Stroll the cobblestone streets of one of America's most historic cities, home to such patriots as Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, and Drew Bledsoe. Discover a living museum where almost four centuries of American history can be traced. When it comes to variety, see why Boston is called the Hub. Nightclubs and theaters, the North End and Chinatown, Fenway Park and Boston Common can all be found here.
What to do in Boston, MassachusettsIf you’re planning to take in all Boston has to offer while in port, plan to be overwhelmed. You’ll have as much luck drinking from a firehose. However, we’ll do our best to summarize Boston’s best options for your short time in the city. The most popular attractions cater to Boston’s history, culture and beautiful scenery. There’s an entertaining option for every interest, from Revolutionary War-buffs to avid sports fans. Here are some of Boston’s best attractions.
Historical SitesFounded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. Over those hundreds of years, the city has done some pretty cool stuff. And much of that stuff is available to explore while at port. Whether choosing an organized excursion or self-guided tour, some of your many options include: Paul Revere’s house; Old North Church; Boston Public Library; USS Constitution; Bunker Hill Monument; Old State House, Boston National Historical Park and Plymouth Plantation. See specifics below.
Take a WalkBoston is considered a “walking city.” While you won’t be able to cover everything, you can see a good deal of Boston in a day. You can start in the Seaport district and on to the Financial Center. Then you can make your way through Faneuil Hall to the North End. From there, cross Boston Commons to Newbury Street and its many high-end shops. If you have the time and energy, make your way down Comm. Ave to Fenway Park. Maybe not all in that order, but you get the point. Many of Boston’s landmarks can be seen by foot in a span of a few hours. Grab a map, some comfy sneakers, and have fun!
Sporting EventsThere aren’t many cities with more avid sports fans than Boston. Between the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots, there are more trophies than the small city can handle. If you’re fortunate enough to be visiting during a game, we highly recommend this option. Even if there’s not an event during your trip, consider touring one of these iconic venues and surrounding areas anyway. In addition to the professional teams and events, there are also dozens of colleges with quality teams to check out. You’ll find their sporting events on their many web sites.
Fresh AirBoston has lots of beautiful outdoor attractions to relax, take a nap, people-watch, or whatever else you’d like to do on a nice day. Some of the most popular amongst our outdoorsy-cruisers include Boston Commons, Rose Fitzgerald Greenway, Boston Public Garden, and Bunker Hill Monument.
MuseumsThere are so many museums in Boston! No matter your fancy, you’ll find a museum showcasing something of interest. Some of the most well-known include the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and JFK Presidential Library & Museum.
Shopping in Boston, MassachusettsBoston is a vibrant and eclectic city with an excellent shopping selection. From high-end fashion to underground boutiques, there’s something for every shopper. Even if you’re on a tight budget, window shopping is a memorable excursion given the cobblestone streets and brilliant architecture. Here are some of Boston’s most distinct shopping districts.
Harvard SquareThis is another shopping option that’s as valuable for its scenery as retail options. Not surprisingly, the marketplace is within Harvard’s campus area. Tour the iconic institution then make your way up and down the romantic streets for while browsing the small shops. You’ll find more interesting trinkets than brand-name items. Some claim to have become smarter while shopping in Harvard Square just via osmosis. Test this theory for yourself and let us know if it works.
Newbury StreetNewbury Street starts at the corner of the Boston Public Gardens. The retail corridor is one mile long and lined with brownstones and other architectural highlights reminiscent of days past. One very unique characteristic of this shopping strip… the stores range from super-high-end (near Boston Public Gardens) to less expensive on the opposite end of Newbury Street (which is where we hang out).
Faneuil HallSituated just off Boston’s waterfront, this historic landmark is where the US declared its independence from the British. Today, you can watch street-performers flip around while eating a cannoli and shopping for a new pair of kicks. According to Forbes, Faneuil Hall is the 4th most visited attraction in the country. While it’s not the best shopping venue for variety, it’s certainly the most scenic.
Attractions in Boston, MassachusettsIn many cruise ports, you’ll find one or two “most popular things to do.” That often makes it easy to plan our day in port. Boston makes things much more difficult (just ask Ben Affleck). You’ll find so many more options than you can tackle in a day. Not to worry. Here’s a list to get you started in your search. For a complete list of options, check out our full list of Boston cruise excursions.
Paul Revere’s HouseSeriously, it’s still there. Paul Revere’s home is the oldest house in Boston, dating back to 1680. For history-buffs out there, this has to be on your “things to do” list. You can explore the home on your own, or go with a guided tour. You’ll also find a small gift-shop to prove to your friends that Paul had you over to his place.
Fenway ParkIf there’s a game that fits your schedule while you’re in town, you’re incredibly lucky. Don’t think twice and grab that opportunity. Otherwise, still make your way down to the Fenway Park district while in port. The surrounding area is alive with the 100+ year history of the team. Oh, and it’s packed with wicked cool bars… er, “bahs.”
All Boston Access PassGet into the cruise-mindset with this buffet of attractions. For those looking to capture as much of Boston as possible, this is your best option. For a reasonable rate, you’ll get access to dozens of the city’s most popular attractions. This includes a smorgasbord of options from a Fenway tour to the Children’s Museum. From Six Flags to Swan Boats. Your pass covers literally thousands of dollars in admittance fees. You can see more on the <a target="_blank" href="/cruise-ports/boston-massachusetts/port-excursions/one-day-go-boston-card-5560372">Boston One Day Go Card here</a>.
USS ConstitutionOf all Boston’s historic landmarks, this is one of the coolest things to do while in port. Within Charleston Navy Yard you’ll find the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned naval ship (originally launched in 1797).
Freedom TrailAbove we mentioned that “walking” is one of our favorite things to do in Boston. For a pre-planned route, this is your best bet. The Freedom Trail will take you through Historic Boston on a 2.5-mile trek including landmarks, museums, churches, cemeteries, parks, and more. For a self-guided shore tour, you can start at the Visitor Center in Boston Common where you’ll find maps. If you’d prefer a guide, check out the <a target="_blank" href="/cruise-ports/boston-massachusetts/port-excursions/boston-freedom-trail-walking-photo-tour-3314478">Boston Freedom Trail Walking Photo Tour here</a>.
Old State HouseConstructed in 1713, the State House is one of Boston’s oldest buildings. The national landmark is made of brick and easily spotted among the towering skyscrapers surrounding the monument. You’ll find a handful of artifacts from the Revolutionary days, including actual tea from the Boston Tea Party. Tours are offered daily.
Best cruise excursions in Boston, MassachusettsWe've analyzed tens of thousands of cruise tours to find your ideal attraction while in port. Based on these reviews, here are the Best Cruise Excursions in Boston, Massachusetts
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