10 Fall Festivals in Boston You Don't Want to Miss

Celebrate the invention of Marshmallow Fluff at Somerville's Fluff Festival. Photo by Linda Gritz
Fall fairs and carnivals in Massachusetts

It’s not officially autumn yet, but it will be soon and that means it’s time for fall festivals. There are so many in the Boston area that it can be hard to know which ones are good for families. We took the guesswork out of it by narrowing the field down to our favorites. You’ll find good food, fun activities, music, performances, and much more at these 10 fall festivities in Boston that are perfect for both parents and kids.

1. Riverfest—Somerville
September 8-9, 2018
Somerville’s Assembly Row invites families to celebrate the beginning of fall at Riverfest, a free festival that’s largely geared to kids. You’ll find all kinds of kids' activities, a chalk walk, live music, plus fireworks to cap off the night.

Crafts are among the kids' activities at Riverfest. Photo courtesy of Assembly Row

2. Cathedral Greek Festival—Brookline
September 14-16, 2018
While the delicious food you’ll find at the free Cathedral Greek Festival may be what draws you in, the three-day long event has a lot more to offer. There will be live music, dancing and free children’s activities. Plus it’s right next to Larz Anderson Park, one of our favorite local playgrounds.

3. Porch Fest—Roslindale
September 15, 2018
Several cities near Boston now host their own version of the Roslindale Porch Fest, a free decentralized music festival that takes place on people’s porches throughout the city. These events are great for kids because they’re casual and low-key with something new to see—and new music to dance to—all the time.

There are tasty treats and lots of fun activities for kids at the What the Fluff? festival. Photo courtesy of Rusty Blazenhoff via Flickr

4. What the Fluff?—Somerville
September 22, 2018
Celebrate one of Somerville’s greatest inventions at the annual What the Fluff? festival in Union Square. This quirky, and free, fest is perfect for families, as there’s no end of entertainment, fun activities (think Fluff jousting and Fluff musical chairs) as well as tasty treats. Fluffernutter anyone?

5. Faire on the Square—Watertown
September 22, 2018
The sprawling Faire on the Square takes place across four nearby locations in Watertown: Saltonstall Park, in and around Town Hall, behind the Boys & Girls Club and behind the library. You’ll find free activities for both kids and adults including rides, crafts, music and dance performances at this day-long festival.

The brass band performances and parades will have kids dancing in the streets at HONK! Photo courtesy of Tim Plenk

6. Mystic River Celebration—Medford
September 22, 2018
Head to the Condon Shell in Medford this fall for the Mystic River Celebration, which kicks off a month-long arts festival in the city. The fest promises tons of fun for families with its live music, dance performances, games, crafts, food and more.

7. Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival—Boston
September 29, 2018
​This unique festival features three stages with performances from world-class musicians, vendor booths offering food from all over the world, and an instrument "petting zoo" staffed by Berklee professionals. A full concert schedule is listed on Berklee's website. 

8. HONK! Festival—Somerville and Cambridge
October 5-7, 2018
Every fall Somerville plays host to a festival of brass bands from around the country that celebrates music, community and activism. HONK! is a three-day fest with stellar music that starts with a lantern parade on Friday night and ends with another parade on Sunday that winds from Somerville to Harvard Square, where Oktoberfest will be happening. HONK! is so popular in Somerville that there’s now a year-round component called School of HONK.

Jack-O-Lanterns light up the evening at the Frog Pond Pumpkin Float. Photo courtesy of Boston Common Frog Pond

9. Frog Pond Pumpkin Float—Boston
October 19, 2018
Dress in your Halloween best and bring a small, hollowed out pumpkin to float on the Frog Pond. Kids can decorate a luminary to border the pond, try out fun activities, and enjoy refreshments.

10. Boston Book Festival—Boston
October 13, 2018
The Boston Book Festival comes to Copley Square every fall with author talks, panels and a street fair with vendors and live music. There are plenty of activities for kids, from costumed characters to the biggest names in Young Adult books at this fest that’s both educational and fun.

Post written in 2016, updated annually through 2018

Assembly Row
02145 Somerville , MA 42° 23' 37.9644" N, 71° 4' 44.6412" W
Cathedral Greek Festival
162 Goddard Ave
02445 Brookline , MA 42° 18' 49.464" N, 71° 7' 54.2568" W
Roslindale Porch Fest 02131 Rolinsdale , MA 42° 16' 59.5704" N, 71° 7' 37.2972" W
What the Fluff?
Union Square Plaza
02143 Somerville , MA 42° 22' 46.8192" N, 71° 5' 44.6856" W
Faire on the Square
149 Main St.
02472 Watertown , MA 42° 22' 4.1484" N, 71° 11' 14.91" W
Mystic River Celebration
2501 Mystic Valley Parkway
02155 Medford , MA 42° 25' 6.3048" N, 71° 6' 49.0212" W
HONK! Festival
Davis Square
02144 Somerville , MA 42° 23' 48.1812" N, 71° 7' 20.334" W
Boston Book Festival
Copley Square
02116 Boston , MA 42° 20' 59.7264" N, 71° 4' 33.9888" W
Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival
Columbus Avenue between Burke Street and Massachusetts Avenue
02116 Boston , MA