When I decided to hit up Boston for a weekend, I did my usual research on things to do in the city. As an ex-travel agent, I consider myself pretty darn good at this, but this time I struggled to find any good info. So, I decided to make my own ultimate list of activities! Here are my 12 things to do in Boston.
1. BEACON HILL
Beacon Hill is one of the most adorable suburbs on the planet, with its cobblestone streets and cute doorways. The best streets to walk along are Chestnut Street and Acorn Street.Where to stay: Boston Omni Parker House Hotel
2. BOSTON COMMON
Boston Common is like the Central Park of Boston. It’s a huge grassy area where people hang out, and is especially nice in the summer. Lucky for me, it snowed on the weekend we were there so I had the pleasure of experiencing it in winter, too.Where to stay: W Boston
3. BOSTON PUBLIC GARDEN
Right next to Boston Common is the Boston Public Garden. It includes a gorgeous lake where you can take a ride on a swan boat from April-September, and it has a super pretty bridge to walk across.
4. THE FREEDOM TRAIL
Yes, the Freedom Trail had to be included in this list. While the activity is touristy, you have to do it. The Freedom Trail is a self-guided walk that you can take through downtown Boston, and includes a bunch of historical sites. It starts at the visitor center in Boston Common and is marked by a red brick road.
Note: The Freedom Trail is fairly long at 2.5 miles (4 km). If you’re not up for such a long walk, you can stop at Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, which makes it about half the length.
5. QUINCY MARKET
Apparently the locals avoid Quincy Market, but I thought it was really nice. It has some amazing food options for very reasonable prices and is situated in a beautiful old brick building. The food smells in this place will make you hungry, even if you just ate.Where to stay: InterContinental Boston
6. SAMPLE SOME BOSTON CREAM PIE
Boston Cream Pie is technically a cake, but who cares – this cake/pie is filled with cream and topped with chocolate ganache. You can get Boston Cream Pie at Quincy Marketplace, or at other bakeries throughout the city.
7. BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
As a fan of architecture and photography, the Boston Public Library was one of my favorite activities on this weekend trip. The Library’s Reading Room and European-inspired interior courtyard were unbelievably photogenic! A 10 minute tram ride on the E line will get you to the library from downtown Boston.
8. HARVARD UNIVERSITY
What is arguably the most prestigious university in the country is an easy 15 minute subway ride on the Red line from downtown Boston. We downloaded the self-guided walking tour app off the Harvard website (which was not particularly clear or easy to follow), but you can also do guided tours of the campus run by students.
9. MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
The Museum of Fine Arts is pretty damn good – well worth the $25 entry fee. It’s also included in the Boston CityPass, so you can save money if you’re planning on heading to multiple attractions in the city.Where to stay: Sheraton Boston Hotel
10. EAT ITALIAN FOOD IN NORTH END
Boston has a huge Italian influence, and North End is where you’ll find most of it. The neighborhood is super pretty and has a crazy number of Italian restaurants to choose from.
11. GO TO AN IRISH PUB
One thing I’d discovered in my research was that Irish Pubs are popular in Boston. I picked the historic pub JJ Foley’s, and while it was a little more ‘sports bar’ than I expected, but it was still a great Boston experience. Their pub grub was also on point.
12. GO CANDLEPIN BOWLING
Candlepin bowling has weird cylinder shaped pins, but the gameplay is basically the same as ten-pin bowling. Boston is one of the only places where candlepin bowling is actually more common than regular bowling!