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Things to Do in Boston - page 3

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Mapparium
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Gain a new perspective on world geography at the Mapparium. Situated inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, this hidden gem is a 3-story stained-glass globe that offers a 3-dimensional view of the world in 1935. An audiovisual show and an exhibition of artifacts and documents complete the experience.

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Concord
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Built in 1782 out of Texas limestone and stucco, Mission San Jose is the largest mission in San Antonio, earning it the nickname Queen of the Missions. While portions of the church and its gristmill and granary have collapsed over the years, much of the structure has been fully restored to its original design.

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John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
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Overlooking the sea in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum documents the life and legacy of President Kennedy. The building holds official presidential documents and correspondence, a wealth of multimedia exhibits and artifacts, and literary gems such as some unpublished writings of Ernest Hemingway.

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LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston
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The iconic building blocks of childhood are now more than just an afternoon activity, thanks to theLEGOLAND® Discovery Center of Boston. Families with children between the ages of 3 and 10 will find even more of what they love at this popular themed destination that’s dedicated to the colorful blocks that have been inspiring youth to create for decades.

Whether it’s touring the LEGOLAND Factory to learn how this American favorite is made, experiencing the multi-sensory wonder of a 4-D film or building a car to race at the LEGO® Racers: Build and Test site, there’s plenty to keep kids busy and entertained. The jaw-dropping Master Builder Academy will also inspire youth to imagine and create thanks to impressive examples of LEGO construction at its finest!

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Institute of Contemporary Art
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Located in Boston, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is an art museum and exhibition space that has seen a number of changes over the years. It was founded in 1936 as the Boston Museum of Modern Art and has undergone both name and location changes since. It currently sits in the South Boston Seaport District, where it was built in 2006 and designed with the idea of “from the sky down,” with contemplative space for viewing contemporary art, and “from the ground up,” with areas for public enjoyment.

The ICA is 65,000 square feet, and its design resembles a dramatic folding ribbon with a cantilever that reaches to the water’s edge. Galleries have movable walls and ceilings with adjustable skylights. The Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater seats 325 people and is located on the second and third floors. The Charles and Fran Rodgers Education Center is a two-story education center, which includes Bank of America Art Lab.

The ICA exhibits include the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions. The permanent collection of works by contemporary artists began in 2000 and features their work at seminal moments in their careers. Works from the permanent collection rotate approximately every 12 months. The ICA also features three other galleries of temporary exhibits, usually including at least one featured artist quarterly in the West Gallery.

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Mary Baker Eddy Library
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Named for one of New England's most influential 19th-century residents, the Mary Baker Eddy Library is a library and museum housed a neoclassical building in Boston's beautiful Back Bay area. The top draw for visitors is typically Mapparium—a multi-story stained-glass globe depicting the world in 1935—which is featured on guided tours.

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Otis House
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The Otis House is a museum and mansion, the last surviving one, in Bowdoin Square. This West End property was named for Harrison Gray Otis, a Federalist lawyer and politician. There are actually three Harris Gray Otis Houses in Boston, all of which were built by the noted architect Charles Bulfinch. The first, a National Historic Landmark, was built in 1796 and was inspired by a William Bingham house from Philadelphia. Owned by the Historic New England organization, this one now operates as a museum.

The house is a look into the lavish lifestyle of Otis and his wife Sally. Otis made his fortune developing Beacon Hill, was a representative in Congress and then later became mayor of Boston. The home’s design is reflective of the Federal style, which Bulfinch introduced to Boston.

Otis House is three stories, in five bays. The entrance seen today was added after 1801, which has a Palladian window above and a lunette above that. The third floor has ceilings that are just over six feet tall. The floor plan of the home is Colonial fashion, which the characteristic two rooms on either side of the central hallway.

The home’s interior showcases many aspects of the Otis’ life, from the social and business aspects to understanding the role servants played in the home. The restoration was meticulous and required a lot of historical and scientific research.

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Six Flags New England
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Like most Six Flags parks, Six Flags New England is a combination theme and water park that’s billed as the "Thrill Capital of New England." When the short summer months heat up in the northeast, it’s a welcome oasis for visitors, and located just a mile from the Connecticut border, it’s a popular destination for Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents.

The big draw at any Six Flags park is, of course, the thrill rides. The crown jewel, BATMAN: The Dark Knight, takes visitors on a 55-mile-per-hour blast up to 12-story heights and drops more than 110 feet in a matter of seconds. In the summer months, visitors flock from hundreds of miles to enjoy Six Flags’ incredible Hurricane Harbor, a water park that offers everything from relaxing pools and meandering lazy river rides to high speed water slides and group rafting adventures.

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Old Sturbridge Village
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Old Sturbridge Village is an outdoor living-history museum in central Massachusetts that showcases rural New England life in the 1830s. With antique buildings, working farms, and exhibitions across rolling grounds, the village is brought to life by costumed interpreters and artisans, providing an immersive journey back in time.

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Boston Chinatown
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Boston’s Chinatown, in the heart of downtown, is the last remaining Chinese area in New England and is home to 70% of the city’s Chinese inhabitants. As an area it is known for its rich history, culture, and great food. The large gate with two protective foo lions, which signals the entrance, has become an icon for the neighborhood.

Once inside, the best way to see it is to simply explore the small shops and winding streets, stopping for bites of authentic Chinese food along the way. Check the timing and you may run into one of the many traditional festivals that run here throughout the year.

Boston’s Chinatown is the third largest in the United States, following New York and San Francisco. With many community organizations and maintained traditions, it is considered to be the center of Asian American life in Boston.

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More Things to Do in Boston

Vilna Shul

Vilna Shul

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This historic structure was built in 1919 to serve as an Orthodox synagogue for Jews who immigrated to Boston from Lithuania. And while neither the building’s architecture nor its history is noteworthy, Vilna Shul, Boston's Center for Jewish Culture, is widely-recognized as Beantown’s most iconic Jewish landmark, as it is one of the only remaining synagogues in the city’s downtown that was built by immigrants.

Travelers can take guided tours of this historic building and learn from locals about the rich history of Vilna Shul. It is also possible to tour the cultural center, community center and in-house museum of this Beacon Hill building alone. Visitors who want to get a deeper sense of Boston’s Jewish roots can visit Vilna Shul as part of a Jewish history and cultural tour that makes stops at other key landmarks like the Holocaust Memorial and West End House.

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Gibson House Museum

Gibson House Museum

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This popular historical attraction located in the heart of the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston is home to four floors of furniture, artifacts and decor that date back to the 1800s. Visitors can explore this popular attraction on guided tours that detail the life and times and the famous Gibson Family. The home is essentially untouched, making it the perfect place to see how early aristocratic Americans lived.

Travelers can venture through the formal dining room and learn about the Italian Renaissance style that’s evident throughout the home. The brownstone and red brick façade was designed by the iconic architect Edward Clarke Cabot and remains one of the city’s most pristine nods to a long gone era of a life gilded in family heirlooms and European style.

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The Old Manse

The Old Manse

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The cornerstone of Concord’s historic attractions was the town’s political and social center throughout the 19th century, and boasts an impressive list of former guests. Now preserved as a National Historic Landmark, the Old Manse was originally built in 1770, for Reverend William Emerson, and stands adjacent to Concord’s Old North Bridge, where on April 19th 1775, it bore witness to the start of the American War of Independence, as Minutemen fired the infamous shot ‘heard around the world’.

The history of the Old Manse isn’t only political though; the landmark building also has a rich literary heritage, home to both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and serving as a meeting ground for other Transcendentalists, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. Today, visitors can explore the well-preserved Georgian residence, where they can admire the original furnishings, spot writings from Nathanial & Sophia Hawthorne etched onto the window panes, and look out over the fabled North Bridge, before wandering through the vegetable gardens and orchards.

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Burial Hill

Burial Hill

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Burial Hill is a historic cemetery in Plymouth, Mass., that dates back to the 1620s, making it one of the oldest remaining cemeteries in America. It sits atop a beautiful hill with views of Plymouth Harbor and is an ideal spot to relax and contemplate the last few centuries of American history.

Many notable historic figures are buried here, including Mary Allerton, the last surviving Mayflower passenger; Plymouth colony governor William Bradford; and Squanto, a Native American guide who played a critical role in the Pilgrims’ survival after arriving in North America. None of the original wooden gravestones remain, but stone markers have been used here since the mid-17th century, many of which still mark the final resting places of the country’s original settlers. The last burial occurred in 1957, and the land has remained frozen in time since.

As a bonus, history buffs will appreciate that the cemetery is situated off of what was originally First Street. Created in 1602, this street is notable in its own right, as there are claims that it is the oldest continuously inhabited street of the 13 colonies.

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Cheers Beacon Hill (Bull & Finch Pub)

Cheers Beacon Hill (Bull & Finch Pub)

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Boston’s Cheers Beacon Hill (formerly the Bull & Finch Pub) is a mandatory pilgrimage for fans of the popular television showCheers, which was inspired by this authentic neighborhood watering hole. Although the bar’s interior differs from its famous TV alter ego, you’ll find the same friendly atmosphere, good pub grub, and frothy pints of beer.

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Rowes Wharf

Rowes Wharf

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The city of Boston has long had close ties to the water, and one of the modern developments along the waterfront is Rowes Wharf, built on a historic battery.

Rowes Wharf was built in 1987, and the most visible parts of the development are the massive Boston Harbor Hotel and the arch-covered passageway through the hotel that feeds onto Boston Harbor. There are restaurants, bars and shops, and during the summer a floating stage just off the shore is set up for concerts and movies. The wharf is also a hub for water transport, including water taxis to and from Logan Airport.

The first construction in this area was in the 1660s when South Battery was built to protect the city. John Rowe bought the property a little more than 100 years later, building the first Rowes Wharf. By the 20th century, the wharf had become run down enough that it required a major overhaul.

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Boston Theater District

Boston Theater District

Sandwiched between Boston Common and Chinatown, the Boston Theater District is known for its many historical theaters, as well as restaurants and nightspots catering to theatergoers. People have flocked to this area since the 19th century to enjoy everything from opera and dramas to dance, concerts, and comedy performances.

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Lexington

Lexington

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Known as the “birthplace of American liberty,” Lexington, Massachusetts, is where the first shot of the American Revolutionary War was fired on April 19, 1775. Nowadays, you can retrace history at sites around town, and enjoy a rich artistic, cultural, and culinary scene.

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Willard Brook State Forest

Willard Brook State Forest

Just an hour’s drive from Boston, you’ll find the beautiful New England grove of Willard Brook State Forest. Escape the busyness of Boston in less than an hour, and discover the rugged New England beauty the area is famous for. The Willard Brook State Forest is over 2,500 acres of classic New England forest, surrounded by babbling brooks, creeks and streams, which makes for an absolutely spectacular fall showcase come October. June, however, is when the mountain laurel blooms, and when the snow falls, visitors enjoy miles of cross-country ski opportunities. Others come year-round simply to enjoy the serene escape provided by this wooded wonderland.

With over 19 campsites, a group Yurt, numerous swimming and fishing opportunities, miles of hiking, mountain biking and horse trails, this is a popular escape for those in the Boston area looking to get out and explore the softer side of nature.

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Wrentham Village Premium Outlets

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets

Sometimes the best of a place is featured by its shopping, and Boston is as cosmopolitan a city as the next, so one might expect premium shopping while visiting. Some of us, however, also are on the look out for a deal, and if that’s the case, then turn your sights toward Wrentham Village Premium Outlets®. This premium outlet shopping mall has some of the best names in fashion at amazing prices.

Featuring designer name outlets is part of the attraction, but what sets Wrentham Village apart is its abundant diversity – jewelry, accessories, housewares, gift and specialty items, and a widely-loved food court make this shopping experience. Find Brooks Brothers, Adidas, Coach, Cole Haan, DKNY, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th and more here at Wrentham Village.

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Hard Rock Café Boston

Hard Rock Café Boston

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The Hard Rock Café Boston has been providing good food and music in Boston’s Faneuil Hall entertainment district since its debut in 2003. Faneuil Hall is Boston’s premier entertainment district, close to popular sites such as Paul Revere’s house, the New England Holocaust Museum, and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

Be sure to enjoy the Hard Rock’s signature food offerings, found at cafes around the globe. The cafes feature classic American fare, for which prix-fixe options are also available.

The Hard Rock Café in Boston has over 16,000-square feet of space, with 514 seats in the restaurant area. The Cavern Club features live music and holds special events.

Like other Hard Rock Cafes around the world, the Hard Rock Café Boston features music memorabilia on the walls. Be sure to tour the restaurant and see the unique guitars, platinum records, and more.

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Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Long, wooden tables and bright overhead lights of the Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall beckon those interested in tasting local Boston brews. Harpoon makes some of the area’s most beloved beers, and the brewery offers the chance to learn about how it’s made and to taste a variety of their beverages. Visitors can sip on pints from the source in large open seating — they’re served with a pretzel and an outstanding view of downtown Boston.

Brewery tours bring you behind-the-scenes for a closer look at how the beer is made on site. Harpoon was one of the first breweries opened in Massachusetts in over 25 years, and is credited with contributing to the rise of microbreweries in America. Catwalks run throughout, making it easy to see production.

There are more than twenty different beers served at Harpoon, including seasonal offerings and the India Pale Ale they’re best known for. Tours give the information and history of the brewery, as well as several tastings and insight into Boston’s brewpub scene.

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Simons IMAX Theatre at New England Aquarium

Simons IMAX Theatre at New England Aquarium

Enjoy IMAX films about the natural world on New England’s largest screen, with 12,000 watts of digital sound, at Simons IMAX Theatre at the New England Aquarium. Put yourself in the heart of the action, and come face to face with creatures and habitats that are too small, too large, or too endangered to view in an aquarium.

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Dreamland Wax Museum

Dreamland Wax Museum

Get up close and strike a pose with celebrities, sports stars, politicians, and others at Dreamland Wax Museum. Located near Boston’s City Hall Plaza, the museum features more than 100 life-size wax figures of famous people from around the world, including every US president.

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