Boston’s Best Free Fall Activities For Families

October 25, 2013 6:00 AM

(Photo from Thinkstock)

(Photo from Thinkstock)

(Photo from Thinkstock)

A slight chill in the air reminds us all of pumpkin patches, trips to tree-lined avenues to view foliage changing into brilliant colors and leaf piles to heap and jump in. Fall lends itself to family trips in and around the Boston area, a spot of color to the cheeks and another level of energy for another session of free activities for families. So before piling leaves in the yard, pile into the car and head to any of these wonderful adventures of the season.

Cambridge Open Market
1350 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 464-1140

Harvard Square is not only the most intensely cool place to visit, with its open-air venue of arts, music and culture, it is also home to Harvard University and its plaza is complete with its own farmers’ market and eclectic groups of all shapes and sizes. This fall, the adventure broadens its scope by adding the Cambridge Open Market. New artist exhibits, games and food are ready and waiting for the family to explore at the newest venue in the city.

The Jackson Homestead & Museum
527 Washington St.
Newton, MA 02458
(617) 796-1450

Built in 1809, the Jackson Homestead became a museum in Newton after being recognized as the one of the first sites in the underground to freedom movement. Featuring the Underground Railroad, this museum was once the hub for Civil War soldiers and slaves wishing to reach safety from tyranny. Historic burial grounds and archives of journals, hidden within collections of period furniture and artists’ renderings, bring the age that changed the nation forever into startling focus. This is a wonderful opportunity to use history in a way as not to repeat itself, challenging the family’s youth to reach further back and beyond.

Extinct Car Day
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
15 Newton St.
Brookline, MA 02445
(617) 522-6547

Date: Oct. 26, 2013

For over 75 years, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum has been home to the largest collection of the oldest cars known to mankind. Its automobiles are not restored, lending an air of mystery and giving ear to questions the family may ask as to why a bumper may be dented or a chair cushion looks like it has a smudge of lipstick. Witness firsthand the changes automobiles have experienced throughout the centuries. The kids may begin to understand how this nation has evolved into the newest hybrid automobile.

Related: Boston’s Best Fall Family Getaways

Murals of the Americas
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
11 Divinity Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 496-1027

Visit Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology for a vista of floor-to-ceiling murals of America. From the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel to the contemporary artwork of inner-city graffiti artists, creative minds have decorated the walls of homes and public places they inhabit for years. Take a look at the different styles and intricate details and let the imagination soar. “Murals of the Americas: Storied Walls” includes photography and spectacular wall paintings of the American Indians from Arizona to Northern Peru. The most enduring stories shown in pictorial artwork of all types bring to life ages past in this colorful and dramatic exhibit.

Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Ave.
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 478-3100

The Institute of Contemporary Art is always free to children under the age of 17, free to the whole family on the last Saturday of every month and watch out for Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for another free-to-all-visitors opportunity. Some of the exhibits at ICA include live and stop motion animation, models of funny expressions on men’s heads, live contemporary music, art and fashion designs that collide into the unique and sometimes off-the-wall outfits we’d never wear in public. Show the budding artist in the family some of most unique and vibrant exhibits possible with a trip to the Institute.

Related: Boston’s Best Way To Spend A Fall Day With Family

Freelance Writer Corinne Costantino brings the “Best of Boston” to New England. Her work can be found on