Boston's festive winter holiday markets pop up across the city during late November and December, bringing lots of holiday sparkle and cheer.
Drawing on traditions from European Christmas Markets to New England crafts fairs, these winter markets offer shoppers an appealing mix of comfort drinks (hot chocolate, mulled wine, winter cocktails, seasonal craft beers), delicious food to munch on, entertainment, kids activities, and plenty of handmade gifts and specialty food products, art, and clothing from local and New England artisans and artists.
If you want to support our local artisans and makers while having fun, soaking the holiday spirit, and delighting everyone on your holiday shopping list with unique gifts, you'll want to spend some quality time at one or more of these pop-up markets.
So fortify yourself with a steaming cup of mulled wine as you stroll around the festive vendor stalls. Based on what we're seeing already, Boston's holiday markets this winter are going to be the biggest and best ever.
What else can you expect? That depends on the market, but look for food trucks, ice sculptures, holiday workshops, performers, and carolers singing traditional holiday tunes.
Here's a roundup of the 6 best holiday and Christmas markets for you to visit in Boston in 2023.
Top photo: Christmas decorations in one of Boston's winter holiday markets, (c) Boston Discovery Guide
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Snowport: Winter Holiday Market in Boston's Seaport
Seaport's popular European-style Winter Holiday Market at Snowport returns from November 11 through January 2 to light up the holiday season with shopping, fun activities, food, and beverages.
The market showcases 120+ small businesses selling art, jewelry, home goods, apparel, and other gifts and crafts, plus seasonal treats such as hot chocolate, freshly-made waffles, craft beer, and more from 19 different food and beverage spots.
As you walk around, you'll have the opportunities to chat with the makers about their creations. Many are from the Boston area, as well as other New England states.
In addition, there will be lots of fun activities and events such as iceless curling, fun games, a tree market, and on December 2, the "Light Up Seaport" holiday tree lighting celebration.
Seaport's Snowport this year is more than twice the size of previous years, and tons of fun - so don't miss it!
Location: 100 Seaport Boulevard in Boston's Seaport neighborhood
Closest T station: Silver Line SL1 / Courthouse
Dates/Hours: November 11 - December 31 (except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, & December 26); hours vary so check their website
SoWa Winter Festival & Holiday Market
Enjoy hot mulled wine from a wine truck, hot cocoa from the hot chocolate hut, or brew, plus plenty of tasty food and live music while you explore SoWa's Winter Festival - it's the biggest Holiday Market in Boston again this year with three adjacent locations along Harrison Ave for you to soak up the festivities.
The SoWa Holiday Market gives you the perfect way to get all your holiday shopping done in one place at this festive family-friendly event. You can wander through a fresh pine forest to visit visit over 100 local artisans, designers, and food vendors, admire the holiday window displays and lights along Thayer Street as you visit artist studios, showrooms, galleries, and boutiques, and on Fridays-Sundays, explore an outdoor winter wonderland where a Trail of Lights leads you past food trucks, a bar and beer garden, and a fire pit, with plenty of heated lamps and patio tables where you can sit while you eat and drink.
And don't forget: SoWa First Fridays take place from 5pm-9pm on the first Friday of every month - so come back in January for another Friday evening of art, culture, and inspiration as the SoWa Art + Design District neighborhood's artists, galleries, shops, and showrooms open their doors and welcome you to come in.
Dates/Hours: November 25 - December 11 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays); hours vary, so check the SoWa website for your chosen date
Address: 550 Harrison Ave, in Boston's South End; closest T stations: Orange Line/Tufts Medical Center or Red Line/Broadway
Admission: $10 at the door, credit cards only
In case you're visiting Boston and not 100% familiar with city, SoWa is the area south of Washington Street in the South End which many Boston artists, galleries, showrooms, crafts people, and design studios call "home." You'll also find awesome restaurants, bistros, and bars in this area as well.
Christmas Craft Fair at Old South Church
Lovers of finely crafted beeswax candles, turned wood, and sparkling blown glass know to arrive early at Old South Church's Christmas Fair, where 30 New England artists and artisans will offer some of their finest work on one day only. The Boston Conservatory Brass will provide live music for the event.
Other sought-after creations include knits, photography, fine art, jewelry, pottery, and more. Of course you should shop for gifts - but you may be unable to resist buying something for yourself or your home as well.
After you leave the market, plenty more fantastic shopping opportunities await you along Newbury and Boston Streets.
Dates/Hours: December 3, 10am - 4pm | Free admission | Gordon Chapel in Old South Church, 645 Boston Street (corner of Dartmouth and Boston) at Copley Square in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood | Closest T station: Green Line/Copley | Find more info about Old South's Christmas concerts, pageants, and services
Visiting Boston for Christmas? Fun Things to Doi
CraftBoston Holiday Show
The CraftBoston Holiday Show, put on by the highly-regarded Society of Arts & Crafts, is a huge holiday market that doubles as an exhibition space for almost 200 widely recognized local and national craft artists. Because of its size and the crowds that it attracts, it will be online again this year. It's a fantastic place to shop for unique gifts as well as serious art, and tends to attract collectors and other artists as well as casual shoppers.
What can you expect? Look for crafts executed with the highest level of artistry: handmade wearable art, handblown glass, furniture, pottery and ceramics, leather, mixed media, paper, decorative fibers, baskets, metal, and much more.
If you miss the show or want to see more, stop by the Society of Arts & Crafts retail gallery (100 Pier 4; closed Mondays) in the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood.
Dates: November 11, 2023 - January 8, 2023
More information: Society of Arts & Crafts website
Harvard Square Holiday Fairs
Harvard Square's Holiday Fairs are legendary - not surprising for a holiday event that's been going on for more than three decades, spans 2 weekends, and attracts a large and revolving assortment of vendors.
This is a juried fair, with carefully selected sellers from all over New England and the world. Look for handmade, beautifully crafted gift items. For example, you might find photography, hand-made clothing, artisan chocolates, olives and olive oil from Greece, LED-lit jewelry plus every other type of jewelry you can imagine, wooden utensils, pottery, West African crafts, glass art, candles, honey, mobiles, and lots, lots more. Not each vendor will be there each day, so you may want to come more than once.
Dates: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays on Dec 9-11, Dec 16-18, Dec 19-22
Hours: Fridays 12 noon -7pm, Saturdays 11am-7pm, Sundays 12 noon-6pm
Location: 33 Dunster Street, Cambridge
Cape Ann Artisans Holiday Pop-In
To find the perfect one-of-a-kind holiday gift, stop by the Cape Ann Artisans Pop-In along the beautiful Rockport and Gloucester coast. Local artists and artisans welcome you to visit their studios during this self-guided walking tour to see and perhaps purchase their paintings, sculpture, mosaics, photography, pottery, jewelry, and other wonderful creations such as the gorgeous hair ornament shown in the photo above.
Drive up from Boston for the day (or take the Commuter Rail) - or spend the weekend and go for walks along the beach, dine on lobster dinners, and browse in local boutiques, galleries, and antique shops. View Rockport Hotels
Holiday Pop-In: December 3 at 10am - 4pm
Where: Open Studio Tour map and more information at www.capeannartisans.com - or pick up brochures with route maps at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, the Rockport Information Booth on Rte 127, and at each studio. Look for the Studio Tour banner at each location
More information: Cape Ann Artisans website
Christmas in Boston - Year-Round Holiday Marketplace
No roundup of Boston's winter holiday markets is complete without Christmas in Boston, where you can immerse yourself in all things Christmas year-round at its Faneuil Marketplace location.
Christmas in Boston should be your first stop whenever you need anything glittery and Christmasy - you can't beat it for ornaments of all sorts, including exquisite hand-painted creations from Eastern Europe.
Need an ornamental reindeer for your fireplace mantle? You'll find plenty of choices. Panda ornaments for your Christmas tree? No problem. Personalized Boston-specific ornaments? Lots of options. And you'll also find everything else you need to decorate for the holidays, including Santas and lots of cheer, whatever the season.
Combine your visit to Christmas in Boston with Faneuil Marketplace's festive Blink! lights and music show, and soak up the holiday spirit.
Dates: Open all year | Free admission | Faneuil Marketplace on Boston's Freedom Trail