Boston Weather December Averages, USA
What's the weather like in Boston in December
Winter grips Boston, USA, like a vice in December and although it is not the coldest month of the year, it can get very cold on occasions and snow is a certainty common most years. The average temperature for Boston in December is a high of only 5.1°C, with an average low falling to a very cold -2.1°C. The average daily maximum for most Decembers varies between 3 to 7°C and the minimum is usually between 0 and -4°C, with temperatures getting lower as the month goes on. Temperatures are on average 5°C lower by December 31 than they were on December 1. The thermometer has reached above 21°C but it has also fallen to -12°C on occasions. This compares to a day in Interlaken, Switzerland, where temperatures rarely go above 5°C.
Make sure you check the local weather report before you set off.
Rain and snow
Boston has an average of 96mm/3.7 inches of rainfall in December, with 11 rainy days on average. This can vary between 54 to 135mm, or two to five inches in half of the years. The chances of snow are high, with a monthly snowfall average of 22.9cms. This does vary from year to year and Boston can get anything from nine to 29cms of fresh snow this month. It reaches depths of 13cms or more on two days of the month.
December in Boston is the least sunny month of the year, sharing that record with January. The average monthly sunshine is 148 hours across the month, or 4.7 a day. The sun reaches the ground on only 52 percent of daylight hours and skies in Boston are clear for an average of nine days, with cloud cover of 30 per cent or less.
The days are short and get darker towards the end of the month. There is daylight for an average of only 9 hours and 8 minutes. Average relative humidity in Boston is 65 per cent, with a high of 71 per cent in the morning and a low of 59 per cent by afternoon.
December can be windy, with an average of 13.2mph and storms that bring rain and snow. Coastal areas can be extremely windy.
Pack lots of warm weather clothing, with layers if you are moving in and out of buildings. Thermals are recommended, along with jumpers, warm coats, gloves, hats and scarves. You will definitely need a waterproof coat. Check our 14-day forecast before you leave.
Boston Hotels in December
Marriott Vacation Club Pulse
The views across Boston Harbour alone make it worth considering the Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House. This self-catering hotel has a range of modern suites with free Wi-Fi, kitchenettes, separate living and sleeping areas, flat-screen TVs with DVD players and video games. There's a gym, a 26th-floor open-air observation deck with spectacular city and harbour views and an on-site cinema. Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall and Boston Opera House are close by.
Cosy and atmospheric, the budget Harborside Inn started life in 1846 as a mercantile shipping warehouse on Boston Harbour. Today, it is a recently-renovated European-style boutique hotel with 116 spacious rooms close to all the action. There's a trendy cocktail bar but no restaurant, so you will have to decide which one of the scores of nearby waterside restaurants take your fancy. Free WIFI.
This luxury destination has been awarded both the AAA five diamond rating and the Forbes magazine five-star award. Located on Boston's famous Boylston Street, Back Bay, the Mandarin Oriental mixes oriental and Bostonian styles and is within walking distance of historic sites and landmarks. The Bar Boulud is a French-inspired bistro and wine bar from chef Daniel Boulud and there's a gym and spa.
The boutique XV Beacon occupies an elegant period building in downtown Boston and claims a high level of guests who return time and again for its atmosphere and service. It's no surprise that its restaurant, Mooo, is a steakhouse with the pedigree of award-winning Chef Jamie Mammano behind it and it's a popular haunt for Bostonians as well as tourists.
Bars and Restaurants
Seafood lovers will find plenty to whet their appetites at Saltie Girl in Back Bay. It is a tiny venue with a large and varied menu, where they offer their fish and seafood baked, fried, toasted and in tins and jars. Choices include fried lobster and waffles with sweet corn butter and spicy maple syrup, snails with garlic butter and a raw bar. There is caviar if you feel extravagant and they do a mean burger or steak for meat lovers.
Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant
The Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant is whatever you want it to be. For the Southie locals, it's their bar but for many others it's a popular eating destination for classic American fare. Housed in a former department store, its tin ceilings and wooden booths make for a great setting to enjoy meat, fish, wood-fired pizzas, salads and sandwiches for lunch or dinner. The beer and wine list is top notch.
Spoke Wine Bar
The Spoke Wine Bar in Somerville has earned a considerable reputation for serving American plates and sharing dishes and establishing strong links with local producers. Fried oysters, stuffed quail and lamb tartare are among the morsels on offer and there is a strong and varied wine list to quench even the most discerning thirst. It was reopened by its former bartender Mary Kurth in 2017 after the death of its legendary founder, Felisha Foster.
Café du Pays
Showered with awards since opening in 2017, Café du Pays serves French-Canadian food, including the famous Poutine, on a rich and varied menu at its atmospheric Cambridge base. There is no need to book, but it's wise to do so, particularly at weekends. Other dishes include Lamb Nicoise and smoked half of chicken and there are plenty of veggie options and a tempting dessert menu.
Things to do in Boston in December
The holiday season kicks off in Boston every year with the Christmas lights ceremony on Boston Common, when the city's mayor flicks the switch to illuminate more than 80 trees. At the heart of it all is Boston's official Christmas tree, an annual gift from the people of Nova Scotia for the city's help following a disaster there in 1917. That is the signal for the whole city to follow suit with a blaze of lights, trees and decorations everywhere you go.
Head for the snow
If ice skating on Frog Pond is too tame for you, there is some incredible skiing and cross-country hiking within an hour of Boston, including the Blue Hills ski area, Weston Ski Track (for cross-country skiing) and Nashoba Valley ski area. Back in Boston, the chances of snow are high, so head for Boston Common or the Rose Kennedy Greenway for a walk, a snowball fight or to make a snowman.
New Year's Eve
Boston really knows how to greet the New Year and it's a great time to be visiting the city. More than one million people turn out for First Night Boston, which has music and entertainment, lashings of food and drink and the famous grand procession to Boston Common, when the huge crowds jostle upon arrival for a good spot to watch the fireworks finale over Boston Harbour.
Eat, drink and shop
With temperatures plummeting, indoors is a good place be and as Christmas approaches it's time for a spot of retail and culinary therapy. Start with Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market and move onto the Prudential Centre with more than 40 shops, 18 restaurants and - 50 storeys up at the top of the centre - the amazing Skywalk Observatory. There is also the Holiday Market offering food and gifts from Swiss-style chalets at City Hall Plaza. While you're there, try out the Plaza's huge skating path.