Boston Marathon

4 ways to experience fall in Massachusetts during Boston Marathon weekend

Experience the fall foliage, Salem in October, and more.

Fall foliage in Boston. Photo courtesy of Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau

The 125th Boston Marathon will take place in October this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, so travelers in Boston for the big race can also soak up all that Massachusetts has to offer during the festive fall season.

Ahead, discover four ways to experience fall in Massachusetts when the runners aren’t running.

Go leaf-peeping

Massachusetts, with its 3 million acres of forest, offers fall colors that are “pure New England,” according to Jim Montgomery, commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

For those who enjoy hiking, DCR recommends nine fall hikes this season. Or visitors can take in the foliage at many Massachusetts foliage spots full of spectacular color this season, including seven scenic driving tours in the Berkshires. While in the Berkshires, it’s well worth spending time in Lenox, according to Reader’s Digest, which recently named the town one of the best places in America to spot fall foliage.


Another drive worth checking out: the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway, a 90-mile trip full of scenic views and historic sites along the Massachusetts coast, named one of the best fall foliage trips in the U.S. by Fodor’s Travel.

Looking for excellent leaf peeping close to Boston? Head to Boston Common, the Emerald Necklace, Mount Auburn Cemetery, and Blue Hills Reservation, experts say.

Pick apples

‘Tis the season to pick apples in New England, and readers say 45 apple picking farms across the state are the best. Their absolute favorite? Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow.

For those sticking close to the city, here are the 29 best apple-picking farms within an hour of Boston, according to readers.

Some local farms were recognized nationally this year: Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury was named the No. 1 apple picking spot in the U.S. by Yelp and Tougas Family Farm in Northborough was named among the 10 best apple orchards in America by USA Today readers.

If corn mazes are more your thing, two Massachusetts corn mazes were just named among the best in America: Davis Mega Maze in Sterling and Connors Farm in Danvers.

An employee closes the gate for the day at the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts April 7, 2014. – Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Spend time in Salem

Located 16 miles north of Boston, Salem, the city famous for the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, typically welcomes more than half a million visitors during October for its month-long Haunted Happenings. It was just named among the best places to travel worldwide in October by Conde Nast Traveler.


Kate Fox, director of Destination Salem, the city’s office of tourism and cultural affairs, shared her picks for what to eat and do in Salem this year during the month of October. Her recommendations include the Salem Witch Museum, cider doughnuts from Coffee Time Bake Shop, and one of the more than 30 walking tours.

Need help choosing a tour? Salem’s History & Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour is Tripadvisor’s most booked experience this fall and Black Cat Tours is among the 10 best ghost tours in America, according to USA Today readers (Nightly Spirits, which has a location in Boston, was named the best ghost tour in America).

Here is a map of downtown Salem and the free Destination Salem app has information about parking, traffic, attraction tickets, and more.

How to spend 24 hours in Boston

Still at a loss for what to do during the marathon’s off hours? More than 1,000 readers shared tips for how to tackle 24 hours in Boston.

From eating at Regina’s Pizza to riding a Boston Duck Tour to exploring the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, readers recommended nearly 100 restaurants, indoor, and outdoor city attractions.

Boston’s North End was a popular pick, famous for its Italian food, feasts, and streets full of shops, restaurants, and historic buildings.

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