Local Winter Bucket List

FormaggioA cheese class at Formaggio Kitchen. Photo by Joyelle West.

Say cheese

Hosting friends during the cold winter months is a great way to socialize without leaving the house, but you’ll need to reward your travelers with libations and a legendary cheese plate. For the latter, head to Formaggio Kitchen for classes on the delightful dairy. The shop’s Cheese 101 class discusses the history of cheesemaking, tasting basics, and how to build your own cheese plate. Participants even get to sample some beer and wine, and check out their cheese caves. (Note: Caves unavailable for hibernation.)

Body broil

If you think hot tubs are only for nice hotels and pool clubs, think again. Inman Oasis offers 30-, 45-, or 60-minute sessions in their private hot tubs, which can fit two to four people. If you’re flying solo, Inman Oasis offers a community hot tub—a Japanese teakwood tub that fits up to seven people. Looking for more than just a soak? Guests who book a massage at Inman Oasis can add on 30 minutes in the community tub for just $10. Let the ultimate defrost commence.

Go to college

After several years of construction, Harvard University’s Smith Campus Center recently reopened—and it’s not just students that can benefit. The first floor is open to the public and features both new and familiar local vendors, including Blackbird Doughnuts, Bon Me, Saloniki Greek, and other quick bites. And don’t forget to breathe in the clean air: The Center’s green walls host over 12,000 plants to absorb carbon dioxide and release more oxygen. Sure beats that flu-ridden, recycled office air.

Soup for the Soul

In the dead of winter, it’s hard to beat the comfort of a hot bowl of soup. But at Porter Square’s Yume Wo Katare, diners get more than just a serving of ramen. Meaning “talk about your dreams” in Japanese, Yume Wo Katare is a small, cozy space with a big concept: If you can finish a bowl of ramen, you can achieve your goals. At least, that’s the theory from chef/owner Tsuyoshi Nishioka. When a guest finishes their bowl, Nishioka announces, “They did a good job!” to the entire restaurant. At this shop, that warm, fuzzy feeling inside isn’t just the hot ramen.

Roses are red

Every Wednesday night, the Boston Poetry Slam hosts its flagship event in the Cantab basement. The event starts at 8 p.m. with a poetry-only open mic session where poets and non-poets alike can read their own work, followed by the evening’s featured speaker or event. After the open mic concludes, the bartender even provides writing prompts to help polish your poetry skills. The $3 to $5 cover charge is well worth the winter escape, so cozy up to hear some fresh verse, or take the stage to read your angry diatribe to the winter weather gods.

Eat and shop local

Farmers markets are often reserved for the warmer days of spring, summer, and fall. But for Cambridge residents, they’re a year-round affair. The Cambridge Winter Farmers Market is held on Saturdays through April 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Cambridge Community Center. Find everything you need to stock up on: produce, dairy, meat, fish, and even some body care products. Plus, the market features local musicians and activities for all ages, including knife sharpening, book sales, and craft tables. Take cover from the cold weather and knock out this week’s to-do list, all without leaving the building.

Ladies only

Winter is the perfect time for curling up at home with a good book. But if conversations on feminism fire you up, then the Feminist Book Club at the Cambridge Women’s Center might be just what you need. Held the first Monday of every month, the meetings discuss the assigned book through the lens of feminism, opening the conversation for female-identifying participants to share their own perspectives and experiences. Books the group has read in the past include “Bossypants” by Tina Fey and “Educated” by Tara Westover.

This story originally appeared in the Free Time Fervor issue of Scout Cambridge, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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