In Boston, there are a plethora of holiday events happening around the city, from light shows and candlelight concerts to holiday markets. Read on to find out our top picks for festive events happening in Boston this season that you must try before the year closes!
1. Bask in joy listening to your favorite holiday songs at a candlelit concert
Do the twinkling notes of “The Nutcracker” immediately get you in the holiday spirit? Then you’re in for a holiday treat at the Candlelight Holiday Special, a concert event happening this month at the Temple Ohabei Shalom and Old South Church.
This concert series features all the iconic numbers from The Nutcracker (in addition to some other classic holiday tunes) performed by a talented string quartet in an absolutely magical setting. With hundreds of flickering, flameless candles surrounding you and the performers, it’s an intimate and cozy musical escape into a winter wonderland. Get your tickets here before they sell out completely!
2. Give the gift of an unforgettable experience at Dino Safari
Dino Safari is the perfect holiday treat for any dino enthusiasts in your life, whether they’re young or older. In this immersive exhibition, you’ll be able to meet life-sized, moving dinosaurs up-close and learn everything about how they lived while on earth. With a huge gift shop filled with dino merch and a VR game close by, it’s an action-packed adventure you won’t want to miss. Get your tickets here before they sell out!
Find Dino Safari at 1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109
3. Ring in the New Year at the Back Bay Ball
Nothing says ‘holiday spirit’ like a fantastically festive party. On December 31, the Westin Copley Place will be hosting a fabulous ball, complete with formal attire, an optional full course Italian dinner, a killer DJ, and a dance floor to show off your moves. Reserve your tickets here and start planning your fit ASAP!
Find it at Westin Hotel Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116
4. Take a casual trip…to the moon
Travel up and away at this immersive space exhibit opening in mid-December! Explore over 300 original NASA items, unleash your inner astronaut at an Apollo mission control center, and get ready for the space adventure of a lifetime!
Find it at 121 Webster Ave Chelsea, MA 02150
5. Grab your skates and unleash your inner Bruin
It’s officially cold enough for some supervised outdoor skating. Skate your heart out in a winter wonderland at one of our favorite ice rinks! Pick a day, find your skates in the back of your closet (or simply rent a pair at the rink), and get skating!
6. Experience a spectacular holiday world at Stone Zoo’s magnificent ZooLights
Just a couple miles north of Boston in Stoneham lies Stone Zoo, home to black bears, Canada lynx, reindeer and arctic foxes. This holiday season, the zoo is decked out in thousands of twinkling fairy lights, illuminating the pathways between the animal habitats. it’s an outdoor experience like you’ve never seen before!
Find “ZooLights” at Stone Zoo, 149 Pond St, Stoneham, MA 02180
7. Celebrate in style at the Resolution Ball
Start your New Year at a grandiose ball, complete with a full-course Tuscan dinner, dancing, and the most glamorous group 20 and 30 somethings in the city on New Year’s Eve. The Resolution Ball is Boston’s largest and longest-running New Year’s eve bash, and also its most glamorous, hosted in the prestigious Westin Hotel Grand Ballroom, one of the most upscale hotels in Boston.
Find it at Westin Hotel Copley Place, 10 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116
8. Experience all things winter wonderland at Snowport
Snowport is a one-stop holiday destination with winter games, a tree market, a pink yeti, Light Up Seaport, and a new holiday market. Visitors can expect Seaport to be completely decked out in holiday decorations, from thousands of twinkling lights creating a canopy in the sky to a 3-D wall of presents displayed as a perfect photo backdrop.
Find Snowport at 65 Northern Ave, Boston, MA
9. Catch a Spirited AMC theatre movie at half the price
December is one if the best months for movies, with many new releases on the 25th.
Don’t ever let ticket prices be the reason you skip theatre nights again. Catch a film like Spirited (which was filmed in Boston)! Get AMC movie tickets at nearly half the price to be used for any movie at any participating theatre.
10. Present the gift of good taste
Experiences are all the rage! If you want a gift that will take their taste buds out of this world, and that you can even enjoy with them, check out this fun Italian cooking class!
Get out of your comfort zone and take an Italian cooking class with your friends, family, or loved ones. Not only will you have fun and eat fantastic food, you’ll also be able to recreate the dishes afterwards as many times as you want.
Find it at 19 Kingston St, Somerville, MA 02144
11. … if you don’t feel like cooking, take a food tour
What are the holidays, if not about indulgence? Food tours are the perfect way to explore the best offerings of Boston’s food scene. Instead of stressing about what to eat for dinner, go on a self-guided mystery picnic tour around the city for a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. It’s the perfect combination of adventure, romance, and delicious and a great gift option too!
12. Check out the Boston Common Tree lighting, and stay for the afterparty
On December 1, the City of Boston will be hosting their 81st annual tree lighting ceremony, adjacent to the Visitor’s Information Center at 139 Tremont Street. This year’s tree comes from Nova Scotia and is a 45-foot white spruce! Special guests include Mayor Michelle Wu and Olympian Ashley Wagner. In addition to holiday lights, there will be a fireworks show after the tree lighting, and an ice-skating show in the afternoon at Frog Pond. It’s a beautiful beginning to the holiday season!
You can catch the official tree lighting and proceed to admire the tree’s glory all season long!
Find it at 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111
13. Make your holiday shopping list and check it twice at a local market
‘Tis the season for shopping local. The holidays are just around the corner, and there’s no better way to shop for presents than to visit a festive holiday market and support local businesses from the Boston area. We’ve compiled a list of jolly holiday markets happening in and around Boston this holiday season — check them out!
14. Make a gourmet gingerbread house at an elegant Beacon Hill Brunch
Brunch, decorating, gingerbread, and candy–say no more!
75 Chestnut on Beacon Hill is throwing limited-edition gingerbread brunches all month long! Enjoy a two-course meal followed with an intensive decorating session entailing of meticulously placing gumballs and marshmallows on your pre-built gingerbread house. It’s fun for the whole family!
Find it at 75 Chestnut St, Boston
15. Dine at a tavern once owned by Pirates
The White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island has a cuisine as rich as its history. Enjoy a succulent rotating farm-to-table menu and make history dining at America’s oldest tavern that was owned by Pirate Wiliam Mayes, Sr. in 1673, who converted the home into a tavern that year.
Find White Horse Tavern at 26 Marlborough St, Newport, RI 02840
16. Treat yourself to a local chocolate advent calendar
Boston is popping with talented chocolatiers! Petrova Chocolates’ advent calendar features fun flavors like Almond Shortbread and melt-in-your-mouth Holiday Caramel featuring cardamom, cinnamon, and more nostalgic holiday flavors!
December 1 or 31, it’s never too late to get your hands on a delicious chocolate advent calendar. Besides, you really thought you could limit yourself to one chocolate a day? Who are we kidding, get the box and enjoy them all!
17. Explore holiday lights in and out of the city
With over 14 major lighting destinations, Boston feels like a picturesque scene right out of a fairy book. Check out popular lighting destinations in the city like Copley Square, the Common and Faneuil Hall. Then venture out of the city to Winterlights and Gillette for larger-than-life whimsical displays featuring 32-foot-tall twinkling Barbies and 260-foot-long light tunnels!
18. Attend an energetic World Cup viewing party
Holiday gifts came early this year. The World Cup began on November 20 and the games will go on until December 18. With the U.S. advancing to the second round of the tournament, there’s much more soccer in store. Whatever team you’re cheering for, let’s hope they SCORE!
19. Dine in a cozy neon-lit igloo in and around Boston
Here, here for outdoor dining (cozily) during Boston winters. Come rain, wind, and even snow, you can still enjoy a pleasant outdoor dining experience at these seasonal igloos. Check out the rooftop igloos at the Envoy Hotel in Seaport for spectacular panoramic city views. They’re heated, private, cozy, and some snow even adds to the ambiance!
20. Celebrate the new year at First Night Boston
For over 40 years, First Night Boston has provided a free and public celebration of the new year to all Bostonians. From live performances to light shows and fireworks, it’s a great spectacle to enjoy on the last day of the year. Stick around until midnight and you’ll see an incredibly iconic light show in Copley Square!
Happy New Year, Boston!