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What to Do in Boston in December

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This post highlights the best things to do in Boston in December, including free, family-friendly, and nighttime things to do, all updated for 2021.




This section covers our top ten list for Boston in December. When appropriate, we’ve noted activities that are free, family-friendly or fun after dark.

For even more ideas on popular tourist attractions, check out our posts on our popular posts: 

Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a Boston tourist discount pass.

Be sure to also check out our Holiday Events in Boston post!

1) See a Musical

There are going to be several great musicals and theatrical performances to see in Boston this December. 

You can find all the theatrical performances in Boston here.



The two most notable shows playing this month are Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar

If you’re looking for something fun and family-friendly to enjoy, consider one of the following shows:

NOTE: If you’re looking for other festive shows to attend, consider a Christmas concert! 

You can find all the theatrical performances in Boston here.

2) Go to a Concert

Throughout the year, Boston attracts some of the biggest musicians in the world.

December will be no different, as there will be dozens of notable artists performing in Beantown this month.

You can find all the concerts in Boston here.



If you’re looking for a concert to see, consider one of the following options:

You can find all the concerts in Boston here.

3) Attend a Sporting Event

Sports fans will have plenty of great games to see in Boston during the month of December.

You can find all the sporting events in Boston here.

Football fans can look forward to just one New England Patriots game at Gillette Stadium against the Buffalo Bills on December 26th.

Thankfully, you can also catch the Fenway Bowl on December 29th at Fenway Park!



If you’re a basketball fan, the Celtics will have several home games to enjoy throughout the month.

Boston Celtics

Finally, hockey fans can look forward to several Bruins games this December.

Boston Bruins

You can find all the sporting events in Boston here.

4) Go on a Walking Tour

We offer a variety of pay-what-you-want walking tours throughout Boston with something for everyone! 

Best of all, many of these tours will take you by popular locations which will be lit up for the holiday season, making each outing a little more festive.



If you’re looking for a walking tour that will include some lighting displays in addition to historical information about the city, consider one of the following:

If you don’t have time for a walking tour, we also offer a number of GPS enabled audio-guided tours that are available for you at your convenience!

5) Take a Holiday Cruise

Many popular cruise lines will be offering holiday outings in Boston harbor throughout the month of December.

Some of these services will include Christmas caroling while others will feature live jazz. 



Whether you want to sit back and relax while taking in the views or enjoy singing Christmas carols with others, this is an excellent holiday activity.

If you’d rather take a more traditional sightseeing or dinner cruise, make sure to read our post covering Boston boat tours.

6) Attend a Holiday Concert

There will be at least one major holiday concert in Boston this month.

Whether you want to hear popular modern artists or a classical symphony, you can usually look forward to at least one event to attend in December.



The biggest show will be the Boston Holiday Pops at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, which is only about half an hour outside of the city.

Kiss 108 usually also hosts their Jingle Ball each year, but they have yet to make an announcement for 2021.

7) Take the Kids to Disney on Ice

If you’re looking for a fun activity the kids will enjoy, consider taking them to Disney on Ice: Mickey's Search Party this December.



This show will feature many of their favorite Disney characters including Ariel, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Anna, Elsa, Olaf and more.

TIP: After the show, take your family ice skating at the Frog Pond in Boston Commons!

Alternatively, you can find more things to do with your children in our family-friendly section.

8) Go to the Jingle Bell Run 

Grab your running (or walking!) shoes and register for a timed 5k, untimed 1k, or kids fun-run on December 8th at the Jingle Bell Run.

All registration proceeds will go to the Arthritis Foundation.



You can donate to the cause at any time, even if you don’t plan to participate in the event.

It’s worth noting that it won’t cost a dime to come and cheer on everyone in the race!

Many people will be dressing up in festive attire for the Jingle Bell Run, so you’re likely to spot some familiar characters like Santa and his elves.

This event will be taking place at Boston Commons at 9 am.

For more fun activities that won’t cost anything to enjoy, check our free things to do section.

9) Celebrate New Year’s Eve

Boston rings in 2022 with a variety of events including multiple fireworks shows.

Enjoy the family-focused fireworks display at 7 pm or stay up until midnight and watch the fireworks go off in Copley Square.

In years past, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Boston has been absolutely epic, which a variety of puppet shows, musical performances, comedic improv, festive ice skating events and more.



If you want to know what to expect this year, make sure to keep an eye on the schedule at First Night Boston. This event was taken virtual for 2021, and they have yet to announce their plans for this year.

Don’t forget to check which restaurants are offering special menus and discounts for the New Year’s celebration!

For more fun activities after the sun goes down, check our things to do at night section.

10) Save Money With a Tourist Pass

If you’re planning to enjoy a lot of different activities while you’re in Boston this December, a tourist pass can save you a lot of money on popular attractions.

One of the easiest options is a build-your-own-pass, which allows you to save 20% off 2 or more tickets. 

Another nice thing about these passes is that they make it easier to save a few bucks on attractions that are already pretty cheap. 



For instance, a flex pass allows you to pay one flat price for a set number of attractions (3, 4, or 5), which means you’ll ultimately be paying a certain amount for each ticket. 

If one of the locations you want to visit is already $10 or less, why would you use a flex pass (over $25 per ticket) for that?

Flex passes are much more useful for expensive activities, and you can save a lot of cash using them for those services.

There are also all-inclusive passes which include admission to dozens of popular attractions over the course of a specific amount of time (1, 2, 3, 5, or 7 days).

Here are a few of the most notable tours and tickets included with Boston tourist passes:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Trolley Tour
  • Six Flags New England
  • New England Aquarium
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Boston Harbor Cruise
  • Museum of Science
  • Skywalk Observatory
  • Fenway Park Tour
  • Franklin Park Zoo
  • And more!

Some of these services also include skip-the-line entry at certain locations, making it easy to save both time and money.

Depending on how you use these passes, you could save anywhere from 20% - 50% or more. For additional details, please read our post about Boston tourist passes.


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This December, Boston will be loaded with evening activities that are sure to please. 



In addition to the events listed below, don’t forget to check out our master post on things to do at night in Boston post for even more night time ideas!

Have a Pint at the Cheers Bar!

Originally named Bull and Finch, this bar in the Back Bay was the inspiration for the famous 1980s comedy, Cheers! 

Stop in to have a bite or a pint of beer at the bar or shop the gift shop which features an assortment of paraphernalia for fans.

For more details about this activity, please read our post about visiting the original Cheers bar in Boston.

See the Boston Common Tree Lighting Ceremony

On December 2nd, Boston Common will celebrate the upcoming holiday season with a massive and beautiful Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

There will also be a figure skating ice show at the nearby Frog Pond with competitive skaters performing a variety of interesting tricks and moves.

Visitors can expect there to be plenty of festive music, entertainment, and refreshments available.

For more details, please read our post covering Christmas in Boston.

Blink! At Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Fun and free for everyone, Blink! Will light up Faneuil Hall Marketplace with the biggest Christmas trees in the northeast, live holiday music, and thousands of lights. 

There will be festive nightly shows starting at 4:30 pm every night in December, and you can expect Santa Claus to show up for a few events!

You can find more information about this activity in our post about holiday events in Boston.

In addition to the events listed below, don’t forget to check out our master post on things to do at night in Boston post for even more night time ideas!


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Boston offers a variety of free events throughout the month of December. 



For even more ideas, make sure to read our post covering free things to do in Boston.

UNCONFIRMED: Harvard Square Holiday Fair

Shop for holiday gifts or souvenirs to take homemade by dozens of local vendors.

Now in its 34th year, the Harvard Square Holiday Fair takes place throughout the month of December and will feature the crafts made by numerous New England artists and designers.

This year, the event will be held just a few blocks south of Harvard Square at St. Paul’s Church Hall.

Don’t forget that we offer tours of both Cambridge and Harvard!

NOTE: This event has not yet been confirmed for 2021.

Go to a Holiday Market

Even if you can’t find the gift you’re looking for at the Harvard Square Holiday Fair, there’s no need to worry – there will be several holiday markets popping up all over the city!

There are also popular shopping malls such as Prudential Center which have several different shops to choose from, making it easier to find gifts that your loved ones will enjoy.

Although the idea is to spend money on gifts, you can always come and just enjoy the decorations at these holiday markets for free!

For more details, make sure to read our post about Christmas in Boston.

Visit a Free Museum

In addition to all the festive fun that you can do in Boston this month, there are also several museums that you can enjoy without paying a dime.

Here are a few of the best locations to visit for free in Boston:

  • U.S.S. Constitution Museum
  • Commonwealth Museum
  • McMullen Museum of Art
  • Massachusetts Historical Society
  • Boston Fire Museum

For even more places you can visit without worrying about your finances, check our post about free museums in Boston.

For more general activity ideas, make sure to read our post covering free things to do in Boston.


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December brings a variety of family-friendly events to Beantown! 



You can find even more great ideas on our post covering what to do with kids in Boston.

UNCONFIRMED: Attend a Boston Tea Party Reenactment

Experience a dramatic reenactment of the single most important event that led to the American Revolution. 

Living history actors will come together at the Old South Meeting House to tell the story of the Boston Tea Party that occurred on December 16th, 1773.

As you may have guessed, this activity will be taking place on December 16th, and it’s actually a free event!

NOTE: This event has yet to be confirmed for 2021.

UNCONFIRMED: Candlelight Christmas at Old South

Enjoy an evening filled with the holiday spirit through the singing of classic and newly arranged songs. 

Hosted at the Old South Church, this event will offer plenty of arrangements that the audience can sing along to as well.

This event will take place on December 13th at 8 pm. Tickets run from $10 - $25 per person.

NOTE: This event was taken virtual in 2020, and they have yet to announce plans for 2021.

UNCONFIRMED: Take the Kids to ZooLights

Throughout the month of December, take the family to experience ZooLights at either Stone Zoo. 

Happening daily (except December 25) from 5 pm - 9 pm, the zoo comes alive with thousands of twinkling holiday lights and more seasonally fit attractions.

Younger visitors will have an opportunity to meet Santa Clause and potentially even see his reindeer!

NOTE: The zoo has yet to confirm that this event will take place in 2021, but chances are that ZooLights will return once again.

You can find even more great ideas on our post covering what to do with kids in Boston.


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About The Author

Brian Burgess

Brian was born in Cambridge and has been living in the Boston area all his life. He is a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. He has been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoys sharing his knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on his tours, but with everyone he meets.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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