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.
— Casual Travelers (@CasualTraveling) December 4, 2015
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!
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:
To our friends near and far, wishing you & yours a very Merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/0dIJQY4czK
— Boston Ballet (@BostonBallet) December 25, 2015
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 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 Ballet (@BostonBallet) November 24, 2015
— Boston Ballet (@BostonBallet) November 24, 2015
Boston Opera House
The Boston Opera House is a very nice venue, lavishly designed, and of course beautifully decorated for the holidays.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saturday Morning – Shopping
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
Does your family have or had any December traditions?
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