Famous places to visit in Boston, Massachusetts

Top tourist attractions in Boston, MA.

Boston is a city of rich history and heritage. You can visit sites like the State House, the Freedom Trail, or the USS Constitution, which was famous for destroying five rival British ships during the war of 1812.

The oldest park in the US is the Boston Common. This is a great spot to stroll around, picnic, or dip in the Frog Pond in winter. In addition, it has a beautiful botanical garden with hundreds of year-old trees and sculpture fountains.

tourist attractions in Boston

One of the best places to visit in Boston is the Museum of Science. This science center is located along the Charles River and has interactive exhibits, live presentations, and a planetarium.

Another popular attraction in Boston is the New England Aquarium. Visitors can enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium’s exhibits. They can also swim in the ocean tank, which features a variety of underwater species. These are just some attractions that are perfect for the whole family.

Fans of history should head to Beacon Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston. This is where the first European settler built himself a cabin in 1625. There are many historic buildings to explore in this neighborhood.

things to do in Boston
things to do in Boston

Fans of art should head to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This museum is home to the personal art collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner, an avid art collector. She also was a collector of Asian and European art.

The Boston Public Library is another place to see in Boston. In addition to its collection of books, the library has its own children’s room.

Top 15 things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

  1. Faneuil Hall Marketplace
  2. Fenway Park
  3. Boston Common
  4. New England Aquarium
  5. Museum of Science
  6. Public Garden
  7. Museum of Fine Arts
  8. Boston National Historical Park
  9. Harvard Square
  10. Quincy Market
  11. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  12. Franklin Park Zoo
  13. USS Constitution Museum
  14. Cheers
  15. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

places to visit in Boston
places to visit in Boston

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

The Faneuil Hall Marketplace is an indoor/outdoor shopping center in Boston, Massachusetts. It is home to over 100 retail shops, dining, and performing opportunities. This historic building was restored in the 1970s. Today, the marketplace is filled with restaurants, bars, and specialty pushcarts.

Initially, the market was designed to resemble London’s Covent Garden. Mayor Josiah Quincy constructed it in the early 1800s. He built the market in the popular Greek Revival style. But by the mid-1900s, the market was losing business because of changing patterns in commerce.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, South Market, Boston
Faneuil Hall Marketplace, South Market, Boston

In the late 1970s, Bostonians decided to renovate the historic building. They enlisted architect Benjamin Thompson and his firm. Their renovation included the addition of a third floor, doubling the building’s size.

Since its restoration, the Faneuil Hall Marketplace has attracted more than 18 million visitors annually. Its popularity led to similar marketplaces in other cities.

Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox plays at Fenway Park, home to many other sporting events and concerts. It has been around for over 100 years.

Fenway Park has hosted various events, from political rallies to professional hockey games. However, it’s most famous as the home of the Boston Red Sox.

Red Sox at Fenway Park - Boston
Red Sox at Fenway Park – Boston

It is so popular that it is known as the “Boston Baseball Hall of Fame.” The park has also been the site of concerts, including Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones.

There are a few ways to get to Fenway Park. By car, you can drive directly to the ballpark or take one of the city’s many public transportation options. You can find out which routes stop at the park by visiting the MBTA website.

When you arrive at Fenway, be prepared to be searched. All entrances have metal detectors, and all bags must be checked.

Boston Common

The Boston Common is one of the oldest public parks in the United States. It’s a fun place to visit in the summer or winter. Whether you’re there for a picnic or a family reunion, the Common offers a variety of activities. So if you’re looking for a place to take a stroll, enjoy the autumn foliage or watch a baseball game, the Common has something for everyone.

Boston Common, Boston
Boston Common, Boston

Several monuments commemorate the park’s history. For instance, the Oneida Football Monument marked the site of the first organized football game in 1862. There’s also the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, a bronze-relief sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens that honors an African-American 54th Volunteer Infantry unit who marched down Beacon Street in 1863.

Frog Pond, a shallow pond located within the Common, is a popular spot for ice skating in the winter. In the spring and summer, it’s also a great spot to relax and enjoy a dip.

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium in Boston is a unique ocean exploration experience and a leader in marine conservation and educational programs. Located on the waterfront of Central Wharf, the aquarium features a wide range of aquatic species worldwide. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and attracts 1.3 million visitors annually.

Boston - New England Aquarium
Boston – New England Aquarium

When the New England Aquarium opened in 1969, it was designed to give visitors a glimpse of the underwater world. Today, the aquarium has a total of 70 exhibits. In addition, there are exhibits showcasing tropical sea life, marine mammals, and penguins.

Guests can view thousands of fish in the aquarium, which includes California sea lions, giant Pacific octopuses, African penguins, and harbor seals. Many special exhibits are also open to visitors. These include the Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank, where visitors can get up close to sharks and rays in a 25,000-gallon tank.

Museum of Science

The Museum of Science in Boston offers an incredibly diverse and interactive learning experience. So whether you are looking for science fun, a space adventure, or an outdoor activity, the museum has something for you.

Boston Museum of Science: Star Wars Naboo fighter craft, with R2-D2
Boston Museum of Science: Star Wars Naboo fighter craft, with R2-D2

In October 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies donated $50 million to the Museum of Science, Boston, in honor of Mike and Charlotte Bloomberg’s late parents. The gift helped expand the museum’s mission to be a global center of knowledge, promoting critical thinking and understanding of science and engineering. It also supported the computational thinking initiative.

One of the most popular attractions at the Museum of Science is the Charles Hayden Planetarium. The planetarium features some interactive exhibits. Visitors can learn about space exploration, the human body, and more. There is also a live animal demonstration.

Public Garden

The Public Garden is one of Boston’s most popular tourist attractions. However, it is also a great place to relax. This park features a tranquil lagoon, shady lawns, and hundreds of trees. Whether you visit for a day or a weekend, you can find plenty of fun and activities.

Among the many things to do in the Public Garden is walk along the Haffenreffer Walk. It crosses a bridge to a statue of equestrian George Washington.

Boston Public Garden
Boston Public Garden

The fountain in the garden is also worth a look. It is made from granite and was commissioned by the Massachusetts General Hospital. It features the story of the Good Samaritan.

Other fun things to do include watching the street musicians play. You can even ride on the Swan Boats in the summer months.

Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA) is one of the world’s largest art museums. It contains more than 450,000 works of art and is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world.

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts features more than 100 galleries. It has a collection that reflects the art of all the world’s great cultures. This includes works from the ancient world, as well as contemporary works.

Museum of Fine Arts - Boston
Museum of Fine Arts – Boston

The MFA was initially located in Copley Square. In 1907, it relocated to Fenway-Kenmore in Boston. Today, it welcomes over a million visitors a year.

The MFA’s collections contain works from Egypt, Greece, Rome, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Its collections are divided into six main exhibits.

Boston National Historical Park

Boston National Historical Park is a combination of historic sites in Boston that tells the story of the American Revolution. The park includes several significant areas, such as the Old State House, Bunker Hill Monument, and Dorchester Heights.

The Bunker Hill Monument marks the site of the first major battle of the American Revolution. In addition to its historical significance, the monument is also a national landmark.

Boston National Historical Park & The Sea
Boston National Historical Park & The Sea

The USS Constitution Museum in the Charlestown Navy Yard is another point of interest in the National Park System. This ship is the oldest commissioned naval ship in the United States.

Boston’s Freedom Trail connects all significant sites of the American Revolution. In addition, a 2.5-mile walking trail links these sites.

Another site part of the National Park System is the Museum of African American History. This museum educates visitors on the history of the African-American community in Boston.

Harvard Square Cambridge

Harvard Square is a vibrant place to visit. It is filled with museums, restaurants, shops, and music venues. While it is a popular destination for college students, it also has an exciting mix of characters and activities.

A neighborhood of the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard Square is located across the Charles River from Boston. Originally a neighborhood shopping center in the 18th and 19th centuries, it has become a regional shopping hub.

Cambridge - Harvard Square: Harvard University - John Harvard
Cambridge – Harvard Square: Harvard University – John Harvard

Harvard Square is also home to numerous festivals and cultural events. These include the Chinese New Year, Sparklefest, and Mayfair. Also on hand are festivals that feature live music and street performers.

The Igor Fokin memorial honors the street performer. The monument was sculpted by Konstantin Simun and paid tribute to the performer, his troupe, and the entire street art scene.

Quincy Market

Quincy Market, located in downtown Boston, is a historic market that is a popular tourist destination. This marketplace is filled with shops, restaurants, and street performers. It is one of the largest markets in the country and is famous for its radical architectural style.

Quincy Market Boston Mass
Quincy Market Boston Mass

When Quincy Market first opened, it served as a produce and food market. In the 1970s, vendors began moving to more extensive facilities. Since then, the building has been transformed from a grocery store into a restaurant and retail center.

The Quincy Market building has two stories with an outdoor seating area. The building features columns and granite benches. There are also pediments and lighting fixtures.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an arts institution that has existed since 1903. Isabella Stewart Gardner was an American art collector who gathered more than seven thousand pieces of artwork, including European paintings, sculptures, and books. She accumulated her collection over thirty years.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | Boston
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | Boston

After Isabella Stewart Gardner died in 1924, her estate created a $1 million endowment for the museum. As a result, the Gardner Museum houses work by such well-known artists as Johannes Vermeer, James McNeill Whistler, and John Singer Sargent. Moreover, the museum has a diverse collection of Asian, European, and American art.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is located in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. This quaint and charming museum is open year-round. Visitors can explore the three-story museum, which features a courtyard filled with plants. In addition, visitors can also enjoy free tours.

Franklin Park Zoo

The Franklin Park Zoo is a 72-acre zoo located in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to being a zoo, the facility is also home to a farm and a play area. You can expect to find a variety of animals on the grounds, including gorillas, tigers, lions, and many more.

The zoo offers daily zookeeper encounters and has programs tailored to fit specific topics, such as National Science Education Standards. Among its many exhibits is the Eagle Nest, which provides a birds-eye view of the zoo.

Franklin park zoo, Boston, USA
Franklin park zoo, Boston, USA

Aside from the animal displays, the zoo also has a 10,000-square-foot playground. It is a fun place to explore and is perfect for kids and families with small children.

Another notable feature of the zoo is its new, state-of-the-art outdoor gorilla habitat. This new facility has 360,000 cubic feet of space, a waterfall, and built-in foraging opportunities.

USS Constitution Museum

USS Constitution Museum is a maritime museum located at Charlestown Navy Yard. It is an award-winning not-for-profit educational institution that serves as an academic voice for the famous warship.

USS Constitution Museum
USS Constitution Museum

The USS Constitution has been preserved and restored. This three-masted wooden frigate is now docked in the Boston Harbor and is open to the public. Visitors can learn more about the ship’s history by browsing its extensive archival repository. A learning hall also contains exhibits that teach about life aboard the ship.

The USS Constitution is a beautiful, well-preserved ship built in 1797. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812. However, this isn’t the only reason to visit this historic naval ship.

Cheers

Cheers is a popular tourist attraction. It is located in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. The original Cheers bar in Boston was created in 1969 by Tom Kershaw.

The original Cheers bar was not visually similar to the television show version. However, it did inspire the TV series.

Cheers Boston
Cheers Boston

There are two locations of Cheers in Boston. One is on the north side of the Boston Public Garden. This place has a unique atmosphere and features good pub grub.

The second Cheers location is a replica of the interior of the TV show. While the reproduction is not the actual bar, it still has the show’s charm.

During the third season, showrunners Sam Simon and Ken Estin took over. After that, the Charles Brothers delegated day-to-day writing duties to these two.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is an educational and entertaining attraction. It offers visitors a hands-on look at the events leading up to the American Revolution. This museum features an interactive documentary, living history, and two full-scale replicas of 18th-century sailing ships.

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

At the museum, visitors can experience the historical events of the Tea Party by taking an in-depth tour through a series of exhibits, live reenactments, and interactive displays. In addition, visitors can take a role of an 18th-century captain, join a group of rebels in a mock Tea Party, or throw tea overboard.

There are also interactive exhibits and a dramatic short film throughout the tour. During the film, visitors are transported to a battle where a shot heard worldwide was fired. Also displayed are holographic figures, portraits of colonists, and a gallery of historical artifacts.

Avatar of Spencer Walsh

I'm Spencer Walsh, a professional traveler who loves to help people discover new places and learn about different cultures. I've traveled worldwide, from Europe to Asia and Africa to South America. My favorite thing about traveling is getting lost because it allows me to discover unexpected gems—finding a hidden museum or stumbling upon a beautiful park in the middle of the city.

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