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City Guides, Lifestyle


Oct 13, 2020

Best Places to See Fall Foliage in Boston

For a limited time each fall, the trees in the Northeast turn into a beautiful sea of red, orange and yellow as their leaves stop producing chlorophyll. Locals and tourists alike venture out in droves to see the spectacular sight, to the point where a tourism mini-industry has popped up to serve so-called “leaf peepers.” Those lucky enough to be in or near Boston this time of year are in for a colorful treat, as there are several destinations where fall foliage takes center stage.

The leaves are usually past their peak by mid-November, so don’t delay visiting these idyllic Boston fall foliage spots – and keep an eye on this map to time your leaf-peeping outings perfectly.

Boston Common

Local Highlights

• The oldest trees in city
• The first public park in the United States
• Numerous statues and monuments
• The first botanical garden in the United States

What to Expect

Enjoy fall colors on some of the oldest trees in the city at Boston Common, the first public park in the United States. Nestled among the foliage are numerous statues and monuments, as well as benches to rest on as you marvel. Don’t forget to stop by the Frog Pond to see the leafage reflected on the water.

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Adjacent to Boston Common is the Public Garden, the first botanical garden in the country. A leaf peeper’s paradise, its diverse collection of trees and shrubs change color at different times and create a vibrant array of hues. Cross the footbridge over the pond and keep an eye out for mallards, another colorful lifeform that inhabits the garden.

Charles River Esplanade

Local Highlights

• Tons of riverside trees
• Floating docks

What to Expect

When the trees along the Charles River Esplanade turn a deep gold and orange, it’s hard to imagine anything more picturesque. Relax on one of the floating docks and you’ll feel like you’re in a postcard. Curbed Boston recommends the stretch between Berkeley Street and the Charles River Dam Road for the best foliage.

Rose Kennedy Greenway

Local Highlights

• Located in the heart of the city
• Gardens, promenades, plazas, fountains and art
• Lush peonies, rhododendrons and small trees

What to Expect

The landscaped gardens, promenades, plazas, fountains and art making up the Rose Kennedy Greenway create a dynamic setting for Boston fall foliage. Even more dynamic are the greenway’s trees, shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses as they reveal brilliant colors each autumn. For an especially lush sight, visit the Chinatown section, where the peonies, rhododendrons, small trees and grasses along the stream and waterfall show their fall hues.

The Mohawk Trail

Local Highlights

• 69 miles of road
• Stunning views of the tree-covered Berkshire Mountain
• Numerous scenic viewpoints, roadside attractions and gift shops

What to Expect

A drive west of Boston along the 69-mile-long Route 2, also known as the Mohawk Trail, is one of the most stunning ways to view fall foliage in the Northeast. Considered one of the most beautiful drives in all of Massachusetts, the tree-covered Berkshire mountains are clearly visible along the route, and the Mohawk Trail State Forest surrounds a considerable portion of the road. You’ll also encounter numerous points of interest, scenic viewpoints, roadside attractions and gift shops along the way.

Back Bay and Beacon Hill

Joann Vitali

Local Highlights

• Located in the heart of the city
• Charming tree-lined streets
• Century-old Victorian brownstones
• Federal-style rowhouses and brick sidewalks
• Tree-filled Louisburg Square up Mount Vernon street

What to Expect

As lovely as the fall foliage is in Boston’s public parks, don’t neglect the city’s charming tree-lined streets in residential neighborhoods like Back Bay and Beacon Hill. Stroll by Back Bay’s century-old Victorian brownstones and appreciate the quintessential backdrop they create for the yellow-leaved trees. Commonwealth Avenue, a statue-filled parkway with a wide grassy mall down the middle, is a fall foliage favorite.

Head northeast from Back Bay to enter the historic and quaint Beacon Hill, with its Federal-style rowhouses, narrow, gaslit streets and brick sidewalks. Leaf peepers particularly love the walk up Mount Vernon street to tree-filled Louisburg Square, or the iconic Acorn Street.

Further reading

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