The top 5 things to do in Boston

One of America's oldest cities is bursting with things to do
Boston harbor

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Dripping with history, unequivocally passionate, and forever at the forefront of US culture, this is a special city.

Few places conjure the past like Boston, which proudly clings to its role in the American Revolution, but don’t be mistaken – it’s very much facing forwards. Innovation thrives along its cobblestone streets, modern art adorns its historic galleries, and the world is changed in the labs and classrooms of its two most famous universities.

But aside from its importance, Boston is a joy to experience. Its European layout allows the city’s personality to flow from bar to street to bay, letting you feel, with no doubts, that you’re in The City on a Hill.

Welcome to Boston.

5 things you can’t miss in Boston

Walk through Boston’s history

Boston commons

Boston has more than enough going for it to keep you occupied at the best of times, but if you’re not checking out some of the historical aspects of the city, you’re missing out.

The city found itself at the center of some of the most important events in American history, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about them and see the places firsthand. The best place to start is the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long route through the historic heart of Boston. It’s a great way to get your bearings in the city and check out the seventeen historical sites on the way.

Starting in Boston Commons, where British soldiers once set up camp, going through the Old State House, Paul Revere House, and the USS Constitution, all the way to Bunker Hill, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the events preceding the War for Independence, like the Boston Tea Party, and the Boston Massacre.

You can walk the trail yourself, but for the most in-depth experience, grab one of the many tours available. There is an array of different options depending on your interest level, so do some research. Once you’re done there, go for a wander around the beautiful Beacon Hill, you won’t regret it.

Catch a game… or four

Few cities have a sporting tradition like Boston’s. Even if you can’t tell your touchdowns from your free throws, there’s almost no way you haven’t heard the names of Boston’s storied teams.

A game at Fenway Park should be at the top of the list. Arguably the most famous baseball stadium in the world, the Boston Red Sox have called it home since 1912, cultivating one of the most passionate fanbases in the sport, so expect an electric atmosphere at any time of the year. At best, you’ll catch a home run ball; at worst, it’s a brilliant day out.

The Patriots can’t be ignored when talking about Boston sports. The most successful NFL team of all time, albeit without Tom Brady, is always worth watching. Tickets are likely to be a bit pricey, but if you’re around in the Fall, why not grab some?

Elsewhere, the Boston Celtics NBA team provides an atmospheric night out, and the Bruins dish out the adrenaline-pumping excitement of the NHL. You have to grab at least one game while you’re there.

Live the island life

boston harbor islands

Okay, so it might not be the Caribbean, but Boston Harbor is home to thirty-four islands ripe for exploration. Only eight of them are currently accessible to the public, but there’s more than enough to keep you occupied. Just hop on one of the water taxis.

Georges Island is by far the most popular island. The 55-acre lump of land hosts Fort Warren, a prison during the Civil War, which can be explored via a ranger-led tour. It’s also supposed to be haunted by “The Lady in Black,” a woman supposedly executed there for trying to free her husband during the war.

For a more outdoorsy getaway, Spectacle Island should be your choice. Double the size of Georges Island, visitors can enjoy over five miles of trails, stunning views of Boston itself, and even a beach to enjoy the vistas from.

Little Brewster Island is the furthest from Boston of all the islands. It’s only accessible by organized island tours but is well worth the trip. The main attraction here is the lighthouse, the first in the United States, named Boston Light. It’s still functioning and manned today – a rarity.

Get cultural at the Museum of Fine Art

van gogh painting of posstman

If you’re a little more artistically inclined, there are few better places to be than Boston. It’s home to a multitude of art galleries, but few can top the Museum of Fine Art.

It’s the twentieth largest museum in the world, so if you’re an art-nut, set aside most of your day. If you’re a little more passive, skip through and check out the highlights, like Van Gogh’s Postman Portrait or the emotional “The Slave Ship” by Turner.

Harvard also has its own art galleries, which are worth a look for the sake of seeing Harvard alone, and there’s also a contemporary art museum for those with a few more abstract concepts in mind.

Hop down to the Samuel Adams Brewery

brewery pour

You already know Boston was home to the American Revolution. But you might not know that the Craft Beer Revolution also finds its roots here. Although a few breweries would contest that statement (Sierra Nevada, we’re looking at you), there’s no doubt that Sam Adams has pumping out some of the best beer for some time now.

Why not swing by the brewery on your next trip. Not only will you get a chance to see and learn how the beer is made, you’ll have the opportunity to try some limited edition small batch beers not found anywhere else.

There’s a wide selection of tours to choose from. You can stay simple or go big with the VIP treatment, Those picking the pricier options are treated to some experimental tipples and can even take a few cans home right off the production line.

There’s even a haunted tour, if you think beer and ghosts go well together.

Want to uncover the best of Boston?

Check out Next Stop: Boston for the best places to stay, eat, and explore in Boston!

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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