6 free ways to spend New Year’s Day

New Year's Day fun doesn't have to cost a lot.

Boston, MA--12/22/05 Alphie DeVita, 3, (cq), gets help from his father Tom, while learning to skate at the Kelly Outdoor Skating Rink in Jamaica Plain.        Library Tag 01052006   Calendar
The Kelly Outdoor Skating Rink in Jamaica Plain is one of three city rinks offering free public skating on New Year's Day. –Michele McDonald / The Boston Globe

If you’re looking for a low-cost way to spend New Year’s Day, there are free events taking place across the city. Ahead, discover six free ways to spend the first day of 2018. Due to the cold forecast predicted for New Year’s Day, you may want to consider these cold weather safety tips from a local ER doctor if you choose an outdoor activity.

Catch live performances in Copley Square

Live performances in Copley Square will cap off this year’s First Night/First Day celebration in Boston. Rachel Sumner will perform at 11 a.m.; The Boston Opera Guy at noon; DD Martin & Code 51 at 1 p.m.; and Lance Martin Band at 2 p.m. Science on the Street, an initiative of the Cambridge Science Festival, will guide visitors in science activities such as separating light into the colors of the rainbow and looking at optical illusions. Don’t forget to check out the ice sculptures in Copley Square. (Copley Square in the Back Bay, Boston)


Update 12/31/17: Organizers of 2018 Boston First Night have canceled the New Year’s Day Copley Square Stage Performances due to the frigid temperatures and “by the recommendation of public safety.”

Go ice skating

Glide into the new year at one of these city skating rinks offering free public skating on New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Kelly Outdoor Rink in Jamaica Plain, Murphy Memorial Rink in South Boston, and Steriti Rink in the North End. According to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the rinks will remain open during the holiday’s cold forecast. (Kelly Outdoor Rink at 1 Marbury Terrace in Jamaica Plain; Murphy Memorial Rink at 1880 William J. Day Blvd. in Boston; Steriti Rink at 561 Commercial St. in Boston)

Take a boot camp class

Begin the new year with a workout at the Cambridge YMCA, which is offering a free boot camp class at noon. The YMCA asks guests to arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to the beginning of class to sign in. The YMCA will not permit anyone to join the class after 12:10 p.m., according to the organization’s website(820 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge)

A winter hike at Walden Pond State Reservation. —Department of Conservation and Recreation

Take a hike at a Massachusetts park

Spend the first day of the new year in nature hiking a Massachusetts park during First Day Hikes. Though the cold weather caused the Department of Conservation and Recreation to reduce the program from seven hikes to three, there will still be guided hikes at Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park, Blue Hills Reservation, and Walden Pond State Reservation. Hot chocolate will be served after the hikes. (Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park at 287 Oak St. in Uxbridge; Blue Hills Reservation at 696 Hillside St. in Milton; Walden Pond State Reservation at 915 Walden St. in Concord)


Watch a light show in Faneuil Hall

This is your last chance to see Blink! Light & Sound Show at Faneuil Hall. The show, which takes place every 30 minutes between 4:30 and 10 p.m., began Nov. 29 and ends on Jan 1. While you’re there, enjoy the many shops and restaurants in Boston’s popular marketplace. (4 S. Market St., Boston)

Go sledding

Bundle up, grab a sleigh, and spend some time outdoors sledding with family and friends on the first day of the year. Wondering where to go? Check out our map of 38 sledding hills around Massachusetts. (Various spots in Massachusetts)