3-day Itinerary in Boston
Explore the best things to do in Paris in 3 days based on recommendations from local experts.
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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 the colorful arrangements and exotic trees from the 4-acre pond in the center of the garden before taking in the lagoon by Swan Boat. Additionally, the park houses two of Boston's most iconic statues: "Make Way for Ducklings" (a bronze sculpture of a duck and her eight ducklings) and the George Washington Statue (which shows America's first president riding on a horse).
Visitors looking to relax after sightseeing will enjoy Boston Public Garden. Recent travelers said you'll find plenty of shade beneath the park's trees, which comes in handy on hot summer days. Plus, you'll likely spot some ducks and geese swimming around the Public Garden's lagoon. And if you have a few dollars, past visitors recommended taking a 15-minute ride on a Swan Boat. The large paddle boats cost $4 to ride (or $2.50 for kids ages 2 to 15); travelers with Go Boston Cards ride for free. Swan Boats are available between mid-April and mid-September.
You'll find the Boston Public Garden surrounded by the city's Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Chinatown-Leather District and downtown neighborhoods. The park sits next to the original Cheers restaurant that inspired the famous TV show. To get to the Public Garden, visitors can take the Green Line to the Arlington "T" station. Several bus stops are also located within walking distance. An underground parking garage is offered on-site (fees start at $12 for up to an hour of parking), as well as metered street parking. The Public Garden is free to visit and is open 24 hours a day, but bring cash if you plan on riding on a Swan Boat. Additional facilities, such as restrooms and cafes, are not available in the park. For more information about the Boston Public Garden, visit the City of Boston's website.5 minute walk
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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 known because of its status as the oldest public park in the country. You'll also find a variety of activities and events, including theater and musical performances, hosted here throughout the year. If you plan to traverse the Freedom Trail, you'll start the walk here at Boston Common.
Though some visitors said you won't find much to do in this park, Boston Common is great for picnics or a leisurely stroll. Recent travelers also noted that this site is a wonderful spot to take young children. In addition to ample running room on the park's green space, kids can play at the Tadpole Playground or Frog Pond. Frog Pond offers a spray pool during the warmer months and an ice skating rink in the winter.
Boston Common sits alongside the Boston Public Garden near the center of the city. The easiest way to get to the site is by the "T" – the Boylston Street and Park Street stations are located at the southern and eastern edges of the park – or by walking from downtown. You can also park for a fee in the underground parking garage or on the surrounding streets. The area is free to visit, but additional charges apply for food purchased at Frog Pond Café, rides on the carousel and ice skating on Frog Pond. Public restrooms are available, and in the summer, free yoga classes are offered by Frog Pond. The Common is open 24 hours a day, however, most park facilities are only open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. To learn more about Boston Common, visit the City of Boston's website. And for more information about Frog Pond's events and amenities, check out the official Boston Common Frog Pond website.
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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 you begin your jaunt from Boston Common.
Though most recent visitors agreed the trail is easy to navigate on your own, some culture hounds said joining one of the walking tours with the 18th-century costumed Freedom Trail Player tour guides offers an informative, 90-minute introduction to Boston's revolutionary roots. If you have a Go Boston Card, standard guided tours are covered by your pass.
To reach Boston Common and start your trail tour, take the Red Line or Green Line to Park Street Station and head to the Boston Common Visitor Center. Some guided tours start a few stops into the route at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Limited street parking is offered in the area, so leave early if you plan to drive. Tours operated by the Freedom Trail Foundation are available daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Most tours cost $12 to $20 per person (discounted rates are available for seniors, students and children ages 6 to 12). If you choose to do a self-guided tour, a smartphone app is offered on the Freedom Trail's website for $4.99. Walking the trail is free, though some attractions along the trail do charge admission fees. If you're interested in other ways to see Boston, see four other top tours locals recommend.
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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.
The marketplace welcomes visitors Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. (Restaurant and store hours may vary, so it's best to consult Faneuil Hall Marketplace's website before you visit.) To reach Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which sits just south of the North End in downtown Boston, travelers can take the "T" to the Aquarium, Haymarket or Government Center subway stations. Eight bus routes stop a block away on Congress Street, and a parking garage can be accessed on Broad Street. If you want to save on parking, consider purchasing your ticket online in advance for a discount. No fees apply to enter any of Faneuil Hall Marketplace's buildings, and free tours and performances are occasionally provided in South Market and outside Faneuil Hall.5 minute walk
- 5#13View all Photos#13 in BostonMonuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDMonuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME 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 is also a granite path covered in quotes from survivors that leads visitors inside the towers.
Recent visitors described walking through the columns as an emotionally charged and unforgettable experience. Plus, the monument's location next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace make it extremely convenient to see.
The New England Holocaust Memorial, which is free to visit 24 hours a day, resides in Carmen Park in downtown Boston. You can get to the memorial by taxi, car, bus or subway. The closest "T" stations are Haymarket and Government Center, and a parking garage is available just south of Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Groups with 10 or more people can request free guided tours through the memorial's website.5-10 minute walk
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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 can admire the building's sweeping beams, spacious fireplaces and some original furnishings owned by the Revere family.
If you like American history, former travelers said you'll enjoy seeing the Paul Revere House. This house is small, though, so don't allot more than an hour to tour the property. Also, arrive early if you don't want to deal with crowds.
The Paul Revere House sits within walking distance of Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Old North Church, as well as the Haymarket and Aquarium "T" stations. Street parking is limited in the North End, so it's best to use public transportation or a taxi to get to here. Entry costs $5 for adults, $4.50 for college students and $1 for children ages 5 to 17 and includes a self-guided tour of the home. (Admission fees are covered for travelers with Go Boston Cards.) The property is open daily (excluding select holidays and Mondays in January, February and March) and hours depend on the season. Generally, the house welcomes visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 or 5:15 p.m. A gift shop is available, but there are no additional facilities on-site. For more information about the house, visit its website.5 minute walk
- 7#8View all Photos#8 in BostonChurches/Religious Sites, Historic Homes/Mansions, SightseeingTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDChurches/Religious Sites, Historic Homes/Mansions, SightseeingTYPELess than 1 hourTIME 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 Captain John Pulling Jr. – the church's vestryman – then climbed the steeple and held two lanterns as a signal (from Revere) that the British Regulars were indeed coming, but by sea.
The church itself, which is officially named Christ Church, is filled with beautiful relics from the past, including North America's oldest set of change ringing bells and chandeliers brought in from England in the early 1700s. The pews have a long history as well; Pew No. 54 was reserved for the Revere family.
According to past visitors, this North End attraction offers great insight about Boston's colonial roots. Guides and displays are informative and knowledgeable. In fact, some even claim that this historic landmark is the best stop on the Freedom Trail.
Old North Church sits on Salem Street near the Boston Inner Harbor. The historic sight is about a 10-minute walk from the Haymarket and North Station "T" stops, and a bus stop for the No. 4 bus is located within a couple blocks. Old North Church's visiting hours vary depending on the season; from April to mid-November, it welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from mid-Novemer to the end of March it's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission for adults costs $8; youths between the ages of 6 and 18 get in for $4. Children 5 and younger enter for free. If you're interested in attending church services, drop in on Sundays at 9 or 11 a.m. (attending a chuch service is free). In addition to the church's exhibits, you'll find restrooms, gardens and specialty shops on the property. Check out the Old North Church website for more information.
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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.5 minute walk
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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 the celebrated Art of the Americas wing. Inside this sprawling collection, which debuted in 2010, you'll encounter 53 galleries showcasing iconic pieces from pre-Columbian times to the 20th century. John Singer Sargent's dazzling pieces are one standout here, and as you delve deeper into the collection, you'll see his paintings sharing wall space with those by masters like John Singleton Copley and Edward Hopper.
You'll also find an impressive collection of Asian art here, plus works from Monet, Renoir, Manet and Rembrandt on display in the European collection. And in special temporary exhibits, you can admire masterpieces from the likes of Georgia O'Keeffe and Picasso.
According to recent museumgoers, if you're an art lover, you'll want to devote plenty of time to explore. Additionally, consider taking a complimentary guided tour of the collections. And to save some money during your trip to Boston, plan your visit for after 4 p.m. on Wednesdays or on select open house days throughout the year when there are no entrance fees.
The Museum of Fine Arts can be found a few blocks away from the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum and the Northeastern University campus in Fenway-Kenmore. Multiple bus routes have stops nearby, and three "T" stations – Museum of Fine Arts, Ruggles and Northeastern – sit within walking distance. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. If you don't visit on a free day or have a CityPASS or Go Boston Card, expect to pay $25 to enter. Children 17 and younger get in for free on weekdays after 3 p.m. and on weekends, while students, seniors and travelers with recent Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum ticket stubs receive discounted rates. Once inside, you'll have access to most of the museum's exhibits, restrooms, restaurants and gift shops. Separate tickets are required for select exhibits. Learn more about the Museum of Fine Arts by visiting the property's website.10-15 minute walk; 10 minutes by subway
- 3#12View all Photos#12 in BostonEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME 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 Boston Pops – a lively performance filled with singing and comedy acts from various entertainers. The BSO performs at Symphony Hall from September through May, then heads to Tanglewood (in western Massachusetts) from mid-June to early September.
Recent spectators not only praised the world-class talent, but also noted the impressive acoustics of Symphony Hall as a main selling point for attending future concerts. If you can't score tickets to an orchestra performance, consider taking a free tour of Symphony Hall. Tours, which are offered in the fall, winter and spring, provide information about the property, as well as insight into the orchestra's musicians and conductors.
You'll find Symphony Hall in the southern edge of Boston's Back Bay area near the Northeastern University campus. Four subway stations – Symphony, Massachusetts Avenue, Hynes Convention Center and Prudential – are located within walking distance of the property. No on-site parking is available, so plan on using public transportation or hailing a taxi to get to the venue. In addition to the concert hall, the property offers restrooms, a cafe, several bars and a gift shop. To buy orchestra tickets, order on the orchestra website, in person or by phone. Ticket prices vary depending on the performance and seat category. A limited number of BSO Rush Tickets for select performances are offered on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office. You must pay in cash when purchasing rush tickets. Also, keep in mind that children 4 and younger are not permitted during orchestra events and dress codes apply for performances and opening night shows.15-20 minute walk; 15 minutes by subway
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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 "Curse of the Bambino" or not, you should try to catch a game and admire the ballpark's original architecture. Must-see features of the park include Pesky's Pole – the right field foul pole named after former Red Sox player Johnny Pesky – and the 37-foot-tall "Green Monster" wall in left field.
Many Bostonians are avid Red Sox fans (which is why it's considered one of the Best Cities for Baseball Fans to Visit), so if you plan on making your pilgrimage during baseball season (April to early October) and want to come for a game, book your tickets at least a few weeks in advance. You can also take a one-hour guided tour of the facility, which recent visitors said was informative and interesting, even if you're not a Red Sox or baseball fan. Most tour tickets can be reserved in advance online, although on game days, you'll need to purchase tickets at the ballpark for tours offered three hours before a baseball game.
Fenway Park sits next to the Boston University campus and Kenmore Square in Boston's Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood. The easiest way to get to the ballpark is to take the "T" to Kenmore or Fenway. If you decide to drive, you can pay to park in one of several garages located within a few blocks. Restaurants, bars and a Red Sox gift shop are situated just outside the ballpark on Yawkey Way and Lansdowne Street, while restrooms and concession stands are available in Fenway Park. Ballpark tours are offered on the hour every day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. during the summer and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter. On game days, final tours start three hours before game time. Tour tickets cost $20 for adults and $14 for children 12 and younger. If you have a Go Boston Card, Fenway Park tours are covered by your pass. Red Sox game ticket prices will vary depending on the opponent and the seat selected. Visit the ballpark's website to find out more about Fenway Park's history, Red Sox tickets, ballpark facilities and special events.
- 1#15View all Photos#15 in BostonParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME 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, visitors have flocked to this sprawling green space to enjoy temporary public art displays, bubbling fountains, numerous food vendors and a carousel. Plus, the park offers free weekly events, including food and art festivals, summer concert performances and seasonal fitness classes.
Many previous visitors said the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway not only offers a much-needed respite from the city, but also an easy way to explore Boston with kids during the warmer months. And, in many sections of the Greenway, you're never more than a few steps away from the Freedom Trail.
The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is anchored by Haymarket Square in the North End and Kneeland Street in Chinatown. Three downtown "T" stations – South Station, Aquarium and Haymarket – are located within a block of the parks, as well as several bus stops and parking garages. You can visit the parks between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. on any day of the year. The Greenway developed a handy interactive self-guided map, which can be downloaded from their website. Additional fees apply for rides on the Greenway Carousel. Food trucks operate along the greenway seasonally, and public restrooms are available in Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Find out more about the Greenway's parks, events and tours on the Rose Fitzgerald Greenway Conservancy website.15 minute walk
- 2#10View all Photos#10 in BostonMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME 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 are "Construction Zone," where little ones can learn about and play with kid-sized construction equipment, "Explore-a-Saurus," where kids learn about the science of dinosaurs and fossils, and "Japanese House" – a fully-equipped Japanese house reconstructed in Boston by Japanese carpenters.
Recent visitors praised the variety of engaging exhibits tailored to kids within different age groups, but say it can be extremely crowded on weekends and holidays. To save some money on admissions fees, visit an hour before close Saturday through Thursday or between 5 and 9 p.m. on Fridays.
You'll find the Boston Children's Museum by Fort Port Channel near the city center. If you're relying on public transportation, the easiest way to reach the museum is via the Silver Line or Red Line. The closest Silver Line station is Courthouse Station, while visitors will find the nearest Red Line station – South Station – about three blocks away. Multiple bus stops and three parking garages are available within walking distance as well. The museum is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. Tickets cost $17 per person; travelers with Go Boston Cards receive complimentary admission. An hour before close Saturday through Thursday, ticket prices are half off, and between 5 and 9 p.m. on Fridays, entrance fees are reduced to $1. In addition to the museum's exhibits, you'll find two eateries, restrooms and a gift shop on-site. Check out the property's website to learn more about museum amenities, exhibits and fees.15-20 minute walk; 5 minutes by car
- 10-15 minutes by car; 20-25 minutes by subway
- 4#11View all Photos#11 in BostonMuseumsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME 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 play on swings to learn about physics in "Science in the Park." The museum also features the Charles Hayden Planetarium, where you can indulge your inner astronaut during light shows. Meanwhile, at the Mugar Omni Theater, you'll feel like you're actually in the IMAX film thanks to its cutting-edge sound technology and five-story-high projection screen.
Although the museum is very kid-focused, past visitors said that young-at-heart adults will get a kick out of the museum's engaging displays and shows. Though most travelers spend about half a day exploring the museum, you could easily allocate an entire day to this attraction. Also, remember that separate tickets (which cost extra) are needed for some museum features, such as IMAX films, planetarium shows, motion simulator roller coaster rides and the butterfly garden exhibit.
You'll find the Museum of Science located just past the Charles River's Craigie Drawbridge between East Cambridge and the West End. To reach the museum, take the Green Line and hop off at the Science Park subway station. You can also park in the museum's parking garage for a fee. General admission costs $25 for adults and $20 for children ages 3 to 11 and includes access to most of the property's exhibits, a cafe, a gift shop and restrooms. (Entrance fees are covered for visitors with CityPASS tickets or Go Boston Cards.) An additional $6 applies for select museum offerings when you've purchased a museum ticket, or you can skip the museum and only visit the planetarium or IMAX theater for $8 to $10. The museum welcomes visitors Saturday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, consult the museum's website.
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