Christmas events in Boston
Generations have enjoyed The Nutcracker—it’s one of the season’s most beloved traditions. Seeing the Boston Ballet’s performance at the Opera House—artistic director Mikko Nissinen’s production features opulent Georgian-era sets and costumes—is memorable for all ages. This production is highly anticipated each year, so be sure to book tickets early.
November 29–December 30
From Black Friday through New Years Eve, head to the Hotel Marlowe lobby bar to have a holiday tipple at the Miracle pop-up bar. Nostalgic decor sets the scene for seasonally-themed cocktails like the Snowball Old Fashioned (butterscotch rye, spiced demerara, wormwood bitters, orange zest) and Christmas Carol Barrel (aged rum, aquavit, amaro, pumpkin pie, demerara syrup, lime, vanilla, Angostura bitters).
November 23-December 31
Join the Boston Harbor Hotel for their first-annual Gingerbread Workshop. The festive event will take place in the Wharf Room, where the entire family can decorate gingerbread houses (made by the Hotel’s pastry team) with candies while sipping hot chocolate from the hot chocolate bar. There will be a candy bar for all ages and a cash bar for adults. The event will begin with Santa's arrival in the Harbor and end with a showing of The Polar Express.
December 2, 1pm-4pm, $65 per household (max 2)/free for children under 2
Usually open by admission, the Old South Meeting House (the Boston landmark where the infamous Boston Tea Party began) is free to the public during its Holiday Open House. Enjoy performances by Vera Meyer, a local artist who plays glass armonica (a musical instrument made with glass bowls) and musicians from the New England Conservatory. There will be fun family activities, and you can try your hand at using a quill pen.
December 1, 10am-4pm
Bundle up and head out to watch the Santa Speedo Run, when brave souls dressed in nothing more than Speedos and Santa hats jog through the Back Bay for charity. It’s a great cause that raises money for the Play Ball Foundation, which funds sports in Boston-area middle schools. Anyone can participate, you just need to commit to raising $400 in donations. Race day warm-up includes a drink to get you going.
December 8, corner of Boylston and Gloucester Sts
Boston’s annual staging of Langston Hughes’ retelling of the Nativity is the longest-running production of the piece in the world. Produced by the National Center of Afro-American Artists and presented at the Art Deco Paramount Center, it combines music, dance, scripture, and Hughes’ poetry.
Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops in spirited performances of holiday classics and new arrangements in the magical environs of a seasonally-bedecked Symphony Hall. Kid-friendly matinees include singalongs and post-concert photos with Santa. Right after Christmas, enjoy holiday favorite Home Alone accompanied by a live orchestra.
Kick off your holiday season at Barbara Lynch’s flagship restaurant. Holiday Lunch at No. 9 Park is a festive annual tradition for friends, coworkers, and families. The five-course tasting menu features favorites such as French Onion Soup and Holiday Goose for Two as well as other standouts like Shrimp Tortellini di Neri and Roasted Hangar Steak. No. 9 Park also hosts a line-up of guest bartenders throughout the month to make things extra festive.
November 26-December 21, Monday-Friday, 11:30am-2pm
Head to the South End for the biggest winter shopping village and holiday festival in Boston. Held over two weekends, the SoWa Winter Festival is perfect for getting into the holiday spirit and shopping for holiday gifts. The Maker Marketplace in the Power Station features more than 100 makers and food vendors from around the region. On Thayer Street, enjoy Winter Wonderland - food trucks, live ice sculpting, and open studios. There are also holiday workshops and musical performances during the Festival.
November 30, 5pm-9pm; December 1, 11am-7pm; December 2 11am-5pm; December 7, 5pm-9pm; December 8, 11am-7pm; December 9 11am-5pm
All ages will enjoy this dazzling, multi-media theatrical performance at the Shubert Theater. Cirque Dreams Holidaze combines song, dance, illusions, acrobatics, and feats of strength. Witness 20 different acts and characters in elaborate costumes - including snowmen, penguins, gingerbread men, and Santa - as they fly through the air, twirl across the stage, and perform eye-popping balancing acts. This show may be the flashiest and most thrilling of the season.
Brian O’Donovan’s A Celtic Sojourn has entertained WGBH radio audiences since 1986. This Christmastime live version of the show at the Cutler Majestic Theater draws on Pagan, Christian and Celtic musical traditions. It’s an eclectic blend of accordion, harp, bass and cello performances featuring a top-notch lineup of musicians, Irish step-dancing, and plenty of surprises.
Now in its 18th year, this unique performance is Tony Williams’ reimagining of the classic tale as a a Boston inner-city story. Showcasing a broad diversity of dance forms—classical ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, flamenco, and more—the show follows Ruby and her Nutcracker guide as she explores iconic Boston scenes such as Make Way for Ducklings, Top of the Hub, Chinatown, and the Boston Public Garden.
For a festive, post-Christmas treat, join Juliet for a Wind in the Willows-themed High Tea. Enjoy tea sandwiches inspired by the characters, from Mole's Basic Basket (a variety of practical sandwiches, a salad, and a scone) to Ratty's Grand Basket (marinated mushrooms, smoked salmon, sliced steak, soft boiled egg, and a lemon tart) or simpler selections dedicated to Sea Rat and Toad.
December 27-29, 10am-2pm