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 - especially now that the Red Sox are playing in the World Series.
At least 2 of the games will be played right here in Fenway Park!
Bright sunshine and crisp temperatures mean you'll enjoy being outdoors, especially toward the end of the month when splashes of gold and crimson fall foliage can be seen 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 will remind you Halloween is on the way.
Take a look at our top recommendations for fun things to do in Boston in October - and start planning your visit now!
Dates for Columbus Day Weekend 2014: Saturday, October 11; Sunday, October 12; Monday, October 13
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
When: Sunday, October 12, 2014, approximately 1pm
Where (2014): East Boston
Closest T station (North End): Green & Orange Lines, Haymarket
More information: Boston Columbus Day Events
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-numbered years) and East Boston (even-numbered years).
Put on your Halloween costume and head over to Boston Common's Frog Pond on Sunday, October 24 for a Halloween Parade led by Frog Pond Freddie, a puppet show by Rosalita's Puppets, magic show, Pumpkin Festival and lots of other activities for all ages. This free family event takes place from 4:30 - 6:30.
Bring an 8-inch or smaller carved pumpkin - it will be lit and then floated on Frog Pond for a spectacular display. The CANshare food drive will also be kicking off at the fest - so bring cans of food to donate to help those in need.
More information: 617-635-4505
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.
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:
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.
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 - July 26-28 - Hanover and Battery Streets; procession at 1pm on Sunday
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 Fleetwood Mac
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
TicketLiquidator Discount $15 off orders $150+ | Use code = MAY15
Ace Tickets - 5% reward toward next purchase; free pick-up next to venues; low fees
TicketNetwork - $10 off orders over $350 | Use code = AFF$10
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
Blood Rose Rising - Who can resist a supernatural serial thriller staged in a nightclub environment at Naga? Music, magic, video, ghosts, and more!
Boston Haunts Pub Crawl - Wear your best costume!
Harvard Square's Historic Haunts Walking Tour - Hear about ghastly deeds and wandering spirits as you ramble through the darkest corners of Cambridge
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
Pottery in photo by Cynthia Curtis, 80 Pigeon Hill Street, Rockport(Stop 11 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.
51 ways to save up to 55%
On attractions, tours, cruises
5 top attractions in 9 days
Use these Boston discount passes for Museum of Fine Arts, plus admission to lots of other attractions, museums, tours, and cruises
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.
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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Why pay full price when you can get half-price admission through Goldstar Events?
- The Hobbit - Wheelock Family Theatre
- Million Dollar Quartet - Colonial Theatre
- Lunch, Brunch, and Dinner Cruises on The Odyssey in Boston Harbor
- Boston Symphony Orchestra - Symphony Hall
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey - TD Garden
- Boston Celtics at TD Garden
- Forever Tango - Cutler Majestic Theatre
- The Jungle Book - Boston University Theatre
- Blue Man Group, Charles Playhouse
- Nick's Comedy Stop presents top stand-up comics
When: Sunday, October 26 - 11am-1pm
Where: Prudential Center
Cost: $4 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
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.
- Week 6 - Sunday, October 12, 1pm vs Buffalo
- Week 8 - Sunday, October 26, 1pm vs Chicago
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
Only 2 Boston Celtics home games at TD Garden in October as the part of the preseason schedule - so be sure to get tickets, wear green, and cheer our home team!
Preseason games at the Garden:
Monday, October 16 vs Toronto Raptors- 7:30pm
Wednesday, October 23 vs Brooklyn Nets- 7:70pm
When: October 11-12, 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
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 freshest 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.
51 ways to save up to 55%
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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 15-19
Location: TD Garden
Nearest T stop: Orange Line/North Station
Parking: Boston Parking Garages near TD Garden
Stay: Hotels near TD Garden
- Check GoldStar in case discounted tickets become available close to the event dates
- Check TicketLiquidator for wide selection of cheap tickets and best seats
Photo courtesy Yvonne E.
When: October 31, 6pm, Beacon Hill, Boston - arrive 10 minutes before tour starts
Where: Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood
For more information: Boston by Foot website
Cost: $20 ($5 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 walking tour of Beacon Hill. Your guide for this ghoulish annual event, a volunteer with local tour group Boston by Foot, will show you the darker side of this charming neighborhood. Wear comfortable walking shoes and your favorite costume!
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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 2013-2014 Bruins season gets underway.
Photo courtesy of Dan4th
|Bruins Schedule||Hotels near TD Garden||Bruins Sports Bars||Bruins Shirts & Hats|
When: Saturday, October 26, 10am - 4pm
Where: Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston
Nearest MBTA station: Green Line/Symphony
Cost: $10, or a 4-pack for $35
More information and tickets: WGBH website
Boston 99.5 All Classical Radio Station WGBH hosts their annual Classical Cartoon Festival at Symphony Hall - a lively mix of classical music used in cartoons accompanied by Warner Brothers classic cartoons on the big screen, storytellers, and performers.
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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 on Binford Street off of 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 10+ buildings, and 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 Lisa Greenfield
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.
Added plus - Food Trucks
When: October 11-13, 2013
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.
Photo of Boston's own Second Line Social Aid & Pleasure Society Brass Band - You can also hear them at First Night, Summer Revels, Charles River Festival, Somerville Homell Coalition, Boston Center for the Arts, Abbey Lounge, Plough & Stars
Harpoon's 22nd annual German-style OctoberFest boasts 3 stages with live music, a big selection of Harpoon beers and ales including IPA and UFO Hefeweizen, 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 4 - 5:30pm - 11pm (doors close at 9:30pm)
- October 5 - 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 6th season with a program featuring German classics by Brahams, Mendelssohn, and Weber Freischutz. Conductor Patrick Botti leads the orchestra.
The performance is on Sunday, October 3 at 3pm 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
The annual Blessing of the Animals Ceremony takes place on Sunday, October 6 at 3pm 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).
The Local Food Festival, taking place on Sunday, October 6 from 11am - 5pm on the Rose Kennedy Greenway across from the Boston Harbor Hotel, gives you the chance to sample the best fresh food from local farms and fishermen, plus local wines, beers, cider, and mead.
With music and art by local talent, chefs to prepare the food samples (mostly around $5 or less) from locally sourced food, a seafood throwdown competition, family activities, and exhibits about sustainably grown and produced food, you can have lots of fun at this festival enjoying some local flavors!
The Local Food Festival celebrates all our local craft and artisan brewers, distillers, cider makers, meaderies, and food producers. It's your chance to sample the best local and New England beverages and food while enjoying spectacular views of the Boston Harbor waterfront and great live music by local musicians.
Where: Moakley U.S. Courthouse on the the South Boston Waterfront (just on the other side of the Moakley footbridge)
When: October 6, 2013, 3pm-6:30pm
Admission: $45 (includes beverage and food tastings, music and entertainment, and a compostable tasting cup)
More information: bostonlocalfoodfestival.com/festivities/localcraftbrew/
Where to stay nearby: South Boston Waterfront Hotels
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