Things To Do in Boston Today

3 Days in Boston Itineray

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This post is a master list of things to do in Boston, Massachusetts, today, tomorrow, or most days of the year.

We cover activities that take place at night as well as family-friendly things to do, and list some of the top attractions, all updated for 2023. 

We are local tour guides who lead hundreds of visitors and locals each week through the streets of Boston.

At the end of each tour, we answer questions about what to do now that the tour is over.

We've used our expertise and these experiences to help craft this list of activities and attractions in Boston.

Additionally, we considered the opinions and suggestions of the roughly 16k members of our popular Boston Travel Tips Facebook group.

cheap things to do in boston

Our group consists of locals, like our tour guides, who moderate the group, expats, regular visitors, as well as newbies to Boston.

You don't need to become a member to search for and read the posts, comments, and suggestions.

Check us out once you are finished reading this post.


This section will cover the top activities to do while you’re in Boston.

Whenever possible, we will note if any of these ideas are either family-friendly, free, or great after dark.

Many of the items below are included for free or at a discount on one or more of the Boston tourist attraction discount passes, which could help you save money on entry fees. 

1. Go on a Sightseeing Tour

There are a lot of great ways to discover the city of Boston.

If you want to learn about the history of Boston, consider taking a pay-what-you-wish walking tour.

We offer several tours which cover a variety of subjects and neighborhoods:

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A hop-on-hop-off bus tour is another great way to get around the city and see all of the most notable sites.

Thanks to all the water surrounding Boston, there are always plenty of boat tours and dinner cruises available in the harbor.

You can also learn more about the best eats in Beantown by taking a food tour.

2. Attend a Live Sporting Event

There are several professional sports teams in Boston.

No matter when you choose to visit, chances are you’ll be able to see one of the following teams play a home game:

Many of these teams will play night games during the regular season, so this could be an excellent activity to enjoy after dark.

For more things to do in the evening, please read our nighttime activities section.

TIP: Baseball fans might want to consider visiting one of the oldest stadiums in America, Fenway Park. They offer tours throughout the year, even on game days!

3. Go to a Concert

Throughout the year, Boston attracts a lot of popular musicians from around the world.

If you’re interested in going to a concert, make sure to check and see what’s on at the following venues:

If you want to see who will be playing when you choose to visit Boson, please check our monthly things to do posts.

4. See a Musical/Play

No matter when you come to Boston, chances are there will be a great musical or play to attend.

There are usually at least one or two off-Broadway productions happening at any given time.

If you’re trying to figure out what shows are playing while you’re in town, check this list of Boston theater tickets to see what’s available.

Boston Opera House Photo Credit: Samantha Gilman

Alternatively, you can also check the calendars of these popular venues:

Some musicals take place during the day, and others at night.

As such, this could be both a great thing to do with your family and something fun to do after the sun goes down.

If you’re looking for additional ideas, check both our family-friendly and nighttime activities sections.

5. Visit a Popular Attraction

There are a lot of great attractions to see in and around Boston. Here are a few of the more popular locations to visit:

The Cheers Bar

If you’ve ever seen the hit television show Cheers, chances are you’ll jump at the opportunity to see the actual bar that inspired the series!

The USS Constitution

This historic ship is also known as Old Ironsides, and visitors can take a tour at the dry dock for a small donation.

Bunker Hill Monument

In addition to the landmark itself, there is also a free museum you can visit which provides access to the monument so that you can climb to the top for an excellent view of the city.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

With tons of shops, street performers, and even free activities for children, this is a great place for families to visit during the day. There are also a lot of great restaurants in the area!

If you’re looking for even more great places to see, please check our list of the best attractions in Boston.

6. Discover the Neighborhoods of Boston

There are a lot of interesting neighborhoods in Boston, each with its own unique history.

boston neighborhoods

Consider taking a walk through one of the following areas:

7. Find the Best Food in Boston

Beantown is known for restaurants specializing in a variety of different foods.

If you’re looking for something good to eat, consider one of the following options:

Secret Food Tours Boston Lobster Roll

Secret Food Tour

If you want some help finding the best dishes in Boston, consider taking this tour to taste a variety of food including lobster rolls, cannoli, brick oven pizza, and more!


If you’re looking for a great slice, head to this neighborhood for some of the best pizza you’ll ever eat.

Take our food tour to find some of the most popular Italian restaurants.

Chinese Food

Needless to say, you’ll find a lot of great Chinese food in Boston's Chinatown. Our Chinatown tour covers some of the best restaurants in the area.


Secret Food Tours Boston Cannoli

Thanks to its location next to the water, Boston is a pretty great place to find this delicious crustacean. Check our list of the best lobster restaurants for more details.


If you’re trying to find a restaurant your children will enjoy, we have a helpful list of locations that are popular with family audiences.

Dinner Cruise

This is both a great way to see Boston from the water and an excellent dining option. Most dinner cruises offer a buffet including excellent local favorites.

8. Take a Day Trip

Although Boston is a bustling city with a lot of great things to see and do, there are other places you may want to visit nearby.

Consider taking a day trip to see one of the following locations:

If you’re looking for even more day trip ideas, make sure to check this list of Boston day trips.

9. Go on a Duck Tour

Sometimes it can be difficult to convince your children to go on a sightseeing tour.

If you’re having any trouble, consider taking a Duck tour instead.

These amphibious buses have more of a party atmosphere, providing plenty of great music while you travel around the city to see all the major landmarks – and even head out on the water for a bit!

Alternatively, you could also take a more traditional boat tour around the harbor.

During the warmer months, there are tall ship and sailboat tours that your children are sure to love.

Speaking of kid-friendly boat rides, the Swan Boats of Boston Common is a great activity that is perfect for younger audiences.

These activities may get your kids out on the water, but if you’re looking for other things they can enjoy, please read our family-friendly section.

10. Consider Getting a Tourist Pass

Some of the best attractions and activities in this city are included with Boston tourist passes.

These services provide some of the biggest discounts on general admission prices, up to 55%, and can save you time by allowing you to skip the ticket lines at select attractions.

Here are a few of the more popular things you can do and locations you can visit with a discount pass:

For more information on how to save money with these services, make sure to read our full post covering which Boston tourist pass offers the best deals.


Even if you’re working with a tight budget, there are still a lot of great things you can do in this city without paying a dime.

Below is a list of the top 10 activities that you can enjoy for free in Boston, taken from our master post on free things to do in Boston, where you can find dozens of other ideas.

Learn more about free events that are happening during the month of your trip by checking our monthly things to do posts.

Some of these attractions are also either family-friendly or great nighttime activities.

Walk the Freedom Trail

Boston's historic center may be small, but it packs in so much history.

Our Freedom Trail tour takes you down ancient streets, past historic cemeteries and colonial stone houses all the while hearing tales of rebellion, war, and the independence of a nation.

You can find more information about the Freedom Trail walking tour in our post.

And, if you are interested in doing a self-guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail, there's more information in our post.

Go to a Free Museum

There are plenty of free museums to be found in Boston.

Some are always free, some have specific free days, and others are open late.

For a full list of each, visit our post - Free Museums in Boston.

Take a Sam Adams Brewery Tour

Beer fans won’t want to pass up the opportunity to tour one of the most famous breweries in the United States.

The Samuel Adams Brewery routinely opens up its doors to provide free tours to the public, and at times it’ll even include a tasting. 

Click here for information on opening times. Click here for information on specialty tours.

Enjoy a Free Tour of Harvard

Harvard University is located in the City of Cambridge, just across the Charles River from Boston.

You can take a pay-what-you-wish tour, a self-guided tour, or a tour given by students.

For more information on the tour opens, visit our Harvard Walking Tours post.

Go Stargazing at Coit Observatory

Stargazing is one of the most romantic activities after dark, and the Coit Observatory is one of the best places in Boston to see the stars through telescopes.

Check out Faneuil Hall

The Faneuil Hall, built in 1743, includes four historic buildings: Faneuil Hall, North Market, South Market, and Quincy Market.

Many people visit for the food and shopping opportunities that are available, while others come for the history and the military museum.

In addition, there are street performers, light shows, and did we mention, lots and lots of food?

For more information visit our post on Faneuil Hall.

Climb the Bunker Hill Monument

At the end of the Freedom Trail sits the Bunker Hill Monument, a 221-foot tall granite obelisk marking the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution.

Visitors can climb to the top of the monument and get a good view of the rest of the city.

Read our post about the Bunker Hill Monument here.

See the USS Constitution

The USS Constitution was made famous during its success in battle during the War of 1812, earning it the nickname “Old Ironsides”.

The nickname was chosen because the ship was so strong (it is made out of wood) that the cannonballs from British ships would bounce harmlessly off its sides.

The USS Constitution can be visited year-round. Admission to the ship is entirely free!

For more information, read our post about touring the USS Constitution.

Go to an Open Mic Comedy Night

If you need a good laugh, consider going to one of the open mic standup comedy nights at various venues in the Boston Area.

Here are a few of the more popular options that won’t cost you a dime:

  • Improv Boston | Wednesday
  • Cityside Comedy Club | Monday
  • The Bebop | Monday
  • And more!

Although the show won’t cost you a thing to catch the show, if you want a beer or cocktail those are on offer as well

Enjoy a Free Live Performance or Show

Many free concerts and performances are going on in Boston throughout the year, although most take place during the summer.

Here are you a few you might enjoy:

  • North End Park on the Greenway has a summer concert series that usually runs once a week during July and August
  • Hatch Shell on the Esplanade has movies, music festivals, 4th of July concerts, and more
  • Berklee Performance Center has free concerts all year long including symphonies, jazz ensembles, and more
  • Piers Park in East Boston has a concert series running on some Sundays in July and August


There are a lot of great things to do after the sun goes down in Beantown. This section will cover our top 10 list of the best nighttime activities in Boston.

As you may notice, some of the attractions listed below are also family-friendly and others are free to enjoy.

You can find more information about nighttime events in specific months in our monthly things-to-do posts.

For additional evening ideas, please read our full post covering things to do at night in Boston.

Take our Beacon Hill Crime Tour

The swanky, gas-lit streets of Beacon Hill are among the most beautiful in all of Boston, but beneath the neighborhood's genteel veneer lies a sinister past.

Join Free Tours by Foot as we step back in time and visit the crime scenes and meet the victims, the madmen, and the detectives who hunted them down, all while exploring the beautiful streets of Boston's Beacon Hill.

Come relive some of the most captivating moments in the city's history.

Click here for more information about the tour.

Visit View Boston

Set to reopen in 2023 after a 3-year revamp of the top of the Prudential Tower, is the open-air roof deck called Cloud Terrace.

It'll give you 360-degree views of the city.

There will also be elevated platforms for a better view, a way to look into Boston's neighborhoods,s, and a place to get a selfie.

There will also be an outdoor lounge offering cocktails and small plates called Stratus, a bistro called The Beacon, and an interactive indoor exhibit called The City.

Click here for more information about View Boston.

Go to the Original Cheers Bar

The bar, which opened in 1969 and was originally named the Bull and Finch, had been a quiet, low-profile, local watering hole. 

That was until it was discovered by Hollywood in 1981 and premiered in 1982 as the bar Cheers for the TV show of the same name.

The show ran for 11 seasons and made the bar the most famous bar in Boston, maybe in all of the United States.  

Read more about the bar in our Cheers Bar post.

Take a Haunted Bus Tour

If you’re looking for a spooky experience in Beantown, perhaps a haunted bus tour is in order.

Hear about Boston’s dark side on this 90-minute ghost bus tour with numerous costumed guides.

For more information on the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour visit our post.

Go on a Sunset Cruise or Sailboat Ride

There are several companies that give sunset cruises in Boston Harbor.

Some are by boat and others by sailboat. Each is a different length and price.

For a breakdown of sunset tours offered, visit our post.

Visit a Museum After Dark

There are a lot of great sites to see and activities to enjoy in this city, but many of them close up when the sun goes down.

Luckily, there are several museums that stay open after dark, ones often included on the tourist attraction discount pass.

For a list of museums with night hours, visit our post.

Go Stargazing at Coit Observatory

Stargazing is one of the most romantic activities after dark, and the Coit Observatory is one of the best places in Boston to see the stars through telescopes.

Thankfully, you don’t have to pay anything to enjoy this activity during their Public Open Nights.

Although this is a free event, it’s important to note that you will need to reserve tickets ahead of time.

Get free tickets to the Coit Observatory here.

See a Show at the Hatch Shell

This outdoor amphitheater on the Charles River has movie nights, festivals, music, and more. Best of all, they are usually free to attend!

It's got great views of the Boston skyline, and it is the perfect spot to catch the Boston Pops on the 4th of July.

For a full list of Hatch Shell events visit the website.

Get Great Local Food After Dark

Boston is known to have some great food. Think, clam chowder, lobster, pizza, and more.

For a list of some of Boston's best foods and where you can find them after dark, visit our post.

Click here for more information on Finding the Best Food in Boston.

Visit Newbury Street

This street covering eight blocks in Back Bay runs parallel to the Charles River. It's known for boutiques, cultural attractions, and restaurants.

There are loads of dining options covering such fare as Indian food, Greek food, American food, seafood, and more. Many restaurants have outdoor seating.

There are loads of bars on or near Newbury, many on the fancier side.

An evening stroll down Newbury and through the charming neighborhood surrounding it is a great way to work off a meal.

It's got some great architecture and some historic landmarks.

Visit The Boston Harbor Islands

There are 34 islands and peninsulas making up The Boston Harbor Islands.

In pre-colonial times they were used for hunting and fishing by Native American Tribes.

Later patriot militiamen were stationed there to guard against British Troops returning to Boston Harbor.

Today, folks can camp overnight on Peddocks Island. A tent or a yurt with electricity can be reserved.

There are toilets and picnic tables at the campsite, and there are miles of trails and beautiful beaches.


Parents will find no shortage of fun activities and attractions for kids in Boston.

In this section, we’ll offer a list of family-friendly things to do in Boston.

You’ll find even more family fun in our full post providing dozens of great things to do with kids in Boston.

If you’re looking for details about family-friendly things to do during specific months, make sure to read our monthly things to do posts.

Keep in mind that some of the attractions listed above are also free to enjoy or have fun after dark.

Go to a Kid-Friendly Museum

There are a lot of museums to visit in Boston, and many of them are great for kids. 

Just a few of them are the Children's Museum, the Bunker Hill Museum, The ISS Constitution Museum, and the Museum of Science.

For a full list, along with information on tickets, visit here.

Visit the New England Aquarium

Opened in 1969, the New England Aquarium is home to a multitude of sea life that includes species like northern fur seals, exotic jellyfish, giant Pacific octopuses, and thousands of saltwater and freshwater fish.

The highlight of the aquarium is its 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank that replicates a coral reef environment.

There is also an IMAX theater that shows films with aquatic themes.

The aquarium offers whale-watching tours that can be combined with the cost of admission. 

Tickets can be purchased here.

Take a Trip to the Franklin Park Zoo

Kids will be sure to enjoy the Franklin Park Zoo, where hundreds of species of animals reside.

There's a tropical rainforest, a giraffe savannah, a petting zoo, a 10,000-square-foot playground, and so much more.

Visit the website for more information.

Go to Six Flags New England

This amusement park is located in Agawam, MA, about an hour and a half from Boston.

The park has hundreds of rides including some fantastic roller coasters, water park rides, and for little kids.

There are also shows, some including Looney Tunes characters, and they will soon have a Dino Off-Road Adventure seen from your own safari-style vehicle.

Visit the website for more information.

Visit the Mapparium

This interesting attraction allows you to walk into the center of a globe.

Older children who are learning about geography in school might enjoy the opportunity to see the Earth from an entirely different perspective.

The Mapparium is only accessible via a tour, but tickets are pretty affordable and it’s definitely worth the price of admission.

Although younger kids might not get as much out of the experience, this activity is actually free for kids 5 and under, so you can bring the whole family without worrying about your budget.

Read more about tickets here.

Go to a Playground

There are a lot of great playgrounds for kids in the Boston area.

While we can’t cover all of them, this list will provide details about a few of the more popular locations where your kids can run around and have some fun for free!

Visit the list of Parks here.

Have fun at LEGOLAND

LEGOLAND Discovery Center has a variety of fun activities for kids to enjoy.

You'll find a Hero Zone laser maze, a Spaceship Design and Build, a 4D Cinema, a Kingdom Quest ride, and so much more.

Even if you don't want to pay for entry, there is a LEGO store on-site that your children can visit for free.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Check out Faneuil Hall

The Faneuil Hall, built in 1743, includes four historic buildings: Faneuil Hall, North Market, South Market, and Quincy Market.

Many people visit for the food and shopping opportunities that are available, while others come for the history and the military museum.

There are often street performers outside, there are sometimes kid-centered events around storytelling, arts and crafts, and puppets, there are sometimes light shows, and there are all sorts of food to eat.

Visit our full post on Faneuil Hall here.

Visit the Esplanade

There are a lot of great things to see and do at the Esplanade, and most of them are entirely free.

You can see a show at the Hatch Shell, visit one of the two playgrounds, jump around on the Alfrond Memorial Spray Deck, see the Harbour Seals at the New England Aquarium, and so much more.

Visit the Esplande's page for more information on things to do.

Throw Some Tea Overboard

Kids are sure to enjoy the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Actors dress up in period costumes and involve the audience in their storytelling.

Everyone can then tour a replica ship, and even throw tea overboard!

There's also a 3D tour inside the museum with holograms and various artifacts from the Boston Tea Party on display.

It all ends with a movie about Paul Revere and the start of the Revolutionary War.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Attend a Family-Friendly Festival

Boston has a number of festivals throughout the year, and some are perfect for a family day out.

  • Winter Family Day - this annual February event takes place at MIT Museum. It has food trucks, performances, stem activities, games, and free snacks
  • Boston Pizza Festival - this annual June all-you-can-eat pizza festival also has games and music
  • Copley Street Fair/Boston Book Festival - in October kids authors do readings at the book festival, and food trucks, live music, and activities for the kids happen at the fair
  • Boston Jerk Fest - this annual July festival has tasty Jamaican jerk dishes, arts and crafts, a Kids and Culture stage, face painting, and storytelling
  • St. Anthony's Feast - this August festival has parades, Italian and American food, strolling singers, and live entertainment


In addition to all the great activities and attractions we’ve already mentioned in this post, there are several great events that only take place during a specific time of the year.

If you want to see what’s going on when you plan to visit the city, check this list of monthly things to do in Boston.


There are a lot of great places to see and experience in Boston. This list will provide some of our favorite locations to visit throughout the year.


The answer to this question depends on how much you want to see and how long you have.

You certainly can pack a lot into even a single day! Below we have a few suggested itineraries

If you have 1 Day in Boston

A single day in Boston is plenty of time to hit some popular attractions, especially if you're willing to stick to one area of town.

In this case, we're talking about the neighborhoods of North End and West End.

If you follow the Freedom Trail as a self-guided tour, and take your time to stop in at various places along the way, you'll see Boston Common, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House, The Old North Church, the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill, and many other sites of interest.

Of course, we offer a walking tour of these sites that is much quicker, and you can go back and revisit the stops afterward.

If you're doing a self-guided tour and are close to Long Wharf to see the USS Constitution, you could add in a boat cruise.

Or you could stop in and see the New England Aquarium, The Museum of Science, or the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.

You can close out the day by eating local cuisine at Fanueil Hall/Quincy Market or one of the restaurants along the wharf.

If you have 2 Days in Boston

On your second day in Boston, you could visit the Back Bay neighborhood and see Fenway Park.

Then move on to View Boston at the top of the Prudential building, set to open at some point in 2023, for a 360-degree view of the city.

After that, you could move on to Newbury Street and Copley Square. There you'll find many shops to spend your money in from fashionable boutiques to a Harry Potter Store.

You could even take a Back Bay neighborhood tour, or you could stop in and visit the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church which are just a block from Newbury.

You might enjoy visiting the Cheers Bar for lunch, and then heading across the street to Boston Public Garden.

You could take a Swan Boat Ride on the lake and visit the various statues and floral displays.

You could then close the day out by doing a self-guided walking tour of Beacon Hill, one of the chicest places in the city.

Or you could take our Beacon Hill Crime Tour which takes you past some of Boston's most notorious crime scenes.

If you have 3 Days in Boston

You could spend the morning visiting Cambridge and Harvard University.

You might do a self-guided Harvard walking tour and perhaps stop at the Harvard Museum of Natural History or one of the many other museums on campus.

On your return, you could stop in and visit the Museum of African-American History.

And you could end your day over near Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

There you'll find a large park with beer and wine gardens, food trunks, fountains, contemporary art, and possibly even a festival, depending on the time of year.

Und vieles, vieles mehr

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