Things To Do in Boston
Located on the Boston waterfront, explore the oceans and visit thousands of marine animals in three levels of world-class exhibits. Sea turtles, penguins, sharks, seals and other creatures reside at the newly renovated aquarium including the iconic Giant Ocean Tank, home to a four story reef and more than 2000 aquatic animals has been transformed with many new features.
Gardens and Parks
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a living museum dedicated to the study and appreciation of woody plants. The 265-acre park is home to over 4000 types of trees and displays world renowned collections of maples, crabapples, lilacs and rhododendrons, as well as the many other trees and shrubs that can grow in our climate.
The oldest botanical garden in the United States, created in 1837, offers plenty of activities for kids staying in Boston. The swan boats are a popular attraction within the park, as well as, the duckling statues, built in honor of Robert McCloskey's beloved "Make Way for Ducklings" book. The wide variety of plants and flower beds makes for a romantic setting, which also attracts many weddings.
Boston Common is the country’s oldest park, as it was established in 1634. It is also the starting point for the famous Freedom Trail. It is a space of 50 acres and serves as the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, which is a system of connected parks in Boston. Visitors to the park can enjoy a picnic, a leisurely walk, or sporting activities. In the winter, ice skating on Frog Pond is ideal fun!!
The Esplanade runs along the Southern bank of the Charles River and is the site of Boston’s annual July 4th celebration. It features beautiful lawns and gardens, as well as children’s playgrounds. It is home to many joggers, walkers and cyclists enjoying the lovely scenery. The Esplanade also hosts free concerts and many public festivals and is also part of the Emerald Necklace park system.
An urban Fenway neighborhood pocket park, steps from the hotel, showcases a city oasis of plants, flowers and walking paths.
One of the largest children’s museums in the world, offering several floors of hands-on exhibits; the exhibits and programs emphasize engagement and learning through experience, employing play as a tool to spark the inherent creativity, curiosity, and imagination of children. Some of the exhibits address recycling boats, music, construction, art, and theater. In these various displays, kids can be on TV, climb a maze, make huge bubbles, or even sing karaoke.
This university museum houses a vast array of exhibits on animal, vegetable, and mineral. Visitors can explore and examine animals, dinosaurs, fossils, stones, flowers and biology. You'll also get a good overview of the rise of regional cultures. A fantastic find for those who desire to learn more about Natural History.
Built in 1668, this is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. This curious home inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel, House of the Seven Gables. Discover a mysterious secret staircase where you least expect it and see more than 2,000 artifacts and objects housed in this 18th century mansion.
Since 1936, the Institute of Contemporary Art strives to share the inspiration and imagination of modern art through public access to art, artists, and the creative process. Countless visitors are also drawn to the museum’s eclectic offering of dance, theatre and music events at this waterfront museum.
Visitors to the museum are greeted by the visual splendor of the courtyard garden and surrounding galleries providing a feast for the senses. Opened in 1903, Ms. Gardner’s collection of art reflects her passion for rare Dutch and Italian paintings. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a Venetian-style mansion with three floors of galleries and over 2,500 pieces by artists such as Rembrandt, Whistler, Degas, Raphael and Michelangelo.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of our nation's thirty-fifth president. Located on a ten-acre park, this museum exhibits Kennedy’s career from his campaign trail to his tragic death. Overlooking the sea, the Library stands as a vibrant tribute to the life and times of John F. Kennedy.
Through interactive exhibitions, public programs, experimental projects and its renowned collections of robots, holography, nautical engineering and more, MIT Museum invites you to explore invention, ideas, and innovations of MIT professors and alums. MIT Museum inspires people of all ages about the possibilities and opportunities offered by science and technology.
The Museum of African American History is New England’s largest museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting the contributions of African American communities from the Colonial Period through the 19th century. The Boston museum of African History includes America’s oldest African Meeting house in America and Abiel Smith School, the first public school for African Americans.
The MFA is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary art, the collections at MFA encompasses nearly 450,000 works of art. With rotating exhibitions, and innovative educational programs, the MFA can keep anyone busy over multiple visits. The MFA also hosts many unique events including lectures, music, films, art opportunities for kids, and even cocktail parties.
One of the world's largest science centers and New England's most highly attended cultural institution Boston’s Museum of Science is not to be missed. Home to the largest "lightning machine" in the world and with more than 400 interactive exhibits, this museum is fun for all ages. See the stars at the Hayden Planetarium, which features models, lectures, films, laser and star shows. Travel the world in the Mugar Omni Theater where scientific subjects show on a four-story, domed screen.
Public Golf Courses
The Town of Barnstable Golf Courses feature 36 holes of incredible Cape Cod golf. Hyannis Golf Course is located in Hyannis, Massachusetts, and Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds is located in Marston Mills, Massachusetts. The Olde Barnstable Fairgrounds course first opened in 1992 and quickly became one of the most popular in the area. This 71 par course can be challenging with narrow, tree-lined fairways with rolling hills and small, undulating greens. Finding the line and controlling the speed on these difficult greens will be the key to a good round.
The beautiful Stow Acres Country Club site is distinguished by two award winning championship 18-hole golf courses, the North and South. The North was selected as one of America's 50 best public courses by Golf Digest (1984, 1996) and hosted the 70th U.S. Amatuer Public Links Championship. This par 72 championship North Course stretches to nearly 7,000 yards and winds through pine forest, ponds, and streams.
The Trull Brook golf course boasts a classic layout designed by New England’s renowned designer Geoffrey Cornish in 1963. When playing, you will find that the combination of the course’s length, its many water features, green size and carefully placed bunkers make for a challenging 18 holes of golf. Be prepared to test both your long and your short game at Trull Brook!
Open since 1896, William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park is the second oldest golf course in the United States. The layout of the course was re-designed by the world’s premier architect, Donald J. Ross and has been home to many leading figures in golf, including Willie Campbell and Bobby Jones. Golfers will enjoy beautiful, challenging courses at a facility Golf Digest has named one of the best places to play in 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Newton Commonwealth Golf Course is a beautiful, 18-hole course, located a short distance from Downtown Boston. Golfers will enjoy a short, but challenging game of golf with quick greens and narrow fairways. The Newton Commonwealth Golf Course is open to the public seven days a week and can accommodate group outings.
Located in Brookline, MA, the Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course opened in 1933 and was designed by the famous team of Stiles & Van Kleek. Offering more than 6,300 yards of greens, this course is perfect for all skill levels. They have on-site golf instruction, a pro shop, driving range and when you’re done playing you can grab a bite to eat at the Vine Ripe Grill. For your convenience, tee times for this golf course can be reserved online.
Private Golf Courses
On 225 acres of beautifully manicured turfgrass, trees, streams and natural areas, Brae Burn is conveniently located five minutes from the Massachusetts Turnpike via Interstate 95/Route 128 South. Initially developed in the late 17th century, legendary course architect Donald Ross redesigned Brae Burn early in the 18th century, and it remains a classic championship course today. The course features relatively narrow fairways, a handful of water hazards, and oversized greens. The impressive list of events hosted here includes the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur.
This Golf Digest’s pick of “Top 100 Golf Courses” is a delight for players of all abilities. The par 72, 18 hole layout will require accurate placement off the tee and mounded greens will test the best of putters. The difficult rough makes accuracy essential. Water hazards are limited and penalizing, but not intrusive. Bunkers and chipping areas guard the greens, so practice up on your short game to keep from tallying big numbers on this challenging course.
The Winchester Country Club features generous fairways and medium-sized greens. This Donald Ross classic is designed on a rolling terrain, the hilly fairways will cause uneven lies for approach shots, and the well-mounded greens will test your putting.
The Old North Church is the oldest church in Boston and today is still an active Episcopal church. It was designed by William Price from his study of London churches designed by Christopher Wren. The Old North Church is probably most known as being the site where Robert Newman signaled Cambridge residents that the British were approaching by sea with two of Paul Revere’s lanterns on April 18, 1775. In addition to the historic church there is a wonderful museum located in the back.
The Old South Meeting House is Boston’s second-oldest church, built in 1729. It was here that many town meetings were held, including one that called by Samuel Adams for the protest of taxable tea. It was meeting like this that led to the Revolution. Visitors to this site can learn about what went on at these meeting through exhibits and displays. It’s an interesting experience for the whole family.
The Paul Revere House was built in 1680 along the Freedom Trail. It was from this house that Paul Revere set out on his famous ride toward Lexington to warn about the British. This National Landmark is Boston’s oldest building and is filled with colonial-era furniture, as well as original silver made by Paul Revere.
The USS Constitution was one of the US Navy’s six original frigates and is an important part of Boston history. Known as “Old Ironsides”, this ship, made of bolts, spikes and other fittings, never lost any of the 40 battles it was in. It is the world’s oldest commissioned warship and today is open for guided tours given by actual USS Constitution’s active duty sailors!
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Irish Famine, a million-dollar memorial park was built and unveiled in 1998. Located in downtown Boston, the park is sited along the city's Freedom Trail. The bronze statues depict dedicated, enduring Irish families in America. Since the dedication, the memorial has attracted in excess of three million visitors.
For an authentic experience of history, this self-paced excursion lets visitors lead themselves on one of the best walking tours of Boston. Discover the rich history of the American Revolution on this 2.5 mile red brick trail through the city. The trail features 16 official historical sites, including the Old State House, Paul Revere House and the USS Constitution. Every step tells a story.
Located in downtown Boston, steps away from the waterfront, Faneuil Hall Marketplace boasts more than 100 of the finest shops and specialty pushcarts, 14 restaurants, and over 36 international food vendors inside of the Quincy Market Colonnade, the largest food hall in New England. The cobblestone promenades are also filled with the music and jaw-dropping routines of world-renowned street performers and musicians.
Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose history, influence and wealth have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the country's oldest institution for higher learning and was named for its first patron, Reverend John Harvard. Notable alumni include eight United States presidents and more than 45 Nobel Laureates. Audio and mobile campus tours are available for download at www.harvard.edu.
One of the most well-known and respected universities in the world, MIT is comprise of various academic departments with a strong emphasis on scientific, engineering, and technological education and research. Over 57 Nobel Prize winners are associated with the school, 23 of which are alumni and ten who are currently on staff.
The New England Holocaust Memorial was built as a beacon of memory and hope, inviting all visitors to reflect on the impact of bigotry and to resolve to combat all forms of oppression. The memorial features six 54-foot tall glass towers, each hovering above its own concrete pit filled with smoldering coals that illuminate the name of a concentration camp inscribed on the pillar. The site also hosts remembrance ceremonies regularly. Located on the Boston’s historic Freedom Trail the memorial site offers a unique opportunity for reflection on the meaning of oppression – and freedom – and on the importance of a society’s respect for human rights.
Tours and Excursions
Boston by Foot is a nonprofit educational corporation that presents engaging and thought-provoking tours of Boston’s most famous historical attractions. There are nine classic walking tours regularly scheduled from May to October, and custom and private tours can be arranged during the off-season. Tours offered include Literary Landmarks, The Dark Side of Boston, Road to Revolution and more. Many of our highly-trained volunteer tour guides of have served Boston by Foot for more than 10, 20, and even 30 years.
Boston Duck Tours is a great way to start off your visit to Boston. In a W.W.II style amphibious landing vehicle, a great overview of the city is presented to you by animated and knowledgeable “conDUCKtors” that will sure to entertain. The tour will show you many unique neighborhoods and splash you into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines. Tourists can find two departure points: one at the Museum of Science and the other at Prudential Center.
Boston Food Tours offer two main deliciously fun tours in Boston. Choose from the North End Market Tour, which explores the food traditions and marketplaces of "Little Italy" or the Chinatown Market Tour, which introduces patrons to regional cuisines, Chinese herbal pharmacy and a dim sum lunch and etiquette lessons.
For over 30 years, Old Town Trolley Tours has provided Boston sightseeing tours highlighting the best of the city. Enjoy a tour of Boston with narration and a mix of fun trivia and humorous stories. Old Town Trolley tours provide more than 100 points of interest and allows “Hop on and off” all day and even next day ride for free! These tours leave from many convenient locations throughout Boston and are an excellent way to become acquainted with the city.
PhotoWalks is a tour of Boston and a photography workshop combined. The 90 minute tour provides guests with historic commentary of Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Freedom Trail and North End, Public Garden and Waterfront while the guide teaches you how to capture diverse photo opportunities using creative composition and various settings on your camera. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.
The Franklin Park Zoo is 72-acres packed with wildlife that has been in Boston's historic Franklin Park for one hundred years. Children and adults alike can explore the wonders of a tropical rainforest, the Australian outback, or the African savannah and experience hundreds of exotic animal species from around the world right in the middle of Boston. Kids will also enjoy the modern playground and the different special events that occur in each month.
Stone Zoo is located on a 26-acre site near the sparkling Spot Pond reservoir in Stoneham, MA. It is the perfect place to get close to amazing animals, exhilarating exhibits, and exciting events going on daily, year-round. Breakfast with reindeer make the zoo more attractive when the climate is cold and kids will love the playground on milder day.
The August Moon Festival is one of the most celebrated Chinese holidays held on the 15th day of August. Chinatown Main Street brings the popular Chinese Moon Festival to Boston for a measure of exotic celebration. Enjoy music, food, activities, storytellers and a dragon parade to celebrate the full moon on Beach and Harrison Streets, rain or shine. Don’t forget to try a delicious mooncake.
The Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival is Boston’s biggest block party on Columbus Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and Burke Street in Boston’s South End. A host of jazz, Latin, blues, and groove acts are performed on 3 stages. Families are entertained with great eats, face painting, inflatables, photos, and an instrument petting zoo. This festival usually held in the last week of September is free and fun for all ages.
The Boston Film Festival is dedicated to supporting evolving filmmakers by providing a forum to showcase their artistic vision. From shorts to documentaries to feature films, the festival has something for everyone. The festival also offers audiences first-hand access to the filmmakers and filmmaking process during the Q&A sessions with the Director and talent following every screening. Check out the website for tickets. http://www.bostonfilmfestival.org/
The BIFF is a festival dedicated to rewarding artists for their individual talents and for their creative expression through the medium of film. The festival strives to bring together in Boston local, national and international filmmakers by promoting the world’s most artistic and creative independent and experimental films. A variety of short and feature films are presented during this festival. Many entries are works that were completed by students from nearby arts schools.
One of Boston’s proudest traditions is commemorating the day our country issued its Declaration of Independence. More than half a million people come to Boston each year to celebrate Independence Day. Enjoy a concert performed by the famous Boston Pops Orchestra and end the evening with a bang as cannons are shot, bells are rung, and the perfectly choreographed fireworks and music display lights up the sky and entertains the crowd.
Shop from over 300 of America’s finest craft artists. This three day festival offers art, crafts, flavorful foods, everything a holiday shopper could desire. Aside from getting your shopping done, the main appeal and crowd favorite is the annual gingerbread house competition. Boston’s top chefs and decorators from many local businesses enter their unique creations ... many of which look more like palaces or villages than houses.
First Night is an alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration for everyone. Boston's city-wide First Night party includes hundreds of different indoor and outdoor locations, performances, and a thousand musical, dance, theater and other artistic performers. Museums, theaters, churches and performance centers all over the city open their doors for events like the Family Festival at Hynes Convention Center. All First Night outdoor events are free, and admission to indoor events requires the purchase of a First Night.
This family friendly event held in the heart of Harvard Square is fun for everyone. Oktoberfest features five stages of live entertainment, music, dance, art, street performances and 200+ artisans and merchants offering handmade, vintage, recycled, costume, antique, and sidewalk sale items. Clowns, rides, and face painting in particular are most popular with children. Adults enjoy tasting foods and beers from around the world. There is something for everyone during this popular local event.
The Fisherman's Feast is an annual event that began in Boston in 1910. A religious festival introduced to Boston by Italian immigrants over 100 years ago begins with a religious ceremony in which the Madonna statue is carried from the Fisherman's Club to the feast chapel. The rest of the festival revolves around music, food and drink. There is entertainment on the bandstand and vendors selling food such as Italian sausages, calamari, pizza, pasta and more, as well as, crafts.