Best Fall Activities in Central Connecticut

Best Fall Activities in Central Connecticut

For many people, Fall is one of the best times to visit and explore New England. Many people head north to Vermont or New Hampshire for leaf-peeping. If you are looking for something off-the-beaten-path this year, check out these great activities in Central Connecticut!

Looking for more Fall New England activities? Check out this post about a Fall Weekend in New Hampshire, and this one about what to do in Salem, Massachusetts!

Apple and Pumpkin Picking

Apple and pumpkin picking are two can’t-miss activities in central Connecticut. The season for apples begins around the end of August and continues through the beginning of October. Pumpkin season runs from the end of September through October. Check out either of the orchards below for your farm-fresh apple and pumpkin needs.

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Lyman Orchards

Many people visit Lyman Orchards every year for its apples and pumpkins, as well as it’s annual corn maze. Many other people visit just to purchase one of their well-known pies. If you have trouble deciding, go for the Hi-Top Apple Pie, which is perfect when served at Thanksgiving dinner.

32 Reeds Gap Road, Middlefield, CT 06455

Dondero Orchards

Growing up in central Connecticut, Dondero Orchards offered a no-frills fall experience for cheap apple and pumpkin picking. Over the years, its popularity has allowed it to grow into one of the most popular farms in the area. Pumpkins are no longer 10 cents per pound, but instead there are craft fairs, a farmers market, farm stand, and farm-to-table dinners offered by the orchard.

529 Woodland Street, South Glastonbury, CT 06073

Apple Festivals

What do Nutmeggers do after they’ve picked all their apples? We host apple festivals, of course! The two most popular festivals are held annually in Southington and Glastonbury.

Southington Apple Harvest Festival

Grab a fresh apple fritter and listen to the live music provided by the Southington Apple Harvest Festival! Complete with carnival rides, a craft fair, a pie baking contest, fireworks, and a parade this festival embodies central Connecticut in the Fall. You can always expect to see great musical acts: this year’s entertainment was opened by Bowling for Soup! Held the last weekend of September and the first weekend of October, you’ll have to mark this one on your calendar for next year.

75 Main Street, Southington, CT 06489 * 2019 Dates: 9/27-9/29, 10/4-10/6 *

Glastonbury Apple Festival

The Connecticut River Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual apple festival in Glastonbury every year. As stated on its website, “For the 5th year consecutive year, the Apple Harvest Festival will feature three stages of live music with 30 emerging artists, a full midway of amusement rides, over 100 vendors, 25 food trucks/purveyors, the extremely popular Harvest Pub, the Angry Orchard 5K Road Race and all things fall in New England.” This festival will take place next weekend, so if you want to get the full Fall experience in Connecticut, hop in your car and drive down to Glastonbury for a day!

300 Welles Street, Glastonbury, CT 06033 * 2018 Dates: 10/12-10/14 *

Town Fairs

If you prefer fairs that have less of a focus on apples and more on animals, add the following agricultural fairs to your calendar. Although they have both ended for 2018, they are worthwhile to make note of for Fall 2019!

durham fair, town fair, state fair, ferriswheel, carnival, fair, central connecticut

Durham Fair

The Durham Fair is considered Connecticut’s largest agricultural fair. For just four days, you can visit the fair to see prize-winning animals, enjoy fresh or fried fair food, ride the rides at Midway, and see performing acts like Melissa Etheridge and Scott Mccreery, the two 2018 headliners. If the famous Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts is not an option for you, check out the Durham Fair instead for a comparable experience.

24 Town House Road, Durham, CT 06422 * 2019 dates: 9/26-9/29 *

Haddam Neck Fair

For a smaller agricultural fair in central Connecticut, spend your Labor Day Weekend at the Haddam Neck Fair. Started by the Haddam Neck Grange in 1910, the fair now spans three days and welcome tens of thousands of guests. It no longer just shows off animals and vegetables, but instead provides carnival rides, a variety of food, Country Western entertainment, a legendary tractor pull, and a recently-added 5K road race. If you want to experience a typical Connecticut agricultural fair without the crowds attracted to Durham, the Haddam Neck Fair is perfect for you.

207 Middle Haddam Road, Middle Haddam, CT 06456 * 2019 dates: 8/30-9/2 *

Vineyards and Breweries

Chateau Le Gari

Connecticut has over 35 vineyards and wineries to explore: impressive for a state where little is known about its wine. One of my favorites is Chateau Le Gari. This vineyard was founded last year by the former Vice President of the CT Farm Wine Development Council, Gary Crump. The property is beautiful and the wines are flavorful, with most of the grapes grown right on the property.

One of the best parts about this vineyard is the presence of Gary himself. When you arrive for a tasting you may be greeted by the former-Cajun behind the tasting bar pouring his own wine and telling you stories from his career and life. If you are lucky, you may even get to try some of his local cooking. Every Sunday afternoon, Gary makes and serves pasta with bolognese to his guests! Gary’s knowledge of wine is astounding, so if you can catch him while you’re here for a conversation, be sure to do so.

vineyard, winery, chateau le gari, connecticut, wine, central connecticut

303 South Main Street, Marlborough, CT 06447

Priam Vineyards

Priam Vineyards is located less than five minutes from Chateau Le Gari. In fact, Priam was also founded by Gary Crump! Stop in for a quick tasting, or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the back patio with a bottle of local wine.

vineyard, winery, priam, connecticut, wine, central connecticut

11 Shailor Hill Road, Colchester, CT 06415 *

Fat Orange Cat Brewery

A few years ago, Mike Klucznik started brewing his own beer for personal consumption, as many Americans do. After winning a number of home brewing competitions, he decided to open his own brewery. Sheila Mullen had ample space on her property in rural Connecticut, so the two built a barn to host the brewing operations and a small bar. The pair still travels with their team to national craft beer competitions, but if you like beer and are in the area, you should travel to the Fat Orange Cat Brewery to try the beer for yourself!

brewery, connecticut, beer, fat orange cat, craft beer, brew, central connecticut

47 Tartia Road, East Hampton, CT 06424 *

Pumpkintown, U.S.A.

If you only do one Fall activity in central Connecticut, you must visit Pumpkintown, U.S.A. In 1990, Sandra Peszynski of Paul’s & Sandy’s Too farm store painted faces on a few pumpkins, added some clothes, and invited the local townspeople to take photos. She had no idea that 28 years later, Pumpkintown would be the top non-scary Halloween attraction in Connecticut! The town now has a Saloon, Bank, Post Office (to mail your Pumpkintown postcards), Firehouse with a firepole to slide down, tires for jumping, a hay bale maze, tractor rides, and so much more! Don’t forget to take pictures!

pumpkintown, pumpkin, fall, connecticut, central connecticut

pumpkintown, pumpkin, fall, connecticut, central connecticut

93 East High Street, East Hampton, CT 06424 *

Old Airline Trail

Fall is the perfect season for hiking! While you won’t find many tall mountains in Connecticut, there are many beautiful trails to walk, run, or bike along. The Old Airline Trail stretches about 25 miles from East Hampton to Thompson. Built in 1873 to connect New York City and Boston, the tracks have long been covered by gravel to provide a recreational area to locals. Ample parking is available every few miles along the trail, and access is free.

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airline trail, old airline trail, rail trail, connecticut, hiking, walking, biking, outdoors, central connecticut

Trail head: 69 Smith Street, East Hampton, CT 06424

Lady Katherine Cruise

Central Connecticut is often referred to as the Connecticut River Valley due to the Connecticut River running through it. One of the best ways to experience the river is by taking a cruise. The Lady Katherine departs from Middletown and East Haddam, and offers Fall brunch and dinner cruises so you can enjoy the foliage on the water. If you are more of a Halloween person, check out the Halloween Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise!

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Multiple Locations

Where to Eat in Central Connecticut

When you’re ready to take a break from all of the activities and grab some food, check out the places below! Central Connecticut has many amazing restaurants, but the three described here are especially fun in the Fall.

Goats N Roses

Goats and Roses provides one of the most authentic farm-to-table experiences in New England. As you pull into the parking lot on the farm, you are greeted by a farmhouse, tavern, general store, and goat yard. Grab a table – outdoor seating only – and pick one of your favorite farm dishes to eat. I recommend the Teriyaki Chicken Salad or Figgy Piggy Sandwich. After your meal, you can explore the property where you are likely to encounter some of the resident animals, like the chickens, peacocks, and of course goats!

dining, restaurant, farm to table, outdoor seating, goats n roses, central connecticut

dining, restaurant, farm to table, outdoor seating, goats n roses, central connecticut

86 East Hampton Road, Marlborough, CT 06447 *

Rose’s Berry Farm

Rose’s Berry Farm is open for Sunday breakfast from June through October. Despite its short season, it may be the best Sunday breakfast experience you have. Everything served at Rose’s is farm fresh and farm-to-table, right from the farm it overlooks. Sitting high above the rows of berries and apples, you can enjoy waffles, pancakes, and french toast topped with seasonal fruit. Savory dishes are also available, but even if you are usually a fan of savory breakfasts as I am, this is one time to go the sweet route for the berries!

295 Matson Hill Road, South Glastonbury, CT 06073 *

Where to Stay in Central Connecticut

Most accommodation options in central Connecticut consist of your typical chain hotels: Marriotts, Holiday Inns, Homewood Suites, etc. These are great choices if are only using your hotel as a place to sleep while you explore the area. However, if you want to try something a little more traditional Connecticut, check out the options below.

The Inn at Middletown

This property was built as a private residence in 1810, and subsequently acquired by the State of Connecticut to be used as an armory. In November 2003, the Town of Middletown opened the Inn as “an upscale full service boutique hotel.” If you are looking for charm and location within walking distance to many businesses and restaurants on Middletown’s Main Street, this is the place for you.

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70 Main Street, Middletown, CT 06457 * (Click here to book!)

Griswold Inn

Founded in 1776 during the American Revolution as a tavern and accommodation for shipbuilders who moved to town, the Griswold Inn has been in operation for more than 242 years. Its rich history follows that of America. You can experience what it was like to join fellow revolutionaries in the early years of the country in the tavern, or have a more upscale experience in the full dining room. The Griswold Inn also offers 33 unique bedrooms for rent: some have fireplaces, some provide a view of Main Street, and others overlook the water. If you want to step back in history on your visit to Connecticut, check out the Griswold Inn.

inn, essex, connecticut, lodging, history, griswold inn, central connecticut

36 Main Street, Essex, CT 06426 * (Click here to book!)

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How to Spend a Fall Weekend in New Hampshire

How to Spend a Fall Weekend in New Hampshire

This past weekend, I celebrated the New England transition from Summer to Fall in New Hampshire. I stayed with some friends in a cabin near the Vermont border. Throughout the weekend we engaged in both Summer and Fall activities, and enjoyed the beautiful, relaxing weekend that New Hampshire offered. You may not think of Northern New England as the most exciting area to go on vacation, but as the leaves begin to change this month, you should reconsider. There are many fun and adventurous things to do in this area!

Looking for other recommendations for New England Fall activities? Check out the Best Fall Activities in Connecticut post!


If you’re heading to New Hampshire this Fall season, definitely stay in a cabin. It gives you a more authentic nature experience in a very tranquil setting. You will also likely be closer to many of the outdoors activities in which you are probably looking to engage. There are cabins of all sizes and prices available on AirBNB (click here for $40 off your first reservation). If you love the cabin my friends and I stayed in this weekend, contact me for details about how to rent it!

new hampshire, cabin, loft, autumn

View from above of the spacious, cozy interior of our cabin


When my friends and I rent a property with a full kitchen, we often cook all our meals “at home.” There are many local grocery and general stores around New England where you can pick up provisions for your own cabin. If you are in the Western part of the state and looking to eat a meal out, check out The Farmer’s Table Café in Grantham. This restaurant provides both a cozy and upscale feel inside. It is located near ski resorts and hiking mountains like Sunapee. Wood-fired pizzas are its specialty – and they are delicious – but all the local options on the menu are amazing. Service was a little slow when I was there for lunch, but if you’re looking for a laid-back weekend this place will fit right into your schedule.

farmers table cafe, new hampshire, cafe, lunch, grantham

Farmer’s Table Cafe

Local New Hampshire Activities

Don’t miss out on these quintessential New England outdoors activities on your next trip to New Hampshire!


New Hampshire has some of the best mountains and trails to hike. If you are an experienced hiker, you can challenge yourself with a 4,000-footer like Mount Tecumseh or Mount Washington. If you want to keep things closer to the ground, there are many trails available that circle lakes and mountains without requiring a strenuous ascent. My friends and I opted for the latter and hiked around Lake Eastham.

While I don’t consider myself to be an expert hiker, I’ve been on many hikes with friends who are experts. My best piece of advice for novice hikers is to look out for the colored paint or symbols along your trail. They will indicate which trail you are following and where your trail leads. You should be able to see the next colored marker from your current location. If you follow this rule, you will never get lost while hiking!

Example of a Marker on our Lake Trail


The swimming season in New England is wrapping up but a few exceptionally warm days in September may provide the last good beach days of the season. The lake waters in New Hampshire are pristine. They provide a refreshing dip that is welcome on a hot day or after an activity like hiking. Next time you are in New Hampshire, grab your towel and pick a lake at which you can relax and cool off.

Many lakes also have a variety of boats for visitors to rent

Apple Picking

I really can’t talk about Fall in New Hampshire without mentioning apple picking. This typical New England activity is especially enjoyable in New Hampshire because there are so many orchards to pick from.  My friends and I selected the King Blossom Farm. Though we went on a beautiful day in the middle of September, the farm was empty when we arrived! The owners gave us some background about the farm and described the different varieties available, including the heirloom mixes that had developed over many years. We then set off into the orchard to pick all the apples we could want. The trees were abundant with beautiful-looking fruit, and at less than $1/pound we couldn’t resist picking over 10 pounds! Any farm or orchard in New Hampshire would give you a similar experience, but King Blossom Farm is worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Dozens of apples sitting on the trees just waiting to be picked

The farm also had a farm stand with fresh vegetables, homemade fruit butters and local maple syrup

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Best things to do in New Hampshire in the Fall

Day Trip from Boston: Salem

Day Trip from Boston: Salem

The city of Boston has a ton to offer, but if you want to get away for a day, there are exciting things to do in all directions: North, South, West, and even East!

Some of my favorite day-trip destinations from Boston are the Harbor Islands, the Cape, Patriot Place, Wrentham Outlets, Gloucester, and the Nashoba Valley Winery. If you have time, they are all worth checking out. However, I want to highlight a place I know well that is merely 30 minutes North of Boston: Salem, Mass.

Welcome to Witch City

Bewitched statue in the center of Salem

If you hop on the commuter train at North Station or drive up Route 1 for a half hour you may end up in historic Salem, home to the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s. Salem embraces its history of witchcraft and has many witch-related stores on pedestrian-only Essex Street. It also offers year-round haunted or historical walking tours and invites visitors to see its Salem Witch Museum at any time of the year. If you really want to experience Salem in full swing, try spending a day or a weekend there in October. Throughout the month, the town brings in street performers and vendors, features carnival rides, hosts a parade on October 1 to kick off festivities, and lights off fireworks on Halloween. Almost all visitors dress up in costume, especially on Halloween, so this is the perfect time to dig out your favorite werewolf, vampire, or even witch costume!

You can even take a self-guided walking tour of locations seen in the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus”: here we are in front of the Ropes Mansion!

If Halloween isn’t your favorite holiday there is still plenty of non-witch-related fun to be had in Salem (though I would strongly recommend going sometime other than October in that case). Also on Essex Street you will find the Peabody Essex Museum, with many fascinating exhibits such as a giant statue of “The Thinker” by Rodin, on loan from Paris’ Museé Rodin. On the third Thursday night of each month the museum sponsors a PEM PM night, complete with a theme (such as Dominican Republican culture or anime and comics), musicians, dancers, food, drink, games and activities, and a chance to explore the museum.  Down by the water you can visit the House of Seven Gables, the actual house that inspired the novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorne. If you prefer to just enjoy the food and drink scene in Salem, check out Far From the Tree Cider Tasting Room or the Sea Level Oyster bar with a rooftop deck overlooking the water.


Entrance to the Peabody Essex Museum

Large Rodin “The Thinker” Statue

PEM/PM Dominican dancers!

House of Seven Gables

Regardless of what you’re looking for, Salem is a great town to visit for a day or two near Boston!

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Year-round activities in Salem, Massachusetts

One-Day Boston Itinerary

One-Day Boston Itinerary

If you only have one day and want to truly experience everything Boston has to offer (or as much as you can in one day), here is a suggested itinerary.

8:00 AM: Breakfast

Start your day at Tatte (1003 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA: Green Line, C Line, St. Mary’s Street Stop), which is just over the city line in Brookline, MA. This European-style bakery has incredible pastries, lattes, and hot brunch options. In the summer months you can sit outside on the sidewalk to enjoy your breakfast, but thanks to a recent renovation there’s ample seating inside as well.

tatte; pastry; boston

Latte and Pastry at Tatte

9:00 AM: Tour of Fenway Park

Once you’ve finished your breakfast, walk over to Fenway Park for their 9 AM guided tour of the park. The website recommends arriving 15 minutes early for this one-hour behind the scenes look at America’s oldest ballpark.

10:30 AM: Museum of Fine Arts

Next, walk through the Fens to the Museum of Fine Arts (“MFA”), where you can wander around for a couple of hours viewing either the historical artifacts of Ancient Egypt and Greece, or the more recent artwork from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. If there is a special exhibit, be sure to check it out, they are always worthwhile.

12:30 PM: Lunch Downtown

Take the Green Line, E Line, from the Northeastern T Stop to the Copley T Stop and head to Atlantic Fish on Boylston Street for lunch. Again, if it’s a nice day outside, ask for a table on the sidewalk and watch the busy Bostonians hustle by. If you’re not a fan of seafood, then your destination is Stephanie’s on Newbury, which again has highly-recommended outdoor seating and one of the best brunches in Boston.

atlantic fish; restaurant; boston

2:00 PM: Boston Garden/Freedom Trail

Spend the afternoon after lunch walking the Freedom Trail. I know in another post I recommended starting the trail at the end, at the USS Constitution, and ending at the Boston Garden, but today you’ll start in the Boston Garden, which is only a 15-minute walk away from lunch. Spend time leisurely wandering Boston exploring the first half of the Freedom Trail, from the Boston Common to the North End, where you’ll end for dinner. If you read a guidebook or Google historical sites you can follow a self-guided tour, or you can join an official 90-minute Walk into History tour led by actors in historical costumes. If you choose the 90 minute tour you will also have time for relaxing by the harbor front or finishing the Trail with the Bunker Hill Monument and USS Constitution before dinner.

5:00 PM: Dinner North End

Enjoy a long Italian dinner in the North End, the Italian section of Boston. Pick any restaurant you’d like, you can’t go wrong with anything in the area, especially on the main drag Hanover Street, Salem Street, or any side streets off of these roads. My favorites include Ristorante Fiore, La Famiglia Giorgio’s, and Nico.

8:00 PM: Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Pops Show

From the North End you can either hop back on the T, the Green Line, E Line, at the Haymarket Station and take the train all the way to the Symphony stop, or just grab an Uber to Boston Symphony Hall. Depending on who is playing that night you can either watch a performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra or the Boston Pops. Many world-famous musicians come to play with the BSO such as Yo Yo Ma, and if you are in town during the holiday season, you don’t want to miss the Boston Pops’ Holiday performance!

10:00 PM: Drinks at Top of the Hub

End your night with a couple of cocktails at the Prudential Center’s Top of the Hub restaurant while enjoying the spectacular views of the city. If your day in Boston is a Saturday, you can enjoy the live jazz music while enjoying your drink and the view.

boston; top of the hub

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One-Day Itinerary for Boston, Massachusetts

Fitness in Boston

Fitness in Boston

There is no shortage of fitness options in this city! Boston is an epicenter of young professionals, and we certainly uphold the millennial stereotype of enjoying our studio classes and other workouts in the city.

Outdoor Options

Boston has many green spaces perfect for working out year-round. As the top running race in the world, the Boston Marathon, is held here, you will always see people who are either training for the Marathon or inspired by the runners running through the streets and on the Esplanade along the Charles River. If you are not at a level to participate in the Boston Marathon, the Boston Athletic Association offers 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon Races that run on the same streets through the city. In fact, the 5K occurs two days before the Marathon and the route has runners race right over the Marathon finish line after making the infamous right on Hereford, left on Boylston turns that marathon finishers make.

marathon; running; boston

Boston Marathon Top Runners

Biking has also become popular in Boston recently. Many people use the city’s well-constructed bike lanes to commute to and from work, but if you’re looking for more of a leisurely ride you can rent a Hubway bike with a credit card from any of the Hubway stands and then ride along the Esplanade or the Charles River Bike Path in Cambridge with no risk of interference from motor vehicles.

Many fitness centers offer free outdoor classes in the summer as well. Through these programs you can find yoga in the parks, early morning outdoor boot camp classes, and Zumba® by Healthworks at the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade in the evening!

Spin Studios

spin; cycle

What city full of young professionals would be complete without a plethora of spin studios? In Boston, you will find the national studios Soul Cycle, Turnstyle, and Flywheel, as well as local studios including B Spoke, The Handle Bar, and C-Town Cycle. Most of these locations offer free or discounted classes for first-time students, so you can try as many as you’d like without spending your entire vacation budget! My favorite – so far – is Turnstyle’s South End studio, but I have friends who prefer B Spoke, Soul Cycle, and Flywheel as well.

Yoga Classes

As with the spin studios, Boston’s residents would not be content without yoga studios around every corner. There are really too many to list, with local studios seemingly appearing every week, but some of my favorites include Down Under Yoga and Core Power Yoga (especially the C2 class). I’ve never had a bad experience at a Boston yoga studio, and similar to the spin studios, most studios will offer first-time student discounts or free classes so you can check them out while you’re in the city.

boston; yoga; fitness

Yoga in the shadow of Boston’s Faneuil Hall


Indoor Rock Climbing

A recent phenomenon in the Boston area is indoor rock climbing. Brooklyn Boulders and Rock Spot Climbing are the two favorites among Bostonians. Just show up with your sneakers and the gyms will have all the other equipment that you need, like helmets and ropes. A professional on site will be available to explain everything and help belay if you’ve never done rock-climbing before, so if you are up for something new this is certainly worth trying out!

Dancing Lessons

A common theme you will come to notice in my posts is that I love to dance, and try to fit dancing into my life as much as possible. Because of this, I must talk about dancing in Boston as a fitness option. In addition to just sweating it out in one of our clubs or lounges on a weekend night, Boston offers dance lessons at various studios for those looking to learn the basics of different styles of dance.

The Boston Ballet, the company that produces The Nutcracker each year, offers open adult classes to which you can drop-in. If you’ve never danced before, the company provides an Intro to Ballet Workshop where you can start your journey towards becoming a ballerina. If you travel a bit outside the city, The Studio in Brookline also offers drop-in adult dance classes for all levels in many styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and pointe.

To learn some Latin dancing, especially Caribbean-style salsa, check out the lessons offered by Salsa y Control in Allston and Cambridge. The instructors from Salsa y Control also offer lessons at The Havana Club in Cambridge on Friday nights before the club is open to all levels for the best Latin dance party in Boston, where you can show off the moves you learned!

salsa; dance; boston

Night Out at the Havana Club


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Fitness Recommendations in Boston, Massachusetts

Top Boston Attractions

Top Boston Attractions

The other day a good friend asked for ideas of things to do in downtown Boston with his wife for their anniversary, and I completely blanked! To be fair, it was the middle of December and forecast to be the coldest day of the season so far with a high of 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so I was limited to activities that didn’t require being outside at all. Since that day, and in preparation for writing this entry, I’ve been thinking hard and talking with friends about what the top attractions are in Boston. I hope there’s something that appeals to everyone!

Go See a Game

red sox; yankees; boston; fenway; baseball

Red Sox – Yankees Game in the iconic Fenway Park

One of Boston’s many nicknames is the “City of Champions,” and with good reason: we have professional teams for all four of the major American sports (football, basketball, baseball, and hockey), and each has already won at least one national championship in the past 10 years. No matter which season you decide to visit Boston, you will be able to catch a game. If you want a relaxing, family-friendly atmosphere to both spend time with your friends and catch a game in America’s oldest ball field, check out the Red Sox at Fenway Park from April through September (or October if they make the playoffs!). If you want an intimate venue where you’re part of the action, head to TD Garden to watch either the Boston Bruins play hockey or the Boston Celtics in a basketball game: they share the venue, so be sure to check out which team is in town when you are in Boston. If you’re willing to make the trip – and pay the price for the tickets – you can catch a train or drive about 40 miles South of Boston to Foxboro to watch the five-time Super Bowl Champions the New England Patriots take on other football opponents on Thursdays, Sundays, or Mondays from August through January.


boston college; football; bostonFinally, if quintessential American sports are not your thing, you could always catch a New England Revolution game (soccer), watch thousands of top runners from around the world compete in the Boston Marathon, which takes place the third Monday of April every year, or cheer on crew teams in the Head of the Charles the third weekend of October. College sports teams in the area, including Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, and Harvard, are also exciting to check out, and usually for a fraction of the price of their professional counterparts!

Check out Boston’s Museums

Boston is a world-class cultural center with many opportunities to see valuable works of art and experience scientific innovation at any of the museums around the city. I’ve listed some of my favorites with a brief description below.

Museum of Fine Art: Premier collection of world-renowned art from Ancient Egypt to modern America, including incredible temporary exhibits as well.

mfa; museum; art; boston

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Site of the famous 1990 Rembrandt Heist, former mansion of Isabella Stewart Gardner filled with her personal collection of art she collected in her world travels during the 20th century.

Museum of Science: Contains not only typical science museum exhibits, but a great Planetarium and Omni experience theater. From March through November you can also head to the Observatory on Friday nights to check out the real night sky.

John F. Kennedy Library: The 35th American President was born in the Boston suburb of Brookline, where his house is still available for tours in the Spring and Summer months. His Presidential library sits on the South Shore of the city, accessible by public transit, and takes visitors through his youth, time serving in World War II, Presidential achievements, assassinations, and other contributions to the country by his family members.

New England Aquarium: While not technically a museum, this aquarium is great for aquatics-lovers to stop by with its multi-floor eco-system in the center, a touching-tank with sea rays and sharks, and the main attraction, penguins!

Mapararium: Take a tour inside this three-story glass globe built in the early 1900s, to see not only this impressive feat of architecture but also how the world has changed in the past century.

Many of Boston’s museums offer special monthly events as well with drinks, music, and programs geared towards adults, including the Museum of Fine Arts’ First Fridays, the Gardner Museum’s Third Thursdays, and Boston “Grown-Ups” Museum night at the Boston Children’s Museum.

Walk the Freedom Trail

Whenever I have family members visit me in Boston for the first time, they always ask about walking the Freedom Trail. While the trail is claimed to start in the Boston Common and end at the USS Constitution ship in Charleston, I would recommend going backwards and ending at the Common where there are plenty of locations to grab food or drink and relax when you have finished, including the original Cheers bar. There are 16 official stops on the Freedom Trail, which can all be found by following the Red Brick Line in the sidewalk (similar to Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz). Here are the stops I find most interesting:

USS Constitution: From the late 1700s, this is the oldest commissioned warship still afloat. After surviving the War of 1812 fighting against the British troops, she was given the nickname “Old Ironsides.” You can buy tickets to go on board and take a tour while she is docked.

Bunker Hill Monument: The second stop on the trail going backwards, the monument has 294 steps to climb to the top for a unique view of Boston.

Old North Church: The oldest church still operating in Boston, the steeple of this church is where the lanterns were purported to have been hung, “one if by land, two if by sea,” to signal to Paul Revere how the British were approaching so he could set off on his midnight ride to alert the colonists.

Paul Revere House: Built in 1680 and purchased by Paul Revere in 1770, you can visit the house where Revere and his family lived during the Revolutionary War.

Faneuil Hall: Filled with cute shops and vendors on the first floor, the meeting room on the second floor is where our Revolutionary Leaders met during the war, and where the Sons of Liberty expressed dissent against Royal oppression. While here, you can also stop by the shops and eateries of Quincy Market.

Site of the Boston Massacre: Identified by just a plaque, you can stand on the exact spot where the British troops shot at the colonists to ignite the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. A reenactment to commemorate the event takes place every year on the site.

Old State House: Visit the Old State House for a fascinating museum about the Revolutionary War, then step outside to look at the golden lion statue sitting atop the roof: in 2014 a time capsule from 1901 with its contents in almost perfect condition was found in the lion’s head when it was taken down for restoration.

Granary Burying Ground: An incredible cemetery in the heart of Boston near the Common, including a giant monument with the name “Franklin” on it, under which Ben Franklin’s parents are buried. Other individuals of note buried in this cemetery include Sam Adams and John Hancock.

Massachusetts State House: Impossible to miss with its gilded dome, the Massachusetts State House was built in 1798 and is still used by State Senators, Representatives, and the Governor to conduct state politics. You can take a tour or just step in to look at the interior of the dome and artifacts around the rotunda.

state house; boston; history

Boston Common/Boston Gardens: The Freedom Trail begins, and in this case ends, at the Boston Common. Used for many public purposes, including witch hangings in the 1700s, today you can find many families and college students enjoying the sun in the Common in the warm months, and ice skating on Frog Pond in the cold months. Walk through the Common to the Boston Garden, where the Swan Boats continue to make their way around the Pond in the summer months after almost 150 years of operation.

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Swan Boats in the Boston Garden Pond

Take in a Show

Seeing as it is currently the holiday season in Boston, I cannot imagine being in this city without catching one of the many shows available. Check out the schedule at the Boston Symphony to see whether the Boston Symphony Orchestra or Boston Pops are performing: if you are under 40 years old, you can get $20 tickets for select performances, and if you plan your trip to see the Boston Pops right, you could see John Williams himself conducting some of his hits from movie scores including Jaws, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, and Harry Potter! Many college music groups also provide cheap or free shows, including most Berklee organizations and the Boston College Symphonic Band, who performs at the Hatch Shell each summer.

If theatre is more your thing, you can check out Shakespeare in the Common during the summer months, or a hilarious version of Shakespeare with a drunk cast member not quite following the script in Sh*tfaced Shakespeare. Again, many colleges will also put on their own theatrical productions throughout the year.

You may instead choose to see the Boston Ballet (their version of the Nutcracker is amazing), a Broadway in Boston show, or check out a comedy performance at the Improv Asylum. Many top-billing performers also come through the city frequently, performing not only at big venues like TD Garden but also more intimate music venues like the Royale, House of Blues, and Paradise Rock Club.

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Chromeo performing at the House of Blues

Of course, as in any city, you could also fill your days wandering the streets of Back Bay, Downtown, South Boston, and the North End, going on college visits to view the campuses of Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and Boston College, and sit by the water in the Seaport or at the beach, but I wanted to provide examples of some of the unique cultural experiences Boston also has to offer.

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