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Thanksgiving Weekend in Boston

Where to go, what to see


Thanksgiving is the most heavily traveled holiday of the year. Many have already left campus to spend the holiday with family and friends. But for those who are sticking around, we’ve put together a list (starting with places to go for a proper Thanksgiving meal) of things to do this weekend. So whether you’re looking to soak up some culture, take in some skating, or get a jump start on your holiday shopping, we’ve got suggestions to help make your holiday weekend fun.

Four places to get Thanksgiving dinner for under $40

Grafton Street Pub & Grill

This Harvard Square mainstay mixes the atmosphere of a neighborhood pub with something a bit more modern. Grafton Street offers a three-course Thanksgiving meal—including turkey and options like warm goat cheese cornbread or sweet potato ravioli—for $38.

Grafton Street Pub and Grill is at 1230 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. Take the MBTA Red Line to Harvard Square. The restaurant accepts all major credit cards and will be open on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 617-497-0400 to make a reservation.

Legal Sea Foods (Prudential Center)

For anyone looking for a downtown, upscale dining experience, Legal Sea Foods is a sure thing. The New England chain offers its traditional seafood fare, but will also offer a special turkey dinner for $21.95 for patrons looking to indulge in more traditional holiday fare.

Legal Sea Foods is at 800 Boylston St., Boston. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to the Hynes Convention Center. Find other Legal Sea Foods locations in the Boston area here. Legal Sea Foods accepts all major credit cards and is open on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 617-266-6800 to make a reservation.

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ArtBar’s fall menu features New England classics like scallops, paired with pumpkin and bacon accents, for a unique Thanksgiving treat. Photo courtesy of ArtBar

ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Hotel

Patrons can dine riverside in this intimate setting while enjoying the restaurant’s impressive art collection. ArtBar is offering a family-style Thanksgiving dinner ($39 per adult, $16 per child) that comes with all the traditional fixings. A la carte options are also available.

The ArtBar is in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 40 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley Square and switch to a Green Line E trolley to Lechmere. ArtBar accepts all major credit cards and will serve its Thanksgiving meal from noon to 3 p.m. and again from 5 to 10 p.m. Call 617-806-4122 to make a reservation.

Club Café

If you want to have a delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal and give back at the same time, consider dining at Club Café: 10 percent of the proceeds from the restaurant’s holiday’s food sales will be donated to help fund programming at the Boston Living Center, a nonprofit serving New England’s HIV/AIDS community. For $28.95, patrons can indulge in a buffet-style meal featuring turkey, butternut squash and apple soup, and prime rib.

To get to Club Café, 209 Columbus Ave., Boston, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Arlington Street. Club Café accepts all major credit cards and is open on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 617-536-0966 to make a reservation.


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The Boston Common Frog Pond is transformed into a winter wonderland for patrons seeking outdoor fun in a festive setting this holiday season. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Natasha Lloyd

What better way to get into the holiday spirit then ice-skating at Boston Common’s Frog Pond? Nestled in the heart of America’s oldest park, the pond is magically transformed each November into a winter wonderland. The cost is $5 for adults, free for children 14 and under. Bring your own skates or rent them there ($9 for adults, $5 for kids). You can even get your skates sharpened, for $8. One note: the rink is closed on Thanksgiving Day.

To get to the Boston Common Frog Pond, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street. Hours: Mondays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For information on skate rentals and events, call 617-635-2120.

Men’s hockey

Cheer on the Terriers as they host the Saint Lawrence Saints Saturday, November 24, at 7 p.m. at Agganis Arena in what is sure to be an action-packed game.

Tickets for the men’s hockey game are $26 for adults, $16 for BU students, faculty, and staff with a valid BU ID, and free for those with a sports pass. Tickets can be purchased at the Agganis Arena box office, 925 Commonwealth Ave., or through Ticketmaster.


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The In Your Face exhibition at the MFA gives viewers a look through the lens of celebrity photographer Mario Testino, with his portraits of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and various other stars. Photo by Mario Testino

Museum of Fine Arts

The work of world-renowned photographer Mario Testino is currently on display in a provocative new show at the Museum of Fine Arts—Testino’s first exhibition to date in the United States. Titled Mario Testino: In Your Face, this career retrospective offers a smorgasbord of the fashion photographer’s celebrated images of Kate Moss, Brad Pitt, and Lady Gaga, to name a few. The exhibition runs through February 3, 2013. While you’re there, be sure to check out a companion show, Mario Testino: British Royal Portraits. Drawing on his access to England’s royal family over more than three decades, this show includes Testino’s iconographic images of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, and Will and Kate.

The museum will be closed Thanksgiving day, but open the rest of the holiday weekend.

The Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, is open Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Wednesdays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. By public transportation, take the Green Line E trolley or 39 bus to the Museum of Fine Arts stop or the Orange Line train or bus routes 8, 47, or C2 to the Ruggles stop. Admission is free for full-time BU students with a valid ID; $25 for adults; $23 for seniors (65 and older) and students 18 and older; free for children 6 and under. Youth ages 7 to 17, $7.50 on weekdays before 3 p.m., free on weekdays after 3 p.m., weekends, and public school holidays. Wednesdays after 4 p.m., admission is by voluntary contribution. More information can be found here or by calling 617-267-9300.

MIT Museum’s 15th Annual Friday after Thanksgiving (F.A.T)

For a completely different museum experience, head on over to the MIT Museum’s 15th Annual Friday after Thanksgiving (F.A.T) Chain Reaction on Friday, November 23. Billed as a “one-of-a-kind, must-be-seen-to-be-believed” engineering feat, inventor Arthur Ganson orchestrates a Rube Goldberg machine, abetted by MIT teams and participants that include local artists, Girl Scout troops, and engineers. The tension builds until all the machines set off a chain reaction with a spectacular ending. This is a great event for all ages. The theme of this year’s show is “crystal ball.”

MIT Museum’s 15th Annual Friday after Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction is Friday, November 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. at MIT’s Rockwell Cage Gymnasium, 120 Vassar St., Cambridge. Cost: $15 for adults, $5 for students with a valid college ID and youth ages 5 to 17. Children under 5 are admitted free. To get there, take the CT2 bus from the Park Drive at Mountfort Street stop to the Vassar Street at Mass Ave stop.

Boston Public Library in Copley Square

Anyone new to Boston in the last 25 years would have no knowledge of what the MBTA Orange Line’s elevated rail looked like. But a fascinating new exhibition at the main branch of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square vividly recaptures the grittiness of the old line. Two years prior to its dismantling, the nonprofit group Urban Arts Partnership launched a program called Arts in Transit. Pairing photographers and photography students, teams went out and captured the southwest corridor during its transition. More than 65 of those photographs are now on view in a show called An Elevated View: The Orange Line.

An Elevated View: The Orange Line is on view in the Wiggin Gallery of the Boston Public Library’s central branch, 700 Boylston St., Copley Square. The exhibition is free and open to the public. The library is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but regular hours for the exhibition are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m.

Theater and Ballet

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Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

First published in 1957, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas has become a staple of children’s literature, a classic animated television special, and a feature film starring Jim Carrey. Now the beloved tale comes to the Boston stage as a musical, featuring songs popularized by the television classic, including “Welcome Christmas” and “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” This stage version, which debuted on Broadway in 2006, features additional music as well. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! opens at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre on Friday, November 23, and runs through Sunday, December 9.

To get to the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Boylston Street. Purchase tickets here, by calling 866-348-9738 or by visiting the Citi Performing Arts Center box office. Box office hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m.

Huntington Theatre Company

Theater-goers craving something more substantial should check out the Huntington Theatre Company’s current production of Harold Pinter’s drama Betrayal. Chronicling the passionate seven-year affair between a woman and her husband’s best friend, this critically praised production explores deception on many levels.

Betrayal runs at the BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston, through December 9. The theater is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but performances are scheduled for Friday, November 23, and Saturday, November 24, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Sunday, November 25, at 2 p.m. Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 617-266-0800, or in person at the BU Theatre box office. Patrons 35 and younger may purchase $25 tickets (ID required) and there is a $5 discount for seniors. Military personnel can purchase tickets for $15, and student rush tickets are also available for $15. Members of the BU community get $10 off (ID required).

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

One of Boston’s most cherished holiday traditions—Boston Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker returns, but with a twist. This year, the company presents the world premiere of Mikko Nissinen’s new production of the classic ballet, featuring new sets and costumes and revised choreography by Nissinen, Boston Ballet’s artistic director. The production debuts Friday, November 23, and runs through December 30. Prices range from $35 to $192, and first-time buyers receive a 10 percent discount.

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is running at the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston. To get there, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street. To purchase tickets, call or visit the Boston Ballet’s box office, 19 Clarendon St., Boston.; phone: 617-695-6950; box office hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., weekends, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To get to the box office, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley. To purchase day-of-performance tickets, visit or call the Boston Opera House box office; phone: 617-259-3400; hours: Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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Santa in the City at Prudential Center

Yes, Santa Claus really is coming to town and you can catch him at the annual Santa in the City event at the Shops at Prudential Center. The big guy arrives Friday, November 23, and will be in residence through December 24 at the Belvidere Arcade at the Pru. Whether visiting Santa is on your to-do list or not, you can stroll the mall’s numerous specialty shops, all decorated for the holidays.

Santa in the City runs from Friday, November 23, through Christmas Eve at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St.; hours: Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays, noon to 6 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Hynes Auditorium.

The Downtown Crossing Holiday Market

The fourth annual Boston Downtown Crossing Holiday Market kicks off on Saturday, November 24, at Downtown Crossing. Featuring dozens of vendors, the open-air market will offer one-of-a-kind crafts, including ceramics, woodwork, metalwork, clothing, and jewelry, as well as artisan foods. And if you head to the big white tent outside of Macy’s, you just might run into Santa himself. (The man really gets around!)

The Downtown Crossing Holiday Market is on Summer Street in Downtown Crossing. The market kicks off on Saturday, November 24, at 10 a.m. and runs through December 24; hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street.

Boston & Cambridge StreetWear Shopping Tour

Hipsters will want to head over to Cambridge on Saturday for the Boston & Cambridge StreetWear Shopping Tour. This walking tour, for those who love sneaker culture and the retro ’80s fashion look first inspired by Manhattan’s Lower East Side hipsters, will take patrons to some of Boston and Cambridge’s trendiest noncommercial shops.

The Boston and Cambridge StreetWear Shopping Tour is Saturday, November 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. Cost is $17 per person. The tour convenes at the Harvard Square T Station. For more information, call 888-573-3259. Take the MBTA Red Line to Harvard Square.

SoWa Vintage Market

One of the city’s hottest shopping destinations is the SoWa Vintage Market, open every Sunday. Reminiscent of the Paris flea markets and London’s Portobello Road, the market offers vintage fashion for your wardrobe and your home. Food is also available for purchase.

The SoWa Vintage Market is open Sunday, November 25, (and every Sunday except Christmas and New Year’s) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The market is at 460 Harrison Ave., Boston. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street, then switch to an inbound Red Line train to the Broadway stop. Walk across the channel to the market.

Sunset Holiday Lights Cruise

After all that shopping, skating, and museum-going, put your feet up and get into the holiday spirit by taking a Sunset Holiday Lights Cruise. View the Boston skylight at dusk as the boat takes you past the numerous wharfs, piers, and parks that dot the waterfront. Seasonal snacks and beverages are for sale and holiday music will be provided as well.

The Sunset Holiday Lights Cruise is Saturday, November 24, and departs from Long Wharf North, 70 Long Wharf, Boston, at 4 p.m. The 90-minute cruise costs $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and children ages 4 to 12; phone: 617-770-0040. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Government Center and switch to a Blue Line train to the Aquarium stop.

Ashleigh Fryer can be reached at afryer@bu.edu.


2 Comments on Thanksgiving Weekend in Boston

  • cas student on 11.24.2012 at 8:04 pm

    Go vegan! Smash the turkey. one less turkey per dinner table will save 100 lives over time because of the reduced amounts of ethanol used to cook them in your oven. read up on the facts!

    • Tom on 11.29.2012 at 1:13 pm

      I’m intrigued. Where are these facts?

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