31 things to do in Mass., one for every day in December


Fill your calendar with fun events during the month of December.

The Ice Sculpture Stroll at Assembly Row. Assembly Row

December brings many fun events across Massachusetts.

From Christmas tree lightings to pop-up bars to winter hikes, fill up your calendar using our list of 31 things to do — one event for every day in December.

Dec. 1: Attend Light Up Seaport
Gather around the 50-foot Christmas tree for the 7th annual tree lighting in the Seaport, complete with live music. Guests can also enjoy a holiday stroll through the neighborhood while checking out promotions by various retailers. (100 Seaport Blvd., Boston)

Dec. 2: Step into a Norman Rockwell painting
Stockbridge re-creates the 1967 Rockwell painting “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas (Home for Christmas)” during this annual festival full of holiday markets, live performances, historic property tours, and old-fashioned cars. The event takes place Dec. 1-3. (Main Street, Stockbridge)

Dec. 3: Tour the Cushing House
Visitors can tour the 1808 Cushing House at the Museum of Old Newbury, decorated for the season by local garden clubs and volunteers. The two days of walk-through tours taking place Dec. 2-3 also includes festive music. (98 High St., Newburyport)

Dec. 4: Get festive at Snowport
Head to the Seaport for this annual holiday market, which features more than 120 businesses and 17 food and beverage options. There’s plenty going on, including holiday-themed bars, an après ski lodge, crafting for kids, iceless curling, a 10-foot mistletoe archway, and more. (100 Seaport Blvd., Boston)

Dec. 5: Cruise through Bright Nights at Forest Park
Billed as the Northeast’s premier holiday lighting experience, the display features themes such as a winter garden, Jurassic World, Kwanzaa, iconic toys and games, and more. Tuesday visitors enjoy a discount on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12. The display opened Nov. 22 and will remain lit through Jan. 1. (300 Sumner Ave., Springfield)

Dec. 6: Grab a coffee at Central Perk Coffeehouse
Calling all fans of the TV show “Friends”: Central Perk Coffeehouse opened on Boston’s Newbury Street last month and serves signature drinks such as a “How You Doin’?” coffee blend and “Gunther” espresso. (205 Newbury St., Boston)

Dec. 7: Go on an Ice Sculpture Stroll
Use a holiday map at Assembly Row in Somerville to find the ice sculptures while collecting holiday-themed giveaways and freebies during this annual event. When guests turn in their map at the end, they get a free Christmas ornament. (355 Artisan Way, Somerville)

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Cape Cod Central Railroad’s The Polar Express train ride.

Dec. 8: Ride the Polar Express
Take the family on a 90-minute journey to “The North Pole” with the Cape Cod Central Railroad, taking place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Christmas. Enjoy hot chocolate, a reading of the book, and a visit from Santa and his elves. (70 Main St., Buzzards Bay)

Dec. 9: Watch a live performance from The Met
The Metropolitan Opera is on the big screen thanks to Showcase Cinema’s “The Met: Live in HD.” On this day at theaters across Massachusetts, watch “Florencia en el Amazonas. An encore performance takes place on Dec. 13. (Various locations)

Dec. 10: Attend a menorah lighting
Enjoy live entertainment, Hanukkah treats, and other outdoor activities during the lighting of a 9-foot-tall menorah in the outdoor space outside One Seaport, hosted by Chabad of Downtown Boston. (60 Seaport Blvd., Boston)

Dec. 11: Build and play at Lego Discovery Center Boston
Lego Discovery Center Boston, which reopened in April after a $12 million renovation, offers 12 zones of play that include a Duplo Park, 4D theater, Kingdom Quest ride, and more. Don’t miss Mini World, full of local landmarks made out of Legos. (598 Assembly Row, Somerville)

Dec. 12: Eat at one of the best restaurants in America
Enjoy bragging rights after eating at one of the 100 best restaurants in America in 2023, according to OpenTable. There are five of them in Massachusetts: Bar Vlaha, Krasi, Mooncusser, Pammy’s, and The Ocean House Restaurant. (Various locations)

Dec. 13: Explore Eataly
Satisfy your hunger at Eataly, a 45,000-square-foot Italian marketplace inside the Prudential Center that offers food counters, plus a market, bakery, butcher, wine shop, cheese shop, and more. Eataly also has several restaurants. (800 Boylston St., Boston)

Dec. 14: Peruse art for free at the ICA
It doesn’t cost a thing to check out The Institute of Contemporary Art on Thursday nights when admission is free from 5-9 p.m. A new exhibit by Barbara Kruger, which opened in November, “uses textual statements and images taken from mass media to create memorable artworks that investigate ideas of power, identity, consumerism, and gender,” according to the ICA. (25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston)

TopGolf will open its first Massachusetts location in Canton in 2023.
Topgolf will open its first Massachusetts location in Canton in 2023.

Dec. 15: Shop the Harvard Square Holiday Fair
Peruse a juried market full of artisans from New England and beyond selling specialty food items, artwork, food, clothing, and more. The market is open for two weekends: Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 21-23. (1 Brattle Square, Cambridge)

Dec. 16: Visit with Santa and learn about sharks
The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is celebrating the holiday season with several events at the festively decorated Shark Center Chatham. Santa will listen to wish lists and share shark knowledge. There is also a holiday story time. Pre-registration is required. (235 Orleans Road, Chatham)

Dec. 17: Shop the SoWa Winter Festival
It is the final day of the SoWa Winter Festival, where guests can shop more than 100 local vendors at the historic Power Station. Hungry shoppers can stop at a food stand before enjoying drinks and live entertainment on the second floor. (530 Harrison Ave., Boston)

Dec 18: Take a swing at TopGolf
The Dallas-based golf entertainment venue TopGolf opened its first Massachusetts location last month in Canton. The three-story facility has 90 hitting bays equipped with heaters and the company’s Toptracer technology, as well as high-top tables and lounge furniture great for enjoying food and drinks. (777 Dedham St., Canton)

Dec. 19: Experience Blue Man Group
Since 1995, Blue Man Group has brought art, music, technology, and, of course, bald men in blue paint to the Charles Playhouse in Boston’s Theatre District. Afterward, guests can pose for pictures with a Blue Man in the lobby. (74 Warrenton St., Boston)

Dec. 20: Immerse yourself in Winterlights
This annual holiday light display at three Trustees properties began Dec. 7 and runs through Jan. 6. The event brings thousands of twinkling lights to the grounds of Naumkeag in Stockbridge, the Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens in North Andover, and the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton. (Various locations)

Dec. 21: Go roller skating by the sea
Take a spin around The Rink, a new pop-up roller-skating arena inside the Pelham House Resort in Dennis Port, an oceanfront property on the Cape. The Rink is open for locals and hotel guests Thursday through Sunday through March 30. (14 Sea St., Dennis)

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Mandarin Oriental, Boston’s pop-up Holiday Cocktail and Whisky Bar. Mandarin Oriental, Boston

Dec. 22: Visit an Enchanted Village
Glide on an indoor skating rink and experience a 4D Polar Express ride, laser show, tubing, reindeer games, photos with Santa, and more at the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture. Don’t forget to try their famous blueberry muffins. (100 Stockwell Dr., Avon)

Dec. 23: Stroll through thousands of twinkling lights at Stone Zoo
ZooLights is back at Stone Zoo in Stoneham, with thousands of shining lights across the 26-acre zoo nightly through Jan. 7. Plus, guests can hop on a carousel and Jungle Fun ride nightly from 4 to 8 p.m. (149 Pond St., Stoneham)

Dec. 24: Enjoy a Christmas Eve feast
Reserve your table at the Nantucket Hotel + Resort for a three-course Christmas Eve dinner, which includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert. A three-course Christmas dinner is offered as well. Afterward enjoy drinks by the fire pits on the front porch. (77 Easton St., Nantucket)

Dec. 25: Go for a winter hike
Get the family outside at one of six spots recommended by the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) for winter hikes: Mohawk Trail State Forest in Charlemont, Borderland State Park in North Easton, Myles Standish State Forest in Carver, Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, Maudslay State Park in Newburyport, and Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown. (Various locations)

Dec. 26: Go post-holiday shopping at the Burlington Mall
Spend time in the mall where the 2009 movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was filmed. The mall features more than 185 retailers including Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Primark, as well as restaurants such as The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, Legal Sea Foods, and more. Or if you’d like to try a different mall, check out the Boston.com guide to 43 malls in Massachusetts. (75 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington)

Dec. 27: Toast your friends at one of Boston’s newest cocktail bars
Equal Measure, which officially opened at The Bower in the Fenway in late October, offers both classic cocktails and original drinks such as The Creamsicle Dream. The cocktail bar is adjacent to Eastern Standard, which returned in the fall. (775 Beacon St., Boston)

Dec. 28: Attend First Light Provincetown
This four-day festival features holiday parties, events, performances, and more. Highlights include a Lite Brite Bike Ride, fireworks from MacMillan Pier, and a Polar Bear Plunge. The festival takes place Dec. 28-Jan.1. (Various locations)

Dec. 29: Raise your glass at a holiday pop-up bar
Keep the holiday spirit going in the festive lobby of Mandarin Oriental, Boston by listening to live jazz and enjoying craft tasting flights, single pours, and light bites while tasting The Notch whiskey, wines from Nantucket Vineyard, and holiday cocktails through Dec. 30 at the pop-up Holiday Cocktail and Whisky Bar from Nantucket’s Triple Eight Distillery. (776 Boylston St., Boston)

Dec. 30: Go ice skating in America’s oldest public park
Glide past twinkling trees on the Boston Common Frog Pond, open daily for ice skating through March. No skates? No problem. Rentals are available, as well as skating aids for children. (38 Beacon St., Boston)

Dec. 31: Kick off 2024 at First Night Boston
Ring in the new year with live music, a parade, ice sculptures, fireworks, and more. The city’s annual free New Year’s Eve celebration moved to City Hall Plaza this year. (1 City Hall Square, Boston)