You don’t have to head for the hills! Discover Boston’s best places for fall foliage colors.
Sure, remote country roads and densely treed mountainsides are ultimate spots to behold autumn’s color parade. But what if you can’t survive without hip restaurants, Uber and WiFi?
In New England, even urban areas are transformed each fall, and Boston makes an ideal destination for leaf-peeping without the hassle and expense of renting a car.
For advice on the city’s best fall foliage spots, we turn to Anna DeLeo, marketing director for the Element Boston Seaport and Aloft Boston Seaport hotels. DeLeo and her team send guests from all over the world off on autumn adventures right in the heart of historic and happening Boston. If you live in Boston, this guide is also your reminder to stop and appreciate nature’s wicked awesome beauty… before you spend the next four months cursing at the snow.
6 Top Spots for Fall Foliage in Boston
Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum: 125 Arborway, Boston, MA
With more than 281 acres of land, you will see not only fall foliage but also unique flowers, fruits and trees. Spot the rare and endangered Paperbark Maple or the Blanche Ames Crab Apple tree at the top of Peters Hill. Weekday guided tours are Mondays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon during September and October.
Charles River Esplanade
Stretching 17 miles along the banks of the Charles River, the Esplanade features paths that run the entire stretch of shore that are perfect for leafy autumn strolls. Enjoy the playgrounds, marshes, sailboats and maybe a performance at the famous Boston Hatch Shell.
Rose Kennedy Greenway: Atlantic Avenue and High Street, Boston, MA
The Rose Kennedy Greenway, a rooftop garden atop an underground highway and a unique, contemporary public park, is known for its variety of plant species. Spend the afternoon relaxing under a Red Maple, Washington Elm or the Golden Rain tree any fall day. If plants and vegetation are your passions, check out the Rose Kennedy Plant List. Don’t miss leaf peeping from The Z Boston Zipline. Greenway Open Markets are held every Saturday and alternating Sundays through October. And the Greenway Carousel, featuring animals native to the city of Boston, is one of a kind.
Boston Public Garden & Boston Common: 4 Charles Street, Boston, MA
Take a break from dining and fall wardrobe shopping along Newbury and Boylston Streets, and make your way to the Boston Public Garden for a stroll and Instagram-worthy photoshoot. Enjoy the Maple, Elm, Beech, Redwood and Pagoda trees. Then, relax on Boston Common: America’s oldest public park. Bring a picnic along, and enjoy views of the frog pond and the iconic Massachusetts State House. Through mid-September, free Boston Garden Walking Tours are available Tuesday through Thursday.
Emerald Necklace: 100 Park Drive, Boston MA
The Emerald Necklace is an 1,100-acre chain of parks in Boston and Brookline, and when fall arrives, it becomes a string of citrine, orange sapphires and rubies. See the community gardens in the Back Bay Fens and Boston’s World War II Memorial in the Fenway Victory Gardens, and keep a lookout for uncommon birds in the Kelleher Rose Garden. Then, enjoy the freshwater ponds and colorful trees in Olmsted Park, designed by and named for Frederick Olmsted, whose most famous legacy is New York City’s Central Park.
Boston Harbor Islands, Boston MA
Cruise out to the Boston Harbor Islands, and take in the gorgeous fall foliage unique to each Island. Starting from Rowes Wharf, known for its marina, floating stage and seafood restaurants, take a Classic Harbor Line Fall Foliage Tour. With a warm blanket and glass of hot apple cider, observe the leaves changing to crisp reds and yellows as you sail past these intriguing islands. A Boston Harbor tour is the perfect way to enjoy a fall afternoon in the city.