Things to do in Boston, MA
Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the crown jewels of New England. Historically, Boston was the birthplace of the American Revolution and one of America's most important seaports. Today, Boston is known for its museums, literary tradition, seafood scene, passionate sports fans, and Irish-American heritage. And of course, there's that unique Boston accent! If you're looking for the top things to do in Boston, look no further: Let us guide you through the city's vibrant history and culture.
Cool Things to Do in Boston: Top Attractions
"Beantown," as the locals have nicknamed it, has a wide variety of attractions to occupy tourists and locals alike. Some of the must-do things in Boston include locations along the historic Freedom Trail. Featuring both indoor and outdoor attractions, Freedom Trail spans the downtown, North End, and Seaport neighborhoods. Some key stops include Boston Common (the oldest public park in the United States), the Massachusetts State House, a number of historic churches and graveyards, the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church (integral to the history of Paul Revere's ride), and a monument and museum at the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Few cities in the United States can claim the passion for sports that Boston can. Perhaps the most famous Boston team is, of course, the Boston Red Sox, to whom the city is utterly devoted. The team's home field, Fenway Park, is among the most historic and popular ballparks in the United States. Constructed in 1912, it is currently the oldest operating ballpark in the United States; you'll find it in the Kenmore Square neighborhood. Another famous venue in Boston is TD Garden (also commonly referred to as Boston Garden), home to the Boston Bruins NHL team and Boston Celtics NBA team and host to numerous other events throughout the year. The Sports Museum is located within; be sure to pay it a visit! Outside the city, in the suburb of Foxborough, you'll find Gillette Stadium. This open-air stadium is most famous as the home of the New England Patriots but also plays host to the New England Revolution soccer team, the University of Massachusetts college football program, and concerts by some of the largest rock and pop acts around.
What's Going on Downtown This Weekend?
Looking for fun things to do in Boston this weekend? Look no further than downtown! A wealth of things to do in downtown Boston are easily accessed by foot, bicycle, or the T One very popular walkable destination is historic Quincy Market and its adjacent North and South markets. Here, you'll find hundreds of shops, stalls, and eateries. Another popular shopping destination is Downtown Crossing, a district offering more than 200 stores, services, fitness centers, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and theaters.
While we mentioned the Freedom Trail, there are several other walkable heritage trails that transect downtown. If you've completed the Freedom Trail, give the Black Heritage Trail, Women's Heritage Trail, or Irish Heritage Trail a try. Other walking tours with multiple stops include the food-based Yummy Walks tour, the local history-based Walking Boston tour, the beer-based Ye Olde Tavern Tours, and tours of Chinatown.
Fun and Romantic Things for Couples to Do in Boston
There are lots of things to do in Boston at night, many of which are popular with couples as date ideas. For a classic dinner-and-a-show experience, start with one of Boston's top-rated seafood restaurants. We recommend James Hook & Co., Neptune Oyster, Atlantic Fish Company, or Luke's Lobster. If seafood just isn't your thing, Boston also has a strong tradition in Italian cuisine and pizza, authentic Chinese food, and doughnut shops. After your meal, check out Boston's theater district, Opera House, or Symphony Hall. Or maybe you'd prefer to catch a movie at Coolidge, the classic indie film location. Another popular after-dinner idea is candlepin bowling, a uniquely Boston variant on the classic ten-pin game. We recommend Central Park Lanes to get the classic candlepin experience.
Bar-hopping is one of the most popular things for couples to do in Boston. Boston has a strong bar scene, including many Irish-style pubs that signify the city's rich Irish-American heritage. Drink and Brendan Behan are among the most popular choices in the city. Bleacher Bar is a popular destination for Red Sox fans; it's located near Fenway Park and broadcasts every game. Fans of the classic TV show Cheers can visit the real-life inspiration for this iconic bar, once known as the Bull & Finch Pub. And the adventurous drinkers among us can try one of Boston's many bar crawls. Many locals like to design their own bar crawl, or you can head over to the website of Boston Crawling to book a spot on their highly recommended Freedom Trail Pub Crawl.
Family-Friendly Fun With Kids and Teens
We've introduced you to some of our favorite spots for adult fun, but what are the best things to do in Boston with kids? The Boston Children's Museum is a popular choice, offering interactive and educational exhibits for kids of all ages. Families also love the New England Aquarium, home to a variety of aquatic species, behind-the-scenes Animal Encounter experiences, and its own IMAX theater. Along a similar vein, the Franklin Park Zoo offers an up-close-and-personal look at some of our planet's most beautiful animal species. Visitor favorites include the lions, tigers, giraffes, red pandas, and tapirs. Finally, the Coit Observatory will round out your educational family journey. Located on the campus of Boston University, the observatory offers regular public nights when visitors can look to the stars!
Looking for a great view and a fascinating history lesson? Skywalk Observatory is one of our favorite family things to do in Boston. Located within Prudential Center, the observatory gives visitors a 360-degree view of the city atop one of its tallest buildings. On a clear day, you can see up to 100 miles away! Skywalk admission also includes entry to the Dreams of Freedom Museum, which looks at the key role of immigration in the city's history, and a multimedia theater that brings you up close with history. This is one of our favorite things to do in Boston with teens, especially those who have just moved to the city.
Outdoor and Seasonal Activities
Lovers of the outdoors, rejoice! Boston has lots of opportunities to get out in the fresh air and enjoy the weather. Some popular year-round outdoor spots include the Arnold Arboretum, Castle Island, the swan boats at the Public Garden, and the Charles River Esplanade. There are also a number of walking, jogging, and bicycle tours available, or you can explore on your own.
Even when it's cold outside, there are plenty of fun things to do in Boston in the winter. Each New Year's Eve, Boston hosts one of the nation's best First Night events, including a beautiful ice sculpture display and impressive fireworks show. Ice skating opportunities abound, most notably at Frog Pond in Boston Common. Boston Common also hosts an annual Christmas tree lighting. At the Museum of Fine Arts, enjoy the annual Festival of Lights Hanukkah celebration. When spring arrives, watch or participate in the world-famous Boston Marathon! And of course, Boston's annual St. Patrick's Day celebrations are unforgettable. The Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the largest in the world, and pubs, restaurants, and music venues throughout the city also have special deals and events around St. Patrick's Day. Be sure to check them out!
Summer in Boston brings lots of opportunities for food and fun. Many of the city's festivals, such as the Pizza Festival, several local beer festivals, and the Chinatown Main Street Festival, take place in the summer. Many free or low-price summer music events occur in the city's many parks, as well as free Shakespeare productions at Boston Common. In July, the annual Harborfest includes harbor cruises, carnival rides, walking tours, art displays, the annual Chowderfest, and a Fourth of July fireworks display. You won't want to miss it! There are also plenty of things to do in Boston in the fall. The Boston area is known for its beautiful fall foliage, so autumn is a great time to take a walking or bicycle tour. Some popular fall events we recommend include the Beantown Jazz Festival, the Boston Arts Festival, and the Head of the Charles Regatta on the Charles River.
Best Things to Do Inside on a Rainy Day
Need to find things to do in Boston on a rainy day? Boston has many wonderful museums and other indoor activities for when the weather just won't cooperate. Some of our favorite historical things to do in Boston are indoor experiences, so they're perfect for those gloomy days! One of the most famous museums in Boston is the Museum of Fine Arts, which features art from many different eras and from all around the world. While its exhibit spaces are always rotating in new pieces, some of its permanent installations include one of the world's largest collections of the works of Claude Monet and John Singer Sargent, multiple galleries of ancient Greek sculptures, an extensive collection of Italian Renaissance art, and a beautiful Japanese rock garden. Some other museums we highly recommend include the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Museum of Science (great for kids!), and the Old Corner Bookstore, once frequented by the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Charles Dickens.
Having Fun for Free
Looking for fun, free things to do in Boston? Some popular free attractions include tours of the world-famous Samuel Adams Brewery, the Massachusetts Historical Society, campus tours of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the museums on campus at Harvard University, the historic Boston Custom House, events at Jamaica Pond, visiting the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and free movie nights at the Hatch Shell. You'll also find lots of low-priced shops and eateries around the city for those on a budget.
Boston Harbor and Seaport Attractions
Some of our favorite things to do in Boston Harbor and the Seaport area showcase the city's rich maritime history. The harbor's convenient location makes it a popular place for hotels and residential condos. Pay a visit to the USS Constitution or the Boston Tea Party ships and museum. Or book a modern cruise with Boston Harbor Cruises or a historic sailing ship cruise with Massachusetts Bay Lines. Other popular activities in the harbor area include strolling the Harborwalk, grabbing a drink at Harpoon Brewery, watching the ships at Charlestown Navy Yard, and booking a whale watch through Boston Harbor Cruises or the New England Aquarium.
North End Highlights
While the rest of the city is strongly associated with Irish-Americans, Boston's North End is known for its rich Italian-American heritage. Some of the most popular things to do in the North End of Boston revolve around the city's Italian cultural history and traditions. The North End hosts many Italian heritage festivals throughout the year, and we definitely recommend checking out some of the neighborhood's Italian restaurants and pizza joints. Some highly rated choices include Giacomo's, Lucca, Prezza, Regina Pizzeria, Ernesto's, and Santarpio's Pizza. Other popular attractions in North End include the open-air Haymarket farmers' market, shopping on Hanover Street, and the picturesque Langone Park and Columbus Park.
What's in the Area? Things to Do Outside of Boston
There are many drivable trips in greater Massachusetts that are a reasonable distance from downtown Boston. One of the most popular things to do outside of Boston is visiting Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, or Nantucket Island. The beautiful beaches, harbors, and coastal towns make it an experience to remember. You can reach Cape Cod by car from Boston in just 90 minutes! Lovers of nature who are eager for more experiences that are drivable from Boston will be interested in Blue Hills Reservation, Halibut Point State Park, and the nearby coastal cities of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Kennebunkport, Maine.
History-lovers who couldn't get enough of Boston's museums and historical sites will find many more things to do in nearby Massachusetts towns and cities. Some of our top recommendations include the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, the Salem Witch Museum and associated walking tours, Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, and Minute Man National Historical Park.
Families with young kids might like some of Massachusetts's many theme parks and other kid-friendly attractions. Popular choices include Legoland in Somerville, Coco Key Water Park in Danvers, and King Richard's Faire in Carver.