Indigenous Peoples Day, always celebrated on the second Monday in October, comes at the perfect time in Boston. 

Fall foliage is near its colorful peak, local markets overflow with pumpkins, cranberries, and other fall harvest, and lots of entertainment takes place throughout the 3-day holiday weekend. 

In 2024, Indigenous Peoples Day weekend includes Saturday October 12, Sunday October 13, and Monday, October 14 - although if you're planning to visit Boston, you may want to arrive, as many visitors do, as early as Thursday or Friday to take advantage of the many events taking place.

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

As a result, events focused on commemorating the Wampanoag Tribe who have lived in Massachusetts for over 12,000 years are still being established, and hopefully will increase 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. 

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, restaurants, most museums, and shopping malls are open.  

Since this 3-day October holiday 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: Sunset over Boston Harbor Islands, where Native Americans in the Boston area traditionally grew corn during summer months prior to the arrival of Columbus, (c) Boston Discovery Guide

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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, on Brewster Island, usually seen on Boston Harbor sightseeing cruises- Photo credit: Designs
Boston Light, on Brewster Island, usually seen on Boston Harbor sightseeing cruises- Photo credit: Designs

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 typically 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:

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 John Abisamra at Cape Ann Artisans Open Studios
Lobster boats in Rockport, location of Cape Ann Artisans Open Studios - Photo credit: Zaffuts

Don't miss this wonderful excuse to tour artist studios along the beautiful Rockport and Gloucester coast on Indigenous Peoples Day weekend! 

Cape Ann 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 7 and 8 at 10am - 5pm

Where:  Open Studio Tour map and more information at website - 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

Cost:  Free

Find more October events in Boston

Indigenous Peoples Weekend Sports

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:

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good for purchases made through 12/31/24.

Hotels near Fenway Park

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

Check out more hotels near Fenway Park

More about Fenway Park

Hotels near TD Garden

Coming to an event at the Garden? Consider spending the night or the weekend at one of these top nearby hotels: 

Check out more hotels near TD Garden

More about TD Garden

Plimouth Plantation and Mayflower II

Plimouth Plantation - a living recreation of the first settlement
Plimouth Patuxet - a living recreation of Plymouth Colony, the first English settlement in Massachusetts, and Patuxet,  the home of the Native Americans already living in the area- Photo credit:

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.

Join a day trip to Plimouth Patuxet, the Mayflower II, the Scituate Lighthouse, and the birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams by bus from Boston

More Things to Do in Boston

Top October Tours

Opening Our Doors Festival in Boston's Fenway Neighborhood

Spray fountains at Christian Science Plaza in Boston's Fenway neighborhood
Spray fountains at Christian Science Plaza in Boston's Fenway neighborhood

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:  TBA 
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:

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good for purchases made through 12/31/24.

More shows for October 

Concerts on Indigenous Peoples Day Weekend

Schedules & Tickets:

Enter DISCOVERY10 to save 10% on TicketLiquidator & TicketNetwork tickets.  Good for purchases made through 12/31/24.

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 6-8
  Somerville & Cambridge
Cost:   Free 
More information:

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 on Sunday.

After the parade, the bands will continue performing everything from oompah music to Dixieland jazz in locations throughout Harvard Square, where an Oktoberfest celebration wiill already be well underway.. 

Check the Honk! website for more details.

Harvard Square Oktoberfest

Harvard Square's huge and legendary Oktoberfest takes place on the Sunday of Indigenous People's Day  weekend - October 8 this year (to be confirmed) - and attracts over 100,000 people. 

You'll find multiple beer gardens, many food vendors, lots of street performers and live music, sidewalk sales in front of many stores, arts and crafts vendors, vintage goods, and family-friendly activities. 

The weather typically is beautiful on the weekend, with lots of colorful fall foliage - but in case of rain, Harvard's Oktoberfest will take place on the following Saturday.

What to enjoy:   Chicken dancing, live music, a big selection of Harpoon beers and ales, and lots of bratwurst and other German food

Admission: Free

More information about Oktoberfests in Boston

Columbus Day Weekend Sales

Look for lots 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 Boston 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 CityPASS 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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