Roundabout with skyscrapers on right side and Central Park on the left. There is a ring of trees in the middle of the roundabout with a statue in the middle.
Columbus Circle in NYC has a statue of the explorer at the southwest corner of Central Park.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fall Festivities & Rich Histories Make These 7 Cities Perfect for a Columbus Day Weekend Getaway

Soak up Fall Flavors and Historic Vibes

Columbus Day marks the halfway point between Labor Day and Halloween, a three-day weekend perfect for a short getaway. Although the holiday has become quite controversial in recent years, many U.S. cities have still found a way to celebrate it in their own way.

Parades and festivals will commence all over the country from October 6 to 8, many of which celebrate America’s diversity and legacy of immigration. A holiday steeped in history, we’ve rounded up seven U.S. cities with rich histories of their own where you can enjoy an educational and entertaining Columbus Day weekend getaway.

New York City

Every year, the city of New York hosts a Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue, with over 35,000 participants marching in bands, representing businesses on floats, or just showing their pride for The Big Apple.

The parade attracts over a million visitors who are there to celebrate Italian culture and the contributions of all immigrants to America. Nearby Columbus Circle has a statue of the explorer at the southwest corner of Central Park.

The famous park has a variety of fun things to do over a long weekend like the Central Park Zoo, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and plenty of ways to get fit. In fact, taking a guided walking tour is one of the top things you can do for free in New York City.

Before you go, be sure to pay a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, two of the most iconic symbols of immigration and opportunity in the United States. It’s one of the top tours in NYC for a reason.

Old ship docked along a paved pathway. Cannons by the side of the path.You can see the USS Constitution when taking a walk along the Freedom Trail in Boston.Photo Credit: Getty Images


Boston also has an impressive Columbus Day parade on the Sunday before the holiday. In fact there a number of festivals and events over Columbus Day weekend in the historic city.

The Fenway Arts District hosts their annual Opening Our Doors event on Columbus Day — a free day of interactive cultural activities. About 45 minutes north of Boston, Smolak Farms also has a Fall Harvest Festival with tons of family-friendly activities like a corn maze, hayride and apple picking.

Of course, you can also explore the history of Boston and the role it played in the early days of our country by following the Freedom Trail, a free walking tour of the city which covers sites like the Paul Revere House and the USS Constitution.

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White building with domed roof and pillars.There are more than 30 free museums located in the area of the United States Capitol Building.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Washington, D.C.

At the United States Capitol, you can enjoy more than 30 free museums in the area, celebrating the history and culture of our great country. All are open during Columbus Day weekend and some even have special events and activities scheduled.

At the Anacostia Community Museum you and your family can enjoy a free block party with art workshops, locally made goods and live performances — while the Riversdale House Museum has a Harvest Festival with hands-on activities and tour of the grounds.

One of the regular exhibitions at the National Portrait Gallery also has a special section on the Origins of America, honoring explorers like Columbus. There’s even a Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain, which can be your first stop on your expedition of the city, exploring the famous National Mall area.

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