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Boston is a city of many firsts. It was America's first subway system and oldest continuously used baseball stadium. But not only that: Boston is also home to some of the world's finest art collections, colleges, universities, hospitals and research centers.
In addition to its place in history, Boston is known for its lively Irish culture and its annual marathon, which attracts runners from all over the globe. Whether you're interested in exploring Boston's rich past or enjoying its vibrant present, there's plenty to see and do in this historic city.
Top 10 Attractions in Boston
Boston is a city rich in history and culture. From the iconic Fenway Park to the impressive architecture of the State House, there are plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here is a list of the top 10 spots you should visit during your time in Boston.
1. Fenway Park
The Boston Red Sox is an iconic baseball team with a long and storied history, dating back to its founding in 1901. Fenway Park, their home stadium, is just as iconic, and a tour of it is a must for any fan of America's national pastime. Even if you're not a sports fan, Fenway Park is still worth a visit. It's a living piece of history, and it's impossible not to be impressed by its beauty and grandeur.
The Green Monster is one of the most iconic features of Fenway Park, standing at a whopping 37 feet tall. Even today, some remnants of the "old-time" baseball era remain; the hand-operated scoreboard is still there. Despite its smaller seating capacity compared to other Major League stadiums, Fenway Park is still a popular destination for baseball fans.
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long path that passes by 16 of Boston's most historic sites. It starts at Boston Common, the country's oldest public park, and ends at the USS Constitution Museum. You'll see landmarks like the Old State House, Faneuil Hall, and the Paul Revere House. If you're interested in learning about America's colonial history, the Freedom Trail is the perfect place to start. Guided tours are available, but if you prefer to explore on your own, plenty of resources are available.
Commissioned in 1797, USS Constitution is one of the oldest commissioned ships in the United States Navy. Named Old Ironsides for her fierce fighting at the Battle of Tripoli, she is now open to visitors who can go below decks and hear all about her construction and action at sea.
You can imagine what life was like centuries ago as you walk across the pier to the USS Constitution Museum. The interactive exhibits provide historical context and illustrate what it was like to live on a naval vessel. You can also tour the Cassin Young, a World War II destroyer. It's a fantastic experience that lets you explore another time.
The Charlestown Navy Yard is one of the oldest shipyards in the United States, and it's a short walk to the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum. The monument is a 221-foot-tall granite structure that commemorates the site of the first battle of the American Revolution. The Navy Yard is also home to the USS Constitution Museum, which tells the story of "Old Ironsides" and the men who fought to defend her.
4. The Boston Tea Party Ships
The Boston Tea Party was a pivotal event in American history, and it's commemorated at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Located on the historic Congress Street Bridge, the museum features two replica ships, the Eleanor and the Beaver. You can explore the vessel, watch a short film about the tea party, and participate in a tea ceremony. The museum also has an interactive exhibit that lets you throw tea into the harbor, just like the Sons of Liberty did over 240 years ago. It's a fun and educational experience that everyone in the family will enjoy.
The New England Aquarium is one of the world's leading aquariums, and it's a must-see for any animal lover. Home to over 20,000 animals, the aquarium has something for everyone. From sharks and seals to turtles and penguins, you'll be able to see some of the most amazing creatures on earth.
The Edge of the Sea touch tank highlights the aquarium, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with small invertebrates. The 4D theatre show is also a lot of fun, and you can learn all about the fantastic world beneath the waves.
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the largest museums in the world, and it's a must-visit for any art lover. With over 450,000 works of art, you could spend days exploring the museum and still not see everything. Highlights include the Impressionist collection, which features works by Monet, Manet, and Renoir, and the Egyptian galleries, which house one of the world's largest collections of ancient Egyptian art.
The MFA also has a fantastic collection of Asian art, with over 40,000 works from China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia. If you're interested in learning about different cultures, the Museum of Fine Arts is the perfect place to start.
7. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is a must-visit for any history buff. Dedicated to the memory of the 35th U.S. President, the museum is the official national memorial to JFK, designed by noted architect I.M. Pei and opened in 1979.
On display at the museum are personal memorabilia, photographs, and historical exhibits that document the life of JFK and his presidency. Presentations cover the presidential campaign trail, the Oval Office, First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and the Kennedy family.
The museum also has an interactive exhibit that lets you experience what it was like to be in the White House during the Kennedy administration.
8. Harvard Square
Harvard Square is a historic district in Cambridge, Massachusetts and home to Harvard University. The square is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. There are also several historical landmarks in Harvard Square, including the John Harvard Statue, which commemorates the founding of Harvard University; the statue of Theodore Roosevelt, which honors the 26th U.S. President; and the Massachusetts Hall, the oldest building at Harvard University.
9. Museum of Science
The Museum of Science is a world-renowned museum that encourages learning through hands-on exploration of science and technology. With over 700 exhibits, the museum has something for everyone.
Highlights include the electricity dome, which features programs on science and technology; the Butterfly Garden, where you can walk among free-flying butterflies in a conservatory filled with exotic plants; and the Live Animal Center, where you can see some of the world's most amazing creatures up close.
The Museum of Science is also home to the Charles Hayden Planetarium, one of the largest planetariums in the world. The planetarium offers shows on various topics, including astronomy, cosmology, and the history of the universe.
10. Boston Public Garden
The Boston Public Garden is a large park in the center of Boston that features beautiful gardens, monuments, and sculptures. The park is also home to the Swan Boats, a popular attraction operating since 1877.
The Boston Public Garden is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. You can stroll through the gardens, go for a paddle in the Swan Boats, or explore the many monuments and sculptures.
Top Day Trips from Boston
Boston is a great city for tourists, with plenty of attractions to keep visitors busy. But if you're looking for something different, there are plenty of fantastic day trips to take from Boston. Here are some of the best.
1. Martha's Vineyard Day Trip
Boston's only award-winning, original Martha's Vineyard Day Trip offers a hassle-free ride from Boston to Cape Cod aboard an air-conditioned Mini Coach Bus. As you relax and take in the panoramic ocean views, our driver will transport you to the short cruise to Martha's Vineyard. Here, you'll have free time to explore or upgrade to add an island tour. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time, complimentary snacks, bottled water, island guidebooks and a discount card with island perks are provided during the drive.
Soak up the sun on one of Martha's Vineyard's many beaches, go shopping in the quaint shops, or enjoy a delicious meal. The island tour upgrade features stops in Edgartown and Gay Head Cliffs, where you can learn about the history and culture of Martha's Vineyard.
The White Mountain National Forest is one of the most popular destinations in New England for a reason - the autumn foliage is stunning. On this full-day tour from Boston, you'll have the opportunity to see all the best sights the region has to offer.
Travel to New Hampshire and admire the vibrant colors of the leaves, then stop for lunch in the charming town of North Conway. Later, you'll visit the Mount Washington Hotel - one of the area's most iconic and historic buildings. By the end of the day, you'll have fallen in love with New England again. This tour is the perfect way to discover the region's beauty without any hassle.
The quaint coastal town of Newport, Rhode Island, is the perfect getaway for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. This historic town, known as America's First Resort, is just 70 miles south of Boston and offers visitors a variety of attractions to enjoy. You'll have the opportunity to explore the Breakers mansion, one of Newport's most magnificent summer homes, the Ocean Drive Historic District and the St Mary's Church complex. Plus, you'll receive a discount offer card to use at various businesses throughout the town. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included in this tour.
As you journey through the birthplace of two U.S. Presidents and along the state's South Shore coastal area, you'll be awestruck by the stunning beauty and history of Plymouth, MA. Explore the town's harbor, enjoy a delicious lunch (own expense), and view Plymouth Rock before touring Plimoth Plantation—where you'll learn all about the fascinating Pilgrim's history. You'll also board the Mayflower II and explore multiple historic New England sites in just one day—ideal for travelers short on time! Plus, you can enjoy a stress-free excursion with a skip-the-line entrance to Plimoth Plantation and admission to the Mayflower II.
Picture yourself spending a day away from Boston, in the beautiful southern Maine coastline. You can enjoy the stunning ocean views without any transportation headaches! You'll have a guide to provide you with insights and history on the region - something you would miss out on if you were driving yourself. As you head north, stop at the Nubble Light lighthouse and Ogunquit's Marginal Way. Then, end your day in the idyllic town of Kennebunkport. Here, you can take a narrated trolley tour and enjoy some time shopping and eating (at your own expense). Best of all, hotel pickup and drop-off are included for your convenience.
The New England coastline is a beautiful and serene place to spend a day. On a private day trip from Boston, you can explore the charming fishing towns of Cape Ann. Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport are all quaint towns with plenty of history and seafood. Salem is also a stop on tour and is most famous for the witch trials that took place there in the late 1600s. Lastly, you'll visit Marblehead, considered the birthplace of the U.S. navy. The tour will end with a drop-off back in Boston, where you can return to your hotel or explore the city further.
The private tour will begin with a pickup from your centrally located hotel in Boston. You will be accompanied by a driver and a separate tour guide to make your way to Salem and Marblehead. Salem is known as "Witch City" because of the 1692 Witch Trials. Here you can see preserved examples of classic New England architecture, such as elegant mansions. Walking along the waterfront, you will encounter various historic sites, including the Customs Building, Maritime Information Center, and House of Seven Gables. After Salem, we'll head to Marblehead. This is a perfect place for photography lovers, with a harbor that is the birthplace of the United States Navy. In Marblehead, you'll have a view of Abbot Hall. The total tour duration is 5 hours, from pickup to drop-off.
New York City is a bustling metropolis that offers something for everyone. On this private day tour from Boston, you'll have the opportunity to see some of the Big Apple's most popular attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the 9/11 Memorial. You'll also visit other iconic landmarks, such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. With a knowledgeable guide by your side, you'll learn all about the history and culture of New York City. Plus, hotel pickup and drop-off are included for your convenience.
Boston is a city with many great restaurants, so it can be hard to choose where to eat. But fear not! We have compiled a list of the best places to get your fill of Boston's most delicious food. So without further ado, here are the top spots that you should visit if you want great eating in Boston:
1. Saltie Girl
Saltie Girl is a seafood lover's paradise. Boasting a large selection of seafood dishes, this Back Bay restaurant has something to touch on every genre. Every seafood lover will find something to enjoy, from a raw bar tower to whole fried black bass for two to fried lobster and waffles. And with plenty of imported tins of seafood available, there's truly something for everyone at Saltie Girl.
2. Row 34
Row 34 is a lively oyster bar in the heart of Boston's Fort Point district. This New England hotspot embodies the current dining scene, with a creative beer list, ultra-fresh seafood, and some of the best lobster rolls in town. The restaurant has become a key player in the area's recent restaurant boom, drawing massive crowds to what was once a quiet section in the city. Row 34 can be challenging to get a reservation for, thanks to its popularity, but it's well worth the effort for anyone looking for an exceptional dining experience.
3. Sweet Cheeks Q
Since opening its doors, Sweet Cheeks has been a go-to spot for delicious barbecue fare. Chef and restaurateur Tiffani Faison's Big Heart Hospitality empire now includes Fool's Errand (formerly an "adult snack bar," currently a private dining space) and Orfano (Italian-American), with four more spots on the way in Fenway and downtown Boston. Guests can expect high-quality meats and biscuits and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. With so much to offer, it's no wonder Sweet Cheeks has been a favourite among locals and visitors alike for years.
Toro is one of the most atmospheric spots in the South End, with its exposed brick and wooden beams, central communal table, and chalkboard-listed drink specials. The kitchen churns out an assortment of Barcelona-inspired hot and cold small plates, and the beverage program features well-made classic cocktails and an eclectic, curated wine list. The atmosphere is rustic and upscale, focusing on quality ingredients and chef-driven dishes. Toro is a perfect choice whether you're looking for a cozy spot to enjoy a glass of wine or a lively place to share small plates with friends.
5. Union Oyster House
Union Oyster House first opened its doors in 1826 as a spot for fresh seafood in the heart of Boston. Today, it remains one of the oldest and most popular seafood restaurants in the United States, serving classic dishes like clam chowder, butterfly shrimp, and freshly shucked oysters. Plus, it's a National Historic Landmark! Whether you're a Boston native or just visiting for the first time, Union Oyster House is worth visiting. And who knows? You might be able to say you ate at the oldest restaurant in America.
Step into Shojo, and you'll instantly feel as though you've been transported to the streets of Tokyo. The modern Asian cuisine, inventive cocktails, and incomparable Japanese spirit list all create an unforgettable dining experience. The menu is composed of dishes that are a modern take on Asian cuisine, and it changes seasonally to incorporate the best ingredients available. With a focus on small sharable plates, Shojo encourages diners to try many things at their table, tapas-style.
Nestled in the heart of historic Copley Square, Sorellina is a renowned Italian eatery known for its modern interpretations of classic Italian fare. With an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and unique preparations, Chef/Owner Jamie Mammano offers diners a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience. An extensive wine list featuring classic and contemporary selections from Italy's most reputable producers rounds out the perfect meal. The dining room at Sorellina is warm and inviting, with a chic, modern design that sets the ideal stage for Chef Mammano's cuisine.
Dakzen is a Thai restaurant located in Somerville's Davis Square. This busy, well-lit restaurant has an aura of happy chaos, with a service model between counter-service and full-service and a menu that doesn't shy away from heat and funk. The khao soi, the tom yum noodle soup, and the ba mee moo dang are all highlights of what this restaurant offers. Those already familiar with Thai flavors will be delighted to find them here. However, even for those new to Thai food, this restaurant is sure to leave a lasting impression.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the hottest spots to visit in Boston. Be sure to check them out next time you're in town! Happy travels!
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