For Boston Magazine’s Concierge

As the temperature drops, some thin-blooded Bostonians hunker down for a season inside, vowing to avoid as much of the winter as possible. Though their cheeks may never sting from the whipping wind, these sorry souls who scurry from house to car to office without lifting their heads bypass what can be an exquisite time of year in Boston. Here are just a few of the many activities well worth a trip outside during the frigid season.

A Vote for Skating
Nobody knows Boston like Mayor Thomas Menino. What would he do if he were granted a rare winter afternoon off? Grab his skates and head to the Frog Pond, shown above, in the Boston Common. "You can get exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery," Menino says. "It's also inexpensive, so you can bring the family without breaking the bank."

Walking in a Winter Wonderland 
You don’t need to go far from downtown Boston to find a natural oasis—just out to Jamaica Plain and the Arnold Arboretum. "Every year, I'm surprised at how many people show up," says the Arboretum's Ellen Bennett, referring to the colder months of the year. 

Of course, she understands why. The 265-acre park is "quite beautiful with snow on the ground," she says. The winding paths and perceived distance from the bustling city streets invite quiet contemplation. Athletic types are welcome to enjoy an afternoon of cross-country skiing or coasting down Peters Hill. 

Do North
There’s no time like winter for a feeding frenzy, and Boston’s North End is perfect for a midwinter gastronomic exploration by foot. "The neighborhood is tiny and the stores are close together," says Michele Topor of North End Market Tours. 

The options may seem endless, but Topor suggests scanning the wares at Salumeria Italiana (151 Richmond St., 617-523-8743), which she describes as "the best Italian grocery in this country." She also likes perusing the grappa selection and aisles of delights at V. Cirace & Son, Inc. (173 North St., 617-227-3193), and ending at Caffe Graffiti (307 Hanover St., 617-367-3016) "for coffee and old world ambiance."