Boston Weather January Averages, USA
What's the weather like in Boston in January
January is the coldest month of the year on average for Boston, USA. During January, the average temperature for the city starts off at -2°C, with highs of 2°C in the daytime and lows of -5°C at night. Average temperatures are fairly constant throughout the month, but the first and last weeks are slightly warmer. The lowest ever January temperature recorded was -30°C on January 25, 1946. The highest was 22°C on January 26, 1950. Relative humidity in Boston in January is a comfortable 63 per cent on average, compared with a yearly average of 65 per cent. Check the local weather report before you set off.
Rain and snow
During January, Boston receives an average of 90mm/3.5 inches of rainfall with an average of 10 rainy days. Some form of precipitation is likely on average for a January day in Boston, so there is a high chance you'll experience rain or snow during your stay. The likelihood is that the heaviest rain (2.5 to 3.3 inches) occurs in the last eight days of the month.
With a monthly average of 13.5 inches, snowfall is very likely in Boston in January, although the amount of snow varies from year to year. There is at least an inch of snow on the ground in January on 11 days of the month and it can be 10 inches or more on at least two days of the month. The chances of heavy snow increase as the month goes on, ranging from a daily average of 0.12 inches on New Year's Day to a high of 12.9 inches on January 31. So, if you like your snow deep then any time after the first week will suit you, with average levels increasing daily from 4.2 inches on January 10th to the end of the month.
Across the month, Boston is very cloudy in January and enjoys an average of five hours of daily sunshine. This compares with average daily sunshine of ten hours a day in July. The sky is mainly clear for only nine days, with a maximum of 30 per cent cloud cover. It is overcast or mostly cloudy for 52 per cent of the month on average. The shortest day of the year is January 1st, with nine hours of daylight. By January 31st, this has increased to almost ten hours. The sun rises on January 1st at 7.13am and sets at 4.22pm. By January 31st, sunrise is at 6.58am and sunset is at 4.57pm.
The clearest day of the month on average is January 25th, with conditions clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy for 49 per cent of the time.
Boston's coastal location means that in January it is often subject to strong North-easterly winds, which bring rain and snow and can cause blizzards on occasions. The average January wind speed in Boston is 13.6mph, although storms can bring much stronger gusts, with winds capable of reaching hurricane force (74 mph or more). One of the strongest gusts of wind ever recorded was at Mount Washington in neighbouring New Hampshire in 1934, with gusts reaching 231mph.
January is the coldest month of the year in Boston on average, so if you plan on traveling there at this time of year, it is essential to dress accordingly and take thick coats, scarves, hats and gloves and even thermal clothing with you. If you prefer the sunshine then July is the best month to visit Boston for temperatures, with a daily average of 24°C. The warmest place on the USA's eastern seaboard in January is Florida, with average temperatures of 16°C. To be sure of what lies ahead before you depart, check our 14-day forecast for Boston.
Boston Hotels in January
January is a great month for hotel bargains in Boston, with some of the lowest rates of the year on offer. There is so much choice, from low cost to five-star, that it pays to shop around.
Check out the Frosty Fridays package at the Colonnade Hotel where you are charged the outside temperature in dollars for a Friday night stay (minimum stay two nights). Ideally located in Back Bay, the hotel has a brasserie, JO, a well-equipped fitness centre and a rooftop pool with great city views.
Fairmont Copley Plaza
The Fairmont Copley Plaza has occupied its prime Back Bay location since 1912 and has Beacon Hill, the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail and some of the city's best shopping on its doorstep. The hotel has more than 380 rooms, a huge health club and the popular OAK Long Bar and Kitchen for drinking and dining.
The Kimpton Onyx
Also downtown is The Kimpton Onyx which combines a contemporary, urban feel with a central location for many of Boston's sights, including The TD Garden, home to the city's basketball and ice hockey teams and venue for major concerts (0.7 miles), the imposing, 170-year-old Boston Public Library (2 miles), Boston Common (0.7 miles) and New England Aquarium (0.8 miles) with its huge ocean tank and 140 marine species.
Another hotel that is close to all the action is the 204-room Bostonian, perfectly located near landmarks such as Boston Harbour, the Freedom Trail, Quincy Market and the Old State House, scene of the Boston Massacre in 1770, when British soldiers killed a number of Bostonians after being attacked by a mob. Many of the hotel's rooms have balconies and other facilities include a fitness centre and a restaurant and bar, the North 26.
A popular option for those on a lower budget is the Verb Hotel near Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team. Opened as a motel in 1959, it is now a colourful and retro-styled hotel with a highly-rated Japanese bar/restaurant, swimming pool and free breakfast for guests.
Bars and Restaurants
There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in Boston with hundreds of pubs and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. The city is proud of its connection with Ireland, so Irish pubs abound. One of the most famous, in Boston's South End, is J.J. Foley's, which has been run by the same family since it opened in 1909. The menu features good Boston bar food, including steaks, burgers, chicken wings, nachos and quesilladas.
Another famous watering hole worth a visit in the Cheers bar in Beacon Street, formerly known as the Bull and Finch pub, which was the inspiration for one of the USA's most popular sitcoms, which ran from 1982 to 1993. Featuring the 'Norm Burger Hall of Fame' and a souvenir shop for Cheers fans, this is a Boston neighbourhood bar with a difference.
Yankee Lobster Company
Seafood fans should head to the Yankee Lobster Company which has been serving a 'taste of New England' with Maine lobsters, fresh steamers, shrimp, and clam chowder at its harbourside location near Boston's fish pier since 1950. The business is still run by the Zanti family, who started as fishermen before venturing creating what is now a Boston institution.
Also downtown is legendary Boston eatery Durgin Park, which is one of the oldest restaurants in the USA and serves traditional New England fare, ranging from seafood to juicy steaks in its historic dockyard building. There is also an atmospheric beer garden, the Hideout, to quench your thirst in.
Things to do in Boston in January
Due to its low temperatures, snow and rain, many of Boston's best January activities are indoors. There is plenty on offer this month.
New Year's Day Swim
One major outdoor event is the L Street Brownies' annual New Year's Day swim, which has been taking place since 1902. Hundreds of hardy souls take the plunge at Dorchester Bay in aid of charity. But if you are thinking of joining them, be aware that the average sea temperature in Boston in January is an icy 5°C, with a low of 3°C and a high of only 7°C.
Boston Christmas Lights
If you are seeing in the New Year in Boston, you will be able to see the spectacular Christmas light displays across the city. These include Boston Public Garden and Boston Common. The tree at Boston Common, where the city's official ceremony takes place, has been supplied by the people of Nova Scotia since 1971, in gratitude for Boston's help after a ship carrying explosives blew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1917, killing 2000 people.
Martin Luther King Day
January in Boston has a second national holiday with Martin Luther King Day on January 21. The civil rights campaigner lived and studied in Boston for many years and is commemorated across the city and at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of African American History.
Boston Opera House
Indoors, Boston has a wealth of cultural activities to enjoy this month, from concerts, to exhibitions and theatre to sports. Boston Opera House stages the Carole King musical Beautiful, as well as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
Enjoy top class basketball at a Boston Celtics game or ice hockey with six-time Stanley Cup winners Boston Bruins, both at TD Garden, which also hosts some of the biggest names in world music, including The Killers and Paul Simon last year.
Boston Wine Festival
If food and drink is your thing, then the United States' biggest food and wine festival, The Boston Wine Festival, takes place every January with dinners, seminars, receptions and wine tasting events continuing through to March at the Boston Harbour Hotel.
Parks and skating
Outdoors, January is a great month to enjoy Boston's excellent public ice skating rinks, with the most famous being Frog Pond. Or you could just marvel at the winter scenery at one of the city's beautiful parks, including Boston Public Garden or the 50-acre Boston Common, the country's oldest park founded in 1634.
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Last, but not least for a truly revolutionary experience, don't miss Boston's number one tourist attraction, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, telling the story of the events that led to the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when the Sons of Liberty boarded three ships and tipped their cargoes of British East India Company tea into Boston Harbour, triggering the American Revolution of 1776.