view from our orchestra seats at the Boston Opera House

Tips for a Fun December Weekend in Boston

Every December the Boston Ballet stages a production of The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House. I know it’s a tradition for some families to see the performance every year, but I wasn’t sure whether taking my daughter to see it made sense, because I was afraid she wasn’t mature enough to sit through the two-hour performance.

I was wrong.

This past December 2015, we were lucky to win two tickets to The Nutcracker through a WBUR raffle. (WBUR is a local National Public Radio station, my favorite station that I listen to every day.)

My daughter has seen local, small troupe (Dance Prism) productions of the Nutcracker staged at our local high school. This would be the first time she’d see the ballet at a professional stage, danced by professional dancers, with music played live by real orchestra.

Since we live about an hour away from Boston, we could have gone home right after the performance, but I decided to turn this opportunity into a Fun Mother-Daughter December Weekend in Boston.

Here’s what we did:

Friday Evening – Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

The tickets we won through WBUR were very close to the stage, and we had a great view of the Boston Opera House’s great stage.

The dancers, the decorations, special effects, and music were all fantastic. My daughter was absolutely enchanted and paid attention the whole time. When I asked her afterwards what her favorite part was, she said she couldn’t choose. She liked all of it!

I loved Rachele Buriassi as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Dusty Button as Dew Drop. Their dancing was so perfect and their jumps looked so effortless it seemed gravity does not apply to them.

Federico Fresi with Andres Garcia and Ricardo Santos were also amazing as the Russian dancers, and I was of course captivated by Brittany Stone‘s and Junxiong Zhao‘s interpretation of the Arabian Dance (my favorite piece of music in the suite). 

Some of my other favorites were:

Snow Scene

I don’t know much about theatre production, but whatever material was used during the Snow Scene looked like real snow, that started off slow and turned into a real snow storm by the end. It was magical! And Petra Conti and Patrick Yocum were also fantastic as the Snow Queen and King.

The Mice

The Nutcracker Mice sure have attitude, let me tell you 🙂 They’re not mentioned by name in the program, but they did a great job.

I wish I had been traveling on the Orange Line when they were hanging around Boston last December.

Boston Opera House

The Boston Opera House is a very nice venue, lavishly designed, and of course beautifully decorated for the holidays.

Lobby area at the Boston Opera House
Lobby area at the Boston Opera House

A huge Christmas tree is a perfect spot for a photo op, though be prepared to wait in line.


Tickets for the Boston Ballet performances are sold through the Boston Ballet website. You can also try to get tickets in person, at the Boston Ballet Box Office on site.

Getting There

The Boston Opera House is located at 539 Washington Street in Boston (Massachusetts), very close to the Downtown Crossing stop where Orange Line and Red Line intersect.

The Green Line’s Boylston Street and Park Street stations are not too far away either.

You can also park at one of the nearby garages, for instance the Pilgrim Parking located at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

I parked my car at the Alewife Station and used the T (what Bostonians call the subway) to get downtown.

Friday Evening – Dinner

There are plenty of dining options in the area, but there’s a slim chance you’ll get a table right before the performance without the reservation, which we learned the hard way.

We ended up eating at a surprisingly reasonably priced Avenue One, a nice restaurant inside the Hyatt Regency Boston where we were staying overnight.

Avenue One restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Boston
Avenue One restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Boston

Friday Night – Hyatt Regency Boston

Since the ballet was at 7:30pm and lasted two hours, we wouldn’t be home till almost 11pm.

I’ve decided to use my Arrival+ card points and booked a room at the Hyatt Regency Boston, 325 feet from the Boston Opera House.

We had a nicely decorated room with a King size bed, just right for the two of us.

our bedroom at the Hyatt Regency Boston
our bedroom at the Hyatt Regency Boston

After the performance we had to, of course, go to the hotel pool. My daughter is absolutely crazy about pools. If there’s a pool at the place we are staying, we’ll be there every single day, sometimes more than once a day.

pool at the Hyatt Regency Boston
pool at the Hyatt Regency Boston

Saturday Morning – Breakfast

The area is full of places where you can have breakfast. We opted for crepes and coffee and frappe at a cafe at 26 Temple Place – small and simple but good.

Cafe on 26 Tremont Street
Cafe on 26 Tremont Street

Saturday Morning – Shopping

Washington Street where the Boston Opera House is located is home to many stores including Macy’s where it’s hard to find an exit, as well H&MPrimarkEddie Bauer Outlet and others.

See the Downtown Boston website for a more comprehensive list.

We ended up going home with a few items from the Eddie Bauer Outlet, and some shoes from Payless.

evening scene at Downtown Crossing
evening scene at Downtown Crossing

Saturday Afternoon – New England Aquarium

Since my daughter wants to be a marine biologist, we used the opportunity of being in Boston to visit the New England Aquarium, where we spent quite a few hours.

We got to see how Harbor Seals get their teeth brushed and how they are trained, for instance. A longer post about the New England Aquarium is coming up.

Harbor seals get their teeth brushed
Harbor seals get their teeth brushed

General adult admission to the aquarium costs $26.95, and tickets for children between 3 and 11 years old are $17.95.

You can buy tickets online or in person.

Getting There

The New England Aquarium is located at 1 Central Wharf in Boston. You can get there on the Blue Line (Aquarium stop) or park at the Harbor Garage

# # #

We went home on Saturday, after visiting the New England Aquarium, but if you’d like to make your December trip to Boston a full weekend, weather permitting you should also take a stroll past the Rose Kennedy Greenway to see the Winter Lights, and the Faneuil Hall to see Blink! A Free Sound and Light Show.

There are plenty of places to eat at and nearby the Faneuil Hall when you get hungry from all the walking around.

lights at the Faneuil Hall
lights at the Faneuil Hall

Should you be in a mood for another holiday performance, you can check if the Wang Theatre is running Elf The Broadway Musical again. My daughter and I saw it a few weeks earlier with her Girl Scout troop.

All in all, I was very glad I got this opportunity to spend a weekend with my daughter, just the two of us, and who knows, maybe that will become our tradition for December.
Christmas tree at the Boston Opera House
Christmas tree at the Boston Opera House
Does your family have or had any December traditions?

Invitation to the #WeekendWanderlust Link Up

#WeekendWanderlust, hosted by Chris & Heather from A Brit and a Southerner, Jessi & Tara from Outbound Adventurer, Ashley from A Southern Gypsy, Justin and Lauren from Justin Plus Lauren, and yours truly, is a collaborative effort to share travel blog posts, and to discuss all travel-related things.

The hosts organize each week a link up through which travel bloggers from around the world can promote their posts, in exchange for a promise to give some attention to other travel bloggers. (One of the rules for linking up is to comment on three linked up posts.)

If the link up is still open, feel free to add a link to one of your posts below, then comment on at least three other linked up posts.

If you leave a comment on this post, I will reciprocate with a comment as soon as I can!

Also, don’t forget to join the #WeekendWanderlust chat on Twitter, every Saturday, at 11am EST, 3pm GMT, 11 pm SGT. See the list of upcoming topics on Travelogx.

#WeekendWanderlust link up logo
#WeekendWanderlust link up logo

18 thoughts on “Tips for a Fun December Weekend in Boston”

  1. The nutcracker mice at the subway was so cute!! My family don’t really have christmas tradition… maybe we should start ours this year 🙂 Thank you for sharing these lovely tips! #weekendwanderlust

    1. Glad you liked it, Cat! Any time is good to start some traditions that you’ll remember for years to come 🙂 Just pick something that works for you.

  2. Looks like you had a great weekend. I’ve been wanting to go to Boston, since I’ve never been, but I may have to wait until it warms up a bit! I’ve lived in Florida for too long!

  3. I love doing dinner and a show in the city! We did something similar in San Francisco this fall. The Opera House looks amazing, would love to see it!

  4. The mice from the Nutcracker just hanging out in the subway? That’s awesome! I would have loved to see that. I’m excited that your daughter loved the Nutcracker and had a great time watching it. It’s such a fun tradition.

  5. One of my favorite winter experiences here in SoCal is to attend The Nutcracker. The next time I’m in Boston during the winter it’s a must to see their production. Great list. Boston is so much fun any time of year.
    Lesley recently posted…2016 Bucket ListMy Profile

  6. This all sounds amazing! I would just LOVE to see the ballet there! Last year my sister ran the Boston marathon, and it just wasn’t the best timing for me to go along. I wish I had! Next year! 🙂

  7. Oh, how fun. When I stayed in Boston I wasn’t at the Hyatt I was in the grad dorm at Harvard – I decided to take a summer writing course there. I can’t say I loved it – too much drama in the dorms and with my classmates – but I will certainly never forget it! This itinerary would be a great way to go back.

  8. Precious story. I have three daughters, although they are in their 30s and 40s now. Weekend travel is so valuable while one is working, especially if it is done with loved ones. The Nutcracker Ballet is a great center point for such a weekend, anywhere.

  9. What a great mother-daughter weekend! You’re giving me the idea that I should try it sometime with my own girl. The few times that we’ve traveled without dad and the brothers, we’ve always had a Girl Scout troop along, so it’s never been just the two of us. I’ve been wanting to take my daughter to see the Nutcracker, but she’s not interested. But I bet that if I won free tickets, she’d be on board, especially if it was paired with a hotel stay and shopping.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted…The Future of TravelMy Profile

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