Things to do in Boston in September

Updated: Juli 26, 2023

This post covers the best things to do in Boston in September, updated for 2023 and including free, nighttime, as well as family-friendly activities.

Let's dive in!


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER

This section will feature our top 10 September activities to enjoy in Boston. Check out events and activities that we've also marked as kid-friendly, free, or great to enjoy after the sun sets.

For tips on some of the most popular tourist activities in Boston be sure to check out our other popular Boston posts: 

Be sure to read our master things to do in Boston post for more ideas for any time of the year.


1. Attend a Major Concert

Boston is home to many different music venues, which means there's plenty of space for big-name artists and musicians to perform.

Below, we have listed several top concerts in and around the Boston area in September.

Concerts

Festivals

Click here to see the rest of Boston's September concerts.


2. See a Major Sporting Event

September marks the beginning of football season, which is great news for New England Patriots fans in Boston! And baseball fans are excited to see what happens with the approaching playoffs.

This means you'll have some great opportunities to see a major sporting event.

Football

Baseball

TIP: Red Sox fans might enjoy a tour of Fenway Park!

Soccer

Click here to see all games and matches in Boston.


3. See a Live Comedy Show

There will be at least two well-known comedians performing live stand-up comedy in the Boston area this month.

Comedy Shows

Comedy Clubs

There are many other comedians appearing in and around Boston in September. You can find those shows here.

Boston Travel Tips and Hacks

4. Take a Sightseeing Tour

We offer a number of pay-what-you-wish walking tours that will lead you throughout the city of Boston.

Try our ever-popular Freedom Trail tour or dive into something a little more dramatic like our Beacon Hill Crime tour (not suitable for children under 16).

If you can't make one of our scheduled tours, try one of our GPS-enabled audio tours, available anytime! 

Another very popular option is to take a bus tour of Boston. The hop-on-hop-off trolley gives you a convenient means of transportation along with entertaining, live commentary.

Since the city is right on the coast, there are also several fun boat tours available for getting a different perspective of Boston from the water.


5. Boston Local Food Festival 

The Boston Local Food Festival celebrates local and sustainable food.

It takes place on the centrally located Rose Kennedy Greenway on September 17th.

Join in on the fun and browse the offerings of local farmers, restaurants, food trucks, and more.

The festival also features a family fun zone and live music, performances, and demonstrations.

For more free things to do or family-friendly activities in Boston, check out the sections below. 


6. Visit the New England Aquarium

The visit to the New England Aquarium is an excellent family activity.

They are open from Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm, and on weekends from 9 am-6 pm.

Even if you can't afford tickets, you might still want to visit this attraction just to see their free exhibit: the Atlantic Harbor Seals!

These adorable aquatic animals are located just outside of the aquarium on the front plaza, and there is plexiglass allowing all visitors to come and see them during the day -- no ticket required!

They are currently functioning under a timed-ticketing procedure due to covid so ask that you purchase tickets ahead of time.


7. Boston Arts Festival

You can find Boston’s best artists and musicians showcasing their photography, painting, jewelry, music, and sculptures at the Boston Arts Festival.

This festival, "affectionately dubbed (ähts)," brings in tens of thousands of visitors.

Events take place at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park over September 9th - 10th.


8. See Boston’s Top Attractions

There’s more to Boston than The Freedom Trail (though we recommend taking our free tour!). There are plenty of other attractions to see while you’re in town. 

Fans of the TV show can visit das Cheers Bar that inspired the series. Check out our full list of the many great attractions in Boston.

History buffs will enjoy seeing the historic USS Constitution, Bunker Hill Monument, Old State House, and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Check out our full list of the many great attractions in Boston.


9. Boston Seafood Festival

Boston has a long history of sea-related industry and food, something they celebrate each year.

If you consider yourself a seafood connoisseur, you won't want to miss out on it.

You can participate in delicious seafood tastings, watch chef demos and a fish-cutting contest, relax in the Harpoon Garden, and see the traditional ceremony of the Blessing of the Fleet.

This family-friendly event takes place September 10th at Fish Pier in the Seaport.

For more information visit the Boston Seafood Festival website.


10. Save Up to 55% Off with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

The easiest way to see all the popular attractions while saving time and money is by utilizing a city discount pass. These passes work by bundling discounts to multiple attractions and tours.

Select activities also come on the pass with skip-the-line access, which means less time at the box office. 

A few great attractions and activities included in the passes are:

  • Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
  • Skywalk Observatory
  • Old State House
  • New England Aquarium Whale Watch
  • Boston Children’s Museum

For an in-depth comparison and look at review of all the discount passes available, take a look at our tourist pass post.


THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN SEPTEMBER

September evenings in Boston can be cool but the city is lively and there are lots to see and do!  

We have great ideas for things to do at night year-round in our full post. 

Here are a few more:


Take a Sunset Cruise

September means cooler days and nights, which means this might be the last month before spring that offers comfortable temperatures for a sunset cruise in the harbor.

Sunset Cruise photo from Classic Sail Boston through Trip Advisor
This photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

That means it's the perfect time to catch a beautiful Boston sunset with one of these boat cruises.


View the Boston Skyline

There are several great places to get a good look at the Boston skyline.

One of the most historic locations is the Bunker Hill Monument, which is a 221 ft tall obelisk that you can climb to the top.

You'll need a pass to do this, but they are free! Just go to the Bunker Hill Museum and ask for a pass.

If you're willing to go a bit out of the way, consider a trip to Mount Auburn Cemetery in West Cambridge for almost unbeatable views of the city skyline.

Another option is at Piers Park in East Boston. While you won't get a view from above, it is one of the best places to see the skyline from below.


Go on a Sightseeing Tour

Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean you can’t take a tour of the city.

There are still quite a few places you can visit and learn about after dark.

Here are a few of the best tours available at night in Boston:

Beacon Hill Crime Tour 

This pay-what-you-wish walking tour covers some of the most notorious criminal histories that have taken place in the Beacon Hill area.

Ghost Tours 

In a city this old, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are more than a few ghost tours in Boston. Haunted history outings are available as either walking tours or bus tours.

We offer a pay-what-you-wish ghost tour on Fridays and Saturdays at 7 pm during the summer season.

Evening Cruise 

If you’re interested in seeing the skyline of Boston from the water, consider taking either a dinner cruise or a sunset cruise.

Don’t forget that you can always take a self-guided tour of the Freedom Trail for free whenever you want. This is a great opportunity that is available both day and night.


FREE THINGS TO DO IN SEPTEMBER

Beantown hosts a number of free events and activities throughout the month of September. We've listed more free activities in our full post.

Here are a few more budget-friendly activities to do in September:


Berklee Summer in the City

The Berklee College of Music puts on roughly 400 free concerts every summer, from May through September.

You'll hear classical, contemporary, folk, Latin, and jazz music, among other genres.

For a list of scheduled concerts, click here.


See the Harbor Seals at New England Aquarium

Tickets to this attraction may not be free, but they do offer one exhibit that you can see without paying a dime.

Their Harbor Seals attraction is located right outside the ticket booth, and you don’t have to enter the aquarium to see it.

All you have to do is walk up and take a look at the seals as they wander around the exhibit!

If you do decide to enter the New England Aquarium afterward, admission is included at a discount with at least one Boston tourist pass.


Climb up Bunker Hill

Visit the grounds of the first major battle to take place during the American Revolution! While you’re at Bunker Hill, climb up the 221-foot Obelisk.

Photo of Bunker Hill courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

This challenging climb (there are lots of stairs!) is worth it when you are greeted with panoramic views of the city at the top.


Watch Labor Day Fireworks

There are loads of places around the city to get a good view of the fireworks over Boston Harbor.

Before dusk head to any of these locations to enjoy the show: the Fan Pier, Piers Park, Downtown Waterfront, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.

It will truly be an evening to remember!


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN SEPTEMBER

The historic city of Boston is very family-friendly and offers a lot of activities for people of all ages.

Some of the events we’ve mentioned like the Free Museum Day are great for everyone, and we have more kid-friendly activity suggestions for year-round fun!

Here are a few more things the whole family can enjoy in September:


Faneuil Hall Marketplace Street Performers

Kids will be excited to see the world-class performers who have been appearing here since 1976, making it part of the fabric of Faneuil Marketplace.

Acts include a man who can twist his body into a knot, a juggler, an amazing acrobat, an escape artist, and much more.

Note: nearby is a Dino Safari Tour.


Swan Boats Final Weekend

Head to the Boston Public Garden before September 5th, 2022, for your last chance of the year to ride the Swan Boats at the Boston Common Garden.

They operate from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, weather permitting. Each Swan Boat ride lasts approximately 12 - 15 minutes with about a 5 to 10-minute wait to ride.


Find the Tortoise and the Hare

If you’re in the Copley Square area, make sure to spot the Tortoise and Hare bronze statues conveniently located near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Trinity Church, and the Boston Public library.

This photo of Tortoise and Hare is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This photo of Tortoise and Hare is courtesy of TripAdvisor

They make a fun photo opportunity for children!


Visit a Festival

There are a few family-friendly festivals to be enjoyed in Setpember.

The Big E | September 15th - October 1st | Boston

This fair has rides, live entertainment, food, ag-related events, competitions, and more. It all takes place at Eastern States Exposition.

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular | September 28th-October 31st | Providence

Rogers Williams Park Zoo has a pumpkin trail and loads of amazing and glowing carved pumpkins. Events take place at night and tickets are needed.


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About The Author

Brian Burgess

I was born in Cambridge and have been living in the Boston area all my life. I am a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. I have been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoy sharing my knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on my tours, but with everyone I meet. <a href="https://freetoursbyfoot.com/contributors/brian-burgess/" Read More...
Updated: Juli 26th, 2023
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