Boston's weather offers four seasons with something for everyone . . . sometimes within a very short period!
If you love distinct seasons, you'll be thrilled by all the changes Boston's climate offers:
- Beautiful sunny days with clear blue skies so bright and sparkling that you smile the moment you step outside
- Balmy spring mornings with dew-covered grass and soft breezes
- Crisp fall afternoons and multi-hued foliage
- Gentle snowflakes drifting down as you walk along streets lined with red brick buildings and gas lights, just like a Currier and Ives scene
Boston weather gives us all of these moments . . . and more.
The four seasons make living here wonderful, and Boston vacations memorable.
Spring - part of March, April, May, and the first part of June - typically starts out cold and often windy. In fact, these days or weeks will not be what you might think of as "spring."
Some springs can also be quite rainy, some bring snow as late as April (and I don't mean just a few flakes!), and in some years, cold temperatures last until May . . . well, truthfully, some Junes can also be fairly cold.
But in between these wretched remnants of winter, you can also expect to enjoy gloriously gorgeous warm days. In fact, occasionally temperatures rise enough to produce beach days.
Beginning in April, flowers begin to burst into bloom . . . first, just early bulbs in front gardens, but by the end of the month and early May, magnolias and cherry trees cover the city with swaths of pink blossoms. Rhododendrons quickly follow, and by early June, roses fill the air with their scent.
Packing essentials for spring: With such unpredictable weather during this season, bring clothes you can layer - sweaters, a jacket, and perhaps a lightweight raincoat. Just in case, bring a pair of warm gloves, a hat, and a scarf or two. Boots are no longer a "must" by April - but waterproof footwear can be a benefit.
Be sure to also bring an outfit suitable for temperatures that might zoom up to 70°-80° - or higher.
How to enjoy Boston's spring weather:
- Watch the Boston Marathon (runners in the Marathon always hope for cool, moist weather - but don't always get it!)
- Go to the Public Garden to enjoy the spectacular tulips. During May, stroll around Back Bay and admire the magnificent saucer magnolia trees along Commonwealth Avenue and Marlborough Street. You'll see masses of Boston spring flowers everywhere you look!
- Take a Boston Duck Tours along city neighborhoods and the Charles River . . . enjoy the great views of the city!
- Go watch the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park - it's the quintessential way to celebrate spring in the city
- Choose a hotel in Back Bay, home to many flowering trees, or overlooking the Public Garden
Summer - June, July, August - in Boston can be gloriously warm and sunny, hot and miserably humid, or, especially during the first part of June, chilly and rainy.
Most summers contain a mixture of all of these conditions - plus dramatic thunderstorms. Occasionally, you'll experience all of this within the space of a day.
Summer is the time to enjoy being outdoors in the balmy Boston weather of summer.
Fortunately, beautiful days outweigh the less than perfect ones.
How to enjoy Boston's summer weather:
When you're booking your hotel, consider staying at one with an outdoor swimming pool.
Packing essentials for summer: Lightweight summer clothing, with an emphasis on comfort. If you're visiting during the first half of June, keep in mind that rain and very cool daytime temperatures are still a possibility, so be prepared to dress in layers.
During July and August, expect hot, humid days and nights. Bring a sweater for evening and air-conditioned spaces.
And remember to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses!
Fall - September, October, November - is when Boston weather usually produces the highest number of perfect days.
Cooler night temperatures should be a reminder that winter is coming, but bright sunshine during the day makes denial easy.
Of course, fall can also bring rain - occasionally torrential downpours and even nor'easters.
Sometimes snow will fall in November . . . and even occasionally in late October.
However, September and October are usually a great time to walk around the city.
Along residential streets in neighborhoods, such as Beacon Hill in the photo below, you'll often see beautiful flowering plants still at their peak, as well as chrysanthemums and, toward the end of the month, Halloween decorations.
Boston fall foliage begins its spectacular annual display. As the leaves turn from green to crimson and gold, temperatures stay warm.
How to enjoy Boston's fall weather: Just walk around the city. Views from observatories such as Prudential Skywalk are usually great due to the clear skies and low humidity (in other words, no haze).
To enjoy fall foliage during your stay, choose a hotel near Faneuil Marketplace . . . most are near the tree-filled Greenway, plus you're within an easy walk of Beacon Hill, Boston Common, and the Public Garden. And if the weather turns chilly, you can explore the shops and pubs in the Marketplace.
Winter in Boston - December, January, February, and usually part of March - means cold days and colder nights. Some of the most brilliantly beautiful days of the entire year occur during the winter - clear crisp air, blue skies, bright (if not warm) sunshine, and perhaps sparkling snow on the ground.
During most years, the temperature drops below freezing at night, and may remain below freezing during the day.
But Boston weather can be unpredictable. Some winters are significantly milder than others. Some produce lots of snow, while others may be almost snow-free.
Packing essentials for winter: Warm gloves, warm socks, hat, scarf, warm coat or jacket, warm boots - as you can see, "warm" is the operative word here. Preferably, consider bringing boots with waterproof soles - or at least with soles thick enough to give you some insulation as you walk.
How to enjoy winter in Boston:
- Go ice skating on Frog Pond in Boston Common at night - nothing is more magical!
- Or over to Boston's Theatre District for indoor entertainment and shows
- Check Boston events calendars for December, January, February, and March
- This is definitely the time to stay in one of Boston's hotels with guestroom fireplaces!
Generally, temperatures rise somewhat during March (which technically is spring) - but not always!
So, just in case . . . here are a few more winter activities:
- Best winter Boston tours - Don't let cold weather keep you from seeing the city1
- Winter walking tour - Try our suggested itinerary for a memorable walk in the snow
- Rainy day walk around Boston - Follow this itinerary during drizzle or light rain
- Rainy day activities - You always need a "Plan B" for Boston weather
- Winter break in Boston - Fun February activities
- Skiing near Boston - Where to enjoy the snow!