Indigenous Peoples Day comes at the perfect time in Boston.  Fall foliage is near its colorful peak, lots of entertainment throughout the 3-day holiday weekend, which always includes the 2nd Monday of October. 

In 2022, Indigenous Peoples Day weekend includes Saturday October 8, Sunday October 9, and Monday, October 10 - although if you're planning to visit Boston,you may even want to arrive, as many visitors do, as early as Wednesday or Thursday to take advantage of the many events taking place.

As you may know, Indigenous Peoples Day was Columbus Day, until fairly recently, which in Boston meant celebrations centered on the area's Italian-American heritage. 

As a result, traditions and events focused on celebrating the Shawmut Peninsula's original people, the ancestors of today's Wampanoag and Mashpee Wampanoag tribes who first arrived here in Southeastern Massachusetts about 12,000 years ago, have not yet been established.  Hopefully, that will change soon.

But for now, you'll find plenty of other seasonal events and activities to embrace during this gorgeous part of autumn - open artists studios, an Oktoberfest celebration and parade, sports, concerts, and fall foliage tours and cruises.  If you want to get a glimpse of Wampanoag life and history, you can visit nearby Plimouth Plantation where members of today's Wampanoag Nation share stories about their culture in a re-creation of their 17th century homes.

Indigenous Peoples Day is an official Massachusetts state holiday, which means state offices, banks, and schools are closed, but most other places including stores and shopping malls are open.  Since this 3-day weekend coincides with a peak period for seeing fall foliage, it's an ideal time to see Boston at its most colorful best. 

Huge sales in all the stores also make this one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year, especially with the holidays just a couple of months away.

Visitors fill the city - so to get the best Boston hotel rates, make your reservations early.

Top photo: Boston Harbor Islands, where Native American traditionally grew corn during summer months


Fall Foliage Tours

Fall foliage and church steeple in Concord, west of Boston
Fall foliage and church steeple in Concord, west of Boston

Fall foliage tours give you a convenient way to see brilliant leaf colors in Boston and other Southern New England locations. 

You can see some of the most breath-taking color in all of New England within an hour or two of Boston - and the easiest way to view the gorgeous leaves is on a foliage tour where someone else worries about the driving!

Find out about the best fall foliage tours departing from Boston.


More Fall Foliage Tours from Boston


Fall Foliage Boston Harbor Cruises on the Northern Lights

Boston Light, typically seen during Boston Harbor sightseeing cruises - Photo credit: AdobeStock
Boston Light, typically seen during Boston Harbor sightseeing cruises - Photo credit: AdobeStock

These scenic sightseeing cruises around Boston Harbor during the Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend (plus other days in October and early November) show you colorful fall foliage as you cruise around the Boston Harbor Islands. 

You'll see Long Island Head Light, Boston Light (America's oldest light house), Fort Warren on Georges Islands, Fort Independence, and brightly colored foliage on Paddock's Island and Thompson's Island.

A delicious 3-course brunch or lunch are included with your ticket, and you can purchase beverages on board.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gorgeous sights!

Reserve your place now:


More Fall Foliage Cruises

Fall foliage along the New Hampshire Coast
Fall foliage along the Maine coast - Photo credit: iStock/leekris

Fall foliage cruises to New England and Canada continue into October, and if you can carve a few days out of your schedule to go on one over Indigenous Peoples Day weekend, there's no better way to enjoy this spectacular season!

Don't forget, though, that you can see plenty of color right in Boston.  The Public Garden and the Beacon Hill neighborhoods are great places to start, but also check out our suggestions about the best places for seeing fall foliage in Boston.

Admiring fall foliage is a traditional activity during this holiday weekend, and you can see plenty of gorgeous color without leaving the city. 

If you want to head out of the city, Salem makes a great destination. Not only will you see gorgeous foliage, but you can also enjoy Salem's Halloween decor (on full display throughout October), witch museums, and historical sites.

  • More about Halloween in Salem
  • Take the high speed ferry to Salem

    Cape Ann Artisans Open Studios

    Painting by Deb Schradieck at Rockport Open Studios
    Painting by Deb Schradieck at Rockport Open Studios

    Don't miss this wonderful excuse to tour artist studios along the beautiful Rockport and Gloucester coast on Indigenous Peoples Day weekend!  Fifteen artists and artisans will welcome you to view their paintings, sculpture, mosaics, photography, pottery, jewelry, and other wonderful creations. 

    Go for just 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 9 and 10 at 10am - 5pm
    Where:  Open Studio Tour map and more information at www.capeannartisans.com - or 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 Studio Tour banner at each location
    More information: Cape Ann Artisans website
    Cost:  Free

    Find more October events in Boston


Indigenous Peoples Weekend Sports - 2022

Statue of Boston Bruin Bobby Orr at TD Garden
Statue of Boston Bruin Bobby Orr making his winning goal for the Stanley Cup and entrance to TD Garden

College and pro sports including Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics pre-season games give fans plenty to enjoy on Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend this year:

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Hotels near Fenway Park

If you're coming to a Red Sox game, spend the night or the weekend at one of the nearby hotels, such as the luxurious Hotel Commonwealth:

Fenway Park view from guestroom at Hotel Commonwealth
Fenway Park view from guestroom at Hotel Commonwealth

More top hotels near Fenway Park:

Check out more hotels near Fenway Park

More about Fenway Park

Hotels near TD Garden

Coming to an event at the Garden?  Spend the night or the weekend at a nearby hotel, such as the glamorous Onyx (shown in photo), part of the Kimpton hotel family:

Onyx Hotel, top choice near Boston's TD Garden

More top hotels near the Garden:

Check out more hotels near TD Garden

More about TD Garden


Cranberry Harvest Festival

Freshly harvested cranberries - Photo credit: iStock.com/Marc Bruxelle
Freshly harvested cranberries - Photo credit: iStock.com/Marc Bruxelle

Cranberry harvesting takes place from mid-September through early November, making Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend the perfect time for the annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration sponsored by the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association. 

This old-style family festival celebrates this favorite New England tradition with tours to a cranberry bog to see the harvest in progress, carnival rides for children, food vendors, artisans displaying their crafts, and the opportunity to buy super-fresh cranberries.

The largest cranberry grower in the country, A.D. Makepeace Company, hosts the festival at their welcome center in Wareham, about 30 minutes south of Boston.


Plimouth Plantation and Mayflower II

Plimouth Plantation, living museum near Boston
Plimouth Plantation, living museum near Boston - Photo credit: Dunphasizer

To learn about Wampanoag life and history, visit Plimouth Plantation (about 45 minutes southeast of Boston) where members of today's Wampanoag Nation share stories about their culture in a re-creation of their 17th century homes.

You'll see authentic reproductions of the time when the first band of Pilgrims sailed to the New World in the Mayflower to start a new life amid the Wampanoags, the Native Americans who helped them survive.

Costumed actors and members of Massachusetts' Mashpee Wampanoag tribe make you feel like you've time-traveled back to 1620 as they answer your questions about their lives.

How to Visit:  Join a day trip to Plimouth Plantation by bus from Boston


More Things to Do in Boston


Top October Tours


Opening Our Doors Festival in Boston's Fenway Neighborhood

Big arts celebration in Boston's Fenway for Indigenous Peoples Day

Fenway Alliance presents "Opening Our Doors," Boston's biggest single day of FREE arts, cultural, and educational events when its members invite you to 80+ activities, performances, tours, music, and games from 10am - 4pm.  

Festivities start on the Mass Ave side of the Christian Science 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:  Saturday, October 8, 2022 
Where:  Multiple locations in Fenway
Cost:  Free
More information:  Fenway Alliance website - Complete events schedule for Boston's Fenway neighborhood


Boston Theater District Shows on Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend

Charles Playhouse in Boston's Theatre District
Charles Playhouse in Boston's Theatre District

Schedules & Tickets:

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More shows for October 


Concerts on Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend

Schedules & Tickets:

Enter DISCOVERY 10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets

More shows for October 


HONK! Street Music Festival on Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend

Photo of HONK Festival band - coming to Boston on Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend
HONK! musicians in Davis Square, Somerville

When: October 7-9
Where:
  Somerville & Cambridge
Cost:   Free 
More information:  www.honkfest.org

HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands fills the streets of Somerville with celebratory music, colorful attire, and lots of fun during Indigenous Peoples Day weekend. 

Look for a gigantic bands showcase on Friday evening, continuous free performances and art-making activities in Davis Square all day on Saturday, and the enormous and always entertaining HONK! parade down Mass Ave followed by an afternoon of HONK! performances in Harvard Square.

Check their website for more specific details:  http://honkfest.org


Indigenous Peoples Day Sales

You'll find plenty of deals and steals all over the city at the big sales (still called Columbus Day sales by most shopping venues) - the best time to begin your holiday shopping!  Virtually all stores will have big sales underway.  Use these Boston shopping suggestions to get started:


Things to Do with Kids on Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend in Boston

Family-oriented activities to do with kids in Boston this weekend include:

  • New England Aquarium - Kids and grownups alike love all the exhibits - great rainy weather choice also - plus huge Imax theater next door.  Free Aquarium admission if if you have a GoBoston card, plus you go to the head of the line. More about New England Aquarium
  • Boston Duck Tours - Kids' favorite way to tour the city by land and water!  More about Boston Duck Tours
  • Faneuil Hall Marketplace - Bring your whole family to this popular Freedom Trail site and shopping/eating/entertainment destination - More about Faneuil Marketplace

More to Do in Boston in October

Events and things to do in Boston in October

More Fun Things to Do in Boston



More Articles about Top Boston Fall Events

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