How to Make the Most of Winter Break in Boston

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With finals behind us and the holiday season upon us, those of us who aren’t traveling home for winter break are left with the opportunity to enjoy winter break in Boston! Despite the cold and limited sunlight hours, there are plenty of things to see and do in and around the city during the winter months. Layer up and beat those winter blues by braving the outdoors and exploring what the city has to offer.

Ice Skating

Whether you’re an ice-skating expert or a novice looking to learn, there are several outdoor ice rinks open throughout the winter across the city! Take the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fresh air while honing your skating skills at the Boston Commons’ Frog Pond or Kendall Square Rink in Cambridge, or stop by the Rink at 401 Park between Trillium Brewing and Time Out Market (both great spots to check out too!) after exploring all that the Fenway-Kenmore area has to offer. All the city’s outdoor rinks offer pricing for visitors with their own skates, as well as rentals. Many offer student discounts, so be sure to bring your Emerson ID along with you!

Holiday Lights

No matter what you’re celebrating over winter break, everyone can enjoy the vast array of light displays across the city. While many of the lighting ceremonies took place early in the season, the lights at Boston Common, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Columbus Park, Copley Square, and the Downtown Crossing Macy’s are up through the New Year. 

Take a stroll and do some shopping at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, where you can find great food or your favorite wintertime beverage, or visit The Anchor at Charlestown Navy Yard to check out their beer garden, reservable igloos, and the lighted tree grove with more than 50 different decorated trees! 

Winter Markets – Snowport

Open through January 2nd, you won’t want to miss the European-style Holiday Market at Seaport, featuring more than sixty small businesses, a tree market, and a festive menu from Tuscan Kitchen. The market is open Monday-Thursday from 3-8 p.m., Friday-Satuday from 11-8 p.m., and Sunday 11-7 p.m. To get there, you can make the fifteen-minute walk from Downtown Crossing, or take the Seaport Ferry from Lovejoy Wharf and enjoy the view of the city from Boston Harbor. 

Winter market in Boston at Seaport, people and shoppers looking at the open-air stalls in the market.
New Years Eve Fireworks in Copley Square. A tradition for winter in Boston.
NYE Fireworks in Copley Square

New Year’s Eve & Day

There’s no shortage of events for ringing in the New Year in Boston. You can kick off your New Year’s Eve celebrations with the Boston Harbor Ice Sculpture Stroll, featuring ice sculptures all along the waterfront from the North End to Seaport. Be sure to make a stop at Boston Common and Copley Square to check out the family-friendly First Day Celebration events throughout the day. This includes a free figure skating show at 5:30 at the Frog Pond, the People’s Procession parade beginning at 6 p.m. from Boylston Street to Copley Square, and family fireworks at the Common at 7 p.m. Finally, you can countdown to 2022 with a light show and pyrotechnics in Copley Square, or find a spot to view the midnight fireworks along the water at Fan Pier Park, Columbus Park, or East Boston Waterfront. 

Three women smiling next to a waterfront ice sculpture
Waterfront Ice Sculpture Stroll

To help make getting around the city a little easier, the MBTA will run special services on New Year’s – following a weekday schedule for all trains and extended free service until around 2 a.m. 

As a reminder, be sure to double-check for any changes to events or venues due to COVID restrictions. For more information about things to do in Boston as a grad student, follow us on social media and keep an eye out for upcoming events and updates!

Follow Ashling Chupak:

Ashling Chupak is the Graduate Admissions Writing Assistant and a fiction writer in her second year as a Creative Writing MFA candidate at Emerson College.

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