Boston is a city which we fell in love with and would even like to live there. We are sharing a list of 20 places and things to do in Boston and its surroundings so you can also plan a trip to Boston.
We´ve been wanting to visit Boston for a long time. It´s close to New York (4 hours by car or 1 hour by plane), and we have friends there. We were also aware of how much there was to see in Boston. What we didn´t realize was that we would fall in love with Boston and that we would wind up being fascinated by the vibe of the city, the people and the perfect size. We absolutely ruskommend that you visit this city! Here is our list of 20 things to do and see in Boston, so that you will fall in love with the city, just like us!
If you like to see all that the city has to offer, you should check out the “Boston City Pass“. It is definitely a good deal.
The Freedom Trail
Masachusetts, and particularly Boston, are full of things from the American Revolution (among them Lexington and Concord). This is why in Boston they had the idea of making a route of 16 places that were most important in that period of United States history. Along its 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) and following the lines on the ground, you can enjoy and learn about history without getting lost. You can walk the route with a guide or on your own with the help of an application or a map. In any case, it is a route you must see, and you can enjoy getting to know different parts of Boston along the way!
The Black Heritage Trail
This is another route that will allow you to learn about how africans came to the city of Boston, marking the places that were most important in their history. At the beginning they were brought as slaves in the area of Beacon Hill. However, the American Revolution changed everything and they became free men. The route takes you to the homes, schools, and centers that were important in the development of this community in Boston. It is well worth taking this walk, as you will also enjoy the beautiful area of boston with it´s impressive houses.
Sam Adams Brewery Tour
The first thing we did the morning we arrived in Boston was head for the Sam Adams brewery. The tour is free and it is just long enough to learn about the process of making the famous beer, but without taking too long and getting boring. The best part is that after the visit you enter the tasting room where you can try different beers and they let you take the glass home as a gift. What better way to start the morning? And if you want to complete your visit, stop by Doley’s Bar, which is one of the first bars that sold Sam Adams beers.
The Boston Tea Party Museum
The night of December 16th 1773 is, for many, the beginning of the American Revolution. That night the American colonists threw all the tea into Boston Harbor to protest against the British. The museum is not just a museum in the form of a ship, but also an interactive way to learn about this moment in history. The best part is that you can pretend that you are a colonist throwing the tea into the harbor. They have lots of different activities, and the best time to visit, obviously, is December 16th, so that you can really feel the revolutionary spirit.
The Historic District
The oldest and most distinguished part of the city, this is one of the most charming walks you can take in Boston. Streets such as Boylston Street and areas like Back Bay and Beacon Hill are filled with homes and architecture that are impossible to find in other cities. Whats more, some of the homes are now museums such as the Otis House Museum or the Gibson House Museum. Many of the stops along the Freedom Trail are found in this area, but if you don’t walk along the whole Freedom Trail, a quick walk through these streets will transport you to another century.
The Top of the Prudential Tower
The Prudential Tower, known locally as “The Pru” was built in 1964 and when I saw it it reminded me of the old sky scrapers that you see in movies and TV shows in the 80s and 90s. Unlike the other skyscrapers in the city, like the John Hancock Tower, you can go to the top of the Prudential Tower, although it is not free. The Skywalk Observatory is found on the 50th floor and it is the highest observatory in all of New England. The 360 degree views of the city of Boston are very impressive. And if you want to do it up right, the Top of the Hub restaurant is on the 52nd floor, and there you won’t have to pay an entrance fee! haha!
Museums of Boston
Boston is a city with lots of interesting museums. You could actually spend a whole trip just visiting different museums! Without a doubt, one of the most important museums is the Science Museum, (it’s one of the most visited attractions in Boston) and it is home to 700 exhibits. But we also ruskommend other museums such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Natural History of Harvard, the Salem Witch Museum, the USS Constitution Museum and others that are more specific for lovers of computation, police, firefighters, and long list of other interests.
Below Boston Common and just beside Chinatown you can find one of the areas with the best atmosphere in the city. The Theater District is known as the Broadway of Boston and its theaters bring in the best musicals and plays such as The Lion King, Mamma Mia and Kinky Boots. The most important building is the Boston Opera House which has been rebuilt after the original one, built in 1928, closed its doors during the Great Depression. You will also find the Paramount Center, the Savoy Theatre and the Modern Theatre-Suffolk University.
Boston Commons is one of the oldest public parks in the United States. Here you will find a cemetery where many historical figures are buried. Just across the street you will find the Boston Public Gardens. It is worth your time to take a walk through the gardens and see the different statues. One of the best known statues, especially among children, are the ducklings from the well known story Make Way For Ducklings. They say that so many children sit on top of these duck statues that it never needs to be polished.
The North End and Little Italy
The North End of Boston is full of historic places that show how important immigration was to the city (Jewish, Portuguese, Irish and Italian immigrants among others). This area, however, is known in Boston for Little Italy, and as you can imagine, the area has a large number of restaurants where you can enjoy one of my favorite types of food: Italian. But there are more than restaurants in the North End. The area is also part of the Freedom Trail, and the walk by the ocean is beautiful with european style churches and markets, all of which make this one of the most visited areas of the city.
Quincy Market is an historic market from the beginning of the 19th century that is very unique architecturally. It is found in Downtown Boston and when we visited there was a great atmosphere with street artists and shops surrounding the market. The cupola of the building is a real work of art, and while it is not a traditional market, the central building, as well as the North and South Market still hold the charm of the past and have restaurants with different foods, bars and shops. It is always full of people and it’s worth it to walk through, even if it is just to soak up the energy of the place.
Boston Duck Tours
How does it sound to visit the city in what appears to be a duck shaped bus that all of a sudden takes you on a boat ride down the Charles River? I loved the idea and couldn’t leave Boston without giving it a try. In fact, we’d seen Duck Tours in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but it wasn’t until our visit to Boston that we tried one of these unique tours. We had a great time, and it’s a great way to see the city. When the bus drove into the water, we were just as excited as the kids on the tour. I loved the duck-bus! haha! Check out more about the Boston Duck Tours
The Financial District
The area with skyscrapers in Boston which defines the city’s skyline can be seen perfectly from the airport. It is mainly an area with office buildings, although there are a few attractions such as the New England Aquarium, which has an agreement with several boats to go whale watching, like we did in Bar Harbor. You can also enjoy a trip to the port or eat in some of the restaurants in the area, although, obviously, if it is not during business hours, the area is pretty empty.
The idea of eating on a boat on the water always sounds like a fun and romantic idea. We enjoyed a dinner on the River Seine in Paris. In Boston the Spirit of Boston is similar, and offers different times for your enjoyment. We chose to eat a buffet dinner at sunset. As the boat left the dock we enjoyed drinks at sunset with the sea breeze in our faces. We then enjoyed the buffet where we could choose from different types of food. There wasn’t too much food, but it was enough. Finally, we enjoyed dancing on the upper level. The DJ had us dancing for the rest of the evening. It was definitely a great choice after a day of touring the city!
This area has gone from being an abandoned section next to Downtown Boston to being one of the trendiest areas of the moment. Apart from being where we boarded the Spirit of Boston, you can also find a long list of restaurants and clubs if you want to go out at night. And if you enjoy contemporary art, you can’t miss the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) of Boston which in addition to many important works of art is a very impressive building.
The Boston Public Library
Those of you who are frequent readers of El Boquerón Viajero know that I love Public Libraries. And, due to their history and beautiful buildings, we almost always make a stop at the public libraries when we visit a new city. What’s more, in cities like Madrid or New York, I often go to these libraries to get inspired. The Boston Public Library is in the center city in front of the Charlesmark Hotel where we were staying. The building dates back to the 19th century and houses 23 million works, making it one of the most extensive collections in the United States.
Chinatown in Boston
Although many of the medium to larger cities in the United States have a Chinatown (including both Manhattan and Queens), Boston is the only one in New England. It is worth your time to walk through the area, and if you like, you can enjoy some delicious food at one of the restaurants. In January or February each year, according to the lunar calendar, they celebrate Chinese New Year. Just as you will find in other cities, they have a parade and there are many celebrations in the neighborhood.
The church is located just opposite the Hancock Tower, where you can see it reflected as the sun sets. It was founded in the 18th Century, however it was completely destroyed by a fire and the church that stands today was built in 1877. It is worth going inside to enjoy the architecture, and if you are lucky, you might even here the organ.
As a sports fan, I always like to investigate the options in the different cities that I visit. Boston has great teams in all kinds of sports. In Basketball, there are the Boston Celtics, one of my favorite teams in the NBA. The New England Patriots also call Boston home. In baseball, there are the Boston Red Sox, a team that is among the best in the United States. And lastly the Boston Bruins compete in the NHL.
The outskirts of Boston
In other articles we have mentioned places that we’ve discovered on the outskirts of Boston where you will find some of the most famous universities in the country, as well as areas to take a walk and enjoy. Among them are these highlights:
- Cambridge, where we loved walking around Harvard Square, Harvard University and especially since I am interested in technology, MIT. You can read more in the article “A walk through Cambridge and Harvard University).
- Somerville, where we visited the Taza Chocolate Factory and a great cup of coffee in the Portuguese section at Bom Café.
- Charlestown, where we saw The Monument Square, The USS Constitution Center and The Paul Revere Park.
Where to stay in Boston
Where to eat in Boston
Cafés and Bars in Boston
- Cheers Boston
- Bom Café in Somerville
Interesting Information and Maps of Boston
- Boston Subway Map
- Downtown Boston Map
- Freedom Trail Map
- Boston North End Map
- Boston Universities Map
- Buy the Boston City Pass
**We were invited to visit by Visit Massachusetts Tourism Office. In no way were we swayed to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are our own.