Things to do in Boston

An historical treasure trove, Boston is full of fascinating sites crucial to America's history. Following a line of mostly red bricks and linking 17 of Boston's top attractions, from Paul Revere's house and the statue of Benjamin Franklin to the Bunker Hill Monument and Boston Common, the Freedom Trail is a must for history buffs and anyone sightseeing in Boston.

Head to the New England Aquarium, featuring more than 70 exhibits with aquatic animals from around the world; marvel at the Bengal and white tigers at the Franklin Zoo; visit the Museum of Fine Arts; and get away from the buzz of the city by wandering through the first botanical garden in the United States, the Boston Public Garden.

After a long day of exploring the city, what could be better than appreciating Boston from a distance aboard a sunset cruise on one of the many boats that leave the harbour. Enjoy sipping on a glass of wine, a magnificently prepared seafood dinner and breathtaking views while the sun dips below the horizon.

Visitors keen on viewing a number of the city's greatest sights would be wise to get a Go Boston Card which grants travellers admission to more than 70 of the best activities, tours, and attractions in Boston.

Freedom Trail photo

Freedom Trail

The two and a half mile (4km) Freedom Trail follows a line of red bricks, or a painted red line on the pavement, linking 16 historic sights associated with the early struggle for f…

Freedom Trail

The two and a half mile (4km) Freedom Trail follows a line of red bricks, or a painted red line on the pavement, linking 16 historic sights associated with the early struggle for freedom from British control and the events leading up to the revolution. Markers identify the stops and provide information from downtown to the North End to Charlestown and Bunker Hill Monument. Sights along the way include Paul Revere House, Boston's oldest surviving house that was home to the famous revolutionary. The Old North Church is also nearby, where two lanterns were hung in the belfry to warn the revolutionaries of the British movements while Revere went on his famous horse ride to warn of imminent British attack. The elegant Old State House was the seat of British colonial government and where the Declaration of Independence was read in 1776. There is a museum of Boston history inside. At the Old South Meeting House, Samuel Adams addressed the revolutionaries in the significant meeting prior to the Boston Tea Party, and a circle of cobblestones marks the site of the Boston Massacre. In Charlestown, the USS Constitution, also known as 'Old Ironsides', is the oldest warship still afloat. Its name was earned after the sinking of the British frigate, HMS Guerriere, during the war of 1812. Bunker Hill Monument is the site of the first formal battle of the American Revolution, fought in 1775. Also along the trail is the beautiful white steeple of Park Street Church, the site of several important anti-slavery speeches, and the Old Granary Burying Ground, where a number of revolutionaries are buried. Add to that the Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall that once were meeting places for revolutionaries as well as bustling marketplaces. Although a complete self-guided trail, the National Park Service also conducts free tours with guides in historic costumes that cover some of the trail's highlights.

Address The trail starts from the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common

Website www.thefreedomtrail.org


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Black Heritage Trail photo

Black Heritage Trail

Today, Beacon Hill brings to mind images of affluence and luxurious living. Yet until the end of the 19th century, it contained a free black community and escaped slaves who owned …

Black Heritage Trail

Today, Beacon Hill brings to mind images of affluence and luxurious living. Yet until the end of the 19th century, it contained a free black community and escaped slaves who owned businesses, built houses and schools, and worshipped together in the churches. Although the black community has since shifted to other parts of Boston, the Black Heritage Trail covers 14 sites important in local black history. Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery in 1783. Beginning at the Boston Common, there is a memorial to slave abolitionist Robert Shaw who led the first black regiment recruited during the Civil War. Various sites on Beacon Hill include homes of famous citizens, the city's first racially integrated public school with exhibits portraying the struggle for equal school rights, and a house that was part of the famous Underground Railroad that sheltered runaway slaves from their pursuers. The African Meeting House, part of the Museum of Afro-American History, is one of the most interesting stops on the trail. It was the first black church in the United States, known as Black Faneuil Hall during the anti-slavery campaign. Here, famous abolitionist speeches were made and black people were called to take up arms in the Civil War. There is an informative audiovisual presentation in the gallery. Although a self-guided trail with brochures and maps provided by the Museum of Afro-American History, park rangers also give free daily two-hour tours, which start at the National Park Service Visitor Center.

Address The trail starts from the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common or at the Museum of Afro-American History at 46 Joy Street, Beacon Hill

Website www.afroammuseum.org

Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum photo

Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum

Moored to the bridge is the Beaver II, known as the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, and one of the three ships stormed by patriots in 1773 as an act of rebellion against British …

Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum

Moored to the bridge is the Beaver II, known as the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum, and one of the three ships stormed by patriots in 1773 as an act of rebellion against British rule and in particular against the new tax laws imposed on tea. A group of revolutionaries dressed as Mohawk Indians burst from the South Meeting House and boarded the ships that were loaded with tea. They emptied the crate contents into the harbour in an event known as the Boston Tea Party. The Beaver II is an exact replica of the original Beaver I and visitors can learn about the event onboard the ship. The museum has recently been renovated and improved, receiving rave reviews from visitors of all ages.

Address Congress Street Bridge

Website www.bostonteapartyship.com

Transport

South Station subway

Opens Tours run between 10am and 5pm during peak season, with slightly reduced hours in winter.

Admission

$25 (adults), $15 (children). Discounts available for booking online.

MIT Museum photo

MIT Museum

The MIT Museum is located in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most prestigious universities in the US. The relatively small museu…

MIT Museum

The MIT Museum is located in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most prestigious universities in the US. The relatively small museum houses technology-themed collections. These include holograms, artificial intelligence, robotics, and maritime history, placing specific importance on MIT's contributions to the history of technology. Some of the most interesting exhibits are those of the MIT Hacks, elaborate pranks pulled by students each year. Don't miss the Arthur Ganson gallery of kinetic sculptures, which is also something special.

Address 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Website web.mit.edu/museum

Opens Daily 10am to 5pm.

Admission

$10 adults, $5 children under 18.

Cambridge photo

Cambridge

Just across the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge is actually a city in its own right. But the two cities are so closely associated that many people believe them to be one and t…

Cambridge

Just across the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge is actually a city in its own right. But the two cities are so closely associated that many people believe them to be one and the same. Cambridge is home to two of the most prestigious centres for education in the country, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has a young and vibrant atmosphere due to the 30,000 university students from around the world that reside and study here. The city centres on Harvard Square, a gathering spot that reflects the international culture of its learning community as well as the influence of its students, residents, and business owners. Surrounding the square and lining the streets that spread out from Harvard Square are dozens of bookstores and music shops, cafes, coffee houses, and restaurants. Harvard Square, occupied on one side by the university, is a lively mixture of students and professors, buskers, evangelists, and political campaigners, and is a great place to have a cup of coffee, watch the activity, and soak up the atmosphere.

Website www.harvardsquare.com

Transport

The subway Red Line to Harvard Square from Boston Common's Park Street Station.

Harvard University photo

Harvard University

Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest in the country and one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the USA. It's famous for its brilliant facul…

Harvard University

Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest in the country and one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the USA. It's famous for its brilliant faculties, which have produced economists, biologists, prize-winning poets, and famous graduates like President John F. Kennedy. It is perhaps equally well-known for its famous dropouts, such as actor Matt Damon and tech icon Bill Gates. The focal point of the university is Harvard Yard, a courtyard surrounded by ivy-covered colonial buildings from the 18th century named for John Harvard, a graduate of Cambridge University in Britain, who died leaving the college half his estate and his entire library. The shoe of John Harvard's statue is rubbed for good luck. Harvard also has some outstanding museums, including the Harvard Art Museums, the Fogg Art Museum, and the Museum of Natural History. The huge collection covers works from the European Renaissance period to the modern day, including works by Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh, and Klee. The Bush-Reisinger and Arthur Sackler Museums are included in the same ticket while the Natural History Museum is renowned for its display of hand-blown glass flowers.

Website www.harvard.edu

Transport

The subway Red Line to Harvard Square from Boston Common's Park Street Station

Admission

There are free student-led campus tours available. Museum tickets vary, see website for details.

Boston Public Garden photo

Boston Public Garden

The first botanical garden in the United States, the Boston Public Garden provides a tranquil escape from the fast pace of the city centre. Maintained by the Boston Parks and Recre…

Boston Public Garden

The first botanical garden in the United States, the Boston Public Garden provides a tranquil escape from the fast pace of the city centre. Maintained by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden, the botanical garden is a must-see on any exploration of Boston. With more than 600 varieties of trees and colourful displays of well-ordered decorative flowers, visitors can go for a relaxing swan boat ride on the three acre lagoon, enjoy the attractive vista of the city's sardined skyscrapers through the trees, or take pleasure in the numerous public works of art that border the meandering paths. The gardens are a great stop for families wanting a break from sightseeing.

Address 87 Mount Vernon Street

Website www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org

Faneuil Hall Marketplace photo

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

A great Boston day trip and shopping destination, Faneuil Hill Marketplace offers superb shopping at some familiar designer stores, quality arts and crafts, as well as great restau…

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

A great Boston day trip and shopping destination, Faneuil Hill Marketplace offers superb shopping at some familiar designer stores, quality arts and crafts, as well as great restaurants and sidewalk cafés. Four places in one, Faneuil Hall Marketplace encompasses Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market. Set around a cobblestone promenade, the market is a haven for the performing arts with jugglers, mimes, musicians, and magicians entertaining passers-by. Centrally located and operating for more than 250 years, the Faneuil Hill Marketplace is the hub of Boston city life. Drawing large crowds excited by the electric energy, visitors can shop, stroll, eat, and wander.

Address 4 South Market Building

Website www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com

Transport

Blue line to Aquarium/Faneuil Hall, green line to Government Center, or orange line to State Street

Opens Monday to Thursday 10am - 7pm; Friday and Saturday 10am - 9pm; Sunday 12pm - 6pm.

Boston Museum of Fine Arts photo

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

An artwork in itself, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston houses some of the most famous European paintings in the US. Boston's oldest, largest, and best-known art institution, the M…

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

An artwork in itself, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston houses some of the most famous European paintings in the US. Boston's oldest, largest, and best-known art institution, the MFA's collection is one of the planet's most comprehensive, with something like 22,000 artworks including masterpieces by some of the finest artists in the world. With a striking collection of Impressionist paintings, Egyptian sculptures, and a moving exhibition of Japanese and other Asian artworks, visitors should make sure they have ample time to explore the exhibition rooms of the MFA. Have a break and enjoy a coffee or lunch at one the three gallery restaurants or browse the outstanding museum bookstore and shop.

Address 465 Huntington Avenue

Website www.mfa.org

Opens Saturday to Tuesday 10am - 5pm; Wedensday to Friday 10am - 10pm.

Admission

$25 (adults). Concessions available.

Codzilla photo

Codzilla

Codzilla takes passengers on a high-speed cruise around Boston's harbour. People on board will scream in pure delight as the boat curves, spins, and rips through the harbour for 40…

Codzilla

Codzilla takes passengers on a high-speed cruise around Boston's harbour. People on board will scream in pure delight as the boat curves, spins, and rips through the harbour for 40 minutes. You'll be travelling at a heart-pumping 40 miles (70km) per hour. Reservations are recommended. Very young kids may be frightened, but generally the whole family will relish the thrill. Numerous other boat tours and cruises are available in Boston's harbour, with more sedate options for those who aren't keen on braving Codzilla.

Address Boston Harbour Cruises, Long Wharf

Website www.bostonharborcruises.com/codzilla


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New England Aquarium photo

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is home to Simons IMAX Theatre and the New England Aquarium Whale Watch, which runs from April through October. It features a plethora of some of the world…

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is home to Simons IMAX Theatre and the New England Aquarium Whale Watch, which runs from April through October. It features a plethora of some of the world's most amazing marine species, such as the impressive giant pacific octopus, sand tiger shark, green sea turtles, and North Atlantic Right whales. It is an absolute must for children of all ages and any adult in love with the underwater world. The aquarium is a wonderful family attraction for a rainy day. Basic admission includes the aquarium, while the IMAX and Whale Watch charge additional fees.

Address 1 Central Wharf

Website www.neaq.org/index.php

Opens Saturday to Thursday 9am to 6pm; Friday and Saturday 9am to 7pm. Hours are slightly reduced in winter.

Admission

$26.95 (adults); $17.95 (children aged 3 to 11). Other concessions and packages available.

Fenway Park photo

Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox are a much-beloved part of life in New England. The 'Curse of the Bambino' and their infamous near 100-year losing streak only made their supporters more fanatic…

Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox are a much-beloved part of life in New England. The 'Curse of the Bambino' and their infamous near 100-year losing streak only made their supporters more fanatical. Fenway Park is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use, and has quirky features like The Triangle, Pesky's Pole, and the famous Green Monster left-field wall. Visitors will notice a lone red seat in the right field bleachers, which is where Ted Williams hit the longest home run at Fenway, measuring 502 feet (153m). A baseball game at Fenway Park is a must for any summertime trip to Boston. Hot dog, crackerjacks, and all.

Address 4 Yawkey Way

Website boston.redsox.mlb.com

Admission

Admission varies according to section.

Sam Adams Brewery photo

Sam Adams Brewery

Visitors to Boston can take an informative tour of the Sam Adams Brewery and get a look at the brewing process for the popular beer. Named for the revolutionary war hero, the beer …

Sam Adams Brewery

Visitors to Boston can take an informative tour of the Sam Adams Brewery and get a look at the brewing process for the popular beer. Named for the revolutionary war hero, the beer has been brewed in Boston since the 1980s. The tour showcases the entire process and allows visitors to taste the special malts used. Tours depart roughly every 45 minutes and last about one hour, with a free glass included for visitors using the Go Boston Card. The brewery does not accept reservations, but they do recommend that visitors arrive fairly early in the day to avoid long waits, especially on Saturdays. All donations benefit local charities.

Address 30 Germania Street

Website www.samueladams.com

Opens Monday to Thursday 10am - 3pm, Fridays 10am to 5.30pm, Saturdays 10am to 3pm, closed Sundays.

Admission

Donation Based.


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