Local Activities to Spark Joy for the Rest of Winter

This winter, we’re all going to need experiences and activities that will lift the spirit and give our minds a change of pace. While staying inside and social distancing is still of the utmost importance, we can still enjoy safe and eye-opening experiences that will also help beat the winter doldrums. There are several endeavors happening now and coming up this winter that we think you’d enjoy – from outdoor activities in historic parts of the city, to public art in all corners of MA, to virtual classes and online performances.

Plus, this winter is an exciting opportunity for Boston to rethink how we like to spend the colder months. In a recent piece in the Boston Globe, Janelle Nanos illustrated the essence of “winter placemaking”— a phenomenon intended to create a positive environment for residents of colder neighborhoods that also supports the local economy. She calls upon placemakers in cities like Edmonton in Alberta, Canada and other local experts who believe that investing in the outdoor cultural environment of Boston is essential for weathering the COVID-19 pandemic. Epidemiologist Dr. Philip Landrigan, who is also the director of the Global Public Health Program at Boston College, told Nanos:

The whole concept of placemaking is brilliant and a great way to make cities more livable and to fight social isolation.

In that spirit, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the winter 2021 must-sees in Greater Boston and Massachusetts. No matter how you spend this winter, we hope you find safe ways to get outdoors and take in a new experience this winter:

Hatched: Breaking through the silence

This safe and much-needed public art experience for Boston is running from January 22 to February 21! This installation, devised by a group of local artists, will feature projected animations and music that can be played through smartphones and portable speakers. Read more about this innovative new work on the Esplanade from Boston Magazine

Public Art on the Greenway to Celebrate Lunar New Year  

The Greenway Conservancy is continuing its program to showcase public arti n Auntie Kay and Uncle Frank Chin Park on The Greenway that celebrates the Chinese Zodiac year. In the transition from the Year of the Mouse to the Year of the Ox, locals can look forward to art from Furen Dai and Andy Li. You can hear more from the artists about the inspiration behind their work at Curating for the Chinese Zodiac on January 28!

A Mouse with Ears & Tail, by Furen Dai| Seaport Snowport

North Adams’ Winter Places Project

This series of downtown winter installations includes spectacular evergreen trees, solar-powered cafe style lighting, a custom fire pit with weekend programming called The Hot Spot, and a series of “window shops,” with more programming to be announced soon. 

Seaport Snowport

Boston’s Seaport is still open for — shopping, and safe outdoor activities including Winter Wonder Walks and curling! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the mysterious but welcoming Betty the Yeti!

Worcester Festival of Lights

While the in-person celebration of the Festival of Lights was canceled this year, there are still plenty of maginificent displays available for view downtown, including light sculptures by local artists.

Salem Winterlude

In addition to a newly-programmed light display, local artists’ work is being displayed on murals in downtown Salem and in Salem Common, Artists Row, and Charlotte Forten Park.

Boston Harbor Now’s Ocean Therapy Winter Walks

Experience a guided therapeutic experience at Belle Isle Marshs! For a breath of fresh air, Boston Harbor Now is encouraging you to try “Forest Bathing,” inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, which encourages people to get outdoors and practice mindfulness in the midst of the busy modern world. Sign up today!

Winter on the Emerald Necklace

Boston’s Emerald Necklace Conservancy has a ton of virtual programming to offer in combination with experiencing their outdoor spaces this winter. From trivia nights to online yoga, their offerings are perfect for sparking joy and a love for the outdoors in the colder months!

Header Image: Hatched: Breaking through the silence, via Boston Magazine

Elena Pearl, Patron Services Manager

Elena Morris (she/her/hers) is ArtsBoston’s Community Outreach and Marketing Manager. She is a dramaturg and arts administrator passionate about forward thinking in the arts. Elena holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University, focusing her studies on dramatic literature and movement. twitter-4-512 @elena_pearl

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