Boston is a city with so much history and so many firsts to its name. The capital of Massachusetts is packed with things to see and do, and you need more than a couple of days to see all that the city has to offer. These top 10 things to do in Boston are the activities you’re going to want to cross off your list first!
1. Tour the city on a Duck Boat
One of the best ways to see Boston — or at least to get a first look of the city — is on a duck boat. For over a quarter of a century now, visitors to the city have been getting on these amphibious vehicles to tour this city in Massachusetts.
March to November is the season for these tours. The duck boat tour lasts for around 80 minutes. The first hour of it is where you’re taken around the city and shown famous sites, historical venues, recognizable structures, and much-talked-about neighborhoods. And then the tour moves to its watery route — the Charles River to show you some sights of the city from the perspective of the river.
2. Walk the Freedom Trail
One of the best things to do in Boston is a walk through the Freedom Trail in the city. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile brick path through the city that takes you through the most important historical landmarks of Boston.
It’s like a walk through the Revolutionary era as it guides you through many points that played a part in the war for American independence. There are 16 historical sites along this trail. You also get to see several old & new buildings that make up the Boston skyline today, some museums, markets, & churches. You can take a guided tour, use an app, or even do a self-guided tour through the trail. There’s even an audio tour you can purchase from Freedom Trail Foundation.
Some of the POIs along this route are Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument, the site of the Boston Massacre of 1770, & the USS Constitution.
3. Spend some time at Boston Commons
Boston Common is the greenery at the heart of Boston Proper. Here you’ll see people jogging in the mornings, or playing tennis or baseball later in the day. Go here for some relaxation, for a picnic, or for a ride on a Swan Boat. You can see a frog pond here in the summer and an ice-skating rink in the winter months. You might even get to watch a musical performance at this park.
Boston Common is not just another park. This 50-acre park is the oldest public park in the country and adjoining it is America’s first Botanical Garden called Public Garden. What today is a green space with a lot of activities has been at different points of time, pastures for cows, a place for public hangings, and even a venue for many a protest. When you hit the Freedom Trail, Boston Common will be your starting point.
4. Visit Paul Revere House
Another one of the top things to do in Boston on the Freedom Trail is visiting the Paul Revere House. This building in North End dates back to the 1700s. Although the structure did see some disarray and renovation over the years, it still stands as a model of those times, and as one of the oldest buildings in an urban setting.
After the house by sold by Paul Revere, it changed hands a few times and has been a shop, a bank, and a cigar factory among other things. However, it was brought back into the family and later sold again, this time to be a museum. One of the first dwellings in the country to get the status, the Paul Revere House now showcases artifacts of the time, and even some of the belongings of the Revere family.
5. Take a look at Old North Church
You’re also going to want to see the church that played a role the night of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride to Lexington. According to the history of the area, when Revere made that heroic journey, he’d made arrangements for some signals to be given out from the bell towers of the building the night before the Revolutionary War broke out. The double lanterns shown from the steeple were supposed to be information about the British Troops approaching the area by sea.
Apart from its presence in history, Old North Church, which was officially Christ Church, is a sight to see because it’s Boston’s oldest functioning church and an architectural beauty. At this church you can also see the pew that the Revere family used to be seated at. There’s also a behind-the-scenes tour that you might be able to do.
6. Make a stop at Faneuil Hall
Yet another top thing to do in Boston on the Freedom Trail is check out Faneuil Hall. This might look like just another marketplace in an old building but that’s not all there is to this place. This red brick building goes back to the 18th century and it was built to be the city’s first permanent market place, but in due course it became a place of political importance too. Faneuil Hall soon came to be a place where protests were planned and where political discussions took place.
When you’re on the Freedom trail, you can make a stop here to take a look at the architecture of this building as well as the ones around it. You can watch artists and musicians at work too. Walk into the market and you see people selling everything from crafts to flowers, and a whole lot of souvenirs. There are some restaurants too in this building. There’s even a small military museum in here.
7. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Also a big event in Boston’s history has been the Boston Tea Party when the ‘Sons of Liberty’ got hold of over 300 chests of tea that belonged to the British East India Company and dumped it right here at the Boston Harbor. This event that might have ignited the revolutionary war and the fight for American Independence can be revisited at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.
Situated by the Boston Harbor, you can go through interactive exhibits and watch live reenactments of the historic mercantile protest at this floating museum. Here you can watch a film about the American Revolution and see restored 18th-century ships. You can even get yourself some tea & scones while you’re here.
8. Explore the Waterfront
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum aren’t the only reasons to visit Boston’s waterfront. It’s a great place to spend some time while you’re in this capital city by the Massachusetts Bay.
You can get on to the Harborwalk to catch some great views of the city and watch the activities at this working harbor. You could also walk along the piers by the downtown, take a boat tour, go on a harbor cruise, rent a sailboat, or even take a ferry to the islands around here.
9. Pay a visit to Harvard University
With one of the oldest institutions of higher education being near here, you’re not going to want to miss the opportunity to venture into Greater Boston to see Harvard University. It’s one of the most popular things to do in Boston.
You’ll enjoy the architecture at this Ivy League school. You can learn about the history of the university by going on one of the tours led by students or by doing a self-guided tour. You can also visit the museums on campus or grab a bite at the cafes there.
10. Catch a game at Fenway Park
Boston is also home to the Red Sox and the oldest Major League Baseball Stadium in all of the United States. The first game played here was in 1912 and the place is said to have remained pretty much the same since that year.
When you’re in town and there’s a game taking place here, it’s your chance to be at the stadium and take in the energy of the ballpark. If there isn’t a game or you’d like to see more of the place, you could go on a walking tour of the historic stadium. The guided tour will take you through the history of the structure and the game and show you statues of Baseball Celebrities and murals among other things.