With your relocation date getting closer, you’re thinking about the most exciting things to do in Boston and how to plan your first tour around the city. Being one of the historically richest cities in the country, the capital of Massachusetts has a lot to offer, whether you’re just visiting or you’re considering moving to Boston. There is so much to see and learn here that you’ll probably find it challenging to make a plan and decide where to go first.
Should you start by exploring all those historical sites? Or you’d rather enjoy some outdoor activities and just spend time in nature? How about some popular events all around the metropolis? Perhaps you’d like to go to a bar or some of the best restaurants there? Whatever it is that you feel like doing, you’ll have a chance to do it here; this metropolis is called the Hub of the Universe for a reason. In case you’re moving with your children, and you’re looking for a place with a high-quality education, some of the top-notch schools in Boston will make you pick this metropolis to be your future home. And even if you don’t decide to settle down in the Hub, you’ll surely want to spend at least a couple of days or weeks there.
A diverse place like the so-called Cradle of Liberty is a perfect home for people of different cultural backgrounds and various interests and expectations. It is considered the cultural center of the greater metropolitan area, as well as one of the oldest municipalities nationwide. This alone is enough to give you an idea of just how rich your chosen destination is, whether you want to move or travel. So, where should you go first? Let’s find out more about some of the most popular attractions and activities here.
Stroll Around Boston Public Garden
Created back in 1837, this stunning garden now has more than 80 species of plants, including some exotic trees. Therefore, not only is it a fantastic place to recharge your batteries and forget about the hustle and bustle of the center, but it is also an excellent opportunity to see some rare plants that you never did before. Given the romantic setting, it comes as no surprise that many decide to schedule their weddings right here.
You can walk around and explore every charming corner. Stop for a moment to enjoy looking at beautiful swans in the lake, admire statues at every few steps, or simply sit on a bench, look at colorful tulips, and leave all your troubles behind. Even if you’re moving in winter, this is still a place worth visiting, with its winter magic and fairytale-like scenery. As for those warmer months, the most popular attraction is probably a ride through the Lagoon.
Hop on the Swan Boat for a Lagoon Ride
Your enjoyment in the Public Garden probably wouldn’t be complete if you missed a lovely ride on Swan Boats. Ever since 1877, Swan Boats have been active, taking passengers around the artificial lake in the Garden. This 15-minute long ride is a lovely experience for children and adults alike. You may have to get in line, as Swan Boats are quite popular among the locals, too. However, even when there is a line, it moves quite quickly, so you don’t have to worry about wasting your time waiting. The swan boat season begins in mid-April, and its end is usually in mid-September.
The Lagoon stretches on about 4 acres, and it was once a popular ice-skating venue. If you enjoy ice skating, you can still enjoy your favorite activity in Boston Common, located right next to the Public Garden.
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
Are you wondering how to pack paintings for moving because these are the most valuable items on your home inventory list? For art lovers, there’s one of the largest and most visited museums in the country and entire North America, with approximately 1.2 million visitors a year. Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) contains over 450,000 works of art in a variety of collections, from the Ancient World, Africa, and Oceania, to Contemporary Art and Photography. Simply put, there’s something for everyone.
Of course, you can’t possibly get to explore the entire treasure of this magnificent museum, so it would be a good idea to focus on some of the highlights for a start. These include Ancient Egyptian artifacts, such as sarcophagi and jewelry, Chinese painting and calligraphy, Japanese pottery, as well as French impressionist and post-impressionist works of art.
The MFA is open seven days a week, so it shouldn’t be much of a problem to fit it into your schedule. It is open from 10 am to 5 pm Mondays and Tuesdays and during the weekend, and from 10 am to 10 pm from Wednesday through Friday.
Take Studio Art Classes in the Museum
When you immerse yourself in such marvelous works, you might begin to dream about being an artist yourself. Then you might think that it’s probably too late for you. But MFA is here to prove you wrong. You can take these classes for adults and take the chance to learn from experienced and professional artists and educators. You can choose from a wide array of classes, including drawing, figure drawing, watercolor, oil painting, and even sculpture and stone craving. Sounds quite exciting, doesn’t it?
Explore your creativity and have fun during workshops, even if you’ve never done anything similar in the past. Everyone’s welcome, regardless of how good their skills are.
Take a Tour Around Fenway Park If You’re a Sports Fan
If you’re more of a sports fan, don’t worry. There’s plenty of stuff to do and places to go to for you, too. One that singles out is the famous Fenway Park. How can anyone call themselves a baseball fan if they don’t check out“America’s Most Beloved Ballpark,” right? Don’t miss to book a tour around Fenway Park and go around the stadium, as well as the press room and visitors’ clubhouse.
In addition to baseball, hockey, soccer, football, and boxing, this is also a popular music venue, and it has been one since 1973. So, there are various events that you can check out here. Some of the major concerts held there featured world-known artists such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, and many others.
Buy a Ticket for a Game and Watch It from the Green Monster
The left-field wall, called the Green Monster, is probably the most famous one, probably due to its proximity to the home plate – it is only around 315 feet away from it. It is also unusually high – it stands at 37 feet. Once you’re there already, it would be a shame not to get a ticket for a game and have some fun with your friends. Just don’t forget that the seats here are in high demand, so it’s advisable that you book them well in advance.
Explore Beacon Hill
Make sure you spend a day walking around the narrow streets of charming Beacon Hill. Each street is beautiful in its own way. Some of the top-ranked restaurants in Boston are located here, alongside numerous cozy cafés, and there is a good bar here and there, too. All in all, it won’t be that hard to find a place to relax after your long walk around the area, be it a bar or some of its exquisite restaurants. You’ll want to come back after a while, that’s how good they are. And as the name itself suggests, it is located on a hill.
Not only is Beacon Hill one of the most interesting places to explore, but it is also among the best neighborhoods in Boston to move to. So, before you get down to packing or turn to professional Boston movers to do the packing and unpacking for you, make sure you look into Beacon Hill as a potential future neighborhood for you and your family.
Go for a Walk Along the Freedom Trail
Once you figure out how to unpack after a move, it would be a shame to stay in your house. Why would you sit inside when there are so many amazing places where you can go for a walk, including the Freedom Trail. This 2.5 mile-long trail is a beautiful path to go for a walk, and you’ll surely enjoy it from the start in the Common, through the downtown area and all the way to its end – the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.
On your way from the starting point to the very end, you’ll have a chance to stop by as many as 16 landmarks, including Paul Revere House and Old State House. If you’re moving with pets, you can take your furry friends, too, and enjoy a long walk together, all the way to Charlestown.
Enjoy Nature and Relax at the Arnold Arboretum
If you’re moving with kids and you want to spend a lovely day with your family, you should head to Arnold Arboretum. It is a large chain of parks, waterways, and parkways surrounded by all kinds of trees from around the world.
This is a place where you get to forget all about the hectic pace of life and immerse yourself in nature. There are regular pathways that you can follow, as well as those that lead off the paved roads, perfect for those who’re up for a bit of adventure and exploration on their own. Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is even more than a lovely haven to run to when you wish to get in touch with nature. This can also turn into a learning experience.
Take a Guided Family Tour Around the Arboretum
For those who want to learn during their walk around the Arnold Arboretum, there are excellent guided tours. Depending on your age, you can form an adult or youth group and have fun and learn something. Keep in mind that groups have to book private tours, while the tours for individuals are free. Finally, there are also high education groups for college and university students who study any relevant subjects. Figure out where you fit and enjoy even more learning from knowledgeable staff and docents who will make this a memorable experience.
Walk Around Quincy Market
When you want to go shopping, you should go to Quincy Market. If you’d like to try out some culinary delicacies, again, this should be your next stop. There are several exquisite eateries where you can find all kinds of food, from sandwiches and hot dogs to Italian and Middle Eastern food. And in case you’re looking for some historical facts, you can learn a great deal about this historic landmark, too (it has been a National Historic Landmark since 1966). As you can see, this is no ordinary attraction. It draws many visitors for various reasons.
It is interesting to mention that its official name has always been Faneuil Market because mayor Quincy didn’t want the marketplace to be named after him. Nonetheless, his name is still used, and people call the middle marketplace the Quincy Hall.
Learn About the Architecture of Quincy Market During a One-Hour Tour
Since Quincy Market is more than a marketplace, you should explore it more thoroughly. A great way to do so is to sign up for a tour around this landmark and gain some insight into its architecture. These tours are an excellent opportunity to learn about the politics and geography of this magnificent complex, too. A walk with a knowledgeable guide will take you back to the late 1700s all the way to the present, highlighting the most significant points. Don’t miss to learn more about it before you go shopping – its rich history is what makes this spot so valuable.
Spend a Day at the New England Aquarium
Do you know that more than 1.3 million visitors come to the New England Aquarium each year? It must be a lovely experience to go there, that’s for sure. From moray eels to gigantic sea turtles and sharks, there are various animals you can see here, which makes it equally appealing for adults and children alike.
One of the main attractions here is a group of penguins on the first floor of the aquarium. This huge indoor exhibit is constructed in such a way that almost all balconies overlook it, so even if there’s a line, you can get a sneak peek at these adorable creatures before you get to see them properly. There are more than 80 penguins, from African ones to little blue penguins as the smallest species. Another major attraction here are the whales.
After You Explore the Main Public Aquarium Building, Experience the Whale Watch
If you happen to plan your visit anytime between April and October, you shouldn’t miss the Whale Watch. Take the opportunity to see the ocean’s most magnificent animals and enjoy an unforgettable journey. In addition to whales, you can also see dolphins and sea birds, as well as other marine animals. In fact, you get to learn something about them, too, from one of Aquarium naturalists and experts. Since this is a major attraction both for tourists and locals, it would be best that you book the ticket way ahead.
Enjoy the Bird’s Eye View From Skywalk Observatory
You should head to Skywalk Observatory to enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire city skyline. An evening visit can be a great experience, too, with the night lights making the entire area glitter. It is advisable to plan your visit here on a clear day when you can see even 100 miles away. This may be a perfect destination for your first days in the Cradle of Liberty, and a great way to get to know the entire area before you start exploring particular landmarks that draw you the most.
In addition to a magnificent view, you can also learn a little bit more about Boston’s history as a part of Acoustiguide tours. The 50-story observatory is open from 10 am to 8 pm.
Take a Break at the Top of the Hub Restaurant
Before you move on with your walk around the town, you’ll probably want to get some rest and recharge your batteries. That’s a great thing about this observatory – you don’t have to leave it to do this. You can (and should) take a break at the Top of the Hub restaurant and make your visit even more memorable. Whether you’re up for lunch, brunch, dinner, or you’d like to have some cocktails, Top of the Hub can deliver. Its location makes it one of Boston’s prime dining destinations, especially if you’re looking for a romantic setting.
Apart from the more than pleasant ambiance, you can also be sure you’ll eat more than delicious food, as this is one of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America. Speaking of food, let’s see where you should go to find the most delicious dessert.
Get a Taste of the Sweet Side of the City at Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop
You don’t really have a sweet tooth? That doesn’t matter! Everyone loves sweets when they are as delicious as at this historic chocolate shop. And for those who just love chocolate and love history, there’s hardly any place as perfect as Captain’s Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop. The shop was named after Captain Newark Jackson, a well-known chocolatier from the 18th century.
Don’t miss to try either a chocolate drink or a piece of chocolate itself. When you see for yourself just how delicious it is, you might as well learn a bit more about how they produced chocolate during the American colonial period. Get to know how they ate it, and, perhaps, find out what makes it so special. You can buy individual or family tickets or go as part of a group. Whatever you find most convenient.
Even though this place is all about chocolate, there are other things to do and see here, too, including the printing office next door.
Check out the Next-Door Print Shop
When you’re done with your degustation, be sure to check out the next-door print shop, too. It might not be as appealing as the chocolate shop, but it is still worth visiting. The Printing Office of Edes and Gill is an 18th-century print shop where you can learn more about the science behind colonial printing and how it affected the revolution in America.
It would be a good idea to take the chance to stop by here and see the printing press being used and even buy a copy of the Declaration of Independence instead of a souvenir. The staff here is really friendly and polite, which will make your stop even more pleasant.
Best Things to Do in Boston for Free
It is challenging to name all of Boston’s attractions, perhaps even impossible. That’s how many fantastic options there are. However, some of them can be somewhat pricey. So, depending on how well you planned your budget for moving out for the first time, it might happen at some point that you don’t really have that much money to spend on sightseeing. At least not until you settle in and plan your monthly expenses. But that doesn’t mean that you’re going to spend days locked in your house just because you have to save up some cash. There is plenty of stuff you can do for free, so there’s no need to miss some major attractions. Here are some of the ideas on what to do and where to go if you’re tight on money.
Take a Walking Tour and Take in Local Culture
Is there really a better way to get to know any city than on foot? That way, you can get the real feel of living there, take in the local history and culture, and possibly even find some interesting spots all by yourself during your exploration.
The Hub may not be among the best hiking towns, but there are many excellent trails to explore and get to know the town a little bit better. You can spend your weekend just walking around town and have an amazing time, considering how much you can see alongside, without having to pay anything. And you can still learn a lot even without a guide. Nowadays, you can find plenty of information about anything online. Therefore, read about the landmarks that pique your curiosity and learn more about them by yourself.
Best Things to Do in Boston With Kids
If you’re looking for some free activities, there are plenty of options here, too. Your kids can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities for a start. If nothing else, you can always take them to a park or a playground, which is a great way for your little ones to make some friends in the new town. For instance, Martin’s Park & Playground is an excellent choice.
If you’re looking for some specific ideas on what to do with your children after you move, here are some suggestions:
- Find out about free museum passes well in advance, and you can get access to the Museum of Science or Harvard Museum of Natural History.
- Choose from a variety of family-friendly festivals, such as Outside the Box music festival held every summer in the Common.
- Head to the beach and stay warm by a campfire (check when the Department of Conservation and Recreation hosts periodic campfire events).
- Go to a sailing camp at the Boston Harbor during summer or go ice skating during winter.
Speaking of the Harbor, we should also mention a peninsula on its shore that’s definitely worth visiting – the Castle Island.
Explore the Castle Island
This is a beautiful recreation site stretching on 22 acres, a place that you can go to all year round when you want to spend some time at the beach and swim. You can also organize a picnic, go for a walk along Harborwalk, fly a kite and toss a frisbee, or simply enjoy the view.
When you get hungry and feel like you need a break from all those activities, head to Sullivan’s, where you can order delicious fried clams, among other culinary treats. If you go there during the weekend, you can also join guided tours of Fort Independence and learn something about this historic landmark, too.
Have Fun at the Lawn on D
Finally, be sure you make some room in your schedule for a well-known park – Lawn on D, a versatile outdoor space. You can take part in different activities such as lawn games, listen to live music or check out interactive art exhibitions or some other events. It is a great place for people of different ages. Keep in mind, though, that the Lawn on D is a seasonal attraction, so you can visit it only in the period from May through October.
Are You Ready to Become a Real Bostonian?
Even though the high cost of living in Boston might be an issue for some people who want to relocate here, when compared to how much it has to offer, it doesn’t seem that much of a problem, actually. It’s worth every penny even if you just want to travel and feel the life in the Cradle of Liberty at least for a while. As you can see, there is a wide range of all kinds of stuff to see and do around here, from outdoor spaces to arts and other cultural events.
It might be time to start thinking about how to move and make this fantastic metropolis your home in the near future. So prepare your travel documents and get ready for the upcoming trip. Making friends in a new city might be a problem in some cases, but not here because Bostonians are open and friendly and celebrate diversity. Don’t worry about how to settle into a new town, but get down to planning your tours around it to explore every corner. Learn something new, meet new people, and you’ll become a true Bostonian yourself sooner than you could imagine.