Explore Boston

Top Things to Do in Boston

Wondering where to start exploring in one of America's oldest cities? Well, you're here and there's loads to do, so you'd better get moving in order to make the most of your time in Boston. The quickest way to score tickets to Boston's top destinations is with CityPASS, which offers admission to popular attractions at a reduced rate, rolled into one ticket price.

A couple of interest categories tend to trend: history, culture, sports. History, obviously, is a big one and typically centers on the Revolutionary War era and the preceding century. For this, check out the Freedom Trail and corresponding sights, neighborhoods like Downtown, the Financial District and the North End, and many excellent themed tours that we don't mention here. As far as culture is concerned, the Museum of Fine Arts sees more than a million visitors every year looking to check out its collection of 450,000 pieces of art. Over in Copley Square in the Back Bay neighborhood, Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library are themselves works of art—and you can visit them for free. Sports teams in this city always seem to make it (as champions of their respective leagues) or break it from season to season, but regardless fans keep showing up, especially to Fenway Park, the legendary ballfield.

While the Big Three are the biggest draws, they are certainly not the only draws. Boston's waterfront is always hot. Stroll the HarborWalk, board one of many cruises of the Inner Harbor and beyond, and otherwise get some sun. And if it's raining, well, there's plenty of museums and aquariums and inside things to do, too.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The MFA’s encyclopedic collection culls some of the world’s finest treasures, including international and contemporary art, instruments, photographs and textiles. Also, free guided tours, films, gallery talks and activities. Open Sa-Tu 10 am-5 pm, W-F 10 am-10 pm.

Harvard Yard

The familiar idiomatic statement that you can “pahk yah cah” here isn’t exactly accurate. Harvard Yard is encircled by a wrought iron and brick wall that serves as a road block for most motor vehicles.

Fenway Park

Home to baseball’s Boston Red Sox, century-old Fenway Park is one of America’s favorite and most historic ballparks. Since its opening game, April 20, 1912, the field has seen the likes of the Babe, Cy and Ted. The left-field wall, dubbed the Green Monster, is a formidable target for batters.

New England Aquarium

Explore the world’s waters from the Amazon rain forest to Pacific reefs to the Gulf of Maine, and the creatures living there. Come see the Giant Ocean Tank, a Caribbean coral reef environment boasting 2,000 sea creatures! Other main exhibits include a shark and ray touch tank and a seal center.

Faneuil Hall

A Freedom Trail attraction. Successful Boston merchant Peter Faneuil had this building constructed in 1742 and gave it to the city of Boston.

Museum of Science

The Museum of Science is a compelling technology and science-based destination. Permanent exhibits study the weather, mathematics, bird species, dinosaurs, space and the human body, among other “minds-on” topics. Bonus experiences include the Butterfly Garden, the Planetarium, the 4-D Theater and the Mugar Omni Theater.

Old North Church

Freedom Trail attraction. Built in 1723, Old North is Boston’s oldest church building. While it played a pivotal role at the onset of the American Revolution, it is interesting to note that at the time the church was highly Loyalist. Its bells, which still ring, are the oldest church bells in North America.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

This early American marketplace has been a vendor market since Colonial days, when it stood right at Boston Harbor’s original shoreline. Today, find numerous stores, both local independents and national chains, pushcart vendors and historic and modern restaurants.

The Freedom Trail

Focused on the American Revolution, from the Colonial period to the War of 1812, this 2.5-mile, red-painted and bricked path connects 16 historic sites, each of which has its own story. Visitors can walk the trail at any hour, but accessibility to each site varies, with most open daily 9 am-4/4:30 pm.

Union Oyster House

Opened in 1826, Union Oyster House is a National Historic Landmark and the nation’s oldest continuously operating restaurant. Fresh seafood is the main attraction and always has been, and the menu is heavy-handed on shellfish and oysters, fried and broiled fish, baked, boiled and broiled lobster and local Yankee favorites.

Boston HarborWalk

Winding from Chelsea through East Boston, Charlestown, the North End, the Waterfront, South Boston and Dorchester, the HarborWalk hugs the water’s edge and connects the public to the Boston Harbor. The HarborWalk takes on many forms as it goes—from working ports, to beaches to linear paths and observation points.

Boston Public Library

America’s first municipally-funded public library houses millions of books, manuscripts, music scores and art and boasts a scenic courtyard, events, readings and exhibits. Free art and architecture tours available.

North End

Red sauce bubbles in kitchens throughout this long-lived sector that is awash in Italian heritage; although, it has not always been this way. It was Boston’s original posh neighborhood, and Thomas Hutchinson and Paul Revere lived here.

Beacon Hill West End

Travelers conjure images of this charming, brick-faced neighborhood when they think “Boston.” Violet-tinted windowpanes, iron boot scrapers, and cobblestone streets named for trees create a quaint mystique that is rich in history, as well as just plain rich.

Durgin-Park

This famous Boston restaurant traces its lineage all the way back to 1742, but it wasn’t until 1827 that it officially began its reign as Durgin-Park. On the menu, fish chowder and thick baked beans are a must; then try baked scrod and the hearty pot roast dinner.

Trinity Church

Completed in 1877, Trinity Church is considered a masterpiece of church architecture for its Richardsonian Romanesque design, its incredible murals by John LaFarge and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and its museum-quality stained glass windows. Guided tours available daily for cost of admission.

Emerald Necklace

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted left a legacy here in Boston with his seven-mile-long chain of parks known as the Emerald Necklace. Lightly manicured to look natural, the green spaces are actually a feat of strategic urban planning.