Best Things to Do in Boston

Boston is one of the most historic cities in the United States, as well as one of the most interesting. To discover it you have this post with the best plans and places to see in Boston.

Carlos Bleda

Carlos Bleda

11 min read

Best Things to Do in Boston

Boston | ©Nicolas Nova

Located in the state of Massachusetts, in the northeast of the United States, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the country founded by British settlers in 1630. The city grew around the Charles River and over the years has become a large city that has expanded thanks to the trade of its port, one of the most important in the world. It was commerce that was responsible for the growth of the city, but it was not the only relevant point. Boston is also one of the most important capitals in the world in education thanks to its universities, a pioneer in pharmaceutical and technological companies, a gastronomic capital, a national and world power in sports...

All these elements and many more make it one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States thanks to the more than 12 million visitors it receives every year. If all these reasons are not enough to convince you to visit it, don't worry. In this post I will share with you the most important places and plans in Boston that will surely convince you to visit a unique city in the world.

1. Walk the Freedom Trail

Emblem of the Freedom Trail| ©Andrew Malone
Emblem of the Freedom Trail| ©Andrew Malone

If you ask what you can do to get to know Boston, it is quite likely that most of the answers you receive will be to walk the Freedom Trail.

It is a marked route through the city of about 4 kilometers that passes through several of its main points and can be walked comfortably in half a day or so.

The path is marked by a line of bricks and is completely free to follow, although several guided historical tours are offered to learn more about each point of the Freedom Trail in detail.

This trail starts at the Boston Common park and passes through the center of the city to the harbor area, where the flagship USS Constitution is the last stop. In total there are 16 tourist points that it crosses and all of them related to the history of the city and the country.

The Freedom Trail stops are: Boston Common, the Massachusetts State House Parliament, Street Church Park, Granary Burying Ground, King's Chapel, the Benjamin Franklin statue at the Boston Latin School, the Old Corner Book Store, the Old State House Parliament, the Boston Massacre Memorial Site, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere's House, North Church, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution ship.

Book a Freedom Trail Tour in Boston

Other things to do in Boston

You have a lot to see in this city, so, better than going on your own, a good idea is also to hire one of the Top 10 guided tours in Boston. They will explain every detail of the city so you won't miss anything. Although if you like to know the hidden side of the monuments and the corners of the places you visit, you might be more interested in these Boston ghost tours, they will tell you the most chilling stories.

Another very comfortable and fun way to tour Boston is with the tour buses or Boston Cruises and Duck Boats, the latter take you along the Charles River from where you can see the best views of the city of Massachusetts. Whichever option you choose, all will have a specialized guide who accompanies you at all times so you can learn about the history of Boston.

2. Visit Boston Common Park

Boston Common| ©King of Hearts
Boston Common| ©King of Hearts

Boston Commonis a public park in Boston, but not just any park. It is the oldest public park in the United States.

It was opened in 1634 and throughout its history its grounds have been used for various purposes such as grazing land and even as a gallows to execute criminals. But it is also a place with a lot of history.

During the British occupation of Boston, its grounds served as a military camp and in the park itself, illustrious figures such as Martin Luther King or Pope John Paul II have delivered some of their speeches.

Today it is a park with numerous green spaces where you can play sports, stroll or picnic and is home to several memorials, monuments and even an old cemetery. Boston Common is also home to the Freedom Trail visitor center, which is the starting point of this famous route.

In addition, it is a place where concerts, shows and endless cultural activities are frequently held, especially if you travel to Boston in summer.

A set that have made it one of the essential places to see in Boston.

3. See the neighborhood of Beacon Hill and Acron Street with camera in hand.

Beacon Hill| ©Javi D
Beacon Hill| ©Javi D

Boston is full of streets and neighborhoods of Victorian origin that maintain that essence and are places worth visiting. The best known of these is the Beacon Hill neighborhood, just north of Boston Common.

As its name suggests, the neighborhood is built on a hill and is formed by a tangle of beautiful streets with Victorian houses.

Among all its streets there is one that stands out above the rest. Acron Street. This street is one of the most photographed points of all the city thanks to its unique charm.

It is a steep cobblestone street, flanked by red brick Victorian houses and is a reminder of colonial Boston. As they say, it doesn't count as having visited Boston if you don't leave the city with a photo on Acron Street.

Book a Photowalks tour of Beacon Hill

4. See historic Harvard University and MIT

Exterior of Harvard University| ©Eric Astrauskas
Exterior of Harvard University| ©Eric Astrauskas

Everyone knows the fame and prestige of institutions like Harvard University and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). But not everyone knows that both are located in Boston, well, more specifically in Cambridge, a few kilometers from the city center.

Figures as important as Barack Obama or Bill Gates have studied at Harvard itself and you have the opportunity to step on the same ground as them and get to know what one of the most important educational institutions in the world is like.

You can visit the Harvard campus and even the institution itself offers tours guided by its own students. You can also do it on your own and Harvard offers interactive maps on its website to guide you.

MIT does not give so much freedom to visit, but you can visit the MIT museum dedicated to the technology and discoveries that have developed the great minds that have gone through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

5. Quincy Market: The best place in Boston to visit at noon.

At Quincy Market| ©benoit_descary
At Quincy Market| ©benoit_descary

In addition to history and avant-garde, gastronomy is also one of Boston's great attractions. Thanks to its location next to one of the most important ports in the world, its colonial origin and its influence from many countries, the gastronomic range of the city is immense. And to enjoy it there is a more than perfect place in the center of the city. Quincy Market in the Faneuill area.

Inside a historic building that played a leading role in American independence are three of the best markets in Boston, South Market, North Market and Quincy Market where you can taste all kinds of food, local and international.

There is no better place in Boston to be at noon, at dinner time or for a food tour.

Enjoy a gastronomic tour of Boston

6. See the Boston sky at the Skywalk Observatory

Skywalk Observatory| ©Viator
Skywalk Observatory| ©Viator

There isno better place to get the best views of the city than from one of its highest points. This is the Skywalk Observatory observation deckat the Prudential Center.

At the top of this skyscraper, at 228 meters high and on the 50th floor, there is a panoramic viewpoint that offers the most complete and spectacular views of the entire city from all perspectives, as it is a 360-degree viewpoint. Climbing up to this point costs about 19 dollars, which at the exchange rate is about 18 euros.

In this place you can not only enjoy the views. In the same building there is a restaurant even higher than the viewpoint and below it extends the prudential center, a shopping area full of stores and restaurantsperfect to complete the day.

7. Discover the North End neighborhood

Getting to know north end| ©Brett Chisum
Getting to know north end| ©Brett Chisum

The North End neighborhood, also known as Boston's Little Italy, is one of the busiest areas of the city and one of the most attractive in its own right. This maze of narrow streets forms the oldest neighborhood in the entire state of Massachusetts, inhabited since 1630.

Much of the Freedom Trail passes through it, with historic sites such as the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house, a symbol of the American War of Independence.

The neighborhood is much more than history. Given its colonial origins and the fact that its inhabitants have been European immigrants for many years, the North End has a clear European influence, especially Italian.

Its streets are lined with Italian restaurants and cafes concentrated mostly in the main artery of the neighborhood, Hanover Street. Any self-respecting traveler visiting Boston is almost obliged to visit this beautiful neighborhood.

8. Visit the city's museums such as the Tea Party museum

Tea Party museum| ©Thea Prum
Tea Party museum| ©Thea Prum

Boston is considered the cultural capital of the United States largely because of its wide range of museums. At this point I could tell you about any in particular, but the range is so wide that it is better to know them all and decide for yourself which ones you want to visit.

For this you have this link with a list of the best museums in Boston and all the information you need to know about it.

To sum up, the most important one because of its connection with the history of the city and the country is the Tea Party Museum. This event, in which American colonists rebelled against British taxes by throwing large quantities of tea overboard from ships, gave rise to the War of Independence.

The ship-shaped museum is the best place to learn about this history and perhaps among all the museums in the city, this is the most special and unique. But you have many others in the city, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science or the Children's Museum. In any case, visiting its museums is one of the best plans Boston has to offer.

Book your ticket to the Tea Party Museum

9. Enjoy Copley Square and the Back Bay neighborhood

Copley Square| ©Ingfbruno
Copley Square| ©Ingfbruno

One of the city's focal points is Copley Square, named after Boston-born painter John Singleton Copley, famous for his portraits.

The square is located in the Back Bay neighborhood and its charm lies in its architecture and the number of illustrious buildings that surround it. An architectural mix of modernity and history that makes it an essential point in any itinerary to know Boston.

Among these illustrious buildings are the Old South Church, Trinity Church, the famous and impressive Boston Public Library, the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel building, the John Hancock Tower and the Bostix Kiosk. The streets surrounding the square belong to the Back Bay neighborhood and are perfect for relaxing strolls, shopping in its many stores and franchises, and stopping for a bite to eat in its many restaurants. It is also one of the best areas to enjoy Boston's nightlife.

10. Don't miss a visit to the New England Aquarium

New England Aquarium| ©Beyond My Ken
New England Aquarium| ©Beyond My Ken

Variety is the spice of life and to avoid being saturated with history and museums there is an infallible plan in Boston. Visit the New England Aquarium or Boston Aquarium. It is located on one of the waterfront piers, southeast of the North End neighborhood.

The Boston Aquarium has been home to more than 20,000 marine species since 1969. Most of them in a giant three-story fish tank where you can see all kinds of fish, turtles, sea lions and even sharks.

There is also space to see penguins, a special tank where you can dive to touch mantas, rays and other species, a theater where 3D movies about marine fauna are projected and even a service to go whale and dolphin watching off the coast. If you want to know all about the opening hours, prices and other information about the Boston Aquarium, click here.

The aquarium is one of the most visited places in Boston and one of the best things to do, especially if you are traveling to Boston with children.

Reserve your ticket to the New England Aquarium of Boston

11. Take a trip to Martha's Vineyard

If you are lucky enough to spend several days in Boston, whether two days or three days, you can not miss one of the top 10 excursions from Boston, such as the one that takes you to the exclusive island of Martha's Vineyard.

It is about 150 km from Boston and has incredible beaches, making it one of the favorite destinations for tourists in Boston. That's why I recommend you to hire an organized excursion to Martha's Vineyard from Boston, but you have several ways to get there.

But if you like the sea you should not miss Cape Cod, 112 km from Boston and another natural paradise to enjoy a few days at the beach if you go in summer or spring to the city, when temperatures still let you enjoy a swim in the sea. I leave you here an article on How to get to Cape Cod from Boston.

Finally, I recommend another destination, New Hampshire, much closer, just 85 km from the city, and where a day trip to Boston will be enough to explore some of its incredible national parks.

You will see spectacular scenery, so a good time to take advantage is in autumn or even winter. I tell you in this link How to get to New Hampshire from Boston.

Plan your trip to Boston

Once the transfers from Boston Airport have been arranged, it is time to organize your trip. As a tip I tell you to get one of the Boston tourist passes, a very practical way to visit the most important parts of the city saving time and money. I leave you these posts to find out which one interests you more: the Boston City Pass or the Go Boston Card.

Also, be sure to read these itineraries that we have created in Hellotickets to know what to see in each month of the year: