Boston, Massachusetts is a fun capital city to visit with lots of things to do. It’s most known for its historical sights, many of which are outdoor experiences.
So, Boston is best if visited during warmer months. It’s one of the most populated cities in the United States, so there’s lots to see and plenty to learn during your visit.
Here are 15 fun things to do in Boston to help you get started on your vacation planning.
#1 – Freedom Trail
Many people consider the Freedom Trail the most notable attraction in Boston. It’s a 2.5-mile walk that takes you past many of the city’s historical landmarks. You can find this trail by looking for a red line painted on the ground, which stretches throughout the entire trail. On the trail, you will get to see 16 major sights, which include burial grounds, churches, monuments, and historical meeting houses. Many of the bigger attractions on this path are also mentioned in this list. Of course, you don’t have to follow the trail the whole way. You can stray off the path to explore the rest of the city or find a bite to eat. But you can’t visit Boston without at least walking a little of this educational path.
#2 – Faneuil Hall Marketplace
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one of the most exciting stops on the Freedom Trail. This shopping center is made up of four historical buildings: Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market. Faneuil Hall is the oldest of the four, and it was built in 1742. It was named after a wealthy colonial merchant, who was the person who donated funds to build it. It can be a fun area to walk around, but you should plan to spend some money too. Plus, it has a wide assortment of shops that all ages will adore. You could spend all day sight-seeing, shopping, and dining at this beautiful location.
#3 – Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of the best museums in Boston and one of the most fun things to do because of the building itself. This structure has the most stunning architecture and a gorgeous plant collection around it. But the building isn’t the only work of art at this attraction. This museum was built after Isabella Stewart Gardner’s husband died. She then bought land to display her impressive art collection for the world to see. So, you can look at a wide variety of artwork inside, such as furniture, photographs, and sculptures. But don’t miss out on the greenhouses and landscaped gardens too.
#4 – Museum of Fine Arts
But the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum isn’t the only place to see impressive art collections. The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the biggest art museums in North America. It has over 450,000 works of art, so you should expect to spend a lot of time walking if you want to see it all. No matter what kind of art you prefer, this museum has everything you can imagine. From Egyptian art to post-impressionist works to Chinese calligraphy scrolls, you’ll never run out of things to look at. It even has rotating special exhibits to keep things interesting for guests. It’s the perfect indoor attraction for a rainy day.
#5 – Boston Common
The Boston Common is a green space right in the heart of the city. It started as a cow pasture in the 1600s, but then it became many things over the years. After being a British camp and later a location for speeches and rallies, it eventually became known as the oldest public park in the United States. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Boston if you love leisure events like walks and picnics. It also has a playground for the kids, ice skating in the winter, and performances throughout the year. It’s a great place to stop while exploring the city, and it’s the ideal spot to start the Freedom Trail at.
#6 – Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden is another historic green space right in the city, much like the Boston Common. It’s a bit newer than the Boston Common, but has a bit more to do and see. It’s known for being America’s first public botanical garden. Flowers, trees, and other plants are beautifully arranged throughout the park, and they’re maintained well year-round. In the middle of the park is a charming pond, which you can ride swan boats in. These adorable paddle boats are a highlight of the park for many, and they can be reserved for a small fee. In this park, you’ll come across two memorable statues: a bronze duckling sculpture and the Georg Washington Statue. Overall, the park an excellent place to hang out on a sunny day.
#7 – Fenway Park
For sports fans, the home of the Boston Red Socks is a must-see! Fenway Park is the oldest baseball stadium in the history of Major League Baseball. It’s smaller than most fields, only seating about 40,000 guests. But its history and popularity makes up for it. When there aren’t any baseball games going on, many visitors opt to go on a tour of Fenway Park. You’ll get to see all the areas of the park close up, even places that are not normally open to the public, such as the most expensive seating areas and the press room. Whether you’re planning to attend a game or a tour during your visit, it’s always recommended that you buy your tickets in advance. The Red Socks are popular, so their events sell out faster than you’d expect.
#8 – Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
If you remember anything about history class, you’ll know that Boston Harbor has a big historical significance. It’s where the Boston Tea Party took place, and there are plenty of tourist attractions for it. Near the event’s locations, there’s a multi-sensory museum with artifacts and boats from the Boston Tea Party. In fact, the entire museum is located right on the water. You will learn about Boston’s history through documentaries, interactive exhibits, and fully restored tea ships. And as an added bonus, you’ll even get to throw some tea overboard. You can spend as much time as you want at this attraction, and there’s a cafe and gift shop to seal the deal.
#9 – Old North Church
A church might not seem like one of the most fun things to do in Boston, or in any city for that matter. But it’s one of the most remarkable stops on the Freedom Trail. It’s the oldest surviving church in Boston, as it was first founded in 1722. It’s also significant because it’s said to be one of the stops on Paul Revere’s midnight ride. He rode through town to warn everyone of the British troops, and he stopped to give orders to the Old North Church. The church has many incredible sights inside, including bells, chandeliers, and other significant relics. In fact, pew 54 was once reserved for the Revere family. The church still regularly operates as a house of worship as well, but visitors are always welcome to admire it.
#10 – The Museum of Science
The Museum of Science is one of the most fun things to do in Boston for all ages. After all, science museums are often more interactive than your regular history museum. This museum has over 700 exhibits, along with many live presentations as well. Visitors can learn about a wide range of topics, including astronomy, dinosaurs, and anatomy. Many of the interactive exhibits are geared toward a younger audience, but everyone can be young at heart. So, even if you’re an adult who loves to learn, you can still have a great time. If you want to experience even more during your visit, you can buy additional tickets for the IMAX theater, planetarium, butterfly garden, and roller coaster simulator.
#11 – New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium has been home to many marine creatures since 1969. It has thousands of animals to see, and the center is one massive four-story tank with many ocean critters inside. Some of the many resident animals include eels, sea turtles, penguins, barracudas, and jellyfish. While it’s not as big as some of the country’s other aquariums, it makes up for it by having such a wide variety of sea creatures. If you’re traveling with children, they’re sure to adore looking at these mesmerizing animals. Plus, there’s also a spot where you can pet sharks and rays in a shallow tank.
#12 – Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park
While the Boston Harbor is known for the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Harbor Islands are equally as impressive. You’ll need to take a ferry to get to them, so it’s the perfect adventure for warm days. This area is made up of 34 small islands that are in the Massachusetts Bay. On those Boston islands, you’ll find a wide variety of fun things to do, including beaches, hiking trails, and historical sights. If you’re looking for the best hiking spot, Spectacle Island is a great option since it takes up 114 acres and has lots of wildlife. It also has jaw-dropping views of the Boston skyline. But if beaches are your thing, Lovell Island is for you. And if you’re interested in seeing more historical sights, heading to Georges Island is a popular choice. But if you don’t know what type of activities you’re looking for, you can make a whole day out of it and explore as many islands as you can.
#13 – Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill might not be as action-packed as some of the other attractions, but it’s still an excellent place to walk around. It’s considered Boston’s most beautiful neighborhood and one of the most desirable places to live. It’s almost like a step back in time, with cobblestone walkways, gas street lamps, and quiet townhouses. Beacon Street is considered one of the best places to walk in Boston, and it has many great photo opportunities. If you love the show Cheers, then you can find the bar that the show is inspired by right in this quaint neighborhood.
#14 – The Mapparium
The Mapparium certainly isn’t your typical tourist attraction. It was built in 1935, and it’s like a unique work of art. This attraction is a three-story stain glass globe that visitors can walk inside. In the middle of the globe is a 30-foot walkway where guests can view the countries from. It’s a great way to learn a little geography while showing the geographical relationship between the different locations. The globe is reversed from normal, as if you’re on the inside of the planet looking out. It’s a quick visit, but certainly worth it.
#15 – Skywalk Observatory
Finally, what city would be complete without an observatory on a tall building? The Prudential Tower is the only sky-high building in the city that offers 360 views. This 900-foot skyscraper has lots of modern architecture, along with several restaurants and retail shops inside. On one of the highest levels, you’ll find the Skywalk Observatory, which offers one-of-a-kind views of the city. Then, on the very top floor is the Top of the Hub restaurant, which has massive windows for a panoramic view of the city. If heights don’t scare you, then this is a must-see attraction during every time of day.
Massachusetts has a lot to offer. The number of fun things to do in Boston is endless, so these are just a few popular suggestions. If you love historical sights and hands-on learning experiences, this is the city for you! Even just walking around Boston will be an exciting opportunity for any visitor.