Boston is not only one of the most historical cities in the United States, but it’s also one of the best places to visit when exploring the northeast states, too. This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best places to see in Boston when you visit.
Now, while New York might have the crown as one of the most popular cities if you’re even remotely interested in American history; Boston is the place to go!
Not only that, but it also has some of the best lobster here. And, it’s so much cheaper than London.
Boston is also home to some world-class Universities (with the likes of Harvard and M.I.T.), giving Boston a really cool vibe that’s so unique.
Anyhow, take a little gander at some of the best places to see in Boston when you visit. It’s such an epic city and I really hope you enjoy it as much as we both did!
1.) Follow the Freedom Trail
The perfect self-led tour through the best historical sites in the city, the Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile (4 km) long route that will take you past sixteen historically significant places.
The Trail features museums, churches, meeting houses, and burying grounds along a red-painted trail that crosses streets and sidewalks through downtown Boston. It really is one of the best places to see in Boston.
The south end of the trail begins at the Boston Common Visitor Center, then heads north through the Waterfront and North End areas of the city. The trail crosses the water before branching off into two different ending points: Bunker Hill Monument, and the USS Constitution Museum.
Afterwards, pop over to the Union Oyster House, which is Boston’s oldest restaurant.
2.) See Faneuil Hall
Both a meeting hall and a marketplace since 1741, Faneuil Hall is one of the best known historical spots in the city.
Located near the waterfront, Faneuil Hall is often called the “Cradle of Liberty”, as it hosted the very first Town Meeting in the United States.
It is the site where the Sons of Liberty met and decided to rebel against the King of England.
Today, the site is a popular shopping area, with historic Quincy Market located next door and plenty of great shops and restaurants surrounding it.
Honestly, it’s the kind of area you can spend a sunny afternoon exploring, eating and popping into a few bars, too.
3.) Explore Boston Common
The oldest city park in the United States, Boston Common is a great green space in the downtown area that has been around since 1634.
Now, the area was originally owned by William Blackstone but was bought by a few Puritan colonists who wanted to use the land as a communal pasture for their livestock to graze.
Over the years, the park played a role in the history of the United States as Redcoats made camp on it 1775, and celebratory fireworks were lit for the repeal of the Stamp Act and end of the Revolutionary War.
Today, you can go for a leisurely stroll through the park all the while the historical events that took place there. Or, you could just go for a picnic and a snooze in the sun.
Afterwards, pop over to the Bell In Hand Tavern and grab yourself a pint! It’s been around for hundreds of years, so they must be doing something right!
4.) visit Paul Revere House
To see the oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston, head to the Paul Revere House.
Built back in 1680, the house was purchased by Paul Revere in 1770, and was his home during the time of his famous night-ride to Lexington (for the uninitiated, Paul Revere is the guy who’s famous for alerting the army to the approach of British before the battles of Lexington and Concord).
Visitors to the house can learn about his famous midnight ride, as well as visit his silver shop, where he made silver items for the area.
If hunger beckons pop into James Hook and Co for their fresh lobster. You’ll leave stuffed. They also create some massive lobster rolls and thick chowder, too.
5.) See Old North Church
Boston’s Christ Church, popularly known as the Old North Church, is the city’s most visited historical site.
It is said to be the spot where the famous message, ‘one if by land, and two if by the sea‘ was sent. Founded in 1722, it’s the city’s oldest surviving church and one of the best places to see in Boston if you want to delve into its long history.
It is located behind the Paul Revere Mall, where a large and iconic statue of Paul Revere on his horse now stands.
6.) Watch a baseball game at Fenway Park
Just because Boston is a well-known historical hot-spot, doesn’t mean that you have to spend your entire time exploring places of the past. For something a little more current, head to Fenway Park, home of the famous Boston Red Sox.
Now, I’ve gotta be honest, I had no clue what was going on during the last time I went to a baseball game. Plus, it’s a pretty long game, too! That being said, it’s totally worth it and such an experience.
In use since 1912, it is the oldest baseball park in Major League Baseball. To get the best experience, try to make it to a Red Sox game. If that isn’t possible, tours are available, too.
7.) Explore the Museum of Fine Arts
With over 450,000 art pieces, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts holds one of the best collections in the world.
Pieces range from contemporary to ancient Egyptian, and visitors can enjoy the many exhibitions on display as well as educational programs on offer.
The museum dates back to 1876 when it was a much smaller institution located in Copley Square. The museum we have today is on Huntington Avenue and sees over one million visitors pass through its halls every year.
8.) Old State House
Located at the intersection of Washington and State Streets, the Old State House easily stands out as a historical piece of beauty amongst the taller, more modern buildings surrounding it.
The House, which was built in 1713, was once the centre for all things happening in Boston, including the American Revolution.
The House was the site of the 1770 Boston Massacre, and today serves as a museum for Boston history. It’s probably the most iconic and best places to see in Boston that you really can’t miss.
Oh yeah, and afterwards, pop over to Massachusetts State House, that’s a stroll away.
9.) USS Constitution Museum
The USS Constitution Museum is focused on the famous warship, nicknamed ‘Old Ironsides‘ due to the fact that bullets seemed to bounce off it when it was being attacked.
Over 200 years of historical artefacts and records from the Constitution are on display here, as well as personal stories and journals from the crew.
If you’re a fan of old wartime ships, this museum is not to be missed. That being said, if history (and I suppose ships) don’t do it for you, then give this spot a miss.
Just across the Charles River is the town of Cambridge, home of two of the world’s best universities; Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Cambridge (named after the city in England) is great for both students of the universities, and visitors hoping to see the famous schools.
Fabulous restaurants, cosy cafes, and plenty of indie shops and streets are in the area, all adding to the overall charm of the city. We loved our afternoon exploring.