Boston’s Best Places For Fall Colors

October 4, 2014 8:00 AM

(Image: iStockphoto)

(Image: iStockphoto)

(Image: iStockphoto)


New England is world renowned for its spectacular fall colors as the leaves change. Leaf peepers come from all over the country to drive throughout the Northeast and take in this incredible annual phenomenon. But Bostonians need not do too much planning; they can get their fill of the red and orange hues right in Boston or Cambridge. These well-maintained parks boast hundreds of different types of trees and the full range of fall colors.
Arnold Arboretum
125 Arborway
Boston, MA 02130
(617) 524-1718
www.arboretum.harvard.edu

The Arnold Arboretum is the best place to find fall colors in Boston. Easily accessible on the MBTA’s orange line in Jamaica Plain, the Arnold Arboretum is owned and maintained by Harvard University. The incredible design of the park can be attributed to the forefather of landscape design, Frederick Law Olmstead, who is well known for his work at the Arboretum. Aspiring naturalists could easily kill hours in the arboretum because it is 256 acres. Those interested in getting to know local flora in more detail will enjoy the arboretum’s lectures with experts Tree Mob.

Boston Harbor Islands
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 223-8666
www.bostonharborislands.org

The summer may be over, but there is still time to trek over to the Boston Harbor Islands for a picnic before the really cold weather sets in. Just a short and affordable boat ride away, the Boston Harbor Islands are the ideal place to spend a sunny Autumn afternoon. Enjoy the fall colors on the many hiking trails on the islands or head indoors to explore the Civil-war era forts on Georges Island, Peddocks Island, and Lovells Island. Trail maps and event calendars are available on the Boston Harbor Islands website.

The Esplanade
47 David G Mugar Way
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 626-1250
www.esplanadeassociation.org

Another convenient spot to enjoy the outdoors as the seasons change is the esplanade. From the MBTA green line or red line, walk over towards the Hatch Shell along the Charles River and enjoy the sight of the trees changing colors on the river bank. The only thing that adds to the beauty of autumn colors is when they are beside water. The Charles River reflects their colors and magnifies their brightness, making the Esplanade the perfect place for a sunset picnic or a sunrise run.

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The Back Bay Fens
85 Park Drive
Boston, MA 02215
www.cityofboston.gov

The Back Bay Fens is another link in Boston’s Emerald Necklace that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Fens includes many elements of the other parks, including its design by Frederick Law Olmstead, its location along a river and its variety of tree species. The Fens was originally designed to help restore and buffer a salt water marsh in the area, but has since evolved into a recreation area for sightseers, joggers, naturalists and art lovers. Because of its large space and close proximity to the city, this is one of the best places to check out fall foliage right in Boston’s backyard.

Mount Auburn Cemetery 
580 Mt. Auburn St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 547-7105
www.mountauburn.org

Like the parks on this list, Mount Auburn Cemetery is beautifully landscaped and today is often seen more as a welcoming garden than a creepy graveyard. Babbling brooks, gorgeous flowers and magnificent trees fill the property like no other space around. Plus, visitors can get a great view of all of the fall foliage in greater Boston by climbing Washington Tower, located at the top of the property’s hill. From the top of the tower, leaf peepers can will be able to see pretty multi-colored leaves for miles.

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Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.