We know Boston shines in all seasons, but the city was almost made for the winter holidays. From the charming, cobble-lined streets of Beacon Hill to the modern vibe of the Seaport, it’s chock full of Christmas charm.
To get you in the holiday spirit, we’ve rounded up some of the best events happening in the city from just before Thanksgiving through the New Year. Think awe-inspiring light displays, artisan-made gifts, and shows that’ll knock your socks (or stockings) off.
No matter what you’re celebrating, there’s no shortage of festive cheer to be found in Boston during the holidays.
Yankee Magazine, the Bible of all things New England, named the Harvard Square Holiday Fair one of the best craft fairs in New England, so you know it’s worth a visit. If you’re not on the crafting scene, it’s unreal. UN-real. Don’t think bootleg Raggedy Ann dolls – think Indian textiles, pottery, and candles that smell exactly like Christmas. And because it’s open on Christmas Eve, even last-minute shoppers will be able to find the perfect gift. December 10-11, 16-18, 21-24.
Faneuil Hall is being transformed into a winter wonderland for the fourth year when Blink! returns to the historic marketplace. The show combines 350,000 LED lights with sounds from the Holiday Pops for a seasonal spectacular. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about blinking and missing it – Blink! runs from before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. November 20-January 1.
Word is that even Santa Claus will make an appearance at the Trellis Lighting at Christopher Columbus Park this year. And if you can’t make it to the lighting, you can still stroll under the 50,000 blue lights that make the 260-foot trellis sparkle because the lights are up all season long. November 21.
We can hardly think of a better way to get in the holiday spirit than by taking in a performance of a Christmas classic like The Nutcracker. Many New Englanders make this Boston Ballet show a yearly tradition and once you see it, you’ll know why. We’re 95% positive you won’t fall asleep; it’s just too jolly. November 25-December 31.
It seems like everywhere you turn in Boston in the winter you’ll see beautiful trees lit up from top to bottom. But there’s only one official tree and it’s in the Boston Common. Before Mayor Marty Walsh lights it to officially kick off Christmas in the city, take in a dazzling ice skating show on the Frog Pond. After the tree is lit, take a spin around the ice yourself. December 1.
Yes, you read that right, there’s a holiday show in Boston called the Slutcraker. It’s a raunchy, NSFW version of the classic ballet the Nutcracker that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. We don’t want to give too much away, but there’s even a character called the ‘Dildo Prince’. Get ready for a night full of belly laughs. December 2-31.
There are several holiday strolls in Boston, but we’re partial to the one in Fort Point. Why? It’s in a fast-growing neighborhood that’s bursting with energy. Get in the holiday spirit by browsing local boutiques, shopping artists’ creations, and sipping and savoring treats from area restaurants. December 16.
If you’re looking for the best holiday lights in the Boston area, head to Somerville where you can hop aboard a trolley for the Illuminations Tour. You’ll be dazzled by the displays, some of which span multiple houses. Tickets sell out quickly, so if you miss them, be sure to pick up a map so you can do a D.I.Y. version of the tour this holiday season. December 17.
Lots of cities ring in the New Year with a First Night celebration, but did you know that it all got started right here in Boston? The first one was held in the city back in 1975 and it’s still going strong with ice sculptures, music, and, the highlight of the event, fireworks over Boston Harbor at midnight. December 31.
It’s time to get your Santa suit back from the dry cleaners and harness up your reindeer for SantaCon. Boston’s version is a big bar crawl that starts at Game On in Fenway and travels throughout the city spreading good cheer (with plenty of beer). Ho, ho, ho, indeed!
We’re all about shopping local, so we love hitting holiday markets to find the very best handcrafted gifts. At SoWa, you’ll find indie goods from crafters and artists from around New England. Bring your list and find something for everyone whether they’ve been naughty or nice. December 10 and 11.
Of all the seasonal shows in Boston, the Holiday Pops is probably the most iconic. A trip to Symphony Hall is magical all year, but nothing beats the festive feel it has around the holidays. Take in the traditional Holiday Pops performance, a kids matinee that’s perfect for the whole family, or a post-Christmas show featuring Back to the Future with live orchestral accompaniment. November 30-December 31.
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