Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

#2 in Best Things To Do in Boston
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Key Info

25 Evans Way

Price & Hours

$15 for adults; $12 for ages 65 and older; $5 ...
Fri-Mon, Weds 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | Thurs 11 a.m.-9...


Museums, Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend


  • 4.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

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 fourth floor and began installing her collection. Today, you can visit this Boston museum to get your fill of the Italian masters, such as Raphael and Titian. The building also showcases a cache of beautiful furniture, photographs, sculpture and rare books straight from Europe. In 2012, the museum unveiled a new wing designed by acclaimed Italian architect Renzo Piano. The most recent addition includes a glass atrium, greenhouses and landscaped gardens. 

Recent museumgoers said the collection captures Gardner's penchant for art, architecture and horticulture through its diverse displays. Though some previous visitors described the museum as a bit of a hodgepodge rather than a cohesive layout, many praised the property's vast collection of artifacts and intimate atmosphere. Also, remember to turn off your camera flash before entering since flash photography is not permitted inside.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum sits a few blocks west of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston's Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood. Several buses drop within walking distance of the museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts T stop is situated about five blocks away. Multiple parking lots are also located nearby. You're welcome to tour the museum at your own pace, or join one of the available tours and talks, which are held several times a day and span 20 to 45 minutes. The property is open daily between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Extended hours are offered on Thursdays, and the museum is closed on Tuesdays. Tickets – which include access to all exhibits, as well as restrooms, a cafe and a gift shop – cost $15 for adults. Children 17 and younger enter for free, and reduced rates are available for college students, seniors and visitors with recent ticket stubs from the Museum of Fine Arts. Travelers who have Go Boston Cards, visit on their birthday or are named Isabella and register on the museum's website get in for free.


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Time to Spend
#1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace

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 for resistance against the British, and abolitionists and suffragists have stood on their soapboxes here. In fact, this is where Jonathan Mayhew famously challenged the Sugar Act of 1764 by proclaiming, "no taxation without representation." Since Mayhew's declaration, the marketplace has expanded to include more than 100 shops and restaurants. 

Some former visitors caution that the items sold at Faneuil Hall Marketplace are a bit overpriced. However, if you're looking to kill some time or snap some great photos, consider strolling through the market's halls. You'll also find various cuisines served in Quincy Market if you're in need of a quick bite. Keep in mind that this market gets crowded quickly (especially on weekends and in the summer), so it's best to visit during a weekday if you don't want to encounter hordes of people. 

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