Things to do in Boston

I’ve been keeping a list of stuff to do in Boston (not necessarily for the first time) for use on those weekend days when I can’t think of something to do. I figured it might be helpful to keep it on the web, so that I can always access it. I thought others might like it, too. However, keep in mind I’m (a) poor and (b) very easily amused. (When I first got here I rode the entire subway line the full length of each route for the hell of it.) If you can think of anything else I should add, please leave a comment! At least the things listed here aren’t as lame as going to “Cheers.”

  1. Boston Symphony Orchestra. Where else can you hear a world class symphony in an historic hall the size of most high school auditoriums? You can get $30 tickets to most Thursday night shows. You’ll get the worst seats in the house, but fortunately there are no bad seats.
  2. Prudential Center observation deck. I’ve been wanting to try to take a 360 degree panoramic shot from here to stitch together into a QuickTime VR.
  3. New England Aquarium. They also have a nice 3D IMAX theater, apparently the biggest in New England. (Take that, Rhode Island!)
  4. Museum of Science. No matter how many times I go here, it never gets boring. They also have a 3D movie theater, though on a much smaller scale.
  5. Wally’s jazz club. Historic club on Mass. Ave. (near the Berkeley school of music). Where a lot of jazz greats cut their chops, as the kids say.
  6. Museum of Fine Arts. Great museum, more stuff than you can possibly see in one trip. Very diverse collection; unless you’re made out of stone you’ll find something you think is beautiful.
  7. MBTA Blue Line to Wonderland beach. Preferably doing (6) and (7) in the same day. In how many cities can you take a single subway from downtown to the beach? We do a great job in Boston forgetting the fact that there are miles of beaches just north of town. I think I’m going to take the kids on an art museum/beach day, just to screw with their little minds.
  8. Isabella Steward Gardner museum. Beautiful indoor gardens and art in a building made of art from around the world. Very unique museum and worth a a visit every year or so.
  9. Armando’s. The best pizza in Cambridge, up near Fresh Pond where we used to live, founded over 40 years ago by an immigrant Cicily. Neighborhood place with decades’ worth of little league pictures on the wall, sun bleached pictures of kids who are now taking their own kids to Armando’s.
  10. Samuel Adams Brewery Tour. Do I even need to try to sell this? It’s a great tour. Take public transportation, is all I’ll say…
  11. Candlepin bowling and batting cages at Boston Bowl. Candlepin is a New England tradition, and is much more fun than regular bowling, in my opinion. Boston Bowl also has the only batting cages I’ve found that go up to 70 MPH.
  12. Pizzeria Regina in the North End. The best pizza in Boston, in my opinion, though I haven’t sampled as much as I should.
  13. MIT museum. Recently expanded, they have several interesting exhibits, the two best being the holograms and the works of a kinematic artist whose name eludes me right now.
  14. Take water taxi to old Naval Yard. Check out USS Constitution and the old dry docks. They also have a WWII destroyer you can walk through for free. While it was certainly interesting, experiencing the ship first hand also, and unexpectedly, gave me an deep appreciation for the hard sacrifice made by those who lived on it during the war.
  15. Ride Green line ‘D’ train to ‘burbs. Sometimes it’s nice to see more than three trees in one place. Waban is an expecially nice little town.
  16. Water taxi to Charlestown. Charlestown is one of the neatest parts of Boston, and is one of the most historic feeling neighborhoods, perhaps second only to Beacon Hill and parts of the North End.
  17. Sailing the Charles. Anybody in Boston can cheaply rent a sailboat at the public sailing docks near the Hatch shell. A totally underrated aspect of the city. (The Charles will not kill you! That’s just a myth.)
  18. MIT Lecture Series Commitee. Movies and cool lectures at MIT for $3 $4 in the “classy” and historic building 26 lecture hall. Open to anyone, and full of MIT culture, including yelling at the advertisements before the movie. Also, you’ve never heard people so quick to yell, “focus!”
  19. Take a Duck Tour. The only touristy thing I’d actually recommend doing. The tours, on WWII-era amphibious vehicles, are actually pretty informative and fascinating, and the tourguides are a lot of fun.
  20. Catch a Lowell Spinners game. The only live baseball you’ll be able to afford in Massachusetts. Besides, minor league baseball is the only honest sport left.
  21. Hike or camp in the harbor islands. Totally underused public “park” right off the coast, there are a dozen islands you can visit, including the only manned lighthouse left in the US. You can get there on the T (boats)!
  22. JFK Presidential Library. A great location on the water, and a beautiful building, built by I. M. Pei.

45 responses to “Things to do in Boston”

  1. Nice list of To-Do’s in Boston. I should probably get out and do some of them myself, having lived here for 3 years. I believe you meant to refer to Revere Beach (rather than Wonderland Beach), but besides that your list is accurate. Maybe add some night spots?

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  3. Nice list of things to do in Boston. Seeing the list, I’ve already decided which places to visit. Well, since I am a music lover, so the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Wally’s jazz club will be on top of my list. I wish they could also perform acoustic violin since I am really a big fan of it. Thanks for sharing this list.

  4. Hi is there “one place” you would recommend to visitors from the uk? I did laugh out loud at the thought of sitting on the tube just riding round.. Lottie 🙂

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  9. Aw, this was a very good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce
    a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never
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    • I agree. This is the best post i ever read on Boston travel information. Anyone who doesn’t visit each of the enumerated itinerary posts in sequential order is fooling {them/their}selves if they think they’re achieving optimal Boston travel.

    • Agree! One of the top symphonies in one of the top performing halls in the world. The caliber if musicianship is unmatched. Check for rush seats for a discount. Discounts also occasionally available for patrons under 40.

  10. Museum of Fine Arts – more stuff than you can possibly see in one trip. Very diverse collection; unless you’re made out of stone you’ll find something you think is beautiful.

  11. If you’re a baseball fan, Fenway is a must. If you’re not, it’s still a great day or evening out. Yes, it has it’s problems. The grandstand seats are somewhat uncomfortable and the seats along the right field line are oriented toward the left field wall rather than the infield. And a lot of the seats are in the outfield bleachers, some way, way from home plate up under the scoreboard. But it’s quirkiness and history are Fenway’s charms. And the fact that it’s plunked right in the middle of an urban neighborhood just adds to the effect. Even if the game runs long, hang around for “Sweet Caroline” in the eighth, a Boston tradition. Yankees games can get pretty intense but not as ugly as they did during the Curse years.

  12. Went to watch a Red Sox game with many of my class mates and it was a great experience. Went to Cask’n Flagon before to have a couple of drinks as is the tradition. The Red Sox won too! We were in the general standing area but the view was great.

  13. When people talk about Boston, I hear about the harbor islands all the time and how beautiful they are. I’m glad to see there’s so much to do in Boston! Looks like it’s a thriving, bustling place. Thanks for sharing this list!

  14. Hey Jonathan,
    This is a great resource to have bookmarked! I will have to return to this page from time to time when we have visitors come into town. I haven’t been to the Prudential Center observation deck since I was a kid and now it’s time for me to bring my kids.
    Thanks for the post Jonathan!

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  16. when i come to boston i will definitely visit these places.only thing i know about boston is its marathon.I heard people saying their wish is to participate in the boston marathon.

  17. I haven’t been to Boston in a few years, but it’s a fun town. I did a tour of Boston’s many historic churches, visited the Prudential Center observation tower, and nosed about. This list is terrific and the next time I visit Boston I will check out the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the jazz club. As for the pizza, I’d like to try it, as I’m always on the look-out for good pizza. Thanks for posting this because it’s a nice summary of some interesting places in Boston.

  18. Thank you for writing. Glad also to stumble across 2 articles of yours. This one will come in handy when I visit my granddaughter/student at BC. I bet she doesn’t even know some of these cool places I expect to visit. Have visited several already and loved them Great list. So is the Don’t Bother list.

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