Now that Thanksgiving is over, the city is gearing up for Hanukkah and Christmas. Stores and streets are decorated with lights, holiday markets have sprung up, and there are all kinds of events to get you in the holiday mood. Check out some of the festive ways to celebrate the season in “The Weekender,” our weekly guide to ideas about where to eat, shop, and go. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the Comment section below.
There may be no better way to combat the New England winter chill than with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and some of the best in Boston can be found at Max Brenner, the international chocolate empire, which has a store on Boylston Street. Choose one (or more) of the nine delicious hot chocolates, like peanut butter, Oreo, and Mexican spicy, in your choice of milk, dark, or white chocolate. The drink will come in a signature Hug Mug, a handleless mug shaped like a cocoa bean and designed to be cupped in both hands for maximum coziness and warmth. Hungry? Try one of the warm crepes filled with chocolate hazelnut or the chocolate fondue.
Max Brenner, 745 Boylston St., Boston, is open Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 11 pm, Friday, 10 am to 1 am, Saturday, 9 am to 1 am, and Sunday, 9 am to 11 pm. Given the time of year, it’s a good idea to make a reservation online.
Ready to get started on your holiday shopping? Stop by the SoWa Winter Festival, returning this weekend for the fourth year. The market includes more than 100 vendors selling locally made home goods, jewelry, apparel, art, specialty food, and more at the SoWa Power Plant. When you’re done there, take a stroll along Thayer Street to browse SoWa’s regular shops, artist studios, and art galleries. Stop by one of the food trucks for a quick bite, enjoy a winter cocktail at one of SoWa’s trendy bars, or visit the heated Winter Wonderland tent to participate in holiday craft workshops, snap a pic at a photo booth, and enjoy live musical performances. But hurry. The SoWa Winter Festival is just this weekend and next.
The SoWa Winter Festival, at 540 Harrison Ave., Boston, runs November 30 to December 2 and December 7 to 9. Check here for times and a full vendor list.
One of Boston’s most beloved traditions returns to town this weekend with Boston Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. This annual crowd-pleaser features choreography by acclaimed Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen. Buying your tickets in advance is advised, as shows tend to sell out.
Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is at the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston, through December 30. Purchase tickets here or call the box office at 617-695-6955. Tickets range from $50 to $325.
Faneuil Hall’s seventh annual holiday light and sound extravaganza Blink! opens this weekend and promises to be dazzling. The show’s more than 350,000 LED lights dance to six holiday tracks recorded by the Grammy-winning Boston Pops, and it attracts more than 225,000 visitors each year. Shows take place every half hour, starting at dusk.
Blink! is at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, One Faneuil Hall Square, Boston, through January 1 (the marketplace is closed Christmas Day). The seven-minute show runs every half hour from 4:30 to 10 pm in the South Market. Admission is free and open to the public.
Anime Boston is teaming up with the Museum of Science for a one-of-a-kind event celebrating anime. The daylong event will have activities for all ages, including a cosplay fashion show, anime film screenings (in Japanese and English), a Pokémon Go event, and more. There will also be a series of panel discussions on topics like creating costumes and science in anime. Whether you’re a dedicated anime fan or a casual observer, there should be something for everyone.
Anime Boston Day is Saturday, December 1, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Museum of Science, One Science Park, Boston. The event is free with exhibit halls admission, which can be purchased online or at the museum. Admission is $20 for children (ages 3 to 11), $25 for adults (12 and over), and $21 for seniors (60+). Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Science Park.