Ice Castles is a unique experience in the White Mountains. Photo courtesy of Ice Castles
Ice Castles is a unique experience in the White Mountains. Photo courtesy of Ice Castles

30 Winter Activities near Boston with Kids

Winters in New England can sometimes feel dark and dreary, but the silver lining of all the frosty weather is snowy outdoor adventures and cozy traditions. Here’s a list of winter activities in and around Boston to do with kids in 2020 and 2021, from snow tubing and fire pit picnics to safe indoor entertainment.

If winter doldrums still persist, peruse our Boston Winter Fun Guide for more ideas for keeping kids busy when the weather is frightful. Keep warm—and have fun!

2020-21 editors' note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded try using the see all locations in this article or “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do. If you are traveling to an activity outside of your state or local area, check if COVID cases are on the rise in the area, as well as any travel restrictions, advisories, or quarantine orders.

Winter Outdoor Activities Near Boston

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Spot the reindeer at Chestnut Hill Farm through January. Photo courtesy of the Trustees of Reservations

Reindeer may be sticking around these parts for a little while past Christmas—see if you can spot the wooden herd on a Reindeer Quest at Chestnut Hill Farm through January.

Some spots are keeping their holiday lights on through late January. Catch ZooLights at the Stone Zoo or Winter Lights in Canton and Stockbridge through January 17.

Gather up your pod and head to Appleton Farms in Ipswich for a Firepit Picnic—your timed tickets (good for up to 6 people) come wood for burning and a s'mores kit.

Hike the North Shore dunes in search of the wisest of birds on a guided Family Snowy Owl Prowl

Check out a couple more outdoor ice skating rinks open in the area, or a free indoor ice skating rinks in Boston.

Head to Brookline's Larz Anderson Park—it's one of the few places hosting outdoor skating this winter, and has one of the area's most hopping sledding hills, besides.

Throw the sleds in the car and head to one of these sledding hills—we promise, they're worth the drive.

...Or step up your sledding game and hit one of these snow tubing spots for some extra fast fun!

Every Saturday and Sunday, January through March, bring your winter boots, sleds, snowshoes, or cross-country skis for some high energy fun as you explore the hills and woodland trails of Frozen Fruitlands. Warm up at the Fire Pit after!

Discover the wintertime secrets of The Cove

Explore the grounds at Gore Place in Waltham on snowshoes (January through March).

Bundle up and see lions, a tiger, red pandas, and more at the outdoor exhibits at the Franklin Park Zoo

Take a wonderful wintertime walk in one of Boston's most beautiful outdoor parks.

Take new skiers to the bunny hill at Blue Hills Reservation in Milton and stop by to visit the otter and owls at the outdoor exhibits at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

If you're looking for a little more speed, sign your kids up to learn how to downhill ski (or snowboard) without even leaving the Boston area.

Pack up the car and hit the road for an easy winter day trip.

Pretend to be Elsa and visit a real ice castle, just over the border in New Hampshire. (Be sure to check intrastate travel restrictions when planning your day trip.)

Join your neighbors and help birds by participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count (mid-February). 

Winter Indoor Activities Near Boston

Warm-up in the greenhouse...just remember a timed ticket and your masks this year. Photo courtesy of Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Some indoor gardens are temporarily closed, but Tower Hill Botanic Garden's spectacular 171-acre outdoor gardens and lush indoor conservatories are accessible with timed ticket entry. Check the calendar for fun events like a Yeti Hunt, Snow Slime workshop, and more.

Try a winter-themed reindeer toothpaste experiment, or any of our easy science experiments using household stuff.

Honor Martin Luther King's legacy by making cards or masks together at home on Boston Cares' Annual MLK Day of Service (January 18).

Pick up ingredients for a cozy one-pot family dinner at Eataly or the Boston Public Market.

Indulge in a cup of steaming hot chocolate at one of our favorite spots for this cold-weather treat.

Fahim the Little Chess Prince is part of the renowned film fest for kids. Photo courtesy of the Belmont World Film Family Festival

Catch some of the world's most charming and clever movies for kids ages 3 to 12 at a virtual edition of the annual (and locally produced!) Belmont World Film's Family Festival (mid-January).

Let your kids bounce out their energy at an indoor trampoline park (note capacity restrictions and some potential closures).

Explore the galleries with a fresh pair of eyes. Photo courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Most Boston-area museums that temporarily close over the the holidays plan to reopen sometime in January. Stay tuned for news about openings at the Museum of Science, Boston Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Take the snow fort to the next level and built a multicolored igloo!

Try guided, hands-on engineering projects at home during National Engineers Week (mid-late February).

Build your very own indoor obstacle course without leaving the house. 

Show some love with handmade Valentines.

Originally published in December 2013

Nantucket Christmas Stroll
Nantucket - 10:00 AM Pick
Light Up Seaport & Holiday Stroll
Seaport Common - 5:00 PM Pick
Gardens Aglow
Heritage Museum and Gardens - various times Pick
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides