The huge Columbus Day Parade, the Head of the Charles Regatta, Boston Fashion Week, art walks, fall foliage cruises, Halloween . . . find our recommendations for these top Boston events for October 2014!
October is a perfect month for visiting Boston
Bright sunshine and crisp temperatures mean you'll enjoy being outdoors.
Fall foliage colors seem to be starting earlier than usual this year - so enjoy the gold and crimson leaves across the city.
Go on an art walk, take a cruise on Boston Harbor, or just walk around one of the city's historic neighborhoods such as Beacon Hill and the South End, where jack-o-lanterns on doorsteps and our spooky Colonial-era graveyards will remind you Halloween is on its way.
Check out all our top recommendations for fun things to do in Boston in October - and start planning your visit now!
The Lion King - Boston Opera House - Thru October 12
Elton John's Aida - Strand Theatre - Oct 18-25 - Get discount tickets from Goldstar
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner - BU Theatre - Thru Oct 5 - Check Goldstar for discount tickets
The Berenstain Bears - Wilbur Theatre - October 4 (2 performances)
Roberto Carlos - Wang Theatre - October 4
Boston Lyric Opera: La Traviata - Shubert Theatre tickets - October 10-19
Ether Dome - Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA - Oct 14-Nov 23- Check Goldstar for discount tickets
Pilobolus Dance Theater - Shubert Theatre tickets - Oct 24-26
Mamma Mia! - Colonial Theatre tickets - October 28 - November 2
Swan Lake - Boston Opera House - October 30 - November 8
His Holiness the Dalai Lama: Eight Verses of Mind Training - Wang Theatre - October 30
Blue Man Group - Charles Playhouse - Schedule & discounted tickets - ongoing
Why pay full price when you can get half-price admission through Goldstar Events?
- Cinderella @ Boston Opera House
- La Boheme @ Boston Lyric Opera
- Back Bay Chocolate Walking Tour
- David Sedaris @ Symphony Hall (pre-sale tickets)
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at TD Garden
- My Fair Lady + 2 more shows @ Lyric Stage Company, Boston
- Book of Mormon (pre-sale tickets) @ Colonial Theatre
- Dinner Cruises on Spirit of Boston in Boston Harbor
- Improv by Fine Line Comedy @ The Button Factory in Fort Point - Comp & Half Price
- Dirty Disney (funny improv - but NOT for kids) @ The Button Factory in Fort Point
- Boston Duck Tours - Museum of Science
- Blue Man Group @ Charles Playhouse
- Shear Madness at the Charles Playhouse
Does your pet love to dress up and party? If so, bring out your favorite (pet) Halloween costume and head over to Faneuil Hall Marketplace on October 26 from 12 noon to 3pm to show off your holiday spirit.
The Pet Parade takes place at 1pm. At 2pm, your pet could win a prize. Categories include Best Owner and Pet Combo, Best Local Boston Representation, and Most Creative.
When: 6pm on October 31, 2015, Beacon Hill, Boston - arrive 10 minutes before tour starts.
Where: Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood
For more information: Boston by Foot website
Cost: $20 ($10 for Boston by Foot members) - Purchase tour tickets directly from your guide - no reservations are required
Murders, mysteries, mayhem, and the occasional ghost haunt this special 90-minute walking tour of Beacon Hill featuring (mostly) true tales. Your guide for this ghoulish annual event, a volunteer with local tour group Boston by Foot, will show you the dark side and even darker alleys of this charming neighborhood. Wear comfortable walking shoes and your favorite costume!
Week 5 - Sunday, October 11, 4:25pm at Cowboys
Week 6 - Sunday, October 18, 8:30pm at Colts
Week 7 - Sunday, October 25, 1pm vs New York Jets - Gillette Stadium
Week 8 - Thursday, October 29, 8:25pm vs Dolphins - Gillette Stadium
Check both TicketLiquidator and Ace to find the seats you want at the right price. GoldStar is a long shot - but worth signing up just in case, since they have lots of other events, games, tours, etc. at half price.
Pick up at Gillette Stadium
You can cheer the Boston Celtics home games at TD Garden in October - so be sure to get your tickets, wear green, and cheer our home team!
To be announced
Dates for Columbus Day Weekend: Saturday, October 10; Sunday, October 11; Monday, October 12
The 3-day Columbus Day Weekend holiday packs in lots of fun events in and around Boston. You'll find plenty to do all weekend - plus big Columbus Day sales in all the stores!
Boston Columbus Day events to check out:
- Christopher Columbus Day Parade
- Spirit of Boston Buffet Cruise in Boston Harbor (check now for half-price tickets)
- Local Food Festival on the Greenway
- Opening Our Doors - Free arts and culture celebration in Fenway
- Cape Ann Artisans Open Studio
- Cranberry Harvest Festival
- HONK! Festival
- Christopher Columbus Day at Christopher Columbus Park
- Sowa Open Market
With 7 home games at the Garden this month, the Bruins give hockey fans lots to cheer for. Come see the new lineup as the Bruins season gets underway.
October 8 vs Winnipeg - 7:30pm
October 10 vs Montreal - 7:00pm
October 12 vs Tampa Bay - 1:00pm
October 21 vs Philadelphia- 8:00pm
October 27 vs Arizona - 7:00pm
Photo courtesy of Dan4th
|Bruins Schedule||Hotels near TD Garden||Bruins Sports Bars||Bruins Shirts & Hats|
Boston's Columbus Day Parade honors Christopher Columbus's explorations of the Americas, military commitments to freedom from Colonial times through today, and Boston's Italian heritage.
The parade alternates between the North End (odd years) and East Boston (even years).
When: Sunday, October 12, approximately 1pm - normally lasts about 2 hours
Where: East Boston
Closest T stations:
- North End: Blue Line/Aquarium
- East Boston: Blue Line/Maverick
Put on your Halloween costume and head over to Boston Common's Frog Pond on Sunday, October 19 for a Halloween Pumpkin Festival, refreshments, music, and lots of child-focused activities. This free family event takes place from 4:30 - 6:30.
Bring an 8-inch or smaller hollowed out carved pumpkin - it will be lit and then floated on Frog Pond for a spectacular display from the glowing pumpkin luminaries.
More information: 617-635-4505
Tomes of Terror Nevermore - Join this live radio play enacted on stage celeberating the Master of Terror ... Boston's own Edgar Allan Poe
Boston Halloween Pub Crawl - Wear your best costume!
Heaven & Hell Halloween - Boston's most intriguing Halloween bash? Or your gateway to purgatory? You decide ...
Sweeney Todd - Plenty of blood, revenge, and a serial killer in this Tony Award-winning musical - not just for Halloween!
Fall foliage reaches its peak in October, and visitors from all over the world come to experience it. Fall foliage tours from Boston to New Hampshire, Maine, and Cape Cod take you through some of the most brilliant areas of New England autumn color.
No need to leave the city to find fall foliage - you'll see plenty of gorgeous fall color near these hotels in leafy central Boston neighborhoods:
When: Departures throughout October
Where: Departing from Boston's CruisePort - heading up along the New England and Canadian coast
Cost: Varies according to length of tour and cruise line
More information: Fall foliage cruises
Want to see some gorgeous fall foliage along the New England and Eastern Canadian coastlines - and enjoy a few days relaxation and touring? Fall foliage cruises depart throughout October from Boston's Black Falcon Cruise Terminal located in the convenient South Boston Waterfront neighborhood.
Or, check out other cruises from Boston.
Bring the whole family over to Faneuil Hall Marketplace for the annual Fall Street Performer Showcase on October 11, 12, and 13, from 11am to 7pm.
A gala street performers' parade around the Marketplace kicks off the event. You'll see dancers, a brass band, jugglers, magicians, acrobats, and even the Neighborhood Children's Theatre of Boston. Marketplace "regulars" such as Kilted Colin, Alacazam, and Cate the Great will be performing, along with plenty of musical acts such as Cahill and New Inca Son.
Enjoy the entertainment, hit the Columbus Day sales in the stores, and eat dinner in the Marketplace or along the Waterfront.
Boston Fashion Week is bigger and better than ever this year - 7 days packed with celebrations of Boston style. Enjoy runway shows, exhibitions, special events, and parties as Boston's fashion professionals, retailers, and talented design students explore ideas, innovations, and new directions.
BFW takes place at the Mandarin Oriental, Copley Place, and the new Revere Hotel.
When: October 5-11
More information: BFW website
For more information, including best viewing spots and hotels: Head of the Charles Regatta
More than 8,000 elite athletes from around the world compete in 55 events as part of the Head of the Charles Regatta, an exciting 2-day rowing meet held on the Charles River. If you're visiting Boston this weekend, join the more than 300,000 spectators watching from the bridges and banks of the Charles. Fall foliage along the river is usually near peak on this weekend - so bring your camera!
When: October 23-25
Where: Copley Square
Nearest T Station: Green Line/Copley Square or Commuter Line/Orange Line/Back Bay
Cost: All daytime events are free; a few evening events require tickets; donations appreciated
More information: website
Doris Kearnes Goodwin, Herbie Hancock, and Nick Riordan are just a few of the huge array of 150+ renowned and mostly local writers, scholars, NPR hosts, publishers, and thought leaders including Nobel Prize, Newbury, and Pulitzer Prize winners converge in dozens of forums, presentations, and discussions to celebrate our local culture of reading and ideas, making the Boston Book Festival the largest literary event in New England. In addition to exhibitions, discussions, and presentations, you'll find live music, booksellers, food, and kids activities.
Within the space of just a few years, Boston Book Festival has gone from being the city's fastest growing new event to one of the biggest book fests in the U.S. - don't miss it!
Fiber Culture: 1960-present
October 1, 2014-January 4, 2015 - This exhibition of 50 works by 34 artists examines the development of abstraction and dimensionality in fiber art from the mid-20th century to the present.
Photo courtesy Ringo Starr
Wang Theatre | TD Garden | Blue Hills Bank Pavilion | Gillette Stadium
Boston Symphony Hall | House of Blues | Paradise Rock Club
Orpheum | Wilbur Theatre | Colonial Theatre | Royale
Boston Opera House | Comcast Center | Agganis Arena
Actors, filmmakers, and film enthusiasts look forward to the annual Boston Film Festival for a chance to view the stellar line up and world premiers.
The line up includes an exciting array of diverse features, documentaries, and shorts from emerging artists to world-famous award winners. Question and answer sessions, discussions, and evening receptions hosted by top restaurants provide plenty of opportunities to chat with directors and network.
When: October 25-28
Where: The glamorous Theatre 1 at the Revere Hotel (200 Stuart Street)
Cost: To be announced
Closest T station: Green Line/Arlington
More information: 617-523-8388; www.bostonfilmfestival.org
Don't miss this wonderful excuse to tour artist studios along the beautiful Rockport and Gloucester coast on Columbus Day weekend! 21 artists and artisans will welcome you to view their paintings, sculpture, mosaics, photography, pottery, jewelry, and other wonderful creations.
You can easily rent a car and drive up from Boston for the day - or spend the weekend and go for walks along the beach, dine on lobster dinners, and browse in local boutiques, galleries, and antique shops. View Rockport Hotels
Open Studio Tour: October 11, 12, 13, 10am - 5pm
Where: Open Studio Tour map and more information at www.capeannartisans.com. You can also pick up brochures with route maps at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, the Rockport Information Booth on Rte 127, and at each studio. Look for the bright magenta Studio Tour banner at each location
More information: 978-281-3347
Painting in photo by Rob Diebboll, 1 Camborne Way, Rockport (Stop 17 on the Tour)
More Columbus Day Events in and near Boston
Jamie Wyeth: 60 Year Retrospective
More than 100 paintings, works on paper, illustrations, and assemblages give you a unique view of Jamie Wyeth's six decades of reimagining realism in this blockbuster show at the MFA.
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Use these Boston discount passes for Museum of Fine Arts, plus admission to lots of other attractions, museums, tours, and cruises
Boston's final North End Italian Feast and Festivas takes place this month, part of a 100-year-old tradition that starts in June each year and continues through the early fall.
Like most of the North End feasts, this one celebrates a saint with food, music, religious ceremonies, and a procession, much like a giant street party.
St Joseph's Feast - October 2-4, North Square, procession at 1pm starting at Battery and Hanover Streets
Nearest T station: Commuter Rail or Orange & Green Lines/North Station
Vote on your favorite carved pumpkin at the Fort Point Channel for Halloween Pageant at the Boston Children's Museum on Friday, October 31st from 12 noon-4pm (date and time to be confirmed for 2014).
Local companies carve the pumpkins, and you get to vote for Funniest, Scariest, Most Original, and Overall Favorite. Plus, you can enjoy warm cider, snacks, face painting, and free sugar pumpkins in this family-friendly Halloween activity.
Mark your calendar for the last Sunday in October, put on ghoulish makeup and your most outrageous attire, and head to the South End for the final October event in Boston's biggest outdoor market. You might even win the $250 best costume price! Perfect chance to stock up on holiday gifts from Boston and New England artisans and crafts people, and sample some of the best offerings from on-site food trucks.
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When: Sunday, October 26 - 11am-1pm, followed by a kids concert at 1:45pm in the Food Court
Where: Prudential Center
Cost: $4 donation per child (12 and under) - purchase bag at Customer Service desk starting Oct 1 or check in at the Food Court or Center Court as early as 9am on the date of the event to beat the crowds; donations benefit non-profit Catching Joy
More information: Halloween in Boston
Every year, the Shops at Prudential Center sponsor Trick or Treating for Charity, with proceeds going to a non-profit partner to benefit the neediest babies and children in Boston. Kids come dressed in their cutest Halloween outfits and enjoy trick-or-treating, face painting, pumpkin decorating, and more, while helping other children.
When: October 10-11, 10am - 4pm, rain or shine
Location: A.D. Makepeace Company, 158 Tihonet Road, Wareham, MA
Admission: $10 adults, $5 seniors, free for children under 7; free parking
More information: Festival website or call 508-322-4000
Celebrate the fall cranberry harvest season at this annual Cranberry Harvest Festival open house, located at the nation's largest cranberry grower south of Boston. This popular event attracted over 32,000 visitors last year. Cranberry bog tours, family-oriented games and entertainment, and fresh cranberries to buy!
The Haunted Happenings Grand Parade officially kicks off the season of witches, ghosts, and goblins with a lavish pageant of costumes, music, and entertainment - but that's just the beginning of Salem's Halloween festivities.
When: Sunday, 2014, 11am
Location: Christopher Columbus Park, Boston's North End (next to the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel)
Public Transportation: Blue Line/Aquarium; about a 3 minute walk north on the Greenway
ParkART presents a variety of music and entertainment by local groups, plus family activities to celebrate Boston's Italian heritage and the Columbus Day holiday in this gorgeous park overlooking Boston Harbor.
Why pay full price for top Boston attractions such as the New England Aquarium, Museum of Fine Arts, Plimouth Plantation, Salem Witch Tours, Boston Harbor Cruises, and much more?
Boston Discount Cards are the best deal in town. Select Boston CityPass to see Boston's Top Attractions at a leisurely pace, or choose the GoBoston card (you pick how many days) to see 70+ attractions, tours, cruises, and day trips.
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Get ready for the greatest show on earth - conveniently located at Boston's TD Garden. Clowns, acrobats, and animals add up to loads of fun at this annual family-oriented event.
When: October 8-12, 2015
Location: TD Garden
Nearest T stop: Orange Line/North Station
Parking: Boston Parking Garages near TD Garden
Stay: Hotels near TD Garden
- Check GoldStar for discounted tickets
- Check TicketLiquidator for wide selection of cheap tickets and best seats
Photo courtesy Yvonne E.
The 38th Annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert will play tribute to Ornette Coleman as well as John COltrane. Featured guests include Carl Atkins, Leonard Brown, Yoron Israel, and Bobby Tynes.
The concert will take place on Saturday, October 24 at 7:30 at Northeastern University's Blackman Theatre, 360 Huntington Ave.
Tickets: $25-$40 - call 617-373-4700; also check Goldstar for discount tickets
Oct 17 Preview from 4pm-7pm
Oct 18 and 19 from 12 noon - 6pm
Where: Fort Point area of the South Boston Waterfront
Nearest T station: Red Line/South Station; walk across the Congress Street bridge
Parking: Free, in the Central Parking Lot at Binford and A Street
Cost: Free...unless you buy some art!
More information: Fort Point Arts Community website; 617-423-4299
Stop by the FPAC Gallery at 300 Congress Street, pick up a map showing the more than 150 open studios in 14 buildings, plus studios and pop-up venues. Performances, free hands-on art-making activities, and other special events will also take place.
Then stroll around this area of former warehouses and explore the art studios, chat with the artists, and if you're unable to resist, buy a piece or two of memorable art from some of the area's emerging or well-known artists.
Photo of painting by Karen McFeaters
Next Fort Point Artwalk: May
Fenway Alliance presents "Opening Our Doors," Boston's biggest single day of FREE arts, cultural, and educational events when its members invite you to 60+ activities, performances, tours, music, and games from 10am - 4pm.Festivities start on the Mass Ave side of the Christian Sicence Plaza at the intersection of Huntington Ave and Mass Ave. The kick-off celebration features a Kids Parade with the Hot Tamale Brass Band, performances, and free cupcakes, with fun activities for all ages all day.
Added plus: Free admission to several top Fenway museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Mary Baker Eddy Library Mapparium.
When: October 9-11, 2015
Where: Davis Square, Somerville; Harvard Square, Cambridge
More information: www.honkfest.org
HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands fills streets in Cambridge and Somerville with celebratory music, colorful attire, and lots of fun during Columbus Day weekend. Participants come from around the U.S. and other parts of the world. Expect to hear a cacaphony of sounds reminiscent of New Orleans brass bands, European Klezmer, Brazilian-Afro music, Romani and Balkan music, and much more.
On Saturday, 25 street bands will perform from 12:30pm-9pm at various outdoor venues around Davis Square (just follow the sound of the music to find them. On Sunday from noon to 2pm, the musicians parade from Davis Square down Mass Ave to Harvard Square, where they'll play at the Octoberfest throughout the afternoon.
Harpoon's 22nd annual German-style OctoberFest boasts 3 stages with live music, a big selection of Harpoon beers and ales including IPA, OctoberFest, and UFO Pumpkin, and lots of German food sold by a local restaurant. Come do some Chicken Dancing, keg bowling, and enjoy 3 stages filled with German Oompah bands at one of New England's largest OctoberFests.
- October 3 - 5:30pm - 11pm (doors close at 9:30pm)
- October 4 - 2pm - 9pm (doors close at 7:30pm)
Where: 306 Northern Ave, South Boston Waterfront
Nearest T station: Red Line/South Station; take Silver Line 2 or 3 and get off at Harbor Street, or catch the free shuttle behind Federal Reserve building next to Fort Point Channel off Summer Street
Parking: None at the Brewery - so catch the shuttle from South Station
Cost: $20 - includes one drink ticket and a souvenir cup (additional cost for food and additional drinks); bring a designated driver who will receive complimentary non-alcoholic beverages - or stay over in a nearby South Boston Waterfront hotels so that everybody can have fun)
More information: Harpoon Brewery website; 888-HAR-POON, ext 3
Get ready to enjoy an evening of Beethoven as Waltham Symphony Orchestra opens its 7th season with a program featuring pianist Paul Carlson and the orchestra playing German classics by Brahams (Symphony No. 1 in C minor) and Beethoven (Emperor Concerto). Conductor Patrick Botti leads the orchestra.
The performance is on Saturday, October 4 at 8pm in Kennedy Middle School Auditorium, 655 Lexington Street, Waltham, MA. Admission is free, with contributions gratefully accepted at the door. More information: www.walthamsymphony.org or 781-721-1050
The annual Blessing of the Animals Ceremony takes place on Sunday, October 5 at 3pm (date to be confirmed for 2014) in the Prado (Paul Revere Mall) in Boston's North End on the Freedom Trail. Clergy from nearby Old North Church (where Paul Revere hung his famous lanterns) will be there to welcome you and bless your pets.
This gives you the perfect excuse to explore the rest of the Freedom Trail with your pet (assuming it's on a leash).
Boston's North End Italian Feasts and Festivals draw huge crowds to this historic neighborhood. You can smell the wonderful food, hear the music, and feel the excitement as you walk across the Greenway to Boston's historic North End.
These festivals take place almost every weekend throughout the summer and into the fall.
Only one North End Festival takes place in October - so be sure not to miss it:
St Joseph's Feast - October 3-5 - Hanover and Battery Streets; procession at 1pm on Sunday
In addition to the October events described on this page, many other interesting events take place in and around Boston.
We hear about lots of these events directly from other visitors to Boston Discovery Guide, or from the event organizers. Find a list of these events
Do you know about an event for October that other might enjoy? Tell us about it here
Or, if your event is for another month (not October), tell us about it here
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Boston in October
Fall Foliage Viewing
Fall Foliage Tours
More to Do in Boston this Month
Columbus Day Events
Columbus Day Parade
Ringling Bros Circus
Halloween in Boston
Halloween in Salem
Head of the Charles Regatta