Boston events, festivals, things to do – December 2018

December 2018
best events in Boston

Latkes for Hanukkah

December 1, 2018

3.6 miles NW

Celebrate Hanukkah with potato pancakes at the Everyone Loves Latkes Party at 31 Brattle Street. Free.

Holiday at the mansion

December 6, 2018

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.

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 ages 21+.
CityPass Boston

Christmas tea party

December 15 - 16, 2018

10 miles west

Enjoy scones, sandwiches, sweets, craft-making, and stories by Santa at Santa Tea in the Carriage House at Gore Place in Waltham. The more formal Holiday Tea includes a tour.

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.

New Year’s Eve - restaurants

December 31, 2018

Boston locations

OpenTable has a list of restaurants that offer special menus and celebrations for New Year’s Eve.

New Year’s Eve - comedy

December 31, 2018

0.2 miles north

Laugh your way into the new year at ImprovBoston. See the schedule for family-appropriate shows. The final 10 p.m. show with champagne is for age 21+.

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

0.5 miles east

Midnight Fireworks explode in two locations over Boston Harbor when the clock strikes twelve, with viewing in the North End plus Seaport. Free.

New Year’s Eve - James Bond

December 31, 2018

1.2 miles SW

Timeless [sound] is a sophisticated party with local celebrities and live performances in Castle at Park Plaza.

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.

New Year’s Eve - Colonnade

December 31, 2018

1.8 miles SW

Boston’s Resolution Ball includes passed hors d’oeuvres, a slider station, a DJ, and a live band at Colonnade Boston Hotel.

New Year’s Eve - pops

December 31, 2018

2.1 miles SW

Dance the night away with the Boston Pops and its legendary bandleader, plus a cash bar and dining options at Boston Pops Symphony Hall.

New Year’s Eve - concert

December 31, 2018

2.8 miles NW

No need to dress up for Low-Key New Year’s Eve, featuring singer songwriter Ruby Rose Fox and an included dessert in East Cambridge.

New Year’s Eve - Cambridge

December 31, 2018

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.

Early New Year’s for families

December 31, 2018

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 festival

December 31, 2018 - Jan. 1, 2019

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.

Ice sculptures

December 2018 (undated)

0 miles

The Ice features interactive ice sculptures that make great photo opportunities at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Free.

Ugly sweater pub crawl

December 2018 (undated)

0.1 miles east

Wear your tackiest to the Boston Ugly Sweater Crawl, which begins includes drink specials at eight Faneuil Hall bars.

Star-studded concert

December 2018 (undated)

0.6 miles NW

The Jingle Ball brings big-name music artists every December to TD Garden.

The story of Chanukah

December 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles SW

A Light Through the Ages tells the meaning of Chanukah through story and song, concluding with a dramatic candlelighting ceremony at Central Reform Temple. Free.

Art fair

December 2018 (undated)

1.9 miles SW

Shop for gifts from 200 juried artists at the CraftBoston Holiday show at Hynes Convention Center.

Holiday home tour

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Symphonic concert

December 2018 (undated)

2 miles west

Berklee Symphonic Winds Fall Concert features works for winds, brass, and percussion at the Berklee Performance Center. Repeats in May. Free.

Messiah

December 2018 (undated)

2.1 miles SW

The Handel & Haydn Society performs Handel’s Messiah for the holidays at Symphony Hall.

Hanukkah event

December 2018 (undated)

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 begins at 4 p.m.

Contemporary dance

December 2018 (undated)

3.3 miles west

What the Dickens! is “A Christmas Carol” with a female, briefcase-toting Scrooge in an urban musical dance setting that features tap, modern dance, hip hop, ballet, and Indian dance at Boston University.

Harvard Square craft fair

December 2018 (undated)

5.7 miles NW

Harvard Square Holiday Fair is a smaller craft market with 27 friendly vendors on the fourth floor of 50 Church Street and in a nearby courtyard. Free.

Children’s film festival

December 2018 (undated)

7.6 miles NW

Watch the best short films from New York International Children’s Film Festival at Kid Flix at Regent Theatre in Arlington.

Music at the mansion

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Charles Dickens festival

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Short holiday plays

December 2018 (undated)

12.4 miles north

See seven short holiday plays at Suburban Holidays performed by the Quannapowitt Players Theater in Reading.

Football lunch

December 2018 (undated)

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.

The Nutcracker in Weston

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Pop-culture convention

December 2018 (undated)

23 miles SE

Boston SouthCoast Comic Con includes gaming, guests, toys, and vendors in the event center at The Hanover Mall. Repeats in July.

Holiday light show

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Tree lighting ceremonies

December 2018 (undated)

Boston locations

Free lighting ceremonies start the holidays in Boston.

Messiah

December 2018 (undated)

0.5 miles NE

The North End Music and Performing Arts Center plus a choir and soloists perform Handel’s Messiah (Part 1) at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church.

Gospel Nativity

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Jingle Bell run/walk

December 2018 (undated)

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.

The Nutcracker

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Celtic Christmas

December 2018 (undated)

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).

The Nutcracker

December 2018 (undated)

Boston & Dorchester

José Mateo Ballet Theatre performs The Nutcracker.
  • Boston - Cutler Majestic Theatre
  • Dorchester - Strand Theatre

Modern Nutcracker

December 2018 (undated)

1.3 miles SW

The diverse cast of Urban Nutcracker combines ballet, swing, flamenco, hip-hop, and Tchaikovsky’s classic score at John Hancock Hall.

Candlelit Christmas concert

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Concert at Old South Church

December 2018 (undated)

1.5 miles SW

Christmas Connection: Noel is a holiday concert featuring the Boston Choral Ensemble singing traditional carols and music by candlelight, accompanied by the organ at Old South Church.

Swedish holidays

December 2018 (undated)

1.5 miles SW

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

Holiday Pops

December 2018 (undated)

2.1 miles SW

Celebrate the holidays at the festive Boston Pops Holiday Concert with your favorite songs, a sing-along, and a visit from Santa at Symphony Hall.

Messiah

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Winter solstice show

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Ornament class

December 2018 (undated)

4.8 miles SW

Make your own glass ornament or tree to take home at a Christmas Class at Diablo Glass School.

Gingerbread Village

December 2018 (undated)

5.4 miles west

See a Gingerbread Village made of candy and cake in the lobby of the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Free.

Holiday bike ride

December 2018 (undated)

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.

White Christmas sing along

December 2018 (undated)

7.6 miles NW

Sing the onscreen lyrics as you watch White Christmas starring Bing Crosby at Regent Theatre in Arlington.

ZooLights

December 2018 (undated)

8.2 miles north

See trees covered with lights, live reindeer, and Santa at ZooLights at Stone Zoo from 5 to 9 p.m. The last day with Santa is Dec. 24. Closed Dec. 25.

Christmas show

December 2018 (undated)

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.

Christmas play

December 2018 (undated)

44 miles west

A Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ classic about the miraculous transformation of miserly Scrooge at Hanover Theatre in Worcester.

Lights in the garden

December 2018 (undated)

47 miles west

Winter Reimagined features colorful lights, decorated trees, and illuminated sculptures outdoors, plus “a wishing tree forest,” subtropical plants, and seasonal music indoors at 132-acre Tower Hill Botanic Garden. You must buy tickets online.