The Ultimate Guide to Spending a Rainy Day in Boston


The weather is gloomy, but you don’t have to be.

Photo by David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Mother Nature loves to laugh in the face of pleasant weather, dumping flash floods or occasional heat waves out of season over our part of the country. Whether you are in town for a vacation and suddenly find your harbor cruise drenched in a downpour or you are a local looking to escape the house before scaling the walls, there are still plenty of activities you can enjoy in the area. shelter from the elements. Of course, you already know how to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and other cultural institutions, but what about letting off steam in a foam pit? From bookstore tours to adrenaline rushes, check out this guide to help pass the time.

Browse some vintage readings

Do you remember when you read things other than on your phone? The Boston area is teeming with books, with must-see places to light up including Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury, More than Words by Bay Village, and independent favorites from Cambridge, Harvard Book Store, and Porter Square Books. Tucked away downtown and with a giant # 2 pencil above the entrance, the Brattle Book Shop invites you with two floors of used books, plus a third floor of rare antiques for sale. You can wander here for hours, flipping through the treasury of tomes, which includes out of print rarities and first editions, as well as maps, postcards, and other ephemeral materials. And when the weather permits, the shelves of the outdoor auction lot offer sunny literature.

9 West St., Boston, 617-542-0210,

Watch an arty movie

Instead of skipping the lines to see the latest blockbuster, consider a getaway to the Brattle in Cambridge, where the one-screen cinema in a historic brick building celebrates the magic of cinema. Screenings here focus on arthouse, foreign and cutting edge films, with special themed multi-film programs that could celebrate a particular director or subject. Also soak up the vintage vibe with screenings of classic 35mm film, with past screenings of Sunset Boulevard and Sing in the rain celebrating vintage Hollywood glamor. Plus, it shares a building with frequent Best of Boston winner Alden & Harlow, so you can go from movie to dinner (or vice versa) without getting soaked.

40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 617-876-6837,

Trace a historical course

Even with all the maps present, it’s easy to get lost in the Norman P. Leventhal Map & Education Center, a museum in the Boston Public Library. Head here to browse exhibits of maps, atlases, globes and more, with exhibits open to the general public and available digitally, and other collections available to researchers by appointment. Here you’ll find artifacts dating from the 15th century to the present day, with a leaning towards Boston and New England. Iconic features include city maps from the Revolutionary War and nautical maps of the New England coast. A hand-painted circular world map from 1475 also makes the atlas a work of art.

In the Boston Public Library – Central Library, 700 Boylston St., Boston, 617-859-2387,

Climb the walls

In life, it’s not always about the destination, it’s about the climb. And nowhere is this perhaps truer than Rock Spot Climbing, a fitness venue with locations in Southie and Dedham. Here, adventurers can learn the belay technique to help other climbers by acting as their tether to the mainland, or you can hook up to a self-belay – a kind of pulley system – to scale the rock face to a safe solo adventure. Those who don’t want to be strapped in can hit the boulder wall, a sloping surface dotted with handles to hang onto, for a free climb that’s part of a spatial reasoning test, part of a workout. Plus, yoga classes help you relax those tired forearms.

67, rue Sprague, Dedham, 617-333-4433; 30 Old Colony Ave., South Boston, 617-269-2084,

enjoy the silence

Harvard’s Class of 1959 non-denominational chapel, which opened in 1992, offers a moment of calm carved out of the hustle and bustle of Boston. Although the structure may be named after the 1959 Harvard Business School class, which funded the construction, the design is a warp of time into the future: plunging curves, a cylindrical concrete chamber, and a pyramid. of glass which offers a mini oasis of a water garden. Topped with skylights that reflect rainbows on the minimal gray walls, this spot offers brightness even on the most gloomy days.

Gordon Road, Boston, 617-495-6000,

To return to

When the weather weighs on you, nothing makes children and adults feel more energetic than jumping skyward on a trampoline. Sky Zone’s aerial adventure zones, with locations in Everett, Danvers and Kingston, offer trampolines and activities like dodge ball and American Ninja Warrior– obstacle course esque. And maybe the most uplifting part? Take to the air on the trampolines, then dive into the plush foam pit, which looks like a bear hug in a bag of marshmallows.

69 Norman Street, Everett, 617-387-1000; 100 Independence Way Liberty Tree Mall, Danvers, 978-252-3000; 101 Kingston Collection Way Kingston Collection Shopping Center, Kingston, 781-514-7595,

To take some fresh air

Do you prefer your adrenaline rush in a slightly less “rushing out of a plane” way? Make the trip to Nashua, New Hampshire (I mean, it’s raining, so what else are you going to do?) Nervous participants take note: there is no feeling of jumping or freefall , and instead, you are guided by an instructor like a baby bird learning to take flight. If you’d rather jump the skies in favor of surfing, you can boogie on the indoor surf deck, which pumps a 32-foot jet of water so you can hook ten onto a real surfboard.

100 Adventure Way, Nashua, NH, 603-897-0002,

Made a splash

While the weather may have drowned your dreams of hitting the local beaches, you can still rock the waves at the 16 indoor pools at the area’s Boston Centers for Youth & Families fitness facilities. From the Curtis Hall Community Center in Jamaica Plain to the Flaherty Pool in Roslindale and beyond, these pools invite kids to dive in for swimming lessons, while adults can sign up for swimming and aqua fitness lessons. Think about it, it’s like a trip to the shore, all without the sand and sunscreen.

Various locations, 617-635-4920,

Play mind games

If escaping from one room seems a bit too straightforward, try your brain at Boda Borg, where you and a team of three to five other people face physical and mental challenges spread across 18 different rooms within the installation of 30,000 square feet. With physical difficulties categorized as easy, medium, or hard, the challenges vary in themes. In one quest you try to escape the famous Alcatraz prison, while in another room you navigate a haunted house. And the challenges aren’t just physical either. Other rooms boost your mental stamina (and patience) with quizzes, memory puzzles, and ticking clocks.

90 Pleasant Street, Malden, 781-321-1081,

Organize your own film festival

If you fancy reliving the glory days of walking the aisles for hours at your favorite movie rental location, then the Video Underground at Jamaica Plain is a real treat. Billed as the last video rental store in Boston, the spot features around 10,000 titles, mainstream anime releases, arthouse gems, documents, and more. But hanging the headliner is your chance to rent the VU Screening Room by the hour, where groups of up to 30 guests can enjoy their own mini film festivals and eat special sweets and treats like candies. Vegan flatbread pizzas and mini cheesecakes from now on. construction cafe. Beat another night with Netflix.

3203 Washington St., Jamaica Plain, 617-522-4949,

Savor a few bites with a shopping side

With a plethora of tables on its sprawling patio, as well as greenhouses, cozy fireplaces, and indoor dining, Bow Market – Somerville’s food-hall-meets-shopping center – is a true buffet for the undecided diner. Fancy a morning bite? Head over to Mike & Patty’s for a on-the-go breakfast burrito and wash it down with an Americano from Remnant Brewing. Comfort food? Check out the poutine and veggie burgers and dogs at Saus. For dinner, sip fresh oysters at Hooked before feasting on platters like soy and salted pork butt with brown sugar at Filipino-American restaurant Tanám, and finish things off on a sweet note with playful Maca macaroons. . And the best way to get rid of those copious portions is with retail therapy, perhaps at Bobby’s Boston for vintage treasures for men and women, or browsing the books and bottled natural wine of Wild. Child.

1 Bow Market Way, Somerville,

Support local art and activism

The 5,000 square foot space of the Dorchester Art Project at Fields Corner is a little hard to categorize, in the best possible way. Artist studios, a fanzine library, gallery, retail store, and performance hall all find a home under one roof. Managed by the non-profit arts organization Brain Arts, DAP combines art and activism to serve and support historically excluded communities. Since you probably don’t need to troll Amazon for another boring purchase, head into the store to shop for artwork and other goods from local manufacturers, and browse for craft supplies, clothing, etc. Every weekend, the Melanin Owned Business Sellers Flea Market also takes control of the lower level of DAP to showcase a host of wonders by local businesses.

1490 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, 857-400-8982,

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