At the beginning of April, I traveled from Cleveland to Boston to attend the Ashoka U Exchange. Not only was I excited to attend this social entrepreneurship conference but I was also thrilled to visit Boston for the first time. If you know me, you know I’m a planner. After reading through blogs, searching on social media and renting Fodor’s Boston Travel Guide, I had pre-selected my must see sights in the limited free time I had available. After actually visiting and experiencing the city, here are (in my opinion) the top 10 things to do in Boston.
Top 10 Things To Do in Boston
Visit the Boston Public Library. Oh my goodness! This library is seriously gorgeous! If you are a library nerd like me (I visit my local library almost every week), this must be on your must see list. A few points to highlight:
- It’s free (duh)!
- When I visited, almost every table was full. This is a happening place that Bostonians obviously use and love. Do as the locals do!
- Beautiful architecture and history are found in every corner, including the outside courtyard. (History lesson: This library was the first large free municipal library in the United States.)
- You can get high tea here. YES! There is a restaurant in the library…actually there are three! Sadly, I didn’t get high tea here but I drooled over the pastries I ogled as I walked by. Next time, next time.
Walk the Freedom Trail. This is a roughly 2.5 mile walk throughout downtown Boston that leads you past 16 historical sites. The trail starts in the Boston Common which is located directed next to the Public Gardens, both of which are must see stops as well. I would recommend picking up the $3 map from the Visitor’s Center in the Common as it gives a nice background on each stop. The Freedom Trail is very easy to follow because there is literally a red-line in the sidewalk that leads you along the whole trail. Genius idea to whoever came up with that!
Eat at Quincy Market. Yes, I read this was a tourist trap but yes, I still went…and it was great! I highly recommend going and come hungry. I ate clam chowder at Ned Devine’s Irish Pub and it didn’t disappoint. It’s located right behind Faneuil Hall which is a stop on the Freedom Trail.
Stroll through Beacon Hill. What a delightful neighborhood this is! Walk through this area on a (hopefully) sunny day to see row-houses, gaslit streets and brick (or cobblestone!) sidewalks. This neighborhood is one of the most expensive areas to live in Boston.
- Be sure to snap a picture at Acorn Street. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time. Don’t attempt to wear heels! This street was hard to walk on in flats.
Tour the Institute of Contemporary Art. I’m usually not the biggest fan of contemporary art but this museum is amazing! Be sure to go (if possible) on Thursday, as it’s free after 5 PM. I arrived just in time for the complimentary public tour that starts at 6 PM. The guide was knowledgeable and I appreciated the art SO MUCH MORE after hearing the back story of the piece. There is also a beautiful view of the Boston Harbor at this museum.
Embrace your scholarly side by visiting Harvard, MIT and a myriad of bookshops. You might have guessed that I’m a bookshop fan because of my library love…you guessed right! A few of my favorites that I stopped in included Brattle Book Shop and the Harvard Book Store. There is a Harvard student-led tour but it was absolutely freezing when I briefly visited the campus so I’ll have to do this when I return to Boston.
Fall in love at Eataly. Yes, this is a chain but it’s an amazing Italian mecca! I LOVE EATALY! If you’ve never been there, be sure to stop in for an espresso, gelato, or a myriad of delicious Italian imports.
Take a walk down Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Pray for sunshine, grab a bold roast and admire the row-houses. Breathe in all the Boston vibes.
Things I didn’t get to do because of limited time but I want to do when I return:
- Eat a lobster roll at Neptune’s Oyster House.
- See a ball game at Fenway Park.
- Compare cannolis: Mikes vs. Modern Pastry.
- Visit the Somerville neighborhood. I heard that there are some very cool breweries in this area.
- Tour the Sam Adams Brewery.
- Munch on an overpriced but likely very delicious and certainly beautiful pastry at Tatte Bakery.
- Savor a bowl of chowder at Legal Seafood. Again, it is a chain but I heard it’s delicious. Pro-tip: I saw one in the airport but didn’t have enough time to stop for a bite.
Boston is an extremely fun city to visit and there is a plethora of different activities and areas to explore. The city was very walkable and has a great mix of delicious food, interesting historical sites and unique neighborhoods to visit. I definitely would like to return to Boston when it’s a bit warmer and I have more free time to spare. I hope this list was helpful to you in your future Beantown travels.
Question for you: Have you ever visited Boston? If yes, what did I miss on my list? Share in the comments below.