Boston, a city so full of history and culture, transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The city streets are filled with twinkling lights, and the air is alive with the melodies of holiday music. From ice skating under the open sky to attending festive musical performances, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy. If you’re planning to spend Christmas in Boston, here’s a curated list of 30 things to do that will ensure your holiday season is unforgettable.
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Things To Do In Boston At Christmas 2023
1. Ice Skating at the Frog Pond
Located in the heart of Boston Common, the Frog Pond offers a picturesque setting for ice skating. As you glide on the full ice rink, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of the city’s oldest park. It’s a favorite spot for both locals and tourists, making it a must-visit during the holiday season. After skating, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate available at nearby stalls.
2. Boston Bruins Game at TD Garden
Experience the thrill of a live hockey game at TD Garden. The Boston Bruins, one of the city’s favorite sports teams, often have matches during the holiday season. The arena is filled with holiday spirit, making it a perfect outing for sports enthusiasts looking to combine their love for the game with festive.
3. Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall
The Boston Pops Orchestra hosts an annual series of holiday concerts at Symphony Hall. These concerts are a blend of classic and contemporary holiday tunes, ensuring there’s something for everyone. The grandeur of Symphony Hall, combined with the melodies of the orchestra, creates a magical atmosphere that’s hard to replicate.
4. Winter Holiday Weekend Brunch Cruise: A Festive Voyage on Boston Harbor
Imagine cruising Boston Harbor aboard a classic 1920s-style yacht, adorned with festive winter holiday decorations. The Winter Holiday Weekend Brunch Cruise offers precisely this enchanting experience. As you step onto the deck, you’re immediately transported into a holiday wonderland, complete with a heated main observation cabin to keep you cozy.
- Classic Yacht Experience: Board a beautifully maintained 1920s-style yacht, offering a nostalgic trip back in time.
- Scenic Boston Harbor Views: As you enjoy your brunch, take in the breathtaking sights of Boston Harbor. Marvel at historic sites like the Boston Harbor Islands, the iconic Boston Light, the USS Constitution, and the towering Bunker Hill Monument.
- Gourmet 3-Course Brunch Buffet: Indulge in a sumptuous three-course buffet brunch, featuring a selection of seasonal items that promise to tantalize your taste buds.
- Onboard Bar: Fancy a drink to accompany your meal? The yacht boasts a bar where you can grab your favorite beverage.
- Festive Ambiance: The yacht is not just about the views and food; it’s decked out in full holiday decor, ensuring you’re immersed in the holiday spirit throughout your voyage.
The cruise lasts for two hours, giving you ample time to eat, drink, and soak in the views.
The boats set sail from Rowes Wharf, conveniently located directly behind the Boston Harbor Hotel. Check-in is a breeze at the Ferry Terminal on Rowes Wharf, a comfortable, climate-controlled space just a few steps from the dock.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, looking for a unique holiday activity, or simply want to enjoy Boston from a different perspective, the Winter Holiday Weekend Brunch Cruise is a must-do. It’s an unforgettable holiday experience on the waters of Boston Harbor.
5. Christmas Shopping at Downtown Crossing
Downtown Crossing is a shopping haven during the Christmas season. Streets are lined with festive decorations, and shops offer unique gifts and souvenirs. From high-end boutiques to local craft stalls, there’s a wide variety of options to explore. Don’t forget to grab some holiday treats from the numerous food stalls.
6. Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House
The Nutcracker is a timeless ballet that tells the story of a young girl’s magical journey on Christmas Eve. Performed by the Boston Ballet at the Boston Opera House, it’s a visual and auditory treat. The stunning sets, intricate costumes, and mesmerizing dance performances make it a must-watch during the holiday season.
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7. Ghosts and Gravestones Tour: A Spooky Journey Through Boston’s Past
Boston’s incredible history isn’t just about the patriots and revolutionaries; it’s also filled with eerie tales and ghostly encounters. Explore the city’s spooky side with the 1.5-Hour Ghosts and Gravestones Tour. Led by a 17th-century gravedigger, this tour promises an evening filled with chilling stories, haunted graveyards, and unexpected surprises.
- Historic Graveyards: Walk the grounds of Boston’s two oldest burial sites, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and Granary Burying Ground. These hallowed grounds are the final resting places of notable figures like John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams.
- Tales of the Boston Strangler: Traverse the streets once haunted by the infamous Boston Strangler and listen to local tales of murder, mayhem, and other ghostly encounters.
- Notorious Spirits: Discover the spirits of some of Boston’s most notorious characters, and learn about their lives and untimely deaths.
The tour includes transportation and is guided by an expert well-versed in Boston’s dark past. However, be prepared for some spine-tingling moments; you never know who or what you might encounter during this journey through Boston’s haunted history.
Note: This tour might not be suitable for young children, as kids under 6 years are not permitted. The adventure begins at the Old Town Trolley stop #1, located at the end of the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel on Atlantic Avenue.
8. Holiday Lights Tour
Boston is adorned with twinkling lights during the holiday season. Areas like Beacon Hill and Boston Common are particularly enchanting. Join a holiday lights tour to explore the city’s most beautifully decorated neighborhoods. These tours are usually filled with historical knowledge, which makes them both enjoyable and educational.
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9. Boston Harbor Holiday Cruises
We’ve already looked a brunch cruise, but if you’re in the mood for a well-deserved lie in, there are plenty others to choose from! Sailing the Boston Harbor during the holiday season is a unique experience. Special Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve cruises are available, offering breathtaking views of the city skyline adorned with festive lights. These cruises often include live music, dancing, and gourmet meals, ensuring a memorable outing.
10. Boston: Freedom Trail Lantern Tour – A Glimpse into the Mysterious Past
Step back in time and embark on a unique journey through Boston’s iconic Freedom Trail, but with a twist. The Freedom Trail Lantern Tour offers a rare opportunity to explore the trail under the soft glow of lantern light, revealing the darker and more mysterious side of Boston’s history.
- Lantern-Lit Exploration: Traverse the historic Freedom Trail in the evening, guided only by the ambient light of lanterns, adding an eerie ambiance to the experience.
- Discover the “Boston Gaol”: Delve into the history of the infamous “Boston Gaol,” a place that has witnessed countless tales of despair and hope.
- Tales of the Supernatural: Listen to spine-chilling accounts of witches, notorious pirates, and tales of demonic possessions that once plagued the city.
- Costumed Tour Guide: Enhancing the authenticity of the experience, your tour will be led by a guide donned in period-appropriate attire, bringing the stories to life with their passionate storytelling.
- Unearth Ghostly Legends: The Freedom Trail isn’t just about revolutionary history. Uncover the ghostly tales and legends that have lingered for centuries, adding a layer of mystery to the trail.
The Freedom Trail is renowned for its historical significance, but this lantern tour offers a fresh perspective, looking into the macabre tales and legends that are often overshadowed by the trail’s revolutionary past. As you walk the cobbled streets and pass by historic landmarks, the lantern’s flickering light might just make you feel the presence of spirits from days gone by.
Looking for a unique tour in Boston?
Perfect for history buffs, fans of the supernatural, or anyone looking for a unique experience in Boston, the Freedom Trail Lantern Tour promises an evening filled with intrigue, mystery and a touch of the paranormal. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind journey into Boston’s shadowy past.
11. Winter Holiday Markets at Copley Square
Copley Square comes alive during the holiday season with its winter holiday markets. Local artisans and craftsmen set up stalls, offering a range of unique crafts,, jewelry, and gourmet treats. Live music performances add to the festive atmosphere, making it a superb place to shop and soak in the holiday spirit.
12. Christmas Caroling at Old South Church
The tradition of singing Christmas carols is alive and well at the Old South Church. Join the congregation for special children’s events and sing-alongs. The church’s historic architecture, combined with the melodies of classic carols, creates a serene and heartwarming atmosphere.
13. Boston Tea Party Reenactment
Step back in time and experience the events leading up to the American Revolution with the Boston Tea Party reenactment. This festive reenactment offers both historical insights and entertainment, making it a unique way to celebrate the holiday season in Boston.
14. Stone Zoo’s ZooLights
The Stone Zoo transforms into a magical winter wonderland with its ZooLights event. Walkthrough the zoo and admire the sparkling holiday displays, meet Santa Claus and enjoy holiday treats. It’s a fun-filled event suitable for visitors of all ages.
15. Boston: Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise – A Festive Voyage on Boston Harbor
Imagine cruising along the serene waters of Boston Harbor, the city lights shimmering in the distance, while you’re wrapped in the warmth of holiday spirit aboard a classic yacht. The Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise offers just that – a perfect blend of festive ambiance, delightful music, and breathtaking views.
- Festive Atmosphere: The yacht is adorned with holiday decorations, setting the perfect mood for a Christmas celebration on the water.
- Christmas Carols and Tunes: Let the melodies of classic Christmas carols and holiday tunes fill the air, adding to the festive vibe of the cruise.
- Warm and Cozy: Sip on a comforting cup of hot cocoa or choose a drink from the bar, all while staying snug in the yacht’s climate-controlled cabin.
- Panoramic Views: The cruise offers unparalleled views of the Boston skyline, beautifully illuminated at night. Spot iconic landmarks like the Bunker Hill Monument, USS Constitution, and the majestic Marriott Custom House Tower.
- Classic New England Yacht: Experience the charm of a 1920s-style New England yacht, which adds a touch of vintage elegance to your holiday celebration.
As you glide along the harbor, the combination of melodious carols, the taste of sweet cocoa, and the sight of Boston’s iconic landmarks creates a magical atmosphere that’s hard to replicate. Seeking a unique way to celebrate the season? This cruise offers an unforgettable evening filled with the magic of Christmas, joy, and music. It’s the perfect opportunity to start a new holiday tradition and simply immerse yourself in festive celebrations.
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16. Winter Solstice Celebrations
Celebrate the shortest day of the year with special events around Boston. Harvard Square, among other locations, hosts winter solstice celebrations that include live music, dance performances, and festive foods. It’s a unique way to welcome the longer days ahead.
17. New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Boston Harbor
Welcome the new year with a bang by watching the spectacular fireworks display at Boston Harbor. Several vantage points around the city offer unobstructed views of the fireworks. It’s a grand way to bid farewell to the old year and usher in the new one.
18. Holiday Spirit at Boston Synagogue
Boston is a melting pot of cultures, and the holiday season sees plenty of multicultural celebrations. The Boston Synagogue hosts special events and traditions during this time, offering insights into the city’s diverse religious practices.
19. Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies
Boston hosts several tree lighting ceremonies throughout the holiday season. The main event at Boston Common is particularly grand, with live music performances, appearances by Santa Claus, and a mesmerizing display of lights.
20. Holiday Shows at Boston Seaport
Boston Seaport is a hub of festive performances during the holiday season. From children-friendly shows to musicals, there’s a wide variety of entertainment options to choose from. The Seaport’s vibrant atmosphere, combined with the festive cheer, makes it a popular destination during Christmas.
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21. Holiday Music at Trinity Church
Trinity Church, with its stunning architecture, hosts several holiday music concerts during the Christmas season. Attend one of these concerts to experience the serene ambiance of the church combined with the melodies of holiday tunes.
22. Ice Skating at Warrior Ice Arena
Skate where the Boston Bruins practice at the Warrior Ice Arena. The arena hosts special holiday events and sessions, making it a popular destination for ice skating enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a beginner, the arena offers a fun and festive skating experience.
23. Freedom Trail Holiday Stroll
Explore Boston’s fascinating history with a festive twist by joining the Freedom Trail Holiday Stroll. The trail covers several historical landmarks, all decked out with holiday decorations, offering a superb blend of history and festive cheer.
24. Winter Fun at Boston Parks
Boston’s parks offer a plethora of winter activities. From sledding and snowball fights to building snowmen, there’s no shortage of fun to be had. The parks, covered in a blanket of snow, offer a picturesque setting for winter fun.
25. Holiday Duck Tours
Experience Boston’s iconic Duck Tours with a festive twist. These amphibious vehicles take you on a tour of the city’s major landmarks, all decked out in holiday lights and decorations. The guides, dressed in festive attire, add a touch of holiday spirit with their commentary.
26. Black Nativity Performance
Hosted by the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Black Nativity is Boston’s rendition of Langston Hughes’ song-play. This joyous performance combines gospel, blues, and spiritual songs, telling the story of the Nativity with an African-American twist.
27. Boston Christmas Festival at Seaport World Trade Center
Get a head start on your holiday shopping at the Boston Christmas Festival. This annual event features over 300 of America’s finest craft artists, offering handcrafted holiday items, gourmet foods, and unique gifts. Don’t miss the Gingerbread House competition, where local chefs showcase their culinary masterpieces.
28. Christmas Revels at Sanders Theatre
An annual tradition, the Christmas Revels celebrate the winter solstice with a blend of music, dance, and folk tales. Each year, the performance focuses on a different culture or historical period, offering a fresh and immersive experience for the audience.