Things to do in Boston, MA

Get Your Bearings in Boston

By Jessica Polizzotti
Boston Expert

See & Do
Stay
Eat
Party
Shop

Things to See

Although Boston is a history lover's dream, there is much more to do here than explore its past. Whether you're looking to take in the skyline or enjoy art, visit a museum or spend the day getting pampered, you'll find what you want in Boston. Laced with parks, and pathways you can easily take in the skyline, while enjoying walking the Greenway, Harborwalk, Esplanade or Freedom Trail. Stop off at one of Boston's excellent museums for some culture or when the weather draws you indoors. If a day of pampering is what you're after, Boston has no shortage of escapes.

Take It or Leave It:

Unique Spa experiences can be found at Bliss Spa and Lash L'Amour.

Hot Tips:

The Freedom Trail is Boston's one-stop shop for getting to know Boston's role in US history.

Where to Stay

Boston's best places to stay are sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods of Boston proper. These hotels do not come cheap, but could help in overall savings as they allow easy access to the attractions, restaurants, shopping options and nightlife hot spots that you don't want to miss. Easily walkable, Boston also has a solid public transportation system, allowing you to ditch the car, avoid the high price of parking, and enjoy letting someone else drive you around for a minimal fee. Those seeking to stay in the most central section of the city should look into the hotels downtown.

Hot Tips:

Skip a car rental and rely on the "T" to get around town. It will save you money and the frustration of paying the high cost of parking.

What to Eat

Boston's dining scene is just as diverse as its residents. Every neighborhood is jam packed with stellar dining options. You can easily find something for every budget and fulfill every desire. You can't go wrong walking Boston's streets and popping into one of the many restaurants you'll pass.  Great areas to explore are the North End for Italian fare, the Seaport District For waterfront dining, Chinatown for Asian cuisine, Cambridge, Somerville, and the South End.

Avoid:

Faneuil Hall for fine dining.

Be Sure to Sample:

Clam chowder, cod, local oysters and clams on the half shell, NECCO candy.

Places to Party

Boston nightlife revolves heavily around bars and clubs frequented by 20-something singles who drink and dance the night away. A visit to the "Alley" (between Boston's Theater District and Downtown Crossing), Faneuil Hall, or the Fenway area will allow you to find many of the it places. For those who prefer something a little more low key, there are numerous upscale bars, lounges, and comedy clubs offering that alternative. And for those seeking a bit of evening culture, check what is playing at one of Boston's theaters or concert halls. 

Caution:

Most bars and clubs frown upon sneakers and hats.

Where to Shop

Boston is a shopper's paradise consisting of a mix of small boutiques and large scale chains that line Newbury Street, the Prudential Center and Faneuil Hall. Add to that the malls that live in the surrounding suburbs, and you could spend a week doing nothing but shopping. Bargain hunters often make the drive to the Wrentham Premium Outlets while those who want to stroll indoors and find almost every store imaginable will flip over the Natick Mall

Avoid:

Driving during rush hour; traffic can add up to an hour to your trip

Best Local Souvenir:

Boston sports gear, a JG Hook clam bake shipped home.

Things to do in Boston


Boston is known for...

Five of Boston's most unique features and characteristics.

1. History:

Boston is a city rich in history . With Puritanical roots, Boston has always been a little adverse to change.  It is no wonder that it was a prime spot for rebellion, because change, wanted or not, does eventually happen.  Playing a major role in the American Revolution, Boston sparked the initial fight for freedom from the British. The Freedom Trail commemorates Boston’s role in America’s fight for freedom. 

2. Seasons:

If you don’t like the weather don’t worry it will change; Boston is a city with four distinct seasons.  Cold, snowy winters and hot humid summers are welcome changes for Boston residents. We love our seasons, and for very good reasons. We are able to use our landscape to enhance what each brings to town. The below freezing winter temperatures allow ponds to freeze solid, providing a place to ice skate; and you do not have to travel far to ski the snow covered slopes. Spring’s increasing warmth is refreshing as flowers bloom and the trees regain their leaves. Summer’s heat allows Bostonians to take advantage of water fun; Boston beaches have been given new life and are once again a playground for city residents. Within an hour of the city many lakes, and ocean escapes await. Fall’s cool down allows the leaves the to turn magnificent shades of red, yellow and orange. Leaf-peeping, whether by car or on a hike is a favorite fall activity. Just when we tire of one season, another creeps in.

3. Water:

Sitting on the Atlantic Ocean, Boston Harbor welcomes fishermen, cruise ships and recreational boaters alike. Boston’s waterfront is put to use for entertainment, whether for concerts, or dining, or a simple stroll on the Harborwalk. However, Boston Harbor is not the only famous waterway in the city; the Charles River provides Boston and Cambridge with a natural divider and another location for recreation.

4. Sports:

Bostonians LOVE their sports teams! Home of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins Boston is a sports town. Try to find a person, living in Boston, who does not have at least a minimal working knowledge of Boston sports-it may not be impossible, but it would be pretty tough. 

5. Education:

Welcoming more than a dozen Colleges and Universities, Boston and its sister city Cambridge, are known for higher learning. You can’t turn a corner without bumping into one.  From the famous Ivy League institutions (Harvard and MIT), to the musical (Berklee), Boston draws a diverse collection of intellectual minds. Each school has its own personality and with that its own collection of cool places to hang.