Boston in December

Fun Things to Do

Fun Things to Do in Boston in December 2020

Holiday Markets & Festivities, Sports, Shows, Concerts, Plus Where to Ski & Ice Skate Nearby

Are you looking for interesting things to do in Boston in December? 

There is so much to do this month that you'll have trouble fitting it all in: holiday shows in the theaters, lots of sports events with the Bruins, Patriots, and Celtics in play, winter holiday markets all over the city, holiday cruises around Boston Harbor, fantastic lights and decorations everywhere, Christmas and Hanukkah events, and ice skating and skiing nearby to help you work off all the calories from yummy holiday food - plus fantastic New Year's Eve celebrations including fireworks at midnight.

Christmas and Hanukkah themes dominate Boston theater and holiday concerts on the cultural calendar this month, and our sports teams play almost every day.

December days are short and sometimes cold - but festive lights sparkle across the city, winter activities move into high gear, and Boston holiday shoppers fill the streets and stores. 

If your Boston travel plans include New Year's Eve, be sure to join the family-friendly gala First Night celebrations in Boston Common and Copley Square, where as many as 1 million people turn out for this popular end-of-December event.

Wondering what to pack?  December weather ranges from balmy to rather cold, and can be unpredictable.  Your best bet is to bring a warm jacket, hat, and gloves, plus a sweater or two to layer.  And boots are always a good idea this month.

More suggestions about top December Events in Boston


Get into the Holiday Spirit - Christmas Tree Lightings, Winter Markets & More

Watch Boston Sparkle at Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Christmas tree on Boston Common - gift from Nova Scotia
Lighted Christmas tree on Boston Common - It is an annual gift from the people of Nova Scotia, and is Boston's most special Christmas tree

Part ceremony, part celebration, Boston's Christmas tree lighting festivities at Faneuil Marketplace, Boston Common, Copley Square, Seaport, and other locations will fill you with holiday spirit. 

Look for entertainment, music, holiday cheer for adults, and of course the fantastic moment when the lights go on.  Each event offers a unique mix of activities - so attend the one you like best, or go to several.  All are free admission.

More about Boston's Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and this year's schedule

Explore & Shop at Boston's Winter Holiday Markets

Holiday Markets pop up all over Boston in December.  They're a fun mix of European-style Christmas Markets and New England crafts fairs, offering everything from vintage kitsch to fine art to hand-knitted caps - and everything in between. 

So whether you come for some serious shopping or just the hot mulled wine, live music, and tasty snacks, don't miss this seasonal fun!  All but one offer free admission, and each one is unique.

Where & when to find Boston's Holiday Markets 

Celebrate Hanukkah at a Menorah Lighting

Public menorrah lightings to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, take place across the city on each of the celebration's eight nights.  You can see New England's tallest menorah at Brewer Fountain on Boston Common,  and others at the Massachusetts State House, Faneuil Marketplace, Copley Square, and the Museum of Fine Arts.  All events are free.

More about where to attend a menorah lighting during Hanukkah

Attend a Christmas Eve or Hanukkah Service in Boston

Boston's historic churches and synagogues welcome visitors to their Christmas Eve, Midnight Mass, Christmas Day, Hanukkah, and Shabbat services, regardless of your personal beliefs or religion.  Depending on which venue you choose, you'll hear fantastic music on famous organs, view beautiful murals or stained glass, and see fantastic architecture as part of the spiritual experience.

Find out where to attend Christmas, Hanukkah, and Shabbat services

Join a Holiday Stroll in Historic Boston Neighborhoods

Get into the spirit of holiday shopping at a holiday stroll in Boston's most popular boutique-filled neighborhoods:  Beacon Hill, Fort Point, the South End, and the North End.  You'll find lots of sparkling holiday lights, good cheer, and gift ideas - as well as appealing neighborhood restaurants if you want to reward your shopping efforts with a drink or dinner.

Get the schedule for Boston's Holiday Strolls

Countdown to 2020 - New Year's Eve in Boston

Bring the year to a spectacular close and celebrate the New Year at First Night Boston, a huge city-wide New Year Eve event.  Entertainers, food, performances, fireworks, the Grand Procession - First Night Boston has it all!  The million or so Boston residents and visitors who participate will tell you it's their favorite thing to do in Boston in December!

Watch the Fireworks Over Boston Harbor at Midnight

Fireworks over Boston Harbor on New Year's Eve
 

Welcome the New Year at midnight by watching a spectacular display of fireworks over Boston Harbor.  Best viewing spots:  along the waterfront on the North End, East Boston, and the South Boston Waterfront. 

Even better:  Watch from the comfort of the yacht Northern Lights cruise boat (or celebrate on New Year's Day on a brunch cruise):

- New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise with live music, dancing, hors d'oeuvres, & fireworks at midnight

- New Year’s Day Brunch aboard Northern Lights 


Celebrate the New Year at First Night Boston 2020

First Night Boston, a huge city-wide alcohol-free New Year's Eve event, features entertainers, food, kids activities, massive ice sculptures, performances, fireworks over Boston Common at a family-friendly hour, the Grand Procession up Boylston Street - First Night Boston has it all! 

The million or so Boston residents and visitors who participate will tell you it's their favorite thing to do in Boston in December!

More about First Night Boston


Party all Night at these New Year's Eve Gala Events

Restaurants, bars, and hotels host ticketed New Year's Eve parties all over the city.  If you want to dress up, welcome the New Year with a toast (or two), and have a good time, check out these mostly 21+ events.  The most popular sell out quickly, so don't wait to get your tickets until the last minute.

Find New Year's Eve Parties in Boston

Let Boston Entertain You:  Theater, Concerts, Comedy

December weather in Boston can be unpredictable  - and occasionally rather nasty.  When a nor'easter blows and sleet slices through the air sideways, you'll want a warm, entertaining refuge - such as a show, concert, or comedy club.

Here's our roundup of popular Boston escapes from foul weather:

December Shows & Concerts in Boston

Special Holiday Shows during December

Three spectacular holiday shows are especially popular during December:  Holiday Pops, The Nutcracker, and Disney on Ice.   However, there are a lot more holiday-themed shows to choose from, including some with big-name stars like Maria Carey and Dolly Parton (and of course, Rudolph):

Save with these Boston ticket discount codes:

TicketLiquidator Discount Code - Enter TLWINTER to get $10 off orders of $250+
TicketNetwork Discount Code - Enter TNTIX to get $10 off orders of $300+

See More Seasonal Holiday Show Dates & Tickets

All Shows at Boston Theaters during December

See all December shows in Boston's Theaters during December

Boston Concerts during December


See All December Concerts in Boston

December Shows & Sports Events at TD Garden

Watch the Boston Celtics and Bruins and the Harlem Globetrotters at Boston's premier entertainment venue, TD Garden, conveniently located right in the center of the city:

TicketLiquidator Discount Code - Enter TLWINTER to get $10 off orders of $250+
TicketNetwork Discount Code - Enter TNTIX to get $10 off orders of $300+



See all TD Garden Events

Boston Comedy Clubs & Events during December

Need some laughs?  Improv, stand up, open mic, local talent and national headliners - you'll find it all at Boston's extensive comedy club scene.

TicketLiquidator Discount Code - Enter TLWINTER to get $10 off orders of $250+
TicketNetwork Discount Code - Enter TNTIX to get $10 off orders of $300+



Check out Boston's comedy clubs

Toasty Warm Ways to Tour Boston

With these exciting trolley tours, bus tours, and indoor destinations, you get to see the best of the city while staying warm and dry!

Two Easy Ways to Save BIG in Boston

Save BIG with Go Boston discount card
CityPASS Boston discount card at www.boston-discovery-guide.com

Find out more about Boston discount cards, and how they let you save big on top attractions.

Take a Special Holiday Cruise around Boston Harbor  

Holiday cruises around Boston Harbor Cruise on the Northern Lights

These special holiday cruises take place aboard the Northern Lights, a fully-enclosed 1920s-style luxury New England yacht, where you'll sit back, relax, and get into the spirit of the season while enjoying incomparable city skyline views as you cruise around Boston Harbor:

Celebrate the holidays while relaxing and sightseeing on the festively decorated Yacht Northern Lights on these special cruises around Boston Harbor:

  • New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise - Celebrate the New Year on this fabulous 3-hour fireworks cruise with live music, dancing, appetizers, & more!  Fills up early - so don't wait to book! - Find out more
  • New Year's Day Brunch Cruise - Welcome the New Year on January 1st with a tasty hot 3-course brunch on this relaxing 2.5 hour sightseeing tour Boston Harbor - Find out more
  • An Irish Christmas Carol Cruise - Get into the holiday spirit with Slainte, the Northern Lights' house Irish band.   Raise your glass as you join in singing some merry Irish holiday ballads on this 90 minute Harbor cruise - Find out more
  • Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise - Join in singing your favorite Christmas holiday songs led by the Blue Motion Jazz Quartet on this cozy 90 minute Harbor Cruise on the Northern Lights with drinks and snacks available for purchase at the yacht's Main Deck Bar. - Find out more
  • Holiday Sunset Cruise - As the ship's captain points out highlights of passing landmarks and soft music plays in the background, watch the ever-changing sunset colors as the sun sets behind Boston's city skyline on this relaxing 90 minute cruise around the Harbor.  Find out more
  • Holiday Jazz Cruise - Relax to the sounds of jazzy Christmas tunes performed live by Blue Motion Jazz Quartet, and enjoy an adult beverage on this 90 minute romantic evening cruise past iconic attractions along the Boston waterfront - Find out more
  • Holiday Brunch Cruise - See historic sights and panoramic views around Boston Harbor as you enjoy this 2 hour narrated cruise including hot chocolate and brunch (Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and spiked hot chocolate available at the bar) - Find out more
  • Cocoa & Blues Holiday Cruise - Enjoy Boston's sparkling skyline at night along with spiked hot chocolate or a glass of champagne as City of Four, Northern Lights' house R&B/funk band, plays contemporary versions of holiday classics inspired by Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and the Temptations - Find out more

Twirl Around the Ice

If you want to feel like you're bringing a Currier & Ives print to life, head to the seasonal ice rink at Frog Pond on Boston Common in late afternoon, rent some ice skates, and twirl around the ice skating rink.  

The holiday lights covering the surrounding trees sparkle overhead, and in the background you'll see even more lights gleaming in the stately mansions of Beacon Hill.  A "life is good!" feeling will sweep over you.

Find out about ice skating rinks in Boston & Cambridge

Christmas trees in Boston's Downtown Crossing
Ice skating at night at Boston's Frog Pond seasonal rink

Ski Down Some Nearby Slopes - or Frolic in the Snow in Boston!

If ice skating on Frog Pond has whetted your appetite for more winter sports, check out some of the ski slopes and cross country trails at Massachusetts ski areas near Boston.  Within 45 - 60 minutes, you can be hitting the trails.

If you're lucky enough to be in Boston during or after a December snowfall, you don't have to leave the city to have fun in the snow.  Spend some time walking around enjoying the magic sparkle of sunshine on the snow during the day, and the glitter of holiday lights reflecting on the white blanket at night.

One of most exhilarating things to do in Boston in December with kids (or for that matter, grown-ups) is to make a snowman.  Head to Boston Common or the Rose Kennedy Greenway, where you'll find open expanses with plenty of snow.  Sledding is even possible on Boston Common!



Shop, Shop, Shop!

Without a doubt, shopping is one of the top things to do in Boston in December! 

Stores sparkle with holiday lights and colorful decorations, and everyone is in a festive spirit. 

Lots of pre-Christmas and after-Christmas discounts add to the thrill of the hunt.

Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market (check out the gorgeous Christmas tree!), Prudential Center, and Newbury Street look especially spectacular, but you'll also find wonderful boutiques everywhere - the North End, the South End, Downtown Crossing, Beacon Hill, Seaport, and Harvard Square in Cambridge.

Find more tips on holiday shopping in Boston.


Cheer for your Favorite Team!

Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics fans can find plenty of action right in the city at easy-to-reach TD Garden, with games almost every day:

Boston Bruins Schedule

More Bruins and Celtics Games & Tickets:  December   |   All Months

TicketLiquidator Discount Code - Enter TLWINTER to get $10 off orders of $250+
TicketNetwork Discount Code - Enter TNTIX to get $10 off orders of $300+


New England Patriots fans can head down to Gillette Stadium:

New England Patriots Schedule and Tickets

More Patriots Games & Tickets: All Months

TicketLiquidator Discount Code - Enter TLWINTER to get $10 off orders of $250+
TicketNetwork Discount Code - Enter TNTIX to get $10 off orders of $300+


Tips for getting to Gillette Stadium from Boston

Save with Discount Tickets for Holiday Events

Save BIG on half-price & discount Christmas event tickets from Goldstar

 

2 Easy Ways to Save BIG in Boston

Save BIG with Go Boston discount card
CityPASS Boston discount card at www.boston-discovery-guide.com

Find out more about Boston discount cards, and how they give you big savings on top attractions.

Reward Yourself

After all that shopping (or ice skating), you need to reward yourself!  Head to one of Boston's many wonderful restaurants for a memorable meal ... or to one of our historic taverns for some holiday cheer.

To avoid calorie overload during the holiday season, try one of the fabulous Boston seafood restaurants.  Or opt for a warming hot pot meal or sushi in one of Chinatown's trendy restaurants.

Q Restaurant, Boston MA
Hot pot at Q in Boston's Chinatown

Celebrate and Welcome the New Year - at First Night 2020

Bring the year to a spectacular close and celebrate the New Year at First Night Boston, a huge city-wide New Year Eve event.  Entertainers, food, performances, fireworks, the Grand Procession - First Night Boston has it all!  The million or so Boston residents and visitors who participate will tell you it's their favorite thing to do in Boston in December!

Check out New Years Eve hotel specials . . . or the best Boston hotels with cozy fireplaces.

Celebrate with a New Year's Eve or New Year's Day cruise around Boston Harbor:

Check the Boston Event Calendar for December for details - and put First Night on your calendar now!

Find New Year's Eve Parties in Boston


Find a Hotel for Your Boston Visit

Enter your dates to see available hotels and rates:

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More about how to save on Boston hotels

Questions & Answers about Christmas in Boston

Romantic Things to Do in Boston during the Christmas Holidays
Hello!  My name is Shelly. I moved to Massachusetts about a year ago but I don't know much about the state. My boyfriend of three years lives in Florida and he is coming to visit for the Christmas holidays . . . More

More Fun Ways to See Boston

More to Do in Boston in December

Events and things to do in Boston in December

Save with Discount Tickets

Save BIG on half-price & discount tickets from Goldstar

 


Check Out More Top Boston Events Each Month

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