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The Best Things to do in Boston in the Fall

From heritage trails and historic neighbourhoods to Chinatown, duck tours and Beantown, Boston in November has something for every kind of visitor. From fine art to fine dining and street art to street food let’s check out all the cool things to do in Boston in the fall.

Boston Public Garden in the fall

I visited Boston in the autumn on a press trip with United Airlines, TravelUp and the Boston Tourism Board, however, all views, opinions and newfound love of a lobster roll are entirely my own. This post may contain compensated links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, this site may receive a small commission. Your support is appreciated. More info in my disclaimer.   

I had an incredible 3-days in Boston in November. This fabulous city is the latest on United Airline’s non-stop routes from London Heathrow. Their daily service will get you from London to Boston in just 6-7 hours which works perfectly for a long weekend in the city.

When you’ve read my guide about all the best things to do in Boston I guarantee you’ll be booking your flight with United Airlines in a heartbeat.

Why visit Boston?

 

If you’re looking for a fun and lively city to explore in November, you’ll find it in the city of Boston, the capital of Massachusetts. This captivating city and the Boston area on America’s north east coast makes for the perfect city break and we had the best time exploring the city.

There aren’t many places that can match the beauty of this city in the fall and its mild weather at this time of year. Boston is one of America’s oldest cities and its 400-year old history blends seamlessly with hip hangouts, incredible food, architecture and a buzzing art scene.

Plus there’s always something cool going down here, not to mention the lively and vibrant atmosphere in just about every corner of Beantown.

As a Brit I feel I should really be saying ‘Boston in the autumn’ rather than ‘Boston in the fall’ but it doesn’t sound quite right when talking about a US city. Brits bear with me please!

The best things to do in Boston in the Fall

Of course, the city is amazing to visit at any time of year but as we were in Boston in November I’m sharing my own personal experiences. So, here’s my list of the top attractions and activities you must see and do in this favourite US destination in the month of November. Hello Boston in the fall!

Boston Freedom Trail Walking Tour

Boston Freedom Trail is an incredible way to explore one of America’s most historic cities and it’s how we started our visit to Boston.

Around every corner you’ll find an historic site which tells of America’s fight for independence. Led by knowledgeable guides, the tour offers an insight into how Boston became the city it is today.

The tour covers all the major sights of the Freedom Trail, including the Boston Massacre site, the Old State House, Granary Burying Ground and Faneuil Hall to name a few.

Freedom Trail, Boston

Our local guide, ‘Jeremiah’, wearing traditional costume, was incredibly passionate about Boston’s history which he brought alive and also delivered with a good measure of humour.

The trail begins at Boston Common, the oldest city park in the United States and home of America’s first subway station. From there, the trail wends its way through the city’s narrow streets and some of its oldest neighbourhoods. En-route, we learnt about Boston’s rich history and its role in the American Revolution.

The Freedom Trail is a great way to start your time in Boston, learn about the city and get a perspective for the rest of your visit. We had a great time learning all about Boston’s colourful history.

Leaf Peeping in Boston Public Garden

New England in the fall is on many a bucket list and you don’t need to leave the city to find some spectacular fall foliage. Boston Public Garden in the months of October and November is an oasis in the city centre and the perfect place to take in a stunning display of autumn colour in every shade of orange, gold, ochre and russet.

The tranquillity found here perfectly contrasts the hustle and bustle of the city and it’s one of the best places for fall foliage. You’ll find more autumn colour in Arnold Arboretum and Boston Common.

The garden is a beautiful spot to enjoy the outdoors, with beautiful planting, ponds, paths and statues. It’s a great spot for a picnic or to kick back and relax. Enjoy a stroll along scenic walkways lined with colourful fall foliage or ride the seasonal Swan Boats. There’s wildlife too we saw a hawk and a squirrel having a face-off. The squirrel stood its ground and the hawk backed off.

 

Boston’s Black Heritage Trail

Another of Boston’s must-do walking tours is The Black Heritage Trail which is perfect for anyone interested in the city’s rich and turbulent African American Heritage. The 1.6-mile trail winds its way through downtown Boston on the north slope of Beacon Hill and includes some of the most important historical sites related to black heritage in America.

Highlights include the African Meeting House, the first free African American church in Boston, and the Old State House and Lewis Hayden’s home. There’s also Phillips School, one of the first schools to accept black students in 1855 and the 54th Regiment Memorial. The tour ends at the Museum of African American History, where you’ll learn about the famed Underground Railroad which helped people from the south who’d escaped from slavery find a safe route to freedom.

The National Parks Service offers free guided tours or download the app for a self-guided tour.

Chinatown Food Tour

Did you know you take your taste buds on a trip across the Pacific without leaving Boston? That’s exactly what you can do in Chinatown. We had a great time on a fabulous food tour of Chinatown with the amazing Jackie Church who knows every inch of Chinatown, its heritage, hidden gems and most importantly its foodie hotspots.

 A food tour is always a good idea and on our tour of Chinatown, we tried loads of authentic dishes, from dim sum and dumplings to noodles, rice, street food, herbal remedies, moon cakes and boba tea. 

We encountered cool street art and historical highlights accompanied by fascinating facts and stories about the history of the Chinese community in Boston. We explored Chinatown’s vibrant culture, learning about its history and traditions and ended our visit with a full stomach and a new appreciation for the richness of Chinese culture.

 

Fenway Park

Fenway Park Boston, home of the Red Sox

Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is baseball mecca, and everyone, baseball fan or not, should experience it. Built in 1912, Fenway is not only the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball – it’s also one of the most iconic.

From its signature Green Monster seats to its hand-operated scoreboard and Manny Ramirez’s 501-ft home run, Fenway Park is in a league of its own.

If you can’t catch one of the baseball games, the next best thing is a the fabulous Fenway Park tour where you can learn all about the stadium and the Red Sox. A must-do for sports fans and a rite of passage for any Red Sox supporter. Live music and concerts are also held at Fenway Park.

Other Boston area sports teams are the Boston Celtics basketball team and the New England Patriots American football team who platy at the Gillette Stadium.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

Boston Museum of Fine Arts – Boston MFA

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most renowned museums in the world, and it’s easy to see why. From the moment we stepped inside, we were surrounded by an incredible array of art from every era and culture. Seriously, it’s so vast you could spend a month admiring the exhibits.

The museum is particularly well-known for its huge collection of Egyptian artefacts which includes everything from mummies to jewellery. But the MFA isn’t all about ancient history – it also has an excellent selection of modern and contemporary art, ranging from paintings to sculptures.

During our visit I explored the Monet collection, the largest outside of France, and came face to face with Degas’ beautiful ’14-year old ballerina’. Boston MFA is one of the top things to do in Boston and will be one of the first places I visit on a return trip to the city.

 

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill, Boston

There’s something special about Beacon Hill. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Boston, or maybe it’s the pretty tree-lined streets or the original boot-scrapers by the front steps. Whatever the reason, Beacon Hill has a certain something that makes it unlike any other place in the city. Exploring Beacon Hill was one of my favourite things to do in Boston.

The streets are home to quaint brownstones, red-brick homes and gas lamps. It doesn’t surprise me that Beacon Hill is known as “the most desirable address in Boston.” Go in fall and you’ll see houses dressed for Halloween complete with pumpkins, autumn foliage and the occasional spider’s web decorating the front steps.

As well as its quaintness, Beacon Hill is a neighbourhood with personality. From its rich history, trendy cafes and boutiques on Charles Street, restaurants and eye candy cobbles, this part of Boston is Instagram heaven. Delightful Acorn Street is one of the most photographed streets in New England.

Women’s Heritage Trail

Continue getting a measure of history with The Women’s Heritage Trail. It is a 2.5-mile walking trail that highlights the contributions of women to the city’s history. 

The trail begins at the State House, where visitors can learn about the women who fought for their right to vote. It then continues through the Back Bay neighbourhood, past historic homes and churches. You will also learn about the women who shaped Boston’s economy, education system, and cultural institutions. 

Depending on how far you walk, the trail ends at various points. These include the Boston Women’s Memorial on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston Public Garden or Park Square.

Boston Public Library

The Reading Room, Boston Public Library

The library is one of Boston’s most popular tourist destinations. The main reading room is a thing of beauty featuring a soaring ceiling, stained glass windows and row upon row of reading lamps. You can almost hear the gentle hum of concentration.

Boston Public Library is an iconic landmark in the city. Founded in 1848, the library has been a key part of Boston for over 170-years. With its spectacular architecture and rich history, this is the best place in the city to indulge your inner bookworm. 

The library is home to over 23-million items, including books, manuscripts, maps and photographs. You’ll also find tapestries, gorgeous galleries, statues and a pretty courtyard garden complete with fountain.

If you’d like to see a complete contrast visit the super-modern JFK Presidential Library and Museum.

 

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall, Boston

If you’re looking for a fun place to visit in Boston, be sure to check out Faneuil Hall. This iconic marketplace has been a popular destination for locals and tourists alike since it opened in 1742.

It’s also a key part of Boston history, having played a role in the American Revolution as a meeting point for Patriots. Historic landmarks like the Old State House and the Paul Revere House are nearby. Today, Faneuil Hall is home to a vibrant atmosphere, shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Quincy Market

Quincy Market, Boston

Close to Faneuil Hall you’ll find Quincy Market, another historic market located in the heart of Boston, designed to be the central location for merchants and traders. It opened in 1826 and was one of the first public markets in the United States. Street performers entertain in the square outside and there are dozens of restaurants to choose from inside.

Quincy Market is home to a raft of shops and restaurants, and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The market has fresh produce, delicious food, and unique gifts.

If you’re looking to pick up a Harvard sweatshirt this is the place to do it. It’s also a great place to people-watch and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Boston.

Boston Duck Tour

The Boston Duck Tour is one of the most popular tourist attractions and fun activities in the city. Spoiler alert, there are no ducks on this tour – sorry, duck enthusiasts.

The tours start from New England Aquarium and we boarded a kind of amphibious road truck that took us on a tour of Boston from road and river.

Boston Duck Tour

As we drove through the streets of Boston, passing some of the most famous landmarks in the city, we learnt about its rich history from our entertaining tour guide ‘Tony Maloney’. I don’t know what was worse – his jokes or his red velvet shell suit.

We passed by the State House, Bunker Hill, Copley Square, Boston Public Gardens and other famous landmarks in this former military vehicle.

The tour culminates with a splashdown into the Charles River, where we took in stunning skyline views as the sun set behind the cityscape. A duck tour is one of the most fun things to do in Boston.

Visit the Cheers Bar

If you remember the TV series Cheers then you’ll want to visit the Cheers Bar which is near to Boston Common and Beacon Hill.

The bar is popular for its wide selection of beers, spirits and lively atmosphere but don’t expect everyone to know your name.

Cool Places to Eat in Boston

Boston has a huge and happening dining scene. We were there for just three nights but we managed to get a real flavour of Boston from fine dining to street food.

Union Oyster House

The Union Oyster House in Boston is more than just a seafood restaurant; it’s also an historic landmark. Established in 1826, it is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the United States. 

Over the years, it has welcomed presidents, celebrities, and everyday people who come seeking out delicious seafood. The Union Oyster House is also known for its unique decor, which includes a circular mahogany bar and a set of stained glass windows which adds to its fabulous atmosphere.

Union Oyster House, Boston

The lobster rolls were amazing, exploding with flavour and one of my Boston top picks. I hear the oysters are pretty good too and it’s a great place to try Clam Chowder, another popular Boston dish.

Time Out Market Boston

Time Out Market Boston features some of the city’s best eateries offering a variety of dining options to suit any taste from Pizza and pasta to burgers, salads and Mediterranean food. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal. I plumped for a dish of Middle Eastern mezzes which hit the spot.

Time Out market is conveniently located in the heart of Boston, so it’s the perfect pitstop for your city explorations. There are two bars selling delectable cocktails and you should also stop by the donut stall where you can fill up on yummy donut holes.

You’ll find Time Out Markets in Lisbon, New York and Dubai too.

The Fed at the Langham

The Fed is a cocktail bar set in the gorgeous 5-star Langham Hotel, Boston. Offerings are British-inspired fused with a taste of New England to create a unique dining experience.

At The Fed you’ll find an exciting range of crack cocktails, cold beer and a superb wine list. Enjoy your food and drinks in the cool bar area or enjoy views of the city skyline on the outdoor terrace in warmer weather. Try the garlic cocktail if you dare – you’ll be ‘enjoying’ it for days…

High Street Place

High Street Place, new for 2022, is a fabulous food hall and showcases some of Boston’s best food and drink outlets. It has a range of cuisines to tempt any taste.

Try the seafood at Dive Bar, I chose Clam Chowder, or take a trip to Japan at Fuji at HSP where I had a small sushi platter. You can go on a sugar fest at Blackbird Doughnuts or take the salad route at Farmacy Cafe. Down your food with craft beer, bubbles, or craft cocktails.

Top Tips for Visiting Boston in November

Boston Waterfront

Boston is known as the ‘walking city’ and boy did we walk. For a major city, Boston is unusually compact and during our 3 days we walked over 50km. Tip – take comfortable walking shoes. As it’s not too hot in November it’s a great month to visit if you plan to walk your way around Boston.

Getting to Boston

The best way to get to Boston from London is with United Airlines on their new daily service nonstop from London Heathrow which takes just 6-7 hours.

Flying out we started in the fabulous United Lounge at Hathrow termainal 2. We travelled United Premium Plus which offers more space, comfort and amenities with loads of legroom. An adjustable footrest makes a big difference when it comes to comfort.

After an excellent meal with china, cutlery and cloth napkins (deal-breaker!) I watched two films and stayed awake until arrival in Boston which was part of my plan for dealing with jetlag. The cabin crew were fantastic and were on hand with everything I needed in-flight.

The individual USB chargers and power outlets meant I arrived fully charged and ready to hit the ground running.

United Airlines Polaris Cabin

United Airlines Polaris Cabin
United Airlines Polaris Cabin

Our United Airlines experience was so good I actually found myself looking forward to the flight home. Returning we travelled United Polaris Business which was a dream. The plush seats have 96cm legroom, with loads of space and luxury Saks Fifth Avenue bedding. The cabin crew were excellent and made us feel incredibly at home and comfortable.

There’s plenty of storage space for your bits and pieces around your comfy lie-flat seat and an amenity pack with amazing Sunday Riley products. Both flights serve excellent food options with china dinnerware, cloth napkins and complimentary alcoholic drinks.

On arrival in Heathrow we had snacks and coffee in the arrivals lounge where there are also a number of spacious showers so you can freshen up and get straight on with your day.

My only complaint is that the return flight was only 6 hours. If I’m honest, I’d loved to have stayed in my Polaris seat just a little bit longer!

Getting Around in Boston

Getting around in Boston is just as easy. There app services like Lyft and Uber. The city also has a reliable public transport system, including buses, trains, and boats. Of course, Boston is a walkable city, so you can walk or cycle your way around too.

Where to Stay in Boston

Boston Harbor Hotel

We stayed at the gorgeous Boston Harbor Hotel and I would absolutely recommend it if you love the comfiest of beds, wonderful food and excellent facilities. What’s more it’s just 15-minute drive from Logan International Airport.

This luxurious five-star hotel sits on Boston Harbour waterfront. The hotel features stunning views of the harbour and city skyline and if you step through the hotel’s iconic archway you’ll find yourself right on the waterside.

I had spectacular views from my suite’s huge windows – the sunrises were epic and the perfect way to wake up to a day of Boston sightseeing.

Of course, before any exploring can be done you’ll need a good breakfast and the Boston Harbor Hotel didn’t disappoint. From the extensive buffet to al a carte options the breakfast set us up perfectly for busy days of sightseeing in the city. 

There are a range of facilities and services to make your stay truly memorable, including an indoor pool, fitness centre, sauna and steam room.

The restaurants offer excellent dining options with harbour views. Be sure to visit the Rowse Bar and have Mary Ellen serve your cocktails. She’s an absolute institution and has worked at the hotel for over 16 years. The staff, without exception, were attentive and friendly. 

Check rates and availability at Boston Harbor Hotel.

For alternative accommodation options in Boston check rates and availability

Boston Weather in November

The weather in Boston in November is usually mild, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 18°C (50°F to 66°F). During our visit in fall season it was beautifully warm with sunny days and unusually warm temperatures of 22-25°C(75.2F).

Because of the warm weather, I didn’t wear the coat I’d packed once. However, occasional north easterlies can bring high wind and heavy rain and temperatures can drop and even bring snow. Basically, if you’re heading to Boston in November pack for every eventuality! 

Whatever the weather in Boston October/November is an ideal time of year to visit historical sites, take long city walks, and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. 

Final Thoughts on What to do in Boston in November

In Boston, November is the perfect time to see the changing leaves, enjoy cooler weather, and explore the city. There are so many fun things to do, whether you’re a fan of art, history, sport or just looking for a lively food scene.

Have you been to Boston? Share your recommendations in the comments below.

Pin it for later…

Kathryn

Tuesday 20th of December 2022

Boston sounds fabulous and November sounds like the perfect time to go. I do love a city you can easily explore on foot. Very envious of that flight too.

Suzanne Jones

Tuesday 20th of December 2022

The flight was fabulous - I've been spoiled now! I love a good walking city too - the best way to get a real feel for a place.

Christina | Christina's Cucina

Tuesday 20th of December 2022

You've made me miss Boston so much! I haven't been in so long and now I'm yearning to go back! I would love to visit in the autumn, so maybe in 2023! Love the service on United; what a great way to arrive at your destination!

Suzanne Jones

Tuesday 20th of December 2022

I'd love to go back too - so many places I'd like to spend longer in and some I didn't get to see. I hope you get to see the beautiful autumn foliage. United was top notch!