11 experiences to have in Boston

Summer is winding down and the air is starting to change. Beach days are turning into cold nights and, perhaps begrudgingly at first, we’re slowly beginning to trade in our shorts and swimsuits for scarves and sweaters, eventually cozying in to the brisk changing season. As October winds its way into view, we’re finding ourselves traipsing through pumpkin patches and savoring piping hot cups of apple cider under a chunky knit blanket. To help you settle into autumn, take a trip to Boston, a city that wears its seasonal foliage well. Here’s 11 experiences not to miss while in this classic New England city.

1. Watch the leaves change in Arnold Arboretum

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Boston looks good in fall colors. And one of the best spots to admire the crimson and orange foliage is in Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University. Here, admire several different types of maple leaves turn and see if you can find the vibrant Chinese parrotia in the Explorers’ Garden.

2. Grab some Boston fare at Faneuil Hall

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For cheap, yummy eats and a bit of history, stop at Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. Built by Frenchman Peter Faneuil in 1740, the hall played an integral role in the American patriots’ political movements in the 1770s, earning its nickname “The Cradle of Liberty.” Today, it’s a congested shopping district with plenty of East Coast dining choices, like a classic lobster roll at Boston Chowda Co. You’ll also find a reproduction of the iconic “Cheers” bar.                                                                                                                                      Photo: Flickr/jooOey

3. Stroll along the Esplanade

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A leisurely jaunt along this riverfront path is pleasant no matter the season (okay, maybe not in the middle of a snowstorm). Just don’t forget to look out for occasional throngs of geese and the inevitable droppings they leave behind!

4. Eat a chocolate chip cannoli from Mike’s Pastry

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North End, Boston’s oldest residential community, is dominated by Italian-American culture and the neighborhood offers a delicious selection of Italian eats. But the out-the-door lines at Mike’s Pastry don’t lie. The small shop makes more than a dozen different cannoli flavors along with a variety of other mouthwatering treats, but if you’re not sure how to pick, the chocolate chip cannoli is always a crowd favorite.

5. Attend a show at Club Passim

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This cozy Cambridge music club is where folk singers and songwriters flock just before making it big. Duck into this basement bar to escape the chilly night air.                                 Photo: Thom C/Flickr

6. Chow down on a Fenway Frank at a Red Sox game

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It’s no secret that Bostonians love baseball–Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. And if you’re going to a Red Sox game, you’re going to want a beer and a Fenway Frank as fuel to help you cheer them through another home run. It’s tough work to be a fan!                                                                                                  Photo: Flickr/Andrew Malone

7. Go on a Newbury Street shopping spree

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This super popular, easily walkable mile-long street is just spilling with retail options and eateries. You’ll find mostly high-end stores housed in the classic brownstone buildings, but there’s also plenty of cute cafes and one-of-a-kind shops along the way, too.

8. Join the Cambridge crowds for Sunday brunch

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Sunday morning in Boston?–Brunch, always. There’s a pretty unlimited supply of restaurants to choose from, but Highland Kitchen is a popular Somerville spot. Get there early: there’s always a line. Afterward, walk off those beignets and mimosas with a stroll to Harvard Yard (another prime spot for that idyllic fall scenery).

9. Ride a swan boat in the Boston Common and Public Gardens

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Not only is the Common another beautiful, romantic place to while away an afternoon, but visitors can also enjoy the scenery from one of the lagoon’s historical swan boats. (Though the boats only run through September; otherwise you’ll have to come back when the weather warms up in April.)

10. Drink some craft brews

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Yes, Samuel Adams is the go-to name when it comes to Boston and beer. But don’t fill up on Sam’s Harvest Pumpkin ale just yet: Boston is brimming with microbreweries that boast delicious craft brews and eclectic, laid-back tasting rooms. Try a sampler and warm freshly-baked pretzel at Harpoon Brewery in the Seaport District. Or, wander over to Bantam Cider Company to taste their specialty cider, Wunderkind, in their modern, revamped warehouse.

11. Take a Freedom Trail walking tour

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Just as Dorothy follows the yellow brick road, follow this red painted path along Boston’s sidewalks to 16 key locations in American history. It’s an interesting walk that takes you through most of old Boston’s most important sites, like the site of the Boston Massacre and Paul Revere’s house.

Happy Travels!

-The Wandering Alligator

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