How to have the perfect fall foliage day in Boston


Complete with scenic views and, of course, a place to get a cider donut.

Photo by coleong / Getty Images

Look, there’s a reason why beloved onion article extolling the virtues of autumn in New England, Mr. Autumn Man descends on Mass. Ave. Of course they laugh at our obsession with the season… but Mr. Autumn Man would hardly walk around any other town “wearing a gray sweater over a plaid shirt as he rocked a cup of spicy coffee. pumpkin. This time of year? Boston’s time to shine. And thanks to the wonder of modern science, we know exactly which weekend will be the perfect one to experience the changing colors without leaving the city. According to the interactive map published each year by, the best weekend to enjoy the vibrant colors here in Boston will be October 11. Armed with that knowledge, you’re ready to have a Hallmark movie-style, onion parody day, so fall-it hurts Boston. Here is what you need to do.

Prepare Ahead With The Right Fall Fashion

You have plenty of time to prepare, so start by choosing the perfect shirt to wear on this excursion: a flannel. Your options are plentiful in New England, making it all the more difficult to select the right one for you. Worry no more: we have a quiz to find the flannel that’s right for you. Grab it, put on a flannel, select your favorite pair of long-form walking shoes and hit the road.

Fuel up with a breakfast sandwich

It’s important to make sure you’re energized for the day ahead. That’s why you want to have a breakfast sandwich at the start of the day. If you are a dunkin or bust diner, try our ranking of their sandwiches and choose accordingly. But for a little more variety, try our list of the best breakfast sandwiches in Boston. There is probably something deliciously salty waiting for you. And look, we all know you stop for one of the those donuts later in the day, but if you also want to start your day with a good donut, here’s a rundown of the best deals in town.

Head to a high point and take in some of Boston’s best views

You are full of energy and you have the whole day ahead of you. It’s time to climb a steep hill to take in some of the best views in town. The Bunker Hill Monument is a refined and traditional option, but don’t miss Prospect Hill if you’ve started your day in Somerville, or take in the views from one of the bridges over the Charles River. Is the Boston skyline terribly pretty as a backdrop to a riot in red, gold and orange color? Why yes, it does. If you’re a bit of a city planner, you should also try this walking tour of some of the city’s coolest and most unusual architectural sites.

Find your fall reading

You might be in there to observe the leaves, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t also preparing for a rainy day when you will snuggle up under your warmest duvet, a steaming mug of hot cider in hand. and read a good book. That’s why you need to head to the Best of Boston winner Frugal Bookstore in Nubian Square to have something to read. Need to recharge your batteries? Stop Café Soleil while you’re there and have a cup of coffee.

Take a lunch break

OKAY. You can go anywhere for lunch, and the point of this day is to make you happy. But early October is one of the last times when the temperature is fairly moderate here, so pull on a second flannel shirt and try one of the best al fresco dining options in town to keep the fall vibe going. These patios all offer something special, but if you are looking for a specific lunch Bow Market has something to nibble on all day, Charlie’s Kitchen has one of the cheapest lobster rolls in the area and a great opportunity to stroll to Harvard Yard afterwards, Lulu’s in Allston helps you have a quick game of bocce, and Reelhouse in Eastie has stunning harbor views.

Look at some trees

It’s time to prioritize what we’re here for: trees. Now, obviously, you can walk through Boston Common and the Public Garden for a few sites, but the real prize is the Arnold Arboretum in the Jamaican Plain. The park offers 281 acres of trees to explore on your own, or you can sample one of their recommended walks, all easily accessible via the Forest Hills Orange Line stop. Linger as long as you want under the branches, snap all the Instagram photos you need and rest knowing Boston is better off. Another classic option? Walk along the Esplanade, where there are also plenty of picnic and people-watching opportunities (and if you’ve pushed your foliage day back to October 22, you can catch some of the Head of the Charles regatta). Bonus Activity: Stop by Georgetown Cupcake on Newbury Street, find a bench in the garden, then see how many wedding and engagement photoshoots you can spot.

Fill up with a cider donut

You know why you’re here: a cider donut. Now, if you’re up for a bit of traveling, you can get them almost anywhere in New England for an authentic fall experience. But since we’re staying in town, you want to head to the Boston Public Market and sample some of the The best of Red Apple Farms (and if you’re heading from Forest Hills it’s an easy getaway on the Orange Line to Gare du Nord. See? It was supposed to be). Plus, the donuts are made right in front of you, and if you don’t want to stare in ecstasies at a cider donut maker because it makes endless amounts of sweet treats, then, well, why are you reading this article? But we recognize that cinnamon might not be everyone’s flavor and suggest you indulge yourself by using this roundup from local chocolatiers instead – most of them can also accompany you with a hot chocolate. to take on the road, if that’s your thing.

Find a more peaceful place at sunset

If you’re a true fall lover, you know that part of what makes the season so touching is the embrace of feeling melancholy as the last heat of summer wears off and you prepare for. winter to come. For your last look at the leaves of the day, skip to Mount Auburn Cemetery. Meditate on the brevity of life as you stroll among the beauty of the park. Or, you know, do a quest to find all of the celebrities buried there.

Relax with dinner and a movie

If you wanted to get started with this concept, you could probably choose a restaurant based on Autumnal Vibes. Or you can just warm up after a long day outdoors with our guide to the best macaroni and cheese in town, and give yourself a break from it all. After you’ve had dinner, go see a movie at Brattle or Coolidge, or come home to watch a classic Massachusetts movie – go Hocus pocus Where Session 9 for a spooky viewing, or sit down with Next stop in Wonderland for a delightful ’90s indie musical. And if there aren’t enough scary things on this list for your taste, bundle up for a night out on the haunted wagon ride and discover some macabre events around the city. Congratulation! You are officially a fall person.

Do you have a set? Try these other fall activities in New England:

Where to find the best fall foliage train rides in New England

The 15 Best Foliage Walks in New England

Best places to pick apples near Boston

Five cranberry bogs you can visit in Massachusetts

The best places to pick pumpkins near Boston

Travel through Massachusetts to find these five idyllic covered bridges

Eight Massachusetts filming locations to visit on a day’s drive

Do you think we’ve missed something vital for a perfect fall foliage day? Let us know!

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