Five Reasons to Leave the House This Weekend

SoWa's 10th annual Holiday Market, free ice skating on the waterfront, cookie swapping, and more.

boston weekend events

Holiday shopping photo via Shutterstock

10th Annual SoWa Holiday Market

If you’ve been missing the SoWa Open Market since it closed for the winter season, you’ll have a chance to revisit the crafts market again this weekend only, giving you just enough time to complete your holiday gift shopping. Vendors will set up shop at the Benjamin Franklin Institute in the South End, just a short walk from the market’s usual location on Harrison Avenue. You can surprise your loved ones with vintage handbags, jewelry, handmade soaps, letterpress greeting cards and journals, ceramic kitchenware, and more, and even treat your pet to a new BullenBeisser bow tie collar. You’ll be overwhelmed with the variety of unique goods, so don’t forget—it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself, too.

$5 admission, free for children under 12, Saturday, December 14, and Sunday, December 15, noon-6 p.m., Benjamin Franklin Institute, 41 Berkeley St.,

Winter on the Wharf Season Opener Celebration

The waterfront is likely not the first place you think to visit in the winter, but this Saturday, it’s worth braving the cold weather for the opening celebration of Boston Harbor Hotel’s Winter on the Wharf season. Bundle up for complimentary ice skating on the hotel’s new rink—nestled under the building’s iconic archway—performances, speciality sweets and hot cocoa, a visit from Globe Santa, and other family-friendly activities. And don’t forget, this Saturday is just the beginning of the hotel’s special New England winter events, all with a breathtaking view of the city.

Free, Saturday, December 14, 1-4 p.m., Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf,

Somerville Illuminations Bicycle Tour

This Saturday, go for a peaceful evening bike ride with your friends and neighbors in Somerville, whizzing by some of the most brightly lit homes in the area. Holiday lights, costumes, and festive cheer are required and—don’t forget—bike lights are also required. Not a biker? Opt for the Illuminations Trolley Tour instead, which will show off many of the same sights. And regardless of which tour you choose, head over to City Hall afterward, where you can enjoy hot drinks and holiday treats.

$5 suggested donation, Saturday, December 14, 5:50 p.m. meeting in front of main entrance to Somerville High School, 81 Highland Ave., Somerville,

3rd Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause

The South End loves cookies. Following last weekend’s Cookie Festival, the neighborhood will host another cookie-centered event this Sunday—Boston Food Swap’s 3rd Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause, benefitting the Glad to Give campaign to raise money for pediatric cancer. Instead of a usual one-on-one exchange hosted by the group, all attendees will be given a Gladware container to fill with as many cookies as they want. You can share a creation of your own or take on a recipe from the event’s Pinterest board—bakers of eight dozen or more cookies get in for free—or show up just to eat. Munching on so many cookies will undoubtedly leave you thirsty, but there won’t be any milk. Instead, you can enjoy a refreshing sample of Polar Seltzer’s holiday flavor line or a Narragansett. That’s right—beer and cookies for a good cause. This one is a no-brainer.

Free for bakers of eight dozen or more, $10 for bakers of fewer than eight dozen, $20 for non-bakers, Sunday, December 15, 2-5 p.m., Collaboratory 4.0, 40 Berkeley St.,

A Beethoven Birthday Bash at the MFA

The famed German composer’s 243rd birthday isn’t until Monday, December 16, but the MFA is starting the celebration a little early, with a special “Beethoven Birthday Bash” concert this Thursday. Chamber music students from the New England Conservatory will perform select string quartets from his profound body of work, carrying on an annual tradition.

Free with museum admission, Thursday, December 12, 6-8 p.m., Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave.,