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20+ Best Things to Do in New England This Winter

If you're looking for a winter wonderland, New England is the perfect destination. With its picturesque scenery, charming towns, and abundance of outdoor activities, there's something for everyone to enjoy. With all the things to do in New England this winter, you'll always have something to keep busy. Whether you're a skier, snowboarder, or just looking for a cozy getaway, New England has you covered.

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One of the top things to do in New England this winter is hitting the slopes. With several world-class ski resorts, including Killington, Sugarloaf, and Stowe, you can experience some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country.

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If you're new to skiing, many resorts offer lessons for all ages and skill levels, so you can hit the slopes with confidence. Skiing is one of the best things to do in New England this winter and I highly recommend taking a lesson to get started.

But skiing isn't the only winter activity in New England – you can also go snowshoeing, ice skating, or take a scenic winter hike. And if you're looking for a more relaxing getaway, New England's quaint bed and breakfasts and cozy inns offer the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Outdoor things to do in New England This Winter

Winter in New England is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities. From skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, there is something for everyone.

Skiing and Snowboarding

New England is home to some of the best ski resorts in the country. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there is a ski resort that will suit your needs. Some of the most popular ski resorts in New England include Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont, Sunday River in Maine, and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a classic winter activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. New England has many outdoor and indoor ice skating rinks that offer a fun and exciting experience.

Some of the best ice skating rinks in New England include The Boston Common Frog Pond in Boston, and The Providence Rink in Providence. Not only does the Providence Rink offer ice skating, but you can also rent ice bumper cars, which is one of my favorite winter date ideas for Providence.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the winter landscape of New England. There are many trails that are perfect for snowshoeing, including The Flume Gorge in New Hampshire, The White Mountains in New Hampshire, and The Catamount Trail in Vermont.

Dog in Snow

Dog Sledding

Dog sledding is a unique and exciting way to experience the winter landscape of New England. There are many dog sledding tours available throughout the region, including The Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in New Hampshire and Eden Dog Sledding in Vermont.

Winter Hiking

Winter hiking is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful scenery of New England. However, it is important to be prepared for the cold weather and snowy conditions. Winter hiking is intense and only for experienced hikers.

Some of my favorite hiking trails in New England include Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, Mount Greylock in Massachusetts, and Mount Mansfield in Vermont.

Cultural Experiences in New England

Museum Visits

New England is home to many world-class museums, and winter is the perfect time to explore them. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has an impressive collection of art from around the world, while the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem showcases the history and culture of New England.

If you're interested in science, check out the Museum of Science in Boston or the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut.

Theater Performances

If you're a fan of the performing arts, New England has plenty of options for you this winter. Catch a Broadway show at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Rhode Island (my personal favorite spot to see a show).

For a more intimate experience, check out a play at the Yale Repertory Theatre in Connecticut or the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA.

Historical Site Tours

New England is rich in history, and winter is a great time to explore some of the region's most important sites. Take a tour of the Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts or the Mark Twain House and Museum in Connecticut.

If you're interested in American history, visit the Freedom Trail in Boston or the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island.

Festive Events in New England

Winter in New England is a magical time full of festive events that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. From winter festivals to holiday markets and New Year's celebrations, there are so many things to do in New England this winter.

Winter Festivals

New England is home to some of the best winter festivals in the country. The Carnaval ME Winter Festival in Maine is a must-see event with ice sculptures, live music, and plenty of activities for the whole family.

The Wassail Weekend in Vermont is another popular festival with horse-drawn carriage rides, a parade, and a tree lighting ceremony.

Holiday Markets

If you're looking for unique gifts and local products, holiday markets are the place to be. The Boston Seaport Winter Market, also known as Snowport, is another great option with over 85 vendors selling handmade crafts, gourmet food, and more.

Low-angle Photo of Fireworks

New Year's Celebrations

Ring in the New Year in style with one of New England's many celebrations. The First Night Boston event is a beloved tradition with live music, ice sculptures, and a spectacular fireworks display.

Indoor Things to do in New England This Winter

If you're looking for some indoor activities to escape the cold weather in New England this winter, you won't be disappointed. Here are some great options for indoor attractions:

Aquariums and Planetariums

New England has some of the best aquariums and planetariums in the country. You can spend hours exploring the exhibits and learning about marine life and the universe. The New England Aquarium in Boston is a must-visit, with over 20,000 animals and interactive exhibits.

The Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is another great option, with beluga whales, sea lions, and penguins. If you're interested in space and astronomy, head to the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Science in Boston or the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in New Hampshire.

Art Galleries

New England is home to some of the best art galleries in the world. You can see everything from contemporary art to classic paintings. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is a must-visit, with over 450,000 works of art.

The Yale University Art Gallery in Connecticut is another great option, with collections ranging from ancient art to modern and contemporary art. If you're a fan of American art, head to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts.

Brewery and Winery Tours

New England is known for its craft beer and wine. You can take tours of breweries and wineries to learn about the brewing and winemaking process and taste some of the best beers and wines in the country.

Personally, touring local breweries is one of my favorite things to do in New England. Over the winter, the breweries are less crowded (usually), and trying new seasonal ales can be fun.

Some of the best breweries are in Portland, Maine. This area is known for its vibrant craft beer scene so you could easily visit all the popular breweries during a weekend getaway.

The Trillium Brewery Company in Canton offers tours and tastings, as well as a beer hall with great food and live music. Another popular Massachusetts brewery is Tree House Brewing Company. With multiple locations, including one on Cape Cod, you can enjoy their delicious craft beer or attend one of their community events.

If you're a wine lover, there are plenty of options for you. Explore the Newport Vineyards in Rhode Island, Westport Rivers Vineyard in Massachusetts, or the Nashoba Valley Winery in Massachusetts for a tour and tasting.

The Coastal Wine Trail is comprised of local wineries located from Cape Cod and the Islands through the South Coast of Massachusetts, Coastal Rhode Island, and Coastal Connecticut. Explore the local wine scene in New England with your “passport” and be entered to win prizes.

Culinary Delights

Food Tours

If you want to try a little bit of everything, consider taking a food tour. These tours will take you to some of the best restaurants and food shops in the area, giving you the chance to sample a variety of dishes. Some popular food tours in New England include the tours of the North End in Boston and Federal Hill in Providence.

Cooking Classes

If you're interested in learning how to cook like a New Englander, consider taking a cooking class. Many local chefs and cooking schools offer classes that will teach you how to make traditional New England dishes like clam chowder, lobster rolls, and apple pie. Some popular options include the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in Massachusetts and the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School in Maine.

Shopping and Antiquing in New England

If you're looking for unique gifts or souvenirs to bring back home, New England has plenty of options for shopping and antiquing. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Antique Shops

New England is known for its rich history, and you can find plenty of antique shops throughout the region. Some popular destinations include:

  • Essex, Connecticut: This charming town is home to over 30 antique shops, making it a great destination for antique lovers. You can find everything from furniture to vintage clothing to rare books.
  • Woodstock, Vermont: This picturesque town has a number of antique shops, as well as galleries and craft stores. You can find everything from 18th-century furniture to vintage clothing to folk art.
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire: This coastal town has a number of antique shops, as well as a variety of other shops and restaurants. You can find everything from antique maps to vintage jewelry to old postcards.

Educational Workshops

If you're looking for educational experiences in New England this winter, there are plenty of workshops available. These workshops offer a chance to learn something new, meet like-minded people, and have fun. New England is home to many prestigious colleges and university, which offer workshops and webinars throughout the year.

Science and Technology Workshops

Various science and technology focused universities and companies reside in New England and offer community courses. For example, the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers workshops on topics such as robotics, engineering, and computer programming. The Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, Connecticut, has workshops on topics such as space exploration and electricity.

Art and Design Workshops

If you're interested in art and design, there are many workshops available in New England. For example, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, offers workshops on topics such as drawing, painting, and printmaking. The Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts, offers workshops on topics such as ceramics and photography.

Historical Workshops

New England is rich in history, and there are many workshops available that offer a chance to learn about the past. For example, Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, offers workshops on topics such as colonial life. The Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, offers workshops on topics such as blacksmithing and weaving.

Lodging Options in New England

When it comes to lodging options in New England during the winter, there are plenty of choices to fit any budget and preference. Whether you're looking for a cozy inn or a luxurious resort, you'll find it in this region.

Inns

If you're looking for a charming and cozy place to stay, New England has plenty of inns to choose from. These accommodations offer a more personal touch and often include breakfast in the room rate.

Some of the most popular inns in the region include the Wheatleigh in Lenox, MA, and the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, ME. These inns are known for their luxurious amenities, stunning decor, and exceptional service.

Resorts

For those looking for a more luxurious experience, New England offers a variety of resorts that cater to every need. From ski resorts like Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont to seaside resorts like the Chatham Bars Inn in Cape Cod, MA, you'll find a resort that suits your interests. These resorts offer a range of amenities, including spas, restaurants, and outdoor activities.

Vacation Rentals

For a more homey feel, consider renting a vacation home or cottage during your stay in New England. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO offer a wide selection of properties in the region, from cozy cabins to spacious villas. Renting a vacation home allows you to have more space and privacy, and it's often more cost-effective than staying in a hotel.

No matter what type of lodging you choose, you're sure to have a memorable winter getaway in New England.

And those are some of the best things to do in New England this winter! My favorites include Providence Ice Rink, visting local breweries, and weekend getaways to North Conway. But what are your favorites things to do in New England this winter?

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're planning a winter trip to New England, you probably have some questions. Here are some common ones and their answers:

What should I pack for a winter trip to New England?

New England winters can be cold and snowy, so it's important to pack warm clothing. Be sure to bring a heavy coat and waterproof boots.

Layers are also important, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. Don't forget to pack additional hats, gloves, scarves, and extra layers. My wife swears by fleece-lined leggings during our New England winters.

What are the best winter activities in New England?

There are plenty of fun activities to do in New England during the winter. Some popular options include skiing and snowboarding at one of the many ski resorts in the area, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing in a state park, ice-skating on a frozen lake or outdoor rink, and visiting a winter festival or holiday market.

Are there any winter driving tips I should know about?

Winter driving in New England can be challenging, especially if you're not used to snowy or icy conditions. It's important to drive slowly and leave plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you.

Make sure your car is equipped with snow tires or chains, and keep an emergency kit in your trunk in case you get stuck or stranded. If you're not comfortable driving in the snow, consider taking public transportation or using a ride-share app.

What are some must-see winter destinations in New England?

New England is full of charming winter destinations. Some popular ones include the White Mountains in New Hampshire, where you can ski, snowshoe, or take a scenic drive; Stowe, Vermont, which has a picturesque downtown and plenty of outdoor activities; and my hometown of Newport, Rhode Island, which has beautiful mansions and a festive holiday atmosphere.

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