Explore Boston in Every Season
Things to do and see in Boston no matter when you go!
Home to Paul Revere and Big Papi, Boston is known for it’s rich American history, passionate sports teams, great music and even greater food. A charming mix of city life and small, quaint neighborhoods, it has something to offer everyone. Whether it’s blistering hot, buried under seven feet of snow or one of the occasional weeks of comfortable weather, here are of a few of the best outings for each season!
St. Patrick’s Day
Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is the second largest parade in the country, raking in hundreds of thousands of viewers and participants every year. Break out your green, hit the taverns in true Irish style, and then head over to South Boston to join the crowds. If crowds aren’t your thing and you have friends living with a view of the parade route, this would also be a great time to buddy up and take advantage of their prime real estate.
Boston Red Sox
Grab your peanuts and cracker jacks. Fenway Park is easily one of Boston’s most famous landmarks. Home to the Red Sox for the last 104 years, the stadium is full of it’s own history and is a must-see, whether you are a sports fan or a history buff (or both!). Head over to Yawkey Way before game day to take a tour of the stadium and pick up some gear. Opening day for the 2017 season is April 3rd, so get your tickets ready but bundle up, April is still winter for Bostonians!
Looking for a nature retreat to escape the busy city streets? Check out the Boston Public Gardens. What used to be a swampy wasteland is now 24 acres of beautiful gardens, trees, and statues. Here you’ll find the famous Make Way For Duckling statue and the signature swan boats, along with their real life counterparts, gliding across the water. In the spring, though, the gardens really come alive with gorgeous tulips and are definitely worth making the trip to see!
One of the most well known and oldest annual racing events, the Boston Marathon draws huge numbers of spectators to the city every Patriot’s Day weekend. Like the St. Patricks Day Parade, it really helps to have friends with a view for this one. But even if you don’t, you can still make your way through the crowds and cheer on the runners! If you’re feeling extra daring and athletic, plan ahead to qualify and run the race yourself. #BucketList
For the music lovers, this bi-annual music festival is a must. For three days in May and September, a variety of artists come together to play for thousands of eager fans. Past year’s headliners have included huge names like Sia, Elle King, the 1975, Of Monsters and Men, and Twenty One Pilots just to name a few. Whether you go for all three days or just make it to one, it is sure to be worth your while. Lineups and ticket information for next year’s shows can be found on the website as it gets closer to the date of the show, so keep checking back there to snag a spot!
Kayak on the Charles River
The Charles River is a beautiful spot any time of year, but when the temperatures heat up it’s a great place to spend a day on the water. There are kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and rowboats for rent. In addition, some rental places offer kayak tours, lessons, and group discounts. Make sure to lather up with sun block, though, there’s nothing like a nasty burn to ruin an otherwise great trip!
Duck Boat Tours
These amphibious vehicles can be found all over downtown Boston. These tours will take you past some of Boston’s biggest landmarks including Bunker Hill, Copley Square, Faneuil Hall, and the Prudential Tower. After seeing all there is to see on land, the driver will drive the tour right into the Charles River for a great view of the Boston skyline from the water. Tours leave from three different locations, the Prudential Tower, the Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium. This is convenient if you’re trying to fit this tour into a busy day of sightseeing.
Boston Harbor/New England Aquarium
Summer is a great time to check out the Boston Harbor. The cool sea breeze will help combat the heat and there’s tons to see in this area. Check out Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market before heading to the water. If you’re a seafood person, there are lots of great restaurants to try, some with outdoor seating and great views of the water! Go back in time and book a harbor sailing cruise on a tall ship. They offer sunset cruises, day sails, and even a Sunday brunch option! Next, make a stop at the aquarium to see the penguins, seals and sea lions, and a whole variety of sea life. There are also whale watches departing from the aquarium and you are guaranteed to see the whales, often up close and personal!
SoWa Open Market
Located in Boston’s South End, SoWa is a community of artisans and galleries hurting with unique, creative designs and products. Every Sunday during the spring and summer, SoWa is home to an open market featuring farmers markets, arts and crafts markets, speciality food markets, and delicious food trucks. With so many options, it’s hard to know where to start! However, there is no reason to miss out on the sights and smells of this popular Boston event.
Dotted with beautiful, historic brownstones, Newbury Street in Back Bay is a must. Lots of the shops are high end boutiques, so this may not be where you want to buy souvenirs, but it is a fun spot to window shop or snag a unique statement piece. Pro tip: the further up the street you get, the cheaper the stores will be. Chain stores like Urban Outfitters and Madewell can be found closer to Mass Ave. Even if you’re not looking to go on a shopping spree, Newbury is a great place to sneak into some air conditioned stores and take a break from the summer sun. You should also grab a bite and relax at one of Newbury’s top rated restaurants, many of which offer outdoor seating!
Cool fall weather means it’s less of a drag to do some of Boston’s great walking tours. Try a photography tour in Beacon Hill during the fall months to get some great foliage shots. Walk the historic Freedom Trail and learn about the history of how this country came to be. If you’re feeling spooky, check out a Ghost and Gravestones tour for a darker side of Boston’s past. There are also great walking food tours, and you’ll be burning calories as you go, so you can indulge all you want!
Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival
Known as “Boston’s biggest block party”, this outdoor jazz festival will get you moving! Perhaps one of it’s biggest draws, aside from the great musicians, is the Instrument Petting Zoo. Here you can have a hands on experience with a variety of different instruments with or without help from faculty and students from the Berklee School of Music.
College Nights at the MOS and MFA
Both the Museum of Science and the Museum of Fine Arts hold college nights in the fall. These events are free to anyone with a college ID card and feature fun exhibits and activities. Boston is quite the college town so you’re sure to run into plenty of other students. It’s like Night at the Museum: College Edition!
New England Patriots
In case you missed it, Boston loves sports. Head out of the city to Foxborough, MA for some #PatsNation football. See Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski in action and cheer on New England’s beloved team. Busses are available for relatively cheap if you plan ahead and trains from South Station right to the stadium are available as well, so if you don’t have a car, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out! Plus you’ll miss the madness that ensues trying to get out of the Gillette Stadium parking lot after a game.
Love Halloween? Salem is the place to be this fall. Home to the infamous Salem Witch Trials, this small Massachusetts city prides itself on its spooky history. Haunted Happenings is a month-long Halloween celebration complete with séances, a Zombie Prom, and everything in between. Halloween night draws the biggest crowd and is finished off with a fireworks display. Salem has much more to offer, though, than just Halloween fun. This town is full of colonial history, as it was one of the first areas to be colonized in the 1600s. Salem is easily accessible from Boston by ferry so head over for a weekend and start exploring!
Prudential Tower/Skywalk Observatory
The Pru is Boston’s North Star. We know where we are based on whether or not it’s visible and how far away it is. Step inside to escape the frigid air and walk around the stores. Then head to the 50th floor and spend some time at the Skywalk Observatory. This offers a 360 degree view of Boston, as well as interactive history displays and listening tours to tell you exactly what you’re looking at. If, after, you’re looking for a fancy meal, the Top of the Hub restaurant offers fine dining and a view from the 52nd floor. It’s said that, because the trees are bare and the air is clearest in the winter, this is the best time of year to do this attraction. Plus, Boston looks lovely coated in a dusting of fresh snow.
Holiday Pops (Boston Symphony Orchestra)
The Boston Pops are the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s popular music group. They play pop music and light classical music in the Symphony Hall but the seating is arranged in a casual, dining-like set up rather than the typical auditorium seating used during the BSO performances. The Holiday Pops shows are a fun-filled performance of holiday classics, as well as sing alongs and maybe even a visit from Santa!
More: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Explore Boston
Frog Pond Ice Skating
The Boston Commons are a great place to be any time of year, but in the winter Frog Pond offers ice skating for a low price. It’s a great way to have some fun outdoors in what quickly starts to feel like a very long, cold winter. Don’t know how to skate? No problem. Lessons are available or you can just rent a trusty Bobby the Skating Seal to help you balance. Tuesday nights are college nights and a college ID will earn you a 50% discount on admission, who doesn’t love that?
Boston Tea Party Reenactment
On December 16th, the Boston Tea Party is reenacted for spectators. It starts with a debate at the Old South Meeting House and then proceeds to Griffin’s Wharf for the famous protest that sparked what would eventually become the American Revolution. It is not uncommon to see people dressed in colonial outfits walking around Boston, but if you want to see lots at once this is the place to go!
If you’re not already in the holiday mood, a tree lighting will surely do the trick (unless you’re Ebenezer Scrooge, then I can’t help you). The Boston Common tree lighting ceremony is on December 1st and includes all sorts of festive activities and, of course a visit from Santa! Also on December 1st, is Copley Square’s tree lighting. This one takes place slightly earlier so if you didn’t get enough the first time, you can still make it to the one at the Commons. The Boston Pops, Santa, AND Rudolph have all been spotted at this one so make sure to put it on your list.
This is only a handful of the many things Boston has to offer. Don’t let the New England weather stop you, get out and explore!