Boston, Massachusetts is one of America’s centers for education, business, and tourism. Whichever brings you to Beantown, you’ll find tons of things to do in Boston on an extended stay. Check out highlights in our guide to the city’s attractions, nightlife, restaurants and sports.
Follow in the Footsteps of History
The Freedom Trail/Boston National Historical Park
Join the other tourists following the red line on the sidewalk for 2.5 miles. The Freedom Trail will lead you past 16 historic sites of the American Revolution. Be your own guide or book a 90-minute guided tour. The trail starts at the visitor center in Boston Common (America’s oldest public park) and ends at the Bunker Hill Monument. Points along the trail downtown include the Old State House and Faneuil Hall. The Boston National Historical Park operates a visitor center in Faneuil Hall. In the North End, highlights are the Paul Revere House and Old North Church. Faneuil Hall, 1 Faneuil Hall Square. Boston Common Visitor Center, 139 Tremont St.
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Discover the truth behind one of America’s most historic acts of rebellion at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. You’ll see full-sized replicas of the flotillas involved in the defiance, and you can join re-enactments of one of the country’s most important nights. Note that the actual site of the tea party, probably Griffin’s Wharf, is now a street intersection. Landfill projects have altered Boston’s landscape greatly. Tea Party Museum, 306 Congress St.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
John F. Kennedy was a true New Englander and one of our country’s most important and beloved presidents. The 10-acre John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum celebrates our 35th president’s remarkable life, leadership, and legacy. The museum is within a 10-acre park on the Boston waterfront, in a building designed by famed architect I.M. Pei. Columbia Point, or 220 Morrissey Blvd. on GPS.
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of America’s and the world’s major art museums, with a collection of nearly half a million works. Among the more unusual collections is one devoted to more than 1,000 musical instruments. Or stick with the history theme and pick up the audio guide for the American Revolution tour, including John Singleton Copley’s portrait of Paul Revere. Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Ave.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, or ICA Boston, is home to exciting and inspirational works from artists both local and international. Expect exhibitions of thought-provoking works created with unusual materials. The museum’s permanent collection is especially strong on works by women. The museum also hosts performances such as dance, music and DJ sets. 25 Harbor Shore Drive.
Boston Symphony Hall
Built in 1900, Boston Symphony Hall was the first concert hall in the world to be built with a predominant focus on acoustics. It is regularly considered one of the top three concert halls in the world. Since the day it opened, Boston Symphony Hall has been the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 301 Massachusetts Ave.
Enjoy Music, Theater, Dancing and Comedy
Brighton Music Hall
Brighton Music Hall is one of the best places to catch a band in Boston. It’s intimate, with a capacity of about 500. If you have the luck of the Irish, see local faves the Dropkick Murphys when they’re in town and you’ll be surprised the place still has a roof by the end of the show. Note: Promoter Crossroads Presents books concerts at other venues around Boston, so check its website for more options when you’re in town. 158 Brighton Ave.
The Lizard Lounge
The Lizard Lounge has been a drafthouse staple for Boston’s student population for years. With its live music and ultra-popular open mic nights, its allure continues unfettered. There’s just something special about walking into a dark basement bar where the music is pounding and the IPAs are flowing. 1667 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge.
The Theatre District
There is theater is Boston’s Theatre District, of course. But, after the curtain has dropped, this also is where you’ll find the highest concentration of high-energy dance clubs. From the Romanesque Royale to the lavish luxury of Whiskey Saigon, each club in the Theatre District offers a different but memorable experience. Royale also offers up an impressive and more relaxed series of concerts. Other neighborhood spots include Guilt and Tunnel. Just be prepared to spend: This is the land of $20 covers, VIP table reservations, and bottle service. Royale, 279 Tremont St.
Nothing’s better after a long flight into the city or a long business meeting than an evening of sketch comedy and improvisation at the Improv Asylum. The comedy club is located in Boston’s North End neighborhood, which also happens to boast about 100 restaurants, cafes and bakeries, all heavily Italian. Dinner, comedy and dessert – an unbeatable way to spend an evening in Boston. 216 Hanover St.
Boston Restaurants by Neighborhood
Taste Flavors of the World and the Sea
The restaurant scene in Boston is too vast to cover in one article, but know that your choices often will be defined by neighborhood.
As noted above, the North End is the place to go for Italian, mani down. One of Little Italy’s most popular destinations is Mike’s Pastry, which is famous for its cannoli. For old-school Italian, try to get into Giacomo’s.
For the most authentic Asian cuisine in Boston, you would want to visit Beach Street in Chinatown. This area is filled with dim sum restaurants and eateries serving up all manner of Asian cuisine, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Thai. The Chinatown gate is at 70 Beach St. Hei La Moon nearby is the place to go for dim sum.
If you have an expense account to fall back on, head to Back Bay for elegant dining. Especially recommended for those not on a budget are L’Espalier for New England-French cuisine and Mistral for a taste of the south of France in Boston. If you can’t get a reservation at either of those places, you’ll find lots more restaurant choices along Boylston and Newbury streets.
In the Seaport District, near the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the theme is – surprise! – seafood. It’s hard to go wrong at Row 34 for oysters and beer or Legal Sea Foods Harborside, the upscale seafood chain’s 20,000-square-foot flagship restaurant.
For lunch downtown, the Quincy Market Colonnade is a popular spot. The market was once predominantly a grocer’s market, but today it’s an eclectic collection of restaurants and food stalls. The market is part of the very touristy Faneuil Hall Marketplace, not to be confused with historic Faneuil Hall.
See History-Making Teams and a Historic Ballpark
Baseball: Boston Red Sox
Boston is home to one of the country’s oldest professional sports franchises, the Boston Red Sox. Founded in 1901 as the Boston Red Stockings, the team would take the Red Sox name in 1908. The Red Sox play at the famous Green Monster, Fenway Park, which opened in 1912. Even on non-game days you can buy tickets for a tour of the park. 4 Yawkey Way.
Basketball: Boston Celtics
Since the team was founded in 1946, few pro basketball teams have been able to mirror the success of the Boston Celtics. The team has won 17 NBA titles, totaling more than a quarter of the league’s championships since it was formed. In fact, the Celtics are the most successful sports franchise in all of professional sports. TD Garden, 100 Legends Way.
Football: New England Patriots
In 1959, the Boston Patriots were introduced into the American Football League. In 1970, the team, now called the New England Patriots, moved to the National Football League. The team had its ups and downs until the early 2000s. But since then, the Patriots have won five Super Bowls. Gillette Stadium, One Patriot Place, Foxborough (about 30 miles southwest of Boston).
Hockey: Boston Bruins
The Boston Bruins were founded in 1924, making it the oldest professional hockey franchise in the United States. Since its founding, the team has won six Stanley Cup Championships, making the Bruins a perfect fit for Boston’s sports tradition. TD Garden, 100 Legends Way.