21 Best Places To Visit In Boston, Massachusetts - Updated 2024

best places to visit in boston
Alyssandra Raiza
Alyssandra Raiza 
Updated
| 11 min read

Boston is one of the largest cities in the United States, home to over 700,000 people. It is also one of the oldest cities in the country - founded in 1632, it predates the founding of the country itself! It has seen many significant events, including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the Civil War. Historic structures, which include churches, houses, and government buildings, are reminders of this. Today, the city is a scientific and cultural powerhouse, being home to many famous and prestigious institutions such as Boston Public Library, Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There are many more sights and sounds to discover in this innovative city, and we’ve listed some of them here for you. Check out the best places to visit in Boston, Massachusetts!

1. Robert Gould Shaw Memorial - contributed by Tour Guide, Naim Benmayor

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, Boston
Source: Naim Benmayor

A great attraction that shouldn’t be missed during your trip to Boston is the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. This memorial pays tribute to the valor of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry under the leadership of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Established shortly after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the 54th stood as one of the first African American units in the Civil War and even included the son of the influential leader Frederick Douglass.

On the fateful evening of July 18, 1863, the 54th bravely led the assault on Fort Wagner, which guarded access to the port of Charleston, South Carolina. Shaw, at the forefront of the charge, ultimately became one of the first casualties. Almost half of the men were captured, declared missing, or succumbed to wounds sustained that day.

The courage displayed by the 54th Massachusetts became a poignant rallying point for African Americans who longed for the chance to fight for freedom.

Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial

Address: Freedom Trail, Boston, MA 02108, United States

Website: Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

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2. Old North Church

2017 Old North Church from Hull Street
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Beyond My Ken used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Old North Church is the oldest in Boston, having been built in 1723, and is classified as a National Historic Landmark. It is most known for being the place where two lanterns were lit to signal the revolutionary forces about British troop movements. This event marked the start of the American Revolution, a significant turning point in the history of the country. Today, lanterns are lit in commemoration, and thousands of visitors come to visit the church every year. The church is open all year long to tourists and is a must-visit site in Boston.

Old North Church

Address: Boston National Historical Park, 193 Salem St. Boston, MA 02113

Website: The Historic Old North Church

Opening hours: Mon, Wed - Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 12pm - 4pm (closed on Tue)

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3. Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Huntington Ave entrance at night
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kenneth C. Zirkel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is home to almost 500,000 works of art. It is the fifth-largest museum in the country. Over a million visitors walk the grand halls of the museum annually, making it one of the most visited sites in the city. Some of the artifacts housed here include Egyptian artifacts, Chinese paintings, and perhaps the largest Japanese artifact collection outside of Japan. There are many paintings here by important modern artists, including Monet, Van Gogh, and Cezanne. There is also a library with a wide collection of books if you want to know more about the history of these items. You can easily spend a whole afternoon appreciating all the art in this prestigious institution.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Address: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States

Website: Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Opening hours: Sat - Tue: 10am - 5pm; Wed - Fri: 10am - 10pm

Price: 25 USD

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4. Boston Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Hall)

Boston Symphony Hall from the south
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Digfarenough used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Symphony Hall is one of the most imposing structures in the city thanks to its grand, European-style exterior. Since its opening in 1900, the hall has served as the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the five most prestigious musical groups in the country. The hall is praised for its elegant interiors and its excellent acoustics during performances, so much so that during renovation, very exact specifications and methods had to be used. There are regular concerts here, where you can get the chance to listen to the great music of the orchestra. There are free tours available at specific times, so be sure to contact the venue before your visit.

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Address: Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Avenue Boston, MA 02115

Website: Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Boston Tour Guide

Naim Benmayor

Naim Benmayor

<p>As a Boston tour guide, I have the added experience of being a world traveler. For many years, I frequently visited Europe, Asia, and Latin America on business. During this time, I also organized tours of the USA, Europe and Asia for my business clients. I now bring this passion, excitement and expertise to the Boston area.</p><p>By exploring the globe, I was exposed to various cultures, and this unique perspective has taught me what appeals to people when visiting a new part of the country or a new part of the world. My fluency in English and Turkish, and my advanced skills in Spanish and intermediate skills in French, also help me to service a wider range of tourists and business people.</p><p>I moved to Boston, Massachusetts several years ago, and I now reside in Brookline. I have three children, so I develop my tours to accommodate families with kids, couples, and individuals who want to visit and learn about the rich history and culture of Boston. As a parent, I know that Boston is a great place for higher education, and I have knowledge of the colleges and universities in the area.</p><p>I customize tours to suit the needs and preferences of my customers. Whether you want a walking tour, a riding tour, or a little of both, I can create an itinerary that showcases the best of what Boston has to offer.</p><p>My one day tours are educational and entertaining, and include the history, culture, personalities, architecture and, even the shopping areas of this renowned city. At the end of the tour you will be happy and satisfied when you realize you&#39;ve seen so much in just a short time.</p><p>I am here to share my knowledge of Boston, Cambridge and all of New England with you, and help you to enjoy your visit so you can explore the must-see parts of this great city. I look forward to meeting you and guiding you around the city, so please send me a message if you have any questions.</p><p>Thank you for reading.</p>

5. Boston Waterfront

Boston Waterfront Marina, Massachusetts (493568)
Source: Photo by user Robert Linsdell used under CC BY 2.0

The Waterfront is one of the most visited districts in town, home to some of liveliest hangout places and top-rated hotels. Highlighting this area is Rose Kennedy Greenway, a 1.5-mile-long (2.4-kilometer) park that spans the length of the district. The aquarium, Faneuil Hall, and the USS Constitution are located here on the waterfront. Biking, jogging, or just strolling around are some of the fun activities you can do around here. After a long day around town, you can treat yourself to great views of Boston Harbor from the harbor’s walkway.

Boston Waterfront

Address: Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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6. Charles River Esplanade

Charles River Esplanade - IMG 3777
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Charles River Esplanade is a park located along the banks of the Charles River. It serves as a recreational area for the residents of Back Bay and even students of the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The park was once just a simple embankment but has been developed over time to what it is today. In the middle of the park is Hatch Memorial Shell, an outdoor stage made of wood in an Art Deco style. It hosts the Fourth of July celebrations annually and is a venue for many summer concerts. The Paul Dudley White bike path crosses the park and is an 18-mile (29-kilometer) multi-purpose path that is suitable for cycling, jogging, or even skating. You can even ride a boat along this part of the river to take the whole experience in.

Charles River Esplanade

Address:Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA 02116, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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7. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Courtyard, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Sean Dungan used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of the most extravagant collections around, and it is a National Landmark. The building itself is inspired by a Venetian palace, from the windows and walls to the flower garden in the middle of the palace. The whole museum is carefully designed to be an intimate art experience, with an opportunity to view works by renowned artists such as Titian, Vermeer, and Botticelli. It is also interesting to note that the museum is offering a reward for people who can help find valuable works stolen from the museum in 1990.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Address: 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115, United States

Website: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Opening hours: Fri - Mon, Wed: 11am - 5pm; Thu: 11am - 9pm (closed on Tue)

Price: 15 USD

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8. Newbury Street

Boston - Newbury Street Brownstones
Source: Photo by user David Ohmer used under CC BY 2.0

Newbury Street is one of the most popular shopping districts in Boston, stretching eight blocks from Boston Garden to the turnpike. It was one of the first streets in the city, with the shops appearing in the 1970s. The street, much like the rest of the Back Bay area, is lined with brownstone houses dating back to the 1800s. Many of these houses along Newbury are host to different shops and diners. You can even have your hair and makeup done here if you so desire. There are also plenty of deals for products here, so this would be a great place to find some souvenirs!

Newbury Street

Address: Boston, Massachusetts

Website: Newbury Street

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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9. Little Italy (North End)

Boston - North Square "Little Italy - Mamma Maria"
Source: Photo by user David Ohmer used under CC BY 2.0

Little Italy is a nickname for what is formally known as the North End district, one of the first settlement areas in Boston. Many of the buildings here still possess the stone exteriors from that time, and the cobblestone streets are still present. Today, it is home to over 80 Italian based-stores, ranging from patisseries to pizza parlors. The most famous diner here is Regina Pizzeria - their brick-oven pizzas have been a local favorite since 1926. Mike’s Pastry and Mamma Maria are also popular dining spots you should try. Lastly, don’t forget to visit Paul Revere House and Old North Church, which is also on this list.

Little Italy

Address: North End, Boston MA

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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10. Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library Reading Room
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brian Johnson used under CC BY-SA 3.0

With almost 24 million different items in its collection, Boston Public Library is one of the most comprehensive in the United States. The central library is housed in two historic buildings, the older one being the McKim Building, envisioned as a “palace for the people” back in 1895. The large halls and elegant lighting fixtures help emphasize the significance of the library in society. Public programs, digital services, and computer rooms are also offered by the library. Public tours are available free of charge, though you can avail of paid private tours for up to 20 guests if you want a more intimate experience.

Boston Public Library

Address: 700 Boylston St At Copley Sq., Boston, MA 02116-2813

Website: Boston Public Library

Price: Free

Tip from tour guide

Naim

Naim
Boston

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library also hosts live professional music performances. During the summer months, the library hosts an annual concert series in the McKim courtyard. The performances are from world-renowned musicians as well as music conservatory students perfecting their craft. What's even more enticing is that these concerts are free, open to the public, and take place in one of Boston's most tranquil and picturesque locations.

Check out this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIDQax4z5O0 

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11. Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill, Boston
Source: Photo by user ryan harvey used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Beacon Hill is the name given to the district where the Massachusetts State House resides. It was given its name after a hilltop beacon that was used to signal attacks by enemies during the early 1800s. Brick streets and old Federal-style houses adorn this historic neighborhood. Shops and diners are present here, some of them decades old now. The most prominent building here is the State House, a large structure that serves as the governor’s office. It is one of the finest examples of the Federal style of architecture, and tours are available for the public to fully appreciate it.

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12. USS Constitution

USS Constitution fires a 17-gun salute
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 140704-N-OG138-866 used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

USS Constitution is a wooden frigate used by the US Navy, and it is famous for the Battle of 1812, downing many enemy ships during that time. The ship was launched in 1797 and has seen almost 100 years of active service. She is the oldest commissioned vessel and today serves as an educational tool by the Navy. Visitors can come aboard and listen to the lectures given by the active-duty seamen, wearing era-appropriate uniforms. After boarding the ship, you can visit the museum, which is open daily. Note that there is no provision for people with disabilities, as the ship maintains a certain level of historicity.

USS Constitution

Address: Bldg. 5, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA 02129

Website: USS Constitution

Opening hours: Wed - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

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13. Samuel Adams Brewery

Samadams
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kafziel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Samuel Adams Brewery brews some of the finest beers in New England and is open to the public for tours. Tours around the brewery will introduce you to the beer ingredients and the brewing process. It is recommended you take the classic tour, especially if it is your first time in Boston. More specialized tours will bring you through different experiences and products of the brewery. In all tours, you will be able to taste the different beers and flavors that are popular in the region, with samples provided for your pleasure. You will even be able to bring home some samples!

Samuel Adams Brewery

Address: Samuel Adams Brewery, 30 Germania St, Boston, MA 02130, United States

Website: Samuel Adams

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11am - 5pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm

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14. Arnold Arboretum

General view - Arnold Arboretum - DSC06719
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under CC0

Arnold Arboretum is a very special place, with well-kept plants from all over the world housed here. In fact, there are over 15,000 plants that come in all sizes and colors. The garden covers around 281 acres (114 hectares) and is managed by Harvard University. To better appreciate all the wonders here, tours are held regularly and are free of charge. There is also a library and a museum that you can visit to learn more about the area and the wildlife if you have some time to spare. The Arboretum is open daily, so you can appreciate the natural beauty no matter when you visit.

Arnold Arboretum

Address: 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130, USA

Website: Arnold Arboretum

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

Price: Free

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15. Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall
Source: Pixabay

The Faneuil Hall serves as both a marketplace and a meeting area, being located in the government center. Built back in 1743, the building was a witness to many speeches that inspired American independence. These days, the building is perfectly preserved and houses over seventy local stores that sell a variety of products. Some of these stores include a popular pretzel cart, a sit-in diner, and a cupcake stall. There are also apparel and gift shops if you want to bring home some souvenirs from the city. The town hall is a city landmark and a must-visit for anyone visiting Boston.

Faneuil Hall

Address: 4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109, United States

Website: Faneuil Hall

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 11am - 7pm

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16. Trinity Church

Trinity Church, Boston MA
Source: Photo by user MáVëRíC used under CC BY 2.0

Trinity Church is one of the most dazzling buildings in Boston. Designed by Henry Richardson, its Romanesque style is evident in the stone roof and walls, large arches, and the dominant tower. Inside, the altar is lit by large, stained-glass windows and is easily visible. Like most churches, Sundays are the busiest days of the week at Trinity Church, with many tourists also coming to attend Sunday mass. The church is so recognizable that it is considered by many architects as one of the best-designed buildings in America. Truly, it is a must-visit on any trip to Boston.

Trinity Church

Address: 206 Clarendon Street Boston, MA 02116

Website: Trinity Church

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 4:30pm (closed on Mon)

Tip from tour guide

Naim

Naim
Boston

Trinity Church Trinity Church Trinity Church

When in the city at the end of August, visit the iconic Trinity Church and take part in Saint Anthony’s Feast. The structure has striking architecture, and the feast involves tasty treats that will make you hungry!

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17. Boston Opera House

Boston Opera House Theater - 2014-04-12
Source: Photo by user Bill Damon used under CC BY 2.0

Also known as Citizens Bank Opera House, this theater is the most prestigious in the Northeast. It hosts many of the large shows that Broadway has to offer and is home to the Boston Ballet, one of the most well-known dance groups around. The structure was built in 1925 and has seen its last major renovation in 2002. Today, the theater can sit just under 2,700 patrons, and all seats provide a great view of the stage. Tours are held on selected Mondays and Wednesdays of the month, where a guide will help you navigate through the history and features of the large opera house. The tours are limited in number and slots, so be sure to reserve your spot before it’s sold out.

Boston Opera House

Address: 539 Washington Street Boston MA 02111

Website: Boston Opera House

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18. Bunker Hill Monument

Bunker Hill Monument
Source: Photo by user Brandon Turner used under CC BY 2.0

Annually, thousands of visitors from all over visit this site to commemorate the lives lost here during the Revolutionary War. You can learn about the battle itself, go up the monument, rest around the green space, and even meditate in the relative calm of the site. A visit to Bunker Hill will treat you to a great climb and an unparalleled view of the city from the top. Visitors who want to climb the monument can do so via Bunker Hill Lodge. The historic 1901 Bunker Hill Lodge is found beside the monument and is home to the statue of Joseph Warren, many portraits, and a cannon used during the war nicknamed “The Adams.” Don’t forget to check in with the ranger on duty during your visit here.

Bunker Hill Monument

Address: Boston National Historical Park, Monument Sq, Charlestown, MA 02129, United States

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Free

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19. Fenway Park (from USD 33.0)

Fenway Park is one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the country, and it is also the oldest one of them all. It is located right in the heart of Boston and serves as the home ground of the storied Red Sox baseball team. Legends such as Jim Rice, Ted Williams, and David Ortiz all have their numbers retired here in honor of their achievements. You can join in on one of the most intimate baseball experiences for a game. You can visit Pesky’s Pole, look for the Lone Red Seat, or sit atop the world-famous Green Monster, a wall that covers the left field. Guides will tour you around the stadium before the game so you can learn even more about this venerable piece of sporting history.

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Tour of Historic Fenway Park, America's Most Beloved Ballpark

Duration: 1 hour

1838 reviews

20. New England Aquarium (from USD 34.0)

You can enjoy a trip to New England Aquarium without having to queue - you can go straight to seeing the sea lions, sea turtles, seals, sea dragons, and even stingrays! The Aquarium houses more than 800 different water creatures. One of the new and prominent features here is the four-story Giant Ocean Tank, which boasts an underwater communications system, a new coral reef, and of course, lots of Caribbean reef animals. Other exhibits include Edge of Sea, Freshwater Gallery, and Tropical Gallery. In this tour, you get an admission ticket and an IMAX pass, and it will take around three hours - plenty of time for you to have an unforgettable aquarium adventure.

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New England Aquarium Admission Ticket in Boston

Duration: 2 hours

329 reviews

21. Freedom Trail (from USD 17.0)

best places to visit in boston | freedom trail

Follow in the footsteps of American patriots along the Freedom Trail and listen to stories about how they opposed colonial rule centuries ago. In this outdoor museum, you can see the proof of their courage, determination, and commitment to the cause. The tour takes around 90 minutes to complete and will cover 11 of the 16 stops along the trail. Some of these stops include Boston Commons, Paul Revere’s burial site, and the Boston Massacre memorial area. The knowledgeable tour guide will tell you all you need to know about the area and its history. There are plenty of opportunities to take photographs, as well.

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Boston: Freedom Trail Walking Tour

Duration: 1.5 hour

684 reviews

Boston, a historical and cultural center

Boston is one of the most storied cities in the country, rich in history, arts, music, and even sports - with many of it dating back over a century! There are lots to do for visitors and great places to stay, too. These exciting spots in this historical and cultural center are definitely worth a visit!

Tip from tour guide

Naim

Naim
Boston

The Embrace

This public artwork, The Embrace, captures the relationship of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. This stunning and unique Boston favorite is a must-see in the city!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Aly is an ever-curious wanderer who enjoys constantly learning and exploring the world. With more than five years of experience as a travel writer based in Manila, she enjoys writing about her...Read more

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