Boston is cold in winter. That is just a fact, but it shouldn't stop you from visiting. Aside from great deals in the off-season, you'll also avoid the crowds. If you're not as hearty as you'd like to think or there is a particularly blustery day, check out our suggestions for indoor Boston activities.
If you're visiting Boston this winter, check out our posts on Things to Do in Boston in January and February.
Free Indoor Boston Activities
This historic and well known Boston site features a visitor's center, Great Hall and on the 4th floor a military museum. The Museum of the Ancient & Honorable Artillery was founded in the mid 1600s and finds its home on the upper floor of Faneuil Hall. For more modern tastes, this is a great place to go shopping!
A recognizable building on the Freedom Trail, the State House is open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm and offers free guided tours. You can find more information about their tours, here.
The Boston Athenaeum is open Monday to Saturday 9am-4pm, with tours daily except on Wednesday and Friday. It is included in our list of Quirky Museums.
In addition to the history found at the Old North Church, you can also visit the grounds to find Edes and Gill Print Shop where you can learn how the Declaration was printed in this colonial era replica printing office. Or pop over to Captain Jackson’s Chocolate Shop to explore the history of chocolate.
Note: It is closed in January and only open select dates in February so do check hours before planning your trip. As of May 01, 2018 there will be an admission charge to enter ($8 adults, $4 children under 12)
On Saturdays from 11am-5pm, visit the Boston Fire Museum. Here you'll find antique fire alarms and fire fighting equipment.
This is a neighborhood museum dedicated to the West End of Boston. It is open 10am-5pm Tuesday to Friday and Saturdays 11am-4pm. It studies the history of this diverse area of Boston that was comprised of mostly immigrants.
Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Mass General
From 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, find yourself at Mass General to learn about medical research and evolution of health care. The Ether Dome, site of the first public surgery using ether, is also open to the public. Visitors can explore the unique architecture and a small collection of artifacts, including an oil painting of the famous first surgery, an Egyptian mummy and early surgical tools.
USS Constitution & Museum (Tu-Sun 10-6)
Explore the USS Constitution Tuesday to Sunday 10am-6pm. There is a suggest donation but any amount is appreciated. For details on how to visit...
Visit the Boston Public Library for a free tour 10am-7pm.
Massachusetts Historical Society
You can explore the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:45pm Saturdays 9:00am to 4:00pm. The society has exhibits, library as well as tours of the building.
This amazing museum shares a building with the Massachusetts Archives. It has John Adam's expense report from his trip to Philadelphia, John Hancock's cover letter to the Massachusetts copy of the Declaration. With interactive exhibits, it is great for kids. You can stand on a dias and pretend to be a judge at the Salem Witch Trials or figure out if you would be a Tory or Patriot before the Revolution. It is open Monday to Friday 10:00am to 4:45pm; Saturdays & Sundays 9-3
These museums are free at certain times:
Children’s Museum (Fridays 5-9pm only $1)
Museum of Fine Arts (free on Wednesdays from 4-9pm)
Institute of Contemporary Art (Free Thursdays from 5-9pm)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum this place is free on your birthday or if your name is Isabella
Paid Indoor Boston Activities
JFK Presidential Library & Museum
Learn first hand about President Kennedy's life, legacy and leadership.
Learn about the midnight ride's famous rider, Paul Revere. It is open 930am-415pm in winter.
Adults: $6 / Children 5-17: $1 / Under 5: Free
See where the Boston Tea Party got started. This historic colonial landmark is open 10am-4pm daily in winter.
Adults: $6 / Children 5-17: $1 / Under 5: Free
This is one of the 10 most important buildings in American architecture. See why on a guided tour Tuesday-Sunday. Adults are $7 and children under 16 are free. Free Guided tours are offered on Sundays at 1215pm in winter.
The Birthplace of the American Revolution in Boston is at the Old State House Museum. It is open 9am-5pm, except the first full week of February.
Adults $10.00 /Seniors/Students $8.50 /Youth (6-18) FREE
Explore TD Gardens, the home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics. You'll get a chance to go to the top floor and a guided tour of exhibits. Tours run 10am-3pm (11am start on weekends) and may be altered due to events.Adults: $12/person Seniors (65+): $10/person Students (7-18): $10/person Kids 6 and Under: FREE
The New English Aquarium is known for its giant 4 story Ocean Tank, but there are also touch tanks where you can pet sea stars and rays and you can meet some penguins. It is open 9am-5pm (6pm on weekends)
Adults: $27.95 / Children 3-17: $18.95 / Under 3: Free
This science museum also has a zoo! It is home to the Hayden Planetarium. The exhibits range from space discovery to natural science to physics of sport. It is open 9am-5pm, though it stays open late on Fridays to 9pm.
Admission varies as there are many add ons such as a visit to the Planetarium or IMAX Theatre. You can get more information here.
Brewery Tours | Indoor Boston Activities
What better way to say warm inside than with a pint? Even better? The Sam Adams Brewery Tour is FREE, though a $2 donation is requested for their charity efforts. Only guests over 21 will be able to sample, however. The tour is just under an hour and takes place daily except Sundays.
Another great local beer option, Harpoon Brewery also offers tours. These hour long tours are $5 and have a sample for guests over 21. Please note, the entire Beer Hall, including tours, is 21+ only on Saturdays. Tours take place daily.