scorecardresearch Skip to main content

9 places around Boston where you can get into the holiday spirit (for free)

People under the holiday lights on Boston Common.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Every holiday season comes with a gamut of things to do and gifts to buy, and it inevitably takes a toll on our wallets. That, coupled with creeping inflation, got us thinking about some cost-free ways to get into the holiday spirit around Boston this week. We came up with several offerings that will appeal to people of all ages in neighborhoods in and around the city. So look around, maybe buy a gift or two, and soak in these sparkly, festive days.

A file photo of the SoWa Winter Festival. (SoWa Boston)SoWa Boston

SoWa Winter Festival

SoWa’s seasonal fest is back with all kinds of gifts and goodies. Venture through a pine tree forest and browse more than 150 food and art vendors inside the newly renovated Power Station. Or write down your Creative Christmas Wish at the Artist Loft desk and enter for the chance to learn how to paint, take better photographs, or make your own jewelry. The market is open every day through Sunday, Dec. 12. On weekends, it costs $5 to enter the Power Station, and tickets are available online, but all other locations are free and open to the public throughout the festival. Hours vary. 530 Harrison Ave., South End.

Harvard Square Holiday Fair


One of Boston’s oldest and most popular fairs brings together a mix of craftspeople from around the region, and world-traveling importers. Get a taste for “the old Harvard Square,” at this high-energy alternative marketplace, now in its 35th season. The fair is open this weekend and next — Dec. 10-12 and Dec. 17-19, and hours vary. Admission is free. 33 Dunster St., Cambridge.

The Boston Seaport's 2019 Snowport experience.Courtesy of Boston Seaport

Snowport in the Seaport

Boston’s Seaport has been transformed into a winter wonderland for the holidays, and this year it’s added a European-style open air market that will showcase over 60 artists and vendors. The third annual Snowport runs through Jan. 2, and showcases festive foods, large-scale outdoor winter games, a holiday wreath and tree market, plus the holiday tree and menorah. A canopy of 2,000-plus twinkling lights, and a 30-foot interactive “wish wall” will only add to the holiday spirit. 88 Seaport Blvd.


Christmas with Grace: A Neighborhood Celebration

Christmas with Grace is an interactive experience of lights, music, and Christmas festivities. The all-ages event happens this weekend in several towns including Lexington, East Lexington, Watertown, Wilmington, and Foxboro. There will be Christmas music, a gift-making station, a live nativity, photo booth, and a dramatic reading of “A Christmas Story.” Various locations. Dec. 10-12.

Lawrence Winter Art Walk and BIPOC Makers Holiday Market in Lynn

This weekend brings a few free festive offerings for those a bit north of Boston. The Lawrence Winter Art Walk on Saturday, Dec. 11, will feature open studios, gallery viewings, live demonstrations, performances, and other unique offerings for visitors to explore at various locations throughout downtown Lawrence. Participating organizations include 599 Studios, Ateneo Dominicano, SaludArte (hosted at Colectiva Wellness & Healing), El Taller Cafe & Bookstore, Elevated Thought, Essex Art Center, Lawrence Public Library, and One Broadway Collaborative, according to the Lawrence Arts Collective Instagram. From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Also on Saturday is the BIPOC Makers Holiday Market at the Lynn Museum in Lynn. Shop small from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and support BIPOC artisans and makers from around the area. 590 Washington Street, Lynn.


A file photo from the Boston Women's Market.Handout

Boston Women’s Holiday Market

For those south of the city, head to the Launch at Hingham Shipyard this weekend and support over 20 women-founded small businesses. Boston Women’s Market will be popping up at this harborside destination on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 18 Shipyard Drive in Hingham. Then on Sunday, Dec. 12 and 19, the market will make its way back to Boston for a pop up at the Charles River Speedway in Brighton from noon to 5 p.m. 525 Western Ave. in Brighton.

Holiday Sip & Shop at Boston Harbor Distillery

If shopping is better with a cocktail in hand, head to the Boston Harbor Distillery this Sunday, Dec. 12, from 2 to 5 p.m. This event features a variety of vendors, a raffle, plus live music with Haley Chic. The distillery is located at 12R Ericsson St.

A Christmas tree is set up in the rotunda of Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall Marketplace on Nov. 18, 2021.

Christmas in Boston at Faneuil Hall

With or without its big outdoor holiday tree, Faneuil Hall is still a place to get in the holiday spirit. With plenty of shopping and food vendors, plus ample ornaments and seasonal decor, you’ll find no shortage of reminders of this magical time of year. And Christmas in Boston, a store chock full of holiday ornaments and knickknacks, is open every day at 4 South Market Building, Fanueil Hall Marketplace.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at Follow her @brittbowker and also on Instagram @brittbowker.