Top 20 Must See Places in Boston
Boston is chock full of museums, historical sights, parks, sporting events, and of course top-notch restaurants. With so many exciting things to check out, the to-do list can be a bit daunting. Here are 20 of our favorite places to see in Boston. You’ve GOT to see #9.
1. Boston Common – The first thing you see when you get out of the Park Street MBTA station is the Boston Commons. You’ll see people lounging on the grass, performers, children playing in the Frog Pond in the summer and ice skaters in the winter. This city park is is a great place to bring a blanket and catch some sun.
2. Boston Public Gardens – Right beside the Boston Commons, the Boston Public Garden is a perfectly manicured rectangle right in the heart of Boston. With both real swans and man-powered swan boats gliding over the still water, the garden is a quiet breath of fresh air amongst the hustle and bustle of Boston.
3. Boston Aquarium – With everything from penguins and sea lions, to seal, eels, and sea turtles, the Boston Aquarium has a little something for everyone. Right when you walk in, you see a giant tubular tank that rises up out of the ground to the ceiling 4 stories above. Talk about wow factor! Students get a discounted admissions rate and there’s even a college day where all students are free.
4. Fenway Park – Home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is one of the smallest MLB stadiums in the country, but is also the oldest and most loved (at least if you ask Bostonians). The stadium only just recently replaced the original wooden seats. Now, these and other original artifacts are preserved in special cases around the park.
5. The North End – The original heart of Boston, the North End looks pretty similar today to how it did during Paul Revere’s time. Many of the buildings are original and the cobblestone streets are literally older than the dirt. With hundreds of Italian restaurants, gelato shops, pastry shops, and all the pizza you could ever want, it’s basically a college student’s dream come true.
6. Paul Revere’s House – Located at the edge of the North End, Paul Revere’s House is a preserved gem of American history. His home and all it’s features are now a museum that visitors can walk through. Next time you’re in the North end, at least walk by the home and imagine living there as one Paul’s 16 children.
7. Old North Church – You know the famous Longfellow poem Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride and the line “one if by land and two if by sea, and I on the opposite shore to be?” Yeah, that’s talking about lanterns hanging in the Old North Church. The church has a stunning courtyard and just happens to be a few blocks away from Paul’s house. The best part is, it’s still an active church! You can visit on Sundays for a service in the historic building.
8. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – The ISGM is one of the most mysterious spots in Boston. Originally a private home for wealthy socialite Isabella Stewart Gardner and her husband Jack, the 74,000 square foot property is practically wallpapered in priceless artifacts dating back thousands of years. In 1990, the museum was robbed of three of its priceless paintings. News of the theft went international and though there was much suspicion that it was an inside job, the case remains open and unsolved. The empty frames of the stolen paintings still hang in the museum as a cold reminder of what was.
9. Museum of Fine Arts – Free for students, this colossal museum looks like something out of a movie set. With towering ceilings, royal staircases, and giant statues of lions, it’s pretty much a fairy tale come to life. As if the building itself wasn’t impressive enough, the art collection is enough to overwhelm even the most passionate art lover. Want to see some mummies or a piece of Nebuchadnezzar’s castle wall? They’ve got it. Want to see Degas’s Little Dancer? They’ve got that too. The MFA is definitely worth at least one trip, especially while you’ve got free student admission.
10. The South Boston Cathedral – An active church, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest religious space in Boston. If you want to feel like you’ve stepped back to the medieval era, head on down to Washington Street in SoWa and marvel at the glory.
11. Sowa (South of Washington) – An up and coming neighborhood, SoWa is full of young professionals and families who value proximity to the city and the unique charm of the formerly run-down segment of the city. Now with a bustling arts scene, this neighborhood is foodie central with hundreds of acclaimed restaurants and galleries in just a few square blocks. Sundays in the summer there is a large open-air market for local artisans, farmers, and food trucks located at the lot on Harrison. In the fall, an old abandoned building turns into a showcase for local digital artists.
12. Cambridge Square – Cambridge has long been a gathering place for intellectuals from around the globe. Whatever you need, you can find it in Harvard Square. From priceless books and mats, vintage clothing stores, antique books, performance venues, clothing boutiques, galleries, award-winning restaurants, and enough coffee shops to power the entire Harvard campus, you’ll never be bored in Harvard Square.
13. Boston Public Library – Free and a real working library, the BPL is every bit as grand as the Museum of Fine Arts, just with slightly less art. The grand marble columns and priceless statues are just the housing for a truly staggering collection of books and artifacts. Students can get a library card and use the facility for research. Be sure to check out the study room up on the 2nd floor and the courtyard right in the center.
14. Copley Square – Home to the BPL, Trinity Church, and the famed Boston Marathon Medallion, Copley Square is a great place to hang out and people watch. In front of Trinity Church is beautiful fountain and grassy area perfect for a picnic. Plus, during the Boston marathon, this area is right near the finish line!
15. Prudential Skywalk – If you’re looking for a 360 view of the city, the Skywalk is the place to go. Located on the 51st floor of the Prudential building (the tallest building in Boston), the part museum part observatory provides an amazing view of bean town. One that you can’t get anywhere else!
16. Coolidge Corner – A cute little part of Brookline, Coolidge Corner’s unique architecture and variety of stores makes it a great place for a day of exploring. With a restored antique theater, coffee and bookshops, and even a shop that sells nothing but crepes, it’s different enough to make it worth the trip but close enough that you’ll want to spend every day exploring.
17. Institute of Contemporary Art – Located right on the water, everywhere you stand in the ICA provides a great view. With a good array of permanent and rotating exhibits, there’s always something new and interesting to see. Plus, they have a student discount!
18. Museum of Science – This might sound like a dull trip, but Boston’s Museum of Science is anything but boring. Last year, they had a exhibit on the human body and visitors could hold a real human brain! With the majority of their exhibits being interactive, guests get to experience science in new ways. Whether you’re 5, 15, 25, or 85, the MOS is a great way to spend a day. Plus, student discount!
19. Castle Island – One of Boston’s harbor islands, Castle Island is home to Fort Independence. Dating back to the 1800s, the island is now a living museum where guests can explore the old fort and grounds. Hop on the Harbor Point Buses #9 or #11 at Broadway Station and you’ll be there in a few minutes!
20. Harvard’s Campus –Harvard’s campus looks like something out of a movie set. There are thousands big grand trees, impressive brick buildings that look more like museums than dorms, and miles and miles of pathways. It’s all par for the course when you’re visiting one of the most prestigious colleges in the country. Plus, with multiple museums on campus, you’ll never get bored!