How to Have the Best Snow Day in Boston

Regardless of your age.

child enjoying snow

Photo by Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

It’s that time again: Your weather app’s forecast is filled with snow icons, the bread and milk aisles are bare at the local Market Basket, and you’re staring down a solid 24 hours of winter wonderland. Whether you have kids or not, it’s hard to resist the notion that the day of a major snowstorm in Boston is a time when normal activities get set aside. Why not make the most of it?

Prepare yourself for a snow storm

First things first: We’re not here for any snow whining. You live in Boston, and it’s time to accept that freezing weather is good and turn your snow complaints into a sport. So don your warmest flannel, get your space saver ready (or don’t, depending on where you live),  flip your wipers up, and get ready. Oh, and make sure to check in with older relatives and neighbors and anyone else who might need some help once the snow starts—if you’re able, offering to help shovel is a life-saver for both residents who can’t do it, and everyone who benefits from cleared sidewalks. It doesn’t hurt to pre-salt the sidewalk, either.

Indoor activities

Depending on your speed, you may just want to hunker down with a new book. Maybe it’s the perfect time to read our oral history of Good Will Hunting or one of our other long reads? Or tackle that jigsaw puzzle you ordered ages ago from Eureka Puzzles (or order a new one for the next storm). Look, we’re all experts at staying inside by now. Fire up the Netflix and huddle up with your kids, lovers, pets, or pillows that you’ve attached googly eyes to.

Outdoor snow activities

If you’re up for venturing out, try a walk through one of Boston’s most scenic neighborhoods while the snow is still fresh. You can try heading out to Beacon Hill for the snow globe vibes, or take a stroll through Highland Park in Roxbury for a view of the surrounding area, or any one of these other scenic winter walks. Hike up Prospect Hill for another great view of the city, or try one of these other walks with scenic views of the skyline if you’re so inclined. Looking for something a little more active? The Common has some suitable hills for sledding, as do all of these other neighborhoods around town. And if it’s not snowing too hard, it might be the perfect time to get a little exercise and go ice skating at one of these local rinks—just check hours and open status before going. And of course, don’t forget to sculpt your finest creation out of the snow.

Refuel after your hard work

Now that you’ve braved the cold and damp like the hearty and stoic New Englander you are, it’s time to treat yourself. Grab a hot chocolate at Cacao in Jamaica Plain, or sample one of the other excellent options in our roundup of the area’s best hot chocolate. In fact, you have plenty of warm and cozy options for food, whether you’re a chicken pot pie diner, a dumpling fan, or perhaps seeking some warm and satisfying Indian food. Or maybe you really want to double down? In that case, here’s a list of local ice cream shops for you, you special winter obsessive.

Weekend snow activities around New England

Another important part of a snow storm? The weekend, once the roads have been cleared and you can head out to one of the local ski resorts. Whether you’re off to Stowe, Vermont, or Lincoln, New Hampshire, these New England ski towns are the place to be. If you’re an experienced backcountry skier, you’ve checked local avalanche warnings, and you have some experienced friends to join you, try one of these areas for backcountry skiing. But if you’re in search of the simple joy of hurtling down a hill on an inflated tube, here’s where you can go snow tubing around New England. Trying to move a little more slowly? Maybe one of these winter hikes is more your speed, or one of these local parks.