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Field Trip: Urban Leaf Peeping

Who says you have to leave the city to see the foliage.  Our friends at Aloft and Element Hotel bring you 7 Spots for To Visit This Fall for Urban Leaf Peeping.  

People from all over the world travel to the New England countryside to experience the famous changing of the colors. While these “leaf peepers” associate fall foliage with the rural areas of Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, visitors don’t need to stray far from the Seaport District to witness the beautiful fall shades.

At the Aloft and Element hotels, we like to encourage our guests to see the best Boston has to offer, and for us, that’s the city of Boston. It’s time to embrace autumn in a whole new way – urban leaf peeping. Check out our list of places to see the urban fall foliage in Boston:

Arnold Arboretum – 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
46 minutes on the T; 32-minute drive  
With more than 281 acres of land, not only will you see fall foliage, but also unique flowers, fruits and trees. Spot the rare and endangered PaperBark Maple or the Blanche Ames Crab Apple Tree at the top of Peters Hill. Weekday guided tours are Mondays and Thursdays from 10:30 a.m.-noon during September and October. For more information, visit arboretum.harvard.edu.

Charles River Esplanade 
39 minutes on the T; 15-minute drive
Stretching 17 miles along the banks of the Charles River, the Esplanade features paths that run along the entire stretch of land that is perfect for leafy strolls. Enjoy the playgrounds, marshes, sail boats, and maybe a show at the famous Boston Hatch Shell.

Rose Kennedy Greenway - Atlantic Ave and High Street, Boston, MA 02110  
21 minutes on the T; 8-minute drive 
The Rose Kennedy Greenway, a roof top garden and a unique, contemporary public park, is known for its vast variety of plant species. Spend the afternoon relaxing under a Red Maple Tree, Washington Elm, or the Golden Rain Tree any fall day. If plants and vegetation are your passions, check out the Rose Kennedy Plant List. Don’t miss “The Z” Boston Zipline, Greenway Opens Markets, and the one-of-a-kind Greenway Carousal, featuring animals native to the city of Boston.

Boston Public Garden & Boston Common – 4 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02116
29 minutes on the T; 14-minute drive  
Take a break from dining and shopping along Newbury and Boylston Streets and make your way to the Boston Public Garden for a mid-day stroll and Instagram-worthy photoshoot. Enjoy the Maple, Elm, Beech, Redwood and Pagoda trees. Then, relax in the Boston Common, America’s oldest public park. Enjoy the frog pond, a picnic, and a view of the iconic Massachusetts State House. Through mid-September, check out the free Boston Garden Walking Tours. 

Emerald Necklace – 100 Park Drive, Boston MA 02215 
43 minutes on the T; 18-minute drive
The Emerald Necklace consists of a 1,100-acre chain of parks in Boston and Brookline. Enjoy the community gardens in the Back Bay Fens, Boston’s World War II Memorial in the Fenway Victory Gardens, and the uncommon bird species in the Kellecher Rose Garden.Then, enjoy the fresh water ponds and colorful trees in Olmstead Park, the park designed and named after Frederick Olmstead, the designer of New York’s Central Park.

Boston Harbor Islands , Boston MA 02110 
20 minutes on the T; 6-minute drive
Sail through the Boston Harbor Islands, and take in the gorgeous foliage unique to each Island. Starting from the famous Rowes Wharf, known for its marina, floating stage and seafood restaurants, take a Fall Foliage Tour. With a warm blanket and glass of hot apple cider, observe the leaves change to crisp reds and yellows as you sail through the harbor islands. While you are in town, check out other Boston Harbor tours view the breathtaking islands, historic forts, lighthouses, and the famous USS Constitution ship.  A Boston Harbor tour is the perfect way to enjoy a fall afternoon in the city.

Castle Island, South Boston, MA 02127
30 minute walk, 6-minute bus ride/drive
There’s nothing better than a brisk walk in the fall. Head to Castle Island in South Boston and take in Boston Harbor, beautiful beaches and a little bit of history with Fort Independence. The fort was constructed from 1834 to 1851 and is the eighth iteration of forts on the island. The fort served as an armory during the Civil War, and was also utilized during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. In 1962 ownership of the fort shifted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  At Castle Island you can see gorgeous foliage in the park area behind Fort Independence.  Warm up with some New England Clam Chowder or hot chocolate at Sullivan’s  – a legendary hot dog stand for over 60 years.

From large botanical gardens to small, hidden parks, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the colors of fall in the middle of the city. Which urban foliage spot will you visit?

Image via Arnold Arboretum Instagram 

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