Boston is one of the most interesting cities to see in the United States. The capital of Massachusetts is considered one of the best places in the world in terms of quality of life. And in terms of tourism, you will not be short of things to do in Boston: from vibrating with a game of the city’s sports teams to fall in love with its cozy neighborhoods. In this post we tell you 40 things to do in Boston.
1. Teleport yourself to Italy in the North End, a curious thing to do in Boston
One of the things people say is that Boston is very similar to a European city. Or the most European city in the United States. We disagree. Although we do agree that it has areas that are out of the ordinary in the United States.
If you go a little further away from the center and go to Cambridge you do notice that resemblance to Europe, but in the center there are few areas. One of them is North End. If you have discovered what to see in New York, it is like Little Italy but with a nicer architecture. The most characteristic of the neighborhood is the multitude of Italian restaurants.
The Italian community was created in the twentieth century and today is still very present in the neighborhood, although increasingly Americanized. So eating in one of its restaurants and enjoying it is one of the best things to do in Boston.
2. Visit the oldest house to see in Boston
Paul Revere’s house is located precisely in the North End. Part of its fame is due to the fact that it is the oldest house in the city and, obviously, for being the home of the famous patriot Paul Revere, a famous character in the Independence of the United States.
Today, the three-story house is a museum and you can visit the interior. The entrance costs 5$ and you can learn about the way the inhabitants of the city lived during that time.
3. Don’t miss the oldest church in the city, the Old North Church
It was founded in 1723 in the British colonial era. It is also the most visited historical monument in Boston, especially for Americans because it hides a relevant patriotic history.
In 1775, preceding the American Revolutionary battles of Lexington and Concord, the sexton Robert Newman, following Paul Revere’s instructions, hung two lamps in the bell tower warning of the advance of the British towards Lexington and Concord. It also houses the first two forged in the country. Admission requires a voluntary donation.
4. Try the best cannoli in town at Mike’s Pastry
As we said, the North End is full of Italians. And of course, if we talk about Italy, its excellent gastronomy is the first thing that comes to mind. If you like sweets, you can’t miss this pastry shop. According to the locals, they eat the best cannoli in Boston, and it’s easy to be transported to Naples with their taste!
We didn’t try them all, but the ones at Mike’s are tremendous and there are many varieties. Without a doubt, eating a cannoli there is one of the best things to do in Boston, and you’ll want to go back for more!
5. Enter Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop, one of the most tempting things to do in Boston
While we’re on the subject of sweets, if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely want to stop at this store. There you can discover how Bostonians produced and consumed chocolate during the American colonial period, a curious thing to do in Boston!
6. Watch a Celtics game at the legendary TD Garden, a fun thing to do in Boston for basketball lovers
If you love sports, especially the NBA, you can’t miss a Boston Celtics game at the most famous basketball arena in the world. The city’s team is the most successful in the history of the NBA with 17 rings, and no one can keep up with them! So if you visit the city from October to April, you already have a plan.
7. And if baseball is more your thing, go to Fenway Park
The good thing about Boston is that no matter what sport it is, all the teams in the city are good. In Spain, baseball is not lived with much passion but attending a Red Sox game is one of the best things to do in Boston.
Even if you don’t know much about it, the atmosphere is fantastic. Also, as a curiosity, the stadium itself is an institution. Fenway Park is the oldest in the MLB, so at least visit it from the outside.
8. Photograph the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge
It reminds us of the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam. What do you think? It is named after Leonard P. Zakim, an American Jewish activist who fought for civil rights, and Bunker Hill, a legendary Revolutionary War battle. Today it is one of the icons of the city.
9. Go to the Bunker Hill Monument, a historic place to see in Boston
Just across the bridge is this obelisk dedicated to the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the most legendary battles of the American Revolutionary War. From there you will have beautiful views of the city, especially at sunset. Getting there and enjoying the views is a highly recommended thing to do in Boston.
Most of the things to do in Boston can be paid for with a credit card. However it is always better to carry some cash. We always exchange currency with Ria Cambio de Divisas.
10. Visit the Museum of Science
If you are traveling to the city with children, this is one of the most interesting things to do in Boston. There they will be able to learn and be curious about many aspects of life. The museum has more than 700 interactive exhibits where from the youngest to the oldest children can discover many things. For example, we really liked the optical illusions section. Admission for adults costs $23.
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11. Pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust at the New England Holocaust Memorial
One of the things we liked most about the city was the moving Holocaust memorial. It is located right at the entrance to the North End and was inspired by some survivors who found a new life in Boston. The place gave us goosebumps. It is definitely a good place to reflect and learn about the past to try to prevent real tragedies like this from happening again.
12. Get to know the city through the Freedom Trail
Walking along this 4-kilometer trail is one of the most interesting things to do in Boston. Partly because you will be able to discover many of its historical attractions linked to the history of the country. You will see that the path is marked on the ground with bricks. The route starts at Boston Common and ends at Bunker Hill. At each highlighted place you will see an explanatory sign that will help you understand what you are seeing.
13. Grab a bite to eat at Quincy Market and enjoy the atmosphere
In Faneuill Hall you will find several interesting markets. However, the one we liked the most was the Quincy Market. In this historic market you can enjoy its stalls and beautiful architecture. Also, if you are hungry it is a great place to eat well and cheaply in Boston. And if you don’t get hungry at the market, don’t worry, you’re sure to get hungry when you see all the little food stalls.
14. Take a cruise with Boston Harbor Cruises and see the city from another perspective
Getting to know the city of Boston on foot is great. However, we recommend you to do it from another perspective, from the sea. Harbor Cruises has several interesting cruises that will allow you to enjoy Boston from the water. We did the historic one, which was included in the CityPass and it was not bad. It is true that it gets a little boring as you get further away from the skyline, but it is not bad to learn more about the history of the city.
15. Meet the marine fauna at the New England Aquarium
If you are traveling to the city with kids, this is another activity to do in Boston that you can’t miss. The aquarium is quite large and you will be able to enjoy many species. We were amazed by a turtle in the central tank, it seemed bigger than us! The entrance is included in the Boston CityPass. If you don’t have it, the visit costs $28 for adults.
If you’re a maverick and want to see whales, you’ll have to leave the aquarium. They themselves, along with Boston Harbor Cruises organize whale watching tours. If you get seasick, don’t go!
16. Stroll among skyscrapers on the Rose Kennedy Greenway
This greenway was one of the things that caught our attention in Downtown Boston. It is dedicated to Rose, the mother of former President Kennedy. We loved it because it is a real luxury to walk through this small park surrounded by skyscrapers. Disconnecting there is one of the best things to do in Boston.
17. Visit the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Boston Harbor was the scene of a historic episode: the Boston Tea Party. The American colonists rebelled against Great Britain and threw a whole shipment of tea into the water in protest against the taxes they had to pay for its importation.
This revolt was the precedent for the American War of Independence. Because of its great historical importance, a museum has been dedicated to it. You can learn more about the history thanks to the guides, who are characterized as characters of the time. You can also see ships and two of the original chests that were thrown into the water. Admission is $29.95.
18. See one of the best views of the city from Fan Pier Park
The Boston skyline is not the most beautiful we have seen but it has its own thing. If you don’t have the chance to see it from the water, we think the best viewpoint in the city is Fan Pier Park. It’s in the Seaport District, in South Boston, and it’s worth going there to enjoy the views. Besides, the atmosphere is quiet, perfect to disconnect after a day of sightseeing.
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19. Browse in the beautiful Brattle Book Shop
Stopping at this bookstore is one of the essential things to do in Boston. It is one of the oldest in the United States and unfortunately goes unnoticed by many tourists. The outside of the bookstore is very picturesque with a mural of intellectuals throughout history. It is a real gem. If you love reading, you can’t leave without buying a good book.
20. Visit the Boston Opera House, the Broadway of Boston
The best plays and musicals in New York are on Broadway. In Boston it’s the same with the Boston Opera House. With the difference that it’s not a very large theater, so the views and sound are excellent from any seat. This classic style theater is home to the Boston Ballet, so don’t miss any of their performances if you have the chance. If you live in New York but prefer the theatre shows in Boston, all you need is this detailed guide to taking the train from New York City to Boston.
21. Relax in the Boston Common, the lung of the city
Continuing with the comparison with New York, the Boston Common is equivalent to Central Park. It is a park in the heart of the city. It is said to be one of the oldest in the whole country, having been founded in 1634. There is nothing too special about it, but on sunny days it is a meeting point for locals.
22. And also in the Boston Public Gardens
Although the Boston Common is more renowned, we liked these gardens more. It is a small oasis in the middle of the city. We saw many people sitting on the grass on the shore of the pond. You can also rent boats and pedalos for a ride on the water.
23. Getting lost in Beacon Hill
It is a beautiful area, full of red brick terraced houses with flowers on the balconies. Get ready to walk through its narrow streets and discover what for many is the most beautiful neighborhood in Boston. There is no doubt that it is one of the most exclusive and expensive residential areas.
24. Discover Acorn Street, a beautiful stop to make in Boston
Just in Beacon Hill you can find one of the most charming streets we have ever seen. Acorn Street is a small cobblestone street with some slope full of typical houses of the area. Plus, to give it an even cooler touch an American flag hangs from one of the houses. Taking a picture in this street is a must to do in Boston.
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25. Enjoy the sunset at Charles River Esplanade
This park has great views as it is on the banks of the Charles River. It is a very popular place to play sports or just enjoy the greenery quietly. Taking a walk there at sunset is a very relaxing thing to do in Boston. If you go in winter, dress warmly because it usually blows a very cold wind.
26. Visit Trinity Church in the heart of Boston
An essential stop to make in downtown Boston is this church. We found it to be a very beautiful building with a different architectural style. Its architect, Richardson, gained fame after designing this church. He did it almost as a matter of urgency, since the previous one was devastated by the fire that swept through the city in 1872. It is home to several choirs, so it is not uncommon to come across a performance.
27. Be amazed by Bates Hall at the Boston Public Library, a stunning building to see in Boston
We have seen very few public libraries as impressive as this one. It was the first municipal library in the United States and is still the largest, with more than 15 million books. Don’t miss its grand reading room, Bates Hall, with its impressive vaulted ceiling. In addition to the beautiful architecture of some of its rooms, we also loved the more modern part. To spend the whole day among books…
28. Strolling around Back Bay
Strolling through the streets of Back Bay we understood why it is often said that Boston looks like a European city. It is full of red brick Victorian houses that are dreamy. Not for nothing are they considered one of the best examples of 19th century architecture in the entire country. The promenade has beautiful views, plus there is usually a lot of atmosphere because of the stores and restaurants in the area.
29. Browse the beautiful shop windows of Newbury Street, a must to do in Boston
This was our favorite part of the city. It took us to London for a moment. On Newbury Street you will find interesting stores in beautiful 19th century houses. It is the most exclusive part of Back Bya. There is also a great variety of restaurants and art galleries. Strolling along it is one of the best things to do in Boston.
30. Appreciate the city from above at the Skywalk Observatory
Don’t be satisfied with just seeing Boston walking along the sidewalks when you can see it from a 50th floor. The Skywalk Obervatory is an indoor observation deck with 360° views of the city at 200 meters above sea level. We recommend that you go up a little before sunset and wait for the sun to set. We were lucky enough to see an amazing sunset 🙂 In addition to the magnificent views, there are explanatory panels about the history of Boston, its most famous citizens and immigration. Admission is $20 and free if you have the Boston CityPASS.
31. Photograph the reflection of the Christian Science Center in the reflecting pool, one of the most beautiful places to see in Boston
In the style of the famous reflecting pool in Washington, Boston also has its own. In this case, it reflects the spectacular building of the Church of Christ the Scientist, founded in Boston. It is striking that this majestic building is in the middle of the financial district, surrounded by skyscrapers that are also seen in the reflection.
32. Visit the famous Mapparium, an original visit to make in Boston
This is a must to do in Boston for lovers of travel and maps. You can enter inside a three-story globe and see it from a glass walkway that crosses it. It is very curious to see how the world has changed since 1935, the year the map was created.
The Mapparium is inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, but can only be accessed with a guided tour for $6. They run every 20 minutes from 10:20 am to 4 pm. Reservations are not necessary. Unfortunately, no photos are allowed due to image rights issues.
33. Enjoy a Freak Frappé at Boston Burger Company
Want to get your boots on with a good American snack? Look no further! This restaurant’s frappés will leave you hungry for dinner. To give you an idea of their magnitude, the frappés cost between $10 and $12. They are huge and served to overflowing, with cookies, a slice of cake or jelly beans on top depending on which one you order. They have three locations in the city.
34. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
The entrance fee is $25, which is well worth it if you have time to enjoy the multitude of exhibits. If you like art, do not miss it.
35. Marvel at the beauty of the gardens of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
One of the most beautiful corners of Boston is hidden inside a museum. The interior glassed-in courtyard full of plants and flowers is spectacular. But it’s not just the courtyard that’s worth a visit. The museum has a collection of more than 2,500 world-class works of art. You can see paintings by great names such as Rubens, Vermeer or Rembrandt in an environment that doesn’t look like a museum at all.
In fact, it is the house where Isabella Stewart Gardner, the art collector who owns the collection, lived. Admission is $15, although if your name is Isabella you can enter for free in honor of its founder.
36. Visit the prestigious Harvard University, a must-do in Boston
We believe that your visit to Boston would be incomplete without visiting Harvard, one of the best universities in the world. It has produced some true geniuses, like Barack Obama? He spent three years studying at Harvard Law School. And a Bill Gates? Well, he also studied there, although he dropped out without finishing his degree to found Microsoft. And the truth is that he didn’t do too badly…
Walking around Harvard Yard and seeing the students, the buildings and the atmosphere is one of the best things to do at Harvard. Would you like to study there? It’s never too late to bring out the genius in you!
37. And its beautiful Arnold Arboretum
If you want to disconnect from the city we recommend you to go to this park, managed by Harvard University itself. In winter it is not worth it, but in spring, summer and autumn it looks beautiful. It is a perfect place to walk, relax and enjoy nature.
38. Get to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, one of America’s most famous presidents, was born next to Boston. And right there you will be able to see his personal library, as well as a museum to pay tribute to him. It is a very entertaining exhibition, with curious objects both personal and from his political career. The entrance fee is $14 and it is worth going even though it is a bit far from the city center.
39. Visit Samuel Adams Brewery, an essential stop for beer lovers
Boston’s local beer is called Samuel Adams and you can visit their brewery. They give free guided tours every 20 minutes. They tell the history of the company and the brewing process. And the best thing is that at the end of the tour you can taste three types of beer. An interesting visit to do in Boston for the most beer lovers.
40. Start a good day eating a donut at Blackbird Donuts
And to finish this list of things to do in Boston we give you a good tip to start the day. If you don’t know what to have for breakfast, you can go to this store and enjoy their delicious donuts. Do you know any more good ones in the city? We want to try them!