Filled with historical landmarks and a diverse mix of restaurants and bars, Boston offers plenty of sightseeing options. But if you want to venture beyond Fenway Park, here’s how to get off-the-beaten-path in Boston.
Located at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a stained-glass globe that represents how the world looked in 1935, when the structure was built. Travel through the globe via a 30-foot (9-meter) glass bridge; watch a light-and-sound show that explains how the world has changed; and experience the acoustics of the whispering gallery.
Brattle Book Shop
Boston is home to several prestigious universities, which means there’s no shortage of bookstores. Selling used books since 1825, Brattle Book Shop is one of the oldest used bookstores in the US; you’ll find collectibles and first-edition books beside discounted books on the lot outside of the shop.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Whether you consider her an avid collector or a hoarder, there’s no denying that philanthropist Isabella Stewart Gardner liked stuff. This museum displays more than 2,000 artifacts—including paintings, sculptures, textiles, drawings, manuscripts, and photographs accumulated during her global travels—in a 3-story building that’s been open since 1903.
Coolidge Corner Theatre
Originally a church, Coolidge Corner Theatre was converted to an Art-Deco movie theater in 1933; today, it maintains its early 20th-century decor—think red velvet seats—while screening both classic and contemporary films. Catch lesser-known flicks or take part in singalongs here; beer, wine, and popcorn are served on-site.
Boston Harbor Islands
Accessible via ferry from Boston city center, and comprised of 34 islands and peninsulas, this national park features hiking trails, campgrounds, and public beaches. It’s also home to a Civil War-era fort and Boston Light, the first lighthouse in the US; book a lighthouse tour for the best views of Long Island Light, Graves Light, and Boston Light.
Old Burying Grounds
Nestled among brick buildings and bookstores, you’ll find several historic cemeteries in downtown Boston, including Granary Burying Ground and King’s Chapel Burying Ground. Wander through to see marble, granite, and slate headstones, some of which depict skulls with wings. At the Granary grounds on Tremont Street, see where Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere are laid to rest.