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Time Out Boston
Image: Time Out Boston

The 50 best things to do in Boston

Want to know the best things to do in Boston? Here’s your year-round guide to having a good time in The Hub.

By Olivia Vanni, Eric Grossman and Gerrish Lopez
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No matter where your interests lie, you can always find fun in the Hub. The best things to do in Boston run the gamut—from seriously entertaining to awesomely educational. Looking for culture? Spend a day exploring Boston's museums. Hungry? You've come to the right place because there are tons of amazing restaurants in Boston that highlight the city's rich and diverse culinary landscape. We've searched all across the city to assemble this list of the best things to do in Boston. Follow it and never get bored here again.

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere.

You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the best things to do in the world right now.

29,000 sq ft of indoor and outdoor space for enjoying the best of the city

Time Out Market Boston
Photograph: Eva Sakellarides

Time Out Market Boston

Restaurants Fenway/Kenmore

Like some variety when you go out to eat? Time Out Market Boston has you covered. Boston's first contemporary culinary hub boasts a tantalizing variety of curated food offerings, a demo kitchen, two top-notch bars and lots more. There is plenty of seating—both inside and on a roomy patio with ample heaters—and some of the biggest culinary names in Boston are delivering a variety of delicious dishes and 'Gram-worthy bites. Housed in the 401 Park Drive building, an Art Deco masterpiece built in 1929 as a Sears, Roebuck and Company warehouse, the Market follows in the footsteps of the wildly popular Time Out Market Lisbon, which opened in 2014 and is now Portugal’s most-visited attraction.

50 best things to do in Boston

Boston Common
Boston Common
Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Wander around Boston Common and the Public Garden

What is it? Americas first botanical garden (Public Garden, 1837) and oldest public park (Boston Common, 1634).

Why go? The dual jewels of the Emerald Necklace perfectly reflect the vision of the venerated landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Depending on the season, you can ice-skate on Frog Pond, play softball or tennis, or simply lounge with a book on the 50-acre Boston Common. Across Charles Street, the smaller Public Garden shines in its own right. Its the perfect park, with pathways designed for promenading, formal flower beds and a petite lagoon fringed with weeping willows. 

Don’t miss: The seasonally operated, waterfowl-shaped Swan Boats (introduced in 1877), which are adored by children. 

Greenway
Greenway
Photograph: Courtesy gconservancy

2. Stroll the Greenway

What is it? This verdant, mile-long ribbon of grassy parks and outdoor resting places invites the weary traveler (or office warrior) to stop and take a break. 

Why go? The expansive park covers 15 acres connecting the Chinatown Gate with the iconic Zakim Bridge. During the day, people stroll, bike and lounge along its length, which is dotted with fountains and serviced by food trucks, making the area the perfect warm-weather hangout.

Don’t miss: Keep an eye out for the periodic festivals, events and parades taking place on or near the park.

Need some guidance? Book a tour

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3. Sunbathe on the Esplanade

Things to do The Esplanade

What is it? Running alongside the Charles River, this public park is the perfect place to sit down and catch some rays.

Why go? With a refreshing breeze continuously coming off the water, the Esplanade attracts runners, cyclists or anyone looking to take a stroll. If you’re lucky, you can snag one of the highly coveted benches that are peppered throughout this pedestrian paradise. Otherwise, you can seek shade under one of its many trees and haul out some packed picnic supplies.

Don’t miss: The Boston Public Dock, where people come to stretch out on towels and try to get a tan.

Charles River sailboats, Back Bay
Charles River sailboats, Back Bay
Photograph: Courtesy GBCVB

4. Head out on the Charles

Things to do The Esplanade

What is it? There are kayak, paddleboard and sailboat rentals available so you can experience the Charles River firsthand. 

Why go? Boston loves that dirty water, especially now that it’s not that dirty anymore. On warm days, the Charles is flowing with activity, with everyone from the Harvard Crew Team to casual kayakers putting their watercrafts into the river. If you want a piece of the aquatic action and don’t own a boat, rentals are available from organizations like Community Boating Boston

Don’t miss: Watching the Head of the Charles, a two-day regatta that takes place on the Charles River every October.

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Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant
Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant
Photograph: Kellene Ratko

5. Go hard on a Southie Sunday

Things to do South Boston

What is it? A neighborhood tradition, where local yuppies finish the weekend strong with long, boozy brunches. 

Why go? In more recent years, South Boston has become known for its high concentration of young professionals who are always down for a good time. Sundays are no exception, and nearby restaurants cater to the crowds with creative brunch specials, buckets of bubbles and lots of beer. Kick off your Sunday Funday festivities at popular brunch spots like Lincoln, The Broadway and Loco. True troopers continue their day drinking at bars like Stats and Lucky’s Lounge. 

Don’t miss: Hydrating, especially if you’re over the age of 25 and have work on Monday morning. 

Summer in the City at Boston Harbor Hotel
Summer in the City at Boston Harbor Hotel
Photograph: Courtesy Boston Harbor Hotel

6. Listen to live music outside on Rowes Wharf

Things to do Waterfront

What is it? Free waterfront concerts performed outside the Boston Harbor Hotel all summer long.

Why go? Held on the beautiful Rowes Wharf each summer, this seasonal series allows city dwellers to enjoy evenings of local live music and harbor views. Attendees typically amplify their alfresco experience by grabbing a refreshing cocktail or plate of fresh seafood on the patio of Rowes Wharf Grille or Harborwalk Terrace. However, these events, which run every Tuesday through Thursday at 6-10pm are totally open to the public, so all are welcome to come and watch.

Don’t miss: Each night spotlights a specific musical theme: Pop Soul Tuesdays, Rat Pack Wednesdays and Blues Barge Thursdays.

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Row 34
Row 34
Photograph: Courtesy Row 34/Emily Hagen

7. Try one or all of the city’s freshest lobster rolls

Restaurants

What is it? Perhaps the ultimate seafood treat, lobster rolls are found on menus across town.

Why go? The best lobster dishes in Boston feature this beloved crustacean in a variety of ways, but a fresh lobster roll is a solid option any time of the year. Sourced from cold waters along the New England coast, chunks of sweet lobster meat are removed from the shell, allowing diners to enjoy all of the flavor with none of the mess. Classic versions, like the famed roll at Neptune Oyster, are served hot or cold on a humble toasted bun, while more modern versions—see Eventide Fenway's brown butter lobster roll on a Chinese-style bun—are a bit more upscale.

Dont miss: For a low-key, no-frills lobster roll experience, head to Belle Isle Seafood in quiet Winthrop. 

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Things to Do, Boston
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Things to Do, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum/Siena Scarff

8. Explore the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Museums Art and design Mission Hill

What is it? Modeled on a Venetian palace, the former home of the American art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner is a sightseeing gem. 

Why go? As per Gardner’s explicit instructions, the museum stands “for the education and enrichment of the public forever.” The ISG’s most famous treasures remain exactly where Gardner had arranged them, including the empty frames that once held priceless works of art stolen during the infamous 1990 theft. The museum also boasts a flower-filled courtyard that blooms all year long. 

Don’t miss: Enjoy free admission on your birthday; anyone with the first name Isabella gets in for free as well.

Save money on tickets with a Boston City Pass 

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Concord Bridge
Concord Bridge
Photograph: Courtesy GBCVB

9. Take a hike

Travel

What is it? Serious hikers may travel to the White Mountains or the Appalachian Trail, but when you just need a little bit of nature, there are plenty of quality hikes near Boston.

Why go? Whether it’s climbing scenic wooded preserves or exploring waterfront trails, these Boston hikes are perfect for walking off the chaos of downtown.

Don't miss: Just a few minutes outside of Boston proper is the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation with 125 miles of pristine hiking trails. Climb to the top of Great Blue Hill and enjoy an unmatched view of the Hub's skyline.

Freedom Trail, Sights and attractions, Boston
Freedom Trail, Sights and attractions, Boston
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Retrace historic steps along the Freedom Trail

What is it? A stroll along the Freedom Trail is a great way to take in local history and culture.

Why go? While the Freedom Trail isn’t the only historical walk in town, it's the most famous for a reason. The self-guided, 2.5-mile tour provides a sightseeing starting point for newcomers, and locals always spot something new to appreciate along the way.

Don’t miss: After seeing Paul Revere's House, take a break and refuel with a slice of pizza from Galleria Umberto.

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11. Get a different perspective of the city from a cruise on the water

Things to do

What is it? Ask Bostonians for a special occasion recommendation and they’ll likely tell you to get out on the water by taking one of the city’s harbor cruises.

Why go? Nautical types will argue that the best way to truly see Boston in all of its glory is by boat excursion. Longtime local favorite Odyssey Cruises offers a variety of yachting experiences, most of which feature food, drink, live music and dancing. 

Dont miss: If time on the water has you fiending for fish afterwards, seek out one of Bostons best seafood restaurants.

Arnold Arboretum, Boston, park
Arnold Arboretum, Boston, park
Photograph: Shutterstock

12. Smell the flowers at the Arnold Arboretum

What is it? The 281-acre Arboretum is one of the world’s leading centers for plant study. It was planned and designed in collaboration with Frederick Law Olmsted in 1872.

Why go? As a National Historic Landmark, the Arboretum is one of the best preserved Olmsted landscapes. With thousands of trees, shrubs and woody vines, it's also recognized as one of the most comprehensive and well documented of its kind worldwide. Take a stroll on a nice day to see bursts of green, blooming flowers and plenty of chirping birds.

Don’t miss: Free guided tours are available on designated days throughout the year.

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J.P. Licks, Restaurants and cafés, Boston
J.P. Licks, Restaurants and cafés, Boston
Photograph: J.P. Licks

13. Stop for a scoop at Boston’s best ice cream shops

What is it? According to some studies, New Englanders eat more ice cream than just about anyone, which explains Bostons impressive list of creameries. 

Why go? We have so many local institutions for frozen fare: J.P. Licks serves crowd-pleasing scoops from its branches scattered across the city; Christina’s in Inman Square is a favorite for painstakingly-crafted, seasonal flavors such as fresh rose, burnt sugar and ginger molasses; while Toscanini's consistently attracts a long line of customers to its Cambridge storefront because of its clever combinations of offbeat ingredients. 

Don’t miss: Make an evening of it by checking out Picco in the South End, where you can enjoy gourmet pizza followed by homemade ice cream.

Select Oyster Bar
Select Oyster Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Select Oyster Bar

14. Eat the freshest local oysters at a popular raw bar

What is it? Boston is famous for its fresh seafood, so enjoying a dozen local oysters at one of the city’s top raw bars is a must.

Why go? Ever since the Union Oyster House opened in 1826, raw oysters have been integral to Boston’s culinary scene. Today, these briny bivalves appear on restaurant menus throughout the city. You'll find locally-sourced varieties including Wellfleet, Cotuit and Glidden Point as well as popular imports like Kumamotos. Oyster happy hours are a great way to sample these goodies at a lower price.

Don’t miss: Cozy spots like B&G Oysters and North Square Oyster offer oyster-friendly wine pairings, while Row 34 can provide the perfect beers.

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New England Aquarium, Boston
New England Aquarium, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy New England Aquarium

15. Visit the penguins at the New England Aquarium

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Waterfront

What is it? New England’s largest aquarium and one of Boston’s most popular attractions.

Why go? More than 80 African, rockhopper and little blue penguins live in the New England Aquarium’s first-floor display. Watch them go wild during feeding time in front of the Giant Ocean Tank, a massive coral reef exhibit that's home to a myriad of other marine creatures, including sharks and loggerhead sea turtles. The building is designed in such a way that the penguins can be seen from multiple vantage points. 

Don’t miss: Be sure to say hi to the harbor seals in their enclosure outside, which is free and open to the public.

Harbor Islands
Harbor Islands
Photograph: Kyle Klein Photography/GBCVB

16. Hit the beach

Travel

What is it? A number of beautiful, breezy beaches are worth taking that trip outside of the city. 

Why go? Some of the best stretches of sand can be found north of the city in Essex County. Crane Beach, which folks can reach by a shuttle bus from the Ipswich commuter rail station throughout the summer, boasts some of the best wildlife-attracting salt marshes around. Another pair of relaxing destinations include Singing Beach and Good Harbor Beach, which are also accessible by the commuter rail. 

Don’t miss: If you’re not content with merely relaxing by the waves, hop on the train to Plum Island, where you can also explore the seaside town of Newburyport.

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Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Institute of Contemporary Art/Chuck Choi

17. Browse the Institute of Contemporary Art

Museums Art and design Seaport District

What is it? The dramatic, glass-walled ICA is the cultural cornerstone of the buzzing Seaport District. 

Why go? The 65,000-square-foot building houses galleries, a theater and a café. The museum staff prides itself on providing a platform for challengingsometimes controversialworks. After youve contemplated the art, retreat to the scenic outdoor deck, the site of live performances and events. Note: Admission is free on Thursdays from 5pm-9pm.

Don’t miss: First Fridays at the ICA, a monthly event where people congregate for an evening of live cultural programming put together with a common theme. 

Save money on tickets with a Go Boston Pass

Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts
Photograph: Roger Metcalf

18. See world class art at the Museum of Fine Arts

Museums Art and design Fenway/Kenmore

What is it? Founded in 1870, the Museum of Fine Artswhose globe-spanning collection encompasses more than 500,000 objectscontinues to grow.  

Why go? Noteworthy pieces include: its selection of American art, including Paul Revere’s Liberty Bowl and paintings by John Singleton Copley; its Egyptian exhibit, much of which was acquired through excavations in conjunction with Harvard University; its Japanese collection (the first in America, and one of the finest in the country); and its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist galleries, which includes one of the largest collections of Monet's work outside Paris. 

Don’t miss: The museum offers one of the citys best deals on Wednesdays after 4pm, when admission is by voluntary contribution. 

Save money on tickets with a Boston Explorer Pass

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Encore Boston Harbor
Encore Boston Harbor
Photograph: Courtesy Encore Boston Harbor

19. Shop, dine and go big at Encore Boston Harbor

Things to do

What is it? Encore Boston Harbor is the mega-casino resort we've been waiting for.

Why go? The 210,000-square-foot complex—which cost nearly $3 billion—includes 15 dining and lounge venues, 671 guest rooms and suites, 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, and an ultra-premium spa.

Don't miss: The four-season, six-acre Harborwalk features pedestrian and bike paths, a picnic park, a gazebo, viewing decks, waterfront dining and lush green space with magnificent floral displays.

Pier 6
Pier 6
Photograph: Courtesy Pier 6

20. Enjoy your meal alfresco at a waterfront restaurant

Restaurants

What is it? Some of the best restaurants in Boston feature prime waterfront dining. 

Why go? When warm sun and cool breezes are the norm, there's no better place to eat than on the waterfront. From fresh seafood to a simple hot dog, everything tastes better when there's a view. Coastal eateries stretch from the Harbor to the beach, where you can indulge on everything from buttery lobster rolls to tasty roast beef three-way sandwicheswith a side of ocean scenery.

Don't miss: Legal Harborside, the flagship location within Legal Sea Foods' restaurant empire, offers three floors of waterfront dining and a rooftop bar with some of the most spectacular views.

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Newbury Street
Newbury Street
Photograph: Shutterstock

21. Splurge on Newbury Street

What is it? Boston’s premier retail strip is perfect for both shopping and people-watching.

Why go? Between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue, there are eight blocks of beautiful brick townhouses housing ultra-luxe designers like Chanel and Burberry, chic boutiques (Intermix, Rag & Bone) and international chains. With a never-ending assortment of galleries, salons, cafés, bars and eateries to explore, you can easily spend an entire afternoon browsing, relaxing and indulging here.

Don’t miss: If youre more interested in unique, indie finds, head to the neighboring South End

Need some guidance? Book a tour

Whales
Whales
Photograph: Shutterstock

22. Watch out for whales and enjoy some fresh air

What is it? The waters surrounding Boston offer some of the best whale watching opportunities in the U.S.

Why go? Whale watching isn’t just for school field trips. Hop on one of the boats departing Boston Harbor daily and rediscover how awesome it actually is to get that close to one of the largest mammals on Earth. Bring a sweater, park yourself at the hull of the boat for the day and keep your eyes on the water. 

Don’t miss: Don’t make the rookie mistake of shunning sun protection while on the water, or else youll resemble one of our famous New England lobsters.

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deCordova
deCordova
Photograph: Dmadeo

23. Discover the deCordova Museum & Sculpture Park

Museums Art and design

What is it? Head west to suburbs and visit the former estate of Massachusetts merchant Julian de Cordova. 

Why go? Even during the peak of winter or dog days of summer, the deCordova Museum & Sculpture Park attracts art lovers to its a 35-acre spread in leafy Lincoln. Open year-round, the regions premier outdoor sculpture park is the perfect place to get some fresh air while checking out world-class art. The ever-changing indoor exhibits provide shelter from the sometimes-fickle elements.

Don’t miss: Check the museumcalendar to learn about special outdoor events.

Mapparium, Sights and attractions, Boston
Mapparium, Sights and attractions, Boston
Photograph: Mark Thayer

24. Discover a lost world at the Mapparium

Attractions Libraries, archives and foundations Fenway/Kenmore

What is it? Located inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is essentially a three-story model of the globe built to scale. 

Why go? Calling all geography nerds: The Mapparium, the worlds largest walk-in globe, is among the citys quirkiest landmarks. This colorful sphere runs 30 feet in diameter and can be crossed by means of a glass bridge bisecting its interior. Inside, sound bounces off the rooms rounded walls, amplifying it ten-fold, so keep in mind that there are no secrets in the sphere—no matter how softly you may whisper.

Don’t miss: The 608 stained-glass panels recreate the world as it was in the mid-1930s, when the project was completed. So keep keen eyes on those outdated borders.

Save money on tickets with a Go Boston Pass

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Fenway Park, Sights and attractions, Boston
Fenway Park, Sights and attractions, Boston
Photograph: Elan Fleisher

25. Root for the home team at Fenway Park

Things to do Sport events Fenway/Kenmore

What is it? Seeing a game at Fenway Park has been a rite of passage amongst many locals since it opened in 1912.

Why go? As the oldest ballpark in the majors, Fenway is also one of the smallest, with a capacity of around 38,000. That means tickets can be hard to come by for big games. Fortunately, public tours are offered year-round, so baseball fans and history buffs alike can hear all about the park's past and present. 

Don’t miss: If you get the chance, take a seat atop the stadiums most distinctive feature, the 37-foot-high left-field wall known as the Green Monster. Before or after the game, check out the great restaurants, bars and other activities in the Fenway neighborhood.

26. See Shakespeare for free on the Common

What is it? Boston’s favorite way to see Shakespeare is in the park, sitting on a blanket while (quietly) enjoying treats from home. 

Why go? Claim a grassy spot on the Boston Common and check out the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company's productions of the Bard’s best works. All performances are free, making for a perfect summertime date or relaxing cultural outing.

Don’t miss: Boston is one of America's best cities for theater, with Shakespeare productions taking place regularly. Consult our Theater Guide to learn more.

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SoWa Artists Guild, Museums and galleries, Boston
SoWa Artists Guild, Museums and galleries, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy SoWa Artists Guild

27. Get an inside view of SoWa’s studios

Art Galleries South End

What is it? As the citys premier artistic hub, the 450 Harrison building is a veritable hive of creative activity. 

Why go? Many artists open their doors a few times a month for open studio events, where they greet South End residents and visitors. First Fridays (5-9pm) is the space's flagship event, where more than 200 artists, galleries, shops and showrooms welcome the public for an evening of art, wine, cheese and mingling each month.

Don’t miss: Once youve had your fill of art, get your fill of locally grown produce and artisinal foods at SoWa's Farmer's Market.

The Colonnade
The Colonnade
Photograph: Courtesy The Colonnade

28. See Boston from above at a rooftop bar

Bars

What is it? An assortment of rooftop bars provide killer views of the city.

Why go? Boston looks its best from a buzzing rooftop bar. Popular options include hip hotel spots such as the Rooftop@Revere and Lookout Rooftop and Bar. For a low-key alfresco option, head to Harvard Square, where the rooftop lounge at Daedalus is a favorite among local academics.

Dont miss: Take a dip in the Colonnade Hotel's rooftop pool before collapsing in a private cabana and downing a frozen cocktail.

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Boston Public Library, Sights and attractions, Boston
Boston Public Library, Sights and attractions, Boston
Photograph: Shutterstock

29. Learn something new at the Boston Public Library

Attractions Libraries, archives and foundations Back Bay

What is it? The BPL contains approximately 19 million volumes and electronic resources, making it the second-largest public library in the U.S.—coming right behind the Library of Congress.

Why go? At nearly 1 million square feet, the BPL impresses in a way that few libraries can. The original structure, designed by Charles McKim and completed in 1895, now serves as the research library, while an extension (opened in 1972) functions as the general library. Talks, performances and tours delight culture vultures from near and far.

Don’t miss: At the center of the library is a cloistered courtyard, one of the citys most beautiful, tranquil places to read a book.

Want to see more in the area? Book a tour

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Cinemas, Boston
Coolidge Corner Theatre, Cinemas, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Coolidge Corner Theatre

30. Catch a late-night flick at Coolidge After Midnite

Movie theaters Independent

What is it? In Brooklines Coolidge Corner, this beloved non-profit movie house hosts the citys most popular late-night film series.

Why go? With these after-dark film screenings, the Coolidge Corner Theatre has established itself as the areas premier destination for campy, weird, avant-garde and niche cinema. The schedule incorporates everything from ’90s cheesefests to horror staples like Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Don’t miss: Be sure to fuel up before (or during) the show, as most nearby restaurants will be closed after these screenings end. To catch more flicks, check out Boston's best movie theaters.

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Franklin Park Zoo, Boston
Franklin Park Zoo, Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Zoo New England

31. Get wild at the Franklin Park Zoo

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Roxbury

What is it? The citys quaint zoo is a kid-friendly local favorite.

Why go? As fascinating as lions and tigers seem on the TV screen, they’re far more impressive in real life. The zoo—whose mission is to inspire people to protect and sustain endangered species—is home to these big cats, as well as zebras, gorillas, giraffes and a host of other exotic animals that you definitely wouldn’t normally see in the wilds of New England. 

Don’t miss: Little visitors can be easily entertained at the childrens zoo, which features everything from a prairie dog neighborhood to a grass maze.

Eataly
Eataly
Photograph: Courtesy Eataly

32. Explore culinary creations at Boston's best food halls

Restaurants

What is it? The food hall trend is exploding here in Boston, with a wealth of food halls popping up around the city.

Why Go? Food halls are a great dining choice when you’re with a group of friends with different tastes—there’s something for everyone. Boston food halls offer all types of food—spanning numerous genres and cuisine types—all in one spot. They make for a great anytime meeting spot; just show up and see what kind of mood you’re in.

Don't Miss: Eataly is a haven for Italian food enthusiasts. The Boston Public Market has fresh produce in addition to prepared foods.

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Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts
Photograph: Shutterstock

33. Save some cash and check out the city's free activities

Things to do

What is it? Not all of the best things in life come for free. But gratis enjoyments can be found all around Boston, a city known for its high cost of living.

Why go? A simple stroll throughout Boston makes for a pretty great cheap date, owing to the city’s ample history, architecture, museums, green spaces and exciting performances.

Don't miss: The city's museums are world-class, even more attractive on their various free days.

Bon Me Truck
Bon Me Truck
Photograph: Courtesy Bon Me

34. Check out a food truck

Restaurants

What is it? Food trucks are often a testing ground for new chefs, leading to popular brick-and-mortar locations. (Clover, now a local empire, started as a mobile kitchen peddling street eats).

Why go? Food trucks offer convenient, delicious fare that can be enjoyed just about anywhere. From gourmet grilled cheeses to ice cream cookie sandwiches, Boston's fleet of wheeled restaurants have a range of fast, fun bites for on-the-go eating.

Don't miss: Many trucks park themselves near the city's busiest picnic spots, like Copley Square, Government Center or the Rose Kennedy Greenway. But if you have your heart set on food from a specific vehicle, check to see if it's shared its daily route online.

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John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum
Photograph: Elan Fleisher

35. Ask not what your country can do for you at the JFK Library

Museums History Dorchester

What is it? Located behind UMass Boston’s Dorchester campus, the JFK Presidential Library and Museum occupies I.M. Peis dramatic concrete-and-glass monolith.

Why go? The stately, multimedia journey through the former president’s life continues to fascinate, as do temporary exhibits and special events that focus on politics, culture and current events. On the ground floor, the stunning atrium commands panoramic views of the sea and the city. Downstairs, the museum contains an extensive display of memorabilia, as well as a series of temporary shows. 

Don’t miss: Check the Librarys homepage in advance to learn about special events and award ceremonies.

TD Garden
TD Garden
Photograph: Courtesy TD Garden

36. Catch a game or a show at the TD Garden

Things to do Event spaces West End

What is it? Besides serving as the home for the NBA’s Celtics and NHL’s Bruins, the city’s premier arena hosts big-name concerts and events.

Why go? While it’s not the original Boston Garden (a no-frills venue that hosted some of the most important cultural events in Boston history), the spirit of Boston sports runs deep throughout the venue. An assortment of fans—from intense locals whose season tickets go back decades to new-school supporters sporting the latest in merch and gear—scream and shout while supporting the local teams.

Don’t miss: Fuel up before a big game with a killer Italian meal in the neighboring North End.

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colorful produce, farmer's market
colorful produce, farmer's market
Photograph: Sarah Bentivegna

37. Browse a farmers' market for local produce

Shopping

What is it? Over the past decade, the Boston area has become flush with farmers' markets—and each one is a colorful display of locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Why go? Environmentally and nutritionally sound, farmers' markets are a favorite pasttime amongst foodies. While the best market experiences can be had during the warmer months, there are a few markets—e.g. Boston Public Market—that remain open year-round, meaning you can score everything from tempting small-batch dairy to homemade baked goods whenever you like.

Dont miss: For a centrally-located option, look no further than Boston’s biggest and busiest Copley Square Farmers Market (open mid-May through mid-November).

38. Join an Italian festival in the North End

What is it? In the summer months, the North End goes full-throttle as the local Italian-American community hosts a lineup of lively feasts and festivals honoring certain saints. 

Why go? The streets fill with participants and bystanders alike, who watch as confetti flies, banners sway and the processions make their way through the narrow cobblestone streets. Expect great food, live entertainment, enthusiastic vendors and statues covered in dollar bills.

Don’t miss: Given the traffic and lack of parking, it’s wise to either walk or take the T to Haymarket. And before you go, brush up on the best spots for Italian, pizza and more with the North End neighborhood guide.

Want to see more of the area? Book a tour

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39. Sample the best of local breweries

What is it? For a city that’s often limited by its strict, booze-related blue laws, we sure have a fine collection of breweries. 

Why go? Historically, Boston's most recognizable brewer was Samuel Adams, the Revolutionary and “maltster” for whom the city's biggest beer brand is clearly named. Tourists are encouraged to visit the Samuel Adams Brewery in Jamaica Plain, but also need to explore the Hub's booming craft brew scene. Join locals in tasting small-batch, farmhouse-style ales at Fort Point’s Trillium Brewing Company, or experimental suds at Somerville’s Aeronaut Brewing Company, founded by a science-focused trio with MIT connections.

Don’t miss: Any of the lively, beer-fueled festivities at the Harpoon Brewery.

Black Rose
Black Rose
Photograph: Michael Ascanio Peguero

40. Drink a proper pint at an authentic Irish pub

Bars

What is it? Boston’s collection of cozy, welcoming Irish pubs might just be the most impressiveoutside Ireland itself.

Why go? In a city chock full of proud Irish expats and Irish-Americans, it’s little wonder why Boston is brimming with an excess of quality pubs. To get the full experience, head in on a spirited trivia night, or during a live performance of authentic Irish music. Longtime favorites like The Burren and The Druid all but guarantee a lively night of big laughs and fun times.

Dont miss: For a centrally-located option with nightly live tunes, look no further than the Black Rose.

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SoWa Open Market
SoWa Open Market
Photograph: Courtesy SoWa Open Market

41. Find local goods and goodies at SoWa Open Market

Shopping Markets and fairs South End

What is it? The South Ends SoWa Open Market runs every Sunday from May through October. 

Why go? This area basically transforms into a street festival every Sunday, when it draws visitors from all over the city and beyond. Around 200 makers and vendors gather to sell their wares amongst the farmers' market, food truck bazaar and beer barn. Both kid- and pet-friendly, the market is a favorite among young families.

Don’t miss: There’s more inside the market buildingthe SoWa Vintage Market (open Sundays 11am-4pm) offers stall after stall of quirky vintage clothes and housewares.

The Landing
The Landing
Photograph: Michael Ascanio Peguero

42. Have a drink outside

Bars

What is it? Head to one of these outdoor Boston bars where you can enjoy sun and fun as the weather improves.

Why go? From cheery terraces to waterfront views, these outdoor bars in Boston offer al fresco drinks and a good dose of fresh air. 

Don't miss: Some spots like B&G Oysters offer cozy outdoor space to enjoy both excellent drinks and delicoius food.

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Chinatown
Chinatown
Photograph: Shutterstock

43. Take a foodie crawl through Chinatown

What is it? As one of Bostons most densely-packed and unique neighborhoods, Chinatown thrills gourmands with its array of authentic eateries. 

Why go? Many of the citys best Chinese restaurants can be found in Chinatown. Rather than sticking to one spot and eating a single big meal, walk around the area and slowly snack along the way. Gourmet Dumpling House is a smart place to start, so you can let its soft steamed dumplings with spicy dipping sauce fire up your palate. Next, stamp your culinary passport at Taiwan Cafe, where you can sample a selection of the island's specialities. Finish off with a bang at Peach Farm, where you can select seafood straight from the tanks.

Don’t miss: Exotic hand-pulled noodles at Gene’s Chinese Flatbread Cafe.

Want to see more of the area? Book a walking tour.  

44. Study fine art at the Harvard Art Museums

Museums Art and design Harvard Sq

What is it? Harvard’s history and status has allowed it to cultivate one of the most impressive university art collections. 

Why go? Following a lengthy expansion project, Harvard’s three art institutions—the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum—were united under one Renzo Piano–designed glass roof. Visitors are able to peruse highlights from the Ivy League institution's collection of roughly 250,000 piecesfrom Neolithic sculptures to 21st-century conceptual installations. 

Don’t miss: Harvards Museum of Natural History, which houses the famous Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants.

Want to see more of Harvard? Book a tour

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The Fours
The Fours
Photograph: Courtesy The Fours

45. Cheer on the local teams at the liveliest sports bars

Bars

What is it? If you can't make it to the game in person, our slew of sports bars are the next best thing when it comes to watching the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins.

Why Go? Of all the fantastic things to do in Boston, catching the game has to be at the top of the listwhether it's hearing the roar of Red Sox fans at Fenway, braving the cold to cheer on the Patriots in Foxborough or celebrating a Celtics' or Bruins' win at TD Garden. While you can't always make it there in person, especially with away games, but good beer, lively company and big screens make our bars a great alternative.

Don't miss: For fans of memorabilia, The Fours (in Quincy and Norwell... RIP its Boston location) has its walls plastered with photos, jerseys, balls and other collectables from all of our teams.

46. Go candlepin bowling at Sacco’s Bowl Haven

Restaurants Pizza Somerville

What is it? A unique, casual Somerville hangout where you can enjoy gourmet pizza and craft brews while trying your hand at candlepin bowling.

Why go? Candlepin bowling is a uniquely New England quirk—the pins are tall and much thinner than those of standard ten-pin, and balls are closer to softball-sized. A local favorite for playing this regional game: The lovingly maintained Sacco’s Bowl Haven, which dates back to 1939 and now sits within Flatbread Company's Somerville location. This alley has the added perk of being able to eat amazing thin-crust pizza while waiting for a lane.

Don’t miss: Reservations are accepted for groups of eight or more; call ahead or expect to wait.

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Blackbird Doughnuts
Blackbird Doughnuts
Photograph: Courtesy Blackbird Doughnuts/Brian Sacco

47. Make the rounds at Boston’s best donut shops

What is it? Get your fill of sticky-sweet, fried goodness at Boston’s top donut shops.

Why go? The antithesis of mass production (sorry, Dunkin'), Boston’s best donuts are lovingly made by hand, satisfying even the most discerning sweet tooth. Stick with the classics if you must—cake donuts and honey glazed are local favorites—but we recommend tearing into exotic options, such as sea salt bourbon caramel or blackberry lavender, found at popular new-wave spots Union Square Donuts and Blackbird Doughnuts.

Don't miss: For an old-school, no-frills option, head to Allstons Twin Donuts.

Improv Asylum
Improv Asylum
Photograph: Courtesy Improv Asylum

48. Laugh it up at the best Boston comedy clubs

Clubs

What is it? There are many opportunities to laugh your socks offeither at one of Boston's veteran comedy clubs or during one of our bars' regular comedy nights.

Why Go? Some of America’s most popular contemporary comedians (e.g. Conan O’Brien, Bill Burr) honed their craft in Greater Boston. In the Theater District, big name comedians hold court at a variety of venues. Spending your evening yucking it up is a great way to unwind and boost your mood.

Don't miss: The Improv Asylum in the North End has a loyal following, especially when it comes to the more risque late-night shows.

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Boston Marathon
Boston Marathon
Photograph: FayFoto/Boston

49. Plan for the Boston Marathon

Things to do

What is it? The Boston Marathon dates back to 1897, making it the world’s oldest annual marathon. It draws more than 30,000 participants from around the world and thousands of spectators, who party alongside the race route.

Why go? The 2022 Boston Marathon is officially scheduled for April 18. There hasn't been any marathon fanfare since 2019 because of Covid, so our city has to go extra hard when the race begins next spring—and we're talking runners and fans alike.

Don't miss: There are several prime spots for watching the marathon. Heartbreak Hill, which comes 20 miles into the race, is a great spot to offer encouragement as runners tackle a half-mile uphill stretch. Other people, however, prefer cheering from one of the Boylston Street bars that overlook the finish line.

Harvard University, Sights and attractions, Boston
Harvard University, Sights and attractions, Boston
Photograph: Elan Fleisher

50. Get a feel for Ivy League life with a tour of Harvard

What is it? There’s a lot more on the grounds of Harvard University than elite pupils and posing tourists.

Why go? These iconic red brick walls contain some truly stunning stories, and a visit will connect you to a Whos Who of American history. The Yard and overall campus features striking architecture designed by such luminaries as Bulfinch, Le Corbusier (his only American building) and Sert.

Don’t miss: Steps from campus, Harvard Square contains some of the best eating and shopping in the city.

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Uluru’s ‘Field of Light’
Photograph: Mark Pickthall, courtesy Field of Light, Uluru, Bruce Munro 2016

The 40 best things to do in the world right now

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Going out and doing things satisfies our need to explore, to learn and to grow (and then to brag about it on social media). Our hope is that the DO List becomes not just your bucket list, but your inspiration to experience and appreciate the corners of magic in the world.

Best restaurants in Boston by cuisine

Oak + Rowan
Photograph: Courtesy Oak + Rowan

The best brunch spots in Boston

Restaurants Cafés

Whether you’re fighting a hangover or fueling up before shopping or taking in a few museums or galleries, these are the best places for brunch in Boston

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Schlow burger at Tico
Photograph: Courtesy Tico

The best burgers in Boston

Restaurants

Many of the best Boston restaurants have a signature version on the menu, but cheap-eats legends are also staking their claim for "the best"

Clover
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sue C.

The best vegan restaurants in Boston

Restaurants Vegan

Boston has a great selection of restaurants for vegetarians, and many of the best Boston restaurants offer vegetarian options or are happy to modify their dishes for the meat-free

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