With the fall semester well under way, everyone’s ready to take advantage of the three-day Columbus Day holiday weekend. It’s a great opportunity to explore the city and enjoy fall foliage. We’ve compiled a list of things to do this weekend in and around Boston, many free and all reachable by T.
Saturday, October 10
Columbus Day Weekend is synonymous with discounted retail sales on items from cars and dishwashers to cashmere sweaters and boots. Take advantage at some of the area’s best shopping destinations, such as the CambridgeSide Galleria, with over 130 restaurants and stores, including Macy’s, J.Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M, and Banana Republic, Newbury Street. The Shops at Prudential Center is home to nearly three dozen stores, among them Vineyard Vines, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Barnes & Noble. Bring your BU ID to get discounts at stores like Kate Spade, LOFT, Club Monaco, and Ann Taylor, and be sure to stroll down Newbury Street for more shopping adventures.
The Shops at Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston; hours: Monday, through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Copley. The CambridgeSide Galleria, 100 CambridgeSide Place, Cambridge; hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, noon to 7 p.m. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Lechmere Station.
Celebrate Columbus’ Italian Heritage by Dining Italian
Commemorate Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World by celebrating his Italian roots, and what better place to do that than Boston’s “Little Italy,” the North End, home to dozens of the city’s best Italian restaurants and bakeries. Below are a few suggestions of where to go for some delicious Italian cuisine.
Giacomo’s Although this is a cash-only restaurant and doesn’t take reservations, its expansive list of pasta and homemade sauces make the long line you’ll likely encounter well worth the wait.
Panza This small intimate restaurant is known for its delicious pasta dishes.
Al Dente While on the more formal side, the large portions of the delicious classic Italian dishes make Al Dente worth it.
Giacomo’s, 355 Hanover St., Boston; hours: Monday through Thursday, 4:30 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday, 4 to 9:30 p.m; phone: 617-523-9026.
Panza, 326 Hanover St., Boston; open for lunch every day, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., for dinner Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10:30 p.m., Sunday, 5 to 9:30 p.m.; phone: 617-557-9248.
Al Dente, 109 Salem St., Boston; hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; phone: 617-523-0990.
Davis Square, Somerville, and Harvard Square, Cambridge
Honk!, the annual three-day festival featuring brass bands from around the country, celebrates its 10th year this weekend. And these aren’t just any bands: the bands have deep connections to their communities and typically perform for free and conduct workshops for educational and social service organizations. This year’s bands draw on a variety of musical traditions—klezmer, Brazilian, Afrobeat, samba, and hip-hop, to name a few. On Saturday, 25 bands will perform all around Davis Square, Somerville. On Sunday, more than 60 bands and community groups will march in a parade designed to “reclaim the streets for horns, bikes, and feet,” proceeding from Davis Square to Harvard Square. There, the Honk! bands will perform as part of the annual Harvard Square Oktoberfest.
Honk! officially begins in Davis Square, Somerville, on October 10, 1 to 9 p.m. The performances are free and open to the public. Take an MBTA Red Line train to Davis Square. On Sunday, October 11, Honk! parades from Davis Square to Harvard Square, noon to 2 p.m. Each band will perform a brief set on the Harvard Square Oktoberfest main stage on Sunday, 2 to 6 p.m.
Terrier Men’s Soccer
Cheer on the BU men’s varsity soccer Terriers when they take on the Loyola Greyhounds at home. The team has been unbeaten in its last 11 conference regular season matchups (7-0-4), the longest stretch since going 10-0-2 during in the 2001–2002 season.
The men’s soccer game is October 10, at 1 p.m. at Nickerson Field. Admission is free for all BU students with a sports pass, $2 for faculty and staff, and $5 for the general public.
Sunday, October 11
What’s a holiday without a parade? Boston’s annual Columbus Day Parade commemorates the city’s rich Italian heritage and Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas; it also honors members of the armed forces from Massachusetts. The huge parade dates back to 1937 and is always held the Sunday before Columbus Day. This year it will feature marching bands, military units and Colonial militias, Boston Italian organizations, Duck Boat floats, and vintage cars.
The two-hour Columbus Day Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. October 11 at City Hall Plaza, crosses the Greenway, and goes through the North End along Atlantic Avenue next to Christopher Columbus Park, Endicott Street, and Hanover Street. Take a MBTA Green Line trolley to Haymarket and walk to the North End.
A tradition since 1979 that draws more than 200,000 people, Oktoberfest features live music and dance performances, foods from around the world, arts, crafts, and vintage goods for sale, and in keeping with the festival’s Bavarian roots, beer gardens.
The Harvard Square Oktoberfest is October 11, from noon to 6 p.m. Take an MBTA Red Line train to Harvard Square.
This open-air market has become a huge draw for shoppers. Held in the South End and named for the area south of Washington Street, the market sells local produce and flowers, as well as handmade one-of-a-kind crafts, art, and jewelry. Local food trucks offer an assortment of cuisines. The SoWa Vintage Market, with its array of knick-knacks, china, and glassware, is open all year.
The South End Open Market at SoWa is every Sunday from May through October, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The farmers market is at 500 Harrison Ave.; the food truck court at 540 Harrison Ave.; and the arts market at the end of Thayer Street. The SoWa Vintage Market, 450 Harrison Ave., is open on Sundays year-round. Find directions here.
B.A.A. Half Marathon
Here’s a chance to run for a good cause. The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) 2015 Half Marathon, presented by the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is a 13.1-mile run along the Emerald Necklace, designed by 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Proceeds benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The race kicks off in Boston’s Franklin Park. Parking will not be permitted at the park, so participants should take a B.A.A. shuttle from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston, the MBTA Red Line to JFK/UMass stop, or the MBTA Orange Line to Forest Hills stop. Find more information about shuttle service and directions here.
The B.A.A. Half Marathon kicks off at 8 a.m. October 11, at White Stadium in Franklin Park, 450 Walnut Ave., Jamaica Plain. For more information and to register for the race, go to the B.A.A. website.
Monday, October 12
This 10K race, now in its 39th year, celebrates women and healthy living. A Columbus Day tradition, the event is open to women of all ages and fitness levels. The race attracts about 7,000 runners each year. Participants can register the day of the race (registration $60) or in advance online (registration $45).
The Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women starts at the Boston Common Parade Grounds, at the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street, at 9 a.m. October 12. The event will be held rain or shine.
Christopher Columbus Park Fall Festival
The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park hosts its annual Columbus Park Fall Festival on Columbus Day. Held on the North End waterfront, the festival begins with a short children’s parade at noon, followed by family-friendly entertainment such as a magician, a stilt walker, a children’s storyteller, and local musicians and singers. Crafts will be available for sale as well.
The Columbus Park Fall Festival, free and open to the public, is October 12, 11:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Christopher Columbus Park, 100 Atlantic Ave., in the North End.
Jennifer Bates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.