With world-class sporting venues, prestigious college campuses (we’re looking at you, Harvard), revered art institutes, and arguably more historical significance than any other major American city, it’s no wonder that Boston welcomes millions of tourists year after year.
As New England’s beacon of innovation, tourism, and culture, any traveler — whether a thrillseeker, history buff, backpacker, or foodie — will be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do in Boston.
1 – Step back in time at the USS Constitution museum
Take a step back in time and experience what life was at sea over 200 years ago at the USS Constitution Museum.
Not only are there fascinating exhibits and endless artifacts here, but visitors will also have the opportunity to get interactive by scrubbing the decks, furling a sail, and even firing a cannon!
2 – Visit the iconic Fenway Park
Fenway Park, also known as America’s most beloved ballpark, is home to the legendary Red Sox.
Baseball heroes such as Ted Williams and Babe Ruth have walked on its grounds, and now visitors can too!
With 1-hour guided tours available, sports fanatics can explore the dugout, change rooms, and so much more of this 37,731-seat stadium!
3 – Race against the clock in a scavenger game
Sick of snail-paced walking tours? Want to take your vacation up a notch?
A scavenger game is a fun, fast-paced, and interactive way for tourists and locals to explore the Boston area.
All you need is a smartphone and a sense of adventure as you solve clues, complete challenges around the city, answer trivia questions, and race against the clock to win!
4 – Walk the historic Freedom Trail
If you’re looking for things to do in Boston then walking the Freedom Trail through the Boston National Historical Park is an absolute must for first-time visitors.
There are many different kinds of guided tours available including pub crawls, food tours, and history tours, all of which are led by friendly guides eager to share insights into Boston’s unique past.
5 – Glide across the water on a Boston Harbor sightseeing cruise
Want to be on the water, relax in the sunshine, and learn about the city around you… all at the same time? Then look no further!
Sightseeing cruises (as well as speed boat tours) take guests all around the Boston harbor, past a number of famous landmarks along the way.
In the summertime, there’s no better day out.
6 – Fill your belly on a North End food tour!
Feeling peckish? An array of delicious treats await in Boston’s oldest neighborhood, North End.
Stroll through the quiet area of Beacon Hill and admire the stunning architecture while a local guide lures you to clam chowder, fresh pizza, cannolis, meats, cheeses, and so much more.
Tours usually end at a tavern, the ideal spot to nurse a Samuel Adams lager.
7 – Amp up the romance on a dinner cruise
Couples, take note!
Sure, a dinner cruise over the Boston harbor can be romantic (especially considering the onboard wine and live music), but with a 3-course meal, it can also be a delight for the foodies out there!
Most cruises last anywhere from 2.5 hours to 3 hours, with no shortage of sights to see along the way.
8 – See the sights on a hop-on-hop-off trolley tour
Short on time? Don’t feel like planning multiple itineraries? Then a hop-on-hop-off trolley tour is the way to go!
Not only is it quick and convenient, but the double-decker bus also makes stops at Boston’s top attractions including the USS ‘Constitution’, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, Fenway Park, and many more.
9 – Use your deduction skills in an escape room
Put on your thinking cap, people!
An exhilarating activity for kids and adults alike, guests of all ages can try their hand at cracking the codes and thinking outside the box.
Even if you’re an experienced escape artist, with many different themed rooms available (including a spooky crime-solving scene), there’s always something new and fresh.
10 – Explore the coveted Harvard & MIT campuses
Have you always dreamed of living the Ivy League life? With a guided Harvard and MIT tour, now’s your chance.
Both of these prestigious schools are known all over the world, with Harvard’s campus, in particular, being as beautiful as it is famous.
Be sure to make a stop at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum — a stunning slice of nature!
11 – Visit the famous Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard is famous across the country and it’s not so hard to see why!
Visitors can tour the vineyard, explore Edgartown, and see the Gay Head Cliffs, all in one hassle-free tour.
Besides the vineyard itself, there is a selection of stunning beaches to plonk down on, shopping boutiques to browse, and restaurants to grab a bite.
12 – Learn about the witch trials in Salem!
If you’re after a day trip full of mystery and intrigue, this ought to do the trick.
Besides Salem’s obvious association with the Salem witch trials, tours to this spooky city also introduce travelers to the town of Marblehead and the birthplace of the American Navy.
While you can easily rent some wheels yourself, guided tours are also available, with options for bus, boat, or car travel.
13 – See wild animals at the Franklin Zoo
The Franklin Zoo stretches across 72 acres and is home to a staggering 220 species of wild animals.
Get up close and personal with monkeys, gorillas, hippos, lions, giraffes, and many more; and bring the youngsters who are sure to enjoy the live feedings.
If time’s limited, consider booking your Franklin Park Zoo tickets online to skip the lines.
14 – Take a ferry and explore Cape Cod
Nature lovers, listen up — Cape Cod is known for its beautiful blue waters and stunning scenery.
Spend the day exploring the gorgeous beaches, eating at the restaurants, shopping at local boutiques, and admiring the art galleries.
Hot tip: While you’re in that neck of the woods, make a detour to the charming city of Provincetown.
15 – Go whale-watching!
Luckily for us, whale sightings along the New England coast is a rather regular occurrence!
The warmer months — May through to October — are prime time for spotting these gentle giants.
Whale-watching cruises usually last for about 3-4 hours, so be sure to slap on some SPF and bring a bottle of water.
Read more about the Boston whale watching cruise.
16 – Zip around town on a bike tour
Ride around Boston for a few hours on a bike tour and explore all of Boston’s historical sites and monuments, famous landmarks, and some of the local’s favorite neighborhoods (like charming Little Italy)!
Not only is it an exciting and active way to see the city, but it’s a great chance to meet some fellow backpackers as well.
17 – Drift across the waves on a jet boat!
Thrillseekers, this one’s for you!
Cross the Boston Bay on a high-speed jet boat and get your adrenaline pumping!
Riding a jet boat is considered to be one of Boston’s premier water attractions and is something that every local and tourist should do at least once.
Lasting just 40 minutes, it’s easily worked into any itinerary.
18 – Ride the zipline at Foxwoods
With a launchpad equivalent to a 33-story-high hotel, the Foxwoods zipline should sit high atop any thrillseeker’s Boston bucket list.
The zipline is almost a mile long and takes daring guests over the forest from Foxwoods all the way to the Pequot Museum.
Despite its height, it is, of course, safe for the whole family.
19 – Saddle up at the Chrislar Horse Farm and Equestrian Center
Immersed within the lush national forest you’ll find — stretched over 10 acres — the popular Chrislar Horse Farm and Equestrian Center.
There are over 40 horses available and guests don’t need any prior experience horseback riding — so long as you’re eager to learn, you’ll be tacking, untacking, grooming, and riding in no time!
20 – Go kayaking!
There’s no need to Google it: the Deerfield River is the place to go for anyone who is looking for an exciting kayaking adventure.
Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, there are loads of different tours available.
All the equipment is provided — just be sure to slap on some sunscreen!
21 – Shop the day away at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
For one-of-a-kind souvenirs and handmade goods to take home, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is the place to check out.
Not only are there different types of local artists and vendors, there are also a lot of different places to eat — this is where visitors can indulge in Indian pudding, clam chowder, and lobster rolls.
22 – Visit the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Travel back in time all the way back to 1773 and become part of the Boston Tea Party!
The historic event comes to life through interactive exhibits, tours, and original artifacts — all of which combined allow guests to see firsthand how the political protest changed the course of American history.
23 – Delve into America’s founding story at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums
Plymouth, otherwise known as “America’s hometown”, plays a very important role in American History.
By visiting the Plimoth Patuxet Museums, visitors get to go back four centuries ago and understand how the 17th-century pilgrims made America their new home.
There is also a full-sized replica of the original Mayflower ship that guests are welcome to board.
24 – Enjoy a leisurely cruise on the Schooner Adirondack III
Kick back, relax, and watch the sunset behind the iconic Boston skyline!
A Schooner Adirondack III sunset sailing experience typically lasts for up to 2 hours, with stunning views guaranteed from departure to docking.
The 80-foot boat is an attraction in and of itself, modeled after the late-19th-century vessels.
25 – Get a little fancy on a wine tour
For all of you diehard wine lovers out there, with a great selection of wineries and tastings available, Boston’s got you covered.
Dedicated wine-tasting tours take travelers to vineyards where they can see how the grapes are grown; learn how the wine is made and bottled; and, of course, try local malbec, sayvel, rose, and many more.
26 – Take a stroll along the waterfront
The waterfront is an iconic location in Boston where many locals and tourists go to grab a bite to eat and stretch the legs.
Surrounded by great architecture, passing ships, and water, the area exudes a magical atmosphere.
The Waterfront is home to restaurants such as the Rowes Wharf Sea Grill, Chart House, and Legal Sea Foods, which are said to offer the best seafood in all of Boston!
27 – Get up close to marine life at the New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium is home to over 800 different species of marine life and that’s not even the most impressive thing about the place.
The aquarium has built a giant, 4-story ocean tank with its own coral reef that houses hundreds of Caribbean reef animals.
Bring the kids on a rainy day — you won’t regret it.
28 – Relax at a day spa
After days on your feet, why not take the day to unwind at a spa? You’re on vacation, after all!
Spread all over Boston, some of the services include massages, couples’ massages, hot stone massages, facials, waxing, tinting, and reflexology
Whatever your relaxation method of choice, be sure to book ahead as most spas go by appointment only.
29 – Meet Casper on a ghost tour
Boston has a detailed, topsy-turvy history, so it should come as no surprise that there have been many alleged ghost sightings over the years.
A ghost tour — whether operated by smartphone or costumed guide — is a spooktacular way to learn about the city’s dark past, local legends, and nearby witch trials.
If you’re feeling a little extra wild, why not join the ghost-themed pub crawl?
30 – Jump into a NASCAR racer!
Do we have any motorsport fans in the house? If you’ve ever wanted to buckle up for a hot lap, in the town of Loudon about 80 miles north of Boston, you can!
Seating alongside a professional driver, you’ll zoom around the track at speeds of up to 200 mph — a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
31 – Escape to the coastal town of Newport
Ditch the hustle and bustle of the city and head to the coastal town of Newport!
Explore Newport Harbor, gaze in awe at the staggering mansions on every corner, and admire the different kinds of private yachts all anchored in the harbor.
Newport is known for luxury so why not get out there and enjoy it for a day?
32 – Meet the monkeys at the Stone Zoo
Home to hundreds of exotic animals that you’ll seldom see elsewhere, the Stone Zoo showcases arctic foxes, snow leopards, black bears, Caribbean flamingos, reindeer, yaks, different kinds of snakes, and more (see, we told you these animals were unique!).
During summer be sure to slap on some sunscreen SPF as it takes more than a few hours to fully explore the zoo.
33 – Fuel your imagination at the Museum of Science
A surefire hit for youngsters, the Museum of Science is the ideal indoor spot to let your imagination run wild and learn new and exhibiting things about the world around us!
Boasting over 700 exhibits ranging from dinosaurs to indoor lighting (plus a giant IMAX dome screen), it’s no wonder that this place is considered one of the best things to see in Boston.
34 – Discover incredible art at the Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts has a great mash-up of fine arts and artifacts from a range of civilizations and cultures from all over the world.
Discover their ancient Egyptian collection with pieces that date back to 6500 BC, then make a beeline for the “Art of the Americas” gallery, home to one the most famous paintings of George Washington.
35 – Learn to play polo at Stage Hill Polo
Whether you already know how to play polo or just want to give it a try, this is the place to do it!
Stage Hill Polo offers lessons for beginners, intermediate players, and (if you’re willing to brave the cold) winter polo.
Horses, equipment, and mallets are provided; and knowledgeable instructors will guide the way.
36 – Stroll along red brick sidewalks at Beacon Hill
The most quintessential of all things to do in Boston is explore one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Beacon Hill.
An architecture enthusiast’s dream, guests can stroll through Acorn Street along the red brick sidewalks; marvel at elegant townhouses and old-style gas street lamps; and cap it all off with a stop at the many revered restaurants, galleries, and boutiques in the area.
37 – Say “Lights, camera, action!” on a movie tour
Calling all movie buffs!
Boston played the backdrop from countless Hollywood blockbusters: from Good Will Hunting to Legally Blonde, The Town, The Departed, Cheers, and dozens more.
The Movie Mile stroll is a unique way to explore the city, hear all about what went on behind the scenes, and recreate your favorite movie moments.
38 – Appreciate nature’s colors on a fall foliage tour
Is there a more beautiful time of year in New England than when the leaves start to fall? Not according to the locals!
Foliage tours take tourists through the stunning White Mountains, located a couple of hours north of Beantown.
Drive along 34 miles of road and see all the trees changing color — it makes for a great photo to brighten up that social media feed!
39 – Get the perfect Instagram pic on a photo tour
Looking for the most picturesque spots to snap a few photos?
With so many hidden gems around the city, a locally-led photography tour is an ideal opportunity to find those perfect-picture backdrops (because, of course, locals know best).
Bring your camera and your phone, dress to the nines, and the guides will help you capture that timeless shot!
40 – Shop till you drop at the Prudential Center
The Prudential Center is filled with all kinds of shops to scratch that retail therapy itch.
For when the stomach starts to rumble, there is also a food court with plenty of local delicacies on offer (did someone say clam chowder?)
41 – Spend the afternoon at the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center
Because who doesn’t love Lego?
These little plastic blocks have been a part of most people’s lives from a very young age. With that in mind, LEGOLAND invites kids (of age, and those young at heart) to relive those fond childhood memories!
Not only is there a massive Lego playground, but visitors can also learn how the iconic blocks are produced and made.
42 – Breathe in the fresh air at the Boston Public Garden
Located right in the heart of Boston, the Public Garden gives locals and tourists a chance to breathe in some fresh air and bask in the beauty of nature.
Visitors are welcomed by beautiful sculptures, sweet-smelling tulips, and swan boat rides that have been taking guests around the park’s lagoon since 1877.
43 – Immerse yourself in American history at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Hailing from none other than Boston itself, the thirty-fifth president of the United States carries as great (and as tragic) a reputation as any.
This insightful museum has been curated to honor his memory and to teach people about all the ways JFK sought to better the world around him.
For history buffs, it’s a no-brainer.
44 – Read a book at the Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library was founded all the way back in 1848 and has served over 6,000,000 people to this day — people happy to browse its enormous collection of books, magazines, and old newspapers.
If you need a quick WiFi connection to cancel your flight home, the library also has public computers.
45 – Check out the incredible Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
This revered museum is filled to the brim with an eclectic collection of Asian, American, and European art; displayed through paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and plenty more.
However, even if art isn’t your thing, the plant-filled courtyard and architecture are attractions in their own right.
If you’re a heist fan, this museum was hit by one of the most bizarre robberies back in 1990 — a story you can learn more about when you visit, of course.
46 – Take a stroll through the Boston Common
The Boston Common holds the title of being the oldest park in the country, dating back all the way to 1634!
It’s a popular spot to kick back and enjoy the sunshine while temporarily leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind.
A number of history-focused walking tours operate in the area — join one or simply explore at your own pace.
47 – Get lost in the crowd at Quincy Market
Drawing 20 million visitors each year, the Quincy Market is a must-see for all first-time visitors in Boston.
The ever-vibrant market dates back to 1826 when vendors would supply the city with meat, produce, and dairy goods.
These days, it’s a bustling meeting place with a selection of souvenir shops, worthy restaurants, and street performers that perform daily.
48 – Get active on a whitewater rafting adventure!
With gushing rapids, tight corners, and steep drops, a day rafting can transform any vacation from dull and boring to fun and exciting!
Experienced rafters, head to the roaring West River (life jackets and helmets for safety will be provided).
For beginners, the three-mile section on the Connecticut River is the ideal starting place.
49 – Check out Newbury Street!
Considered the hippest, grooviest area of Boston, Newbury Street is home to jewelry stores, clothing boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, bars, cafes, cosmetic stores, beauty salons, homeware stores, and so much more.
Besides the permanent installations, Newbury also welcomes pop-up stores, open house events, and regular live entertainment.
50 – See the Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library
The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library is the only place in the world where visitors can see the famous three-story stained-glass globe!
Originally created by architect Chester Lindsay Churchill back in 1935, today the enormous sculpture is accompanied by LED lights, music, and audio recordings that illustrate how the world has transformed since the thirties.
51 – Take the kids to the Boston Children’s Museum
With countless interactive displays for children that cover topics about history and the world around them, the Boston Children’s Museum is a great outing for the whole family!
The art lab where kids can paint is a crowd favorite, likewise the dinosaur exhibit, play den, and Japanese-style house
As far as things to see in Boston for kids, it’s hard to beat.
52 – Admire the historic landmark that is the Old North Church
The Old North Church, formally known as The Christ Church, is the oldest surviving church building in the city of Boston and, remarkably, remains active to this day.
The intricate church — which was built in 1723 and is classified as a National Historic Landmark — draws over 150,000 visitors each year, so even if you’re not religious, the architecture alone is worth seeing.
53 – Check out Castle Island
Castle Island — which isn’t really an island, more so a peninsula in South Boston — is home to the historic Fort Independence, a granite bastion that was fortified with cannons all the way back in 1851.
After touring the historic peninsula, take some time to relax on the beaches that surround it! It’s the perfect destination to combine a little bit of history with a little bit of sunbaking.
54 – Relive history at the Old State House
Back in 1776, following a violent battle, the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public here, at the Old State House.
If you’re a history buff you may have already known this, but if you are someone who wants to learn more, then a trip to the Old State House should be high atop the Boston bucket list!
55 – Enjoy cold craft beer on a brewery tour
Boston has a thriving craft beer scene and the perfect way to learn all about it is by going on a brewery tour.
Take the guesswork out of finding the ideal watering hole — join a pre-organized tour instead!
56 – Catch a show at the Boston Opera House
For a night of unique entertainment, look no further!
The Boston Opera house hosts various musical productions and is a must-see for musical theatre fans.
In recent years they’ve hosted productions of Hamilton, Wicked, Anastasia, and Pretty Woman, with new shows coming and going on the regular.
Make sure to check what’s playing at the time of your visit!
57 – Transport yourself back through time at The Paul Revere House
Built in 1680, the Paul Revere House boasts the title of being the oldest home in Boston!
It was, of course, the colonial home of Paul Revere, the American patriot famous for his role during the American Revolution.
These days it has been restored to its full glory, acting as a museum of sorts where guests can see artifacts from bygone centuries.
58 – Take a seat at the Boston Pops Orchestra
The Boston Pops Orchestra isn’t your typical, stuffy orchestra hall — this place welcomes musical guests from all different genres, meaning that there’s something to cater to everyone’s taste!
The Boston Pops Orchestra hosts over 250 concerts every year so make sure to check what events are being held at the time of your visit.
59 – Watch a concert at the Boch Center’s Wang Theatre
Best known for its range of performing arts, cultural education experiences, the Boch Center is considered one of the most iconic theatres in all of Boston.
With such a variety of performers on the roster, whether you’re into punk rock or ballet, you’ll be sure to find something that tickles your fancy.
60 – Find hidden gems at the Brattle Book Shop
Bookworms, get excited — the Brattle Book Shop is the largest and oldest used book shop across all of the United States, making it hands-down one of the essential things to see in Boston.
The first two floors of the building are filled to the brim with all sorts of used (or ‘pre-loved’) books. The third floor, however, is home to rare and antiquarian books that are almost impossible to find.
61 – Sip a cocktail at the Lookout Rooftop and Bar
Take our word for it: you won’t find a bar with better views of the city than the Lookout Rooftop and Bar!
Mingle with the locals, admire the shimmering lights of the Boston skyline, and sup on a cosmopolitan or two while you’re there!
With a fire pit and built-in, ceiling-mounted heaters for those cool evenings, there’s no excuse to stay at the hotel!
62 – See modern art at The Institute of Contemporary Art
With a pronounced goal to share inspiration, reflection, and imagination, the Institute of Contemporary Art is the leading force of contemporary art in the city of Boston.
The museum is constantly introducing wonderful new artists, procuring new commissions, and hosting major thematic exhibitions which are sure to fill any art lover with joy.
63 – Play the odds at the Encore Boston Harbor
If glamour is what you are looking for then Encore Boston Harbor is the right place for you!
Don’t believe us? The casino rocks ceilings that are 40 feet high and decked out with red Rubino glass chandeliers.
Not only does it look like something out of a movie, but it also has slot machines, table games, private gambling salons, and high-limit gaming rooms.
64 – Sunbathe on one of Boston’s beaches
Boston has no shortage of sand, so it’s important to know which beaches are worthy of a visit! Fortunately, we’re here to help.
The locals certainly have their favorites: Crane, Revere, Nantasket, Pleasure, Gloucester, Carson, Wollaston, Devereux, and Constitution Beach are all worth checking out!
65 – Laugh at Boston’s Comedy clubs
If you’re on the hunt for some evening entertainment, Boston has a ton of Comedy clubs that can give guests exactly that.
Some of the top-rated humor factories include ImprovBoston, Nick’s Comedy Stop, Comedy Connection at the Wilbur Theatre, Giggles Comedy Club, and Laugh Boston.
You’re never too far from a bar, snacks are always on hand, and laughs are all but guaranteed!
66 – Grab a sweet treat at a local ice cream shop
For those with an insatiable craving for sweets, Boston is heaven on earth.
Some of the best ice cream shops in Boston include Toscanini’s, Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream (try the ginger molasses!), Honeycomb Creamery, Gracie’s Ice Cream (home of the toasted Fluff cone), Picco, and J.P. Licks.
On those sizzling and humid summer days, a scoop of ice cream goes down a treat.
67 – Tour TD Garden
This huge arena can hold up to 19,580 people at a time — when it’s packed to the brim, the roar of the crowd is deafening.
After checking out a game, you can also arrange a private tour of the venue and walk in the footsteps of sporting legends.
68 – Hit the slopes at the Blue Hills Ski Area
If you’re craving some fresh powder, with its four ski lifts and 16 different trails that stretch over 60 acres of land, the Blue Hills Ski Area has more than got you covered.
With a range of green, blue, and black runs, there’s something for beginners and experienced skiers as well.
If you didn’t pack your gear, fret not, because the resort offers rentals.
69 – Wander through the Boston Public Market
If you’re looking for things to do in Boston, shopping for fresh produce at the Boston Public Market is a must.
Everything sold at the market — be it baked goods, specialty items, handmade crafts, or food — originates from or is produced in New England, which means you won’t find it anywhere else but here.
70 – Eat an iconic Boston Cream Pie
Look, nearly every bakery has its own version of a Boston Cream Pie, but you haven’t had one until you’ve had one in Boston.
The most famous places in Boston to go for a Boston cream pie are Parker’s Restaurant, Flour Bakery & Cafe, Bova’s Bakery, Legal Harborside, and Mike’s Pastry (also home to more cannolis than you could ever imagine).
71 – Mingle with the locals on a pub crawl
Pub crawls have become all the rage in nearly every city and it’s easy to see why — it’s an excellent way to explore the city on foot, uncover hidden gems, check out local hot spots such as the Black Rose, and meet and mingle with all the city’s locals!
There are many different pub crawls available in Boston, including a ghost-themed tour, so be sure to sign up for at least one.
72 – Seek a thrill at Six Flags New England
For a truly unforgettable adventure, why not spend the day with family and friends on the rides at Six Flags New England?
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or prefer the Merry-go-round, the park has a large variety of rides to suit every type of visitor.
The list includes family-friendly rides (like the 1909 Illions Grand Carousel), water rides (like adventure river), kid-friendly rides (such as Krazy Kars), and thrill-seeking rides (like the Batman: The Dark Knight roller coaster).
We hope you’ve enjoyed our selection of things to do in Boston, Massachusetts! If you have any other must-see suggestions, feel free to let us know in the comments!
Bon Voyage, and don’t forget to try a Boston cream pie!