Things to do in Boston
Locals share their favorite places to visit in Boston in 2023
From iconic sports stadiums to historic sites and charming neighborhoods, Boston has something for everyone! Whether you're looking for a fun day of exploring or a relaxing evening taking in the sights, this city has plenty of amazing places to visit. Here are some of our locals' favorite places to explore in Boston!
Top 10 Venue Submissions from Locals in the Boston Area
With interactive exhibits and educational programs, it's sure to be an enjoyable time for both children and adults alike.
"Perfect mix of educational activities, fun and exercise (rock climbing, jungle gym, dancing lights, etc) for children and it’s all in one place! The Boston Children’s Museum makes learning fun." - Karen
"We love Sunday afternoons at Children's Museum. $1 per person. An actually affordable evening for families on a fixed income." - Jessica
With its variety of interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and IMAX films, it's perfect for anyone interested in science. Plus, the museum offers a wide range of educational programs for all ages.
"Great variety for the large age range of my kids. Keeps my kids busy and interested for hours. There is really something for everyone here, including great live animal shows. The Museum of Science Membership is a great deal - the kids never want to leave." - Maria
"The discovery center is awesome for smaller children. Bring your lunch and eat it while watching the giant marble run. So fun!" - Ariela
The New England Aquarium is a must-visit spot for those looking to explore the ocean’s wonders! See amazing creatures like sea otters, penguins, and sharks in their natural habitats.
"Boston's Aquarium is educational and has fun things to do for the kids plus the staff is very engaging with kids." - Jan
"It's fun and exciting for the kids. It's a special adventure to the city and we get to see the dolphins and fish. Something they don't get a chance to see and do every day. Makes it really special." - Cherayna
Take a stroll through The Rose Kennedy Greenway, the 15-acre park near downtown Boston. Explore the interactive art installations, attend a special event, or take a ride on the historic and whimsical Greenway Carousel featuring hand-painted animal figures to bring smiles to all ages!
"The Greenway is a great place for the children to splash in water on a hot day. There is also a carousel for them to ride. It's close to the North End, where you can go get some pizza or some goodies from the bakeries." - Cheryl
"Kids love the carousel - it's like Magic in the City!" - Angela
Visit Lawn on the D, a unique art park located near South Station with plenty of space to relax and enjoy the views! Enjoy delicious food from local vendors, check out live music and special events, or relax in the lawn chairs while soaking up some sunshine.
"There are lots of fun public events going on at The Lawn on D, like the Summer Block Party, summer movies, live music & oversized games for the kids. The swings alone are great. It's easy to get to. Something for all ages to enjoy." - Deb
Step back in time at Castle Island and Fort Independence, a 22-acre National Historic Landmark located along the harbor. Explore the centuries-old fortification and check out the views of Boston skyline from its walls. Take a scenic walk around the island and don't miss the seasonal concessions on site.
"So much to see and do at Castle Island. We love walking the loop, catching a breeze, watching planes take off and land at Logan, playing on the playground and of course grabbing a snack from Sullivans." - Paige
"First off “Sullivan’s” for hot dogs! Then the kiddos spend some time in the playground. If we go on a Sunday, the Fort is open and they love going through it. Often a walk around the inner loop and then they get their ice cream. A great day for all." - Barbara
With over 200 species of animals and several attractions, this zoo offers a fantastic day out for the whole family. Check out the stunning African Savannah and Gorilla Habitats, take a tram ride around the grounds, and witness live animal shows.
"Great day out with kids. Free parking and plenty of picnic areas. An oasis in the city of Boston. The gorilla exhibit, outdoor bird feeding area, lions, and huge playground are our favorites." - Mary
"The renovations and improvements they have made at Franklin Park Zoo are awesome. Kids love the outdoor nature area with giant nest to climb." - Jen
Take a stroll through the lush greenery of Boston Public Garden and hop on board a Swan Boat for a tour of its serene lagoon. The park is also home to an array of statues, monuments, and other attractions. Explore the fragrant flower beds, take a ride on a carousel, or relax in one of the many public areas around the garden.
"The Boston Public Garden is accessible by multiple modes of transportation, lots of options of things to do (swan boats, frog pond, playground, carousel, etc.), different option for food (including bringing your own picnic). I have been bringing my daughter every summer since she was born, I can make a day out of it or just go in for a couple of hours." - Jessica
Spend an afternoon in the peaceful surrounds of Boston Common for a perfect outdoor escape. Stroll along winding trails to soak up the natural beauty, have dun at the wading pool in summer or take a leisurely skate around the ice rink in winter months.
"It's easy to get to and centrally located. The green line has a stop at Boston Common. The Common has plenty of grassy areas, a playground, a carousel and Frog Pond wading pool, food, drinks, bathroom and sitting areas." - Keri
"There’s a playground and carousel nearby and the atmosphere is great. Kids have so much fun here and in general, it's such a happy place to be on a warm day especially." - Sue
This restored warship is one of the oldest warships in the world, making it a great destination for history buffs. Climb aboard to explore its decks and get an up-close look at this remarkable ship. Immerse yourself in stories of years gone by while taking in breathtaking views of Boston Harbor.
"It is very cool to go on a ship that was built in the 1700s at the time of our first president, George Washington. It was commissioned by the navy. It is amazing that a ship that age is still around for us to tour." - Cheryl
Climb onto an amphibious vehicle and explore the city, coasting along the Charles River before taking a plunge into the harbor. With its unique combination of land and sea tours, duck tours offer a fun and fascinating way to discover all that Boston has to offer. Enjoy hilarious commentary from your knowledgeable guides as you take in some of Boston's most iconic sights.
"You get to ride on an amphibious vehicle through Boston and into the Charles River, learning history along the way. Boston Duck Tours are so fun!" - Jill
Now the hidden gems! The off the beaten path ideas, the stuff you may not have heard of already, but should certainly visit...
From its vantage point overlooking the harbor, visitors can take in breathtaking views of sailing boats and gorgeous sunsets. This unique spot also offers a variety of activities for visitors looking to explore and relax. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the harbor, a picnic on the beach, or fishing off one of the piers.
"A new beer garden in Charlestown that is family friendly! Great views, international beer selection, 90+ wines, and some delicious food options. Plus lots of fun activities and programming for kids! Win." - Jared
Wander along winding trails and explore the area's lush foliage, with over 250 species of plants to observe. Take a boat ride across the tranquil pond, or enjoy a peaceful picnic on the lawn overlooking the banks of Jamaica Pond.
"In the spring it is fun to watch for turtles at the pond. I have seen logs with up to 6 turtles! The Arboretum is fun to run wild and free. No fear of vehicles, bikes or scooters!" - Jill
The Boston Public Market offers a unique experience for food lovers and cultural enthusiasts alike! Here, you can explore delicious local farmer’s market offerings like fresh fruits, vegetables, and gourmet foods. Discover unusual items from around the world or visit one of the many cooking demonstrations and workshops. Shop for handmade crafts, pick up an artisanal gift item, or simply relax in the seating area with a cup of coffee.
"Such a beautiful space filled with local vendors, and delicious foods. You can sample variety of things, connect with small businesses, sit and chat, or even take a cooking class." - Lindsay
"The cooking classes at Boston Public Kitchen are terrific. Great way for kids to learn about turning a recipe into a dish, from prepping & measuring to serving. Love the kitchen space - for all ages!" - Lisa
Take a ferry ride across the picturesque water and explore some of the most beautiful islands along the East Coast. Visit Fort Warren, or take a dip in the refreshing waters at Spectacle Island. Enjoy hiking trails, climbing walls, beaches, and more - all while taking in breathtaking views of Boston’s skyline.
"Who doesn't like a boat ride? It is great to see Boston from out in the harbor. It is also nice to see that the islands are not all built up like the city is. Each island is different. The island that has the fort is very interesting to children. Often there are special activities planned specifically for children on the islands." - Cheryl
The Bunker Hill Monument is a symbol of the Revolutionary War’s first major battle, an event that changed the course of American history. Located in Charlestown, this granite obelisk stands proudly at 221 feet tall and offers beautiful panoramic views of the harbor. Take a guided tour or climb the 294 steps to its top platform and discover historical artifacts from the war.
"This is a fun challenge for school-aged kids who love to climb the stairs in a tower and look at the view. It's 294 steps up so it's definitely a workout! We like to make a day of it, walk over the bridge from downtown, then take the Ferry back to Atlantic Wharf." - Kristen
The Christian Science Plaza Fountains, located in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay, offer a tranquil respite from the city's hustle and bustle. Step into the calming oasis and watch as the 75-foot high granite walls are illuminated by thousands of lights. Let yourself be mesmerized by the synchronized music playing while witnessing colorful streams of water dance gracefully in waterfall-like cascades.
"The entire family can have fun splashing in the fountain, get in some exercise running after each other, and cooling off. Lots of great restaurants nearby to have lunch or a quick snack. The plaza is a beautiful promenade the city." - Tribora
The Christopher Columbus Park in Boston is a gorgeous public space overlooking the harbor. Lined with lush trees, gardens and winding pathways, this park was designed to provide residents with a peaceful green oasis. Visitors can spend time at its fountain or take strolls along the pier while admiring the stunning views of the lighthouse and ships sailing by.
"Many fun events take place here, there is a playground nearby, lots of benches, open green space, a small spray fountain, waterfront views, and the Greenway Carousel is right across the street. Plus you can walk to North End or Quincy Market for food and ice cream." - Lily
Chez Vous Roller Rink is a unique destination for fun-seekers! This roller rink provides a great way to get active while having a blast. With music blaring and colorful lights shining, visitors can put on their skates and enjoy a night full of gliding, twirling, and skating around the huge space.
"Another family fun place to roller skate to some great music. It’s a great roller skate rink that attracts diverse families." - Nadine
The Emerald Necklace Conservancy is an organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the historic parks and parkways of Boston's Emerald Necklace. This green space is over a century old, with 7 parks that stretch from the Back Bay Fens in the south to Franklin Park in the north. The Conservancy ensures that these parks are kept green and inviting for visitors, with activities like biking, running, walking, bird watching and so much more.
"This park is close to the zoo, Jamaica Plain pond, Arnold Arboretum and other venues. It's a definitely a great place to get kids outside to hike and explore." - Nancy
Faneuil Hall is a historic marketplace and gathering place located in downtown Boston. Opened in 1742, this beloved landmark has been the site of countless famous speeches and debates that shaped American history. Today, Faneuil Hall is still a vibrant civic center for locals and visitors alike. With its cobblestone streets, vibrant eateries, museums, shops and more, there’s something for everyone at this iconic location.
"There is often entertainment here and street performers. There are lots of food vendors to choose from and some shopping. It is a great place for kids to pick up their Boston souvenirs. For a bit of history, visit the Great Hall (doors are right across from Quincy Market entrance) and the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Museum." - Sara
Fridays at the Hatch Shell are a highlight of summer in Boston! Every Friday night from late June through the end of August, movie fans can enjoy free outdoor screenings of classic films, all presented on the big screen alongside live musical performances. Nothing beats watching a movie beneath the stars with friends and family, so be sure to put this fun event on your calendar!
"Can picnic and watch a movie under the stars at the Hatch Shell. Something so cool about outdoor movie nights. Get there early for fun kids activities." - Ginnie
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile marked path that winds through downtown Boston, leading visitors through some of the city's most iconic and important sites. This popular attraction takes you back in time to explore the history behind the American Revolution. Follow the red brick road to visit 16 historical stops that tell the stories of those who shaped our nation’s birth. From churches, gravesites and monuments, to educational exhibits and interactive activities, you’re sure to have a memorable experience on this must-see trail.
"This tour is better for older children because of the amount of walking and because of the historical content. It is a great way to see what you read about in your history books." - Charlotte
"From start to finish, I felt like I was taking a journey back in time and learning more about the events that shaped our nation. The red brick trail is easy to follow, so I didn't have any trouble visiting the 16 historical sites along the way. Highly recommend this tour for history fans." - Nikki
Home to Fort Warren, which dates back to the Civil War era, the island contains a wealth of historical sites and artifacts that make it one of the most interesting places to visit in the city. Visitors can explore the fort's underground network of tunnels, view cannons and bunkers, and take part in interactive exhibits that detail its history.
"Spooky real fort, history, a playground, a boat ride, a picnic area... ALL THE THINGS!" - Amanda
"The kids love exploring the fort and the ferry ride is relaxing." - Heidi
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a treasured institution in Boston, and a must-see for art enthusiasts. The museum houses an incredible collection of European, Asian, and American artwork from the 15th century to present day. It also features stunning gardens that offer visitors a chance to experience nature alongside its wide range of masterpieces.
"This museum was once the home of the wealthy, well-educated Isabella Stewart Gardner. Her appreciation for great art and displaying it fittingly continues to astound people from around the world today. The best features include a beautiful courtyard with an Italian feel and a rotating display of seasonal flowers, and the artwork of many renowned painters including Rembrant and John Singer Sargent. This whimsical museum is small and suitable for young children to give them a sense of wonderment and appreciation for art." - Elizabeth
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Boston is a paradise for car lovers! Located on the grounds of the Larz Anderson Estate, the museum features an incredible collection of over 80 vintage cars from around the world. Visitors can explore the museum's galleries and learn about automotive history, from early prototypes to classic models to luxury vehicles.
"Fun and interesting all the vehicles in pristine condition very well kept and informative. Then after the museum we went to lars anderson park for a picnic playground and play fields a complete day of fun." - Jodi
With over 8000 square feet of interconnected trampolines, the park offers an exciting range of activities for all ages. Visitors can take part in dodgeball games, basketball dunk competitions, gladiator jousting matches and more. There are also tumbling classes and fitness programs to help you hone your skills and get fit!
"My kids have a blast and hungry and tired when we are done. It's great place to have them play and get in loads of exercise." - Nadine
The Mugar Omni Theater at the Museum of Science in Boston is an incredible experience. With its 70mm film projection and five story high domed screen, the theater takes you on a journey through time and space. You can explore distant galaxies, go back in time to witness great historical events or get up close to exotic wildlife.
"The Mugar Omni Theater is an immersive experience that's sure to delight all ages!" - John
"The huge screen is amazing and the films show us places and nature close up, in a way we would never see otherwise. I have seen my children and my grandchildren mesmerized watching the films there." - Cherie
Enjoy a picnic on one of the many grassy areas, go for a refreshing walk along the pier, or spend a leisurely afternoon fishing off the dock. There's even an outdoor amphitheater where you can soak up some amazing music!
"Incredibly beautiful park with awesome views of Boston Harbor and the Boston Skyline. Splash park is a nice feature on hot days and the playground has lots of things for the little ones. Love walking along the tree-shaded pier. T stop is Maverick Station. Some say this is the best kept secret in Boston - I tend to agree.." - Elizabeth
Located in the center of the city, this grand fountain features three concentric rings that spray hundreds of gallons of water into the air. During day or night, visitors take pleasure in watching the fountain come alive with its displays of illuminated colored lights and its mesmerizing water jets.
"It's a fun area to cool off and share some smiles and make memories! There is so much to do on the Greenway in general, but on a hot day, nothing beats splashing in the fountains. In the evening, the fountain spray lights up which adds a whole new dimension to the fun." - Kate
Take in the breathtaking views from the water as you travel from one destination to another, often at a fraction of the time it would take to walk or drive.
"Affordable way to get around the city and catch some awesome views! We like to take a roundtrip ride for the views, the breeze and to watch the planes land." - Erika
"My girls & I love to take the Charlestown Ferry over to the USS Constitution Museum." - Sarah
Located in the historic Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, the park is filled with fun opportunities for play, including slides and swings, as well as an outdoor amphitheater for hosting concerts and performances. Jog or walk around the various pathways, have a picnic in the grassy meadow or take a stroll through the forested area.
"Awesome playground, fun equipment, beautiful views! It's also just a short drive away from downtown Boston, making it easily accessible for anyone looking for a fun day out." - Mark
You can feel the energy of the city as you travel along and make stops at popular attractions, neighborhoods, shops and restaurants. The T system is easy to use, making it an ideal choice for transportation.
"You don’t get much cheaper for an adventure, and they could ride it for hours if I let them!" - Amanda
"My boys love trains. We love to ride the commuter rail during off peak hours and watch the world go by." - Sallie
And last but not the least, some of our partners & friends providing tours in Boston.
Taking the Old Town Trolley in Boston is a great way to explore the city! You can hop on and off at any of the stops and take your time visiting popular attractions, neighborhoods, shops and restaurants. The trolley is narrated by knowledgeable guides who provide interesting insight into the history of the city. It's also a comfortable ride that allows you to see much more than you would be able to on foot.
Boston Harbor Cruises (BHC) is the nation's oldest and largest private operator of passenger vessels. BHC provides unique experiences that are sure to meet any adventure seeker's needs. The Cape Cod Fast Ferry offers affordable service between Cape Cod and nearby islands while Codzilla is an adrenaline-filled thrill ride that has become a popular favorite. There are also two pier side patio bars, The Landing at Long Wharf and The Landing at the Salem Ferry, offering scenic views while indulging in tasty food and drinks. In addition, BHC provides offshore support services for underwater survey, research and LNG work.
Urban AdvenTours offers bike rentals and guided bike tours of Boston - from historic landmarks to quaint neighborhood streets of Boston and Cambridge - for families, students and visitors. Their custom city bikes are top quality, well maintained, and comfortable. Bike tour routes are designed to be safe while covering a lot of ground in a short time. They are ready to show you a "wheely" good time!