MA Spotlight on Danny Levy

Enjoying the Ride in the Bay State

Danny Levy is Chief Customer Officer for the Mass Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), a newly-created position that is charged with improving the daily experience of each and every MBTA rider by working with all MBTA departments that interact with the public in order to improve services to customers in a comprehensive and consistent way through innovative marketing, communication and programming. She started the job in July after spending 13 years at Massport and Boston’s Logan International Airport, where she oversaw strategic marketing.

Danny, congratulations on your new role at MBTA. Give us a quick recap of the MBTA system itself.

Thank you. The MBTA is among the top five and oldest transit systems in the country, operating rapid transit, trackless trolley, bus, ferry and commuter rail service throughout eastern Massachusetts. By the numbers, the T serves 1.3 million customers daily; operates a rapid transit network with a fleet of more than 600 vehicles along 60 route-miles of track; a bus network stretching through 51 cities and towns; and a commuter rail system with 139 stations passing through 175 cities and towns.

A majority of riders are local commuters, but we always see tourists, students, business travelers on the T with their luggage, street maps and multiple accents! How many non-residents ride the T each year?

We know how many people ride the T every day and where they start from or finish. Unfortunately, we are unable to distinguish between visitors from other countries or states and our permanent residents. Still, the MBTA never forgets that Boston is one of the top visitor destinations in the country and the world, with potential T riders coming from all walks and corners of the globe via the fast-growing international service at Logan Airport. And we never forget that Boston is also the college capital of the world. As a result, in all our service planning we aim to make the T as visitor-friendly as possible. We do it by putting ourselves in the shoes of the first-time visitor who may not speak English and ask ourselves: If we were a first-time visitor who spoke another language what we would need to help us get around?

How does MBTA cater to out-of-town visitors – do you have multiple language materials, apps, or online information that visitors can easily access? Are there many multi-lingual tellers that help foreign visitors?

For the past 400 years, Boston has thrived because of its connections with the rest of the world. Keeping our sights focused outward, not inward, is how this city and region has grown and prospered in the past. It’s unlikely that will change now. Our global orientation shows up in the millions of international visitors New England gets every year and the considerable trade that moves in and out across our border every day. The MBTA recognizes that we have an obligation to do our part to lay out the welcome mat for everyone who comes here. And so, we make sure we do everything a host is expected to do to make their guests feel welcome. For example, we assign multi-lingual Ambassadors to high-volume stations. These public service staff assist those who approach us for help or look as though they might be lost or confused, providing directions or help navigating our fare collection system. The MBTA also offers a wide variety of language options in our online services. Customers can use these to navigate our web site or plan their next trip – wherever they come from.

The MBTA is a great connector to Amtrak trains and commuter trains that travel to other parts of the state and the New England region. How do you partner with other transportation entities to promote T services and to create a consistent marketing message?

The MBTA and Amtrak share facilities at North and South Stations and are accessible by MBTA rapid transit and bus services. Travelers have direct access to Amtrak’s Acela system between Boston, New York and Washington, DC, as well as service to Chicago and beyond. From North Station Amtrak’s Downeaster provides service to Maine and points north. To promote travel on commuter rail, travelers can now enjoy $10 unlimited weekend travel across the commuter rail network. This special offer allows visitors to reach beyond Boston to points north, south and west of Boston. This is an especially attractive offer as we enter the brilliant fall foliage “leaf-peeping” season.

Consistent customer service is a key element of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, as you know from your airport days. Any ideas or initiatives you’d like to share with our readers about what T riders can expect in the coming months?

The MBTA has an ambitious $8 billion capital programs to fund hundreds of projects over the next five years, some of which our riders will be able utilize sooner rather than later. The projects fall into three main categories: Resiliency, Modernization and Expansion. What it means is the MBTA service that more than a million people rely on everyday will see upgrades on tracks and switches to work in good weather and bad. Service will be more reliable as buses and trains way past their prime are replaced with new and more modern ones. And people living in places not currently accessible to service will see that need addressed. On the Green Line, for example, we are doubling capacity with the newer and bigger trollies we are buying. On the Red Line, we are also replacing old cars with new ones. Upgrades to the track system will enable the T to run trains three minutes apart instead of the present five-minute headways – a 60 percent increase in capacity. As new technology becomes available we think might significantly improve the customer experience of those riding the T, we might carefully integrate it to the current system – just as we are doing with upgrades in the way riders pay their fares, coming to a station near you. So stay tuned!

18 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Boston and Cambridge

1 Freedom Trail
The three-mile Freedom Trail leads you past - and into - 16 of the city's principal historic monuments and sites. It's easy to follow, by the line of red bricks in the sidewalk and by footprints at street crossings. Begin by picking up brochures on the attractions at the Visitor Center in the Boston Common before heading to the State House. The trail will take you to Old Granary Burying Ground (where Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock are buried), King's Chapel Burying Ground (Boston's oldest cemetery with the graves of Governor John Winthrop and two Mayflower passengers), Old South Meeting House (where the ringing speeches of patriots spawned the Boston Tea Party), and the Old State House. This is Boston's oldest public building and the site of the Boston Massacre. The trail continues through Boston's North End, past the Paul Revere House and Old North Church, and ends across the bridge in Charlestown with the 54-gun frigate USS Constitution and the 220-foot granite Bunker Hill Monument.

2 Faneuil Hall
Known as the "cradle of liberty," Faneuil Hall was built in 1740-42 by Huguenot merchant Peter Faneuil as a market hall and presented to the city on condition that it should always be open to the public. The ground floor is still occupied by market stalls; on the upper floor is a council chamber, which in the 18th and 19th centuries was the meeting place of revolutionaries and later, of abolitionists. On its fourth floor is the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Museum, with weaponry, uniforms, and paintings of significant battles.

The adjoining Faneuil Hall Marketplace includes three long halls (Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market), dating from the early 19th century, now occupied by a lively assortment of shops, restaurants, and exhibitions. In good weather, you'll find street performers and buskers putting on shows in the square around the market, and along with the numerous food stalls, there are also shops selling jewelry, clothing, gifts, and souvenirs. This is where you'll find Durgin-Park, one of the many historic places to eat in Boston.

3 Fenway Park
Known as "America's Most Beloved Ballpark", Fenway Park is one of the most fabled sports complexes in the country, and even if you're not a sports fan, a tour of it is both fun and interesting. The home of the Boston Red Sox looks much the same as it did when it opened on April 20, 1912. One of its most recognizable features is the Green Monster, the 37-foot green wall in left field, and the park still maintains some of the remnants of "old time" baseball such as the hand-operated scoreboard. It also has the lowest seating capacity in the Major Leagues holding only 33,871 spectators (a fact that makes tickets exceedingly scarce).
4 Boston Common and Public Garden Swan Boats
In the heart of the city is Boston Common, America's oldest park and the start of the Freedom Trail. In this large green space, which is much used by locals year-round, are various monuments and the Central Burying Ground of 1756. You can rent skates to use on the Frog Pond from November through mid-March, enjoy the spring blossoms and fall foliage colors reflecting in its surface, and in summer, watch youngsters splash about in the wading pool.

Adjoining it on the west side of Charles Street, is the 24-acre Public Garden, America's oldest botanical garden, as well as Victorian-style monuments and statues, including an equestrian statue of George Washington and popular modern bronzes of a family of ducks immortalized in Robert McCloskey's children's book Make Way for the Ducklings. One of Boston's most iconic experiences for all ages is riding around the lake in the garden's center on the famous Swan Boats, first launched in the 1870s.
5 Beacon Hill
One of Boston's most beautiful neighborhoods and right in the center of the city, the south side of Beacon Hill has traditionally been the home of Boston's "old money" families, known locally as "Brahmins." Well-kept brick homes in Federal and Greek Revival styles line its tree-shaded streets, and at its heart is Louisburg Square, where homes face onto a leafy private park. Author Louisa May Alcott lived here from 1880 to 1888. The Nichols House Museum, a Federal-style home by Boston architect Charles Bulfinch, shows how Beacon Hill's upper class residents lived and is filled with collections of 16th- to 19th-century furnishings and decorative arts. At the western foot of Beacon Hill, Charles Street is lined with boutiques and shops that have traditionally catered to the neighborhood and are popular with visitors as well. Beyond Charles Street, facing the Public Garden, The Bull and Finch, established in 1969, inspired the popular television program, Cheers.

The north side of Beacon Hill is far more modest, and has been home to immigrants, including a sizable African American community, since the early 19th century. National Park Service Rangers offer free guided tours of the Black Heritage Trail from April through November and you can follow the trail on a self-guided tour year round. The Boston African American National Historic Site includes 15 pre-Civil War homes, businesses, schools, and churches that give a picture of Boston's 19th-century African American community. The Museum of Afro-American History operates the African Meeting House, the country's oldest (1806) church built by and for Black Americans and now restored to its 1854 appearance. The 1834 Abiel Smith School was the first public grammar school for African American children. Displays at both include artifacts, films, art, and sculpture related to the black experience in Boston and New England.
6 Museum of Fine Arts Boston
One of the leading art museums in the country, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts excels in its collections of Impressionist paintings, ancient Egyptian treasures, Asian and Persian fine arts, and works from ancient Greece and the Middle East. But its newest and crowning achievement is the construction of an entire American Wing to house, integrated in chronological order, outstanding collections of American paintings, furniture, decorative arts, folk art, silver, glassware, and design dating from pre-Columbian arts to the Art Deco and Modernist eras. Highlights elsewhere include a 12th-century lacquered-wood sculpture of a Buddhist Bodhisattva and Korean painted screens, the ivory and gold statue of the Minoan Snake Goddess from 1500 BC, and a statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Mycerinus and his queen from 2548-2530 BC.
7 Museum of Science
Exhibits in this extensive science museum encourage learning through hands-on exploration of science and technology, but the museum is not just for children. Physics, biology, chemistry, ecology, zoology, astronomy, computers, and more are explored in more than 700 permanent, hands-on exhibits that are enhanced by stage presentations and interpreters. Highlights are a 65-million-year-old fossil discovered in the Dakota Badlands, an electricity dome with continuing programs, the Butterfly Garden where you can walk among free-flying butterflies in a conservatory filled with exotic plants, a live animal center, a chance to join local meteorologists to learn weather forecasting, and ComputerPlace, where you can operate a robot and explore how your computer stores information. The planetarium presents daily laser and star shows, and the Mugar Omni Theater has a five-story domed screen.
8 Old North Church and the North End
Boston's lively Italian neighborhood, known as the North End, is one of Boston's oldest, where the silversmith and activist leader Paul Revere lived at the time of the American Revolution. The Paul Revere House, which he bought in 1770 and lived in when he made his famous ride, is the only patriot's home on the Freedom Trail, and is open to tour. You can also climb to the tower of Old North Church, where lanterns were hung in April 1775 to alert Paul Revere that British troops were headed to Lexington to arrest the patriot leaders and confiscate the munitions supplies. The beautiful white interior of the church still retains its historic box pews.

The North End is a favorite spot for tourists for reasons that go well beyond its important historic sights. Although it has changed a bit over the years since it was filled with newly arrived immigrants from Italy, it retains its Italian character and lively flair. You'll find Italian restaurants; cafes; bakeries; and shops fragrant with aromas of cured olives, fresh-roasted coffee, and Italian cheeses. You'll also find the North Bennet Street School, where skills such as bookbinding, cabinet and furniture making, carpentry, silver and gold work, and violin making are taught. Their gallery shop is like a museum of fine craftsmanship and a good place to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.
9 Harvard Square and Harvard Art Museums
Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and is widely considered one of the world's leading academic centers. Go to the Harvard Information Center to take a spirited and entertaining free walking tour of the campus guided by a student who will share history, Harvard lore, and personal perspective. Or you can download a tour from their website. Harvard Yard sits right in Harvard Square, a lively hub for students, "townies," and visitors, filled with shops, bookstores, and allegedly more places to buy ice cream than any other U.S. city.

Adjoining Harvard Yard is the Renzo Piano-designed home of the Harvard Art Museums, including three formerly separate collections, each of which ranked high as major U.S. art museums. Few universities have such enviable collections. Fogg Art Museum concentrates on Italian early-Renaissance art, the Busch-Reisinger on Expressionist art of central and northern Europe, with Bauhaus objects and paintings by Kandinsky and Klee. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum has one of the world's best collections of Chinese jade, as well as Chinese bronzes, Japanese prints, Indian art, and Greco-Roman antiquities, especially vases and sculptures.
10 Boston Public Library and Copley Square
The main square of the Back Bay area is surrounded by both old and ultra-modern buildings. One side is formed by the Boston Public Library, founded in 1848 as the first publicly funded lending library in the country. Architect Charles Follen McKim designed the present building in 1895. Go inside to see the library's Renaissance Revival architecture and murals by John Singer Sargent and Edwin Abbey. Granite medallions over the entrance arches are the work of the pre-eminent American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The three sets of bronze doors in the vestibule were created by Daniel Chester French. Regular Art and Architecture Tours are among the several free things to do in Boston.

Facing the library, across a grassy lawn, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch with neighborhood office workers, is Trinity Church, a red sandstone building designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in his distinctive style, known as Richardson Romanesque. Trinity is widely considered to be his finest work. The murals, frescoes, and painted decorations inside are by John La Farge and much of the fine stained glass is by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. On a third side of the square is the venerable Boston institution, the Fairmont Copley Plaza; these three buildings, backed by the sheer glass wall of a skyscraper, create a stunning cityscape. A block down Boylston Street, look for the finish line of the Boston Marathon, run each April on Patriot's Day. Just beyond is the Prudential Center, a 32-acre complex of apartments, shops, restaurants, and a 52-story tower. On its 50th floor, you can visit the Skywalk observation deck for 360-degree views of Boston and its surroundings.
11 John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Dedicated to the memory of the thirty-fifth U.S. President, the museum is the official national memorial to JFK, designed by noted architect I.M. Pei and opened in 1979. The museum, which stands on the shore south of the city, features three theaters, personal memorabilia, photographs, and historical exhibits that document the life of JFK and his presidency. Exhibits cover the presidential campaign trail, the Oval Office, First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and the Kennedy family.
12 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Set in a building its eccentric creator modeled after a 15th-century Venetian palace, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum displays its collections in rooms surrounding a four-story central courtyard filled with flowering plants and fountains. The priceless 2500-piece collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, decorative arts, books, and manuscripts reflect the personal tastes and considerable expertise of Mrs. Gardner herself, whose own flamboyance further adds to the charm of the museum.

Behind the palazzo, a 70,000-square-foot glass-clad building designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano creates new viewpoints for the original palazzo and stunning spaces for music and visual arts, allowing the museum to showcase exceptional contemporary works and artists. Rather than clash or compete with the original building, Piano's wing simply provides a new glass through which to view Mrs. Gardner's palazzo. From almost anywhere in the new building are uninterrupted prospects of the palace and gardens through transparent walls. After you tour the museum, stroll through the Fens, a long green space where you'll find a beautiful rose garden in bloom from June through October.
13 Harvard Museums and the Glass Flowers
Although the four museums that make up this complex contain treasures such as the artifacts brought back by Lewis and Clark, for most people, the highlight is the more than 3,000 models of 830 species of flowers and plants, some with insects, and all so realistic that you will have trouble believing they are made of glass. Created between 1887 and 1936 by artisans Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, the flowers are unique in the world, and their secret process has never been replicated. These are part of Harvard's massive research collections, shown under one roof in the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, the Mineralogical Museum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Botanical Museum.

Particularly strong in Native American exhibits, the Peabody shows artifacts and art interpreted as part of a living culture, even when that culture has vanished. You can admire some of the finest examples of Native American arts from many periods and tribes, and also see how these changed as Europeans provided a new market for their goods. Those who like the Victorian "Cabinet of Curiosities" feel of old traditional museums will love the Pacific Islands balcony - it's like stepping back a century. The Museum of Comparative Zoology, founded by Louis Agassiz in 1859, contains an extensive collection of fossils, including a 25,000-year-old mastodon. The mineralogy collections include a dazzling display of rough and cut gemstones, a world-renowned meteorite collection, rocks, ores, and minerals from around the world.
14 Boston HarborWalk and Cruises
The Boston waterfront has seen many changes since its early beginnings as a colonial shipping port. After a period of decline for much of the 20th century, new life was breathed into the area in the mid-1970s with an ambitious redevelopment plan. Today, this interesting mix of residential and commercial space is connected by HarborWalk, an attractive walkway along the waterfront, with parks, public art, benches, cafés, interpretive signs, and access to several means of exploring the harbor by cruise boat, ferry, or water taxi. A shuttle-boat also runs to the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Although it extends from Charlestown to South Boston - and will expand considerably farther - the part you won't want to miss goes from the North End through the wisteria-draped pergola of Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, past Commercial Wharf, India Wharf, and Long Wharf, and by Rowes Wharf before curving along the harbor into the vibrant Seaport District to the Institute of Contemporary Art, an art museum dramatically cantilevered above the water. The Boston Tea Party Ship, a replica of one of the original ships from which the Sons of Liberty dumped tea overboard the night of December 16, 1773, offers tours with a participatory reenactment of the event.

At Rowes Wharf, you can board an Odyssey cruise through Boston Harbor from Castle Island to George's Island, then east to the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island, and back north to Charlestown Naval Yard before returning to the wharf. You can enjoy lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch as you savor the views of the Boston skyline from the water. The skyline is especially beautiful at night, when you can take a starlight or full moon cruise.
15 New England Aquarium
Overlooking the waterfront, the New England Aquarium features more than 20,000 fish and aquatic animals representing over 550 species. A man-made Caribbean coral reef houses a large variety of tropical fish and underwater life including sharks, turtles, and moray eels. The Edge of the Sea touch tank allows visitors to handle small invertebrates like crabs, starfish, and urchins. Outside the aquarium, visitors can watch harbor seals play, perform, and live in their enclosed habitat. The New England Aquarium also sponsors educational programs and whale-watching tours outside of Boston Harbor, and the adjacent IMAX Theater shows 40-minute films on nature subjects.
16 USS Constitution and Bunker Hill (Boston National Historic Park)
Nicknamed Old Ironsides, USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy, and is still commanded and crewed by Navy personnel. The ship is open to visitors, who can go below desks and hear about the ship's construction and action at sea. Across the pier, the USS Constitution Museum provides historical context through interactive exhibits that illustrate life aboard a naval vessel two centuries ago. Another ship you can tour here is the Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer.

Charlestown Navy Yard is part of the Boston National Historical Park, and it's a short walk to the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum, also in the park. The 221-foot-tall granite monument marks the hilltop site of the earthen fort built by New England soldiers prior to the Battle of Bunker Hill, the first pitched battle of the American Revolution.
17 Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert in 1881 at Symphony Hall, one of the world's most acoustically perfect concert halls, opened in 1900. Over more than a century of history, its conductors have included greats such as Pierre Monteux, Serge Koussevitzky, Charles Munch, Seiji Ozawa, and James Levine. In addition to its regular symphony season, the hall is home to the Boston Pops Orchestra, which sets an international standard for performances of lighter music. For many visitors, the highlight of a trip is a Pops concert, either in Symphony Hall or at the Hatch Memorial Shell, an Art Deco outdoor music shell on the riverside Esplanade that has become a Boston landmark. The shell hosts a regular program of concerts and other special events, and is especially famous for the Boston Pop's yearly performance of the 1812 Overture on July 4th. Audiences sit on the lawn in front of the shell with views of Cambridge, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill. You can go behind the scenes on a tour of Symphony Hall where you'll hear the history and traditions of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, its musicians and conductors.
18 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The 150-acre MIT campus is of special interest to fans of modern and postmodern architecture, a living museum of works by noted architects including Alvar Aalto, Eduardo Catalano, I. M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and Eero Saarinen. In addition, the campus displays hundreds of sculptures and art installations that you can see with the help of a self-guided walking tour map, by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Jacques Lipchitz, and Auguste Rodin. In the Hart Nautical Gallery are ship models, and the Compton Gallery shows contemporary art.

Boston ranked the best summer vacation spot in the country

 According to new travel rankings from U.S. News and World Report, the City of Boston is the best place to visit this summer.

The U.S. News & World Report’s recently announced their annual rankings for vacation spots. The magazine ranked Boston as the best summer vacation destination in the United States. Boston also topped the list of weekend getaways in New England and places to visit in August.

Boston ranked third on the list of best summer vacation destinations in the world (behind Paris and Florence!) and fifth for best family summer vacations.

In naming Boston the top summer vacation destination in the country, U.S. News & World Report reports, “Fenway Park welcomes baseball lovers, the Freedom Trail invites history buffs to a scavenger hunt of historic sites, and Little Italy and Faneuil Hall Marketplace beckon to foodies. Visitors can also check out numerous breweries or plan their vacation around one of several festivals held over the summer.”

U.S. News & World Report says its methodology for travel rankings is to base them on an analysis of expert and user opinions. “We believe this unbiased approach makes our rankings more useful than simply providing our editors’ personal opinions,” the website states.

In a press release from the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, CEO Patrick Moscaritolo says, “These extraordinarily high marks and top rankings didn’t happen by accident. This is the result of years of effort by Mayor Walsh, City agencies, the Bureau and our members to position Boston across the globe as a unique, cross-cultural, and exciting destination for visitors.”


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10 Greater Boston Events You Don’t Want to Miss This Spring!

Boston Marathon

Where: 26 mile, 385 yard course between Hopkinton and Boston
Cost: Free
About the event: Get your running shoes on or your lawn chairs out to reserve your side spot to watch your favorite runners!

Opening Day at Fenway Park

Where: Fenway Park in downtown Boston, right next to Brookline.

Cost: $30-$190

About the event: Get your appetite ready for some Fenway Franks, because the Sox are back! ESPN is ranking the Sox as the third best team in the league behind last years World Series Champion Chicago Cubs and last year’s American League Champion Cleveland Indians. So it’s sure to be a fun 182 games of baseball before playoffs start in September!

Patriot’s Day Weekend

Where: Multiple locations including Boston, Cambridge, Arlington, Medford, Lincoln, and the historic revolutionary battlefields of Lexington and Concord.

Cost: Free

Have you ever wondered what is was like during the Revolutionary War? You can experience it all during Patriot’s Day Weekend! The historic weekend events include re-enactments, parades, demonstrations, storytelling, and tours.

John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo

Where: Hynes Auditorium in Downtown Boston

Cost: Free

How fitting, a sports and fitness expo RIGHT before the Boston Marathon! Odds are if you’re running the marathon this year, you will be at this. But if you aren’t – you should be! Although this expo has been dubbed “best runner’s expo in the country” by Runner’s World, you can even find something for you if you’ve never pounded the pavement. Last year about 140 exhibitors attended, so be prepared to spend some time here!

Boston International Film Festival

Where: Multiple Boston Venues

Cost: $12-$250

The Boston International Film Festival is an opportunity to view films that normally wouldn’t be in theaters. You can take it one step further and attend the parties, meet the cast, and open a creative dialogue with the filmmakers.

15th Annual Taste of South Boston

Where: Seaport Hotel Plaza Ballroom in South Boston

Cost: $70

The South Boston restaurant scene is continuing to expand. There’s always new fresh tastes to discover! So bring your family to the Taste of South Boston for a night of auctions, raffles, entertainment, drinks and of course, great Boston local-inspired food!

Banned in Boston

Where: Lansdowne Pub & House of Blues

Cost: $250

Banned in Boston is an annual comedy event that raises money for Urban Improv, an urban youth development program that’s described as a “rehearsal for life” and positive catalyst for youth development and violence prevention. The event is one night of music, comedy, food, and drink. Last year, over $700,000 was raised for Urban Improv! Seats are filling up fast!

Earth Day

Where: Everywhere!

Cost: Free

As Bostonians, we love that dirty water! But it’s Earth Day and we need to make an effort to make that water and land around us less dirty. You’ll find many clean-up events around Boston, like the Charles River Clean up. If you can’t find the time to fully participate in these events, make a conscious effort to be green! Here’s some ideas to help get you started: You can even take this quiz to become more aware of your own carbon footprint

Run of the Charles

Where: Various starting points from Dedham to Brighton

Cost: $40-275

Finish the month out strong by participating (or watching) the Run of the Charles! The race is open for canoers, kayakers, paddleboarders at any skill level. Bring your competitive spirit and have fun because there will be a finish-line festival waiting for you at the end of the race complete with tasty food, local Boston music and prizes!

Women in Comedy Festival

Where: 12+ venues all around Boston & Cambridge

Cost: $0-$20

You like to laugh, right? RIGHT!? Well, that’s perfect because the Women in Comedy Festival is 5 days long full of shows, panels, parties and workshops. You can expect to see the week full of improv, sketch, stand up, and musical comedy. Basically you’re going to be laughing all week and your coworkers will be wondering why you’re happy..unless you bring them… You should bring them, because then you can all laugh together!

8 Fun Outdoor Boston Activities for Winter

1.  Skiing near Boston 

Less than an hour outside of Boston, you'll find a number of ski areas for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and snow tubing. Some even have terrain parks for snowboarders and free stylers.

Go just for the day, or a long weekend. Most offer lessons and equipment rentals.

2.  Ice Skating in Boston

If you're visiting Boston and staying in a hotel in the central part of the city, walk over to Boston Common for ice skating on Frog Pond.

As you'll see when you get to the rink, this is a popular winter sport in Boston for all ages and all skill levels.

No need to bring your own skates - just rent them at the rink.

Don't know how to ice skate? Also not a problem - for about $10, you can rent a device called a "Bobby Seal" (short for "Bobby the Skating Seal") to hold onto while you learn how to navigate on the ice.

You can also head to several other ice rinks in Boston and Cambridge - most also offer skate rentals and lessons.

3.  Complete Guide to New England Ski Areas

Drive just 2 or 3 hours from Boston, and you'll find plenty of places to enjoy this favorite winter activity. Plus, many mountains and resorts also offer snowboarding, tubing, ice skating, and other winter sports.

Go for the day, or stay for a weekend or longer.

4.  Best New England Ski Vacation Resorts

You'll find excellent accommodations, a variety of skiing options, and plenty of other outdoor and indoor activities designed to appeal to a wide range of interests and ages - ice skating, indoor swimming pools, sleigh rides, tubing, entertainment, and lots more.

And if your idea of a resort includes spa treatments, gourmet dinners, and luxurious surroundings - well, you can find that too!

5.  "Frost Bite" Sailing in Boston

Winter" and "sailing" don't usually go together - but for frigid-weather conditions add to the challenge for avid sailers.

If you fall into this category, you may want to try when you visit Boston during the winter.

Many of the Boston sailing centers provide short-term rate options to make this affordable, and lots of camaraderie to make it fun!

6.  Sledding on Boston Common

If your kids (or you) just want to have fun in the snow, nothing beats sledding.

Boston Common's gentle slopes and slightly steeper hills offer the perfect spot whenever freshly-fallen snow blankets the city.

Ask the concierge at your hotel about the closest place to buy a sled, or something sled-like. Simple plastic sliders cost $5-$20, and will work fine.

Boston Common's slopes offer plenty of tree-free spaces, so sledding conditions are reasonably safe even for younger kids.

7.  Winter Walking Tour Itinerary for Snowy Days

Even during Boston's worst winter weather, walking around the city gives you the chance to admire the outlines of trees and buildings against the white snow-covered landscape, plus get some exercise.

If you happen to visit Boston during or after a snow storm, go out and enjoy the scenery.

Our self-guided walking itinerary cover about 2.5 miles, and lets you see a variety of lovely sites - but you can easily do just part of it if you want a shorter walk.

You'll start in the Public Garden, see a bit of the Victorian Back Bay neighborhood, cross Storrow Drive to the Charles River on a scenic overpass, and explore a bit of the frozen Esplanade before ending up back at the Public Garden.

By then, you'll be ready for a warm drink or meal - so our tour ends with suggestions about fun places to go nearby.

8.  Running & Jogging in Boston in the Winter

Dedicated runners don't let a little snow stop them - but ice should, since you don't want your Boston visit to include a trip to a hospital emergency room.

Avoid the sometimes icy slopes of Beacon Hill (if in any doubt as to why, just look at the photo at the top of the page), and head instead to the relatively flat Esplanade, Public Garden, or Back Bay neighborhood for your run.

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