Top 11 Things To Do in Boston
This post has information on the best things to do in Boston. Below you can find links to information on the city’s top attractions, museums, points of interest, kid-friendly activities, food, self-guided tours of various neighborhoods, and suggestions for things to do at night. Each link leads to a much more comprehensive page on that particular topic. Be sure to consider one of our pay-what-you-wish tours to explore these neighborhoods.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN BOSTON
Below is a list of many of the best things to see and places to visit in Boston. For in-depth information on how to visit these attractions, simply click on the site’s name and you will be taken to another post with information such as:
- ticket prices and ways you can find discounts and ways to visit for free.
- days and hours the attraction is open/closed, holiday hours.
- directions on how to get to the attractions.
- tips and suggestions on how to make the most of your visit.
- and in many cases, we include reviews of tour companies that offer tours of the attraction and self-guided tours.
As you plan your trip, you might also decide to consider purchasing a tourist pass. These discount passes help you save money by packaging attractions together for one flat price. So many of attractions and activities listed in this post are included in the various tourist passes. We encourage you to read our post comparing the different Boston Attraction Passes. These passes are great deals for some and not for others.
1. Take a walking tour with Free Tours by Foot
Join one of many guided name your own price walking tours! Our walking tours allow you to choose how much you felt the tour was worth at the end of the tour. They are fun and exciting and will leave you with a better understanding of the history of Boston.
We offer tours of:
2. Tour the Massachusetts State House
This is the oldest building in Beacon Hill, on land once owned by John Hancock. As the state capitol building, it is open to public and offers guided tours. Check out more at about visiting on Touring the Massachusetts State House post.
3. Explore the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is more than 2 miles of historic sites and sounds and is a must-do in Boston. We offer guided Freedom Trail tours that cover some of the trail but if you want to take it all or the time of our tour doesn’t work for you, we have a self guided Freedom Trail tour. This tour has more about what to do around Freedom Trail and where to eat while you’re touring.
Boston is a town full of history, so you’ll want to see it all. Many of the sites you’ll see from outside, but you can tour inside the Old State House Museum to step back in time and learn about the Boston Massacre and the Revolutionary War. Get your tickets for admission here.
4. Climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument
The Bunker Hill Monument, a 221 feet tall granite obelisk marking the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. The battle was fought on June 17, 1775 and proved to the British military that the young country had guts!
You can climb to the top via 294 stairs.
5. Tour Symphony Hall in Boston
Symphony Hall is one of the country’s premier concert halls and it’s a beautiful Boston landmark and offers free tours during the orchestral season October to May.
Read more about these Symphony Hall tours here.
6. Tour Fenway Park
A must-do no matter when you visit Boston is to take a guided tour of this historic baseball stadium. Even though baseball season is long ways away, you can sit atop the Green Monster and find Ted William’s red chair. This hour long tour takes you through American’s Most Beloved Ballpark. Learn more on our post. or just go ahead and get your tickets to tour!
7. Take a day trip to Lexington & Concord
It may seem odd that one of the top things to do in Boston isn’t in Boston, but if you’re interested in American Revolutionary War history, you don’t want to miss these nearby sites..
8. Bird’s Eye View of Boston
What better way to see Boston than to see it all at once. Head to the top and get a view of Boston but which observation deck is the best? Let us help you figure out which one is best for your trip.
9. Take a Boat Tour
Head out on to the harbor! It might still be chilly at the beginning of spring, but many boats have enclosed options. Read more about the various boat tour companies in Boston.
10. Visit Paul Revere’s House & Pay Respects on 200th Commemoration of his Death
200 years ago this May, Paul Revere died at his home on Charles Street. He is buried in the Granary Burial Grounds.
You can visit Paul Revere House and learn about the midnight ride’s famous rider.
The Paul Revere House Museum is open daily April 15 – October 31 – 9:30 am to 5:15 pm
- November 1 – April 14 – 9:30 am to 4:15 pm
- Closed on Mondays in January, February, and March.
- Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
- The admission is Adults $3.50, seniors and college students $3.00, children (ages 5-17) $1.00.
For more information on the Paul Revere House Museum: www.paulreverehouse.org/
BEST THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN BOSTON
Many of the places we love most are great for kids, such as touring Fenway Park or taking a Boston bus tour. There you will find many of the top attractions, best times to go and also alternatives depending on the age your children.
Boston Museums for Kids
Below are the most satisfying and kid-friendly experiences just click on the links below to be taken to our posts on that specific attraction and you will find useful information about these attractions such as best times to go, prices and hours, discounts, directions to get there and other nearby activities.
Go Whale Watching
From April to October you can hop on a boat and try to find some of the whales just off the coast. Boston and nearby Glouchester offers some of the worlds best whale watching. There are many options for which company to take, read our reviews to pick the best option for your family.
Take a Bus Tour
If walking isn’t your thing, why not take a bus tour.There are options for hop on hop off bus tours throughout Boston. Or you can take a guided bus tour to see the darker side of the city – whether that means just at night or a Ghost Bus Tour.
Or even better a Duck Tour? You’ve probably seen duck tours all over the world, but they got their start here in Boston. With a Duck Tour you can see Boston by land or by sea!
Visit the Franklin Park Zoo
The Franklin Park Zoo takes you on a worldwide adventure from the Tropical Rainforests, Savannah, Outback and your own backyard. Designed especially for kids is a three acre complex called Nature’s Neighborhood and the Franklin Farm where you can walk through and meet some animals up close.
You can get FREE admission to the Franklin Park Zoo with the Boston Go Card!
FREE THINGS TO DO IN BOSTON
There are a number of ways to visit Boston on a budget. For a more comprehensive list, read our master Free Things To Do post.
Walk the Freedom Trail
At the center of Boston’s historic center, you will find a thin red-brick path that will lead you to each historic site to make sure you don’t get lost along the way.
While you can walk this trail by yourself without any type of guide, we do provide a fully guided pay-what-you-wish walking tour which covers all of the major sites in the area. Alternatively, you can also use our self-guided tour to help you find all of the landmarks on the Freedom Trail.
Visit the U.S.S. Constitution
If you want to do more than just look at the USS Constitution from afar, you can actually take a tour of the ship and learn all about it from a professional guide, including why she is nicknamed “Old Ironsides.”
While the U.S.S. Constitution museum requests a donation for admission, they don’t technically charge for entry. We recommend donating at least a little something if you want to get in, but it isn’t a requirement. For more details, check the U.S.S. Constitution museum website.
See the Granary Burial Ground
This is one of the most famous graveyards in the entire country. There are a lot of notable people buried here, including three signers of the Declaration of Independence and even Mother Goose.
If you want to learn more about this historic location, consider taking our self-guided tour of the Granary Burial Ground. This guide includes stops at several notable graves and sites such as the Benjamin Franklin monument and the Beantown Pub.
NOTE: This site is included on our pay-what-you-wish Freedom Trail tour.
Take a Tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery
Sam Adams Brewery is one of the most famous breweries in the United States and opens up their doors to provide free tours to the public, sometimes even with tasting. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about how they brew this popular drink, this is an excellent opportunity that won’t cost you a dime!
If you’re interested in seeing even more of the brewery and learning more about Samuel Adams drinks, they also offer specialty tours for as little as $10 per person. You must RSVP ahead of time for these tours. For more details, check the Samuel Adams specialty tour page.
For more things to do in a budget, visit our master Free Things To Do post.
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN BOSTON
Our Boston at Night post offers suggestions of not just what to do, but the best places to do it.
Explore Boston after hours with an evening walking tour. Our Beacon Hill Crime tour runs at twilight to set the mood to talk about this beautiful neighborhood’s sinister past.
Go stargazing at the Boston University Observatory
Most Wednesdays the Boston University Observatory opens to the public for a night of astronomy and looking at the stars with the professionals. The program is FREE but popular. You can get tickets in advance online or try for unticketed admittance at the event. in the winter, the event begins at 730pm and in summer at 830pm, weather permitting. You can’t see stars through clouds so they do cancel in the event of poor visibility.
Catch a film at the historic Coolidge Corner Theatre
This art deco movie theatre has been open to the public since 1933. Here you can find international, documentary, animated, and independent film selections and series and watch them in a lavish setting that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back into time.
Seriously, make sure you have some lobster while you’re visiting Boston! We have a list of the best places to dine out for lobster dinner – Best Lobster in Boston.
NORM! Grab a drink at the Cheers Bar
Go where everybody knows your name and have a pint at Cheers.
Don’t expect it to look quite like Sam Malone’s bar. No matter the interior, you should stop for a drink at the bar. Make sure you know where to go – here is the best way to find the Cheers Bar.
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts after hours
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston stays open until 10pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays. In fact, on Wednesdays after 4pm it is admission by suggestion donation. In addition to their renowned Mummy collection, we’re partial to the silver work from none other than Paul Revere!
THINGS TO DO IN BOSTON BY NEIGHBORHOOD
You can explore Boston on your on your own and we’ve created many self-guided tours, many of which also provide tips on things to do, restaurants and places to stay, as well as several GPS audio tours. Of course, you can join us for one of our many pay-what-you-wish walking tours for deeper insight into the neighborhoods shared by one of our knowledgeable and personable guides.
- Little Italy Neighborhood
Explore the North End and Little Italy on our guided tour, or take our self guided tour if the timing works better for you. In addition to the history that draws visitors here, you should absolutely check out the restaurants. Our post on the Best Restaurants in Little Italy can help you select one.
- Beacon Hill
Harvard isn’t technically in Boston but rather Cambridge, just across the river. But make sure you take some time to explore campus. We have a self guided Harvard tour and a guided tour of the school and surrounding neighborhood.
THINGS TO DO IN BOSTON BY MONTH AND SEASON
- February (weather)
- October (weather)
- November (weather)
Winter Holiday Season (Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb)
Springtime (March, April, May)
- Free Tours by Foot schedule is blooming with more than 5 free guided tours offered every day.
- Boston Marathon
Summer in the City (June, July, Aug)
- July 4th in Boston | Boston Harborfest
Fall (Sept, Oct)
- Head of the Charles Regatta
- Apple Picking & Leaf Peeping in Boston