.

Arnold Arboretum in the snow
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Adam S.

3. Enjoy a quiet walk at the Arboretum

Attractions Parks and gardens Jamaica Plain

The Arnold Arboretum is open year round, and after a good snowfall it’s a peaceful winter wonderland. Listen to the snow crunch beneath your feet and breathe in the cold air. Even trees without leaves can be beautiful!

Gore Place
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jonathan P.

5. Go snowshoeing at Gore Place

When there’s enough snow on the ground, head to Waltham's Gore Place. You can rent snowshoes and explore the estate's 50 acres. It’s fun for all ages, and a great workout.

Boston Common Frog Pond
Photograph: Shutterstock/Kwanbenz

6. Take a spin on the ice

Things to do

Boston has plenty of ice skating rinks, from outdoor options like the Frog Pond to cutting edge indoor rinks like the Warrior Ice Arena. Whether you can triple salchow or are a bit wobbly, lacing up a pair of skates and hitting the ice is a winter must. Find your rink on our list of the best ice skating rinks in Boston.

Blue Hills in winter
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Katie R.

7. Go to Blue Hills for cross-country skiing

Attractions Parks and gardens

Just outside of the city is the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation. While avid skiers won’t be wowed by the modest downhill runs, there’s plenty of opportunity for cross-country skiing. More than 100 miles of trails allow plenty of opportunity to enjoy a heart-pumping trek through snowy forest. There are loops of varying degrees of difficulty, from 1-4 miles, so skiers of all levels can enjoy.

Hot chocolate
Photograph: Pixabay

8. Take a stroll and warm up with gourmet hot chocolate


There’s no better way to warm up after playing in the snow than a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Fortunately there are plenty of places around the city where you can enjoy this rich treat to go. Whether it’s classic hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream at LA Burdick, a spicy, chile-tinged cup at Flour, or a French-style, melted chocolate version at Thinking Cup, you’ll find a variety of ways to warm up with our list of the best hot chocolate in Boston.

Explore the best of the holidays in Boston

Boston Christmas
Photograph: Shutterstock

Christmas in Boston

Things to do

This holiday season will look unlike any other, but still, after all, it’s that time of the year when we stay in with the family (or book in at one of the best restaurants in Boston for a feast prepared by someone else—more on that below). Looking for things to do in Boston over the holidays, as well as places to eat and play? We’ve got you covered.


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