The 12 Best Things To Do In Boston This Year

February 01, 2021

Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts and is famous for the it’s rich history, particularly the revolutionary war period. It’s a very walkable city and is packed with arts and culture, and a whole host of things to do and see. There are over 40 universities in and around Boston, and the city boasts a thriving and growing culinary scene. The city brews some great beers, with over 130 breweries. Great seafood comes as standard in Boston, and local specialities include the Lobster Roll and Chowder (pronounce it ‘chowdah’ to sound like a true Bostonian). We've put together out guide to the best things to do in Boston. If you can think of something we've missed, just let us know at the bottom of the page.

1. Walk the Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail, Boston

There are a huge number of ways to experience the history of Boston, and the Freedom Trail is the most popular. This is a 2 1/2 mile walk and is a great way to get a taste of the city. The Freedom trail starts at the visitor center on Boston Common. From here you'll go through Downtown Boston to Charleston, working your way past 16 of the most historic landmarks in Boston. You should allow a couple of hours for walking the Freedom Trail, more if you plan to make any stops along the way. Halfway along the route you'll find Quincy Market, which is a great place to stop for lunch. The best way to get the most out of the walk is to pick up an audio tour at the visitor centre or enjoy a guided tour from the Freedom Trail Foundation who offer a range of different themed tours, or just grab a map and make your own way.

2. Take a tour of Fenway Park

Fenway park, Boston

Fenway Park is one of the oldest baseball parks in MLB and has been home to the iconic Boston Red Sox since it was built in 1912. Although it is one of the smallest MLB Ballparks, holding just 38,000 spectators, it is definitely one of the most iconic, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Fenway park has hosted the World Series 11 times. The park is well known both for its record low attendances in the 1965 season, when under 500 supporters turned out, as well as a record run of sell out games (794 regular season games) which ended in 2013.

Fenway park has also hosted football, soccer, hockey and boxing over the years and a number of concerts including gigs from Lady Gaga, The Who, Aerosmith, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder.

3. Take a ride on a ‘Duck Boat’

One of the mot popular things to do in Boston, the Duck boats have been a familiar site on the Charles River for nearly 30 years. The 28 amphibious landing vehicles take you on an 80-minute tour of the most important historical and cultural sites in Boston including the Old State House, Boston Public Gardens and Faneuil Hall. Tours run every 30 minutes from 9am, and you can board at the Prudential Center, Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium. The conductors (conDUCKtors!) will give you a quirk and sometimes humorous commentary to the places you pass. The most popular conducktours are Vincent Van Duck, Captain Super Swift and Robin the Riveter.

The Duck Boats have become iconic in Boston, having been used in victory parades for the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.

4. Visit Cheers Bar

Cheers Bar, Boston

Cheers Beacon Hill was the inspiration for Cheers Bar in the NBC sitcom. Originally known as the Bull & Finch Pub, the series used the exterior of the pub to depict the Cheers Bar, though no interior shots were used (in fact he interior of the pub didn't resemble Cheers Bar in at all). The cast of the series watched the series finale from inside the bar, while huge screens were erected outside for fans to watch on, When the show was airing, around 3,000 people a day would come to get a photo outside the iconic bar. The original downstairs bar is still there, with a replica set bar built on the first floor.

5. See Boston from the Skywalk Observatory

Skywalk Observatory Boston

On the 50th floor of the Prudential tower, you'll find the Skywalk Observatory, offering views of Boston and for miles beyond, all the way to Cape Code in the South, and the New Hampshire Mountains in the north. There are interesting displays and exhibits about the refugee and immigration history of Boston, and you can opt for an audio tour for an immersive experience.

Entry is from the Prudential Center Mall on Boyleston Street, and you'll need photo ID to get in. Admission isn't cheap, but you can save money by buying one of the tourist passes, the Boston City Pass, or the Go Boston Card.

For a free view of the city, you might also want to try Marriott Customs House Tower, Bunker Hill Monument, Top of the Hub, Independence Wharf, The Judson B. Coit Observatory

6. Visit the Boston Common and Public Garden

 Boston Common and Public Garden

Boston Common and Public Gardens are registered in the National Register of Historic Places. Established in 1634, Boston Common is the oldest public space in the US, with the Public Gardens established in 1837. The 2 parks cover a combined 44 acres, with a huge amount to see and do. You could easily spend a day here, taking in the historic monuments, family friendly activities or just relaxing in the sunshine.

The Pond in the public gardens covers 4 acres and is home to a number of duck and swans. The swan boats have been a prominent feature in the pond since 1877. A tour guide pedals you round the lake while you relax and take in the scenery. Being only 2 feet deep, the pond is quite safe and is usually completely frozen in the winter. There are also a number of statues dotted about, including a 12-metre-high statue of George Washington on Horseback. In the spring, Tulips blanket large swathes of the park, and people travel for miles to experience the magnificent fall foliage.

7. Visit one of the Boston Harbor Islands

Boston Harbor Islands Ferry

Boston Harbor Islands is made up of 34 islands and peninsulas, which can be accessed via ferry from Boston Harbor. You can also grab a ferry at Hull or Hingham. Bumpkin Island is one of the most popular. You can get walk around the whole thing in 45 minutes (or 1 ½ hours if you want a leisurely stroll) and you get great views of the Boston skyline. George’s Island is home to Fort Warren, a national historic landmark which was once a prison for confederate soldiers. If you’d rather go by car, you can get to ‘World’s End’ without needing to take the ferry. This 275-acre island features a rather steep hill path, and lovey views towards Hull Island.

8. Check out one of Boston’s famous museums

Boston has a great deal of history, which can be experience through the 65 museums in and around Boston. It’s unlikely you’ll get time for all 65 on a trip to the city, so we recommend you pick a few you definitely need to visit and then see what you stumble across as you explore the city. The USS Constitution at Charlestown Navy Yard should make the list. The oldest US warship still in the water has year-round free admission. The Harvard Museum of Natural History has collections dating back to the late 1700’s and a dinosaur hall featuring one of the first discovered Triceratops skulls. The Paul Revere house is along the freedom trail, is where silversmith Paul Revere lived in the 1700’s. For kids, the Boston Children’s Museum is definitely on the must-see list.

9. Walk the Boston Harborwalk

Boston Harborwalk

Boston is a walkers paradise, and one of the favourites is the Boston Harborwalk. The Harborwalk is a 47-mile public path that leads from East Boston right the way round to Neponset River. Most people limit their walk to the section around the piers and beaches, but you can go as far as you like. The Harborwalk also connects to a number of other walks, including the Freedom Trail, Millers River Trail and the South Bay Harbor Trail. Along the way there are a number of public art installations and passes through the HarborArts outdoor sculpture museum. The walk passes a number of galleries and museums, including the Children’s Museum, the site of the Boston Tea Party, and the Institute of Contemporary Art.

10. Explore the Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is Boston’s urban marketplace, home to a number of shops and eateries as well food carts and entertainers. Form the marketplace you can jump on a duck boat, and it’s on the Freedom Trail route, so it’s a great place to spend a couple of hours while exploring downtown Boston. Faneuil Hall Marketplace consists of Faneuil Hall, South Market, Quincy Market and North Market. Faneuil Hall, known as the Cradle of Liberty, was built in 1742 by Boston’s wealthiest merchant, Peter Faneuil. The hall has huge historical importance to the city, it is where Samuel Adams spoke of independence and George Washington celebrated the new nation’s first birthday. The hall has also hosted a number of speakers across the years including Susan B. Anthony and Oliver Wendall Holmes.

Is something missing or not quite right? Let us know if we've missed something great that deserves to be featured on this page

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