Arlington’s got plenty to keep you busy this holiday season! Here’s a list of some fun events and activities. Check back, we’ll be updating this regularly. Special note: Free parking in Arlington Center’s two municipal lots on weekends through December.

December 1st-31st

Shows at the Regent Theatre

Check out the holiday schedule at the Regent Theatre! There are shows every week which will fill you with holiday cheer. Whether you’re a fan of heartwarming classics, dazzling musicals, or laugh-out-loud comedies, the Regent has a spectacular lineup of shows that cater to everyone’s taste.

November 25th- December 24th

Holiday Hurrah – Shop Local Promotion in East Arlington

Pick up your passport at any participating business. Make purchases at 6 or more participating businesses. Get your passport stamped with each purchase. Turn your passport in at the Capitol Theatre and receive a pair of free movie tickets!

November 30th- December 30th

Pop-Up Holiday Taproom at The Roasted Granola

Bring a friend, grab a beer, buy a present or two, and relax in Arlington Heights’ friendliest spot! We’ll be pouring a selection of fan favorites including Spy-P-A, Jedermann, and Zwolf, as well as introducing new brews to the lineup such as Marley’s Ghost Christmas Ale! On Saturdays, you get the added benefit of Roasted Granola’s Holiday Market where local artists come and sell their crafts. These are family-friendly events. Bring everyone!

December 22nd

Fridays at The Roasted Granola

Join us for a night of music with Gary Goldsmith, a beloved singer, songwriter and guitarist. Drinks and snacks with be available at the Roasted Granola Cafe.

December 23rd

Winter Artisan Market

Head on down to the Winter Artisan markets at The Roasted Granola! Each week, local artisans will be showcasing and selling their work. It is the perfect opportunity to do some local holiday shopping while sipping a delicious coffee.

January 1st

New Year’s Celebration with Ready, Set, Kids

Celebrate the New Year with us at Ready Set Kids. Come with your family and friends to participate in child-centered New Year activities Ages. For ages 0-5 | $10 registration per child

The Arlington Reservoir, located in Arlington Heights between Mass. Ave. and Summer Street, has long been a destination for local residents and visitors. Over its 150 years of use, the “Res” has evolved from a man-made means for water supply to a welcoming recreational oasis.

The reservoir’s extensive 65 acre area, half of which is in Lexington (although owned by  Arlington), connects the Great Meadow of West Arlington/East Lexington with the Mystic Lakes and Mystic River via the extensive Mill Brook, which flows through the center of Arlington.

In the early 1870s, the growing town of Arlington was in need of a dependable water supply. An earlier effort to tap Spy Pond as a municipal water supply had been short lived. Despite  objections from the town’s prosperous mill owners, the Arlington Reservoir was created by damming the nearby Munroe Brook. By 1896, the Reservoir’s water supply was deemed low quality for drinking and the town joined the Metropolitan District Commission Water Supply (MDCWS), which is  linked to the Quabbin Reservoir. Water from the Arlington Reservoir was used for piping to fire hydrants, nearby greenhouses, and even to Spy Pond in an effort to raise  its water levels.

Since that time, “The Res” has been a popular swimming destination and recreational space offering an area for non-motorized  boating and trails for walking and cycling. In 1935, a beach area was developed, and in the 1970’s filters were added to create cleaner water for swimming.  However, by the 1980’s, the water quality had diminished, and a separate swimming area was  constructed with the addition of chlorination. Over time, concern grew regarding the longevity of the Reservoir’s dam, which is vital in preserving the well-being of the land and the safety of its visitors. In 2002, the deteriorating health of the dam was addressed with steel support sheets at the base. During the renovation, a bridge was built on the southeast side of the reservoir, near Hurd field. In 2006, emphasis was placed on planting new trees  and plants around the beach area, and in 2010 a wildlife habitat garden was planted next to the bridge thanks to an anonymous donation.

In 2020, in consultation with engineering firm Weston & Sampson (which previously worked on the Robbins Farm Park renovations in South Arlington, the North Union Spray Park in East Arlington, and the Reservoir’s prior dam reconstruction project), a lengthy 3-phase renovation kicked off with the replacement of the bath house, as well as with changes to many recreational features.

The 15-year old playground was replaced with a captivating new play area, which includes swings, slides, and various climbing structures. Updates were also made to the snack bar, picnic pavilion, sports courts, water play area, and grass areas. Improvements were also made to the parking lot and boat ramp to offer guests a more enjoyable experience.

The water at the beach is fully chlorinated, with a ramp for people with disabilities, and certified  lifeguards keep swimmers safe at all times. Additional focus was given to the 1.2 mile Reservoir Trail that loops around the water and extends to the Great Meadow Trail, a scenic 1.9 mile loop that is well-known for hiking, cross-country skiing, and wildlife observation.

Completion of the project was celebrated in June 2022 and efforts continue to remove invasive species such as water chestnuts to maintain the habitat garden, and to control erosion. The trail is a great place to walk (leashed) dogs, observe wildlife, or just enjoy a beautiful day. The path also connects conveniently to Hurd Field, which sits beside the Minuteman Bikeway and is in close proximity to Trader Joe’s and Starbucks.

The Res opens for the swimming season on June 17th, and closes on August 25th. Hours are 10am- 7pm. Day passes may be purchased at the gate (cash only) for  anyone over age 1.  Season passes are also available for residents and non-residents. Except for pre and post season maintenance, the park is open to the public approximately September – May in the off season.

This summer, be sure to stop by the Wednesday Afternoon Kids Events and Friday Night Concerts at Reservoir Beach! Grab your lawn chair and your dancing flip flops and come on down to the Res for some FREE fun performances the entire family can enjoy. Arlington Recreation will also be working with Arlington Brewing Company and local food trucks to provide the Friday night concert goers with the option for food and beverages during evening concerts.

The Arlington Center for the Arts (ACA) is a cornerstone for the creative community in Arlington and beyond. Established in 1988, ACA is dedicated to fostering the arts in the local community by providing opportunities for artists, performers, and students to learn, create, and share their work with others.

Recently the ACA hosted a new event: Spotlight ACA! This fundraising event was designed to give their guests and community members an interactive experience and a little taste of all their signature programs, with live music, hands-on activities, delicious food and drinks, and irresistible items to take home.

Every fall, ACA also presents Arlington Open Studios, which is an event showcasing over 60 local artists displaying and selling their work. This signature Arlington event celebrates artists of all media and invites the public to engage with and support this community of talented individuals. This year’s event will be in-person with a range of virtual resources available to visitors. All application info and links will be available on June 1, 2023.

ACA also presents an ongoing schedule of compelling community exhibits and high-quality, curated shows that draw on a wide community of artists from Arlington and beyond. The Shaira Ali Gallery also serves as a rental space for performances, meetings, and parties for members of the Arlington community. They regularly present several opportunities for off-site exhibitions in the community including at WorkBar and Arlington Friends of the Drama.

Coming to a porch near you in June: Arlington’s free, festive, one-day-only music extravaganza is back…and bigger & better than ever!! Porchfest is a grassroots music festival where bands play on front porches across town and people walk, bike or drive around to enjoy tons of free outdoor music, performances, and visual arts exhibits. Visit the Arlington Porchfest website for more information.

Along with their community events like the Spring Gala, Arlington Porchfest, and  Arlington Open Studios, the ACA provides year-round education programs for children, teens, and adults in a variety of media, such as painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and fiber arts, among others. These classes are taught by experienced artists and educators who provide personalized instruction to students of all ages and skill levels.

Their creative opportunities for beginners and professionals alike help students develop skills, discover passions, and build community through the arts. During February, April and Summer vacation, the ACA offers full day camps for kindergarteners through teens. Vacation Arts Programs are fun, dynamic mixes of art, music, and drama and offer CIT and Counselor programs. The ACA also provides private studios and co-working spaces for artists to create and engage with a community of vibrant and diverse makers.

Arlington Center for the Arts is a vibrant hub of artistic activity in the greater Boston area, providing a welcoming and supportive environment for artists and art enthusiasts alike.To learn more about ACA, you can visit their website at www.acarts.org. You can also become a member, or make a contribution to support their ongoing work.

Hikes and Walks in Arlington

It’s a new year, and even though the days are gradually getting longer, gearing up to head outside doesn’t always seem like the most exciting idea. Especially when there’s a cold drizzly mist and there’s no epic snowstorm in the forecast. A new study from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki claims that “physical activity is thought to be the key mediating factor in the health benefits of green spaces when availability or active use of green space are considered.”  Luckily Arlington has much to offer when it comes to walking and hiking, and exploring!

The Rail-Trail Hall of Fame Minuteman Bikeway travels from one end of Arlington to the other, and connects the nearby towns of Bedford, Lexington, and Cambridge. All 3 business districts can be visited from the bikeway, whether you’re walking or biking, it’s a great way to explore the town, at any time of year. The Alewife Brook Greenway is another biking and walking path that ties into the Minuteman Bikeway. The Greenway connects with routes to Davis Square in Somerville, Harvard Square and Fresh Pond in Cambridge, and Belmont. Go for a run, a walk, ride your own bike or rent one from one of the six Bluebike stations located in Arlington.

Arlington is also home to a number of beautiful parks and green spaces. The view of the Boston skyline from Robbins Farm Park is spectacular. On a clear morning, you can head up to the top of the hill to watch the sun come up over Boston. It’s stunningly beautiful, and you’ll always have company; it’s a popular spot for photographers and early morning walkers and runners. When it snows, there are a couple great hills for sledding at that park. 

Magnolia Park is home to some of Arlington’s sports fields, as well as a basketball court and a dog park. You can also head over to Spy Pond, which has a new playground, as well as scenic paths along the water. Spy Pond is a coveted spot for watching the sunset. Menotomy Rocks Park is a 35 acre hilly woodland park that’s perfect for a walk or family hike, any time of the year. It’s a great place for dogs as well. In the winter it can be a popular spot for sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating. But be careful!

Also, located in Arlington Heights, the Arlington Reservoir has long been a destination for local residents and visitors. It’s a popular swimming hole in the summer, but during the rest of the year, people can enjoy the beach with dogs, and hike on the 1.2 mile loop around the water, which connects to the Great Meadow Trail, well-known for walking and hiking, cross country skiing and wildlife observation during any season.

There is no shortage of trails in the surrounding Arlington area. You can also check out Whipple Hill, Turkey Hill, Arlington’s Great Meadows, McLennan Park, and the Middlesex Fells. Spending time outdoors is essential for health and well-being. It can be difficult to establish new patterns, but you can start small. Even 15 minutes outdoors can boost your mood and energy. Read more tips on safety and motivation. Be safe and have fun!

Just over the border from Cambridge, East Arlington/Capitol Square is a lively, bustling neighborhood and home to the historic Capitol Theater, independently owned retailers, and excellent eateries.

The Minuteman Bikeway is just 1/4 mile away making East Arlington the perfect refueling stop for cyclists before heading to Harvard Square or Lexington/Concord.

Here are just a few of East Arlington’s highlights.

The shops of the Capitol Square block offer books, gifts, floral, home decor, baked goods, and more! This block is anchored by the Capitol Theatre. Since 1925, this movie palace has delighted visitors with old-world charm and the most up-to-date movies.

Before seeing a movie at the Capitol, grab a drink or a bite to eat from the scratch kitchen at Town Tavern, directly across the street from the theatre. The Tavern also offers live music so check their schedule.

Looking for some exercise? Pick up a Bluebike at either Linkwood St. or Grafton St. and ride to Arlington Center, Arlington Heights, Lexington, and beyond!