31 BEST Things to do in Boston [January 2020]

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The historic capital of Massachusetts, Boston is a bit of a wild card. Playing an important role in the American Revolution, a location right on the coast, and a classy modern vibe all blend together to create this eclectic city.

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Our Favorite Places to Stay in Boston!

Choosing a solid accommodation option is the first step to a successful location! Make sure your home-base in Boston fits all your needs by checking out these three top choices in the capital of Massachusetts!

Hosteling International-Boston Hostel

The Best Budget Option in Boston

Hosteling International-Boston Hostel

Hosteling International-Boston Hostel is our pick for the best budget option in Boston

  • Heart of Boston!
  • Comfort and quality price

A great option for budget travelers still hoping to get in on the action of Boston! With dormitory or private rooms and a shared kitchen and free Wi-fi for all guests, you can explore the best parts of the city and always come back to a comfortable place to rest.


The Revolution Hotel

The Best Mid-Range Option in Boston

The Revolution Hotel

The Revolution Hotel is our pick for the best mid-range option in Boston

  • Close to the Boston Public Garden!
  • 24-hour reception

Enjoy the comforts of air conditioning, concierge service, and pleasant terrace of the Revolution Hotel! Nearby are popular attractions such as the King’s Chapel, the Freedom Trail, and numerous public parks and plenty of restaurants.

Ready to book? Here are our favorite areas to stay in Boston!

Boston Park Plaza

The Best Luxury Option in Boston

Boston Park Plaza

Boston Park Plaza is our pick for the best luxury option in Boston

  • On site restaurant
  • Walking distance to major attractions!

If you’re hoping for true style when visiting Boston, rest assured that Boston Park Plaza won’t hold back when it comes to service! Enjoy the onsite fitness center, room service, and all the nearby attractions of the Boston Theatre District!


The 31 Best Things to do in Boston


#1 – Cruise through the Harbors

Cruise through the Harbors

One of the best relaxing things to do in Boston

  • Perfect summer activity!
  • Learn about the history
  • Profession guide

Not only are the inner and outer harbors of Boston scenic, but it’s also a place jam-packed with history!

From the first pilgrims to the Revolutionary War, enjoy a pleasant cruise out on the water with a knowledgeable guide to teach you about the fascinating stories and monuments in the area.


#2 – Relax in the Boston Public Garden

Relax in the Boston Public Garden

One of the best free things to do in Boston (Photo Credit – trolleytours.com)

  • Opened in 1634!
  • Native plants and trees
  • Ride a swan boat!

A pleasant way to enjoy the outdoors year-round, the Boston Public Garden is not only an excellent green space but also a historic landmark of the city!

Modified throughout the years, the 80 plus species of plants growing here have always been meticulously cared for to create a lush green lung for the city of Boston. Kids will particulalry enjoy the swan boat rides on the central pond!

Is your trip getting close? Jump over to our hotels in Boston guide so you’re sure to get great accommodation!

#3 – Ride a Trolley

Ride a Trolley

One of the best things to do in downtown Boston

  • Hop-on hop-off trolley!
  • Explore the historic downtown
  • Great way to sight see!

A great way to explore the numerous points of interest in the downtown area of Boston! The conductors fill in the details with stories and facts about various landmarks.

From the waterfront to Beacon Hill, the trolley allows you to traverse a wide area of Boston in comfort and unique style!


#4 – Learn about the Boston Tea Party

Learn about the Boston Tea Party

A fun learning opportunity in Boston

  • Defining moment of Boston’s history!
  • Interactive experience
  • Fun for all ages!

The Boston Tea Party Museum is one of the crowning attractions of the city, marking one of the most important events preceding the American Revolution.

People of all ages can enjoy the activities, actors dressed as British soldiers and militia men, and the replicas of ships once used to carry tea and other goods across the Atlantic. Who thought learning about history could be fun!?


Want to see all of Boston? It would be impossible to visit all these places in one trip.

#5 – Learn Something New at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Learn Something New at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Photo Credit – boston.curbed.com

  • Stunning architectural monument
  • Excellent view of the skyline!
  • Great spot for photos

John F. Kennedy always held Boston in a special light, so the city decided to honor him by building the impressive Presidential Library and Museum!

In addition to the numerous artifacts, photographs, and even personal items of former president Kennedy, the museum also has a pleasant outdoor walking path and a perfect view of the Boston skyline.

Editor’s Note: You might also like to look at our best hotel recommendations in Downtown Boston.

#6 – Take a Ferry to Cape Cod

Take a Ferry to Cape Cod

Things to do in Boston this weekend

  • Great day trip!
  • Fun for the whole family
  • Fastest way to the Cape!

Hoping to visit Provincetown during your trip to Boston? Save some time and travel in style by taking a catamaran ferry!

The ferry only takes about 90 minutes and offers you an excellent view of the Outer Cape and even has onboard Wifi to boot!


Tired of making plans? Our favorite tours in Boston remove stress from the equation!

#7 – See the Oldest Church in Boston

See the Oldest Church in Boston

One of the most important historic sites of the city (Photo Credit – cannundrum.blogspot.com)

  • Amazing historic landmark!
  • Great photo spot
  • Founded in 172!

The Old North Church is one of Boston’s most famous landmarks, and a must-visit when you come here for vacation!

You can imagine the church during the time of the American Revolution when people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson may have actually been in the very place you’re standing!

Need a little more convincing? These day trips from Boston will help you make up your mind!

#8 – Experience Ivy League Excellence

Experience Ivy League Excellence

A top-notch educational opportunity

  • Tour Harvard University!
  • Historic and educational milestones
  • Top attraction of the city

Ever dreamed of learning what the Ivy League is really like? Well, when you come to Boston, you’ll have the chance to do just that!

On a tour of Harvard, you can get an insider’s view on this prestigious university, as well as learn about famous people who have graduated and taught there!


#9 – Walk around Beacon Hill

Walk around Beacon Hill

One of the best photo sites in Boston (Photo Credit – boston.curbed.com)

  • Scenic neighborhood
  • Elegant high-style properties
  • Historic and modern combined!

Known for its lavish Federal-style houses and mansions, Beacon Hill is definitely Boston in style!

The neighborhood is a great place to walk around, take photographs, and browse the local shops and cafés.

Insider Guide! These are the absolute BEST times of the year to visit Boston!

#10 – Take a Trip to the Newport Mansions

Take a Trip to the Newport Mansions

  • Perfect oceanside scenery
  • Amazing and historic mansions!
  • “America’s first resort”

If you’re hoping to get out of Boston for a day, Newport is a great option. With a day trip tour, you can visit the seaside village known for its incredible mansions!

Get a new appreciation for what it means to live in wealth and style by visiting these lavish properties for a unique look at history and some excellent vacation photos!


#11 – Spend Time Outside at the Arnold Arboretum

Spend Time Outside at the Arnold Arboretum

A peaceful escape from downtown traffic (Photo Credit – gardenvisit.com)

  • Elegant landscape and design
  • Great family activity!
  • Green lung of the city

The sprawling Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University offers a great escape from the rush of city traffic.

Connected to the Emerald Necklace “chain” of public parks, it’s easy to start out at the Arboretum and continue on to other parks for a full day of adventure!

Editor’s note – These are the 15 most beautiful beaches in Massachusetts!

#12 – A Cultural Experience in Chinatown

A Cultural Experience in Chinatown

One of the best fun things to do in Boston

  • Unique historic tour
  • Delicious authentic cuisine!
  • Special side to Boston

The vibrant Chinatown neighborhood of Boston is overflowing with history and culinary delights!

It helps to explore the area with a local who can point out the important landmarks, give you the backstories, and point out the best restaurants to enjoy the local flavors!


Boston has an AMAZING coast! Check out the 15 best beaches in Boston!

#13 – Tour a Local Brewery

Tour a Local Brewery

  • Learn from the locals!
  • Excellence in taste and presentation
  • Unique flavors!

From the famous Samuel Adams brewery to the Down the Road Bear Co., Boston is brimming with fantastic local brews!

Try them all and decide for yourself which one is the best, all with a guide who can give you a background look at the history and development of the brewing industry in Boston.


#14 – Make a Discovery at the Museum of Science

You don’t have to be a geek to have fun!

  • Fun interactive displays!
  • Packed with activities
  • Over 700 exhibits!

Maybe you have a child who’s a science geek or perhaps you’re looking for a good rainy-day activity in Boston. Either way, the Museum of Science is always a great option!

View a live demonstration, get messy with a hands-on experiment, or watch a show at the Charles Hayden Planetarium!


#15 – Explore the Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Explore the Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Food to souvenirs and everything in between!

  • Ethnic foods in Quincy Market
  • Downtown historic Boston!
  • Street performances

Described by many as the #1 shopping experience in Boston, Faneuil Hall is like a bridge between the historic and contemporary sides of Boston.

Founded in 1742, the marketplace has developed in the bustling hub of activity seen today with charming local shops, an abundance of culinary styles, and special events year-round!


#16 – Spend a Day at the Boston Children’s Museum

Great thing to do in Boston with kids

  • Activities for all ages!
  • Opened in 1909
  • Even adults enjoy it!

Looking for how to keep kids amused and happy when traveling to Boston? The Children’s Museum is the place to go!

With great hands-on learning experiences, including a famous climbing activity allowing kids to channel their inner monkey (while staying safe!), parents, as well as adults, can all have fun here!


#17 – Take a Historic Trip to Plymouth

Take a Historic Trip to Plymouth

Take your trip all the way back to the beginning…

  • Great way to learn about history!
  • Fun day trip
  • Step back in time!

Have you ever tried to imagine what life might have been like for the pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower? Touring the Plymouth Colony lets you find out!

Get pictures at the Forefather’s Monument and learn about 17th century ways of life at the re-enactment site! It’s a great family trip everyone can enjoy.


#18 – Panoramic View from the Skywalk Observatory

A ‘cool’ thing to do in Boston in winter

  • 360-degree view!
  • Great family activity
  • Perfect photo opportunity!

The Prudential Tower is the giant of the Boston skyline and a great place to go for the best view in the city! If you visit in winter, you can stay warm inside and take advantage of the clearer air.

As long as you’re not afraid of heights, the Skyline Observatory has a jaw-dropping view out over Boston and the harbor, perfect for that post-card worthy photograph of your vacation!


#19 – Tour the Famous Fenway Park

Tour the Famous Fenway Park

Get your game on in Boston style!

  • Must-do for sports fans!
  • Go behind the scenes
  • “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”

A historic and iconic landmark of Boston, Fenway Park isn’t just for baseball fans!

Take a tour to learn more about the history of the baseball stadium, the famous Red Sox players, and the historic games held on this field!


#20 – Go Whale-Watching

Go Whale-Watching

A very cool thing to do in Boston

  • Humpback and finback whales
  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
  • Comfortable cruise ship

See the gentle giants of the ocean for yourself on a whale-watching tour in Boston! Whale migration patterns give you a better chance during specific times of the year, so it helps to plan in advance.

If you’re lucky, you might come away with some great photos of the whales and dolphins!


#21 – See a Show at the Boston Opera House

A top performance venue in Boston

  • Historic building!
  • Ballet to music concerts
  • International recognition!

Treat yourself to an unforgettable evening experience by attending one of the performances at the Boston Opera House!

The Boston Ballet is internationally famous and numerous Broadway production has made it to the stage. Look ahead to see what shows are scheduled during your time in Boston!


#22 – Guided walk of the Freedom Trail

Guided walk of the Freedom Trail

Pathway through the history of Boston

  • Top historic sites of the city
  • Guided by a professional!
  • Learn the backstories

The Freedom Trail of Boston marks all the city’s important monuments and sites associated with the founding of the city and the role it played in the American Revolution.

Visit the oldest public park in America, the Granary Burying Ground, and countless other sites all with a guide to explain the stories and significance along the way!


#23 – Visit Paul Revere’s House

One of the more unique things to do in Boston

  • Oldest house in Boston!
  • Built in 1680
  • Tour a fascinating museum!

A true treasure of Boston, the house of the patriot Paul Revere is a special landmark of the city.

Touring the house is a unique way to look back in history. No photos are allowed, so make sure you keep your eyes wide open to remember every bit of the experience!


#24 – Visit Martha’s Vineyard Island

Visit Martha’s Vineyard Island

  • Beautiful natural landscape
  • Interesting historic anecdotes!
  • Fun for all ages

Just a short ferry ride away from Boston is the historic island known as Martha’s Vineyard.

Learn about the indigenous people and their interactions with colonizers, take photos of the beautiful vistas and ancient stone walls, and tour the charming Gingerbread Cottages!


#25 – Stroll along the Waterfront Trail

One of the best cheap things to do in Boston

  • Great view of the skyline
  • Take a water taxi!
  • Perfect photo opportunities

Boston’s beautiful Waterfront Trail winds along the shore of the harbor, past the beaches, and beside the piers.

Especially in the evening when the city lights illuminate the water, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a walk and get some spectacular vacation photos!


#26 – Explore the City on Bike

Explore the City on Bike

A great physical activity in Boston

  • See lots in little time!
  • All the top monuments
  • Sight-seeing and exercising!

Get your exercise in during your vacation by participating in a fun biking tour around Boston!

As you traverse through the various neighborhoods, the guide can point out the top landmarks from the historic to the modern!


#27 – Spend a Day at the Museum of Fine Arts

  • Over 450,000 pieces of art!
  • One of the biggest museums in the US
  • Lose yourself in artwork!

Looking for a good indoor activity in Boston? It would be easy to spend a full day at the Museum of Fine Arts and still not see everything!

The enormous and comprehensive collection at the museum comes from all corners of the globe and ranges from ancient artifacts to cutting-edge modern pieces.


#28 – Eat Pizza in the North End

Eat Pizza in the North End

The best taste-sensation in the city

  • Award-winning pizza!
  • Oldest pizzeria in Boston
  • Pizza-lover’s dream!

The North End of Boston was historically the Italian neighborhood of the city, which is still evident in the delicious pizza!

There’s plenty of pizzerias to choose from, so why not take a tour to sample them all!? You can learn about the historic sites along the way while enjoying each slice.


#29 – Have a Historic Chocolate Experience at Captain Jackson’s

The allure of chocolate throughout history

Photo Credit – tripadvisor

  • Famous chocolate!
  • Learn about how to make chocolate
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth!

Want authentic colonial chocolate? Captain Jackson’s Historic Cholate Shop is the place to go!

All the way back to colonial times, this chocolate shop, named after the original owner, has been producing delicate suites to satisfy the sugar cravings of the United States!


#30 – Take a Day Trip to Newport, Rhode Island

Take a Day Trip to Newport, Rhode Island

A great way to see New England

  • Incredible mansions
  • See what style really means!
  • Beautiful coastline scenery

An easy way to get out of the traffic of Boston for the day, Newport is considered one of the most scenic attractions in New England.

Enjoy a guided tour to various high-class mansions, soak up the stunning waterfront, and learn about the fascinating history of the region!


#31 – International Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

International Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

  • Venetian palace style!
  • Amazing statues
  • European masterpieces

Looking for a slightly alternative museum experience? Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, highly acclaimed for its artwork from Medieval Europe and Asia.

From rare books to a stunning collection of statues held in the courtyard, you can discover one of Boston’s true gems!


Whether you’re traveling as a family or a solo adventurer, Boston is a great destination year-round for interesting history, nearby natural wonders, and a vibrant modern energy. Plan your vacation to Boston today for a truly memorable experience!

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About the Author Nicola Smart

Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!