20+ Things to Do in Boston in the Fall 2016

If you haven’t been to New England and the Boston area in the Fall, you haven’t truly experienced this amazing season!

With richly colored foliage, crisp breezes, and the scent of apples and pumpkins everywhere, Fall is most definitely our favorite time of year in Boston.

If you’re planning a trip and looking for things to do in Boston in the Fall, take a look at our suggestions for the top attractions and activities to check out this year, including…

  • Salem Witch Museum
  • #mfaNOW at Museum of Fine Arts
  • Special Fall Exhibits at Boston Children’s Museum
  • Freedom Trail Walking Tour
  • and more…

Save on Attraction Admission

Regular admission to a number of these Boston area activities are included on the Go Boston® Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

Please note, the Fall events listed below may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go Boston® Card.

Visit Historic Salem, MA in October

Salem-Witch-Museum-3As the oldest and most historic area of the United States, it’s no surprise that you can feel history breathing down your neck in New England.

And with Halloween dominating October, New Englanders (and tourists who love a good scare) fully appreciate any and all haunted happenings in the fall.

The Salem Witch Museum is the prime Halloween destination and it’s a must-see attraction for families. Expect gently spooky fun, informative historical context, and an all-around good time.

Spending some more time in the area during October? Check out our post on things to do in Salem, MA for Halloween.

The town comes to life in Fall with dozens of haunted amusements that range from entertaining to historical. For a bit of both, try the Salem Witch Museum, one of the town’s most popular attractions.

Another great Salem attraction to check out in the Fall is the House of  Seven Gables.

Getting In: Salem Witch Museum tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.

#mfaNOW at Museum of Fine Arts

Select dates this fall, 2016

Boston Museum of Fine ArtsThis amazing series of artistic events is a can’t-miss for visitors to Boston. Enjoy a wide variety of cultural offerings ranging from late nights at the museum to special exhibits, gallery talks and tours, demonstrations, films, and much more.

Many of these events are going to be super popular among locals as well, so be sure to make plans in advance. There will even be a few informative lectures to attend if you’re super interested in prominent topics in modern art and creation.

Getting In: Admission to select #mfaNOW events are free, although some require the purchase of general admission. General admission to the Museum of Fine Arts is included with the Go Boston® Card.

Special Fall Exhibits at Boston Children’s Museum

Fall 2016

boston-childrens-museumExplore two special exhibits at the Boston Children’s Museum this fall for maximum fun and maximum learning.

Start with the Native Voices exhibit, available through December, which features the cultures and peoples of New England Native American populations as a way of connecting children with the diverse heritage of Boston and the New England region more broadly.

Guests can also enjoy the special gallery show, “Art Inspired by Animals,” which kids are sure to love. Maybe they can even see representations of the family pet among the various works of art!

Getting In: Special exhibits at the Boston Children’s Museum are included with regular admission as part of the Go Boston® Card.

Day of the Dead Celebrations at Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology

October 29-30, 2016

What better place to celebrate the iconic Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead than the museum that centralizes the study of indigenous American cultures?

Head to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology for an amazing series of celebrations that honor this important cultural event. First, there’s the evening celebration on October 29th, which treats guests to savory Mexican food while they remember their lost ones.

The next day, families can enjoy themselves in a celebratory welcoming of the spirits of loved ones with live mariachi music, skull decorating, and artwork. It’s a fun event for kids!

Getting In: While the evening celebration is separately ticketed, the family celebration at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is included regular admission as part of the Go Boston® Card.

Fright Fest at Six Flags New England

Weekends, September 24 – October 30, 2016

Fright Fest is Six Flags’ popular Halloween season event. During the day, kids will love the mild scares and fun activities.

Enjoy street parties, a charming trick-or-treat trail, a dance party, and all your favorite rides and attractions.

At night, however, family-friendly time is over and it’s time for some super scares. Explore haunted houses, eerie regions, and terrifying attractions. Plus, keep an eye out for horrific monsters that roam the park! Be prepared for some seriously scary stuff here.

Getting In: Admission to Fright Fest is separately ticketed and is not included with the Go Boston® Card. For more information about this event and to purchase tickets, please visit the attraction website.

Regular admission to Six Flags New England is included with the Go Boston Card.

Freedom Trail Walking Tour

freedom-trail-walking-tourHistory is all around you in Boston, so why not celebrate this back to school season with a little bit of educational fun?

Take the convenient Freedom Trail Tour for an engaging and entertaining look at the rich colonial history of the area.

It’s a longish walk, but at an easy pace, so don’t worry about wearing yourself out.

It can also be pretty chilly depending on the time of the fall you’re touring, so be sure to dress appropriately for being outdoors.

Getting In: Boston’s Freedom Trail Walking Tour tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.

Rent a Bike and Take it for a Spin

Boston BikesFall in New England is equated with crisp, cool air that is perfect for many outdoor activities like biking.

Consider taking a beautiful bike ride with the Urban AdvenTours Fall Foliage Bike Tour of Boston.

Relish the crisp fall air with a leisurely Boston bike ride around the Boston Common or along the breezy waterfront of the Charles.

The kids will love the chance to get out and enjoy the weather, and you’ll love that everyone is being active and healthy.

Getting In: Boston Bike rentals by UrbanAdvenTours are included with the Go Boston Card.

Go for a Cruise on the Charles River

Charles-Riverboat-Cruise-1Enjoy an informative hour-long tour of the Charles River that glides past Boston’s historic skyline and charming waterfront scenery.

Although this cruise only runs through mid-October, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy the brisk fall air and the beautiful foliage along the Charles River.

Getting In: Charles Riverboat Cruise tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.

Brewery Tours… Yum

If you’re a beer lover, fall is a great time to indulge in that most popular of seasonal brews – the pumpkin beer!

Take a tour of a local brewery like Sam Adams, Harpoon, or Night Shift for a taste of their traditional favorites and seasonal standouts. Better yet, check out the Sam Adams OctoberFest events, running all October long!

Getting In: Sam Adams Brewery Tours are free and open to the public.

Enjoy the Beautiful New England Fall Foliage

charles-river-fall-foliage
In the fall, tourists flock from all over to see the magnificent foliage as green leaves turn to a kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges, reds, and browns practically before your eyes.

It’s such a spectacular and beautiful phenomenon that taking a drive in New England in the fall is entertainment in itself.

Leaf peepers come from all over to see the vibrant bursts of color that make up nature’s fireworks.

Of course, all of the New England states offer fantastic views of the foliage, but check out these top places to see prime New England foliage if your going to be closer to the Boston area.

Getting In: Organized tours of local fall foliage are separately ticketed and are not included with the Go Boston® Card. For more information about tours and to purchase tickets, please visit the website of your selected tour company. Driving yourself, however, is free!

Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival

September 24, 2016
Columbus Avenue

Also known as “Boston’s biggest block party,” the Beantown Jazz Festival is a free outdoor concert that welcomes music lovers of all ages.

Expect fun activities for adults and kids of all ages, like the quirky “instrument petting zoo.”

There are also a number of ticketed performances by famous jazz legends available in theaters around town.

Getting In: Admission to the Beantown Jazz Festival is free.

Opening Our Doors – Fenway Fest

October 10, 2016
Fenway Neighborhood

This amazing artistic event gathers the best arts and culture of the Fenway neighborhood all into one place.

Enjoy gallery talks, free admission to art museums, art-making events, dance performances, walking tours, food trucks, and much much more.

Getting In: Admission to Opening Our Doors is free.

Boston Book Festival

October 15, 2016
Copley Square

Boston Book Fest 2016This immensely popular local event is one for the readers in your life.

Enjoy an entire day of lectures, presentations, performances, and discussions all about writing and reading books.

Plus, there’s a killer book fair where you can often get books signed by participating authors.

Getting In: Admission to the Boston Book Festival is free.

Head of the Charles Regatta

October 22-23, 2016
Charles River 

The biggest rowing event in New England, the Head of the Charles Regatta brings people from all over the region to watch the most talented rowers compete for the big prize.

Spend some time at Reunion Village, located at the halfway point on the Boston side of the river, where many of the spectators gather to enjoy food and refreshment plus live commentary.

Getting In: Admission to the Head of the Charles Regatta is free for spectators. Select viewing sites may charge modest admission fees.

A Few Other Fun Things to do in Boston this Fall

Boston Fall 1

  • Be sure to soak up the beautiful fall ambiance of the bustling Boston Common and the changing flora of the Boston Public Garden.
  • Get out there and do some apple picking at one of the local farms just outside the city – a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy the bountiful harvests of fall.
  • Be sure to visit a pumpkin patch before Halloween this year to pick out the perfect pumpkin or squash.
  • Special exhibits at local museums (like the MFA or the ICA). Many of the major institutions feature special seasonal exhibits that open during the fall. (Both the MFA and ICA tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.)
  • Immerse yourself in history with a visit to one of the many iconic sites of the American Revolution, including the Paul Revere House, the Lexington & Concord historical sites, the Old South Meeting House, and many more, several of which are included with the Go Boston® Card.
  • New England is full of beautiful trails, and hiking or biking are great daytime activities for travelers with kids.
  • Sporting events at TD Garden (home of the Celtics and Bruins)
  • Take a visit to Plimoth Plantation to get a taste of how life was for the Pilgrims (included with the Go Boston® Card).

Let’s Recap

Who knew autumn could be this much fun? We hope you enjoyed these suggestions of a few popular things to do in Boston in the Fall.

And remember, you can save on combined admission on many of these popular attractions, tours, and more with the Go Boston® Card.

Please note, the Fall events taking place mentioned in this post may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go Boston® Card.

Go Boston Card

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