Boston: the capital of Massachusetts and one of the oldest cities in the US.
It’s so beautiful with lots to see and do, but it can be a bit of a nightmare to venture to during the colder months.
Why? Well, their winters are notoriously bad. From severe snow storms to temperatures plummeting between -12 and -15 degrees Celsius, the weather can have a negative effect on public transport and outdoor activities.
In fact, when I visited Boston with my sister in February 2015, the snow and transportation delays made it very difficult to get around and do all the things that we wanted to do.
And I’d never felt so cold in my life. (Until I visited Wisconsin the next year, but that’s another story.)
How to Get to Boston
On a more positive note, Boston is well-connected to the UK. In fact, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Norweigan Air Shuttle and Virgin Atlantic all have direct flights from London.
If you’re based elsewhere in the UK – not to worry. You can fly to Dublin and then grab a connection to Boston with Aer Lingus.
You could even connect via New York City, given that many airlines offer this service.
How to Get Around Boston
Once you get to Boston, it’s fairly easy to get around. You can do one or a combination of the following.
- Hire a taxi
- Hire an Uber or Lyft
- Take the subway through Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which will get you around all of Boston and its surrounding area
- A one way ticket is $2.90 cash ($2.40 with a Charlie Card)
- A one-day pass is $12.75, which includes Subway Lines, Local Bus and Silver Line
- A seven-day pass is $22.50
- Use the Commuter Rail, which will take you from the city centre to the wider Boston area and parts of Rhode Island
- The fares are typically between $2.40 – $13.25 one way
- There are $10 flat-fee weekend tickets for unlimited trips to any destination
You could also book a hop on-hop off trolley tour, which offers transportation to some of the best sights in the city.
Tickets start at $69.70 for Adults and this includes free coupons for certain attraction. Winning.
Top Things to Do in Boston in Winter
Even though the temperatures are low, there is a sort of charm to Boston at this time of year. In fact, read on for the best things to do in Boston in winter.
1. Walk the Freedom Trail
Things to do in Boston in winter 101: the Freedom Trail, which is a walking route of historic sites that lasts 2.5 miles. It tells the story of how the nation was founded and it’s super interesting!
But how can I do a 2.5-mile walk in -10 degrees, you ask?
Well, you can’t. However, you can go visit the sites separately as and when the temperatures allow it.
The start of the trail is situated in Boston Commons, a pretty park that looks extra enchanting when it’s covered in snow. And you can go iceskating or sledding there – result!
2. Visit Charles River
If you’re lucky enough to get a clear day, check out the Charles riverfront where you’re supposed to get an incredible view of the city and its impressive skyline.
For my sister and I, it snowed during our entire journey there and back so it obstructed our view somewhat.
(Our journey was on foot by the way, and involved sidestepping big piles of snow and trying not to slip on black ice. It was an experience, to say the least!)
3. Head to the Museums
If it’s freezing cold and you don’t want to be outside for long, one of the best things to do in Boston in winter is head to one of the city’s popular museums.
Whether it’s the Tea Party Ships and Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art or the Museum of Science, there’ll be something for everyone to enjoy.
And it’ll be warm inside, which is obviously a huge bonus.
4. Check Out Cambridge and Harvard University
One day when the snow stopped, my sister and I took the Metro over to the cool Cambridge area.
Being fresh out of university at the time, I was eager to see the famous Harvard University and walk the grounds where so many intellectuals had walked before us.
We then explored Cambridge, which is a cute, student-filled town with good shopping, high-quality restaurants and fun nightlife. We even found an Irish pub where we met a group of friendly locals and ending up dancing the night away! Bonus.
5. Watch the Super Bowl Parade
Lastly, if you’re in the city at the beginning of February and New England Patriots happen to win the Super Bowl (again!), one of the most enjoyable things to do in Boston in winter is to check out the Victory Parade.
Sure, we might have been stood outside for two hours waiting for the parade to pass us after the Pats triumphed over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 2015 (with numb toes). But it was such a good time!
There was also a surreal moment when the parade ended and we had to run into the nearest Dunkin Donuts so we were able to feel all of our body parts again.
Lesson learned: always wear thermal clothing in -15 degree temperatures.
Making the Most of a Snowy Boston
Sure, visiting Boston in winter might not be for everyone. I understand why some people advise you against it.
However, the amazing architecture and history that draws tourists to Boston doesn’t stop being so amazing just because it’s snowing.
In fact, it puts a whole different spin on it. And it’s up to you to decide whether this is a positive or negative spin.
Personally, I found it fun starring in my very own version of Frozen.
Have you been to Boston before during the cold months? What would you say are the best things to do in Boston in winter?