Things to Do

Your comprehensive guide to the best events and things to do in Boston

Things to do

The 50 best things to do in Boston

Your ultimate guide to things to do in Boston—from the city’s best restaurants and shops to museums and sightseeing

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Cool Boston tours worth taking

Get to know the city via culinary walks, Fenway Park tours, market treks and other creative Boston tours

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Boston art museum guide

Explore the city’s top museums and galleries

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Essential Boston attractions

Our shortlist of quintessential sights and landmarks

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Where to see art in Boston

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Museum of Fine Arts

Founded in 1870, the MFA moved from Copley Square to its current home, a neoclassical granite building on Huntington Avenue—the so-called "Avenue of the Arts"—in 1909. The globe-spanning collection encompasses 450,000 objects. Of particular note are the collection of American art, including Paul Revere's silver Liberty Bowl and paintings by John Singleton Copley; the Egyptian collection, much of which was acquired through excavations in conjunction with Harvard University in the first half of the 20th century; the Japanese collection (the first in America and one of the finest in the world); and the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including an impressive array by Monet—the second largest collection of his work in the US, after the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.The Upper Rotunda in the centre of the building is adorned by John Singer Sargent's spectacular murals, which pay tribute to the museum's role as guardian of the arts through references to Greek mythology. As well as the vast permanent collection, all of which is presented in an accessible way with a contemporary eye for design and placement, the MFA hosts major temporary exhibitions on such diverse themes as couture fashion and Spanish art during the reign of Philip III and retrospectives of greats such as Edward Hopper.A new American wing (covering the art of North, Central and South America) and an enclosed courtyard, designed by the firm of British architect Norman Foster, famous for the con

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Institute of Contemporary Art

Once crammed into a tiny building in Back Bay, the ICA moved to its spacious new home in late 2006, and is now the cultural cornerstone of the waterfront. With its 65,000sq ft floor space, the dramatic, glass-walled building houses galleries, a theatre and a café.The museum prides itself on being a platform for challenging works—the permanent collection includes pieces by the likes of Julian Opie, Paul Chan and Mona Hatoum, while changing shows explore broader themes that unite different artists' work, or focus on individual luminaries (Louise Bourgeois, Philip-Lorca diCorcia and the like).After you've contemplated the art, retreat to the deck outside, with its expansive vista over the harbor. The building has such unusual features as a downward-sloping Mediatheque that culminates in a front window framing a patch of water.

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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

As unique as its founder, the eccentric socialite and patron of the arts who was the inspiration for Isabel Archer in Henry James's Portrait of a Lady, the Gardner museum is a lavish reconstruction of a 15th-century Venetian palace, complete with a luxurious interior courtyard with a seasonally changing floral display. Initially conceived by Gardner and her husband Jack to house the growing collection of art and objects amassed during their extensive travels, the museum only came into being after Jack's death.It opened in 1903, with the widowed Gardner residing on the fourth floor until she died in 1924. She wanted the arrangement of the architecture and artworks to engage the imagination, so every piece in the 2,500-piece collection, spanning European, Asian and Islamic art from classical times to the turn of the 20th century, is meticulously placed according to her personal instructions. The result is an idiosyncratic mix of paintings, sculptures, tapestries, rare books and furniture. Among the many highlights are John Singer Sargent's El Jaleo, Titian's Europa and works by Botticelli, Rembrandt and Raphael.In 1990, 13 pieces, including Rembrandts, a Vermeer and Degas drawings, were stolen in America's largest art heist, and the empty spaces—which can't be filled under the terms of Gardner's will—are a poignant sight. Many of the works aren't labeled, but you can buy or borrow a guide to the collections and the security staff are charming and helpful. There are also detaile

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See more art museums in Boston

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The best Boston museums

These fine institutions are well worth the price of admission

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Things to do in Boston with kids

From fun-packed museums to waterside attractions, find the best things to do in Boston with kids

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Top Boston birthday ideas and party venues

From a secret supper club to a beer brewing session, check out these creative birthday ideas for adults

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Freedom Trail guide

Whether you’re new to Boston or need an American history refresher, use our Freedom Trail guide to (re)acquaint yourself with the city’s patriotic heritage

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