Best places to visit in Boston: top attractions you don't want to miss

Don’t miss any of the best places to visit in Boston with this roundup of 20 awesome attractions, from Fenway Park to the Freedom Trail.

Planning a visit to the capital of Massachusetts? There are plenty of attractions to keep you entertained during your stay. From essential sights and historic landmarks dating back to the time of the American Revolution to some of the biggest museums and exhibitions in the USA, there's something for everyone with these 20 places to visit in Boston.

Best places in Boston for history

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1. Fenway Park

You don't have to be a baseball fan to feel inspired by Fenway Park. Home of the Boston Red Sox, it's one of the largest sporting venues in the United States and has been a local landmark for more than a century.

Highlights:

tour of Fenway Park with help you discover everything about the history of the stadium, along with the famous bitters and fielders who've played here. You'll even be able to peek behind the scenes and explore more than 170,000 unique artifacts and photographs.

Address and opening hours:

40-20 Jersey St, Boston. Open seven days a week, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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2. The Freedom Trail

Boston has an incredibly rich history, dating back to the 1600s. It's generally considered the birthplace of the American Revolution, with many important landmarks from that pivotal era still standing. If you're eager for some sightseeing, taking a stroll along Boston's Freedom Trail is a must.

Highlights:

A walking tour will show you all 16 official sites are included on this tour, including the Old North Church, King's Chapel, the Benjamin Franklin Statue, and more.

Address and opening hours:

10-1/2 Beacon St, Boston. Opening times vary.

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3. Boston Harbour

Boston's waterfront is just as inspiring as its storied history. Combine the best of both by taking to the water and savoring the sights from a unique vantage point. If you want to avoid the crowds at the usual tourist attractions, Boston's beautiful harbors are the way to go.

Highlights:

You'll be able to enjoy panoramic views of the Boston skyline on a sightseeing cruise without having to contend with the crowds. What's more, you'll sail through the Harbor Islands National Park Area and pass by maritime museums like the USS Constitution.

Address and opening hours:

One Long Wharf, Boston. Opening times vary.

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4. Plimoth Patuxet Living History Museums

This immersive museum experience shines a light on the rich history of the region, with separate exhibits dedicated to the Native peoples who called the area home for more than 12,000 years.

Highlights:

Explore the Mayflower II, a stunning replica of the 17th-century vessel that first brought the Pilgrims to the United States. Reenactors bring the story of the Mayflower to life, and local artisans discuss reviving long-forgotten historic crafts.

Address and opening hours:

137 Warren Ave, Plymouth. Open seven days a week, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.

Best places in Boston for art

5. Institute of Contemporary Art

The Boston Museum of Modern Art lies in the Seaport District, with breathtaking views of Boston Harbour. Here, you'll find pieces for seminal contemporary artists, including Eva Hesse, Nick Cave, and the legendary Andy Warhol.

Highlights:

The Institute of Contemporary Art is renowned for its thematic exhibitions, bringing together an eclectic selection of pieces from established artists and emerging talent.

Address and opening hours:

25 Harbor Shore Dr, Boston. Open seven days a week, opening times vary.

6. Harvard Art Museums

Harvard is home to one of the most important art museums outside of central Boston. There are three museums in all, with more than 250,000 unique works on permanent display.

Highlights:

Collectively, the Harvard Art Museums boasts one of the biggest collections of art in North America. The oldest of the three venues, the Fogg Museum, is renowned for its decorative arts, prints, photographs, and Western works. Some of the pieces on show here date back to the Middle Ages.

Address and opening hours:

Cambridge, MA. Open seven days a week, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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7. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Once fined to a single floor of the Boston Athenaeum, this museum now stands as one of the largest art collections in the United States. You'll find artifacts from Ancient Egypt, signature pieces from French impressionists, and much more.

Highlights:

Visit the Museum of Fine Arts to see the expansive collection of historical instruments. The museum also houses the largest collection of Japanese artworks outside of Asia.

Address and opening hours:

465 Huntington Ave, Boston. Open Wednesday-Monday. Hours vary. Closed Tuesdays.

8. Museum of African American History

This building was once one of the few Black churches in Boston. In 1972, it was turned into a museum and subsequently declared a National Historic Landmark. It's one of the largest museums of its kind in New England and offers a fascinating insight into African Americans living throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.

Highlights:

The Museum of African American History provides insights about people you won't read about in textbooks. There are unique exhibits, along with a packed educational program for first-time and returning visitors.

Address and opening hours:

46 Joy St, Boston. Open seven days a week, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM.

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9. Gardner Museum

This beautiful museum is a shrine to tapestries, sculptures, and paintings from diverse countries. Built in the early 1900s, it quickly welcomed works from the likes of Botticelli. Today, the collection includes thousands of paintings, ceramics, rare books, and more.

Highlights:

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has one of the largest and most expensive art collections in North America. In fact, the museum was targeted by thieves in 1990, when artworks from the likes of Rembrandt, Manet, and Degas were stolen.

Address and opening hours:

25 Evans Way, Boston. Open Wednesday-Monday. Times vary. Closed Tuesdays

Best places in Boston for families

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10. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

This immersive museum experience will entertain adults and youngsters alike. Watch historical reenactors bring the story of the Tea Party and the American Revolution to life before your very eyes.

Highlights:

A museum tour allows you to interact with live performers and 3D holograms as one of America's most important chapters is retold.

Address and opening hours:

306 Congress St, Boston. Open seven days a week, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM.

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11. Franklin Park Zoo

Franklin Park Zoo is one of Boston's most family-friendly attractions and boasts more than 220 different species, with animals from just about every corner of the globe.

Highlights:

There are several major exhibits like the Tropical Forest, which contains species from across the African continent, including western lowland gorillas, ocelots, dwarf crocodiles, and more. The Outback Trail has red kangaroos and red-necked wallabies.

Address and opening hours:

1 Franklin Park Rd, Boston. Open seven days a week, opening times vary.

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12. Boston Children's Museum

Children enjoy coming here for the Construction Zone, New Balance Climb, and Art Studio attractions.

Highlights:

The Boston Children Museum has exhibits celebrating cultures and history from across the globe.

Address and opening hours:

308 Congress St, Boston. Open seven days a week, 9:00 AM-4:30 PM.

Best places in Boston for culture

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13. Boch Center Wang Theater

Opened in 1925, this theater has become a standout Boston landmark and was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. It boasts one of the largest stages in the United States but is comparatively intimate compared with other live performance venues.

Highlights:

Go behind the scenes and get insights about the theater's architectural details before you're introduced to the Folk Americana Roots Hall of Fame.

Address and opening hours:

270 Tremont St, Boston. Seven days a week, 12:00 PM-6:00 PM.

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14. View Boston

Venture to the iconic Prudential Tower in the heart of Boston's Back Bay. Ascend the 52nd floor for one of the city's greatest viewpoints, offering unspoiled panoramic views across the downtown, coast, and beyond.

Highlights:

Make sure to get entry to the stunning 360-degree viewing decks and access to an Open Doors theater experience.

Address and opening hours:

Prudential Tower, 800 Boylston St, Boston. Open daily, 10:00 AM-10:00 PM.

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14. Back Bay

Back Bay remains one of the most affluent and sought-after zip codes in the city. Stroll past rows of Victorian brownstones, peek through the windows of independent art galleries, and shop for souvenirs at local boutiques.

Highlights:

Take a culture-focused walking tour to discover about this corner of Boston. Learn about the history of some of Boston's best-preserved green spaces and do your bit by supporting local businesses.

Address and opening hours:

Copley Square, Boston. Opening hours vary.

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20. MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been the preferred destination for aspiring engineers, architects, and scientists for many years. More than a university, it’s basically reached legend status.

Highlights:

Go on a tour to discover what goes on at one of the world's most prestigious universities and get the lowdown about the latest research that's being pioneered here.

Address and opening hours:

20 Ames St, Cambridge.

FAQs

How many days should I spend in Boston?

A quick trip lasting just a few days is more than enough to take in the best sights and must-visit attractions. Even if you don't manage to cram it all in, you'll have plenty to do during your next visit.

What is the best time of year to visit Boston?

Boston welcomes visitors all year round. However, many find the city comes into its own during late summer. Why not schedule a trip for September or October so you can soak in the beauty of the New England fall?

How do I get around Boston?

Boston has its own rapid transit system, colloquially known as the T. This network boasts more than 150 stations dotted around Greater Boston. You'll also find an excellent bus network and ample taxis. Water taxis are another option.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Boston?

Head to Beacon Hill to take in the sights of the Massachusetts State House and Boston Common. If you're looking for dining options, head to Charleston. Alternatively, spend an afternoon in Jamaica Plain. This lively neighborhood has a huge range of independent coffee shops and eateries for when you need to recharge your batteries.

What are the best places to go shopping in Boston?

For one-of-a-kind souvenirs, head to the North End, Boston's very own Little Italy. For high-end fashion and designer labels, Back Bay is your best bet. For more affordable mementos, head to Copley Place.