18 September
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Best Places for Leaf Peeping without Leaving Boston | By Rachel Bakish

In the time of coronavirus, when many traditional spaces in the city shut down this socially distanced activity is more attractive than ever. Each year, Greater Boston plays host to some of the most vibrant fall foliage colors in the entire world making leaf peeping season in New England an ideal option for road trippers. However you don’t have to hop in a car and drive somewhere to see these amazing colors, just steep outside or head to a local park. 

Due to this year’s severe drought, leaves around the area are turning a little earlier than normal. 2020 fall foliage in Boston is expected to peak the week of Sunday, October 11th. These are some of the best places to peep fall foliage all while walking around Boston.


  • Boston Public Garden: Built in 1837,  Boston Public Garden was the first botanical garden in the United States. Naturally, the park turns into a foliage fantasy world once the leaves begin to change. Enjoy fall colors on some of the oldest trees in the city at Boston Common, and don’t forget to stop by the Frog Pond to see the leafage reflected on the water.
  • Charles River Esplanade: With a population of 1,700 trees, the Charles River Esplanade turns all sorts of shades of red, orange, and yellow throughout fall. Some of the best foliage can be found between Berkeley Street and the Charles River Dam Road, but relax on any of the floating docks and it’s hard to imagine anything more picturesque.
  • Back Bay Fens: The Fenway neighborhood is filled with tree-lined streets turning golden during October. The tree-filled Back Bay Fens, a lush slice of nature along the Muddy River, practically overflows with colorful leaves in the shadow of the famed baseball field. For some of the most brilliant foliage, find the Victory Gardens by the Kelleher Rose Gardens, where you may even see late-blooming roses!
  • Commonwealth Avenue Mall: The Comm Ave Mall really steals the show as far as foliage goes in Back Bay. But the colors don’t stop there. You can peep spectacular foliage all throughout the Back Bay and its bordering neighborhood.
  • Southwest Corridor: Not much beats the South End in autumn. Look out for magnificent displays of pumpkins and gourds on residential steps in both neighborhoods. In the South End, check out Southwest Corridor Park for all those foliage feels.
  • Acorn Street Boston: This cute, cobblestoned street gets all dressed up for fall providing the quintessential Boston backdrop. Leaf peepers particularly love the walk up Mount Vernon street to tree-filled Louisburg Square.
  • Arnold Arboretum: The Arboretum’s collection of almost 5,000 different species put on a fiery display throughout most of the month of October.
  • Memorial Drive Cambridge: Memorial Drive, which runs along the Charles River in Cambridge, becomes quite a spectacle once the leaves begin to turn. That’s why every Sunday from the last Sunday of April until the second Sunday of November, Memorial Drive is closed to traffic between Western Avenue and Mount Auburn Street, and open for leaf peeping.
  • The Rose Kennedy Greenway: Located in the heart of the city, the landscaped gardens, promenades and art making up the Rose Kennedy Greenway create a dynamic setting for Boston fall foliage. For an especially lush sight, visit the Chinatown section, where the peonies, rhododendrons, small trees and grasses along the stream and waterfall show their fall hues.