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Boston Common Frog Pond
Photograph: Shutterstock/Kwanbenz Boston Common Frog Pond

The best things to do in Boston in the winter

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 sled. There are plenty of ice skating rinks in Boston, and several only-in-the-winter events. Cold temps offer an excuse to drink some of the best hot chocolate in Boston or check out the best spots for afternoon tea 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. If winter weather isn’t your thing, check out our list of the best indoor activities in Boston.

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

The best of the city under one roof

Time Out Market Boston
Photograph: Eva Sakellarides

Time Out Market Boston

Even when it's freezing inside, the action's hot at Boston's first contemporary culinary hub. Live DJs keep the engergy high on Fri and Sat nights, and there are 15 curated food offerings, two top-notch bars and lots more. There is plenty of seating, and it's great for groups who want to stay out of the cold. Warm beverages and hot plates from the city's best chefs—what else do you need?

The best things to do in Boston in the winter

Boston Common Frog Pond
Photograph: Shutterstock/Kwanbenz

1. 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.

Nashoba Valley Ski Area
Photograph: Courtesy Nashoba Valley Ski Area

2. 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.

Boston Common in the snow
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jana C.

3. Go sledding on the Boston Common

Attractions Parks and gardens Boston Common

For a taste of winter sports without the extreme speeds, hit the gentle slopes of Boston Common, once a few inches of snow have accumulated. It’s BYO sled, of course, but any old sled will do. Otherwise, just take a good roll down a hill and then make snow angels. Tip: It’s also a good place for friendly snowball fights.

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

4. 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!

Skywalk Observatory
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Marina O.

5. See the snow from the Skywalk Observatory

Attractions Towers and viewpoints Back Bay

When it’s too cold to trudge around in the snow, you can still experience its beauty… while staying warm inside, 750 feet above the city. The Skywalk Observatory atop the Prudential Center offers 360-degree views. If it’s a clear day, you can see as far as 80 miles away. Enjoy beautiful views of the snow-covered city and the frozen Charles River without catching a chill.

Gore Place
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jonathan P.

6. 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.

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

8. 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

9. 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. 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.


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