Boston events December 2018. Things to do in Boston.

Best events for 12 months

Boston events December 2018

Ugly sweater pub crawl

December 1, 2018 (12 to 4 p.m.)
0.1 miles east
Wear your tackiest to the Boston Ugly Sweater Crawl, which begins includes drink specials at eight Faneuil Hall bars.

Holiday dance show

December 1, 2018 (10:30 a.m.)
7.6 miles NW
Step Into the Holidays is “a holiday spectacular” featuring dancers of all ages from The Legacy Dancers at the Regent Theatre in Arlington.

Short holiday plays

December 1, 2018 (8 p.m.)
12.4 miles north
See nine short holiday plays at Suburban Holiday Memories performed by the Quannapowitt Players Theater in Reading.

Tree lighting ceremonies

December 1 - 2, 2018
Boston locations
Free lighting ceremonies start the holidays in Boston. Also see the November page.

Holiday home tour

December 1 - 2, 2018
1.9 miles south
Visit five homes professionally decorated for the holidays during the Labouré Center Christmas House Tour in South Boston, with transportation provided by Old Town Trolley, and a post-tour party.

Christmas show

December 1 - 9, 2018
13 miles NW
ChristmasTime has a cast of 200, a full orchestra, Santa’s workshop, a parade of wooden soldiers, dancers, a Victorian Christmas, and a live Nativity at Reagle Theatre.

The story of Chanukah

December 2, 2018 (4 p.m.)
1.2 miles SW
A Light Through the Ages tells the meaning of Chanukah through story and song, concluding with a dramatic candle-lighting ceremony at Central Reform Temple. Free.

Family musical: Rudolph

December 2, 2018 (3 p.m.)
30 miles NW
Based on the TV classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a cheerful, song-filled live adventure featuring Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Abominable Snow Monster, Hermey the Elf, and Rudolph in Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

Holiday show: Elf the Musical

December 2, 2018
46.7 miles west
An orphan who crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts is transported to the North Pole in Elf the Musical at The Hanover Theatre in Worcester.

Star-studded concert

December 4, 2018 (7 p.m.)
0.6 miles NW
The Jingle Ball brings big-name music artists every December to TD Garden.

Christmas spectacular

December 4 - 9, 2018
1 mile SW
Cirque Dreams Holidaze features flying reindeer, jumping gingerbread men, rousing music, amazing costumes, and Santa at Boch Center - Shubert Theatre.

Hanukkah event

December 5, 2018 (4:30 to 10 p.m.)
2.6 miles SW
Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights promises “an evening of art, culture, and community” with art exhibits, live performances, and art making at the Museum of Fine Arts. Free admission beginning 4 p.m.

Holiday at the mansion

December 6, 2018 (5 to 7:30 p.m.)
8.5 miles west
Walk through the decorated rooms of Commander’s Mansion at Holiday Open House, which has cocoa and treats plus Santa in the evening in Watertown. Free.

The Nutcracker in Weston

December 7 - 9, 2018
16 miles west
Commonwealth Ballet frolics, battles, and dances to tell the story of The Nutcracker, a toy that comes to life in a young girl’s dream and leads her to the land of the sugar plum fairy at Regis College.

Swedish holidays

December 8, 2018
1.5 miles SW
Swedish Yuletide features traditional Swedish foods, crafts, and Lucia pageants (11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.) at the Cyclorama.


December 8, 2018
2.3 miles SW
The Boston Baroque orchestra, chorus, and guest soloists perform Handel’s masterpiece Messiah for the holidays in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.

Football lunch

December 8, 2018 (2 to 7 p.m.)
14 miles NW
Join local celebrities at Army Navy Football Luncheon, which includes a lunch buffet and TVs showing the game at Scoreboard Sports Bar & Grill in Woburn.

Wine tasting in Ashland

December 8, 2018 (2 to 6 p.m.)
28.6 miles west
A ticket to the Grand Tasting Event includes a souvenir glass, 60 wines to taste, and food at Wine Empire in Ashland.

Jingle Bell run/walk

December 9, 2018
0.6 miles SW
Wear a costume or tie on bells for the Jingle Bell Run (5K or 1-mile) and the kids’ run (1K) at Boston Common. Walkers welcome.

Holiday 5K

December 9, 2018
3.5 miles west
Yulefest is a 5K race through Harvard Square followed by a block party with food and beer for age 21+.

Charles Dickens festival

December 9, 2018
12 miles west
Dickens Holiday Festival has holiday vendors, carolers, bell ringers, and fiddlers upstairs. On the main floor, costumed actors will read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, at Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham. Admission cost.


December 12, 2018 (7 to 9 p.m.)
0.4 miles north
The North End Music and Performing Arts Center plus a choir and soloists perform Handel’s Messiah (Part 1) at St. Leonard’s Church.

Candlelit Christmas concert

December 14, 2018 (8 p.m.)
1.4 miles SW
Candlelight Christmas at Old South has a candlelight procession, a chorus singing classic holiday songs and less familiar works accompanied by the church’s majestic organ, and sing-a-longs at Old South Church.

Celebrate a jazz legend

December 15, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
multiple locations
John Coltrane Memorial Concert is a tribute to an early American jazz saxophonist and composer that includes a film, panel discussions, and concerts at Northeastern University and nearby.

Concert at Old South Church

December 15, 2018 (2:30 p.m.)
1.5 miles SW
The Holiday Concert features the Boston Choral Ensemble singing traditional carols and music by candlelight, accompanied by the organ at Old South Church.

Family theater

December 15, 2018
2 miles SW
Based on a classic children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit is about a boy who forms a special bond with his stuffed rabbit at Calderwood Pavilion.

Ticket deal $15

CityPass Boston

Hip Nutcracker

December 15 - 16, 2018
0.8 miles SW
The Hip Hop Nutcracker gives Tchaikovsky’s score a modern twist with 12 hip-hop dancers (including “King of Rap” Kurtis Blow), an on-stage DJ, an electric violinist, and a digital background with an urban vibe at Emerson Colonial Theatre.

Ticket deal $23 to $55

Art fair

December 15 - 16, 2018
1.9 miles SW
Shop for gifts from 200 juried artists at the CraftBoston Holiday show at Hynes Convention Center. Held in April and December.

Ticket deal $8

Make a glass gift

December 15 - 16, 2018
4.8 miles SW
Make your own glass ornament or tree or Jewish plate to take home at a Christmas Class at Diablo Glass School. Wear cotton clothes and closed-toe shoes.

Gospel Nativity

December 15 - 23, 2018
0.6 miles SW
Black Nativity tells the story of the Nativity in song, scripture, music, poetry, and dance with a cast of 50 people at the Paramount Center.

Celtic Christmas

December 15 - 23, 2018
0.8 miles SW
Enjoy Celtic music, Scottish singing, and Irish dance at A Christmas Celtic Sojourn at Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston (plus New Bedford, Rockport, Worcester).

Harvard Square craft fair

December 15 - 23, 2018
5.7 miles NW
Harvard Square Holiday Fair is a smaller craft market at The Church of St. Paul in Cambridge. See schedule. Free.

Holiday play

December 15 - 23, 2018
10 miles north
Based on the classic Jimmy Stewart film, It's a Wonderful Life demonstrates how one man’s life matters because it touches so many other people, live at Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham.

Christmas play

December 15 - 23, 2018
44 miles west
A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ classic about the miraculous transformation of miserly Scrooge at Hanover Theatre in Worcester.

Ticket deal $14 to $40

Holiday harbor cruise

December 15 - 29, 2018
0.5 miles SE
The Holiday Cruise includes a live band, carolers, optional sing alongs, 1.5 hours of views, and a bar (selling cocoa, cookies, and more) aboard the decorated Northern Lights, leaving Rowes Wharf.

Winter solstice show

December 15 - 29, 2018
3.3 miles NW
Christmas Revels is a family-oriented show with 2.5 hours of music, dance, song, theater, humor, and audience participation at Sanders Theatre.

The Nutcracker

December 15 - 30, 2018
0.6 miles SW
The Nutcracker by Boston Ballet is a holiday tradition with colorful characters on a magical journey to the Nutcracker Prince’s kingdom in the clouds at the Boston Opera House.

Lights in the garden

December 15 - 30, 2018
47 miles west
Winter Reimagined has colorful lights, decorated trees, illuminated sculptures, and fire pits outdoors, plus a model train village, subtropical plants, and food for sale indoors at 132-acre Tower Hill Botanic Garden. No pets. Buy tickets online. Closed Mondays & Dec. 25.


December 15 - 31, 2018
8.2 miles north
See trees covered with lights, live reindeer, decorated animals areas, and Santa at ZooLights at Stone Zoo. The last day with Santa is Dec. 24. Closed Dec. 25.

Holiday light show

December 15, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019
0 miles
See “the largest tree in the northeast” decorated with lights synchronized to music at Blink Light & Sound Show at Faneuil Hall every half hour from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Free.

Boston Tea Party

December 16, 2018
0.3 miles SW
Relive December 16, 1773 when colonists met to debate King George’s tea tax and decide the fate of three shiploads of tea in Boston Harbor at the Boston Tea Party Reenactment, with 100 volunteer actors in costume at Old South Meeting House.

Holiday bike ride

December 16, 2018 (10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
6.4 miles NW
Wear festive clothes and sing carols on the leisurely paced 22-mile Jingle Ride from Arlington to Boston roundtrip, with cookies and cocoa in Harvard Square. Free.

Holiday jazz cruise

December 16 - 30, 2018
0.5 miles SE
The Holiday Jazz Cruise features Christmas tunes performed by Benjamin Young Jazz Trio, with holiday beverages for sale and views of Boston Harbor aboard the decorated Northern Lights, leaving Rowes Wharf.

Ticket deal $20 to $29

Symphonic concert

December 17, 2018 (8 p.m.)
2 miles west
Hear contemporary American music for wind ensemble at Berklee Symphonic Winds: American Legends, featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein and a tribute to John F. Kennedy at the Berklee Performance Center. Repeats in May. Free.

Music at the mansion

December 18, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
10 miles west
Music for the Holly Days features a seven-member string band playing Celtic and traditional folk music (Irish jigs, Scottish reels, folk songs, holiday favorites, and sing alongs) in the Carriage House at Gore Place in Waltham.

Holiday Sunset Cruise

December 18 - 27, 2018
0.5 miles SE
The Holiday Sunset Cruise features 1.5 hours of views as the sky above Boston Harbor changes from blue to oranges, with holiday beverages for sale aboard the decorated Northern Lights, leaving Rowes Wharf.

Ticket deal $17 to $26

Family musical

December 20 - 23, 2018
0.2 miles west
Madeline’s Christmas is a musical play based on the book about 12 girls in Paris “with plenty of laughs, songs, and thrills along the way” at Calderwood Pavilion.

Revolutionary musical

December 20 - 29, 2018
8.1 miles west
1776 is an irreverent (yet family friendly) comedy about the founding fathers who drafted the Declaration of Independence and gave birth to a new nation, performed by a cast of men and women at Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown.

Ticket deal $27 to $36

Modern Nutcracker

December 20 - 30, 2018
0.9 miles SW
The diverse cast of Urban Nutcracker combines ballet, swing, flamenco, hip-hop, and Tchaikovsky’s classic score at Shubert Theatre.

Ticket deal $9 to $49

New version: Christmas play

December 20 - 30, 2018
3.2 miles west
A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ holiday classic about the amazing transformation of miserly Scrooge when he’s visited by ghosts. This new version at Central Square Theater has “puppetry, live music, dancing, and intimate storytelling.”

Ticket deal $25 to $35

Latkes for Hanukkah

December 21, 2018
3.6 miles NW
Celebrate Hanukkah with potato pancakes at the Everyone Loves Latkes Party at 31 Brattle Street. Free.

White Christmas sing along

December 25, 27, 28, 2018
7.6 miles NW
Sing the onscreen lyrics as you watch White Christmas starring Bing Crosby at Regent Theatre in Arlington.

Ticket deal $9 (Dec. 25)

Magic show

December 27 - 31, 2018 (2 & 7 p.m.)
0.2 miles west
Ivan Amodei involves the audience in his entertaining 90-minute magic show Secrets & Illusions, featuring illusions, puzzles, priceless artwork, music, and mind games in Calderwood Pavilion for age 10+.

Ticket deal $25 to $65

Mind-reading comedy

December 29 - 30, 2018
0.4 miles SW
Master mentalist Jon Stetson entertains with a funny show that “blends the art of mystery with the study of psychology, the predictability of human nature, and the power of intuition” at Omni Parker House.

Ticket deal $30 to $50

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2018
Boston locations
OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations on New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s festival

December 31, 2018
Boston locations
Boston First Night First Day is a two-day festival of art exhibits, dance performances, live music, puppets, a people’s parade, and family fun, mostly at Copley Square and Boston Public Library. See schedule. Free.

New Year’s Eve - James Bond

December 31, 2018 (8:30 p.m.)
0.6 miles SW
Timeless is a sophisticated party with local celebrities and live performances at the Hyatt Regency.

New Year’s - fireworks 7 p.m.

December 31, 2018
0.8 miles SW
Boston Family Fireworks is a spectacular fireworks display scheduled at a time when children can attend at Boston Common. Free.

New Year’s - fireworks midnight

December 31, 2018 (11:59 p.m.)
0.5 miles east

New Year’s Eve - Westin

December 31, 2018
1.5 miles SE
Designed for professionals age 30+, Back Bay Ball has an optional dinner starting at 7 p.m., followed at 9 p.m. by dancing to ‘80s, ‘90s, and current top-40 dance & club hits, and a midnight countdown at The Westin Copley Place.

Ticket deal $59 to $79

New Year’s Eve - pops

December 31, 2018 (10 p.m.)
2.1 miles SW
Dance the night away with the Boston Pops and special guest Seth MacFarlane, plus a cash bar and dining options at Boston Pops Symphony Hall.

New Year’s Eve - Cambridge

December 31, 2018 (9 p.m.)
3.5 miles west
Dress up (flapper, roaring 20s, zoot suit, or semi-formal) for the Gatsby’s House Boston New Year’s, which offers DJ music and party favors at chic Le Meridien Cambridge.

New Year’s Eve - rock

December 31, 2018 (9:30 p.m.)
7.6 miles NW
New Year’s Eve Spectacular features Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra playing classic rock by The Who, David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Queen at the Regent Theatre in Arlington.

Ticket deal $25

New Year’s 1960s show

December 31, 2018 (10 p.m.)
9.3 miles north
Let’s Hang On features a live band playing hits by the Four Seasons and a complimentary glass of champagne at Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham.

Early New Year’s for families

December 31, 2018 (3:30 to 7 p.m.)
22 miles NE
Beverly’s New Year is a family celebration with music, arts & crafts, a 6 p.m. parade, and a 6:30 p.m. beach-ball drop. Some activities are not free.

New Year’s baroque

December 31, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019
3.3 miles NW
The New Year’s celebration by Boston Baroque features Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 and Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto, with champagne and chocolates at intermission in Sanders Theatre.

Ticket deal $23 to $43

Printing advice

Print using the Chrome browser. In print settings, turn on “background graphics.”