Post-Thanksgiving, get out and about in Boston—and avoid the shopping masses.

By Max Grinnell
November 13, 2015
Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots

In the Hub, you could shop on Black Friday and beyond until you practically drop from the powerful burst of rampant consumerism. But if the sales-seeking crowds aren’t your thing, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our alternate suggestions, pick out a few, and experience some of Boston’s many joyful corners on this holiday weekend.

1. Leave the turkey behind and head on over to Sarma in Somerville for some Turkish delights. At the bar, you’re having the Saffron Sour (gin, saffron, dried lime, and more) and to nosh, a few lamb sliders and fried olives.

2. Walk over to the Huntington Theater Company to catch Nick Offerman (of “Parks & Recreation” fame) as Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces. Based on the celebrated Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the play is up until December 20th.

3. Any lover of design and architecture will want to get thee to the Otis House, which is the last surviving mansion in Boston’s West End. On the guided tour, visitors learn about the exuberant wallpaper, stunning tea services, and the home’s various lives and inhabitants over the past two centuries.

4. Most folks would rather run for cupcakes, but the long and leisurely “Great Boston Cupcake Crawl” through the city starts at 11 a.m. and lasts for 2.5 hours and features signature red velvet, chocolate espresso, and other cupcake flavors from local favorites like the South End Buttery and Sweet. Along the way, you’ll learn about the craft of cupcake creation and meet some of Boston’s best pastry chefs.

5. Head over to the Rockwell Cage Gymnasium at MIT to watch their annual Chain Reaction event. Starting at 1 p.m., hundreds of participants link their chain reaction devices (curious inventions in the style of Rube Goldberg machines) and the fun lasts all afternoon, until the penultimate event sends them all into play at once. Bonus: Your ticket includes admission to the MIT Museum.

6. Wander over to Cambridge to experience the Harvard Museum of Natural History, which contains an exquisite collection of hand-crafted glass flowers (don’t miss the orchids) and their new marine life exhibition. Walking around, you’ll be surrounded by elaborate models of glowing jellies, a massive sea turtle, and other pelagic creatures.

7. In Copley Square, step into the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center to view their latest exhibit, “Women in Cartography,” which celebrates five centuries of innovation with globes, unusual projections, and more. Step close to see the details of Ruth Sutton’s creative 1946 map of Nantucket, and Jacqueline Schmidt’s delightfully detailed butterfly map from 2014.

8. A sip (or two) of Chicago is coming to the Foundry on Elm in Somerville on Black Friday, and you’ll want to be there to taste it. The bar is going to offer the release of Goose Island’s Regal Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout. You’ll taste hints of blackberry juice and candied cherries in this bit of alchemy, and there’ll be other of their fine beers available, too.

9. Stop by Symphony Hall to hear the Handel and Haydn Society perform their rendition of Handel’s Messiah, complete with a cast of British and American soloists accompanied by the Period Instrument Orchestra (performance begins at 7:30 p.m.). Interestingly enough, the Society performed the American premiere of this holiday favorite in 1854, so they’ve got a few performances under their belt.

Max Grinnell splits his time between Boston and Chicago, and he writes about both for Travel + Leisure.