10 Boston Winter Festivals You Won't Want to Miss

The holiday season is so festive and fun that it’s easy to get some serious post-holiday blues. Add to that the fact that winter is just gearing up here in Boston, and you (and the kids) could be going stir crazy in no time. However, just because the holidays are over and the weather is frightful doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Here are 10 kid-friendly festivals that will have you beating the post-holiday blues in no time and keep the fun rolling all the way until spring!

Belmont World Film Family Festival
Where: Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge
When: January 12-15
The 14th Annual Belmont World Film’s Family Festival brightens mid-January in 2017 with its theme, "Where Books Come Alive." Many of the movies being screened this year are based on children’s books, like Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and Johanna Spyri’s Heidi. The films are best for kids ages 3-12 and ticket prices vary by event.

Greater Boston Stage Company Winter Festival
Where: Stoneham
When: January 26 to February 4
​In its annual theater festival, which is designed for children (and performed by them, as well), the Young Company at the Greater Boston Stage Company (formerly Stoneham Theatre) presents four kid-friendly Winter Festival shows: The Phanton Tollboth Jr., Seussical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Bat Boy: The Musical.

How tempting are these Chocolate Festival treats from Alden & Harlow? Photo courtesy of Harvard Square Business Association

Chocolate Festival
Where: Harvard Square
When: January 26-28
If you and your family love chocolate, you can’t miss the Harvard Square Chocolate Festival this January. The fest goes on all weekend with area restaurants and retailers offering special meals and deals to sweets-loving attendees. The highlight of the event is on Saturday when there’s a free chocolate tasting on Brattle Plaza that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Chinese New Year
Where: Boston
When: Date TBA at press time; check back for updates!
Come to Boston’s Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year with a big parade that’s perfect for families. The highlight of the parade is the Lion Dances, which are believed to bring good luck in the coming year. There will also be music, firecrackers and great food, and many of the area streets will be pedestrian-only during the event.

Providence Children’s Film Festival
Where: Providence
When: February 16-25
This event isn’t in Boston, but it was too good not to include on our list. The 12th Annual Providence Children’s Film Festival run for two weeks in February at locations in Providence and around Rhode Island. It aims to bring the best of independent and international children’s films to New England and will include movie screenings, workshops and free activities for kids.

Little engineers are born at the Feb Fest. Photo courtesy of MIT Museum

MIT Museum Feb Fest
Where: Cambridge
When: February 19-24
Keep the kids busy during February vacation week with the MIT Museum Feb Fest. This week-long celebration of science and technology coincides with National Engineers Week. The event includes engineering-specific activities, workshops and demonstrations led by MIT students.

Boston Children's Museum Lunar New Year Festival
Where: Cambridge
When: February 19-24
​Boston Children's Museum celebrates the Lunar New Year with fun events during February School vacation. Traditions in China, Korea, and Vietnam will be explored with festive decorations and interactive demonstrations.

Lowell Winterfest
Where: Lowell
When: February 23-24
Celebrate all of the good things about the season at Lowell Winterfest this February. This family-friendly event will have rides, free ice skating and an all-you-can-eat chocolate festival. Warm up with the North Bowl Soup Competition and enjoy a laser light show, music and fireworks. There’s even a craft beer showcase and competition for the adults in the family.

Maple Syrup Boil Down
Where: Somerville
When: March 10
If you think you need to go way out of the city to see trees tapped and maple syrup made this winter, think again. Every year, Groundwork Somerville taps trees on the Tufts University campus then brings the sap to the Community Growing Center in Somerville for Maple Syrup Boil Down. The free, kid-friendly festival will feature a syrup tasting and snacks like waffles and hot drinks.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Where: South Boston
When: March 18
There’s hardly a bigger holiday in Boston than St. Patrick’s Day. It seems like the whole city comes out to celebrate the luck of the Irish at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston. Don your finest green attire and bring the kids to experience a true Boston tradition.

Top photo by Kristin Shoemaker/CC BY 2.0

Places featured in this article:

Three Kings Day Parade - Connolly Library

Belmont World Film Family Festival - Studio Cinema

Belmont World Film Family Festival - Regent Theatre

Belmont World Film Family Festival - Brattle Theatre

Belmont World Film Family Festival - Belmont Media Center

O-shogatsu! Japanese New Year Festival - Boston Children's Museum

Stoneham Theatre Winter Festival

Harvard Square Chocolate Festival

Chinese New Year Parade

Providence Children’s Film Festival

Lowell Winterfest

Maple Syrup Boil Down - Community Growing Center

St. Patrick's Day Parade
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides