Does just the term "tourist attraction". cause feelings of anxiety? While there certainly are some attractions that you are better off driving on by, there are plenty of good ones too. Our Boston 10Best list can help you sort the worthwhile from the worthless, ensuring only good memories are created this trip.


Boston Public Library
Photo courtesy of iStock / gregobagel

The first public library in the United States, Boston's institution not only houses a wide variety of literary works (over 6 million), but also displays the creations of visual artists. Many works remain permanently in the library while others are part of a constantly changing exhibit of sculpture and paintings. Enjoy lunch in their restaurant or flip through your latest find in the cafe. In nice weather, go enjoy the peace and serenity of the newly restored courtyard. Rare books and manuscripts are also available at this awe inspiring facility.

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Commonwealth Avenue Mall

An 8-plus acre mall runs along beautiful Commonwealth Avenue (aka "Comm Ave"). Numerous statues of well-known figures from Boston's past are framed by stately elms. A large granite statue of Alexander Hamilton rests in the park, along with a memorial to nine firefighters who lost their lives in a fire that consumed Hotel Vendome in 1972. Today, residents enjoy the pleasant surroundings as they take leisurely strolls or invigorating runs amidst 3-5 story high Victorian style residences.

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This rapidly growing 72-acre zoo is full of a variety of different animals great and small. Special exhibits include Bongo Congo with bongo antelopes and ostriches. The African Tropical Forest contains over 50 types of animals wandering in a man-made "natural" habitat. The Australian Outback Trail allows visitors to mingle with kangaroos and emus. There is something for everyone in this land of exploration and fun.

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This million-dollar memorial park was unveiled in 1998 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine. The memorial exists thanks to the tireless efforts of Boston's Irish community. Its bronze statues depict dedicated, enduring Irish families and offers a nod to the fortitude of the Irish in America. Since the dedication, the memorial has attracted in excess of three million visitors.

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The Esplanade
Photo courtesy of iStock / Jay De Winne

Site of Boston's annual Fourth of July gala, the Esplanade runs along the southern bank of the Charles River, creating a delightful landscape of manicured lawns, gardens, and children's playgrounds. The city's impressive skyline provides a backdrop, and joggers, walkers, and cyclists flock to the park for scenery and exercise. Free concerts and a wide range of public festivals add further energy to this portion of the parks system known as Boston's "Emerald Necklace."

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Board the trolleys while a guide provides running commentary while guests ride in open-air cars and take in the sites and sounds of the town. These tours leave from many convenient locations throughout Boston and are an excellent way to become acquainted with the city. Sixteen stops and unlimited reboarding allow customers to get off and have lunch or shop at stores that are of particular interest.

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Marine-themed exhibits, programs, and demonstrations take place throughout the day at this spectacular, above-ground aquatic extravaganza. Seals, penguins, sharks, and other creatures reside at the aquarium, and a massive, four-story, 187,000-gallon tank features a living coral reef. The West Wing's unique glass and steel exterior mimics fish scales, and special exhibits change monthly. Whale watching excursions are offered seasonally as well.

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Fenway Park

Boston Red Sox players and fans call this home. It is one of the smallest and oldest baseball parks in the major leagues. Built in 1912, this park still has real grass on the field as well as the famed Green Monster. Tickets to games may be purchased at the park, though some games may be more difficult than others to get good seats. Guided tours are offered year around.

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Boston Public Garden

Take an afternoon stroll through the oldest botanical garden in the United States and get a feel for Boston's charm and grace. The park's pond has been famous since 1877 for its swan boats, which offer leisurely cruises during warmer months. If you enjoyed reading "The Trumpet of the Swans" by E.B. White (which is set in the area), then you'll particularly enjoy the surroundings. Plus, children love the adorable statues that represent ducklings from Robert McCloskey's "Make Way for Ducklings."

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Arnold Arboretum

The development of this beautiful park was funded by James Arnold, who left it to Harvard University upon his death. After selling the park to the city, Harvard regained possession of it and pays only $1 a year (for 1000 years) for it. Today, the 281-acre grounds are home to over 4000 types of trees. The Jamaica Pond also makes up part of the peaceful surroundings.

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