Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by admin
The city of Boston is filled with fun things to do! You can walk along the historic Freedom Trail, catch a baseball game at Fenway Park, or you can eat your way around the city on a food tour. There is something fun for everyone to do in Boston! In this post, we’re sharing our picks for the top 41 fun things to do in Boston.
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Travel Tip: If you’re planning a trip to Boston, consider buying a Boston CityPASS. You’ll be able to save money if you plan on visiting multiple attractions. For instance, if you plan on visiting the New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Boston Harbor City Cruises, Franklin Park Zoo, or the Harvard Museum of Nature, we highly recommend that you look into purchasing the CityPASS. For more information about CityPASS, click here.
Boston is the capital city of Massachusetts and has a total population of nearly 700,000 residents (2020 census).
Boston is known as Beantown (due to its famous baked beans), the Cradle of Liberty (due to its involvement in the Revolutionary War), and Titletown (due to its record-beating sports teams).
There are tons of things to do in Boston, including visiting over a dozen historical sites along the Freedom Trail, catching a Celtics game, or exploring Boston Harbor.
Where to Stay in Boston
As you plan your trip to Boston, you’ll want to make sure you have good accommodations. Here’s a few places to consider:
Luxury | Omni Parker House
The Omni Parker House is a 4-star hotel located directly adjacent to Boston Common. The rooms feature historical decor alongside modern amenities. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be pleased to know that the Boston Cream Pie was invented at Parker’s Restaurant within the hotel. Be sure to stop by their restaurant for a slice!
Moderate | Royal Sonesta Boston
The Royal Sonesta Boston is located in Cambridge. The hotel is located right next to the Charles River and has excellent views of the city.
Budget | HI Boston Hostel
The HI Boston Hostel is located just a few minutes’ walk away from Boston Common. The hostel has dorm bedrooms as well as private rooms.
For a full list of accommodations in Boston, click here.
Fun Things to Do in Boston
1. Take a Food Tour
One of our favorite things to do when we first visit a city is to take a food tour. It’s such a fun way to learn about a city, get recommendations from your guide, and of course eat all the awesome food!
Here are a few food tours to consider while you’re in Boston!
- North End Walking Food Tour: This tour will take you to a “secret” bakery, an Italian salumeria for meats and cheese, a pizza place, and more!
- Pizza Tour: This tour will take you through Little Italy and the North End. This tour includes several slices of pizza and a cannoli.
- Brewery Tour: This tour will take you to several breweries: Samuel Adams Brewery, Night Shift Brewing, Dorchester Brewing Company, and Winter Hill Brewing Company. The tour includes either lunch or dinner depending on which option you choose.
- Underground Donut Tour: What could be better than exploring a new city and getting to try their best donuts? You’ll get to visit several different bakeries on this tour. Be sure to try the Boston Cream donut!
2. Walk the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is an urban trail through downtown Boston that connects 16 different historic sites. The 16 sites include: Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel, Boston Latin School, Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Boston Massacre Site, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, USS Constitution, and Bunker Hill.
The Freedom Trail can easily be found by following the red brick line in the sidewalk. There are plenty of guided tours of the Freedom Trail, or you can use our guide to walk it yourself.
3. Take a Cruise
You can take either a lunch cruise or a dinner cruise. On the lunch cruise, you’ll get to eat from an all-you-can eat buffet as you see some of Boston’s most famous sites (such as the site of the 1773 Boston Tea Party and Bunker Hill). For the dinner cruise, you’ll be seated for a 3-course meal, watch the sunset, and see live entertainment.
4. Boston Duck Boat Tour
Ride in a duck boat, which is a renovated World War II amphibious vehicle. The vehicle can drive along the road, as well as float on the Charles River. You’ll definitely get a unique perspective of Boston from the duck boat! (Booking information here.)
5. Catch a Game at Fenway Park
4 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215
Fenway Park was built in 1912 and is home to the Boston Red Sox. It’s the oldest active ballpark in Major League Baseball. Because it’s an older park, it’s also a much smaller park. (This gives a more up-close experience!) Fenway Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
6. The Public Garden
4 Charles St, Boston, MA 02116
The Public Garden was established in 1837 and it’s the oldest botanical garden in the United States. The park was designed based on Victorian-era gardens. It has a large lagoon and many paths. You can ride a swan boat on the lagoon, or you can check out one of the many statues or fountains in the park. The Public Garden is directly adjacent to Boston Common, so it’s easy to see both parks in the same day!
7. Mike’s Pastry
300 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113
Head to the North End and grab a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry. The bakery was opened in 1946 and is an iconic Boston stop. It’s not uncommon to see Bostonians walking around the North End holding their boxes of cannolis, lobster tails (a stuffed pastry), and cookies!
8. Quincy Market
206 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109
One of my absolute favorite things to do in Boston is to wander around Quincy Market. The market is located right across from Faneuil Hall (one of the major stops along the Freedom Trail). It’s also a National Historic Landmark (built in 1825). This food hall has tons of things to eat! The last time I was there, we got clam chowder and lobster rolls. They were delicious!
9. Cheers Bar
84 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
This pub was founded in 1969 and was the inspiration for the famous sitcom Cheers. It originally opened as the Bull & Finch Pub, but is now known as the Cheers bar. Children are allowed up until 10pm, so it’s a family-friendly establishment during the day. In addition to a full menu, you’ll also find lots of Cheers memorabilia and gifts. The restaurant is located on the northern side of the Public Garden.
10. New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110
The New England Aquarium is located on Boston’s waterfront. Some of the exhibits include the Indo-Pacific Coral Reef, the Atlantic Harbors Seals, a Penguin Colony, the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center, the Giant Ocean Tank, and the Olympic Coast. For tickets, we recommend that you check out the Boston CityPASS.
11. Explore MIT
77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is well-known for its engineering and physical sciences degrees. Visit the Welcome Center to see what’s open for visitors on campus. You’ll learn all about Harvard’s history as you walk through Harvard Yard. (To register, click here.) Note: MIT is located in the city of Cambridge, right next to Boston.
12. Museum of Science
1 Museum Of Science Driveway, Boston, MA 02114
Boston’s Museum of Science has plenty of exhibits, a planetarium, 4-D films, and live presentations. The museum features a rotating set of traveling exhibits, so if you’ve been there before, chances are you’ll see something different the next time you visit. For tickets, we recommend that you check out the Boston CityPASS.
13. Museum of Fine Arts
465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115
The Museum of Fine Arts is open 5 days a week and an adult ticket costs $27 (at the time of this writing). If you visit during the summer, check their schedule to see if you can attend Concerts in the Courtyard. The museum is filled with lots of amazing exhibitions from artists around the world.
14. Parker’s Restaurant: Home of the Boston Cream Pie
60 School St, Boston, MA 02108
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be pleased to know that the Boston Cream Pie was invented at Parker’s Restaurant within the hotel. Be sure to stop by their restaurant for a slice! The Boston Cream Pie is the official dessert of Massachusetts, so you definitely need to order it at least once. (And why not from the restaurant where it was invented?)
15. Catch a Celtics Game
100 Legends Way, Boston, MA 02114
TD Garden is home to Boston’s NBA team: The Celtics. Check their schedule to see if you can catch one of their games!
16. Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116
One of my favorite things to do in Boston is to visit the Boston Public Library. At the time of this writing, the library is offering limited, free public tours. If you’d like to explore the library by yourself, they have a nice pamphlet that highlights the major architectural features and works of art.
17. Boston University Tour
233 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215
The last time I was in Boston, I got to explore a bit of Boston University’s campus. What I like most about this campus is the fact that it’s in the heart of the city. Before visiting, be sure to check out their page about visitors on campus.
18. Tour of Harvard
1350 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138
You can sign up for a free, student-led historical tour of Harvard University. You’ll learn all about Harvard’s history as you walk through Harvard Yard. (To register, click here.) Note: Harvard University is located in the city of Cambridge, right next to Boston.
19. Harvard Museum of Natural History
26 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is located in the University Museum Building. While you’re there, check out the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, otherwise known as the “Glass Flowers.” At the time of this writing, an adult ticket costs $15. Admission to the Harvard Museum or Natural History also includes admission to the Peabody Museum. Note: Harvard University is located in the city of Cambridge, right next to Boston.
19. Newbury Street
Newbury Street is one of Boston’s most famous commercial streets. Newbury Street is 8 blocks long and is filled with all sorts of shops, restaurants, and bars. The street is located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. In addition to excellent shopping, you’ll also notice many Victorian mansions along the street.
20. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was built in 1901. Isabella Stewart Gardner, a wealthy Bostonian who was well-traveled, built the museum to house her fine arts collections. She hosted many of Boston’s artists and musicians. The museum resembles a Venetian palace. At the time of this writing, an adult ticket costs $20.
21. Boston HarborWalk
The HarborWalk connects Boston’s harbor-facing neighborhoods. On a nice day, it’s really fun to walk along the harbor and piers. (For a list of hotels that are located along the Harbor, see our guide!)
22. Boston Harbor Islands
Boston Harbor also contains 34 islands, many of which are part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreational Area. You can easily hop on a ferry to explore several of these islands. Some of the most-visited islands include Georges Island, Spectacle Island, Thompson Island, and Peddocks Island. The islands contain lots of trails and even historical landmarks.
23. Franklin Park Zoo
1 Franklin Park Rd, Boston, MA 02121
The Franklin Park Zoo contains numerous exhibits, including the Gorilla Grove, Giraffe Savannah, Outback Trail, and Tiger Tales. There are also seasonal events, such as the Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience. (See here for the Boston Lights schedule.) For tickets, we recommend that you check out the Boston CityPASS.
24. Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
A fun way to see Boston is to reserve tickets for a trolley tour. You’ll get to see the city at your own pace, while still covering a lot of ground quickly.
25. Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill is one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods. The neighborhood features lots of historic brick homes, cobblestone streets, and gaslit street lamps. Be sure to check out Acorn Street, which is one of the most famous streets in the neighborhood.
26. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum will allow you to explore restored tea ships from the Boston Tea Party. You’ll learn all about the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and how it contributed to the start of the Revolutionary War.
27. Time Out Market Boston
401 Park Dr, Boston, MA 02215
If you’re looking for a good meal in Boston, check out the Time Out Market. The goal of this innovative space is to bring together some of the best dining options in Boston into one space. The Time Out Market is an upscale food hall with a wide variety of dishes.
28. Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway, known as “The Greenway”, is a public park that curves through Boston’s downtown. The urban park contains a carousel, food trucks, fountains, beer and wine gardens, and beautiful landscaping.
Chinatown in Boston is New England’s only historic Chinatown. Chinese immigrants began living in the neighborhood in the 1890s. Today, Chinatown has many Asian-American businesses and restaurants. Be sure to see the main paifang gate across Beach Street. We also recommend heading to Chinatown to eat! You can find restaurants serving Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean dishes. (Just to name a few!)
30. Charles River Esplanade
The Charles River Esplanade is a public park in the Back Bay neighborhood. The park is located along the Charles River. There’s plenty of things to do, including rowing, fitness classes, and playgrounds.
31. Paddle Board, Canoe or Kayak on the Charles River
A fun thing to do on a sunny day is to paddle board, canoe, or kayak on the Charles River. If you don’t have as much experience on the water, you can also take guided tours.
32. Arnold Arboretum
125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
The Arnold Arboretum is located at Harvard University. The arboretum is 281 acres and is free to the public. If you’re interested in a guided tour of the arboretum, click here.
33. JFK Presidential Library and Museum
Columbia Point, Boston, MA 02125
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving the legacy of president John F. Kennedy. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday, and advanced tickets are recommended. The museum contains artifacts, photographs, and original writings.
34. Institute of Contemporary Art
25 Harbor Shore Dr, Boston, MA 02210
The Institute of Contemporary Art is located on the waterfront along Boston Harbor. The institute features works from visual artists as well as performances.
35. Encore Boston Harbor
1 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149
The Encore Boston Harbor is a luxury resort and casino. The casino features red Rubino glass chandeliers, slot machines, and table games. The resort is also well-known for its luxury spa. It’s definitely worth staying on the property because of all the amenities! Click here for current nightly rates. Note: The Encore Boston Harbor is located in the city of Everett, just across the harbor from Boston.
36. Mary Baker Eddy Library
210 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
The Mary Baker Eddy Library is dedicated to Mary Baker Eddy, who was one of the founders of Christian Science. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Mapparium, which is a three-story-tall glass globe.
37. Take a Haunted Ghost Tour
Learn about Boston’s haunted history by taking a walking ghost tour! The tour is about one hour long, and it will take you through some of Boston’s historical sites such as the Granary Burying Ground, the Boston Opera House, and the Massachusetts State House.
38. Boston Opera House
539 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111
The Citizens Bank Opera House is well-known for its French and Italian-inspired architecture. The Boston Opera House is an excellent example of a vaudeville circuit palace. You can catch a performance there, or you can book one of their guided historical tours.
39. Museum of African American History
46 Joy St, Boston, MA 02114
The Museum of African American History focuses heavily on the abolitionist movement that began in Boston. Exhibits have also featured jazz musicians, entrepreneurs, and more.
40. Boston Athenaeum
10-1/2 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
The Boston Athenaeum is one of the country’s oldest public libraries. In addition to being a working library, the athenaeum hosts guided tours. The interior of this library is really beautiful, so it’s worth a visit!
41. Nichols House Museum
55 Mt Vernon St, Boston, MA 02108
The Nichols House Museum is a townhouse in the Beacon Hill neighborhood that was owned by the Nichols family. The house was built in 1804. At the time of this writing, an adult ticket costs $12.
How to Get to Boston
The primary airport in Boston is Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). The airport is surrounded by Boston Harbor on three of its sides, so I think it’s a really pretty airport to fly into. There are four self-contained terminals (A,B,C, and E), and the airport has free WiFi.
The airport has a central parking garage that connects each of the terminals. You can also catch the Silver Line to South Station in downtown Boston for free if you’re coming from Boston Logan International Airport.
See this page for a list of the best hotels near the airport.
What to Pack for a Trip to Boston
Here are a few things we recommend that you bring with you:
- Comfortable Walking Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of walking around town, so make sure you pack comfortable walking shoes. I’ve been wearing Brooks brand shoes for years and have loved them. I’ve linked them here for women, and here for men.
- Power Bank: We always keep a fully-charged power bank with us while we’re out exploring. That way, if our phone battery is running low, we can easily plug it in and re-charge on the go. We rely on our phones heavily for navigation and photography, so this product is a must for us.
- Water Bottle: We prefer to bring an insulated re-usable water bottle when we are out exploring.
- Travel Guides: When I moved to Connecticut, I brought a travel guide and it gave me so many ideas for weekend adventures. It also provided good historical background to the places I visited. I’ve linked a couple below.
(Click on any of the above images for current pricing and shipping information!)
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I spend one day in Boston?
If you only have one day in Boston, we recommend that you walk the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail will take you to 16 of the city’s most historically-significant sites.
What’s the best thing to see in Boston?
Some of the most famous things to see in Boston include the Old State House, Boston Common, Massachusetts State House, and the Old Granary Burying Ground.
Summary: Our Adventure in Boston
I’ve been to Boston on at least 5 different occasions, and I always enjoy exploring the city. Walking the Freedom Trail is one of my favorite things to do, but I also enjoy the many museums and restaurants! I hope this article helped you to plan a trip to Boston!
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If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in the following posts:
- Boston Hotels that are on the Harbor
- Best Boston Hotels Near the Airport
- Full Guide to the Freedom Trail in Boston
- Best Restaurants Near Boston Common
- Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts
- Fall Foliage in New England
- Full Guide to Visiting Connecticut
- 25 Things to Do in New Hampshire
- Best Things to Do in Vermont
Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please see individual websites embedded in this post for the most current trip-planning information.
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