Things to Know Before You Go: Visiting Boston in Winter

Things to Know Before You Go: Visiting Boston in Winter
For a true taste of New England, head to Boston in winter. Cold weather gives Beantown a special charm and often brings falling snow and freezing temperatures—perfect for cozying up indoors or perhaps braving the winter chill. Here are some tips for making the most of a low-season visit.

Get cozy with a Boston brew
Nothing says “Boston” like a good brew on a blustery winter day. The Samuel Adams brewery is perhaps the city’s most iconic spot, known for its rich Boston Lager and well-stocked brewery taproom. In the waterfront Seaport District, visitors to the Harpoon Brewery can warm up with freshly made pretzels and craft beers in a German-inspired beer hall, while clientele at Cambridge Brewing Company can enjoy fresh, handcrafted beer in Boston’s oldest brewpub. For an in-depth experience, get to know the city’s thriving beer scene on a brewery tour. 

Take advantage of indoor attractions
Boston is famous for its museums. At the Museum of Fine Arts, visitors can admire works from around the globe, including one of the richest Edgar Degas collections in the world and a 13-foot (4-meter) statue of the Roman goddess Juno—the largest Roman-era statue in North America. For families with kids, Boston’s Museum of Science is an educational playground, with more than 600 interactive exhibits, plus the world’s largest lighting bolt generator and the vast Mugar Omni Theater. The New England Aquarium is also a great family spot, where highlights include penguin presentations, sea otters, and the 4-story Giant Ocean Tank. Save yourself the hassle of driving by visiting the Museum of Science and New England Aquarium on a hop-on hop-off trolley tour, or get free entry to all three museums with a Boston Go Card. 

Bundle up and brave the chill
Travelers who brave the outdoors will be rewarded with picturesque winterscapes and peaceful, uncrowded streets. Bundle up for a walking tour of the city’s famous red-brick Freedom Trail, which features historic sites such as Beacon Hill, the Old State House, and the Paul Revere House. When the trail takes you to Faneuil Hall, head inside Quincy Market for a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and stop off for ice skating at the Boston Common. If the weather is right, skiers and snowboarders can hop on the Boston Ski Bus and head out to carve up the slopes of the Sunday River ski resort in nearby Maine. 

Enjoy winter festivities
In December, Boston’s Festival of Lights at the Museum of Fine Arts features musical performances, tours, and free museum admission, while the borough of Somerville blazes with lights and house decorations crafted by its residents. History buffs can join a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party on Dec. 16, and sports fans can cheer on Boston college hockey teams at the Beanpot on Feb. 6 and 13. On New Year’s Eve, the city’s First Night Celebrations involve ice sculptures, live entertainment, fireworks, and discounted admission to local attractions.
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