Celebrating the New Year in Boston
Ring in 2022 with music, fireworks, comedy shows, and more
Come Friday night, we will be ringing in the new year and opening a new chapter in 2022. Celebrate the occasion with live music, ice-skating, museum exhibitions, fireworks, and entertainment. We’ve put together a list of events and activities that are happening throughout the long weekend.
We wish everyone a happy and healthy 2022.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Festivities
2022 First Night Boston
Friday, December 31
Since 1975, Boston’s First Night celebration has been the most popular way to end the current year and start the next in Boston. In previous years, the free family-friendly program has drawn more than 200,000 people. Most of the action takes place in and around Copley Square. The live musical performances on the main stage in Copley Square begin at noon Friday with the female vocalist group Sweet Harmony and Boston Saxophone Quartet. Other groups performing include Paco’s Band, a local Americana group, and American Idol finalist Ayla Brown (daughter of former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown). And the Boston Public Library’s central branch in Copley Square will host free family activities and comedy acts throughout the day.
The annual procession from Copley Square to the Boston Common starts at 5:50 pm and will feature giant puppets, motor vehicles, and dancers. Be sure to stick around the Common after the parade for a fireworks display at 7 pm.
At 10:30 pm, Copley Square will start the official countdown to 2022, with live music by this year’s headliner, Sons of Levin. Midnight brings a pyrotechnics and light show, and fireworks over Boston Harbor. The best viewing sites are at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Fan Pier, and Piers Park.
Boston First Night is free to the public. Find a full schedule here.
Gryffin at Big Night Live
Jump into the new year with a vivid dance-pop performance by songwriter and DJ Gryffin, who is quickly becoming a popular name in the dance/electronic industry and has already collaborated with major artists, including singer-songwriter Daya. His music is bright and immersive, perfect for getting lost in his sound and dancing the night away. Big Night Live is a spacious live music hall with plenty of floor space for you and your friends to groove to the music.
Gryffin will perform at 9 pm at Big Night Live, 110 Causeway St., Boston. Purchase tickets on Ticketmaster.
Surrounded by trees illuminated with holiday lights, Boston Common Frog Pond is one of the most scenic places in Boston to skate outdoors, and was even voted outdoor skating rink of the year by USA Today in 2018. It offers storage lockers, lessons, skate sharpening, and rentals (visitors can also bring their own skates). This year, the usual Frog Pond rink is undergoing maintenance, so a temporary rink has been installed nearby. The ice will still be just as good, and the atmosphere to be just as lively. Be sure to check out the café for some hot chocolate and other tasty treats.
The Boston Common Frog Pond ice rink is open for public skating from 10 am to 9 pm Sunday to Thursday, and 10 am to 10 pm Friday and Saturday, throughout the holiday season. Those under 58 inches are admitted for free, those taller pay $6. Skate rentals are $12 for adults, $6 for kids. Lockers are $5 and skate sharpening is $10 a pair. Ticket sales end 30 minutes before closing.
The Skate @ Canal District Kendall outdoor rink is open from mid-December to mid-March, weather permitting, so check their Facebook page for updates. The rink provides skating lessons for novices, skate rentals, skate sharpening, and a café. Find a full list of prices and services here.
Skate @ Canal District Kendall is at 300 Athenaeum St., Cambridge. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students with ID and seniors, and $1 for children 13 and under. Skate rentals are $8 for adults, and $5 for children 13 and under.
The Polar Express 4-D Experience at the Museum of Science
December 30 and 31
The Museum of Science brings the holiday classic The Polar Express to life in 4-D multisensory effects. Based on the Caldecott Medal–winning children’s book, the short film tells the story of a young boy who embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. An Exhibit Halls admission ticket and a timed ticket are required, so check the website for available times.
The Museum of Science, One Science Park, Boston, is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily; admission is $29 for adults, $24 for children 3 to 11, and $23 for seniors. Admission is free for members. The 4-D theater tickets are an additional $6 for nonmembers, and $5 for members. Showtimes vary per day; view the daily schedule and purchase tickets here.
Black Histories, Black Futures at the Museum of Fine Arts
December 30 and 31, January 2
The Museum of Fine Arts’ year-long exhibition, Black Histories, Black Futures, comes to a close in January 2022. Curated by young scholars as part of the MFA’s new partnership with local youth empowerment organizations, the exhibition highlights works by 20th-century artists of color and carves out a space for stirring exploration and celebration of Black histories, experiences, and self-representations. The teens organized the exhibition into four thematic sections: “Ubuntu: I am Because You Are” presents images of community life and leisure activities; “Welcome to the City” focuses on paintings of urban scenes in both figurative and abstract styles; and “Normality Facing Adversity” and “Smile in the Dark” both consider the radicality of simply being oneself, using photographs and works on paper depicting intimate moments from everyday life.
The Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, is open from 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday. Free general admission is always available to students who present their Terrier ID. The Black Histories, Black Futures exhibition is at the museum until January 17 and is free with museum admission.
Theater and Comedy Shows
December 30 to January 2
Save the trip to Broadway and check out Boston’s very own play Teenage Dick, a modern rendition of William Shakespeare’s Richard III taking place in an American high school. Actor Gregg Mozgala (CFA’00) stars as Richard, a teen bullied in school because of his cerebral palsy and who is determined to get the popular girl to invite him to a dance, and exact revenge on his enemies by becoming class president. The show is directed by Tony Award–nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel (CFA’00). The critically acclaimed play received glowing remarks from the New York Times, which called it “exhilarating” and “beautifully staged.” Read a Bostonia story on the show here.
The Huntington Theatre Company production of Teenage Dick is at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St., Boston, through January 2. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online, at the Calderwood Pavilion box office, or by calling 617-266-0800. Find a schedule of performances here. Note: all patrons must present either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the theater, and masks are required. Guests can purchase tickets to a digital production of the play, which will be available starting in late December and through January 16, 2022.
Comedy at Back Bay Social
Looking to laugh this weekend? Experience some of the most talented up-and-coming comedians in a cozy atmosphere at Back Bay Social. The comedy show will feature performers who have headlined shows on Netflix, Comedy Central, and HBO, and include a wide selection of cocktails and bistro dishes to enjoy while you watch. Their rotating cast of performers always deliver excellent performances, making it one of the most popular comedy shows in town.
Comedy at Back Bay Social, 867 Boylston St., Boston, is Thursday, December 30, at 7:30 pm. The shows are 21-plus and tickets can be purchased here.