The Best Time to Visit Boston

Boston Aerial View

As with other New England cities and towns, the best time to visit Boston depends on your favorite season, as you can truly experience all four in Boston, but popular opinion from locals and tourists alike reveals your best bet for great weather and fewer crowds is in the spring (May to June) or fall (September to October).

Late-spring and early-fall are the best time to visit because it’s not too hot, not too cold, and you can take advantage of key attractions that make the city a top tourism destination.

No matter what time of year you choose to visit Boston, refer to this guide as you plan what to do, where to stay, and what to pack.

Weather in Boston

One of the best parts of Boston is that here you can experience all four seasons, as each is quite different when it comes to weather. There are benefits to each season, but choose the best season to visit depends whether you prefer snow, foliage, or sunshine.

Spring typically brings highs in the 50s to 70s, increasing to the higher end as you get into June. In the summer, average temps will reach the low 80s. July and August bring average highs of low 80s, though June and even September can get hot as well. During hotter months, you may consider taking a day or weekend trip to Massachusetts beaches north or south of the city, or even heading to Cape CodMartha’s Vineyard, or Nantucket. But if you choose to stay overnight in a coastal destination, expect peak season pricing from Memorial Day Weekend all the way through October in many cases.

And then as you get into fall, the end of September and even sometimes early October can remain in the 70s, but eventually October and November bring chillier, more fall-like weather.

Once December hits, the temperature drops significantly and stays that way until spring comes around. In recent years, snowstorms have hit from February to mid-March, so beware of that as you book travel arrangements as well.

Boston can be unpredictable in this way, but the snowstorms can also make for beautiful scenery throughout the city.

Seasonal Prices in Boston

May through October is when you’ll typically experience the highest price for accommodations, with October topping the list in recent years. July and August aren’t quite as high as the other months, likely due to hot temperatures that oftentimes make for a better day spent at the beach than in the city. For the most economical option, pull out your parka, and head to Boston in January or February.

Crowds

Even during peak season (May through October), you’ll likely find that the crowds aren’t as crazy as other popular tourist destinations. More often than not, you won't find yourself waiting in hours-long lines that you can find in other major cities. But keep in mind that for local families, kids are typically only out of school during July and August (snow days tend to keep public schools open through the end of June). This adds to the crowd situation at tourist attractions, especially those that are ideal for families. If you have specific museums and activities in mind, it's always helpful to plan ahead and grab tickets online if you can, which will not only secure you a spot but may also help save some money.

Tourist Attraction Availability

During peak season, tourist attraction availability is straight forward, as you’ll be able to access the major sights with no problem. You may even want to find a way to head to one of the Boston area beaches in the summer months.

Attractions like the popular Boston Duck Tours, which take you out on the Charles River and through various points within the city, operate from late March to late November.

The city certainly doesn’t shut down during the winter months, as Bostonians are well acclimated to the chillier temps and snow. For outdoor activities, check out ice skating at Frog Pond or even just checking out the city’s festive holiday décor, especially in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill.

And whether it’s cold or rainy at any time of year, there are plenty of indoor museums to visit, ranging from the Museum of Science to the Children’s Museum.

One that you’ll want to save for nicer weather is the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, as you’ll be outdoors for a bit during the reenactment and dumping of the tea overboard.

Popular Events in Boston

One of the most popular events that brings people from all over the world to the city is the Boston Marathon, the country’s oldest marathon that takes place each year on Patriots’ Day in April. Whether you’re a runner or spectator, it’s quite the experience, as long as you don’t have a problem with crowds. If you’re traveling to the city on the weekend of Marathon Monday, expect hotel rates much higher than usual, and be sure to book far in advance.

St. Patrick’s Day is a popular Boston holiday, especially in Irish neighborhoods like South Boston, where a parade takes place each year. And there are lots of activities around Independence Day along the Charles River, including the annual Boston Pops concert and fireworks.

There are plenty of other events throughout the year, with more month-by-month details on what to check out and prepare for below.

January

While the holiday season may be known for snow and chilly weather, it’s actually January when Bostonians historically experience the coldest temps of the year, with highs in the high-30s and lows in the low-20s Fahrenheit. Stats also show that it’s the snowiest month in Boston. There’s still plenty to do in Boston during this time of year – and hotels are typically cheapest in January – but you’ll want to bundle up as you walk around or consider taking an Uber or Lyft from place to place.

Events to check out:

February

The weather in February doesn’t change much from January, with averages only a couple degrees higher. Over the past several years, there have been a number of big snowstorms during this month, so keep that in mind as you book travel. Hotel prices are typically in line with January, making February another affordable month to visit Boston with few crowds. Locals will either be hibernating for winter or hitting the slopes for skiing up north.

Events to check out:

  • Head to Chinatown for the annual Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • Watch some of Boston’s best collegiate hockey teams in the Beanpot tournament.
  • If the Patriots are in the Super Bowl, take it all in at a local sports bar, and then celebrate in the city streets during the Duck Boat parade – the “Rolling Rallies” – if they win.

March

March can be a tease because it’s technically the kick-off of spring, but recent years have brought mid-month snowstorms, so watch the weather before you visit. It shouldn’t be too chilly though, with average highs around 45 degrees.

Events to check out:

April

The first day of spring may technically be in March, but in Boston, you tend to start feeling signs of spring in April with highs in the mid-50s, which ultimately leads to the beginning of climbing hotel prices as peak season approaches.

Events to check out:

  • The most popular April event is the Boston Marathon, which falls each year on Patriots’ Day.
  • Experience a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park; April is when the season kicks off.

May

Another beautiful month to experience Boston is May, as this is when you’ll get weather that truly feels like spring, with highs in the high 60s. Get out and walk around the city! To coincide with the nice weather, this is also when you’ll notice hotel prices will start to climb, so keep that in mind.

Events to check out:

June

By the end of June, it’ll start to officially feel like summer, not only because of the weather, but also with the school year coming to a close. During June, you’ll either have perfect weather for walking around, or it may get hot enough to hit the beach.

Events to check out:

July

Independence Day truly kicks off summer in Boston. This is when many Bostonians head to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket to enjoy the beach season and vacations, but there’s still plenty to do within the city.

Events to check out:

August

August is similar to July with fewer big events happening around the city, so you may find it a tad less busy. However, most Massachusetts schools don’t go back to school until post-Labor Day, so there will be plenty of families out and about enjoying the city in August. Typically, hotel rates are in line with July as well.

Events to check out:

  • August is when some of the bigger North End Feasts take place, such as St. Anthony’s Feast, where you can get your fix of authentic Italian food and culture.
  • Dine Out Boston is the perfect time to try out popular restaurants in discounted, three-course prix fixe meals for lunches or dinners.

September

September is a beautiful time to visit Boston, as the weather is still quite warm but some signs of fall start popping up here and there. It also happens to be one of the best times to get married in New England, so you may find yourself in town celebrating. Bostonians look forward to the start of Patriots season and Red Sox playoffs, but there are also a variety of festivals to enjoy.

Events to check out:

October

The fall weather is usually here to stay come October, and with that comes peak foliage season. Because October is sweater-weather perfection with average highs in the low 60s, you can still expect hotel prices to be high, with this month coming in at the highest average rate – over $300 a night – in recent years.

Events to check out:

November

The holiday season officially kicks off during November, and the city will get into festive mode with beautiful lights and displays around the city. Boston does usually experience its first light snowfall in November, but this has recently been the rainiest month of the year. It’s nothing to be concerned about when deciding when to visit, as Boston doesn’t have a “rainy season,” but rather intermittent rain throughout the year.

Events to check out:

December

‘Tis the season to get in the holiday spirit in Boston! During December, you’ll start to see a bit more snow and chilly temps. There are plenty of festive events throughout the city to check out, along with fun activities like ice skating at Frog Pond.

Events to check out: