Top 20 Places to Visit in Boston: An Insider's Guide
If you're searching for a city that's both rich in history and bursting with modern energy, then Boston should be at the top of your list. This cosmopolitan metropolis is a true melting pot, blending old-world charm with cutting-edge innovation to create a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. From the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill to the bustling waterfront of the Seaport District, Boston is a city that rewards exploration at every turn.
In this insider's guide, we'll take you on a journey through the top places to visit in Boston. From iconic landmarks like Fenway Park and the USS Constitution Museum to lesser-known gems like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Arnold Arboretum, here is the best that Boston has to offer. So buckle up and get ready for an adventure - with this insider's guide, you're sure to discover a side of Boston you never knew existed!
Top 20 Places To Visit in Boston
1. Freedom Trail
If you're a history buff, you won't want to miss the Freedom Trail. This 2.5-mile-long trail takes you through 16 historical sites in Boston, including the Massachusetts State House, Paul Revere's House, and the site of the Boston Massacre. As you walk along the trail, you'll learn about the rich history of Boston and the role it played in the American Revolution.
2. Fenway Park
Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is a must-see for any sports fan. Even if you're not a fan of baseball, the park's unique architecture and rich history make it a must-visit destination. Take a tour of the park, visit the Red Sox Hall of Fame, or catch a game and experience the energy of one of the oldest and most iconic ballparks in America.
3. Boston Common
Boston Common is the oldest public park in the United States and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Take a stroll through the park's 50 acres, enjoy a picnic on the lawn, or take a ride on the famous Swan Boats. In the winter, the park transforms into a winter wonderland with ice skating and holiday lights.
4. Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill is one of Boston's most picturesque neighborhoods, with cobblestone streets, gas lamps, and historic brownstones. Take a walk through the neighborhood and admire the architecture, or stop in one of the many boutique shops or restaurants. Don't miss the famous Acorn Street, one of the most photographed streets in America.
5. New England Aquarium
Located on the waterfront, the New England Aquarium is home to thousands of aquatic animals, including sea turtles, penguins, and sharks. Don't miss the Giant Ocean Tank, a four-story tank that's home to Myrtle the Turtle, a 90-year-old sea turtle who's been living at the aquarium since 1970.
6. Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest art museums in the United States, with a collection that spans over 5,000 years of art from around the world. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary paintings, the museum has something for everyone. Don't miss the Art of the Americas Wing, which showcases art and artifacts from the United States, Canada, and Latin America.
7. Harvard University
Located just across the Charles River in Cambridge, Harvard University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Take a tour of the campus and visit historic buildings like Memorial Hall and Harvard Yard. Don't miss the Harvard Art Museums, which house a collection of over 250,000 objects, including works by Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh.
8. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Relive one of the most iconic moments in American history at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Take a tour of the museum and learn about the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party, then climb aboard a replica of one of the tea ships and toss a crate of tea overboard, just like the colonists did in 1773.
9. Quincy Market
Located in the heart of downtown Boston, Quincy Market is a bustling marketplace filled with shops, restaurants, and street performers. Sample some of Boston's famous seafood, browse the souvenir shops, or just soak up the lively atmosphere.
10. The North End
No trip to Boston is complete without a visit to the North End, Boston's oldest neighborhood. Known as Boston's "Little Italy," the North End is home to some of the city's best Italian restaurants, pastry shops, and bakeries. Take a stroll down Hanover Street, the main thoroughfare, and admire the historic buildings and charming alleyways. Don't miss a chance to sample some of the famous cannoli at Mike's Pastry or Modern Pastry.
11. Visit the Museum of Science
The Museum of Science in Boston is a world-renowned institution dedicated to exploring the wonders of science and technology. With over 700 interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, and planetarium shows, the museum offers visitors of all ages a fun and educational experience. In addition to the exhibits and shows, the Museum of Science hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. These events include science-themed festivals, lectures by scientists and researchers, and interactive workshops where visitors can learn new skills.
12. USS Constitution Museum
This Museum is a must-visit for history buffs and anyone interested in naval history. The museum is dedicated to the USS Constitution, a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. The ship, also known as "Old Ironsides," is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world.
13. The Paul Revere House
It is the oldest building in downtown Boston and a National Historic Landmark. It was the home of Paul Revere, the American patriot who famously rode through the countryside to warn the colonial militia of the approaching British troops. The house is open to the public and offers guided tours.
14. The Arnold Arboretum
The Arnold Arboretum is a 281-acre botanical garden located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. It is part of Harvard University and is one of the oldest and most comprehensive arboretums in the world. The arboretum is open year-round and admission is free.
15. Forest Hill Cemetry
Forest Hills Cemetery is a historic cemetery located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. The cemetery was established in 1848 and covers over 275 acres, making it one of the largest green spaces in Boston. One of the most notable features of Forest Hills Cemetery is its collection of public art and sculptures. The cemetery is home to over 5,000 pieces of art, including several sculptures by famous artists such as Daniel Chester French and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The cemetery also hosts a variety of art exhibits and events throughout the year.
Forest Hills Cemetery is also the final resting place of many notable individuals, including poets E.E. Cummings and Anne Sexton, as well as abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison and civil rights leader Malcolm X. Visitors, can take a self-guided tour of the cemetery to visit these and other gravesites of historical significance.
16. The New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium is a world-class aquarium located on Boston's waterfront. It features thousands of marine animals, including sea turtles, sharks, and penguins. Don't miss the chance to see the giant ocean tank, which is home to Myrtle, a 90-year-old sea turtle.
17. The Institute of Contemporary Art
The Institute of Contemporary Art is a cutting-edge museum located on Boston's waterfront. It features contemporary art in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, and video. The museum also offers stunning views of Boston Harbor.
18. The Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden is a 24-acre park located in the heart of Boston. It is home to over 80 species of plants and trees, including the famous swan boats. Don't miss a chance to see the beautiful floral displays, including the tulips in the spring and the mums in the fall.
19. The Boston Symphony Orchestra
This Orchestra is one of the most renowned orchestras in the world and is based in Boston Symphony Hall. The hall itself is a masterpiece of acoustical engineering and is considered one of the best concert halls in the world. Don't miss a chance to see a performance by this world-class orchestra.
20. The Boston Harbor Islands
They are a collection of islands located in Boston Harbor. They offer a variety of recreational opportunities, including hiking, swimming, and camping. Don't miss a chance to take a ferry to one of the islands and explore the natural beauty of Boston's harbor.
Boston is a city that truly has it all. From its rich history to its thriving arts and culture scene, this city has something to offer everyone. Whether you're interested in exploring the city's colonial past, catching a game at Fenway Park, or simply enjoying the vibrant street life and diverse neighborhoods, Boston is the perfect destination.
The top 20 places to visit in Boston that we've highlighted in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more amazing attractions, museums, parks, and neighborhoods to discover in this dynamic city. Boston truly is a city that rewards the curious and adventurous traveler. So if you're looking for a destination that's both exciting and enriching, look no further than Boston. Pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready to experience all that this amazing city has to offer. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Boston is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
How many days are enough to spend in Boston?
While it's certainly possible to see some of Boston's top attractions in just two-three days, we recommend spending at least 5-7 days itinerary in the city to fully explore everything it has to offer. This will give you plenty of time to visit the top historical sites, explore the various neighborhoods, and sample the city's famous food and drink scene.
What is the best time to visit Boston?
The best time to visit Boston is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller. Spring (April - June) is a particularly lovely time to visit, as the city's many parks and gardens come alive with colorful blooms. Fall (September - November) is also a great time to visit, as the leaves change colors and the city is filled with seasonal festivities.
What are the best places to visit in Boston during winter?
Boston is a great destination year-round, but it's particularly enchanting during the winter months. Some of the best places to visit during this time include the Boston Common, which is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with ice skating and holiday lights, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which offers a cozy and intimate atmosphere for art lovers. Other popular winter activities include visiting the city's many cozy cafes and restaurants and taking in a performance at the Boston Ballet or the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Are there any free activities to do in Boston?
Yes, there are plenty of free activities to do in Boston! Here are a few options:
Walk the Freedom Trail: The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that takes you through some of Boston's most historic sites, including the Massachusetts State House, Paul Revere's House, and the USS Constitution Museum.
Visit the Boston Public Library: The Boston Public Library is a beautiful building filled with art and architecture. You can take a free tour, attend a lecture or workshop, or just relax and read a book.
Explore the Boston Common: The Boston Common is a large park in the heart of the city. You can stroll through the park, have a picnic, or watch street performers.
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts: The Museum of Fine Arts is free on Wednesdays after 4 pm. You can explore the museum's extensive collection of art and artifacts.
Walk along the Charles River: The Charles River Esplanade is a beautiful place to take a walk or bike ride. You can enjoy views of the city skyline and watch sailboats on the river.
Attend a free concert: Boston has many free concerts throughout the year, especially during the summer. Check out the Boston Parks Summer Concert Series or the Boston Harbor Hotel Summer in the City concert series.
How can I get around Boston?
Boston is a very walkable city, with many of its top attractions located within easy walking distance of each other. However, if you need to travel farther afield, there are plenty of transportation options available, including the subway (known locally as the "T"), buses, and taxis. Many visitors also enjoy renting bikes or taking a water taxi to explore the city from a different perspective.
Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a Venetian-style palace filled with art and artifacts from around the world.
Take a ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands, where you can explore beaches, hiking trails, and historic sites.
Attend a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, one of the oldest and most iconic ballparks in the country.
Explore the North End, Boston's Little Italy, and sample some of the best Italian food in the city.
Visit the New England Aquarium, which features over 800 species of marine animals and interactive exhibits.
Take a scenic drive along the Charles River and enjoy the views of Boston's skyline.
Check out the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, which tells the story of the famous 1773 protest that sparked the American Revolution.
Attend a free concert or event at the Hatch Memorial Shell, an outdoor amphitheater located on the Charles River Esplanade.
Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.