12 Things to Do On Your Boston Snow Day!

For the second time in 2 weeks the City of Boston is experiencing winter weather so severe that schools are closed and young professionals in various forms of public (and maybe even private) jobs are home from work looking for something to do.  Well, here are 12 great things to do with your snow day in Boston – and ALL 12 are T accessible and get you out of bed:

1.       Go see a movie!  There are many theaters in and around the Boston area.  The two most centrally located – the AMC Loews Boston Common and the Regal Cinemas Fenway – are steps from the Boylston and Fenway green line T stops, respectively.

2.       Go ice skating!  I can’t be sure it’ll be open, but if it is, the Frog Pond Ice Skating Rink on Boston Common remains one of the best cheap romantic date options in the city while providing the perfect winter outdoor activity.  Skate rentals and lockers available.

3.       Go catch a local college team play!  Two kinds of activities are sure to occur no matter the weather:  The mail will be delivered and sports will be played.  Wednesday night you can head over to the Northeastern campus and catch the 7pm Huskies Men’s Basketball game against George Mason.

4.       Go do lunch!  Ever tell a friend that you want to do lunch but that they work too far from your office?  Is this the same friend you were gloating to all day Tuesday that you’d have an off-day Wednesday?  Well, make it up to them and take advantage of the amazing lunch specials at restaurants across the city.  You might not realize it, but some of the very same places you’d be hesitant to dine for dinner without being able to spend $50+ actually have reasonably-priced lunch options for those not racing to be back at their desk within 45 minutes.  Take advantage!  (A personal favorite:  The lunch menu at Ruth’s Chris in the awesomely historic old city hall building near the Government Center, State Street, and Park Street T stations.  Beware, the good lunch menu isn’t online)

5.       Go Sledding!  Ahh the most winter of all winter activities.  Who doesn’t want to take advantage of a snow day by spending an hour taking three trips down a steep hill and losing the desire to go back up a fourth time?  Well, Boston.com made an admittedly poor effort at compiling a list of places to sled in and around Boston.  A much better effort was made by Amy Laskowski of BU in this piece from 2009.  Wherever you go, watch out for this guy.

6.       Go for an early happy hour!  Seriously, what better way to warm up after a day of sledding then settling onto a barstool near an open fire.  Believe it or not, you’ve got several options in Boston including Cuffs in the Back Bay Hotel (fka Jury’s Hotel), Beacon Street Tavern in Audubon Circle, Post 390 in the Back Bay, Rumba in the Intercontinental Hotel, the historic Warren Tavern in Charlestown, Jame’s Gate in Jamaica Plain and, of course, The Fireplace in Coolidge Corner.  Just to name a few!

7.       Go read a book!  If you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter, why not curl up with a book at one of the 26 branches of Boston Public Library spread throughout the City?  And while there’s likely to be one steps from where you live, it doesn’t get much better than visiting the flagship branch in Copley Square.  If the public libraries are closed, there are bookstores in every neighborhood in Boston from the small independent to a big Borders.

8.       Go watch the Celts!  The Celts are in town at 7:30pm Wednesday night and there’s nothing like a good snowstorm to send the re-sale price on tickets plummeting.  (Take that, scalpers!)  So join your 18,623 closest friends and cheer on the boys in green.  Don’t forget to thank me if it’s the cheapest C’s ticket you get all year.

9.       Go to the museum!  Now, I’ll admit, this isn’t advice I’ve done a good job taking for myself.  But I will say that I can’t handle one more glowingly positive review about the new Art of the Americas wing at the Museum of Fine Arts before I get over there to see it.  I can’tI can’tI can’t.  And the ads throughout all the T stations?  Well, they had me at Sam Adams.

10.   Go to the brewery!  Speaking of Sam Adams… Both of Boston’s two breweries – the Boston Beer Company’s Samuel Adams brewery in Jamaica Plain and Harpoon’s brewery on the Waterfront – should both be open on Wednesday with tours usually running every hour during the middle of the day.  If you haven’t been… GO!  If you’ve been… GO!  And either start – or continue – building your free tasting glass collection.

11.   Go to karaoke!  I have a secret for you.  A big one.  Only the diehards among you already know this… now we’re gonna let the rest in:  Remember Hong Kong in Faneuil Hall?  The one that burned down?  Well… it’s back and better than ever exactly the same as it was before.  “Meat” on a stick and karaoke to pass the time on a snow day?  Yes, please!

12.   Go to trivia!  All throughout Boston on a weekly basis groups of 2-6 assemble to drink, eat, and answer questions.  And these aren’t just the Jeopardy! type.  As many of you likely already know, bars around Boston contract with groups such as Stump Trivia to provide trivia to the masses on one of their slower nights of the week.  It is always free to play and most places end up offering cash prizes in the form of gift cards to the restaurant.  I count 19 different bars and restaurants in Boston offering trivia through Stump just on Wednesdays alone.  So grab a few friends and head on over… and if you end up at Clery’s, I’ll see you there!

Enjoy your snow day and, if I missed anything you’ll be doing on your snow day, post it in the comments for others to enjoy!

The Planner’s Perspective

Buildings, benches, and forks in the road symbolize a series of decisions and shape pedestrian patterns and behaviors. Taking a moment to appreciate Boston’s built environment will lead to enhanced pride for our fair city, and your observations and narration will delight your friends (at least those with an arm chair interest in urban design and who have grown accustomed to journeys with you taking just a little bit longer). Oh, to be an urban planner whose purposeful missions are peppered with stops to peek down alleys and critique the skyline!

Boston’s architectural mix and walkability make the city a playground for aesthetes and history buffs. A casual stroll through Boston’s downtown business district offers over 300 years of perspective on planning and design, but how do we, today, move and react as players in our ever-evolving urban context?

• Relax on a bench in one of a handful of brick oases near City Hall (no, not that brick oasis) uncut by roads and preserved by walls of low- to mid-rise brick buildings.
• Hearken back to the time when shopping on a grand boulevard was a family affair, and move with the tide in the Downtown Crossing pedestrian mall that once hosted trolley traffic as well:


• Find a shaded nook within the curves and hilliness of Boston Common. Veer from the pedestrian walkways connecting Back Bay with Downtown, Beacon Hill, and other neighborhoods, and claim your own swath of green space.

Next time you breeze past a building or search for a private place to sit down with your lunch, pause to look for contextual historical clues. Faded lettering on a store’s façade and obsolete trolley tracks offer glimpses of Boston’s past and make the process of arriving at a destination more enriching (and provide limitless Google image search fodder for the curious!). Just think: as we use our thoughtfully prepared urban environment, we contribute to the next wave of transformation.

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