Boston offers a myriad of experience gift options suitable for all ages, making them an ideal choice for those seeking last-minute gifts, aiming to minimize physical waste, or desiring quality time with their loved ones. Experience gifts are indeed among the most delightful presents to both receive and give.
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1. Find adventure at an escape room ($24-36)
Engaging in escape rooms presents an exciting opportunity for fostering connections and honing one’s analytical prowess. Boda Borg, situated in Malden, stands out as an exceptional choice, providing a diverse range of escape rooms or “quests” encompassing both physical and mental hurdles. This enthralling experience necessitates a minimum group size of three individuals, rendering it an ideal present for a close-knit circle of friends or even a family unit. Moreover, participants can opt for a 2-hour or 4-hour pass, granting them the freedom to explore a multitude of rooms within the chosen timeframe.
Some other traditional escape rooms include:
Keep in mind that most escape rooms require a group of at least 2-3 people. Costs usually range from $30-50 per person.
2. Go off-grid in Getaway House’s tiny cabins ($170+)
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in a blissful weekend getaway at Getaway House. Nestled just a stone’s throw away from Boston, these delightful cabins await you at Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire. With their cozy interiors, 1-2 beds, and convenient amenities like a lockbox for your phones, running water, and a petite kitchen, these cabins offer the perfect retreat.
The cabins feature a spacious window beside the bed, where you can wake up to a breathtaking winter scenery.
3. Get creative at Muse Paintbar ($35+)
Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned artist, immersing yourself in the ambiance of a painting studio offers a tranquil and rejuvenating evening. During these artistic gatherings, a skilled instructor gracefully navigates participants through the intricacies of a carefully chosen masterpiece. Additionally, delectable refreshments and beverages are conveniently offered for those seeking sustenance.
Muse Paintbar is an absolute gem nestled in the vibrant Assembly Row, an open-air shopping haven. Indulge in delectable culinary delights at the plethora of enticing restaurants, or embark on a delightful shopping spree to complement your artistic experience.
4. Go skiing at the Blue Hills or Wachusett Mountain ($70-100+)
Unleash your skiing adventures just a stone’s throw away from the city! Embark on a picturesque 20-minute drive to the mesmerizing Blue Hills, or opt for a thrilling journey aboard the Commuter Rail to reach the awe-inspiring Wachusett Mountain in approximately 2 hours (ski season brings the added convenience of a complimentary shuttle from the Fitchburg station).
5. Skate at the iconic Frog Pond or the public indoor rinks ($6-18)
Embrace the wintery magic from December to March by gliding across the frozen Frog Pond nestled within the heart of Boston Common. For an extra dose of festivity, venture out in the evening and skate amidst the enchanting glow of holiday lights.
In addition, the city offers various skating spots managed by the Department of Conservation & Recreation, where you can glide gracefully. While skating is generally free, rentals come at a nominal cost.
6. Find thrifted gems at the Garment District
The Garment District is renowned for its treasure trove of $2/pound pre-loved apparel, where daring souls can embark on a germ-infused adventure. Within the vast heaps of garments, one can uncover a myriad of sizes and styles. However, for those seeking a refined assortment, the district also presents a selection of vintage fashion gracefully displayed on conventional racks, albeit at a more premium cost.
7. Visit the Mapparium ($0-6)
Located in the heart of the Christian Science Center, stands the magnificent Mapparium, a colossal three-story globe that was erected in 1935. Embark on a fascinating guided tour inside this awe-inspiring creation and witness the profound transformations that have shaped our world throughout the passing years. Regardless of your enthusiasm for history, the sheer beauty of the globe itself is absolutely captivating and is an experience not to be missed. Admission for children under the age of 17 is complimentary, while adults can secure their tickets for a modest fee of $6; however, it is essential to make reservations in advance during this period. Although capturing photographs of the actual globe is not permitted, fret not, as a splendid backdrop awaits you in the lobby, allowing you to capture the essence of this extraordinary attraction.
8. Go on a sunset cruise ($23+)
The wait till the arrival of the warmer months is truly worthwhile, as the excitement builds up! Witnessing the city skyline during the magical golden hour from the water is an unparalleled experience. It is an ideal present for couples or friends, offering them a truly delightful surprise.
Embrace the allure of winter and embark on a delightful cruise experience. Indulge in the enchantment of December as you revel in the harmonious melodies of the festive season, relishing a cup of steaming hot cocoa. Marvel at the mesmerizing Boston skyline that comes alive under the cloak of night.
9. Spend the afternoon at a board game cafe ($10+)
Gather your loved ones and indulge in a friendly competition to determine the ultimate champion of your cherished board games. Immerse yourself in the warm and inviting atmosphere of Knight Moves Cafe, an iconic haven situated in the heart of Brookline. Delight in the extensive array of game options, spanning across numerous genres, and relish in the delectable comfort food offerings that await you.
The Tavern of Tales nestled in Mission Hill exudes a contemporary ambiance, tailored specifically for those seeking an immersive experience within larger gatherings desiring to secure a private space.
10. Visit the New Hampshire Ice Castles ($20+)
Embark on an enchanting journey as you set out on a road trip to the mesmerizing New Hampshire Ice Castles. These ethereal structures, crafted meticulously with countless icicles, have become an absolute sensation on Instagram. Nestled in the picturesque town of Woodstock, New Hampshire, amidst the majestic White Mountains, these captivating castles await, just a mere 2-hour drive away from the bustling city of Boston.
The Ice Castles welcome visitors with varying opening hours, determined by the whims of the weather. Generally, you can explore their enchanting wonders from January until the waning days of February or the dawning of March. Admission prices fluctuate between $20 and $29 for adults, contingent upon whether your visit falls on a serene weekday or a lively weekend.
Explore my comprehensive analysis of the Ice Castles to uncover a plethora of information and assistance in organizing your excursion. Should you decide to embark on this journey, I suggest augmenting your itinerary with an additional local escapade, as the Ice Castles, although enchanting, can be explored within a mere hour.
11. Go bouldering or rock climbing ($30+)
Bouldering and climbing offer thrilling full-body exercises. There are multiple fitness centers scattered throughout the town.
Numerous establishments present day passes inclusive of gear rentals at approximately $30, showcasing an array of climbing routes spanning various difficulty levels, with a special focus on those suitable for beginners.
12. Try a new or old restaurant (or a food tour!)
Exploring a cherished classic can be a delightful way to commemorate a significant achievement or reminisce, yet venturing into uncharted territory always holds its allure. If you’re seeking recommendations for plant-based options, feel free to peruse my article featuring the top vegan eateries in Boston.
Indulge in a delightful adventure with your beloved if you both have a penchant for all things sugary, by embarking on this enchanting subterranean donut expedition. Alternatively, for a truly immersive escapade encompassing the finest pizza, pasta, and artisanal brews, delve into the clandestine North End gastronomic journey.
13. Go on a staycation
If you yearn for an urban escapade with a twist, contemplate embarking on a staycation. Explore the finest, most acclaimed hotels of Boston or indulge in the unique experience of dwelling aboard a charming houseboat nestled in the harbor.
14. Paint pottery at Clayroom ($20+)
Whether you’re seeking an engaging experience for children, a collective adventure, or a serene night, Clayroom offers the opportunity to unleash your creativity and embellish a pre-designed ceramic masterpiece.
After you’ve completed your artistic masterpiece, the studio proceeds to ignite the pieces, unveiling their true potential. In just a matter of days, you can retrieve the final creation, brimming with exquisite charm. From practical household essentials like mugs and plates to enchanting decorative figurines, the array of pottery pieces is bound to captivate your attention.
15. See a concert
Boston, the bustling metropolis, hosts a plethora of sensational concerts all year round. Unveil the thrilling secret of your beloved’s treasured band gracing this extraordinary city, and astound them with the gift of tickets.
Immerse yourself in a world of inspiration by indulging in the enchanting melodies emanating from the House of Blues in Fenway, all while savoring delectable and authentic New Orleans cuisine. Alternatively, embrace the future of music by showing your unwavering support for the budding talents of Berklee College of Music students during their awe-inspiring free performances.
If you are a fan of classical music, Symphony Hall also regularly hosts discussions and performances.
16. Go on a day trip
The Commuter Rail opens up a realm of car-free possibilities, granting access to a multitude of nearby cities. Embark on unlimited train adventures for a mere $10 during weekends! Coveted destinations like Salem, Providence, Rockport, and Gloucester await your exploration. Unleash your wanderlust with my comprehensive manual on crafting effortless day trips from Boston by train.
17. Go hiking at Middlesex Fells or Blue Hills
Immerse yourself in the breathtaking cityscape and embark on an exhilarating adventure at these renowned parks situated on the outskirts of the bustling metropolis. Indulge in the captivating skyline trails offered by both the Fells and the Blue Hills, each spanning an impressive distance of 8 miles and 5.4 miles, respectively. Don’t forget to equip yourself with sturdy footwear as you embrace the thrilling ascent that awaits you.
18. Try axe throwing ($30+)
The art of axe throwing has risen in popularity in recent years, captivating urban dwellers as specialized venues sprout in bustling metropolises. Boston stands no exception to this trend, offering a delightful dilemma between two captivating locales: Urban Axes nestled in Somerville or Revolution Axe situated in Everett.
You can also purchase beverages on-site, and at Urban Axes, you have the option to purchase food or bring your own.
19. See a movie at an indie theatre ($12-14)
Immerse yourself in the enchantment of a one-of-a-kind movie experience at either the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline or the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. Step into these extraordinary independent cinemas adorned with stunning interiors, boasting the timeless allure of their iconic red curtains.
With their strategic placement in vibrant squares, these theaters boast an impressive array of neighboring eateries and boutiques, transforming your visit into an extraordinary experience.
20. Visit one of the many museums in the city
Whether you have an interest in science or art, there is a museum in Boston that caters to your preferences. Some popular choices include:
Unlock the treasures of these museums with a local library card, granting you the possibility of free or heavily discounted passes. Dive into the depths of your library’s website to unveil the secrets of obtaining these coveted tickets!
21. Go whale watching
Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature with this extraordinary present. Embark on a serene water voyage and behold the awe-inspiring presence of these magnificent beings within their pristine environment. Delight in the opportunity to join the Boston Harbor Cruises’ remarkable whale watching excursion, guided by knowledgeable naturalists who enlighten you about these incredible creatures while ensuring minimal disruption to their peaceful existence (this tour is proudly certified by Whale SENSE, guaranteeing ethical and responsible practices).
As per the reviews, expect tours lasting around 4 hours, with a significant chunk of that time dedicated to journeying towards the delightful feeding spots. Therefore, it’s advisable to prepare yourself for an extended day of exploration and enjoyment!
If you possess any additional concepts, kindly share them in the comments for other readers. Have a delightful holiday season or festivity!