Known as “the cradle of modern America,” Boston is a historic city in Massachusetts filled with nearly endless things to do and see. From outdoor festivals along Boston Harbor to world-famous museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Children’s Museum, there is something for everyone in this city. Book a stay at a Boston vacation rental today. On another note, depending on the season, the city’s weather can alternate from pleasant and sunny one day to rainy and snowy the next. Take a look at what Boston has to offer during each season to find out which time of year is ideal for your getaway.
Visiting Boston in the Summer
Summers in Boston are warm, but not unbearably hot. Average temperatures range from daytime highs in the 70s and 80s to nighttime lows between 60s and 70s. There are some hot, humid days that reach into the 90s, but the city’s proximity to the water tends to keep the heat down. Average rainfall is about 3 inches per month, making this one of Boston’s drier seasons.
Choosing what to pack for Boston can be difficult due to the ever-changing weather. For summer, shorts, T-shirts, and sundresses work best, with a light jacket for cooler nights. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a bathing suit for swimming. Boston is a very walkable city, so comfortable shoes is a must at any time of the year. Pack an umbrella in case of a late summer storm.
If you go during the Fourth of July, taking part on Boston Harborfest is a must. Located right on the harbor, this family-friendly festival is one of the country’s largest, with historical reenactments, boat tours, and live performances. Later in the evening, go to the Hatch Shell for the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, featuring a live orchestra and fireworks on the Charles River.
Bostonians love getting outdoors when the weather cooperates, and there are plenty of parks and sidewalk cafes to explore. Head over to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway to spend the day in a vibrant, green space with a mix of activities and relaxation. Kids love riding the carousel and splashing in the fountains, while adults check out the art vendors or lounge on the grass with a beverage from the Beer Garden. In the evening, walk over to the North End, known as Boston’s Little Italy, to dine al fresco with an indulgent meal.
Visiting Boston in the Fall
Temperatures begin to drop in Boston during the fall, bringing with it cool, crisp air. The leaves begin to change, and the city is alive with the colors of red, gold, and orange. The nip in the air means it’s time for hot cocoa, cider donuts, and fall festivals. Average temperatures can be as high as the 70s in September down to the 50s by November. Average lows at night generally range from the 30s to 50s. Precipitation is low, at around 3 inches per month. There is a chance of snow in late November.
Be prepared for the changing temperatures with lightweight clothing that can be layered, with a jacket for when evenings are cool. Many travelers spend much of their time this season walking through the city, so comfortable shoes are a must.
Fall is an excellent time to walk the Freedom Trail, which connects 16 of the city’s many historic sites, including Paul Revere House, Old State House, and Bunker Hill Monument. The Freedom Trail also takes you to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, where you can go shopping or enjoy one of the street performers along the promenade. If you get hungry, walk to nearby Boston Public Market for locally-sourced seasonal items, such as pumpkin pie and apple crisp.
To see the fall foliage in all its glory, head to Arnold Arboretum, 281 acres filled with trees, including an extensive collection of Maples. Hike up Peters Hill for views of the city skyline, or walk through trails of crabapples and rhododendrons. Afterwards, walk to Centre Street for dinner at one of the diverse restaurants lining the streets. Choose from Cambodian at Wonder Spice Cafe, tapas at Tres Gatos, or pizza at Il Panino Cafe; there is something to suit every taste.
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Visiting Boston in the Winter
Winter in Boston is cold and snowy, but that doesn’t mean the city shuts down. There is still lots of fun to be had here, and since it is the low season, travelers can find great deals on their vacation rentals. Average temperatures are in the 30s and 40s and can drop to the 20s or lower at night. Average participation each month is about 4 inches but is typically in the form of snow, so can reach up to 12 inches. The snow is a lovely backdrop for the city, especially in the historic areas, such as Beacon Hill.
Winter gear, including a warm coat, snow boots, hats, gloves, and scarves, are essential when traveling to Boston in the winter. Dress in layers if you plan to spend time outdoors sledding on the Boston Common or walking along Newbury Street.
This season is an excellent time to get to know the many museums of Boston. Art enthusiasts love spending the day at the Museum of Fine Arts, exploring its diverse collections from around the world. Next door, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum houses a beautiful collection of artwork in a building modeled after a 15th-century Venetian palace. Those who prefer modern art head to the Institute for Contemporary Art to enjoy works by some of today’s leading artists. Other excellent options are the Boston Children’s Museum, Museum of Science, and USS Constitution Museum.
In the evening, catch a show at one of Boston’s renowned theaters. The Wang Theater and Boston Opera House hosts touring Broadway shows, while Boston Lyric Stage, Huntington Theater, and Boston Center for the Arts put on shows by local theater companies. For families who prefer sports, TD Garden is home to both the Celtics and Bruins and is a great opportunity to catch a game.
Visiting Boston in the Spring
Boston blooms in the spring, when leaves appear on the trees and flowers scent the air. The city is bursting with life as residents start spending more time outdoors. The weather is mild, with average highs ranging anywhere from the mid-40s to mid-60s. Nighttime temperatures tend to be in the 40s, but can drop lower. Spring is also the rainiest season, with precipitation around 4-7 inches per month.
Springtime weather in Boston is the most unpredictable, so pack plenty of layers, such as pants and long-sleeved shirts. A light jacket is needed for cooler evenings, and be sure to bring a raincoat and umbrella for when it rains. Bring comfortable shoes for walking.
The highlight of spring in Boston is the Boston Marathon, held every April on Patriots’ Day. Those who visit during this time can view some of the world’s greatest runners take to the streets to vie for the title. The swan boats open up for the season in the Public Garden, and is a treat for both kids and adults. Stop by the Make Way for the Ducklings statues so the little ones can see Mama Duck and her babies, then walk along the pathways to see the gorgeous flowers blooming all over. Just a few blocks away, Newbury Street offers a mix of high-end and casual dining and shopping options to explore.
Later in the spring, The Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park starts its ferry schedule to the islands. Hop aboard for a quick trip to Georges Island to tour historic Fort Warren or Spectacle Island for hiking, boating, and city views. The Children’s Museum and Boston Aquarium are also located along the harbor and are great day options for rainy days.
When Is The Best Time to Visit Boston?
Boston has something to offer in every season, but the best time to visit is the fall. Fall foliage is on full display, and whether you take a walk through Arnold Arboretum or explore the historic sites on the Freedom Trail, you will be dazzled by the beautiful colors. The weather is cool but pleasant, and you can stop by Faneuil Hall Marketplace for some hot cider as you stroll. While you have a wealth of options any time of the year, check out Boston in the fall.
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