9 Things to Do in Boston
Planning a trip to Boston? Here’s a list of places worth experiencing while you’re there
Few cities are as steeped in American history and culture as Boston. The site of many historic landmarks, it’s been a major East Coast hub since its founding in 1630. Today, Boston is a thriving metropolis that still manages to retain a small-town, old-world feel. And it’s a great vacation destination!
If you’re experiencing Boston for the first time, or if you’re only in town for a short visit, crafting an itinerary can be daunting with so many options. So, before you go, consider these fun things to do in Boston and make the most of every second you’re there.
1. Walk the Freedom Trail
While Boston’s Freedom Trail is only 2.5 miles from start to finish, it’s really 16 historic sites all rolled into one. From the Paul Revere House to Faneuil Hall to the USS Constitution, the Freedom Trail serves up some of the city’s most important historic sites. Depending on how much time you spend at each location, it’s not hard to make a day of it.
2. Explore world-class museums
While you’ll find several museums along Boston’s Freedom Trail, the city has plenty more to offer art and history enthusiasts. From downtown Boston, venture west toward the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood or south toward Seaport to find some of this city’s most popular museums.
3. Set sail for the Boston Harbor Islands
There’s more to Boston Harbor than what you can access from the mainland. The Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park includes 34 islands, and tours are available to take you to some of the most popular destinations. While you’re there, check out the Civil War-era fort, hike some trails, investigate tide pools and maybe even camp out for the night.
4. Spend an evening at the theater
Boston is a city fueled by culture and diversity, so it’s not surprising that it has a lively theater scene. Boston’s Theater District alone has over a dozen noteworthy performance venues, and you’ll find plenty of options outside the district as well. From comedy to ballet to Broadway, every theater offers a different experience—and there’s bound to be something for you.
5. Enjoy a world-class sporting event
Traditionally, Boston’s sports teams are among the highest-ranked in the nation. And their fans are equally well-known. If you’d like to experience some of the highest levels of excitement in sports, take in a game at one of Boston’s famous arenas.
6. Chow down on some chowder
While you’re taking in the culture, history and entertainment, don’t forget to take in some eats. The Boston food scene is vibrant! It’s famous for its fresh-catch seafood and clam chowder. So do yourself a favor and sample some of the city’s best while you’re there. If you’re lucky, you might even sneak away with a new recipe or two to help recreate the experience at home.
7. Check out the Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden is a Victorian-era botanical refuge in the heart of the city. With monuments, floral designs and a world-famous lagoon (complete with Swan Boat rides that have been operating since 1877), the garden is a great place to relax and enjoy a bit of nature in one of America’s oldest cities.
8. Take in the view at Independence Wharf
Sometimes seeing the sights is all about the view. And there are few views as spectacular as those at Independence Wharf, located on the Boston Harborwalk. The 14th-floor observation deck puts visitors up above it all, providing an aerial view of the harbor and surrounding city. Access is free, but be sure to bring an ID.
9. Travel to Jamaica Pond
Fancy an afternoon boating, fishing or lounging by the water while you’re in Boston? While the harbor may seem like the obvious choice, consider adding Jamaica Pond to your list. At over 50 feet deep, the pond is the largest and purest body of water within the city limits. You can rent boats in the summer—and if you’re planning on casting a line, you might pull in trout, pickerel, bass, perch or hornpout. (Keep in mind, you’ll need a Massachusetts fishing license for anyone 15 or over.)
Too Much to See? Take “The T”
Considering Boston’s rich history and modern attractions, you may have a hard time deciding how to plan your visit. To make it more difficult, this list only scratches the surface. Want to see more while you’re in town? Consider exploring one neighborhood at a time, and use “the T”—Boston’s transit system—when traveling across town.
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