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Best Time to Visit Boston | When to Go & Travel Tips

Best Time to Visit Boston | When to Go & Travel Tips

Boston, a classic New England city rich in history, offers history, culture, class, nature, great food, and fun all wrapped up into one. Boston is the perfect city to visit for history buffs and seafood lovers alike. 

The city evokes a magical feel around Christmastime. For those that enjoy ice skating and snowy winters, this is also the ideal city to spend time during the winter months.

There’s so much to love about this city, and in this article, we will cover some big reasons to visit, locations to make sure you stop by, and the best time to travel to Boston. 

Why You Should Visit Boston

Old state house depicted during the best time to visit Boston

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Boston is one of the most historic cities in the United States, with its cobblestone streets, rows of brownstone homes, gothic churches, and many historic graveyards dating back to before the 1700s. 

You could never run out of history to explore in this city as a hotspot for history lovers. Every street brings you back in time while also immersing you in the contrast of the modern-day buildings built amongst the old. 

Boston is known as America’s seafood capital and is famous for its clam chowder — also known as “chowdah” by locals — oyster bars and lobster. If you love fresh, never frozen seafood, this is heaven for you.

Enjoy a spicy lobster-infused bloody mary in the morning and a fresh smoked salmon benedict at a local cafe, or spend some time at one of the many oyster bars in the evening and choose between the many different types of oysters the area has to offer. 

The ocean is just a short drive away, so you get a lot of options for outdoor activities when you visit. Boston offers many city parks nestled within the city, and during the winter months, the ponds freeze over, and you can see many people ice skating.

During the spring, have a picnic date with a loved one on the grass and enjoy the flowers, ponds, and ducks on your visit. Fenway Park is the oldest baseball arena in the United States.

It’s a great place to visit to spend your day watching baseball, enjoying a hot dog or funnel cake, and rooting for the Boston Red Sox. You can also watch the annual Boston Marathon in April, where thousands of runners compete in the oldest marathon in the world. 

Overall Best Time to Visit Boston

Beautiful Autumn day during the best time to visit Boston

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The best time for you to visit Boston is highly dependent on your personal preferences, and if you enjoy the snowy winter months, you’ll want to see it between November to March.

The overall recommended time to visit Boston if you don’t want to visit during the winter is between June and October.

The weather during these months is mild, and as autumn begins to arrive, you’ll be able to see the leaves change to a beautiful gold, orange, or bright red. This time of year allows you to experience it all in Boston without it being too cold.

If you choose to visit between the months of May through June, you’ll experience warmer temperatures, perfect for those who want to spend their vacation outside.

The temperature during this month typically does not get above the high 70s and is ideal weather for: 

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Exploring the parks
  • Going on a run down the cobblestone streets
  • Or even having a picnic

Since Boston summers are relatively mild, you’ll be able to see many flowers and plants in bloom during these months, which you wouldn’t see in more southern states during the summer.

From November to early May, it’s known to snow and ice in Boston. Winter weather peaks from December to February, and those who enjoy the snow, ice, and outdoor wintertime activities would enjoy visiting during this time of year. 

In December, you can find Christmas trees lining the roadways and hanging up in windows, candles burning in every window, and ice skaters enjoying the frozen ponds. It’s a magical time of year to visit this city, and it does not disappoint. 

Cheapest Time to Visit Boston

Boston pictured during the cheapest time to visit

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The average prices of hotels in Boston typically are dependent on the most popular and sought-after times of year to visit the city.

For example, the average prices for hotel rooms are at their lowest during January and February because many people do not enjoy the winter weather. So fewer travelers are coming to the city during this time. 

Hotel prices peak in late May through October and peak in the early fall because it’s the most popular time of year to visit.

Although the prices do peak during the most optimal time of year to visit, it’s well worth the money to stay. We recommend that travelers book their stay as early as possible to reserve the best rooms and best rates. 

Booking your flight early will help travelers score a lower rate as well, so as soon as you know when you’ll be making the trip, start your search for the cheapest flight and book it.

Some recommendations for finding the cheapest flight would be to check many different airline websites for their rates, as rates can differ vastly between airlines. You can also use a third-party liaison website to get a list of rates consolidated onto one page, but you find the best rates when you research yourself. 

Typically, booking six months to a year ahead of time will help you score the best rate, and sometimes you can even find a great package deal online for a flight, car rental, and hotel all in one booking. 

Prices at restaurants, clubs and bars in Boston will also fluctuate based on the time of year and what sales and promotions they have going on during that time.

In the winter, businesses are seeking more customers, so they will often run more specials on cocktails and food. Lobster can be expensive in many cities but is more affordable in Boston and New Hampshire due to their availability in the area.

While oysters can be enjoyed year-round, peak lobster season in Boston starts in mid-May and goes through mid-November. So keep this in mind when deciding your time of year to go. 

Least Busy Time to Visit Boston

Acorn Street in Boston pictured during the least busy time to visit

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Typically the least busy time to visit is during the winter months. By contrast, May through September is the busiest months due to the idyllic weather.

If you want to enjoy a vacation with less foot traffic and hustle and bustle, a good rule of thumb is not to plan a vacation during any major holiday. The winter months between November to March are the less busy times to visit.

If you choose to visit during Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’ll run into more people as travelers come to Boston to enjoy the holiday seasons. 

Christmas Time is primarily a popular time for people to visit. The city becomes a festive wonderland of lights, candles, snow, trees, ornaments, ice skaters, and Christmas music playing throughout the city. 

Another busy time of year in Boston happens in April due to the Red Sox opening games at Fenway Park and the Boston Marathon on April 18th, which occurs annually.

Many people from out of state and even out of the country will be visiting for these reasons and the beautiful weather during this time. So if you are seeking fewer crowds and more solitude, the top month to visit would be January. 

Worst Time to Visit Boston

Snowstorm pictured during the worst time to visit Boston

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The worst time to visit would be dependent on your personal preferences- what weather you enjoy, what activities you enjoy, and what kinds of food you are seeking to try.

You may be disappointed if you visit in the off-season for lobster and you came to visit Boston for the seafood. Traveling to Boston from January through March is probably the worst time to visit, although there are fewer crowds during this time of year. 

January through March offers the least amount of activities to enjoy, and as no significant holidays are going on, there is less to do around this time.

The weather can be bitter cold, with snowbanks, ice, sleet, and slush forming on roadways, making this time of year not travel-friendly. As discussed previously, it’s the cheapest and less trafficked time of year to visit, due to these reasons. 

Although these months are considered more minor than ideal for visiting, you still will not be disappointed with the city if you do not mind strapping on some snow boots.

You can still go enjoy a warm bowl of Boston clam chowder at any local restaurant or cafe. A warm latte in the morning and going to watch boats drift by is a great way to spend this time of year. 

Things to Consider

  • Weather. Always stay weather aware of making the best plans possible for your visit. 
  • National and local holidays. Keep these in mind to avoid large crowds or if you have a specific event to attend in mind. 
  • Activities available to you. Make sure you check what is available to you on your trip to make an itinerary of your travels. 
  • Walkability from your hotel. Getting a hotel near the places you would like to visit is a great idea to cut transportation costs, and walking around in Boston can be enjoyable in itself. 
  • What’s in season and what isn’t. Keep in mind what food is in season on your visit so that you do not miss something you were looking forward to trying during your stay. 
  • What you’ll need to bring. If visiting during the winter, make sure to pack your snow boots, ice skates, and lots of warm clothing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Lightshow in Boston during one of the best times to visit

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

Take a look at some of the most common questions related to Visiting Boston:

What is there to do in Boston at Christmas?

A winter wonderland during this time of year, Boston offers some great activities to attend during Christmastime. You can: 

  • Sip hot cocoa while walking through a park 
  • Watch ice skaters on the frozen ponds
  • Visit Quincy Market and watch the tree light show
  • Go to the Boston Opera House and watch their annual Christmas play
  • Go ice skating at many different natural and man-made locations throughout the city.

What is there to do at the Seaport in Boston?

The Boston Seaport District is an area of the city that contains many different restaurants, bars, and shops. You can talk a walk down the Harborwalk that offers beaches, restaurants, museums, and fresh seafood at every corner.

You can visit the Seaport Hotel and the Freedom Trail to see some of the city’s rich history. 

What to do in Boston when it’s hot outside?

During the summer months, there is a wide variety of activities to enjoy, such as:

  • Visiting the beach
  • Strolling along the coastline
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Sightseeing

As the weather permits, there is no shortage of activities to do during this time of the year. 

What is there to do in Little Italy in Boston?

Little Italy is a special part of Boston, offering many family-owned, authentic Italian restaurants to choose from, founded by Italian immigrants to the city.

You can grab an Italian coffee or even Italian ice from Polcaris Coffee, an Italian Market that offers many different authentic Italian products to choose from. You can see many old churches in this area of the city.

These date back hundreds of years, and visit the Paul Revere Mall, which includes the iconic Paul Revere statue. Little Italy is an excellent option for a night out, where you can find many Italian bars and restaurants serving up some delicious Italian cocktails.

What is there to do in Boston on a Saturday night?

There are so many options to choose from for a Saturday night out in Boston, as you’ll never run out of ideas! From bar-hopping to clubbing, sightseeing to dining, Boston never has a shortage of romantic date night locations, sophisticated New England pubs, and seafood restaurants. 

Take your significant other out for a date night for some freshly caught lobster and clam chowder. 

You could also enjoy one of the many local oyster bars. You can choose from a wide variety of oysters and flavors based on what part of the ocean the oysters got harvested from. 

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Boston?

Boston Tea Party Museum pictured during the best time to visit Boston

ESB Professional/Shutterstock

All in all, Boston is a great all-around city for thrill-seekers and romantics alike. Visit some local farmer’s markets, seafood stands, lobster trucks, art galleries, and beautiful ornate old-world churches that line this city. 

Boston boasts some of the best universities in the country, and every year thousands of students make the city home for their studies. You can admire the beautiful fall foliage and the wildlife and plants native to the area.

Or, travel back in time through the many graveyards dating back hundreds of years and find many historic statues scattered about the city. 

Boston has many different cultural backgrounds within, such as Little Italy and Chinatown, which give you so many amazing options for dining and trying foods you may never have before. 

Watch the Boston Tea Party reenactment, where you can see the floating Boston Tea Party museum at the harbor. Many activities offered in the city are free, so Boston is a great option for those looking for an affordable vacation and getaway.

The combination of history, art, beauty, modern updates and nature make Boston a well-rounded location to visit any time of year.