Brrr! Winter can be absolutely frigid in Boston, but don’t let the cold air deter you from experiencing this popular travel destination, also known as my hometown. I assure you the Hub is one cool place to be, whether it’s filled with sunshine or snow. This season, it’s snow, and I’ve created a day’s itinerary chock-full of my favorite places, keeping in mind you’ll need to keep warm. Head out and get to exploring our best sights, as well as a few off-the-beaten path ones. You’ll see the city in a whole new light, filled with old-time skating ponds, creamy coffee drinks, and camaraderie.
7 am: Warm-up walk
Take a wake-me-up walk along the Charles River at sunrise and embrace the day with a few breaths of brisk New England air. Paved walking paths parallel the waterway, with crossings at the Longfellow, Harvard and Boston University bridges. While you get your heart pumping, enjoy beautiful views of the Boston skyline no matter which bank you’re on.
Charles River Reservation, Boston
8:30 am: A toasty breakfast
A hip Cambridge crowd congregates at The Friendly Toast, and you should, too, to fill up for breakfast. The enormous menu of fancified diner fare features dishes that run the gamut from the Lobster Haul Benny, a grilled bioche topped with Maine lobster meat and two poached eggs, to the Highway Strawberry, oatmeal French toast stuffed with cheesecake filling and topped with fresh strawberries.
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617.621.1200
10 am: Huddling up in a great museum
Visit the Museum of Science. For both kids and adults, fun can be had all day long at Boston’s Museum of Science—and you might even learn something! Check out the Hall of Human Life, learn about nanotechnology and visit the cozy, tropical Butterfly Garden, filled with exotic flora and fluttering butterflies. Junior astronauts can catch a space-based film at Planetarium.
1 Science Park, Boston, 617.723.2500
1:30 pm: Coffee and a Bite to Eat
Grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich at Flour Bakery and Cafe. The menu changes seasonally but has included roasted sweet potato sandwich and mustard green and farro salad. Top off your meal with a chocolate cream or lemon meringue tartelette.
131 Clarendon St.
2:30 pm: Shopping in Back Bay
What’s a vacation without some shopping? Instead of braving the elements on Newbury Street, bring your wallet inside, to Dior, David Yurman, Louis Vuitton and the designer stores of Back Bay’s swanky Copley Place mall. A covered glass bridge leads the way across Huntington Avenue and into The Shops at Prudential Center for a more modest experience. Also access to Skywalk for scenic views across New England from here.
Copley Place, 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617.262.6600
The Shops at Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston, 800.746.7778
4:30 pm: Ice skating on the Common
There’s something magical about twirling around under the stars as snowflakes fall lightly, so strap on a pair of skates and check this off your bucket list at the Frog Pond on Boston Common. Skate rental and hot cocoa available.
Tremont Street, Boston, 617.635.2120
6 pm: French food and wine
Warm up with dinner at the street-level bar at chef Robert Sisca’s sophisticated French restaurant Bistro du Midi. Order a classic dish such as a croque monsieur, bouillabaisse or bavette steak frites accompanied by a selection from the extensive wine list.
272 Boylston St., Boston, 617.426.7878
8 pm: Boston's red-hot music scene
Catch live music at Club Passim, the legendary Harvard Square listening room known for its live acoustic sets in genres ranging from Americana to post-modern folk. Plus, it is friendly, and small tables are set up to encourage chatting with fellow music fans. Joan Baez got her start here, and today, up-and-coming performers regularly grace the stage.
47 Palmer St., Cambridge, 617.492.7679
10:30 pm: Cask beers and cocktails in a modern tavern
Harvard Square restaurant Russell House Tavern is a great place for post-collegians to wrap up the day with drinks. Bartenders create contemporary cocktails by hand with ingredients that run the gamut from house-made syrups and infusions to fresh and local garnishes. There’s also a lengthy liquor selection and cask beer.
14 JFK St., Cambridge, 617.500.3055