10 Things You Need To Do This Fall in Boston

Does it get any better than this? Fall is basically on steroids right now. With so much gorgeous color in the Boston area, this is the time to get outside and see the city in top form. Especially before winter sets in, always too early.

Get your leaf-peeping on, through early Nov.

Hurry! There are so many ways to experience fall colors before they fade early next month. In the city, wind through Frederick Law Olmsted’s stunning Emerald Necklace on a bike tour, take a walk in Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, or go canoeing on a beautiful stretch of the Charles with the Audubon Society.

Honk! Festival, Oct. 10-12

There’s a reason Somerville’s so noisy this weekend. The annual “festival of activist street bands” takes over Davis Square with a lot of brassy tunes. Dozens of bands from around the country–plus Paris, France!—step up with Brazilian percussion, Creole dancing, Balkan brass music and renegade big bands. Such a high concentration of exuberance is not to be missed.

Opening Our Doors, Oct. 13

The Fenway Cultural District’s free Columbus Day festival fills the streets with creative diversions: glass-blowing demonstrations, indoor kite flying, live music, salsa dancing, storytelling, walking tours and community mural painting. There’s also free admission to the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and MassArt.

Rowers on the Charles. Courtesy of Fcb981 via Wikimedia Commons.

Head of the Charles Regatta, Oct. 18 and 19

One of Boston’s signature events, now in its 50th year, this three-mile race draws the best teams from around the world and thousands of spectators. Racing runs from 8am to 5pm, with the most prestigious competitions later in the day. The course’s halfway point, between the Anderson and Weeks Bridges, is an especially popular place to watch, with a festival atmosphere at the Weld Exhibition.

Pumpkin Festivals at Boston Common, Oct. 19, and Cambridge Brewing Co., Oct. 25

Bring your own carved pumpkin to the Frog Pond in the Common to see it lit up and set afloat. It’s quite a sight to see the pond fill up with hundreds of bobbing jack-o-lanterns. For a festival of the 21+ variety, head to Cambridge at the end of the month for harvest ales and a giant beer-filled pumpkin processional.

Go on a Canopy Zip-Line tour

Zip-lining is always a good idea, but especially when you can sail through rust-colored treetops. There are many of places to go in New England: the Deerfield woods, New Hampshire’s White Mountains and 2,000 feet above Hawk’s Brook Valley.

Book tents in Copley Square. Courtesy of Leslee via Flickr.

Boston Book Festival, Oct. 23-25

In a city known for brains, it’s no surprise that this free event is one of the country’s best. You can go on a literary walking tour or participate in a city-wide book club. The over 150 presenters include Doris Kearns Goodwin, Joseph O’Neill and Clare Messud, who will discuss subjects such as modern love, molecular gastronomy and children’s book art.

Market of the Living Dead, Oct. 26

SoWa’s arts and crafts market ends the outdoor season with a costume contest like no other. This year’s theme is “Carnival of Curiosities,” so you can expect the creative vendors to turn out in all manner of freak-show garb. The contest is open to the public–just know you’ll face stiff competition.

Wall of pumpkins in Keene, NH. Courtesy of Jeff Dell via Flickr.

Take a festival road trip

There are loads of great activities across New England this time of year. In Franklin County, get your fill of apples at Cider Days (Oct. 31 to Nov. 2), with fruit tasting, (hard) cider-making workshops and pies galore. Or if gourds are more your thing, don’t miss Keene, NH’s Pumpkin Festival (Oct. 18), featuring thousands of jack-o-lanterns piled high. Out on the Cape, the Wellfleet Oysterfest (Oct. 18 and 19) features shucking contests and a special Sam Adams oyster stout.

Fall to Winter Beer Festival, Nov. 14 and 15

Taste nearly 100 seasonal beers from 25 New England craft brewers at this popular event, named the best booze fest in Boston magazine. Enjoy unlimited 2oz pours from the likes of Smuttynose, Jack’s Abby, Citizen Cider, Peak Organic and Slumbrew. Locally-made snacks, including grilled cheese sandwiches and doughnuts, are yours for the pairing.


Boston Public Garden. Cover photo courtesy of Chiefhuggybear via Wikimedia Commons.