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Top Places to Visit in Boston

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In this post, we will provide lists of every major attraction in Boston.

In addition to covering specific neighborhoods, we will also include attractions that are free, open after dark or family-friendly.

Let's get started!

 


ATTRACTIONS ON THE FREEDOM TRAIL

This section will focus on all of the notable and historic attractions you can see on the Freedom Trail.

If you’re interested in taking the trek, consider taking our pay-what-you-wish Freedom Trail walking tour.

We also offer a free self-guided walking tour that you can use to learn about the sites listed below!

In addition to the Freedom Trail, there is also a Black Heritage Trail located nearby which covers a lot of notable sites from throughout the African-American history of Boston.


BOSTON MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES

The following section will include all of the great museums and art galleries you can visit in Boston.

We will also provide a list of each location that is included with a tourist pass.


Museums

Gibson House Museum

  • Historic 19th-century house of the Gibson family.

Museum of African American History

  • Site of the African Meeting House & Abiel Smith School.

Nichols House Museum

  • A 19th-century house named after Rose Standish Nichols.

Dreamland Wax Museum

  • Museum full of wax figures based on historic characters.

The Sports Museum

  • Non-profit sports museum located at TD Garden.

Boston Fire Museum

  • Museum with historic firefighting artifacts.

The Russell Museum

  • Museum of medical history at Mass. General Hospital.

The Ether Dome

  • Historic 19th-century surgical operating amphitheater.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

  • Floating museum w/ multimedia exhibits & live re-enactments.

USS Constitution Museum

  • Museum covering the history of “Old Ironsides.”

Bunker Hill Museum

  • A museum focused on the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Waterworks Museum

  • Museum covering Boston’s original water system.

Commonwealth Museum

  • Museum about the history of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Historical Society

  • Archive documenting Massachusetts' history.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute

  • Museum covering the role of the Senate in US Government.

Warren Anatomical Museum

  • Museum with anatomical and pathological exhibits.

Boston Travel Tips and Hacks


Museums Included with Tourist Pass


Art Galleries


Art Galleries Included with Tourist Pass

If you’re curious about which locations offer free admission, make sure to read our post covering free Boston museums.

It’s also worth noting that several of these locations offer discounted admission with Boston tourist passes.

 


ATTRACTIONS OPEN AFTER DARK

If you’re looking for places you can visit after the sun goes down, this section will cover Boston attractions that are open at night.

We list the attractions by category, but many belong in multiple areas.

 

 

For even more activities you can enjoy after dark, check our full post about things to do at night in Boston.


Free Nighttime Attractions

  • Original Cheers Bar
    • The bar which inspired the hit television show Cheers.
    • Open until 11 pm each night.
  • Boston Fire Museum
    • A museum with historic firefighting artifacts.
    • Open until 8 pm on Friday nights.
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
    • Museum with a variety of historic artwork.
    • Open until 9 pm on Thursday nights.
  • Samuel Adams Brewery
    • The location where Samuel Adams beer is brewed.
    • Specialty tours as late as 6 pm.
    • Taproom & shop open until 8 pm Mon-Sat.
  • Night Shift Brewery
    • The location where Night Shift beer is brewed.
    • Tours and events as late as 1 am.
  • Faneuil Hall Marketplace
    • Historic marketplace and meeting place in downtown Boston.
    • Open until 9 pm, some shops open even later.
  • The Hatch Shell
    • A public outdoor venue at the Esplanade.
    • Events as late as 11 pm from April-September.
  • Coit Observatory
    • Observatory at the Boston University in Fenway.
    • Free public hours on Wednesday nights at 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm.
  • Top of the Hub
    • Restaurant at the top of Prudential Center with nice views.
    • Open until 11 pm on Fri - Sat, 10 pm every other night.

Family-Friendly Nighttime Attractions

  • Skywalk Observatory
    • Popular Observation Deck in the Back Bay neighborhood.
    • Open until 10 pm every night of the week.
  • Museum of Science
    • Science museum and indoor zoo spanning Charles River.
    • Open until 9 pm on Friday nights.
  • Boston Children’s Museum
    • Museum with hands-on exhibits for kids.
    • Open until 9 pm on Friday nights.
  • Coolidge Corner Theatre
    • Historic movie theater in the Brookline neighborhood.
    • Movie screenings as late as midnight throughout the week.
  • Prudential Center
    • A large shopping center in the Back Bay neighborhood.
    • Open until 9 pm every night except Sunday.
  • Museum of Fine Arts
    • Large art museum with over 450,000 pieces of art.
    • Open until 10 pm from Wed - Fri each week.
  • Boston Athenaeum
    • Library with a collection of 100,000+ paintings.
    • Open until 8 pm Mon - Thur each week.
  • Ghosts & Gravestones Bus Tour
    • A ghost tour which visits 4 different haunted locations.
    • Runs until 9 pm each night.

Stadiums/Theaters/Venues

  • Fenway Park
    • Historic baseball stadium and home of the Red Sox.
    • Several games at 7 pm throughout the season.
  • TD Garden
    • Popular stadium and home of the Celtics/Bruins.
    • Several games and concerts begin from 5 pm - 8 pm.
  • Boston Opera House
    • Early 20th-century opera house in downtown Boston.
    • Many concerts begin at 7 pm - 8 pm throughout the year.
  • Berklee Performance Center
    • Theater at the Berklee College of Music.
    • Some performances begin early in the evening at 7 pm.
  • Boston Symphony Hall
    • 20th-century venue built for Boston Symphony Orchestra.
    • Many concerts begin at 7 pm - 8 pm throughout the year.
  • Paradise Rock Club
    • Popular music venue in the Fenway neighborhood.
    • Several concerts begin at about 7 pm - 8 pm.

Some of these locations are always open after dark, but others have limited hours at night.

For more details about when you can visit each of these sites at night, check our list of museums & attractions with late hours.


FREE ATTRACTIONS AND PLACES TO GO

This section will provide a list of locations that offer free admission.

 

 

Most of these attractions are free to visit every day of the week, but some are only free for a limited time.

If you’re looking for even more activities that won’t cost a dime, make sure to read our full post covering what to do in Boston for free.


FAMILY-FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS

In this section, we will provide a list of locations you can visit with your children. 

For even more family-friendly fun, read our full post about what to do with kids in Boston.

 

 

If you want to learn more about some of the things you can see and do at these locations, make sure to check our post about free things to do with your family and kid-friendly nighttime attractions.

We also have a list of family-friendly restaurants in Boston to help you find a place to eat that even the kids will enjoy!

 


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DAY TRIP ATTRACTIONS

In addition to all the great places to see in Boston, there are also a lot of wonderful sites and attractions within a short distance from the city.

 

 

Here are some of the best locations to visit on a day trip from Boston:

Boston is also close enough to other states that you can actually visit sites such as New York City, Philadelphia and even Niagara Falls quite easily by plane and train.

 


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ATTRACTIONS BY NEIGHBORHOOD

This section will provide a breakdown of all the major attractions you can visit in each neighborhood of Boston.

 

 

Just skip ahead to the neighborhood you’re in for a list full of things to see and do!


Downtown


Bunker Hill/Charlestown


Back Bay/Fenway


Cambridge/Somervile


South Boston Waterfront/South End


Brookline/Newton/Chestnut Hill


ATTRACTIONS INCLUDED IN TOURIST PASSES

In this section, we will cover all of the different attractions you can visit using a Boston tourist pass.

 

 

We will include subsections for each pass to make it easier for you to pick the right service.

Go Boston Card

Boston CityPASS

For more details, visit our post about Boston tourist passes


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About The Author

Brian Burgess

Brian was born in Cambridge and has been living in the Boston area all his life. He is a graduate of Boston's Emerson College with a degree in communications with a journalism/history focus. He has been leading tours for Free Tours By Foot Boston since it was started in the city of Boston in 2012, and enjoys sharing his knowledge of Boston's rich history with not only the guests on his tours, but with everyone he meets.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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