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Boston in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

Visit the prestigious universities of Harvard and MIT, walk the Freedom Trail, enjoy a baseball game... I tell you everything you have to enjoy in Boston in three days.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

Boston in 3 Days: a guidebook for getting the most out of your visit

©Brandon Benedict

Three days in Boston is enough time to enjoy the most important places, but so you can make the most of it, I bring you this itinerary so you can see and do everything there is to see and do in Boston in a more efficient way.

With this three-day route you will see the most emblematic points in the history of the American Revolution while walking the Freedom Trail; you can enjoy the best food in the Italian neighborhood of the North End; attend a baseball game at its famous Fenway Stadium; visit the famous Harvard and MIT universities and even sail on a whale watching cruise on the East Coast.

Day 1: Cruise the Charles River, visit Harvard and MIT and dine in the North End

Sunset on the Charles River| ©Isaac Kohane
Sunset on the Charles River| ©Isaac Kohane

Begin your visit to the city of Boston with a tour of the Cambridge district. Cruise down the Charles River as you warm up for a visit to two of the world's most prestigious universities: Harvard University and MIT.

After a tour of their campuses, bookstores and places of interest, head to the Italian neighborhood of the North End to end the day with a delicious dinner.

Charles River Cruise

To start the first day of your trip there is nothing better than enjoying a unique view of the city of Boston as you cruise down the Charles River. From the boat you will be able to see Cambridge and its universities on one bank and on the opposite bank enjoy Boston and see Beacon Hill, Prudential Center and other points of interest from a different perspective.

The boat usually departs from Lechmere Canal Park on Cambridge Side Mall and ends at the same point of origin.

If you are arriving by subway the closest stop is Lechmere on the green line. And if you have been left wanting to sail, you can book a cruise in Boston to conquer the waters of the East Coast again or even if you like adventure, you can opt to book a ride on the Codzilla speedboat along the Boston waterfront

Book a cruise in Boston

Visit MIT

Just a 20-minute walk from Lechmere Canal Park will take you to Kendall Square, an ideal place to begin your visit to MIT.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the most important technological university in the United States.

On your visit you can not miss the Lobby 7, also called the "infinite corridor" with 251 meters long, the Green Building, the tallest building on campus (houses the departments of Earth Sciences, Atmospheric and Planetary), the Great Dome and the Stata Center composed of the Gates and Dreyfoos towers.

  • Price: organized tours from €18.
  • Duration: a little more than an hour approximately, depending on the tour or free admission.

Get to know Harvard University

Harvard University| ©Moe Homayounieh
Harvard University| ©Moe Homayounieh

After spending the morning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I recommend that you book a tour of the Harvard campus in Boston, which will take you to the main sights, the Statue of John Harvard, the main square, the courtyard, the memorial, etc.

Did you know that Harvard University is older than the invention of calculus? That's right, when this prestigious university opened its doors in 1636, calculus did not even exist. Great minds have passed through this institution, up to 8 of the U.S. presidents studied in its classrooms.

During your visit don't forget to visit "The Curious George Store" or the Cambridge Public Library. You can also visit the Harvard Museum, where you will find a great collection of art including pieces by Botticelli, Van Gogh, Picasso... among others.

Book a tour of the Harvard campus in Boston

North End: dinner in the Italian Quarter

To end the day, head to the Italian neighborhood in the North End, where you can enjoy a variety of restaurants, cafes and markets. If you want to get there by public transportation I recommend you to get off at Oak Grove, orange line, from there you will only have to walk about 5/10 minutes approximately.

The North End district is characterized by its mix of cultures: Italians, Irish, Jews... different nationalities that immigrated to Boston and settled in this neighborhood filling it with new traditions. With their arrival they brought a great culinary range. In North End, also known as the Italian neighborhood, you can find the best pizzerias in the city, or if you prefer, you can walk through its markets and enjoy its cafes and bakeries.

If you are still hungry, don't hesitate and book a gastronomic tour of Boston for another day. And if you have a sweet tooth, the best option is to book a Boston subway donut tour. Another must-do is to book a Boston historic tavern tour or even book a Boston pub crawl.

Book a Boston food tour

Day 2: Walk the Freedom Trail, enter the USS Constitution and ride the Amphibious Bus

USS Constitution Museum| ©MamaKitty
USS Constitution Museum| ©MamaKitty

On this second day of your trip I recommend that you delve into the history of the American Revolution by visiting the most emblematic sites of the Revolutionary War.

The best way to start the day is to stroll through Boston Common Park and the Boston Public Garden before starting the Freedom Trail, a 4 km route through 16 historic sites to learn more about Boston's past.

Take a few short breaks on the "Freedom Trail" to visit the exclusive Beacon Hill neighborhood and the most photographed street in the city, Acorn Street. Keep in mind that the Freedom Trail, while not too long, usually takes almost an entire day to walk with stops.

Boston Common

Start the day strolling through the oldest public park in America. Boston Common was inaugurated in 1634 and although at first these lands were used as a dump, over the years they became grazing land and a place to punish criminals (the park had a gallows until 1817).

The troops of Great Britain found in this park the perfect place to barrack before leaving for the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775. Take the opportunity to enjoy the Boston Public Garden, ride the swan boats and see the Make Way for Ducklings statue. Boston Common is the perfect spot to start the Freedom Trail.

Book a bike tour of Boston

Beacon Hill

Before starting the Freedom Trail, head to the Beacon Hill neighborhood, a neighborhood that will make you fall in love with its red brick houses and where you can visit one of the most photographed streets in Boston, Acorn Street.

This neighborhood is one of the most exclusive and elegant areas of the city, where you can also find the famous Cheers bar.

Book a walking tour of Boston's history and highlights

Freedom Trail

This route is the key to Boston's history. 4 kilometers through the city in which you will discover 16 historic stops in the capital of Massachusetts. Once you have visited Beacon Hill you can return to Boston Common, where you will find the beginning of this trail. Don't worry about getting lost, as this route is marked with red bricks and has informative plaques about monuments or landmarks.

You can do this tour on your own or if you prefer to hire a tour with a guide to explain in detail all the stops along the way, in this guide I recommend the main history tours in Boston.

Keep in mind that the Freedom Trail is a linear path, so you will not end in the same location. The end of the trail is at the USS Constitution, the oldest warship still in active service. To see all the stops on this tour you can go to their website.

Book a walking tour of Boston's history and highlights

Day 3: Whale watching, baseball and museums for your last day on the road

Whale watching in Boston| ©Alonso Javier Torres
Whale watching in Boston| ©Alonso Javier Torres

End your visit to Boston by getting in touch with nature and marine life. Living next to the East Coast has to have its benefits, and whale watching is certainly one of them.

Book your excursion to go out to sea to see and enjoy these majestic mammals. In the afternoon enjoy the king of Boston's sports with your visit to Fenway Park baseball stadium.

Whale Watching or New England Aquarium

Get ready to enjoy a unique moment and see these majestic animals while sailing on a catamaran from Long Wharf. Due to the whale migration, the best time to see them along the East Coast is between April and November.

In Massachusetts Bay is the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a place where different whales (humpback, pilot), fin whales and dolphins come to feed with their calves. Do not miss this unique experience and book in advance as it is an activity with high demand.

On the other hand, you can also book your tickets for the New England Aquarium in Boston or buy your tickets for Dino Safari: A Walking Adventure Boston, ideal for the youngest of the house.

Book tickets for the New England Aquarium in Boston

Fenway Park

For all sports fans, Fenway Park is a must-see. If you are lucky enough to be in season you can't miss the occasion, buy your Red Sox ticket and enjoy the best atmosphere at the stadium.

If there is no game available, don't worry, you can always book a tour of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, and discover the best moments of Major League Baseball.

Buy your Red Sox ticket

Museum of Fine Arts

Just a 10-minute walk from Fenway Park is Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, the fifth largest museum in the United States.

If you venture inside, you'll enjoy a collection of more than 450,000 works of Egyptian, Asian, European and American art. Van Gogh, Picasso, Da Vinci... dozens of great artists are represented in this magnificent gallery.

If you're left wanting to see other museums, check out this guide for my recommendation of the best museums in Boston.

Book the Boston Go City All-Inclusive Pass

Choose the sightseeing pass that benefits you the most:

Tourist Bus Ride| ©Márcio Cabral de Moura
Tourist Bus Ride| ©Márcio Cabral de Moura

To make the most of your visit, the city of Boston offers different tourist passes that include some of the activities or tickets at a reduced price.

If you want more detailed information about the different options you can read this article about Boston tourist passes.

Boston Citypass:

This card offers a discount of around 47% on tickets to 4 attractions in particular for 9 consecutive days: the New England Aquarium, the Museum of Science, and two more to choose between a Boston Harbor cruise, the Franklin Park Zoo or the Museum of Natural History at Harvard University.

In this guide about the Boston City Pass I explain all the details of the card and if you want you can check their website for current prices and conditions.

Go City Boston

If you buy your Boston Go City All-Inclusive Pass, you can tour the city of Boston without worrying about tickets thanks to your pass. Select the option that best suits your needs depending on the activities you are going to do and the days you have available.

You can download the application on your cell phone and show the tickets for each activity. In the following link you can see all the details about the Go Boston Card.

  • All Inclusive Pass: Visit up to 40 attractions and activities with this all-inclusive pass for 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days. With this card you can save more than 50% on admission to museums, activities, tours...
  • Explorer Pass: Choose 2, 3, 4 or 5 of your favorite activities or places you don't want to miss in Boston and design your own itinerary saving money on each of the tickets. You can choose from more than 22 attractions: museums, activities, guided tours, etc. Once selected, you have up to 60 days to visit them from the first time you use your card.

Buy your Boston Go City All-Inclusive Pass

How to get around the city

Boston Subway| ©Nicolas Vigier
Boston Subway| ©Nicolas Vigier

If you only have three days to visit Boston and you want to get the most out of it, I advise you to find the most efficient way to get around the city.

Book your hotel or accommodation in a well connected place and find out how to get to the main points of interest. In this article I show you the best options for getting around the city:

Walking

Boston is considered one of the best cities to get around on foot. Its streets, parks and the different tourist routes of the capital are adapted for pedestrians. In addition, the short distance between places of interest will allow you to organize your trip and itinerary without having to use any other means of transportation.

Get around by subway with a Charlie ticket

If some of the tourist attractions you want to visit are further away from the center or your accommodation is on the outskirts, I recommend you to use the subway, known as "T".

Currently, the subway consists of 5 lines that are quite easy to use, but for more security you can download the Boston subway app on your cell phone to organize your routes.

The tickets for public transportation are known as "Charlie tickets"; depending on how many days you are going to spend in the city you can buy a single day ticket or a card that you can recharge in a more economical way, the "Charlie card". In this web page you can check the current prices of public transportation in Boston.

Bus

Just as popular as the subway, the bus will take you to different parts of the city. It is cheaper than the subway and has the same ticket system, the Charlie tickets or the Charlie Card.

Boston Trolleys

Although today they have become more of a tourist attraction than a real means of transportation, they still have their function. The trolleys are like a small bus/tram that you can hop on and off as many times as you need as long as your pass is valid.

These mini buses cover the main routes of the city and some of its tourist attractions such as the Aquarium, the USS Constitution and some museums.

Book a Boston Old Town Sightseeing Trolley Tour

Cab - Uber

Unlike New York and its number of yellow cabs, in Boston they are not very popular and sometimes it can be even difficult to find one; however, Uber has a great business in the city and can become your great ally if you need a quick transfer.

Rent a car

Of all the options for getting around the city this may be one of your least favorite, mainly because of the lack of parking. In addition, parking lots are usually paid and with quite expensive fees.

If you are making a route by car and you have arrived in Boston with your own car, I recommend that you leave it near your accommodation and move around the city walking or by public transport, you will save time and money.

Bicycle

Another ideal option to get to know the city and move between its different points of interest is by bicycle. This way, you will be able to move comfortably and quickly. You also have the option of booking a bike tour of Boston.

Book a bike tour in Boston

Best time to visit Boston

Boston Public Garden in the Fall| ©Bill Ilott
Boston Public Garden in the Fall| ©Bill Ilott

The capital of Massachusetts is special in every season of the year: the orange hue of the city with the falling leaves in autumn, the green and blooming parks in spring, the pleasant sunshine of summer or the movie-like winter with all the streets covered with snow.

There is so much to see and do in Boston. Of course, every season has its positive and negative sides. Boston has very extreme climates throughout the year, so if you decide to travel in winter I recommend that you bring many layers of warm clothes because the days and nights are usually extremely cold.

The summer months tend to attract many tourists because of school vacations and the days are very hot, but you are guaranteed a beautiful sunny day while whale watching on a catamaran. Therefore, taking into account the extreme climates of the city, spring or autumn are the best seasons to visit the city.

  • Day 1
  • Charles River Cruise
  • MIT
  • Harvard
  • North End
  • Day 2
  • Boston Common
  • Beacon Hill
  • Freedom Trail
  • Day 3
  • Whale Watching
  • Fenway Park
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner and Museum of Fine Arts