What's the best time to visit Boston?
Boston is quite a diverse city with its education, cultural venues, versatile neighborhoods, museums, theatres, and galleries. Whether joining a walking tour or attending a local event, you can experience it and make memories in many ways.
In this guide, we’ll go through when is the best time to visit Boston and share some of the main reasons why you might want to..
The Overall Best Time to Visit Boston
The overall best time to visit Boston is in summer (June—August). The temperatures are between lows of 59°F and highs of 82°F.
It’s hands down the prime period to experience Boston — lots of outdoor activity options, including hitting the beach, you get the most perfect weather for walking around, and more importantly, the festivals are running full steam.
There’s also something to be said about waterfront dining in the summer — just head to Harborwalk Terrace where you can listen to some good music as part of the City Entertainment Series, and you’ll see what we mean.
If you want to add local charity events to your itinerary, opt for Jimmy Fund’s Scooper Bowl, where you can eat ice cream to help in the fight against cancer.
June also offers the Cambridge Arts Stream Festival, which frequently features folk and jazz music performances, dancing, and art and art-making activities. If you’re a fan of horror, anime, gaming, comics, or cosplay, pay the FAN EXPO Boston a visit if you’re there in June.
July sees the famous Independence Day festivities as any other city in the US. if you’re up for some entertainment, consider the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival (July), which sees artists competing to make the most awesome sand sculpture.
August visitors should also take note of Boston’s so-called restaurant week, known as “Dine Out Boston,” and take advantage of some good food deals.
Don’t forget to get the free admission option to the city’s museums and other cultural venues via the Free August Adventures program. August is when the North End Feasts take place, one of which is St. Anthony’s Feast, where guests can enjoy authentic Italian dishes.
Finally, keep in mind that this is the busiest tourism season in Boston. Accommodation prices increase and the crowds can be intense.
Considering children are out of school, this is also when most families plan their vacation, so expect a bit more buzz in the city. It’s advisable that you book everything you can in advance.
Cheapest Time to Visit Boston
The cheapest time to visit Boston is in spring (March—May). Spring temperatures vary between 32°F and 66°F. The climate is perfect for exploring the city and taking advantage of attractive accommodation rates and airfare deals.
Popular events at this time include March’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, especially in Boston’s Irish neighborhoods, Dine Out Boston (yep, it’s the same August event), Boston Marathon (April) taking place annually on Patriots’ Day, and Boston International Film Festival (April), bringing together movie buffs from all around the US and beyond.
Next, there’s the Boston Calling Music Festival (May), calling all music enthusiasts, and the Ducking Day Parade, honoring McCloskey Robert’s book Make Way for Ducklings.
Note that prices begin to climb around the dates of some of the more popular festivals and events.
That being said, you can always find ways to go easy on your wallet even if you don’t manage to get the best deal on accommodation — you can go museum hopping when rates are reduced or there’s free entrance.
For instance, The Museum of Fine Arts provides visitors with reduced admission fees after 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. Next, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum offers complimentary entry at all times to visitors with the name Isabella.
If you want to eat high-quality food at very affordable prices, consider eating at Quincy Market. Visiting Boston on a budget is possible — you just want to research the things you’re interesting in doing beforehand.
Least Busy Time to Visit Boston
The least busy time to visit Boston is in the fall (September—November). Crowds dwindle, the peak summer madness is over, and fall welcomes visitors with its changing colors. Temperatures around this time fluctuate between 37°F and 73°F.
September is known for its Oktoberfest celebrations across different venues in the city, uniting beer lovers with great food, entertainment, and naturally, plenty of beer options.
You should check out the Boston Local Food Festival and look for some healthy local food or show your support local artists by attending the Boston Arts Festival. Sports fans should also buy tickets to a Patriots game.
October is when the Head of the Charles Regatta takes place — rowing races on the Charles River drawing in competitors and spectators allike. If you’re into Halloween celebrations, we recommend heading to Salem and joining the festivities.
November marks the beginning of the festive season with the holiday tree lights at Boston Common. Keep in mind that November sees a bit more rain than usual, which is why many avoid visiting around this time, leaving visitors such as yourself to explore Boston at their own pace.
For a bit of fun, consider the Boston Comedy Festival; or even the Boston Ballet program if you want something more sophisticated. Foodies are encouraged to enjoy the Fall Food Truck Fest.
Worst Time to Visit Boston
The worst time to visit Boston is in winter (December—February). We won’t beat around the bush here — Boston winters are cold, and often pretty snowy too.
Temperatures reach 41°F during the day, and hover around 29°F at night. However, if you can deal with Boston’s really cold weather, there are things to enjoy — like the local atmosphere, empty tables in your preferred restaurants, and festive magic.
This is certainly true for December visitors. Be it the holiday pop-ups or the shining trees, Decembers in Boston can make everyone feel as though they are part of a fairy tale.
To add a bit of fun to your December itinerary, head to Frog Pond and enjoy an ice skating session. You can also take part in the Boston Tea Party Reenactment and festivities. The yearly Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert is worth attending as well.
Mid-January hosts the popular Boston Wine and Food Festival, running for three months. It’s the nation’s largest running food and wine festival, so planning your visit around this festival is well worth it.
February sees Boston residents in a hibernating state of mind; alternatively, some may be hitting the ski slopes up north. That said, there’s still so much to be celebrated even in February.
From the Chinese New Year festivities in Chinatown, and the Beanpot tournament, to the Duck Boat Parade, the February event calendar more than makes up for the chilly temperatures.
Things to Consider
We want you to have the best time in Boston, so here are some extra travel tips that can help you make that happen:
- Purchase the Boston CityPASS or Go Boston Card, and save big during your visit to Boston.
- Uber and Lyft operate in Boston and are way cheaper than taxis. The city also has a bike-sharing program called Blue Bikes. You can also take the T (it’s short for MBTA, Massachusets Bay Transportation Authority) when you don’t feel like walking. We recommend either buying a seven-day unlimited pass or getting a reloadable CharlieCard. Also, forget about driving — not only is driving and parking a big hassle in this city, but also unnecessary (more about it in the FAQ section).
- Tip generously — 15% is considered the minimum, 20% is suitable for good service, and in rare cases of exceptional service, even 25%.
- Recreational marijuana use is allowed, and there are dispensaries all over the city. That said, using marijuana in public places is illegal.
- If you’re going to Boston during the high season, make sure to buy tickets for sports events or theatre performances at least one month prior to the event. Also, if you’ve been eyeing a specific restaurant, book a table at least a week before, especially if you want to go during the weekend. Some posh restaurants in the city may even require reservations a few months in advance.
- Tap water is safe to drink in Boston.
- Don’t rely too heavily on the weather forecast, as Boston weather has a bit of a bad reputation for being temperamental. Many suggest taking both your umbrella and sunglasses when you go out, as you never quite know when the weather may change during the day.
- Bostonians are said to be reserved — they don’t randomly greet strangers on the street or initiate conversations while using public transportion. With that said, if you have questions or need help with directions, chances are they’ll be more than willing to help.
- Get travel insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many days do you need to see Boston?
Boston is generally easy to navigate, and it’s a fairly compact city, making it ideal for a three to four-day itinerary.
Is Boston cheap or expensive?
For a three-day trip to Boston, you’ll need $1095 if you’re going on your own, $1860 if you’re with a travel buddy, or $2410 if you’re going as a family of four. Hotel prices in the city center vary between $355 and $885, the average being $445 per night.
It’s recommended that you set aside around $110 per person per day for eating out and transportation.
Last but not least, be aware that your Boston costs will vary based on where you’re traveling from, the sort of lodging you choose, and your overall spending habits.
What’s more, the travel cost estimates we’ve provided here are based on the actual experiences of previous travelers, so they’re only meant to give visitors such as yourself a broad idea of how much money you’ll need to spend.
Is Boston a walkable city?
Boston is nicknamed “The Walking City,” and no wonder, as it’s said to be the third most walkable city in the United States. Several of the most walkable neighborhoods include Beacon Hill, Chinatown’s Leather District, North End, and Bay Village.
Is Boston safe for solo female travelers?
In general, Boston is very safe for solo female travelers. It has a low crime rate, but as with any destination, taking basic precautions and being aware of your surroundings at all times is more than recommended. Also, avoid wandering alone at night, don’t leave your drink unattended, and make sure you only walk in well-lit areas.
Is Boston or Chicago better to visit?
While both Chicago and Boston are absolutely worth paying a visit to, they attract different travelers. Namely, Chicago is a much bigger city and has many more attractions and points of interest. It’s also renowned for its nightlife, music, shopping, and theatre productions.
Boston, on the other hand, is much more famous for its historical sights, passionate sports culture, and overall coastal charm.
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|👍 Best Time to Visit
|June to August
|💲 Cheapest Time to Visit
|March to May
|🗓️ Least Busy Time to Visit
|September to November
|👎 Worst Time to Visit
|December to February
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you — consider the pros and cons of visiting Boston in each season and see what works for you best. Now that you have everything you need to know about the best time to visit Boston, you can start planning your trip!