While Boston Massachusetts is generally a warmer month destination, it can be worth visiting Boston in the winter months. There are plenty of fun things to do in Boston in the winter – from indoor activities like sporting events and museums to outdoor activities like walking tours and sightseeing.
When planning your Boston family winter vacation, it’s important to keep the winter weather in mind. While there are often milder days when you can spend some time outside, other days are absolutely freezing. Be sure to pack all of the necessary winter activity gear – things like warm boots, gloves, winter coats, hats, and scarves.
Check the weather forecast, and take advantage of the milder days of your trip to do any outdoor activities.
Please check on the current health guidelines/requirements before planning your trip to Boston. In addition to specific requirements, operating hours and days may be affected by the current situation and the time of year. Things are constantly changing, so also check right before you leave.
This post contains affiliate links. A purchase / click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no cost to you. I visited several of these activities/hotels at no/lower cost for purposes of review. All opinions are my own.
Things To Do In Boston In The Winter
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts
This art museum located in the Fenway section of Boston offers loads of fantastic exhibits, including permanent collections and traveling exhibits. While children may not completely appreciate all of the exhibits, the mummy exhibit is especially popular with kids. In addition to the exhibits, the museum does also offer family programming – check their website for the scheduled offerings.
The Museum of Fine Arts is located on the MBTA’s green line. In addition, there is a paid parking garage adjacent to the museum.
The New England Aquarium
Located right along the Boston Harbor waterfront, the New England Aquarium is extremely popular with families. It’s right in downtown Boston, and a visit there can be combined with a trip to many of the other popular Boston activities.
Currently, timed tickets are required. Purchase your tickets online, and you can enter the aquarium at a specific time. Once you go in, you can stay as long as you’d like, until closing.
Some of the more popular exhibits at the New England Aquarium include the penguins, the Atlantic Harbor Seals, and the Giant Ocean Tank, located right in the center of the museum. In addition, there’s a giant screen theater offering animal and nature-themed films. You can purchase a ticket to the theater along with your New England Aquarium ticket.
The New England Aquarium is located on the MBTA. In addition, there is a parking garage a short distance from the aquarium.
Isabella Stewart Garden Museum
While the Isabella Stewart Garden Museum is most famous for the infamous heist that took place in 1990, it’s also a beautiful museum offering a gorgeous courtyard garden and an extensive art collection. The museum is located in the Fenway area of the city.
Tickets can be accessed online, and the museum can be accessed either through public transportation or by car. The closest MBTA stops are either the Ruggles stop on the Orange Line or the Museum of Fine Arts stop on the green line. Paid parking is available at the Simmons School of Management Garage or the Museum of Fine Arts Garage. On-street metered parking is also offered.
The Boston Museum of Science
The Boston Museum of Science has long been my favorite museum of all time, and I think it’s one of the best places to visit with kids. This hands-on science museum is huge, with loads of interactive exhibits. There are also many other activities in the museum, including an IMAX theater, a planetarium, and a 4-D theater.
While many kids may think a science museum sounds boring, the exhibits at the Museum of Science are anything but boring. They do a great job of making science fun!
You can easily spend much of your day at the Boston Museum of Science. When purchasing tickets, you can add on any of the additional experiences. Just be mindful of your plans, because you don’t need to do all of the extra activities. There are so many things to do that are included in the regular exhibit hall ticket.
The Museum is currently open daily, and tickets can be purchased online. I recommend arriving early in the day. There is an attached parking garage, but it does sometimes fill up, especially on school vacation days. You can also take the MBTA green line.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
The iconic Faneuil Hall Marketplace and adjacent Quincy Market are must-visits for any Boston tourist. While the shops at Faneuil Hall are mostly retail chains, there are also some locally-owned shops and kiosks.
Faneuil Hall is also a great place to grab a meal. The food court located throughout the market offers many local specialties, like lobster rolls and chowder. It’s a great way to try lots of different types of food.
Faneuil Hall is also located within walking distance to the Boston Harbor Waterfront and Boston’s North End (which is one of my favorite spots in the city). So you can easily combine a trip with several tourist spots.
There are several parking garages in the Faneuil Hall area. It’s also accessible through public transportation, and
Boston Children’s Museum
Are you visiting Boston with younger children? The Boston Children’s Museum is a fantastic museum for little ones. It offers loads of exhibits, including the New Balance Climb exhibit where kids can climb around and get out some energy.
When my kids were younger, they loved the Children’s Museum. We liked to arrive early in the morning when the museum opens. It isn’t as busy at that time.
We found that we could spend a few hours at the Boston Children’s Museum before we were ready to leave. Metered parking is available in the area, as are several parking garages.
The Boston Common Frog Pond
Take advantage of the cold weather, and head to the Boston Common Frog Pond for some ice skating. In the winter, the oldest outdoor ice skating rink in New England offers winter skating.
If you need to rent equipment, you can do that right at the rink. Options include skates, lockers, skate sharpening, and skating aids.
The rink is open seven days a week, although you’ll want to check the schedule online before departing. Season tickets are also available if you live in the area and think you’ll want to skate frequently.
While you are in the area, you can also walk by the Massachusetts State House, Beacon Hill, and the Boston Public Garden. It’s accessible through public transportation, and there’s also a public parking garage under the Common.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
This museum, located on the Harvard University campus in Harvard Square, offers exhibits and programming for families. The museum represents three departments at Harvard: the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum.
Currently, you’ll need advance tickets reserved online to enter the museum. You can get there by public transportation (the MBTA red line) and there are parking garages/metered parking in the area.
Boston’s TD Garden is located above Boston’s North Station. It offers a number of winter shows throughout the year and is the home to the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins. Check their website for the schedule.
You can access the TD Garden through both public transportation and car. There’s an underground parking garage available.
The Freedom Trail
One of the most popular activities in Boston is to walk the Freedom Trail. This 2.5-mile walk is indicated by a red line on the sidewalk and roads. It goes through 16 historic sites, but you can also do just part of the trail if you’d like (or if it gets too cold).
It’s a self-guided tour, but you can also book tickets for a 90-minute guided walking tour. That can be the best way to learn all about the rich history of the area. You can find all the details on their website.
Fenway Park Tour
While you can’t watch a Boston Red Sox game in the winter, you still will be able to visit “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”. Guided tours of the park are offered year-round. Tickets can be purchased online. Just check the weather forecast in advance to make sure it won’t be too cold for a visit.
Other popular things to do in Boston in the winter include the Bunker Hill Monument, the USS Constitution, and the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.
Where to Stay for Your Boston Winter Vacation
Here are some of the most popular family hotels in Boston: