Boston's Best Attractions and Activities Offer Something for Everyone
By Jessica Polizzotti
Boston Local Expert
Boston is home to historically significant sites, marvelous museums and unique outdoor adventures. Enjoy your stay by sampling a little bit of all the things that come together to create today's Boston.
The easiest way to see as many attractions as possible is to walk Boston's Freedom Trail. The famous red line that marks the path meanders along Boston's sidewalks as it takes you from site to site. Sixteen official sites line the Freedom Trail and include historically significant spots like Paul Revere House, Granary Burial Ground, Old South Meeting House and USS Constitution. Grab a map at the Boston Common before you set off on your exploration and see where the trail leads.
History is not all that Boston has to offer; home to many museums, parks, sporting venues, public spaces and adventure tours, you'll never be at a loss for something new to do.
Enjoy a wild water adventure while cruising around the Harbor on a Boston Mini Speed Boat tour. You'll be able to see important landmarks from a new perspective when you're behind the wheel of a your speed boat.
Sports fanatics should not miss a trip to Fenway Park. This national landmark is more than 100 years old and remains one of the best stadiums to see a baseball game.
10 Boston Public Garden
Take a leisurely stroll through the oldest botanical garden in the United States and get a feel for Boston's charm and grace. 1877 marks the start of the Garden's fame for the Swan Boats that float along the pond when the weather warms; a necessary ride for the kid in all of us. The Swan Boats do not get all the attention, as the grounds truly are a sight to hold. Pack a picnic and sprawl across the lawn to enjoy the beauty of this inner city treasure. Year round, the beauty of Public Garden shines, and makes for excellent photo opportunities. (617-522-1966)
9 Boston Mini Speedboats
Hop aboard a Boston Mini Speed Boat Tour and be the captain of your own boat. This sightseeing tour mixes with a fast flying adventure to get your heart rate up and your adrenaline pumping as you fly around Boston Harbor on your very own boat. The hour and half excursions are both informative and fun, lead by tour guides who keep the history brief, the information clear and the tour moving along. See many of Boston's best sites from an entirely different angle as you float alongside at the helm of your own boat. Follow your guide out into the Harbor where you'll enjoy the feeling of total freedom while pushing your boat to its limits and speeding around. Grab a friend and share the time on this tour of a lifetime. (617-725-0900)
8 New England Aquarium
The adventure begins before you step foot through the door. Watch the Harbor Seals swirl around in the outdoor tank while you wait for your tickets, or linger when you finish and recount your time inside. A four-story tank spans the center of this aquatic marvel; filled with marine life this is a sight to be seen. Catch a show in the glass enclosed classroom overlooking Boston Harbor, plunge your hands into the touch tank where rays and sharks are circling and awaiting your touch. Whale Watch cruises are available seasonally and are a special way to enhance your day. (617-973-5200, 617-973-5206)
7 Institute of Contemporary Art
Roam the galleries or watch a show in a waterfront building that is as beautiful as what is housed inside. The modern art is an eclectic mix of what may sometimes seem to be mayhem. Funky fun displays rule the roost at this cutting edge art museum. Where new and established artists display a variety of handiwork. An on-site cafe offers outdoor seating where you can marvel at the waterfront views over food and drink. Tips for visiting with kids, as well as special family days make instilling a love of art in your kids an easy task all the while enjoying something you love. (617-266-5152)
6 Fenway Park
Boston fans are crazy about baseball. Ask many and they will claim it as their religion, and offer Fenway as their place of worship. Even if baseball is not your thing, be sure to catch a game at Fenway Park, home of the legendary Green Monster, and one of the hardest homers to hit in the league. You'll quickly find yourself caught up in the action, and may be come a fan before the ninth inning has ended. If a game is out of reach, enjoy a tour. An in depth inside look at one of baseball's most beloved ballfields is yours for the taking for a small fee. (617-236-6666, 617-267-1700)
5 Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Faneuil Hall was originally established as a market for merchants, fishermen and vendors, but has transformed throughout the years. From playing host to prominent figures like Samuel Adams and George Washington, to its transformation into one of America's premiere urban marketplaces. Currently, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is home to more than 50 shops, 14 restaurants, and 40 food stalls. Here you can do it all while taking in the variety of street performers who take to the sidewalks to entertain the masses. Faneuil Hall attracts locals and tourists alike. This urban outdoor mall is more than just a spot to shop, but also a place to congregate and enjoy all it has to offer. (617-523-1300)
4 Boston Symphony Orchestra
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the most respected orchestras in the world and Housed in one of the best designed (acoustically) music halls in the world, Boston Symphony Hall. Playing host to a variety of concerts throughout the year, including the Holiday Pops, The Boston Symphony Orchestra wows crowds. History has been made within these walls where songs like the popular "Sleigh Ride" have been composed. In 1946 Leroy Anderson composed this piece of music specifically for the Pops and it was performed first by the Boston Pops on May 4, 1948, before the words were added two years later. The stunning setting and talent of those playing the music on stage will put you in a trance as you journey with the BSO on a musical adventure. (617-266-1492, 888-266-1200)
3 Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Although it was not just one night that led patriots to take matters into their own hands to begin a fight for freedom, it was the continued lack of freedoms and representation that brought about the Tea Party. Here, you can relive the catalyst to the American Revolution and see memorabilia from the time and event. The museum holds insight into America's path to becoming a free country. This tour is an interactive experience that starts with a meeting at an Old South Meeting House replica led by actors in period garb and continues onto recreated vessels where you'll be come a Patriot and participate in tossing tea into the sea. After getting to know the ships themselves you'll move into the museum where short films depict the Tea Party and its aftermath. After your tour visit Abagail's Tea Room for a tea tasting. (1-855-TEA-1773)
2 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The MFA is one of the largest museums around. An entire day could be spent admiring the works, both ancient and modern, that live within these walls. Along with many amazing (and famous) paintings, the MFA offers visitors the chance to enjoy artifacts from around the world. Home to four dining venues, there is a choice for all tastes eliminating the need to exit throughout the day. The MFA hosts many unique events including lectures, music, films, art opportunities for kids, and even cocktail parties. The gift shops offer art inspired items that allows guests to reflect on their favorite parts of the museum. (617-267-9300)
1 Boston's Freedom Trail
The best way to see Boston. Starting at the Boston Common, but easily picked up at any point along the way, the Freedom Trail offers historical insight into the city and its surroundings. Check out one, some or all of the sites on this route where a red trail painted on the sidewalks takes you throughout Boston. With 16 official stops along the way, you can walk past, or further explore the historically significant spots lining the path. Easy to hop on and off, the Freedom Trail weaves throughout the city and highlights some of Boston's most special. Guided tours are available for a fee. (617-357-8300)
About Jessica Polizzotti
Born and raised in Boston, Jessica knows her city like the back of her hand. Always looking to uncover something new, Jessica keeps up on the latest and greatest Boston offerings. Although Jessica has been a world traveler since her teens, her favorite trip may always be her Italian honeymoon. Living in a city that allows her to experience a change in seasons equals an opportunity to enjoy a shift in activities. As the old New England cliché says, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.”
Read more about Jessica Polizzotti here.