Things to do in Boston in Winter

When I moved to Boston from Vancouver, BC, I was a little afraid of the winter.  Maybe more than a little, actually.  We don't get a lot of very cold weather in Vancouver, and it rains pretty much every day from October 1 to April 1.  (This may be a slight exaggeration, but believe me when I say that it's very slight.)  We don't get a lot of snow.  We don't get a lot of ice.  I was a little terrified at the prospect of having to drive in either, having to walk around in either, and really just having to exist in either. 

I had this idea of winter in Boston as a dark, cold wasteland, with people spending most of their time gathered around heaters, dressed in five or six sweaters, hats and gloves on, shivering as they heard the wind whistling outside the ice-caked windows.  

It's not really like that.  Life goes on in Boston in the winter, without people letting the weather ruin their plans.  In fact, there are a lot of things that only happen during the winter, even within the Boston/Cambridge area.  A few examples:

1.      Winter Farmer's Market in Cambridge

Farmer's markets are usually something that are associated with summer and fall, when there's a lot of fresh produce to pick from.  That doesn't mean they just disappear in the winter, though - the Cambridge Winter Farmer's Market operates from the beginning of January until the end of April, and features a lot of live music, arts and crafts, cooked food and weekly special events.  I've gone a couple of times, and it was a lot of fun!

2.      Ice Skating on Frog Pond

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Frog Pond is a small pond in the middle of Boston Common.  From mid-November until mid-March (weather permitting - and it usually is) there's public skating seven days a week.  It tends to be mobbed on the weekends, but it's amazing in a light snow when there aren't a lot of people.

3.      Winter Carnival in Harvard Square

In January and February Harvard Square celebrates winter with a Winter Carnival on the weekends, with a different theme every week - including the Chocolate Festival, Chili Tasting, Chinese New Year Celebrations, and the annual Boston Celtic Music Festival.  

Harvard Square is a madhouse on the weekends anyway, and it only gets worse during the Festival, but it's worth it to brave the crowds anyway, at least for the Chocolate Festival and the Boston Celtic Music Festival.  It's almost enough to make me wish we could delay spring.

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