Plan a trip Boston, your family-friendly holiday playground this year! From holiday tree lightings to festive hotel packages, much-anticipated annual performances, exciting celebrations, and more, we've gathered our list of the top family activities this holiday season.
Attend a Holiday Lighting Ceremony
There's no better way to get into the holiday spirit than attending a lighting ceremony. And in Boston, we don't just stop at tree lightings. From a playground ship to festively festooned landmarks, entire neighborhoods, and a 22-foot Menorah, there are plenty of opportunities to spread holiday cheer. Gather the kids and check out these holiday lighting ceremonies this year:
- Trellis Lighting at Christopher Columbus Park — TBD
- Macy's Great Tree Lighting in Downtown Boston — TBD
- Faneuil Hall Marketplace Tree Lighting — TBD
- Ship Lighting at Martin's Park — TBD
- Boston's Official 2023 Christmas Tree Lighting on Boston Common — TBD
- Commonwealth Avenue Mall Lighting — TBD
- Light Up Seaport — TBD
Follow the Holiday Light Trail
Put away the GPS and let Boston's holiday lights trail guide you to some of the city's most iconic (and Instagrammable!) areas. Start on the tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue Mall, where enchanting white lights now pair perfectly with Victorian-era brownstones, and embark on a festive journey to Boston's Seaport, with stops in the Public Garden, Boston Common for the city's official 2023 Christmas tree, Downtown Crossing, Christopher Columbus Park, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. You'll probably want to start preparing the kids to pose for a fun family photo shoot now!
Insider tip: You don't have to walk to enjoy Boston's holiday lights trail. Check out Old Town Trolley Tours' Holiday Lights and Sights Tour.
Search for Betty the Yeti in Seaport
Finding Santa is pretty exhilarating, but have you ever found a 389-year-old pink Yeti?
Fresh off the plane from the Himalayas, Betty the Yeti has made Seaport her urban oasis for the season. Unlike most mythical creatures, Betty loves the limelight and can be seen frolicking through Snowport, taking long walks along the harbor, curling, and dining at Seaport's top restaurants. If you want a guaranteed sighting, head down to Snowport on select Sundays (dates coming soon!).
While searching for Betty, make sure to check off your holiday shopping list and try your hand at curling at Snowport, opening early November until December 31.
Score Tickets to one of Boston's Time-honored Holiday Performances
The holiday season in Boston marks the return of treasured performances - Holiday Pops, Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker, Black Nativity, and Urban Nutcracker. Create your family's next favorite holiday tradition by attending one of these festive performances:
Discover a Winter Wonderland at the Stone Zoo
The Stone Zoo is a must-visit no matter what time of year you're in Greater Boston. But during the holidays, it really shines (literally!). From mid-November to early January, the Stone Zoo's ZooLights experience transforms the zoo into an enchanting winter wonderland, complete with thousands of sparkling lights, reindeer, and even visits with Santa.
Visits with Santa are available throughout December, so start preparing those Christmas wish lists (that means you as well, parents!). Advanced registration is required.
Go Ice Skating
Few holiday experiences are as quintessentially Boston as skating at an outdoor ice skating rink. From skating under the twinkling lights at the Boston Common's iconic frog pond to watching the kids skate at The Rink at 401 Park as you enjoy a craft beer at Trillium or taking family skating lessons at Skate @ Canal District Kendall in Kendall Square, ice skating is a must add to your family's holiday bucket list this year.
Embark on the Freedom Trail's Historic Holiday Stroll
If your kid is a history buff, there's no better way to celebrate the magic of the holiday season than on the Freedom Trail®'s Historic Holiday Stroll. Featuring stops at some of Boston's most festive areas along the Freedom Trail®, including Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, and Downtown Crossing, the Stroll's 19th-century Dickensian costumed guides share the stories of how Boston’s holiday traditions have evolved and are sure to delight visitors of all ages!
Book a Stay that the Whole Family Will Love
The magic of Boston during the holidays shouldn't end when you reach your hotel room. Book a festive hotel package that will have the kids begging to come back year after year!
Have Tea or Hot Chocolate with Santa
Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their elves have RSVP'd to events throughout Greater Boston. And, if you ask us, there's no better way to meet the Big Guy than over a cup of tea or hot chocolate (cookies too, of course!). Check out these holiday sit-downs with Santa below:
Watch Football at Fenway Park
A family trip to Boston isn't complete without visiting Fenway Park (even in the winter!). And, if you're in Boston on December 28, 2023, America's oldest ballpark is transformed into a historic college football stadium! Don't miss as teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and American Athletic Conference (AAC) play in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl this year. Your kids will be bragging about your holiday trip for ages!
Celebrate New Year's Eve at First Night Boston
Remember trying to stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve when you were a kid (well, since you have kids, it's probably still challenging!). Now's your chance to challenge the kids to witness the new year. Plan a trip to Boston this New Years for the city's annual First Night Boston celebration, a night of live performances, fireworks, and festive fun!