This post lists top things to do during the month of January in Boston as well as things to do at night, free activities and family-friendly events.
It has been updated for 2023.
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY
This section covers our top ten list for January. When possible, we’ve noted activities that are great after dark, free, or kid-friendly.
For more ideas on popular things to do in Boston, check out our popular posts:
Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
1. Go to a Concert
There will be a lot of notable artists performing in Boston this month, making January an especially good time to attend a concert.
Here are a few of the best shows you may want to consider:
- Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular | January 15th
- Nick Haim | January 20th
- Almost Queen | January 21st (Beverly)
- Jazz is Dead | January 24th
- Slenderbodies | January 27th
- EDEN - ICYMI Tour | January 27th
- BoomBox/BackBeat Brass January 28th
- Suki Waterhouse | January 29th
Some of these concerts are located just outside of the city, but if you’re a fan of the artist, it may be worth a day trip to see them perform live!
Check the following list for more concerts you can see in Boston this January.
2. Attend a Sporting Event
Some of Boston’s most popular teams will be playing home games throughout the month of January.
If you’re a sports fan, you're sure to find a game you'll want to attend.
This might also be a good time to take a tour of historic Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox!
For more games, you can see this month, check this list of Boston sporting events in January.
3. See a Popular Musical
Boston tends to attract some of the best musicals in the world.
During the month of January, you will definitly be able to find some performances of interest.
Hamilton will be playing at the Boston Opera House from January 17th - 29th, 2023.
If you're looking for something to take the family to, Disney on Ice - Find Your Hero is playing at Agganis Arena on January 1st and 2nd.
This is a great event to enjoy with your children. If you’re looking for more fun the kids can enjoy, please check our section on family-friendly activities.
Check this list to see more theatrical shows in Boston this January.
4. See a Stand-up Comedy Show
The city of Boston tends to attract a lot of famous comedians throughout the year, and January will be no different.
Here are a few of the most notable performers coming to Beantown this month:
- Jimmy Tingle | January 1st (Medford)
- Tim Allen | January 7th
- Sinbad | January 13th
- Akaash Singh | January 14th
- Vic Dibitetto/Eric D'Alssandro | January 14th (Medford)
There are also several comedy clubs that host free open mic nights each week. Check our post on things to do at night in Boston for more details.
Find all the comedy events in Boston here.
If you're looking for other nighttime activities in Boston, our things to do at night post has some other ideas for you.
5. Take a Walking Tour
Even though it’s a bit cold, you may want to think about taking one of our pay-what-you-wish Boston walking tours in January.
This is typically a slow month for tourism, so chances are that tour groups will be smaller and you’ll receive more personal attention from your guide!
Here are a few outings you may enjoy this month:
- Freedom Trail Tour
- North End/Little Italy
- Kennedy/Irish Boston
- Beacon Hill Crime Tour
- Battle of Bunker Hill
We also offer several self-guided tours and GPS enabled tours for those who wish to enjoy a more private excursion.
6. Dare to Know
Harvard Art Museums special exhibit "Dare to Know: Printing and Drawings in the Age of Englightenment" runs through January 15th, 2023.
150 prints, drawings, books and other objects will tell the story of how these objects played a role during the Englightenment era.
It was a revolutionary and complicated time in European history, with a legacy that reverberates still today.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Note that if you're interested, we offer a pay-what-you-wish walking tour of Cambridge and Harvard that you can take while you’re in the area.
7. Join the Travel & Adventure Show
This show brings together some of the biggest names in the travel business, including some that will teach you "how to travel like a Rock Star".
There will be over 30 travel session with travel experts, as well as hands on activities for the whole family.
If you love travel, you will love this event.
There are also giveaways, as well as deals and specials on travel.
The show takes place at the Hynes Convention Center (Hall AB) January 21st and 22nd.
Tickets can be purchased here. They're $11 for one day, and $18 for both days if purchased during the Advance Sale. Children are free.
8. Celebrate MLK Jr. Day
The city of Boston celebrates this holiday with several fun events, some of which are entirely free to enjoy.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day will fall on January 16th in 2023. Here are some activities you might enjoy:
- Institute for Contemporary Art Free Admission
- Unity Walk & Day of Service - Anthem Community Park
- Becoming King: 20th Annual MLK Tribute Concert
Note that a memorial to Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King is in the works for Boston Common.
There is hope that it will be complete and able to be unveiled on MLK day 2023.
If you’re looking for more museums you can visit for free throughout the month, please read our post about free museums in Boston.
9. Join the Polar Plunge
You may have heard about those crazy people who go swimming in frigid waters during the winter, but did you know you can actually join them?
On New Year’s Day, the L Street Brownies will be taking a polar plunge into the Dorchester Bay.
They are the oldest "polar bear" club in America and the plunge is something they've been doing for 118 years!
If you want to join in, there is no need to pre-register, just show up!
Water shoes are suggested and you must be over 16 years old.
The plunge is hosted by the L Street Brownies at the BCYF Curley Community Center, 1663 Columbia Road in South Boston, “K” Street entrance.
For more activities that won’t cost a dime, make sure to read our free things to do section.
10. Save Money With a Tourist Pass
If you’re planning to see a lot of attractions while visiting Boston, it’s worth noting that you can save money on tickets by using a tourist pass.
Boston currently has several different types of passes to choose from, and they each include a lot of popular activities including tours, museums, cruises and other things to do.
An all-inclusive pass will save you the most money, but you’ll have to use it for as many attractions as possible in order to get a big discount.
This pass includes admission to dozens of services and locations for a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days).
There are also flex passes that provide access to a set number of activities (3, 4, or 5) for one flat price.
While you can save money with this service, it’ll be important to choose the most expensive attractions.
Here are a few of the most popular tours, museums, and other things to do included with these passes:
- Hop on Hop off Trolley
- New England Aquarium
- Six Flags New England
- Boston Duck Tour
- Skywalk Observatory
- Museum of Science
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Franklin Park Zoo
- Boston Bike Rental
- Fenway Park Tour
- And more!
Depending on which type of pass you choose, you should be able to save at least 20% - 50% off or more.
For additional details, please read our post covering Boston tourist passes.
If you're already planning to get a pass, you can purchase them here: All Inclusive GoCity Pass | The Explorer GoCity Pass | CityPassBoston
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN JANUARY
There are a number of things to do in Boston at night in January, and this section will cover some of the best activities.
For additional ideas on how to spend your evening, make sure to check out our master things to do at night in Boston post which includes activities like these:
- See the City from Skywalk Observatory
- Enjoy a Night at the Museum
- Stargaze at Coit Observatory
- Take a Haunted Bus Tour
NORM! Grab a drink at the Cheers Bar
Go where everybody knows your name and have a pint at Cheers.
Don’t expect it to look quite like Sam Malone’s bar, but here is the best way to find the Cheers Bar.
There are two options in Boston: the original location that inspired the show, and the bar that was inspired by the show.
Each site has plenty of memorabilia from the show, as well as drinks and food items named after the characters in the series.
See the Blue Man Group
The Blue Man Group has been performing at the Charles Theater for years.
This artistic trio, painted in blue, offers musical and comedic performance. The show is heavy with audience participation.
Best of all, admission is included with most Boston tourist passes, making it easy to save money on this activity. Grab your tickets now or learn more!
See the Boston Symphony Orchestra
This popular orchestra will be performing at the Boston Symphony Hall throughout the month of January.
Audiences can expect a variety of classical music from notable artists such as Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.
Tickets start at $170 per person and most performances are held at 8 pm.
Purchase tickets or learn more.
Go to a Sci-fi Convention
Arisia is a science fiction and fantasy convention that will take place from January 13th - 16th, 2023 at the Westin Boston Seaport District Hotel.
This event includes a variety of fun activities including dancing, costumes, gaming, role-playing, movies, and vendors selling sci-fi goodies!
While some events take place during the day, there are plenty of fun things to do after the sun goes down as well.
Make sure to check out our master things to do at night in Boston post for more ideas.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY
With a little planning, there are a lot of free activities available to do in Boston this January.
Here are a few more ideas for free activities in January but for our comprehensive list, visiting our Free Things to Do in Boston post where you’ll find some of the following activities:
- Take a tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery
- Spend some time at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
- Go Stargazing at Astronomy After Hours
- Visit a Free Museum in Boston
Explore the Freedom Trail
Looking for the Revolutionary History of Boston? This 2-mile long trail will take you past all the historic sites and sounds of Boston.
We offer a guided walking tour of the first part of the trail – Freedom Trail Tour.
Interested in doing it on your own? We have a free self-guided tour for that.
Walk the Black Heritage Trail
In addition to the Freedom Trail, there is also a historic trail covering the history of African Americans in Boston.
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 16th, this would be the perfect time to walk this trail and learn more about black history in this city.
Click here for a free self-guided tour map and audio tours.
Tour the U.S.S. Constitution & Bunker Hill Monument
The USS Constitution was made famous for its success in battle during the War of 1812 where it never lost an engagement and received the nickname “Old Ironsides” for the way British cannonballs fired at it would bounce harmlessly off the ship’s thick wooden sides.
The Bunker Hill Monument remembers the June 17, 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill.
Even though the battle itself wasn’t a victory for the colonists, it was a huge moral victory as it proved that the colonists could inflict major casualties and showed that they were able to stand tall against the mighty British Empire.
Learn more about visiting these two sites.
Free Tours of the Boston Symphony Hall
In addition to all the performances that will be available at this location during the month of January, you can also take a tour of the historic location!
During the orchestral season (October-May), Boston Symphony Hall offers free tours of the hall. This landmark building is one of the premiere concert halls in the nation.
Taking a free tour is a great way to experience it if you cannot attend a performance – or why don’t you do both?
For more budget-friendly ideas, visit our Free Things to Do in Boston post.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN JANUARY
Boston offers a lot of family-friendly activities and attractions any day of the year.
This section provides a few more family-friendly ideas for January.
But, you can find even more in our post covering things to do with kids in Boston, including some of the following activities:
- Visit a kid-friendly Museum
- Go to the New England Aquarium
- Spend some time at Harvard Square
- Take the kids to a Playground
Go for a Spin on the Ice
There are many ice skating options in Boston. Our favorite is in Boston Commons but you can find one that fits well into your travel day.
Ice Skating is fun for all ages and some of the rinks have lessons or skating buddies to help younger skaters, and January is an excellent time for ice skating!
Take the Kids to The Commonwealth Museum
This amazing museum shares a building with the Massachusetts Archives.
Their collection includes items such as John Adams’ expense report from his trip to Philadelphia, John Hancock’s cover letter to the Massachusetts copy of the Declaration and more.
With interactive exhibits, The Commonwealth Museum is great for kids. You can pretend to be a judge at the Salem Witch Trials or figure out if you would be a Tory or Patriot before the Revolution.
It is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am - 5 pm.
Harvard Natural History Museum
The Museum was created to be the “public face” of three Harvard research museums and is a great way to stay warm and explore some of the fascinating exhibits of natural history.
Visitors can touch rock and mineral specimens dating back to the beginning of our solar system and experience glass models of plants, flowers and more.
Learn more about the Harvard Natural History Museum.
Experience Zoo Lights
This holiday display will be up at Stone Zoo until January 8th, 2023, giving families one last opportunity to enjoy the attraction.
Visitors can expect to see live reindeer, decorated animal areas, and a plethora of trees and other displays lighting up the night.
Tickets for this event are separate from tickets to the zoo, but they are also cheaper than zoo tickets.
You can find even more ideas in our post covering things to do with kids in Boston.