Free Things to Do in Boston, October 2016

Including the Boston Book Festival, Head of the Charles, and more.

Boston Vegetarian Food Fest

Boston Veg Food Festival. / Photo by Randall Collura


This biannual creative festival officially kicked off September 30 and continues through the first week of October. While some of the events include an entry fee, there are several complimentary workshops offered around the city. Try your hand at designing wine labels, learn how to tango, or help construct an ocean-themed glass mural. Discover your own creativity and learn from some talented and enthusiastic local artists.

Check website for various events, through October 9,

Let’s Talk About Food Festival

The Let’s Talk About Food Festival is an annual effort to promote educational conversations about the culinary experience. The mission of the festival is “to engage people of all ages in conversation about food,” including relevant issues like urban farming, healthy eating, and sustainability. Join local chefs and restaurant owners in discussions like “Fun with Family Dinner: Cooking with the Kids” and “Farming Our Seafood: Aquaculture Leaders in New England.”

Free, Saturday, October 1, Copley Square,

Opening Our Doors

Hosted by the Fenway Alliance, Opening Our Doors brings together more than 20 institutions and museums in a free and educational cultural event. Participants like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, MFA, and Mary Baker Eddy Library will host free open houses and special programs. Other fun things to look out for include free cupcakes from Oakleaf Cakes, an Afro-Brazil drumming performance, and a recitation from Boston poet laureate Danielle Legros Georges.

Free, Monday, October 10, kickoff at 10 a.m. at the Christian Science Plaza, 250 Massachusetts Ave.,

orange swimmers 2

Photo Courtesy of the Fort Point Arts Community

Fort Point Open Studios

Immerse yourself in local art at the biannual Fort Point Open Studios, curated by the Fort Point Arts Community. Roberto Mighty will screen his short film, Peach Pie, which has been selected for several national film festivals, and artists including Leslie Miller and Philip Sawyer will give live demonstrations of their work. Also, look out for floating orange “swimmers” in Fort Point Channel, part of a floating art piece called SOS (Safety Orange Swimmers) from Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier.

Free, Friday, October 14, to Sunday, October 16, Fort Point,

Boston Book Festival

The Boston Book Festival is an annual event that brings together avid readers and inspired authors. The lineup of guest speakers is stellar as usual, including Room author Emma Donoghue and Boston-based Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Little Children. Almost all of the workshops, programs, and sessions are free except for Lore.

Free, Saturday, October 15, Copley Square,

Forced from Home

Photo by Elias Williams

Forced from Home “Behind the Scenes”

Learn the stories and struggles of refugees through an interactive exhibit, facilitated by Doctors Without Borders. Forced from Home is an effort to raise awareness for refugees by presenting images and materials from refugee camps around the world. A Doctors Without Borders guide will lead you through the exhibit and help answer any questions. The exhibit is free, but be sure to register in advance.

Free, October 15-23, Long Wharf,

Boston Veg Food Fest

Enjoy conversations and delicious vegetarian food with speakers and chefs from around the country at the annual Boston Veg Food Fest. The festival aims to initiate dialogues about sustainable food practices and help attendees find local vegetarian food. Sit in on some of the educational exhibits to learn how to cook with a variety of vegetables or just sample your way through some tasty vegetarian options.

Free, Saturday, October 22, to Sunday, October 23, Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont St.,

head of the charles regatta

Photo by Olga Khvan

Head of the Charles Regatta

The world’s largest two-day regatta returns to the Charles. Some of the best crew teams in the world compete in the Head of the Charles, so sit back and soak it all in. Cheer for the rowers and enjoy the beautiful views and waterfront activities.

Free, Saturday, October 22, to Sunday, October 23, Charles River,

Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo

Photo by David Kender

Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo

The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo is back for another year, featuring talented local writers and artists. MICE, unlike other comic shows, focus on the art of comic creation, building a connection between writers and local audiences. It’s a joint project between Boston Comics Roundtable and Lesley University College of Art and Design, and provides engaging workshops and panels designed to educate and promote the craft of comics.

Free, Saturday, October 29, to Sunday, October 30, University Hall at Lesley University, 1815 Massachusetts Ave.,

Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair

The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair features dozens of exhibitors showcasing rare and expensive texts. There are also several panels and workshops on how to start your own collection and a history of the Boston music scene. Own a few antiquarian books of your own? You can have them appraised for free at the festival.

Free, Saturday, October 29, to Sunday, October 30, Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St.,