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…
- Visit historic Salem, MA
- Special Exhibits at the Museum of Fine Arts
- Boston Mini Maker Faire at the 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.
Please note, some of these special Fall events may be separately ticketed and not available on the Go Boston Card.
If you’re in search of more fall events earlier in the season, check out our special post on September events in Boston.
Visit Historic Salem, MA in October
As 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.
Special Exhibits at Museum of Fine Arts
One of the best collections of American art, furnishings, and craftwork can be found at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. They also have particular strengths in European painting, Asian art, sculpture, and prints. In addition to their regular holdings, they’re also putting on some exciting special exhibits this fall which we’re sure art lovers won’t want to miss.
My absolute favorite this year is “Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic” (opening September 22, 2018). This delightful kid-friendly exhibition features almost 200 works that tell the story of how Pooh and his beloved pals have captured hearts for generations.
Another fun exhibit is “Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork” (opening November 17, 2018). This one showcases the rise of the craft movement (today found in the popularity of DIY projects) that began in the beginning of the twentieth century.
Getting In: Admission to the Museum of Fine Arts is included with the Go Boston® Card. Special exhibits may require an additional cost.
Boston Mini Maker Faire at Boston Children’s Museum
October 6 & 7, 2018
Boston Children’s Museum
This fall, the Boston Children’s Museum will be the host of the city’s perennial Maker Faire — this time, geared specifically towards the little ones! Kids will learn about creative technologies like robotics, graphic design, and all kinds of engineering specialities.
For activities, they’ll be able to make their own super hero logo, or just invent something totally new! Plus, BB-8 and R2D2 will be on hand to assist. It’s a can’t-miss for those of you with creative and curious kids.
If you think an event of this scale might be too much for your kids, or if you just want to avoid the crowds, don’t worry! The Boston Children’s Museum always encourages the same kind of inventive and thoughtful play as the Maker Faire in their regular exhibits.
Getting In: General admission to the Boston Children’s Museum is included with the Go Boston Card. The Boston Mini Maker Faire is separately ticketed and is not included on the pass.
Day of the Dead Celebrations at Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
2018 Dates TBD
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. There’s the evening celebration on the first night, which treats guests to savory Mexican food while they remember their lost ones.
Then, on another date during the 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!
The Day of the Dead is celebrated in the United States from October 31 to November 2, so the 2018 celebration at the Peabody Museum will fall somewhere within that date range.
Getting In: While the evening celebration is separately ticketed, the family celebration at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is included with regular admission as part of the Go Boston® Card.
Fright Fest at Six Flags New England
Select Dates, September 22 – October 28, 2018
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
History 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 when in the season you’re touring, so be sure to dress appropriately for being outdoors for an extended period of time. Boston can be breezy, too, especially on the waterfront.
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
Fall 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
Enjoy 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. The Go Boston Card will get you one piece of complimentary glassware with your tour!
Enjoy the Beautiful New England 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’re 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 29, 2018
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.” You’ll also find food and drink vendors, arts and crafts activities, and kid-specific stuff.
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
2018 Date TBD (usually in early October)
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 13, 2018
This 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.
This year’s featured authors include a selection of big names who write across genres, including Tayari Jones, Michael Pollan, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and more.
Getting In: Admission to the Boston Book Festival is free.
Head of the Charles Regatta
October 20-21, 2018
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
- 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 Gardner or the ICA). Many of the major institutions feature special seasonal exhibits that open during the fall. (Both the Gardner 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).
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.