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Boston at Night
Photograph: PixabayBoston at Night

The best things to do in Boston at night

Here are the best ways to have fun in Boston at night, including bars, music, food, comedy and more

Written by
Time Out Boston Staff
&
Eric Grossman
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Boston offers something for everyone once the sun goes down. The city’s cultural scene is buzzing year-round, and each season brings a number of beloved local pastimes. Maybe you’re a foodie and you’re looking to check out the best restaurants in Boston, or you’re more of a night owl who would love spending time at the best bars in Boston. Whatever you’re a fan of — from fine arts and top-notch theatre to big-name comedy acts and chart-topping musical acts — there are lots of cool things to do and notable events going on at any given time. Just remember: most bars close by midnight, 2am at the latest, so start the party early and make sure you get home safe.

Recommended: Full guide to the best things to do in Boston

The best things to do in Boston at night

  • Bars

More than just Irish pubs and dive bars, Boston now boasts innovative cocktail destinations, classy wine haunts, and popular beer bars. Whether you're looking for a perfect martini, cold pint of something familiar, mind-blowing cocktail with innovative ingredients, or celebratory glass of wine, there's a bar for you.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars

The best cocktail experiences in the Hub can be found everywhere from a discreet hideaway and sophisticated hotel haunt to a friendly neighborhood hangout. Learn about regional spirits, try out house-made mixers, and enjoy inventive concoctions prepared by highly-skilled mixologists. And if all you seek is a bone dry martini prepared to your specifications without fanfare, well, they’ve still got you covered.

  • Music

Boston sports quite the musical legacy. Aerosmith, Donna Summer, The Cars, New Kids on the Block, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Aimee Mann, Dropkick Murphys, and, yes, Boston all called the Hub home over the years. Rock and roll, classical, jazz, folk, and even country music play out in clubs and halls across the city, night after night. Catch a top act or an up-and-comer at these live music venues.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars

Boston might be better known for craft beer, but the city still has its share of excellent wine bars. Many of the best restaurants in Boston proudly maintain notable, award-winning wine programs, and several bars and lounges have eclectic wine lists. Sip your way through notable vintages and varietals while discovering lesser-known producers, and pair with delectable cheeses and meats for a lovely night out. 

  • Bars
  • Pubs

Boston’s population is comprised of a large number of proud Irish expats and Irish-Americans, and the city has no shortage of cozy, authentic pubs. Not only do the best Irish pubs in Boston offer affordable pints of beer and a lively atmosphere, many serve praiseworthy pub grub and host some of the city's best trivia nights and live music performances.

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See a museum at night
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. See a museum at night

Boston has an extensive roster of excellent museums, focused on art, history and more. Both the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art have after-hours events when you can enjoy art and special performances at night. The MFA is open late Wednesdays while the ICA is open late on Thursdays. Check their calendars for special events.

  • Bars

Whenever New England’s notoriously fickle weather allows, local residents head in droves to alfresco drinking spots. Boston’s best rooftop bars let you take your fun to a higher level. Whether you're looking for a buzzy atmosphere or just a quiet spot with a great view of the city, check out these rooftop bars at night.

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Catch a big game in person
Photograph: Elan Fleisher

11. Catch a big game in person

Even if you're not a huge sports fan, going to a Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, or Celtics game is a must-see. You'll get the full fan experience at a night game. Check out the pre-game gatherings at bars around town and feel the thrill as fans pour into their respective home fields.

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  • Bars

Boston boasts lots of bars and restaurants that have weekly or even nightly sing-along sessions where patrons show-off their vocal and performance skills, or make complete fools of themselves. It’s all good fun either way. From top notch, sing-along centric bars to dive bars with a mic, these karaoke nights are sure to please.

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  • Clubs

Sometimes you just need a good laugh, so head out to a Boston comedy club for some nighttime chuckles. Some of America’s most popular contemporary comedians (Conan O’Brien, Denis Leary, Amy Poehler, Dane Cook) found their funnies in Greater Boston. Big names passing through town might stop at the Wilbur Theater or other venues, but it's easy to check out the up-and-coming scene at smaller comedy clubs or improv nights around town.

  • Restaurants

Boston is not known as a late-night destination, but a handful of 24-hour joints provide inexpensive eats at any hour, while a few other kitchens hit the spot with high-quality eats late into the night (by Boston standards). After enjoying your night out in Boston, check out one of these late-night options.

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