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What to Do When You Visit Boston
May 10, 2022 By CityPASS
Few cities hold as much history as Boston, the capital of Massachusetts and home to some of the nation’s best-loved historical attractions. Known for its pivotal role in the Revolutionary War, this colonial city has some of the most prestigious colleges, museums, and entertainment activities.
While it’s an old city with a rich history, the renowned universities bring youthful energy to the cultural scene of Boston. With fine dining, tourist attractions, and a patchwork of distinct neighborhoods, you’ll never be at a loss for things to do in this vibrant city.
But when is the best time to visit Boston to make most of your trip? Learn all the exciting details in our roundup. We list the best places to visit in Boston and provide some tips for making your visit memorable.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Boston Outside of Summer?
Like most cities, Boston’s tourism peaks in the summer months. While it can get muggy and hot, summer still brings in swarms of tourists — and more expensive hotel rates.
But what if you’re not visiting in the summer? The best time to visit Boston outside of the summer months is spring or fall. You’ll avoid the oppressive summer heat as well as the heavy snow banks and chilly weather that come during the winter months.
When the Boston weather grows milder, it’s easier to walk the streets on foot and take in the beautiful outdoors. In the spring, you can enjoy the explosion of greenery and blooming flowers. During fall, you can watch the colors of autumn unfold as the trees change colors.
What Are Boston's Must-See Features and Noteworthy Spots?
One of the best ways to get a feel for all that Boston offers is to explore it on foot. With so many attractions to choose from, you can easily miss the best places to visit in Boston by taking a ride instead of a walking tour.
If you’re not sure what to visit in Boston, we have you covered. Here are some of the most exciting things to do and see in this historic city.
Boston Common Public Park and Freedom Trail
The iconic Freedom Trail is a three-mile path that takes you right past — and through — the city’s most important historical sites. Just follow the line of red bricks on the sidewalk to take you past spots like Old Granary Burying ground, where Paul Revere and John Hancock lie buried, or the Old State House, which is the site of the Boston Massacre.
Along the way, you'll also get a chance to visit Faneuil Hall, a famous meeting place for Patriots during the American Revolution, and shop or enjoy food in Quincy Market.
The Freedom Trail starts at the Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States, located on Beacon Hill. These charming public gardens are home to dozens of exotic trees and plants and the famous Swan Boats. While the path takes you through sixteen revolutionary sites, it also winds through downtown Boston. Walk alongside the rush of pedestrians while you enjoy the bustle of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.
If you're up for some more greenery, you can also visit Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a park favored among locals, located just a few streets away from the Boston Common.
New England Aquarium or Franklin Park Zoo
Both kids and adults will find plenty to explore at the New England Aquarium. From the harbor seal habitat to the coral reef exhibit that houses over 1,000 underwater creatures, this aquarium has it all to take you closer to sea life. There’s even a Shark and Ray Touch Tank to let you graze the sea creatures as they pass by.
As you explore the depths of the museum, you’ll run across the displays dedicated to sea turtles, sea jellies, sea dragons, sharks, penguins, eels, and barracuda, to name a few. When you want to take a break from the habitats, check out the IMAX theater to watch films about sea creatures and more.
Another attraction you may want to check out is the Franklin Park Zoo. Located just four miles from downtown Boston, the Franklin Park Zoo is home to many animals. When you explore the 72-acre grounds, you can even see exotic animals like gorillas, zebras, giraffes, tigers, and lions.
The dedicated aviary exhibit gives you a glance at the whole zoo and the up-close looks at some of the world's most exotic birds. To get up close and personal with smaller critters, explore the Prairie Dog pop-up or play next to red pandas with the Bamboo Climbers.
With educational content on conservation programs and kid-friendly activities, this zoo offers many engaging experiences.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
From dinosaurs to meteorites, the Harvard Natural History Museum houses some of the most incredible collections of natural specimens in the world. The hands-on education program also brings plenty of entertaining activities for children.
This must-visit attraction is perfect for science and nature enthusiasts of all ages. Visitors can enjoy exhibitions showcasing the latest research, including the collection of over 830 plant species crafted out of glass.
Boston Harbor City Cruise Ride
If you’re looking for a new way to appreciate the city’s sights and stunning views, you can take a city cruise ride. Boston Harbor City Cruise has something for everyone, from dining cruises to speed boat thrill rides. In all of them, you get to enjoy the skyline views while sightseeing lighthouses, ships, the Harbor Islands, or the Fort Point Channel.
Museum of Science
With over 700 interactive exhibits, you could spend all day at the landmark Museum of Science. Home to the Mugar Omni Theater and Charles Hayden Planetarium, the museum contains everything from science exhibits to habitats for over 100 rehabilitated animals.
The Museum of Science offers some science-related fun for visitors of all ages. Various displays cover everything from physics to astronomy, encouraging hands-on exploration and learning. You can easily extend your stay in Boston for such an exciting and broad experience.
Don't Miss Out on a Ticket Package to Boston Attractions
Whether you decide to take a walking tour of the Freedom Trail or touch a manta ray in the hands-on aquarium exhibit, a trip to Boston will entertain everyone in the family. The best Boston places to visit we listed here will excite both adults and youngsters.
How many days to visit Boston to make most of the trip, then? It's up to you, but you may need more than a couple of days to take in at least a bit of everything Boston has to offer.
The good thing is that you can extend your days of stay by getting affordable tickets to Boston attractions. With CityPASS ticket packages, you can save up to on your next trip and take a relaxed tour to your preferred destinations in Boston. Don't rush from one attraction to another — enjoy your stay leisurely and on a budget.
To get the most out of your stay in Boston, we recommend finding lodging near Boston's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you: