These destinations outside the city offer unique opportunities for fun and learning, all within easy reach of the Hub
Get a glimpse of how the region’s earliest European settlers lived—as well as a taste of Thanksgiving on November 28 & 29—at this interactive museum less than 40 miles from the city.
137 Warren Ave., Plymouth, 508-746-1622, plimoth.org
Clark Art Institute
Nestled between the Berkshires and Green Mountains, this revered art museum and research facility has been a cultural must-see since it opened its doors in 1955.
225 South St., Williamstown, 413-458-2303, clarkart.edu
The holiday-themed ZooLights display offers after-hours viewing of the exhibits along with a dazzling array of lights, as well as new life-size Lego animal sculptures.
149 Pond St., Stoneham, 617-541-5466, zoonewengland.org
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Named for the author/artist of the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this fun spot in the Pioneer Valley highlights original art from a wide array of children’s literature.
125 West Bay Rd., Amherst, 413-559-6300, carlemuseum.org
Norman Rockwell Museum
Located in the Berkshires, this institution dedicated to preserving the legacy of the iconic American artist also hosts illustration exhibits championing visual innovators from the past as well as the present.
9 Glendale Rd., Rte. 183, Stockbridge, 413-298-4100, nrm.org
Roger Williams Park Zoo
This 40-acre menagerie is home to critters from across the globe, including elephants, zebras, giraffes and red pandas.
1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, R.I., 401-785-3510, rwpzoo.org
The state’s northwest corner hosts this enormous modern art edifice, carved from the remains of a 19th century mill complex.
1040 MASS MoCA Way, North Adams, 413-662-2111, massmoca.org
Old Sturbridge Village
An authentic recreation of an 1830s New England hamlet, this open-air attraction comes to life thanks to its costumed interpreters.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge, 800-733-1830, osv.org
Heritage Museums & Gardens
Although its 100 acres of gardens are dormant this time of year, this family favorite on Cape Cod sparkles with holiday lights during its annual Gardens Aglow event, Friday–Sunday beginning November 29. Kids and their grown-ups can also enjoy a visit with Santa Claus (in a 1913 Model T Ford, no less) and rides on a vintage 1908 carousel.
67 Grove St., Sandwich, 508-888-3300, heritagemuseumsandgardens.org
Explore the grand 1928 mansion as well as the beautifully landscaped, 165-acre grounds, which feature gorgeous vistas of the adjacent Atlantic Ocean.
290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, 978-356-4351, thetrustees.org