10 Awesome Holiday-Themed Activities In Boston

10 Holiday-Themed Activities In Boston To Check Off Your Bucket List

You won't regret any of these, I promise.

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OK, I may be biased since I'm from the Boston area, but, Boston is one of the coolest cities to visit during the winter and holiday season. If you're in the city and looking for something fun to do, here are nine holiday-themed activities that you can check off your bucket list.

1. Go ice skating 

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If you've ever been skating, you should definitely check out City Hall Plaza during the holiday season. Every winter, the Plaza is transformed into a colorful "winter wonderland" with an outdoor skating path that circles it. This activity is perfect for the family, date night, or something fun to do with friends.

2. Visit Quincy Market

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A popular tourist attraction and one of my favorite places in Boston is Quincy Market, located in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. If you have a chance to visit it in the winter, you won't be disappointed. There are shops, restaurants, bars, live performances by musicians and street artists, and even a Christmas light and sound show.

3. See The Nutcracker

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The Boston Ballet performs this holiday classic at the Boston Opera House every year. It's definitely a must-see. Shows run almost every night leading up to Christmas and as well as after.

4. See the tree lighting

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A tradition in Boston is the Boston Common Christmas tree lighting, where Mayor Marty Walsh lights the tree every year to begin Boston's holiday festivities. Christmas lights fill the Common and Public Garden and make for a beautiful stroll through the park. There is also a skating performance on Frog Pond.

5. Enjoy a delicious Italian meal

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The North End, Boston's "Little Italy," is home to some of the most delicious Italian restaurants and the city's oldest buildings. Take a tour of the Paul Revere House and Old North Church or head over to Hanover Street, one of the most vibrant streets in the North End. You can enjoy some delicious homemade pasta, a warm latte from one of the many coffeehouses, or a cannoli from the famous Mike's Pastry.

6. Take a walk through the park

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Christopher Columbus Park is one of the most beautiful and romantic parks to walk through during the holiday season with its incredible view of the waterfront. There's an annual trellis lighting ceremony in the winter where the 260-foot-long trellis in the park is illuminated with blue and white lights.

7. Attend the SoWa Winter Festival

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This annual winter festival spans over two weekends and is the biggest holiday festival held in Boston. There are local vendors selling handmade gifts, an art exhibit, craft cocktails, workshops, live music, and more.

8. Get tickets to see the Blue Man Group

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Blue Man Group is a performance company made of three bald men painted blue. The group is known internationally for their unforgettable performances, which integrate music, art, and comedy. It's definitely a must-see show if you're able to make it one.

9. Attend a Boston University hockey game

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If you're a hockey fan, Boston University hockey games are something to check off your holiday bucket list. My family has had season tickets since I was little and I've always looked forward to going to the home games.

10. Go on a BYOB trolley ride

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The Holiday Lights Trolley is a 4-hour BYOB trolley tour around Boston's best most decorated spots during the holiday season, including Sommerville, Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, and downtown Boston. It begins and ends at The Pour House in Back Bay, where trolley riders can enjoy a bowl of clam chowder before heading off on a holiday adventure through the city.

You may not get to check all ten of these things off this holiday season, but there's always next year.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.
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After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say, "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing.

My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from "Shameless."

"Shameless" is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out of place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum, it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone, however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by "Shameless."

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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31 Thoughts That Haunt Halloween-Lovers All Year Round When It's NOT October

Because Halloween is clearly the superior holiday.

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April is here and that means we are officially six months away from the best month of the whole year: October. It's not just the best because I was born in that month, but because it holds the best holiday of all time: Halloween. For those of us who love Halloween, the months leading up to October drag on. Here are 31 things Halloween lovers are thinking right about now.

1. Six more months until October

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2. Is it too early to start decorating?

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The answer is no. Especially if you never took the decorations down in the first place.

3. Yes, I'm adding my Halloween playlist into my music rotation

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Spooky music = spooky vibes

4. Why does everyone hate Halloween?

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Clearly its the best holiday every

5. Who wants to have a Halloween movie marathon?

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6. 3 a.m. is the witching hour

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7. There should be two Halloweens

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One isn't enough

8. Is it socially acceptable to wear my pumpkin sweater?

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Yes the answer is yes.

9. Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

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10. Candy corn is gross but also an actual mood 

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11. So I'm thinking a Halloween-themed BBQ

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12. What if I named my future child Wednesday?

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That makes me Morticia, right?

13. Did you see that orb? I bet this place in haunted

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14. Was the Monstermash an actual graveyard smash?

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Yeah it was.

15. Why are pumpkins not in season yet?

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16. Who would win: Dracula or Frankenstein's monster?

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The real question.

17. I need my halloween socks

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18. He's JACK the pumpkin king

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KING OF THE PUMPKIN PATCH

19. Trying to stay calm when when October is 6-months away

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20. Ghosts are SO real 

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I say while watching paranormal shows for the 100th time

21. Everyday is Halloween

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22. On Wednesday, we wear black

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23. Lets get spooky

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24. Mess with me and I'll put a spell on you

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25. Where's my broomstick?

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26. That's a bunch of Hocus Pocus

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When people say Christmas is better than Halloween.

27. Raise your hand if you ever felt victimized by people who start Christmas before Halloween

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We all know that one person.

28. The Halloween movie series is classic

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29. I wish I lived in Halloweentown

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Halloween 365 days a year.

30.  How many days until Halloween again???

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31. Halloween is cool

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