Ah, Boston! The city that effortlessly marries the old-world charm with modern vibrancy, especially during the festive holiday season. Just like New York, Boston transforms into a winter wonderland, but with its unique New England touch. If you’ve ever dreamt of a classic Christmas, visiting Boston is where your dreams come to life.
Where to you stay in Boston at Christmas time
If you’re looking to stay in Boston during Christmas, here are three diverse recommendations that cater to different preferences:
- The Godfrey Hotel Boston: A chic boutique hotel in Downtown Crossing. Close to Boston Common’s holiday lights and ice skating. Perfect for those wanting a modern stay with historic surroundings.
- Boston Park Plaza: A timeless choice in Back Bay. Its grand architecture shines with festive decorations. Nearby Boston Public Garden offers winter strolls and the famous Swan Boats.
- citizenM Boston North Station: Contemporary and innovative next to TD Garden. Its eclectic design gets a festive twist during Christmas. A stone’s throw from the North End’s renowned Italian cuisine.
1. The Heart of the City: Boston Common
Boston Common isn’t just a park; it’s the soul of the city. As early November rolls in, the Common begins its transformation, culminating in the grand Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This isn’t just any tree; it’s a gift from Nova Scotia, a tradition that’s been alive since 1971. The story goes that Boston sent aid to Halifax after a devastating explosion, and in gratitude, they send a tree every year. And for those who fancy a twirl on the ice, the Frog Pond awaits, shimmering under the winter sun and city lights. Families gather, couples hold hands, and children laugh, making it the epicenter of holiday cheer where everyone can have a wonderful time.
2. Beacon Hill: A Step Back in Time
Wandering through the town of Beacon Hill during December is like stepping into a Charles Dickens novel. Cobblestone streets are adorned with twinkling lights, wreaths, and bows. The sound of Christmas carolers fills the air, echoing off the historic brownstones, making you feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. Each window tells a story, with beautifully decorated displays that showcase the creativity of the residents. It’s old-world Christmas in the heart of a modern city.
3. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market: A Christmas Shopping Paradise
For those with a shopping list, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are your North Star. Some of the best historic sites in Massachusetts turn into bustling holiday markets, with stalls offering everything from artisanal crafts to delicious food. Local artists display their crafts, making it the perfect spot to shop and pick up unique gifts. And as you shop, the mesmerizing light and sound show, “Blink!”, will leave you in awe. Thousands gather to watch this spectacle, making it a community event. Don’t forget to grab a cup of rich hot chocolate or indulge in festive delicacies that vendors offer, ensuring your shopping spree is accompanied by delightful treats.
4. Boston Harbor: A Winter Wonderland
The Boston Harbor offers a different kind of festive treat. Imagine cruising on the water, the city skyline in the background, all lit up in festive glory. Special holiday cruises offer dinner and live music, making it a romantic getaway or a fun night with friends. For the sports enthusiasts, the Warrior Ice Arena hosts special events, and if you’re lucky, you might catch the Boston Bruins in their festive best, playing a match that resonates with holiday spirit.
5. Symphony Hall and Boston Pops: A Musical Delight
No Christmas in Boston is complete without experiencing the musical magic at Symphony Hall. The Boston Pops Orchestra, with their annual holiday concert, ensures that your festive season is filled with melodies, from timeless classics to contemporary hits. The grandeur of the Symphony Hall, combined with the soul-stirring music, makes it a night to remember.
6. Historic Sights and Churches
Boston’s rich history shines even brighter during the holidays. The Trinity Church and Old South Church, with their stunning architecture, host special holiday services that resonate with peace and joy. The interiors are adorned with festive decorations, making the spiritual experience even more profound. And for those looking for a touch of revolutionary spirit, the free Boston Tea Party reenactments are a must-see. Actors in period costumes recreate the iconic event, adding a touch of history to the festive celebrations.
7. Fun Activities for Kids and Families During the Holiday Season
Boston ensures that the little ones aren’t left out. From Santa making special appearances at holiday markets around town and Copley Square to kid-friendly Christmas shows, there’s something for every child. Special workshops and events are organized, where kids can create their own Christmas crafts or bake festive treats. And for a family activity? Ice skating rinks pop up around the city, with the Warrior Ice Arena being a favorite. Parents and children can skate together, making memories that last a lifetime.
8. Downtown Crossing: The Hub of Festive Activities
Downtown Crossing is where the heart of Boston’s holiday shopping beats. As December approaches, the streets are lined with shops showcasing beautifully decorated windows, each telling its own festive story. It’s not just about shopping; it’s about the experience. Street performers play Christmas carols, local restaurants offer special holiday menus, and the aroma of delicious food fills the air. For those visiting Boston, this area is a must-visit. The blend of historic sights, such as the Old South Church, with modern shops and restaurants creates a unique atmosphere. And if you’re there in the evening, the entire area lights up, turning into a wonderland of lights and festivities.
9. Copley Square: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity
Nestled in the heart of the city, Copley Square is a testament to Boston’s ability to blend the old with the new. The historic Trinity Church stands tall, its architecture a sight to behold, especially when it’s covered in a blanket of snow. Right across is the Boston Public Library, where one can find special Christmas readings for kids. But Copley isn’t just about history. The square is surrounded by modern buildings, each participating in the holiday spirit and festive cheer. The square itself hosts a range of fun activities. From the ice skating to sculptures to live music, there’s something for everyone. And for those who love food, local vendors offer everything from hot chocolate to traditional Christmas treats.
Embracing the Magic: Boston’s Winter Wonderland
While Boston is a great year-round destination, Christmas time is the perfect excuse to visit as the city emerges as a festive wonderland, full of Christmas lights and events, beckoning all to visit and partake in its winter fairy tale. The city’s history, culture, and heartwarming traditions come together to craft an unforgettable holiday experience. Boston offers a huge range of experiences, from the vibrant atmosphere of Downtown Crossing to the tranquil charm of a New England winter. For those seeking holiday cheer, Boston during Christmas is an unparalleled destination.
1. When does Boston start its Christmas celebrations?
Boston begins its festive transformation in early November, with many events and decorations starting to appear around the city. The official tree lighting ceremony in Boston Common usually takes place one evening in late November or early December, marking the beginning of the holiday season.
2. Are there any special events for kids during Christmas in Boston?
Absolutely! Boston offers tons of fun kid-friendly activities during the festive season. From Santa sightings in Copley Square to special Christmas readings at the Boston Public Library and ice skating on Frog Pond, there’s something for every child to enjoy.
3. How cold does it get in Boston during December?
Boston experiences a typical New England winter. December temperatures can range from 20°F to 40°F (-6°C to 4°C). It’s advisable to dress warmly, especially if you plan to partake in outdoor activities or events in snow.
4. Is it easy to navigate the city during the holiday season?
Yes, Boston is well-equipped to handle the holiday rush. Public transportation, including the MBTA subway system, remains operational, making it convenient for visitors to explore the city. However, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and check for any special events, holidays or parades that might affect traffic.
5. Are Boston's Christmas markets and events accessible to people with disabilities?
Most of Boston’s holiday events and markets, including those in Faneuil Hall and Boston Common, are free and designed to be accessible to everyone. It’s recommended to check specific event details or contact organizers in advance to ensure any specific needs are accommodated.
6. How much should I budget for a Christmas trip to Boston?
Boston offers a range of festive experiences catering to various budgets. While many events, like tree lighting ceremonies and public performances, are free, others might have an entry fee. Dining, shopping, and special attractions can add to your expenses. It’s wise to plan ahead and set a budget based on the activities you wish to partake in. Booking accommodation and tickets in advance can also help in securing better deals and ensuring a cost-effective trip.