Boston Travel Guide

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Best Things To Do in Boston

Boston's nearly four centuries of history are showcased by the city's must-see sights. Start your  tour on the Freedom Trail, which will lead you to landmarks like the Paul Revere House and Boston Common. Or, discover Beantown's artsy side at the Museum of Fine Arts and its fashion sense along Newbury Street. If you're a fan of baseball, you can't miss catching a game at Fenway Park, home to the beloved Red Sox. Though blowing through your travel fund is a cinch in Boston, there are also plenty of things to do that won't cost you a penny; the lovely Boston Public Garden and the lively Faneuil Hall Marketplace can be experienced without opening your wallet.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated March 5, 2018

  • #1
    Faneuil Hall Marketplace
    View all Photos
    #1 in Boston
    Cafes, Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Shopping, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Four buildings – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market – constitute Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with the oldest being Faneuil Hall. Built in 1742 and now located on the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall has had a long and important history in Massachusetts politics. Samuel Adams once stood here to push

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
    View all Photos
    #2 in Boston
    Museums, Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    After Isabella Stewart Gardner's husband died in 1898, the art enthusiast bought land in Boston's Fenway area to open a museum to display her impressive collection of Italian art. The museum, which was fashioned after the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice, was completed in 1902, at which point Gardner moved in to the

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Boston Common
    View all Photos
    #3 in Boston
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The grounds of Boston Common started as a cow pasture in the mid-1600s. After a few years, overgrazing became a problem and the area was transformed into a British camp. After the Revolutionary War, the park became a popular locale for public speeches and rallies. Now, the Common is best

    ...Read More »
  • #4
    Museum of Fine Arts
    View all Photos
    #4 in Boston
    Museums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you want to make the most out of the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the oldest art institutions in the country, then you'll need to spend a good chunk of your day here. The museum is home to one of the best art collections in the world, including

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Freedom Trail
    View all Photos
    #5 in Boston
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Stretching 2½ miles, the Freedom Trail weaves past 16 of the city's most historic sites, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Paul Revere House and Old North Church. Taking in all of the trail's attractions requires at least half a day (and some comfortable walking shoes), but you can easily plot points of interest before

    ...Read More »
  • #6
    Boston Public Garden
    View all Photos
    #6 in Boston
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Though the Boston Public Garden sits right next to Boston Common, the two are actually quite different. The public garden is newer (established in 1837) and holds the distinction of being America's first public botanical garden. Flowers and trees are beautifully organized and kept in quality condition throughout. You can see

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Samuel Adams Brewery
    View all Photos
    #7 in Boston
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours, Wineries/Breweries, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Despite its location outside of the city center, touring the Samuel Adams Brewery is a must for beer lovers. This brewery location is the smallest of the brand's three sites, but acts as Samuel Adams' testing facility for new and specialty brews. It's also the only of the three locales

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  • #8
    Old North Church
    View all Photos
    #8 in Boston
    Churches/Religious Sites, Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Most people who know anything about American history have heard of Paul Revere's famous midnight ride, when he rode through town to warn people about the arrival of British troops. Before heading off to Lexington, Revere gave orders at Old North Church. Robert Newman – the church's sexton – and

    ...Read More »
  • #9
    Fenway Park
    View all Photos
    #9 in Boston
    Sightseeing, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Fans of America's favorite pastime won't want to miss a game at Fenway Park. Home to the Boston Red Sox, this stadium has been the site of home runs, stolen bases and grounders since 1912. Regardless of whether you're a diehard Red Sox fan who believes in the legendary 1919

    ...Read More »
  • #10
    Boston Children's Museum
    View all Photos
    #10 in Boston
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    With a giant milk bottle statue at the front of the building, it's hard to miss the Boston Children's Museum. Here, hands-on exhibits present a fun and engaging way for kids to learn about various sciences, culture, art and health and wellness, among other subjects. Among the museum's standout exhibits

    ...Read More »
  • #11
    Museum of Science
    View all Photos
    #11 in Boston
    Museums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're traveling with young ones in tow, be sure to swing by the Museum of Science. Here, kids can learn about astronomy, earth sciences and anatomy, not to mention participate in some fun interactive exhibits. Budding scientists can examine dinosaur fossils in the "Dinosaurs: Modeling the Mesozoic" exhibit or

    ...Read More »
  • #12
    Boston Symphony Orchestra
    View all Photos
    #12 in Boston
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Even if you're not a classical music aficionado, you can't miss attending one of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's world-renowned performances at Symphony Hall. The BSO began performing in 1881; today, the symphony plays more than 250 shows a year that include everything from Mozart-inspired family shows to traditional concerts and

    ...Read More »
  • #13
    New England Holocaust Memorial
    View all Photos
    #13 in Boston
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Gaze up at the six 54-foot-tall glass towers that comprise the New England Holocaust Memorial, and you're bound to be awestruck. Erected in 1995, each haunting tower is etched with numbers – the 6 million numbers represent the Holocaust's victims, while the towers represent the six major death camps. There

    ...Read More »
  • #14
    Paul Revere House
    View all Photos
    #14 in Boston
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    For a glimpse of what life was like in the late 1700s, head to Paul Revere's former residence in the North End. The house, which is situated on the Freedom Trail, offers insight into how homes looked in Revere's time (it's even filled with period pieces, including fine silver). Inside, history fans

    ...Read More »
  • #15
    Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
    View all Photos
    #15 in Boston
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Boston is packed with cool outdoor spaces, but this nearly 1½-mile-long series of parks and gardens offers more than most. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was established to link Boston's diverse neighborhoods through a series of lawns, parks and walkways that occupy a former highway tunnel. Since opening in 2008,

    ...Read More »
  • #16
    New England Aquarium
    View all Photos
    #16 in Boston
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Boston Food Tours
    View all Photos
    Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Though Boston's food scene used to lag behind other popular vacation locales likeNew York CityandCharleston, the city's sizable immigrant population and influx of new chefs (including "Top Chef" alum Carl Dooley and James Beard Award finalist Cassie Piuma, among others) has helped it blossom into a respectable foodie destination. Seafood

    ...Read More »
  • USS Constitution
    View all Photos
    Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Museums, Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    History lovers, boat enthusiasts and military aficionados alike can't miss the chance to board the USS Constitution. Docked at the Boston National Historical Park in Charlestown, this historic vessel is the world's oldest commissioned warship still operational today. It is helmed by United States Navy sailors, who also serve as

    ...Read More »
  • Bunker Hill Monument
    View all Photos
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
    View all Photos
    Museums, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Boston Public Library
    View all Photos
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    A library isn't always all about books. The main branch of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, which opened in 1895, is so much more, according to recent visitors who call the architecture "beautiful." Walking into the Renaissance Revival building is akin to visiting a museum. On Dartmouth Street, two

    ...Read More »
  • John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library
    View all Photos
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    A must for any history buffs or fans of our nation's 35th president, this excellent library and museum details the life and times of President John F. Kennedy. Exhibits include his presidential papers; masses of Kennedy memorabilia, including re-creations of his desk in the Oval Office and of the television studio

    ...Read More »

Explore More of Boston

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