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People play corn hole and eat at tables in front of the Winter City Sauna on city hall plaza.

January–March 2024
City Hall Plaza, Boston, MA

In order to activate Boston’s public spaces in the winter and increase connection and happiness, we brought a mobile pop-up sauna to Boston City Hall Plaza in the winter of 2024. For 6 weeks we transformed a corner of the plaza into a new kind of winter space. By providing a source of warmth and an activity that encouraged conversation, the Boston Public Sauna pilot program created vibrancy that will lead to stronger, healthier communities year-round.

Three people sitting in the Winter City Sauna.


The Winter City Sauna was a huge success, with visitors coming from across the region to enjoy a unique winter experience, make a new connection, and reframe how they think about winter in the city. We also saw impacts beyond City Hall Plaza with coverage on WBUR, The Boston Globe, WBZ, and more.

Participants really enjoyed their sauna sessions, with 97% of participants ranking it a four of five out of five and 62% of visitors reporting the fact it was free as a significant factor in their decision to come. 81% of visitors reported meeting someone new during their session. These meetings, whether they lasted just for the duration of the sauna or continued after, are a critical tool in combating the loneliness epidemic.

Two people dance outside the Winter City Sauna.
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It was relaxing, delightful, and great to meet new people. I loved having something fun to do with my friends to rewind after a long work week. It was great to do something different in the City.

Survey response

Final report

Where is it now?

When asked if they would like to see more activities like the Winter City Sauna in Boston, 100% of participants said yes! We are working with city and community partners to support more winter activations next year.


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