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Boston winter
Photograph: Shutterstock/Marcio Jose Bastos Silva

21 best things to do in winter in Boston

Make the most out of the cold season with these winter activities in Boston and New England.

JQ Louise
Katie McAleer
Edited by
JQ Louise
Written by
Katie McAleer
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There are many things to do—both indoors and outdoors—during the Boston's long cold winter. Outdoor sports enthusiasts can ski and snowboard their way through the season, there are tons of local ice-skating rinks and sledding spots so everyone can enjoy playing outside in the snow. For Bostonians who would rather embrace more of an après ski scene, check out our best restaurants with fireplaces. For other ways to get cozy beyond the confines of your apartment, grab a steaming hot bowl of the best ramen in Boston or snuggle up at one of the best cocktail bars in town. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best winter day trips from Boston. 

Things to do in Boston this winter

  • Things to do

The great thing about Boston is it is just a short drive from tons of skiing and snowboarding options. Stay close by and head to Blue Hills Ski Area or Nashoba Valley Ski Area for some after work skiing. Nashoba also offers tubing! Take a day trip to Mount Sunapee or Crotched Mountain. Or plan a full weekend trip to world renowned ski resorts like Stowe Mountain Resort, Killington, or Sugarloaf. Read our full guide on the best skiing near Boston.

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3. Visit the Snowport Winter Village in the Seaport

Embrace winter in the Seaport at “Snowport.” Every year the Seaport sets up a winter village, last year Snowport included ice skating, iceless curling, large scale versions of classic games like Jenga and more. We can’t wait to see what Snowport features in winter 2023. Stay tuned for the details here.

4. Have dinner in an igloo

You can rent a private igloo at the Envoy Hotel’s Lookout Rooftop Bar. Enjoy cocktails and delicious bites in a cozy, heated igloo with your friends. At night the igloos light up and are the perfect spot to view the Boston skyline. Make reservations for Envoy here.

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5. Shop at "Boston Winter" on City Hall Plaza

Head to government center for Boston Winter. Kicking off in December with the Holiday Market there will be food and drink vendors and ice skating, all located right on City Hall Plaza.

Enjoy a tropical oasis at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Photograph: Ally Schmaling, courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

6. Enjoy a tropical oasis at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Need to escape the cold? The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum offers the perfect tropical oasis. Open 6 days a week, admission is $20 for adults. Or plan a visit for the first Thursday or the month. Museum admission is free from 3 pm through 9 pm and interactive programs kick off at 5 pm. Explore art, architecture, and seasonal horticulture displays in the Palace, and visit the studio for hands-on art-making activities that change each month. The Café is open late for dinner and drinks. Reserve your tickets.

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  • Things to do

There's nothing quite like feeling that biting winter wind against your face as you shred down a slope of fresh powder on your snowboard. Fortunately, Boston offers pretty ready access to a selection of snowboarding spots that are only a couple hours away from downtown. These areas cater to boarders of all skill levels, from beginner to basically pro. You'll find lessons and great facilities, too, so there's no reason not to go for it.

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10. Enjoy the Boston Symphony Orchestra

The BSO has a packed winter season, the season kicks off in January when renowned violinist Midori joins Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber in his BSO debut for Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s beloved Violin Concerto. See a full 2022-2023 season lineup.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Jamaica Plain

We all love to take a good walk in a winter wonderland, and the Arnold Arboretum is the perfect place for a picturesque stroll this time of year. While this botanical park is open year round, it just looks so much more peaceful and pristine when coated in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Listen to the crisp powder crunch beneath your feet and breathe in the cold air—all while admiring its assortment of trees, which impress even when they're bare.

  • Hotels

No cozy weekend is complete without a crackling fire. A number of hotels throughout New England offer the ultimate winter luxury of ensuite fireplaces. Whether it's for warming up after an afternoon of outdoor sports, setting the mood for a romantic night in or simply staying snuggly on a snowy day, these spots feature in-room fireplaces that not only offer function, but also an ambiance you can’t get with just any weekend away.

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  • Things to do

Perhaps the most nostalgic winter pastime is spending a day whizzing down a hill on a sled again and again and again. Whether you're a parent who wants to let the kids run wild outside or an adult who's looking to indulge your inner child and slide down a hill yourself, there are plenty of places for sledding and tubing near Boston. Grab your sled of preference and head to one of these spots for a carefree outdoor outing. 

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See Hamilton at the Boston Opera House
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Lin L.

15. See Hamilton at the Boston Opera House

The biggest Broadway show in the last 10 years, Hamilton is coming to Boston. Playing at the Opera House from January 17 – March 12, tickets start at $85. Don’t miss your chance to see this world famous musical. Book tickets here.

  • 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 its modest downhill runs, it's the perfect place for cross-country skiing. More than 100 miles of trails allow plenty of opportunity to have a heart-pumping trek through a snowy forest. There are loops of varying degrees of difficulty, from 1—4 miles, so skiers of all levels can enjoy.

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  • Restaurants

Al fresco dining in winter is possible here in Boston, thanks to heated patios, terraces and rooftop igloos. Local restaurants have introduced a number of warm options that'll let you eat, drink and snuggle outside, even in the dead of winter. Put on those thick layers of clothing and outerwear, and cozy up at one of Boston’s best restaurants with heated outdoor dining.

 

  • Restaurants

There’s no better way to warm up after playing in the snow than a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Luckily, our city plenty of spots where you can enjoy this rich treat. Whether it’s classic hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream from LA Burdick, a spicy, chili-tinged concoction from Flour, or a French-style drinking chocolate from Thinking Cup, there's a cup of cocoa that'll please everyone's palate. Find a variety of ways to sip this comforting winter drink with our list of the best hot chocolate in Boston.

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Coming to Boston for the first time SIX is a two-time Tony Award winning musical following the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives. Playing from November 9  – December 31, tickets start at $45. Reserve here.

  • Travel

When winter descends upon Boston, too many of us commit to confinement within our apartments when we could be cozying up in some of New England's most picturesque cabins available on Airbnb. Check out these cabins near Boston that you can rent and, in no time, you’ll be unwinding in front of a fire and cooking up comfort food—or going for a brisk hike and swishing down slopes, if you’re the active type. 

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  • Travel

If you’re looking to get out of the city for the day—whether it’s to embrace the chilly weather with an outside adventure or simply cozy up indoors to admire the snow from afar—there are plenty of places worth a visit. Explore all that New England has to offer, including quaint, historic towns and shoreline stops, as well as gaming destinations and, of course, buzzing hubs for outdoor activities situated in the beautiful mountains.

Explore the best of the holidays in Boston

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