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Things to do in Boston

Things to do in  Boston

Welcome to Boston

With a brassy revolutionary spirit, Boston invites visitors to explore America’s past and vibrant culture. Trace the Freedom Trail through the heart of the city, where colorful neighborhoods are dotted with historic sites and parks. Try the chowder at Boston’s oldest restaurant, head to the Italian-accented North End for cannoli and pizza, or snack on hot dogs in the stands at Fenway Park. Browse collections of masterpiece artwork in the city’s many museums, then get beyond the city limits on a day trip to old-fashioned villages, Cape Cod’s sandy beaches, or one of New England’s top shopping destinations.

Top 10 attractions in Boston

#1
Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

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Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library contains over 23 million items, making it the second largest public library in the U.S., after the Library of Congress. Of those millions, about 1.7 million are rare books and works, including medieval manuscripts and incunabula (a book or pamphlet printed prior to 1501 in Europe). Among the rare books are also the personal library of John Adams, early editions of works by William Shakespeare, drawings from Thomas Rowlandson and musical archives from the Handel and Haydn Society.The McKim Building, with its vast research collection, and the Johnson Building, where you can find the circulating collection, are two of the most important parts of the library. The McKim Building is even a National Historic Landmark. And while the library system technically includes a whopping 24 branches, the original Copley Square location offers plenty to see, including Bates Hall, the Chavannes Gallery, the Abbey Room and the Sargent Gallery.More
#2
Boston North End

Boston North End

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Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood, the North End has been inhabited since the 1630s and is now the city’s Little Italy. Visit to see a variety of historical and cultural attractions, such as the Paul Revere House (the starting place of his famous “midnight ride” in 1775) and enjoy Italian-American fare.More
#3
Boston Common

Boston Common

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The starting point of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. At 50 acres (20 hectares), it is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, a system of connected parks that winds through many of Boston’s neighborhoods. The historic park was once a campground for British troops during the Revolutionary War.More
#4
Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

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Faneuil Hall is a bustling marketplace best known for its ever-changing lineup of street performers and its central location on Boston’s historic Freedom Trail. Tourists and locals alike flock to the complex’s shops and Quincy Market, featuring 30-plus food stalls selling everything from exotic coffee to fresh seafood and artisanal bread.More
#5
Quincy Market

Quincy Market

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The main hub of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Quincy Market has attracted locals and visitors alike for nearly 200 years. The historic food hall located within a Greek Revival-style building is packed with more than 50 shops, 14 restaurants, and 40 food court stops—plus stalls and pushcarts selling everything from exotic coffee to fresh seafood and artisanal bread.More
#6
Boston Public Garden

Boston Public Garden

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The Boston Public Garden is a 24 acre (10 hectare) botanical oasis of Victorian flowerbeds, verdant grass, and weeping willow trees shading a tranquil lagoon. At any time of the year, it is an island of loveliness, awash in seasonal blooms, gold-toned leaves, or untrammeled snow.A statue of George Washington, looking stately atop his horse, greets visitors at the main entrance on Arlington Street. Other pieces of public art in the park, however, are more whimsical. The most endearing is Make Way for Ducklings, always a favorite with tiny tots who can climb and sit on the bronze ducks. But it’s the peaceful lagoon that draws visitors and locals a like to the Public Garden. For it is hear, you should take on the slow-going swan boats, a serene relic of bygone days.More
#7
Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail

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Taking in 16 of Boston’s most famous cultural and historical sites, the 2.5-mile-long (4-kilometer) Freedom Trail winds through downtown Boston, from southerly Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park, to the Bunker Hill Monument on the north side of the Charles River. The red-brick path and its designated stops, including colonial-era churches, museums, and meeting houses, make for an excellent introduction to Boston and its role in the American Revolution and United States history.More
#8
Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts State House

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Newcomers to the city of Boston often refer to it as “the city of history” because while walking along the Freedom Trail, you encounter so many important historical points—points that were instrumental in the founding of America. It makes for an incredible walk through time, and one of the highlights on this Freedom Trail is a visit to the Massachusetts State House.Built in 1788, the “new” Massachusetts State House is built across from the Boston Common on the top of Beacon Hill. Known far and wide for its gilded gold dome (it’s actually made of wood and copper, but topped with 24-karat gold), the State House symbolizes what the founding fathers had envisioned upon landing at Plymouth Rock – to build a city upon a hill. Inside, the working State House houses working government officials, beautiful murals depicting colonial times of war, spacious marble-filled corridors, and other historical items that reflect the heritage of the Boston area – a pinecone high atop the dome pays homage to Boston’s logging industry, and the “Sacred Cod” is a nod to the fishing industry—both paragons of the early industry that made Boston one of the most influential cities in America.More
#9
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

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Relive the events of December 16, 1773 at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Located in Boston Harbor, this floating museum provides visitors with an immersive experience, complete with full-scale replica tea ships, live costumed actors, a multi-sensory documentary, interactive exhibits, historic artifacts, and more.More
#10
Charlestown Navy Yard

Charlestown Navy Yard

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Dating back to 1800, Charlestown Navy Yard was among the most prolific, historic, and vital navy yards in U.S. history. It served as the home of many of the nation's elite warships for the purposes of resupply, maintenance, retrofitting, and service.The navy yard's most critical role was during America's two largest wars before it closed for good in 1974. From the beginning, Charlestown Navy Yard remained a pioneer of shipbuilding technology and served as a center for electronics and missile conversions. During its almost 175-year history, its staff constructed, christened, and launched over 200 ships and serviced thousands more.After its closing, thirty acres of the yard were earmarked as part of Boston National Historical Park. Today, the U.S. National Park Service oversees this most critical portion of the shipyard. In addition, as part of their overall program, the USS Constitution and USS Cassin Young combine to represent Boston's rich, almost 200-year history of ship building.As a bonus, the Boston Marine Society can also be found at Charlestown Navy Yard. Marine history buffs will appreciate this as the world's oldest association of sea captains, in operation since 1742. Admission is free and visitors are invited to stop by Building 32 – home to a noteworthy collection of historical art, artifacts and a small library of books.More

Trip ideas

How to Experience Fall Foliage in Boston

How to Experience Fall Foliage in Boston

6 Must-See Boston Neighborhoods & How to Visit

6 Must-See Boston Neighborhoods & How to Visit

Sightseeing on a Budget in Boston

Sightseeing on a Budget in Boston

Must-See Museums in Boston

Must-See Museums in Boston

Top Parks and Gardens in Boston

Top Parks and Gardens in Boston

Top activities in Boston

Martha's Vineyard Daytrip from Boston with Round-Trip Ferry & Island Tour Option
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Boston Codzilla High-Speed Thrill Boat Ride
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Boston Whale Watching Cruise by High-Speed Catamaran
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Boston Odyssey Dinner Cruise
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Boston Odyssey Dinner Cruise

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Boston Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

Boston Sunset Dinner Cruise with Buffet

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90-Minute Boston Harbor Sunset Sightseeing Cruise
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Spirit of Boston Lunch Cruise
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Spirit of Boston Lunch Cruise

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Boston's North End "Little Italy" Pizza, Cannoli, and History Walking Food Tour
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Harvard University Campus Guided Walking Tour
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The Revolutionary Story Tour
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The Revolutionary Story Tour

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Recent reviews from experiences in Boston

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Best Haunted Tour
Lesia_P, Nov 2020
Boston Ghosts & Gravestones Night-Time Trolley Tour
We really loved that we got to visit 2 graveyards!
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Boston Highlight
Julie_J, Oct 2020
Boston City view Bicycle Tour
A great way to see a lot of Boston!
star-5
Enthusiastic amazing food and history tour
RhiannaRipper, Jan 2021
Boston Small-Group Food & History North End Freedom Trail Walking Tour
Definitely worth the price and is a great way to see some of the city and get some great food, recommendations and history.
star-5
A Boston must-do!
Meaghan_H, Oct 2020
Boston City view Bicycle Tour
This is a great way to see ALL of Boston without walking the entire thing or taking the subway to various places.
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1st Fall Foliage Trip
Candi_C, Oct 2020
Boston to New Hampshire Fall Foliage White Mountains Day Trip
This was a wonderful experience traveling from Boston to New Hampshire to see the beautiful leaves in the Northeast.
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Excellent Tour of Boston
R4Life, Jul 2020
Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour with 18 Stops
I highly recommend this service to visitors of Boston.
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Great tour
Lyanne_G, Mar 2020
Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour with 18 Stops
Lots to see and can hop on and off to the make the most of certain spots.
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Amazing historic experience
bianieft, Feb 2020
Boston Historic Sightseeing Harbor Cruise with Up-Close View of USS Constitution
Worth doing it even in winter since there are less trafic and more places to seat.
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Boston Must-Do
rewalter16, Feb 2020
Walking Tour of The Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square & Back Bay
In this 2 hour tour, I got to see all the top sights of Boston with history and humor.
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GREAT PIZZA
Barbara F, Nov 2019
Boston's North End "Little Italy" Pizza, Cannoli, and History Walking Food Tour
The north end of Boston's Little Italy is a wonderful place to visit and induldge on pizza.
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Boston hop on off
bobncb, Oct 2019
Boston Shore Excursion: Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
Good way to see a lot of Boston in a short trip.
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Very informative of American History
230deannh, Oct 2019
Walking Tour of The Freedom Trail plus Beacon Hill to Copley Square & Back Bay
A great way to get to see the historical sites!
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Lots of options
Bladeaw, Oct 2019
Boston to Newport Small-Group Day Trip with Breakers & Elms Mansion Admission
You’ll get to see two mansions and have some time to visit your choice of several options after lunch.
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Whales!
Karen D, Sep 2019
Boston Whale Watching Cruise by High-Speed Catamaran
Ship wasn't over-booked so there were plenty of places to sit and move around to see the sightings.
star-5
great trip
kskatlady2019, Aug 2019
Go Boston All-Inclusive Pass
It help me to plan the days activities.
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Historical cruise and more!
abbonbenjamin, Aug 2019
Boston Historic Sightseeing Harbor Cruise with Up-Close View of USS Constitution
Comfortable & fun way to see the city it’s path that is ahead.
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BOSTON
Curious407265, Jun 2019
Boston Shore Excursion: Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
Boston is a great city to visit and this is a fun and easy way to get an overview of what there is to see and do.
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Boston
mwarders75, Feb 2020
Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour with 18 Stops
It was freezing in Boston the day we went so it was nice to tour the city from the warm trolley and get on and off near tourist attractions.
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Great Day Trip
Seaside66216739234, May 2019
Martha's Vineyard Daytrip from Boston with Round-Trip Ferry & Island Tour Option
I would suggest you do the optional Island Tour because you get to see the entire island and the bus driver tells you a lot of information.
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Best way to see The Freedom Walk!
donnawarren17, May 2019
Boston's North End "Little Italy" Pizza, Cannoli, and History Walking Food Tour
Great way to see the North End, would recommend for first time visitors to Boston!

All about Boston

When to visit

After a bone-chilling winter, Boston knows how to party once summer arrives. Peak season prices come with perks such as baseball games at Fenway Park and festivals including Boston Pride, Harborfest, and Comic Con. Visit in early autumn for discounted rates and a chance to admire New England’s famous fall foliage before the freeze sets in.

A local’s pocket guide to Boston

Angelica Pella

A native New Englander, Boston-based Angelica spends as much free time by the ocean as possible, and her favorite coastal town is Newport, Rhode Island.

The first thing you should do in Boston is...

explore each of the downtown neighborhoods on foot. Walking the Freedom Trail, either independently or on a tour, is a good way to get started.

A perfect Saturday in Boston...

starts with brunch at Lincoln Tavern and includes a walk along the Waterfront or Seaport, shopping at Faneuil Hall, and an Italian dinner in the North End, with espresso martinis at Caffè Vittoria afterward.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Fenway Park. It's the oldest ballpark in America and great even for non-baseball fans. Take a stadium tour or catch a Red Sox game during baseball season.

To discover the "real" Boston...

stop by some of the historical sites, such as the Paul Revere House or Bunker Hill Monument, or catch a Red Sox, Bruins, or Celtics game. It doesn’t hurt to try a lobster roll either!

For the best view of the city...

take a harbor cruise, get drinks at a rooftop bar (try the Envoy Hotel), or walk across the Harvard Bridge and see Boston from the Cambridge side of the Charles River.

One thing people get wrong...

is not visiting other parts of New England, like Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Newport, Cape Cod, Salem, Portsmouth, Portland, or Kennebunkport.

Frequently Asked Questions