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What to See & Do in Boston MA

You'll find plenty to interest you in Boston. The challenge is to arrange your time. Below is a short list by category of the top things to see and do.

Acorn Street, Beacon Hill, Boston MA
Acorn Street, Beacon Hill, Boston MA

Boston Itinerary Planner

If you have 1, 2, 3 or 5 days to spend in Boston, use my Boston Planner to plan your days. More...

Guided Tours

The Freedom Trail, a downtown walking tour, takes you to many spots and sights important to American colonial and revolutionary history, but you needn't walk when there are "trolleys," buses and even amphibious "ducks" to show you the sights. More...

Walking Tours

Besides the Freedom Trail, here are my suggested walks:


Beacon Hill to Faneuil Hall Walking Tour: see the major sights right in the city center

North End & Charlestown Walking Tour: Paul Revere's house, Old North Church, Bunker Hill and "Old Ironsides"

Boston Museums

Boston's museums are world-famous, whether you're looking for ancient art, the latest in cutting-edge design, scientific wonders, or a marvelous museum built just for kids. More...

Parks & Gardens

Everyone knows Boston Common, but that famous central park is only one of the jewels in Boston's "Emerald Necklace," seven miles (11 km) of urban green spaces designed by landscape artist Frederick Law Olmsted. More...

Boats & Cruises

Boston Harbor Islands

The islands in Boston harbor have walking paths, picnic areas, swimming beaches, camping areas, and even a Civil War fortress.

If you have several summer days to spend in Boston and the weather is good, consider a half-day or day-long excursion to the islands.

From early May to mid October, Boston's Best Cruises ferries depart Long Wharf-North Pier and Quincy with service to the islands. In high summer, there's also service from Hingham and Hull on the South Shore. More...

Boston Harbor Cruises boat, Boston MA
A harbor cruise boat motors into Boston Harbor....

Whale Watch Cruises

Several companies operate whale watching cruises from Boston, including the prominent Boston Harbor Cruises. More...

Boston Harbor Ferryboats

The MBTA's F4 Long Wharf—Charlestown Navy Yard ferry can take you in 10 minutes from Long Wharf, near the New England Aquarium in Boston, to Charlestown Navy Yard to visit the USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") and the Bunker Hill Monument. It saves you a 1-mile (1.6-km), 25-minute walk and gives you a mini-cruise of Boston Harbor as well.

Commuter ferries also operate between Boston and the South Shore cities of Hingham, Quincy and Hull.

Ferry to Salem

The Salem Ferry runs between Boston and Salem on the Massachusetts North Shore during the warm months, offering an attractive 45-minute maritime alternative to visiting Salem by Commuter Rail.

Ferry to Provincetown, Cape Cod

In summer, both Bay State Cruises and Boston Harbor Cruises run fast ferries from Boston to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod.

Cruise Ships

Ocean-going cruise ships dock at Cruiseport Boston, formerly known as the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal.


Downtown Crossing may be Boston's most central place to shop, but there are many more, including such upscale boutique collections as Newbury Street, Copley Place and the Prudential Center. More...

Concerts, Events & Festivals

The Boston Symphony Orchestra season runs from October to May, followed by concerts on the Charles River Esplanade, especially the Boston Pops' July 4th concert with cannons and fireworks. Then there's First Night, and the Boston Marathon on Patriots Day.

Boston for Kids

The traditional kids' delight is a Swan Boat cruise on the lake in the Public Garden, setting for the children's classic storybook, Make Way for Ducklings. Something wilder? Climb aboard a WWII amphibious vehicle for a Duck Tour.

Architectural Highlights

Beacon Hill, its quaint streets lined with 19th-century Federal and Greek Revival townhouses

Massachusetts State House (1798), Charles Bulfinch's gold-domed masterpiece

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston's "stomach" in 1825, now restored (1970s) to be its "palate"

Old North Church (1723), Boston's oldest, most graceful and historic

Trinity Church (1877), Henry Hobson Richardson's harmonious Romanesque Revival masterpiece

John Hancock Tower (1974), the towering mirror-glass rhomboid designed by I M Pei and Partners

Christian Science Center, with its dignified Mother Church, reflecting pool, and clean-lined tower