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10 things to do in Boston this weekend

BosTen is your weekly guide to the best events and coolest happenings in and around Boston.

Ice Castles in North Woodstock, N.H. Robert F. Bukaty/AP

With more and more Massachusetts businesses and cultural institutions reinstating COVID-19 restrictions in the face of a resurgent coronavirus pandemic, residents may be torn on whether to venture out of their homes this weekend. With that in mind, this week’s BosTen offers a mix of in-person and virtual things to do in Boston this weekend. Have an idea about what we should cover? Leave us a comment on this article or in the BosTen Facebook group, or email us at [email protected].

Celebrate the legacy of Betty White at two local restaurants

Betty White — revered actress, animal advocate, and absolute legend — passed away at the end of 2021, just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. To celebrate White, two restaurants are paying tribute with special menu items. At Precinct Kitchen + Bar in the Back Bay, specialty cocktails will be available from Jan. 13 to Jan. 23. There’s the Ageless Beauty, made with bourbon, pomegranate juice, Chambord, lemon juice, and maple syrup; the Betty White Russian, featuring Absolut vanilla vodka and Kahlua cream garnished with whipped cream and gold star sprinkles; and the Golden Girl, which uses Citrus Vodka, Canton, lemon, and simple syrup, and is topped with prosecco and gold shimmer. Over at City Tap House in Fort Point, the lively hangout will throw a brunch party on what would have been White’s birthday — Jan. 17. With clips from her acting career streaming in the background, guests can order waffles and Golden Glitter mimosas. And in true Betty White fashion, any guest that orders a glass of vodka will be served a complimentary hot dog — a playful combo favored by the iconic star.

Tap your toes from home at the Boston Celtic Music Festival

Every January, Harvard Square is filled with the sounds of fiddles, flutes, and other Celtic music instruments for a weekend at the annual Celtic Music Festival. This year is a different story, as the annual fest, traditionally held at Club Passim and other nearby venues, will be virtual. More than 20 artists will perform song and dance from Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, and other Celtic communities from January 13-16. Access for the free shows and a full schedule (as well as a link to donate) can all be found on the Passim website.

Check out Boston’s new Nashville-themed restaurant, Nash Bar & Stage

Dust off your line dancing boots: After a few weeks of soft opening events, Nash Bar & Stage will officially open on Jan. 17, and it’s offering free line dancing lessons at 8 p.m. to kick things off. In addition to dancing and live music at 5 p.m., diners can get their fill of comfort-driven dishes at the Theater District newcomer — think, jumbo chicken wings, Southern fried shrimp, cheddar macaroni and cheese, and slow-roasted St. Louis ribs. To drink, there are playfully-named cocktails like Watermelon Sugar High and Lei’d Up in Nash, plus a cotton candy mimosa featuring the soft serve flavor of the day, prosecco, and cotton candy. 

Enjoy frozen fun at New Hampshire’s Ice Castles

Each year, tens of thousands of visitors trek to North Woodstock, N.H. to visit Ice Castles, a massive frozen attraction that features eye-popping structures, tunnels, slides, fountains, and more constructed from 20 million pounds of ice. New to this year’s attraction, which is open from January 14 through March 4, is the “Winter Fairy Village” and an ice sculpture garden, which fit right in with the crawl tunnels, sleigh rides, and illuminated Mystic Forest. Tickets for this weekend are still available during certain windows, but are going fast.

Order clam chowder for $1 at Legal Sea Foods

One way to stay warm through these frigid temps? Slurp up a bowl of chowder from local stalwart Legal Sea Foods. On Saturday, you’ll only need a dollar to order one: As part of the chain’s “Chowda Day” on Jan. 15, Legal Sea Foods will offer a bowl of its signature clam chowder for just $1, with proceeds donated to Boston Children’s Hospital. Want more than just a cup? Bowls are $2, quarts are $10, and gallons of chowder are $30. 

Enjoy sculptures big and small with free admission to the ICA

The Institute of Contemporary Art is one of several Boston institutions offering free admission for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, giving visitors a chance to view exhibits including Deana Lawson’s photographic representations of Black life, multimedia installations by Somerville artist Renée Green, and Eva LeWitt’s vibrant hanging sculptures. If you’re worried about long weekend crowds, the museum is also offering free admission on Thursday night as part of its weekly Third Thursday program.

Take a tour of Italian wines at Fat Hen’s wine dinner

Omicron may have put a damper on your international travel plans, but there are still ways to experience the joy of Italian wine without leaving the Boston area. Fat Hen, a Somerville restaurant focusing on Italian tasting menus, will host a wine pairing dinner on Friday, featuring a multi-course menu accompanied by a luxurious lineup of Italian wines. Start with Katama Bay oysters and a glass of prosecco, followed by dishes like sea scallops with acorn squash, cranberry, and turnips; lamb with potato gnocchi; and black forest chocolate cake, each paired with a glass of wine. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here.

Get inspired by MLK’s speeches at the Gardner Museum

Like the MFA and the ICA, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will offer free admission on Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The museum will be showing “Witness: Spirituals and the Classical Music Tradition,” a four-part video series that chronicles Black American composers who have found inspiration through spirituals and features Boston ensemble Castle of our Skins. The museum will also provide take-home art kits inspired by the words of Dr. King’s speeches.

Free Admission to the Stone Zoo and Franklin Park Zoo

If you’d prefer to enjoy free admission to an outdoor attraction instead of a museum, both Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo and Stoneham’s Stone Zoo will be offering free admission this Monday as well. Along with stopping by to see all of your favorite animals, be sure to say hello to birthday boys Smoky and Bubba, a pair of black bears who turn 16 this weekend.

Watch a new PBS documentary on Boston in “A Reckoning in Boston”

When filmmaker James Rutenbeck began work on a documentary film in 2014 in Dorchester, he sought to document students in the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a program that gives low-income adults a free chance to learn from “the great works of literature, art history, moral philosophy, and American history.” Over the course of the filmmaking process, however, Rutenbeck began to realize that the premise of his film was flawed, and that he needed to confront his own complicity in structural racism. The end result, “A Reckoning in Boston,” airs on PBS Monday night at 10 p.m., and shows how original film subjects, Bostonians Kafi Dixon and Carl Chandler, turn the camera back around on the filmmaker. For those unable to view Monday night’s premiere, “A Reckoning in Boston” will also be streaming on the PBS Video app.

PNC Bank presents a New Year Fitness Challenge

Your challenge is to move at least 10 minutes or 1 mile each day in January while raising funds for charity.

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