Boston, the capital city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States, is one of the most popular travel destinations among people.
Exploring Boston’s museums to know more about the city’s history and its culture, or dining in popular restaurants serving classic Boston dishes and enjoying musical nights, the largest city in New England has many places to explore.
So, without further ado, here is a list of things to do in Boston, that one should not miss during their travel.
1. Quincy Market
Quincy Market located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts is a famous marketplace near Faneuil Hall. It’s one of the oldest and largest marketplaces in Boston. Visiting this marketplace is one of the best things to do in Boston.
History of the famous Quincy Market
The two stories tall market was built in 1824-1826 and was named Quincy Market to show respect to Josiah Quincy, the mayor who came up with the idea of expanding the marketplace area.
During the time of the Commercial Revolution, a separate area was demanded where business could be done smoothly. Being the only marketplace, Faneuil Hall, was not enough to accommodate the increasing number of business events. Therefore, Josiah Quincy proposed the idea of expanding the area so that the accommodation problem could be resolved.
Quincy Market designed by Alexander Parris is a two stories tall building with red brick interior walls and granite exterior walls. It is a beautifully designed building that combines Roman style as well as the Modern and American style.
Located in the prime location, it’s one of the best things to do in Boston.
2. Copley Square
Copley Square, also known by the name Art Square is one of the most popular public squares in Boston, Massachusetts. Situated in the Back Bay neighborhood, visiting this public square is one of the best things to do in Boston.
This public square was named after the painter John Singleton Copley. The public square is surrounded by the famous Trinity Church, The Boston Public Library, Fairmont Copley Plaza, Old South Church, and John Copley statue.
History of the famous public square
Before 1883, Copley Square was known as Art Square, as Huntington Avenue and Boylston street joined together to form Copley Square’s space.
But initially, the Copley Square area was not well-planned. Without proper planning, the land was bought and sold multiple times. Finally, in 1961, Huntington Avenue was curtailed at the corner of Dartmouth Street, which gave a separate area for the famous public square with the view of Trinity Church, the Boston Public Library, the New Old South Church, and many more additional buildings.
This famous public square hosts several events including large concerts to farmers’ markets and is one of the most interesting things to do in Boston. There are also various restaurants to dine in and is a must place to visit.
3. Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States is one of the first largest public libraries to open in the United States. It has a separate room for children and also has been the first-ever place to lend books. It’s one of the best things to do in Boston.
This place is the third-largest library in the United States and has nearly 24 million books. It is also considered as one of the important landmarks in Boston by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 2000.
History of the famous place in the United States
The idea of building a large place was first proposed by a Harvard professor, named George Ticknor in 1826. However, building a large place for reading for the public was not at all easy, and the series of rejecting and accepting the architectural design of the building continued for many years.
In 1839, a Frenchman named Alexandre Vattemare suggested that all the libraries in Boston be merged into one big library. Slowly, Josiah Quincy- mayor of Boston, John Jacob Astor- businessman and philanthropist, Benjamin Seaver, and many more people helped with the idea of building it.
So, with the help of people, the first-ever library was built in Back Bay on Copley Square. Edward Capen was appointed as the first librarian.
This place has a large collection of books ranging from manuscripts to a collection of Spanish literature and much more. This place has also opened 21 branches for the benefit of the public.
Try to explore one of the world’s famous libraries whenever you make a plan to visit Boston because it’s one of the best things to do in Boston.
4. Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden located in Charles Street, Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States has more than 80 species of plants, a large green space, and is one of the first public gardens in the United States.
Making a plan to visit this garden is another best thing to do in Boston.
History of the famous Public Garden
In 1839, Horace Gray led by a group of horticulturalists asked permission of building a public botanical garden on the land which was purchased by the city in 1824.
As the project of building the public garden progressed, suddenly in 1847 the project stopped due to some unfavorable conditions.
With time, the problem of building a large public garden in a small city aroused. So, the city thought of holding a competition where the best man would be awarded for designing the public garden.
George F. Meacham was the man to win the competition and finally, by 1880, the Boston Public Garden was built along with a pond and a hanging bridge. The main attraction of the garden is the Ether monument, which was designed by John Quincy Adams Ward.
It’s one of the world’s most visited places and one of the best things to do in Boston. It’s also considered an important landmark in Boston.
5. Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall also known as The Cradle of Liberty, situated near Boston’s government center, Massachusetts, in the United States is now a part of the Boston National Historical Park. Visiting this place is one of the best things to do in Boston.
History of the famous hall
Faneuil Hall was built to hold public meetings during American Revolution. It is a place where Samuel Adams, James Otis, and other public figures have given speeches.
The idea of having a separate building for the public meeting was first offered by Peter Faneuil, and with the help of designer John Smibert, the ground floor of the building was built.
But due to the fire outbreak in 1761, the building was again rebuilt in 1762. This building also witnessed many popular events like the Americans protesting the Stamp Act, Sugar Act, Townshend Acts, and Tea Acts.
Faneuil Hall is now a part of the historical marketplace which consists of other three major buildings- North Market, the famous Quincy Market, and South Market.
This historical marketplace is one of the things to do in Boston. It has various restaurants to dine in, and is a must place to visit.
6. Freedom Trail
Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States is a 2.5-mile red line path connecting 16 historical landmarks. Freedom Trail has a collection of graveyards, churches, buildings, and many more. Walking along this long path is one of the most interesting things to do in Boston.
The idea of building a long path ( Freedom Trail) connecting the important landmarks was proposed by a local journalist named William Schofield, and the mayor John Hynes executed the idea of building Freedom Trail.
Finally, by 1953, Freedom Trail was built which connected 16 important historical sites- Boston Common, Boston State House, Park Street Church, Massachusetts State House, Granary Burying Ground, King’s Chapel and Burying Ground, Benjamin Franklin statue & Boston Latin School, Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Site of the Boston Massacre, Old State House, Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s House, Old North Church, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, USS Constitution, and Bunker Hill Monument.
Freedom Trail has become one of the famous walking trails and attracts more than 4 million people every year and is one of the best things to do in Boston.
7. Fenway Park
Fenway Park situated in Boston, Massachusetts, near Kenmore Square is a baseball park where the American League baseball team- Red Sox has won a majority of the matches. It’s one of the best things to do in Boston.
History of Fenway Park
In 1911, John Irving Taylor purchased land and converted it into a baseball stadium. John Irving Taylor claimed that the name Fenway Park was derived due to its location in the Fenway. But others claimed that the reason for naming the stadium as Fenway Park was, to promote their family business named the Fenway Realty Company.
Explore this place to see the visitors’ clubhouse, the seats above the Green Monster, and the press room.
Opened in 1912, Fenway Park is considered one of the important symbols of Boston. If you ever make a plan to visit Boston, make sure of visiting Fenway Park as people of Boston are crazy about baseball match and their favorite Red Sox team.
8. Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts, also known as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, in Massachusetts, in the United States is one of the 14th largest art museums in the world. Take your family on a tour of the museum of Fine Arts and explore the works of art as it’s one of the best things to do in Boston.
History of the Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts was originally located in Copley Square. Later on, a new building was built in 1909 at Huntington Avenue, which is now the present location of the museum.
The building of the Museum of Fine Arts was designed by Guy Lowell and the museum was built in several stages. The museum has more than 450,000 works of art, with nearly 1 million visitors every year.
9. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts is considered as one of the important landmarks of Boston and is an art museum that has a collection of European, Asian, and American art.
History of the Art Museum
Built in 1898-1901, Isabella Stewart Gardner’s love for art and her collection of arts is the reason why this art museum was built. Her first art purchase was The Concert by Johannes Vermeer.
After the death of her husband, Isabella Stewart Gardner thought of having a building to preserve her collection of arts so that it could be enjoyed by the public. After purchasing land in the Fenway area of Boston, she hired architect, Willard T. Sears. Gardner also helped with the design- from choosing furniture, textiles to floor design.
And finally, the museum opened on 1st January 1903 for the public.
Presently, the art museum has more than 7500 paintings including the arts of Raphael Manet Sargent, Michelangelo, and many more. There are also several collections of art which include Titan’s The Rape of Europa, Botticelli’s The Story of Lucretia, Rembrandt’s Self Portrait, and many more.
If you ever make a plan to visit Boston, take your family on a tour of Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to explore its unique and antique collections as it is one of the best things to do in Boston.
10. Boston Children’s Museum
Boston Children’s Museum in Boston, Massachusetts is one of the second oldest children’s museums built with the purpose to educate children.
History of Boston Children’s Museum
The idea of having a separate children’s museum was first proposed in 1909 by the science teachers who formed the Science Teacher’s Bureau.
The Science Teacher’s Bureau along with the Women’s Education Association planned of building a museum, that would be only dedicated to children’s education, giving knowledge about science and nature in an easy and simplified manner.
Finally, the second oldest children’s museum of the United States opened on 1st August 1913, in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
The first branch of the Boston Children’s Museum opened in the Quincy School, the Abraham Lincoln School, the Samuel Adams School, and the Norcross School with a single room.
This museum has more than 50,000 objects and has separate areas for experiencing and doing various fun activities and is one of the interesting things to do in Boston.
11. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museums
The Boston Tea Party, a significant event in Boston, Massachusetts is a political protest by American colonists against Britain.
The reason behind this significant event
In the 1760s, Britain was in debt, and to pay off those debts they took the help of American colonists by forcing them to pay taxes on various things.
To protest against the “taxation without representation“, various political protests occurred such as The Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, and the Boston Tea Party which happened on 16th December 1773, when American colonists had enough of the injustice by Britain.
And to protest, The Sons Of Liberty- a group which included patriots such as Benedict Arnold, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, Adams, and Hancock disguised themselves, boarded the ships, and threw 342 crates of tea bought by the British East India Company into the Boston Harbor.
Did the event( Boston Tea Party) become successful?
Initially, Britain government was not ready to withdraw the tea tax it had imposed, as a large number population of American colonists was fond of drinking tea.
But, Britain government was forced to withdraw the tea tax, when American colonists boycotted tea imported by the British East India Company.
And finally, The Boston Tea Party became one of Boston’s major successful events. Visiting Boston Tea Party Ships & Museums to know about this successful event is one of the best things to do in Boston.
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is a floating museum in Boston, Massachusetts, on the same water body that witnessed the Boston Tea Party Act, and which triggered American Revolution, and is one of the things to do in Boston.
Exploring the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum will make you feel that you are traveling through the time machine. Live actors, interactive sessions, exhibitions will make you feel a part of the significant act.
The tour of the Tea Party Ships Museum is divided into several parts. The first part is The Meeting House, where live actors perform the Act. Even the speech of the great patriot- Samuel Adams could be heard. The visitors also take part in the act by dumping tea crates into the water.
The second part of the Tea Party Ships Museum is, where visitors can hear the documented conversation between two women expressing their views. This part also includes the display of the only tea chest from the Boston Tea Party. The tea chest was known as the Robinson Half Tea Chest as this treasure was preserved by the Robinson family.
The third part of the Tea Party Ships Museum is The Minuteman Theatre, where the award-winning film named Let It Begin Here is played, displaying the events that led to the American Revolution.
This museum also includes a place known as Abigail’s Tea Room, where visitors can have a variety of snacks with a beautiful view.
If you ever make a plane to visit Boston, take the family on a tour of Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. It will take approximately 1 hour.
12. Old North Church
The Old North Church in the North End, Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest churches and is considered a National Historic Landmark.
History of the Old North Church
Built in 1723, Old North Church is also known as Christ Church. The design of the building was inspired by the works of the British architect, Christopher Wren.
It’s the same place from where the “One if by land, and two if by sea” signal have been sent. Paul Revere during the battles of Lexington and Concord asked the three patriots to hang two lanterns in the steeple.
The lanterns were used as a signal to be sent to the Charlestown patriots across the Charles River, to notify the activities of the British army and the message would be further forwarded to Lexington and Concord.
The message “One if by land, and two if by sea” had a hidden message as one lantern means, the British army would head towards Boston Neck and the Great Bridge. Two lantern means the army would take boats across the Charles River.
Take the family on a tour of Old North Church as it is one of the most intriguing things to do in Boston. It’s also one of the visited sites on the Freedom Trail.
13. New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts, has the mission to educate the masses about marine life and is one of the best things to do in Boston.
Built in 1969, the New England Aquarium has a giant ocean tank that has a replica of a Caribbean Coral Reef. The New England Aquarium also conducts Whale Watch, from April to November. The main attraction at the New England Aquarium is the Simons IMAX theatre, which shows 2D and 3D movies.
The giant ocean tank in the New England Aquarium is home to many members such as Sea Turtles, Stingrays, Bonnethead Sharks, and many more.
Surrounding the tank, galleries featuring marine mammals such as The Thinking Gallery, ancient fishes, rare sea dragons are present. The Freshwater Gallery features Anacondas, Piranha, Electric eels, and Atlantic salmon.
Every year nearly 1.3 million visitors visit the New England Aquarium. If you ever plan to visit Boston, take your family on a tour of the New England Aquarium, which will take 1-2 hours.
14. Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill in Boston, Massachusetts, is a beautiful neighborhood and is considered one of the expensive neighborhoods in Boston.
Beacon Hill, the beautiful landmark got its name from a beacon that used to sit on the top of the hill to warn people about foreign invaders.
Attraction sites in Beacon hill
- The Boston Common is one of the oldest parks in the United States, and is near Beacon hill. It is one of the popular destinations for tourists.
- The Massachusetts State House built in 1798, is one of the main attractions of Beacon hill and is the residence of the State Government.
- Acorn Street is considered as one of the beautifully decorated streets, where one can take amazing pictures. During festivals, this street is decked up with lights.
- Charles Street is one of the best places for shopping and is one of the top-most visited sites among tourists.
Beacon hill is one of the popular destinations among tourists and has many boutique shops, and a variety of restaurants to dine in. It is one of the best things to do in Boston.
15. Boston Common
Boston Common is one of the oldest public parks in Downtown Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States, and is considered as a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission. It is one of the best things to do in Boston.
In 1630, Boston Common was used as a cow grazing land by many families, but due to overgrazing, this activity was banned. It was also used as a place for public hangings.
Attraction Sites in Boston Common
- The Central Burying Ground, containing the graveyard of artist Gilbert Stuart, composer William Billings, and more.
- The Frog Pond in Boston Common is used as an ice skating rink during winter.
- Various structures such as The Boston Massacre Monument, Brewer Fountain, and many more.
This 50 acres of land has many beautiful sites to offer, and is a must place to visit.
16. Brewery tour
Brewery tour in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the popular tours among beer lovers that explores how the beer is made and is the best thing to do in Boston.
Some of the popular breweries are
- Sam Adams Brewery- distributes beers all over the country and some of their specials are Cheery Wheat, Boston Lager.
- Harpoon Brewery is also one of the popular breweries, and their specials are UFO White, Smooth Chocolate Stout.
- Night Shift Brewing is also another popular brewery, and their specials are Oasis IPA, Viva Habanera.
Brewery tours are a great way to try new beers and to explore Boston’s wine culture
17. Paul Revere House
Paul Revere House in the North end of Boston, Massachusetts, was built during the American Revolution. Built in 1680, this building is considered a National Historic Landmark.
Paul Revere was the owner of the house from 1770-1800, but the house was sold in 1800, which soon became a boarding house. Later on, the building was purchased by John P. Reynolds, Paul Revere’s great-grandson, to preserve the building.
In April 1908, the Paul Revere House was made accessible to the public. It also includes a self-guided tour with explanations and illustrations everywhere. Visiting this place is one of the things to do in Boston.
18. Museum of Science
Science Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, situated in Science Park, near Charles River, is home to many rescued animals. Founded in 1830, Science Museum was initially known as the Boston Society of Natural History, where people wanted to share knowledge related to science. Later on, a library and children’s room were added, and the museum was known as the Museum of Science in 1939.
This Boston museum has the Charles Hayden Planetarium and the Mugar Omni Theatre, which conducts live presentations and shows.
Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Boston.
Now there you go. Hopefully, our article was able to shed some light on some of the best things to do in Boston. If you ever take a tour around the city, here is a list of things to do in Boston, so that you do not miss out on exploring the beautiful places.