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35 things to do in Boston this winter

1. Hit Annual Beanpot Hockey Tournament
Originally designed as amateur sports filler event, this annual hockey tournament is a thrilling showdown between the BC Eagles, BU Terriers, Harvard Crimson, and Northeastern Huskies. Even non-students can get caught up in the fierce rivalry between these schools, and tickets to these games are some of the most sought-after in town. Monday nights, starting Feb. 4; locations vary (beanpothockey.com)

2. A night at Improv Asylum

Improv Asylum (216 Hanover Street, North End, Boston; 617-263-6887, improvasylum.com) is Boston's standby for locally-sourced improv comedy. Check their website for info on weekly and monthly events. And since the theater is on the North End’s iconic Hanover Street, there are countless options for a post-performance snack or drink. After the show, we suggest heading to nearby Caffé Vittoria for the North End’s best cappuccino. 296 Hanover St, North End, Boston (617-227-7606, vittoriacaffe.com)

3. Art-house films and Southern fare

Exaggerated explosives, saccharine rom-com and lackluster 3D just don't do it for you anymore? For those craving art-house, documentary, indie or foreign films, Kendall Square Cinema offers a sweet reprieve. The winter lineup is stellar: Catch up on Academy Award nominees such as Lincoln, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty or check out indie flicks including the doc Please Subscribe, about YouTubers, 56 Up, Michael Apted's decades-long series, and One Life, an amazing wildlife documentary.  (1 Kendall Square, Cambridge; 617-499-1996, landmarktheatres.com) Tip: If you go to nearby Hungry Mother (233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave, Kendall Square, Cambridge; 617-499-0090, hungrymothercambridge.com) beforehand, you can actually order movie tickets with your meal. Step 1: Eat hearty yet elegant Southern cuisine. Step 2: Walk across the street. Step 3: Watch movie. Easy as pie.

4. Brunch at Aquitaine

Anywhere else, $10 will get you a burrito and a large soda. But at Aquitane you get a satisfying prix fixe brunch, which includes fresh juice, coffee, house-made cinnamon buns and an array of continental omelettes in a proper restaurant with white tablecloths and stemware in the posh part of the South End. Aquitaine brings out the Holly Golightly in us: if we must pinch pennies this year, we'll do it in style, thank you very much. Try to make reservations beforehand, as it does tend to get packed in the mornings on account of the outrageously low price. 569 Tremont St, South End, Boston (617-424-8577; aquitaineboston.com)

5. Candlepin bowling at Sacco's Bowl Haven
For those seeking fun, cheap and unconventional group activities, candlepin bowling at Sacco's is a frequent favorite. This oasis of TV-free, retro splendor uses paper scorecards, has a jukebox and has generally retained much of its character despite recent renovations. They also serve organic pizza with eccentric toppings, plus an impressive selection of wine and local beer. 45 Day St, Davis Square, Somerville (617-776-0552, saccosbowlhaven.com)

6. Cambridge Antique Market
Compulsive garage sale browsers, jewelry collectors, interior decorators and treasure-hunters of all kinds love the Cambridge Antique Market for its five floors of vintage and antique finds and its T-accessible location. Most of the dealers specialize in specific items and eras, so ask around if you’re looking for something specific. They've also got an entire basement of refurbished vintage bicycles. Only the bravest of cyclists would consider the New England winter ideal riding weather, so you might just get a great deal. 201 Monsignor O’Brien Highway, East Cambridge (617-868-9655, marketantique.com)

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