🎄 Boston’s getting lit

Plus: 🚃 A tough month for the Green Line

It’s Monday, Boston.

🐶 Need a dose of serotonin to kick off the week? November is national “adopt a senior pet” month, and to celebrate, Boston.com readers sent in pics of their adopted senior pets. The responses are heartwarming — and pretty funny (see: Lucky). 

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Green Line shutdowns

  • Boston’s spending season forecast

  • New England’s McRib snub

Up first...


Let there be light(s)

Illustration by Gia Orsino

This week marks the beginning of Boston’s holiday lights season. And we’d never leave you in the dark (lol) about the best spots to check them out.

Let’s get into it:

🎄We’ll start with the classics … The famous Boston Common tree is scheduled to arrive Nov. 21 and its lighting will be Nov. 30. The rest of the Common, Public Garden, and Comm. Ave. Mall’s lights will be turned on immediately afterward. Faneuil Hall’s tree lighting is Nov. 21, and will include a capella tunes and free Ben & Jerry’s samples. And Christopher Columbus Park’s annual trellis lighting is on Nov. 20, featuring treats, music, eggnog, and … clam chowder!

💡 But the classics aren’t the only ones to watch. You can see one of the city’s newer tree lighting traditions at the Snowport’s “Light up Seaport” event on Dec. 1, or the Menorah lighting on Dec. 10. And if land-bound trees and trellises are a little too basic for you, there are (surprisingly) two nautical-themed lightings to see. See Boston’s only ship lighting (that we know of) at Martin’s Park on Nov. 25, or climb onto a ship to see the USS Constitution’s tree lighting on Dec. 8.

🪩 If you want something a little funkier … Hop in your car, or strap on your helmet, for Somerville’s Illuminations tour, where you can see the city’s best neighborhood lights however you like, either through a self-guided tour starting Dec. 9, or on a bike tour on Dec. 16. If you don’t mind a little road trip (or paying $19 dollars), head over to Stoneham Zoo to see all of the animals under the glow of holiday lights at their Zoo Lights every night starting Nov. 17.

🚗 Down for a drive? If, like us, you believe the ultimate form of holiday season nostalgia is heading to one of those drive through light displays, we get it. You’re just going to have to travel — and shell out — a little. But if you’re up for it, for about $20 and just shy of an hour in the car, you can drive through more than a mile of magical light displays in the South Shore, Lancaster, or Hope, R.I

🚶Take a stroll on your own time. All of that said, it’s pretty hard to walk around the city without bumping into some holiday lights and decor. If you need a place to start, take a stroll down Comm. Ave. or Marlborough Street, Newbury Street, Beacon Hill near Charles Street, or near Downtown Crossing (where the Macy’s tree was lit up days ago, BTW).

—Written by Gia Orsino


Four days of unlimited travel for $10

🚂 🍂 Visiting family or friends this Thanksgiving? Skip the traffic and ride with $10 Holiday Weekends on the MBTA Commuter Rail. Whether you’re traveling into the city or venturing out on a cozy suburban escape, this pass grants you hassle-free access to all lines and zones on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (including Thanksgiving and Black Friday). Simply download the mTicket app, swing by the ticket windows at North, South, or Back Bay stations, or purchase a pass on board with cash or card.


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Quick & dirty headlines

Image by Lane Turner/Globe Staff

🚃 Green Line riders, brace for impact. The previously announced mass MBTA shutdowns are almost upon us, and December is going to hit Green Line riders hard. Shutdowns are set to touch every part of the line, (meaning the B, C, D, and E branches, the GLX, and the downtown trunk), in efforts to complete all sorts of repair work to the tracks, power system, and stations. Most (but not all) of the shutdowns will have shuttle buses, so it’s important to look ahead to see what your options are for alternative travel. The first round of shutdowns are coming Nov. 27, so check out how you’re going to be impacted here.

🥶 You may save on your heating bills next season. National Grid has proposed higher discounts for low-income residents in Mass. with the introduction of a tiered system that would offer up to 55 percent off, instead of the flat rate of 32 percent off the company currently offers. Why? Mass. has some of the highest electric rates in the U.S., (and they’re not getting any lower), so utilities offer breaks for their low-income residents in an effort to reduce the state’s high energy burden. If approved, the program will be implemented next fall. See if you qualify here.

📱If you get your news on TikTok … you’re not alone. In a new study by Pew Research Center, almost a third (32 percent) of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 regularly get their news from scrolling through their FYPs. That number has more than quadrupled since 2020, in contrast to most other social media sites that have seen fewer or consistent numbers of users getting news on their sites. BTW, not to do too much self promo, but if you do get your news on TikTok, we have a profile for you to check out. <3

🎁 Holiday season is about to put a dent in our wallet. We are knee-deep in spending — sorry, giving — season, and according to the 2023 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey, Bostonians are among the spendiest in the country. Bostonians’ average planned holiday spending is a whopping $1,883, which is 14 percent higher than the national average. And that level of spending is despite almost 80 percent of us expecting prices to be higher this year, and, according to the survey, factoring in the added strain of student loans’ return. 

— Written by Gia Orsino


Not lovin’ it

Illustration by Gia Orsino

Calling all McRib fans! Have you been hoping that your beloved sandwich will make a comeback since its departure last year? Well, we have good news and bad news. 

The good news is that the fan-favorite pork and pickle sandwich is back for a limited time at select McDonald's locations this month. The bad news is that Boston (and all of New England) have been snubbed out of its comeback

If you want a McRib, you’ll have to travel 348 miles to Elkton, Md. (that’s via the fan-made McRib Locator website) to get it, which is about a 6 hour and 41 minute drive from Boston. Although the thought of a McRib isn’t quite enough to entice us to make an almost seven hour drive, we’re sure someone will do it.

— Written by Gia Orsino

🍟 Thanks for reading! Even if Maryland has the McRib, they’ll never be able to claim Dunkin’ spiked teas or the Ice Spice drink. I consider that a win. 

💜 Special Shoutout to today's sponsor, MBTA Commuter Rail, for supporting local journalism and making transportation in and around Boston more accessible.

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IG, TikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected].

Correction: An earlier version of the newsletter stated The Snowport’s Menorah Lighting was scheduled for Nov. 22. The B-Side regrets the error.