Since Beantown is one of this city’s most famous nicknames, you probably assume that everything here revolves around food or beans at least. Although Boston’s food scene is delicious, it is not the only thing worth exploring. Whether you’re just visiting or recently moved here, you’re certainly curious to find out what all the exciting things to do in Boston are? That is why we tried to cover all the categories and activities that might be interesting to a newcomer in our list of the top 15 stuff to do in the Massachusetts capital.
Those who travel to B-town can enjoy this Harbor view or go on an evening cruise and join events on the water.
We all have a different definition of fun. Some are looking for outdoor activities or an adrenaline rush, while others see the joy and beauty in strolling around parks or visiting museums. It all depends on your preferences. But the good news is that cities such as B-town usually offer a great variety of different activities so there is something for everyone.
Is Boston Worth Visiting?
As the capital city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its most populous place with around 4.3 million residents in the metro area, Beantown is undoubtedly a place to be. Although it was first named Trimountaine, after the three surrounding mountains, it got its present name in the 17th century after a town in Lincolnshire, England, from where some of the most prominent colonists came from. Today, it is known as Beantown, The Athens of America, The Cradle of Liberty, America’s Walking City, and many more nicknames that point out some of its characteristics.
So, is it worth visiting? Of course, every place has something that makes it worth visiting. And sometimes, the places we expect the least from positively surprise us the most. Those of you who are planning your moving budget and looking at some moving day tips to avoid common moving mistakes before moving to Boston are probably already familiar with the perks of being a Bostonian. Although our list contains “only” 15 recommendations, you will certainly discover much more great stuff on your own as you roam around B-town.
Take it slowly and spend some time by the lake, B-town is home to some beautiful parks, and we strongly recommend exploring them all.
What Is Boston Famous For?
Every place has something that makes it stand out, but there is not quite a place in the US that is home to so many firsts as B-town. Therefore, we can conclude that Bostonians are rather trendsetters than followers. The first public park, first public school, first subway, first telephone, are only some of the firsts that paved the path on which the city is now, as one of the top cities in the world in terms of innovation.
There are plenty of things to see or do around Beantown while house-hunting and no time for getting relocation depression. From parks to museums, street art, and some typical tourist attractions. Take a stroll around the Harbor, visit the historic neighborhood Beacon Hill, join some of the free walking tours, or just wander around and see where it takes you, you can’t go wrong. In case you have planned a memorable sightseeing tour, it is not a bad idea to take a break and visit some of the best restaurants in Boston and try the famous baked beans.
From the Museum of Fine Arts to street vendors, Quincy Market and Freedom Trail, this place has so much to offer.
15 Best Things to Do in Boston: From Paying a Visit to the Public Market to a Museum Tour, There’s Fun on Every Corner
To show the true range of activities in B-town, we gathered 15 recommendations covering all categories and fields of interest. Art lovers, nature lovers, history aficionados, food enthusiasts, and many others will quickly realize why B-town can easily become their cup of tea. So, without any particular order, let’s start.
#1 Spend the Day in the Public Garden
Although gardens and parks are not everyone’s definition of fun times, this garden comes with a long history, and it is locals’ favorite spot for outdoor activities. Created in 1634, these gardens were modified during the Victorian Age, with the help of the recently formed Parks and Recreation Department. They paid particular attention to creating colorful floral patterns, introduced new techniques, and started importing more exotic species of plants and trees. If you don’t know how to cope with stress when moving, visit this oasis to reset your mind. Multiple fountains, lakes, plenty of benches, and picnic areas, are just some reasons why this garden is worth visiting and they are available no matter if you move during the holidays or in summer. Also, if you are moving with your dog, you can take them out for a walk here.
#2 Go on a Tour Around Fenway Park
Fenway Park is a must for all baseball fans, even if they are not precisely Red Sox fans. Although this is a small stadium that seats only 40,000 viewers, it is the oldest park in Major League Baseball history and a must-see for any baseball fan. The tour includes a visit to the stadium, press room, clubhouse, and the famous seats above the “Green Monster” that offer a spectacular view.
#3 Visit the Old North Church
The Christ Church, also known as the Old North Church, is one of the most visited historical sites in B-town visited by more than a half-million tourists every year. The church was founded in 1722, and the architecture was inspired by the work of British architect Christopher Wren, but it is most known for being the first stop on Paul Revere’s “Midnight Ride.” This interesting church interior is also home to George Washington’s bust, so make sure to make a shortstop.
#4 Go on One of Many Brewery Tours
Whether you opt for a day or evening option, these tours are certainly a different way to experience B-town. Like everywhere else, the brewery scene is booming, and this is a great way to learn all about it. Discover how to make your beer, hear first-hand experience from the owners, and enjoy a pleasant lunch or dinner with a group of fellow beer lovers. You can expect to try around 15 to 20 different beers, and don’t worry; you won’t have to do a lot of walking.
#5 Explore Beautiful Beacon Hill
When moving to a big city, we all expect a lot of skyscrapers, lots of glass, steel, and modern buildings. However, neighborhoods like Beacon Hill are quite the opposite. This historic area is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in B-town, especially among families. So it is not really the best place to live in Boston for singles, but it is certainly worth taking a walk around these brick-paved sidewalks and admiring these Federal-style row homes. Who knows, you might even end up moving into a smaller home in this charming area.
#6. Enjoy the Best Views From Skywalk Observatory
For a 360-degree view over B-town, go to the Pru, or the Prudential Tower, on top of which the Observatory is settled. If you want to learn more about the local history, audio-guided tours in multiple languages are available. It is nice to go there during the daytime, but perhaps even better during the evening when the city lights are in full glitter.
#7 Feeling Hungry? Yummy Walks Will Make Sure All Your Cravings Are Satisfied
If you are here for a few days and have no idea where to eat, or are just lazy to unpack after a move and cook, here’s a great way to find out more about the culinary scene. In almost four hours, you will meet the North End from head to toe, and sample various Italian dishes that made this district widely famous. And there’s also dessert in the end, of course. Similar tours are available through Chinatown for those who prefer Chinese and Taiwanese dishes and snacks.
#8 Stroll Around the Famous Quincy Market
Located in Boston’s historic area, near Faneuil Hall in Downtown, the Quincy Market is a great place where you can find souvenirs and taste the local cuisine. Always lively, this two-story tall building was built in 1824 and named by Mayor Josiah Quincy. You can also find tables for chess and other board games if you’re here with a family and want to play some board games.
#9 Go on a Cruise to Experience B-town From Another Perspective
If you’re not into walking or joining a guided tour, perhaps looking for a sightseeing cruise or one of many harbor tours might be the right thing for you. Although you won’t experience the Beantown first-hand while on a boat, these tours offer a different way of getting to know the city. Besides a brief story from a tour guide, all cruises offer some extras such as drinks, food, dancing, or live music, so it is a great way to spend an evening. Additionally, if you and your partner are moving in together you can surprise them with this fun and unique activity.
#10 Run a Marathon
There is hardly a marathon that is more famous than the one in B-town because it is the oldest annual marathon. The first one was held in 1897, and while it usually happens in April, 2020 is going to be an exception since it is currently scheduled for September due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But that only gives you more time to prepare for it, and be one of the thousands of people who come here from all over the world to run and cheer on the streets of B-town. If you just want to watch, the most exceptional view is from Heartbreak Hill.
#11 Taste the Finest Chocolate at the Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop
Want to learn how chocolate was made during colonial times? This small shop close to the Old North Church preserves the old tradition of chocolate manufacturing and eating, and can be an excellent experience for all ages. Well educated staff dressed in appropriate clothes will help you get a sense of how revolutionary patriots consumed chocolate in the 18 century. This won’t take much of your time, perhaps half an hour, but this is something that can’t be experienced anywhere else in New England.
#12 Watch the Boston Ballet Show
This is another “first” associated with B-town since this was the first professional ballet company in New England, and also the first US dance company that performed in China. The Nutcracker is their most famous performance, and it also won the award for the “Best Loved Nutcracker Production in the US” in 2009. The troupe members are dancers from all over the world, counting around 20 nationalities, and you can enjoy their show at the Opera House.
#13 One of the Things You Shouldn’t Skip – Museum of Fine Arts
It is the largest museum in North America and its art collection, counting more than 450,00 artworks. It is enormous, and you can easily spend several hours there, so make sure to wear some comfortable walking shoes. This stunning collection treasures some of the most famous artworks, from French impressionists to large Pompei frescoes. Even if you’re not into arts, this is something you should not miss while here. Ticket prices are reasonable; children up to 6 years old can enter the museum for free, while adults pay $25 for a ticket. For youth (7-17) there are special discounts and free entrance on weekends and workdays after 3 PM.
#14 For Something Different, Visit an 18th Century Print Shop
If you like to explore hidden gems and something besides the main attractions, the Printing Office of Edes & Gill has to be on your list. Every printmaker is dressed in colonial attire and ready to demonstrate how the printing press worked in colonial times. It is close to the Old North Church in the historic Clough House building, dating from 1713.
#15 Have a Good Laugh at Some of the Comedy Clubs
You can go to one of many veteran comedy clubs or to a bar that has weekly comedy night and have a portion of a good laugh. Going to one of these events is a great way to wrap up your stay in B-town. Making other people laugh is art, and not everyone can do that, but these comedy events won’t let you down for sure. If you are moving for a relationship and looking for a way to celebrate that transition, make sure you bring your partner to the club.
You can discover something new on every corner since every street is different, and attractions are aplenty
How Do I Spend a Day in Boston?
A day is not enough to see everything in B-town, but if you only have one day to visit this big city before actually moving there, that is still something. Take a look at some of the suggestions on our list and pick the ones that draw you the most. Check on the map what spots are close, so you don’t waste a lot of time on the commute. Don’t pressure yourself to see everything in less than 24 hours; that is not possible. While still adjusting to the new state, take it easy, and plan a day with activities you like, not tourist traps or attractions that will take too much of your time. Make sure that you check how safe a neighborhood is before going there.
Start your adventure with a cup of proper coffee in a quiet, charming street, and then go on to conquer B-town.
What to Do With Kids in Boston
B-town ranks high in terms of walkability, and green areas which make it great for families who travel with kids. But if you are looking for a way to fulfill your time and keep the youngest ones entertained, these are the attractions you should not miss:
Explore Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Go to the Children’s Museum
Go to The Paint Bar
Explore the Mapparium
Spend some time at the Franklin Park Zoo
Kids can significantly impact the way we travel and change our travel plans, so take it easy and don't make a schedule too tight.
Beantown on a Budget
Big cities are full of opportunities for exciting events, but most of them come at a particular cost. One ticket is not much, but when you pay a ticket for this, a ticket for that, it quickly piles up and turns into a considerable expense. Therefore, we went above and beyond to find things and events that are entirely or almost free to do. So let’s take a look at how you can get to know B-town on a budget.
Go for a walk along the Freedom Trail – on its 2.5 miles, the red-bricked Freedom Trails leads you through even 16 historical sites that will tell you everything you need to know about B-town’s history. There are organized tours, but you can also download a podcast that will guide you through the trail.
Explore Harvard – Harvard is, by far, one of the most famous universities in the world and the oldest one in the US, founded in 1636. A guided free tour will provide you with all the necessary information, great for students to be.
Black Heritage Trail – with 14 sites around Beacon Hill, this walking adventure will take you on a journey that will teach you a lot about African-American history. Also, it is essential to mention that Massachusets was the first state to declare slavery illegal in 1783.
Go to the beach – if you find yourself here during those hot summer months, take public transportation and go to the Revere Beach or Winthrop and feel the breeze.
Go ice skating – for those who are here around winter, it is good to know that ice skating rink at Harvard is free to use. However, you have to rent skates for $5, but it is still a great deal if you enjoy skating on the ice.
You can still have a good time without spending too much money, so go out, leave the house, and see what you can do without spending a dollar.
What Not to Do in Beantown
When you were deciding where to move, you picked the right place. However, you’ll always find a bunch of recommendations for the good stuff, but no one tells you what not to do, or where you not to go. That is why we decided to warn you in time so that eventually we can say told you so.
Don’t even try to imitate their accent; they won’t appreciate it.
Don’t insult the local sports teams.
Don’t ride rented bikes on sidewalks.
Don’t come here for a summer beach vacation; the ocean is freezing.
Avoid visiting B-town in winter, unless you enjoy cold weather, snow, and wind.
Don’t stress too much about jaywalking, it’s not a big deal, and fines are low.
Beans are great, but don’t just stick to one dish; there’s excellent fresh seafood as well.
Every town has its house rules, and B-town is not an exception.