Looking to take a modern trek along the streets where Paul Revere took his famous midnight ride? Curious what more there is to do in Boston than visit the "Cheers" bar and catch a Red Sox game? Stacker tapped a Boston native to lead a tour through the Massachusetts capital with 30 must-see stops. The comprehensive list, designed for history buffs and tourists alike, shows off the city's rich past, natural beauty, expansive culture, and world-class cuisine.
Visitors can stroll along the Freedom Trail and learn about key events of the American Revolution, before stopping at Paul Revere’s House or visiting old souls at the Granary Burial grounds. The tour also offers great activities for lazy afternoons, whether it's hopping aboard the Swan Boats in the Public Garden's lagoon or strolling through Beacon Hill or South Boston neighborhoods. There is plenty here to keep travelers busy, and a few fun places that may even be new for lifelong Bostonians. Read on for inspiration for your next visit to Bean Town.
Learn about 250 years of history and key events of the American Revolution on the Freedom Trail. The trail is a 2.5-mile red line that ribbons around Boston and leads to 16 historic sites. Highlights include Boston Common, the USS Constitution, and Paul Revere’s House.
Boston’s North End is a multicultural neighborhood best known for its narrow streets, rich history, and plethora of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. The North End is a popular spot on Boston’s Freedom Trail enjoyed by 3.2 million visitors each year.Lucca is just one of the Italian restaurants lining Hanover Street, the heart of Boston's Little Italy.
Faneuil Hall is a vibrant marketplace where locals and tourists have been enjoying music, restaurants, boutiques, and pubs since its revitalization in 1976. Street performers and musicians entertain along the cobblestone promenade. A popular place to grab a bite to eat is Quincy Market, where visitors can find 18 restaurants and 35 colonnade eateries, including Boston’s famous clam chowder.
Beacon Hill, Boston's stony residential area, is best known for its historical landmarks, antique shops, boutiques, eateries, and bars. Tourists flock to see the charming neighborhood boasting a variety of architectural styles including Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian. The iconic bar, Cheers, that served as an inspiration for its namesake TV show, is located in Beacon Hill.
Boston Public Garden, the first public botanical garden in the United States, is a lovely spot to spend an afternoon. Tourists can take a ride on the famous Swan Boats and stop to see the "Make Way for Ducklings” bronze statues created by Boston artist Nancy Schön. The garden is also home to the "Good Will Hunting” bench where Robin Williams delivered his speech to Matt Damon.
A stop to the site where the first rumblings of the American Revolution began is on the top of the list for many visitors to Boston. Old North Church is Boston’s oldest surviving church and is found along the Freedom Trail. Made famous by Paul Revere’s midnight ride, Old North Church is the most visited historic site in Boston.
Visitors to Boston come to Bunker Hill to stand on the grounds of what many consider the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. Intrepid tourists can climb the 294 stairs to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument and take a moment to reflect on a poignant chapter in American history.
Boston’s Chinatown is the third largest Chinatown in the United States. An easy walk from Boston’s downtown shopping district, Chinatown’s signature gates welcome visitors to a neighborhood full of restaurants offering Chinese favorites simmering with great flavors.
Fenway Park is the home of the Boston Red Sox. The oldest surviving stadium in Major League Baseball, Fenway Park has gone through many renovations since it was opened in 1912. In 1947, the left field wall was painted green and earned the moniker the "Green Monster,” which became one of the park’s most iconic features.
Once a fort in colonial times, the Fort Point neighborhood is brimming with warehouses that are home to art studios and galleries. Activities include a visit to the Children’s Museum or the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museums. Beer aficionados can also pop by Trillium Brewing Company’s flagship brewery or listen to music at Lucky’s Lounge.
Visitors looking to get a glimpse of Boston’s modern skyline and waterfront can stop by the rooftop at the Envoy Hotel. The panoramic view is open all year long, as LED igloos are installed in the winter.
The Institute of Contemporary Art’s history stretches back to 1936 when it was founded as the Boston Museum of Modern Art, a sister to New York’s MoMA. It was renamed the Institute of Contemporary Art in 1948. In 2006, a new building was constructed on Boston’s waterfront that expanded the scope and size of ICA’s exhibitions and programs, making it the go-to destination to experience contemporary art in Boston.
Those looking to discover local flavor should stop by SoWa Art + Design District to find art studios, galleries, boutiques, design showrooms, and eateries. Popular events include SoWa Open Market, SoWa First Fridays, and SoWa Art Walk.
Boston’s Back Bay is one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods featuring boutiques, restaurants, and brownstone homes. Newbury Street is one of the main attractions featuring upscale shops, cafes, and restaurants. Landmarks include Trinity Church, the Prudential Center, and the Boston Public Library.
Boston Public Library, the first large free library in the U.S., is a National Historic Landmark. The library contains more than 1.2 million rare books and documents, as well as paintings, tapestries, and sculptures. John Adams’ personal library is also housed at the library along with original music scores from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sergei Prokofiev, and many others.
The Esplanade is a three-mile stretch of public green along the Charles River. A perfect spot for walking, running or hiking, visitors can enjoy picnics on the green and concerts in front of the iconic Hatch Memorial Shell.
The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is heralded as one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world, boasting almost 500,000 works of art. Visited by over 1 million people each year, the MFA features numerous collections and exhibits, including one of the largest collections of Claude Monet outside of France.
Visitors to the Mary Baker Eddy Library will gain a unique perspective of the world at the three-story Boston landmark globe. Tourists can explore the Earth at its center, surrounded by continents and oceans, all from the bridge of the giant, stained glass sphere. Since 1935, more than 10 million people have crossed the 30-foot-long glass bridge.
Granary Burial Ground, Boston’s third oldest cemetery, was built in the 1660s. The cemetery has only 2,300 markers, though it is estimated that more than 5,000 people have made it their final resting stop. Visitors can pay their respects to Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams. Although a large obelisk bears the name of Benjamin Franklin, he is actually buried in Philadelphia.
New England’s largest sports and entertainment arena, TD Garden is best known as the home of the NHL’s Boston Bruins and NBA’s Boston Celtics. More than 3.5 million people a year visit TD Garden to enjoy concerts, sporting events, and family shows.
Visitors can stand in the footprints of George Washington, John Adams, and General Lafayette at oldest American parkthe U.S.’ oldest park. Boston Common still remains a stage for free speech and public assembly, though it has evolved from a common ground for cow grazing and public hangings to a popular green space to play ball, ice skate, and enjoy the wonder of nature.
Southie is often depicted as a rough neighborhood in movies and television shows—think "Good Will Hunting,” "The Departed,” and "Ray Donovan.” But the neighborhood where George Washington’s army set up cannons in 1776 is now a desirable area serving as home to Fort Point, beaches, and parks.
Boston’s Museum of Science is one of the world's largest science centers and New England's most visited cultural institution. The Museum introduces more than 1.4 million visitors a year to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) through the world-class, hands-on exhibits and programs. Visitors can enjoy IMAX films, planetarium shows, live presentations, and interactive permanent exhibits.
Trinity Church, located in Boston’s Back Bay, is renowned for its history and architectural splendor. The National Historic Landmark building is considered one of this country’s top 10 buildings by the American Association of Architects. Almost 300 years after it was built, Trinity Church is an active parish with numerous services on Sunday, as well as a few during the week.
The USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat. It is located inside Boston Historical Park as part of the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown. "Old Ironsides” is free and open to the public. There is also a museum next door where visitors can learn more about the history of the USS Constitution.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway stretches for a mile and a half of contemporary parks that ribbon through the heart of Boston. Highlights include a rooftop garden atop a highway, food trucks, the Trillium Garden, Greenway Carousel, and numerous fountains. Tours are held May through September.
Tourists can visit Fort Independence, enjoy a picnic, take in the view, or watch planes take off from Logan International Airport. Those who visit Castle Island on July 4 can witness Old Ironsides take its annual cruise from the Charlestown Naval Yard and enjoy a great seat for the fireworks.
A great way to explore the city of Boston is to board one of the famous Duck Tours. Highlights include Beacon Hill, Boston Common, Newbury Street, Quincy Market, the Prudential Tower, and a splash in the Charles River. Winning Boston sports teams take their victory ride on the World War II-style amphibious vehicles.