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Things to do in Boston

Boston boasts a wealth of historic attractions and unforgettable museums. The Freedom Trail links 16 fascinating Boston landmarks, mostly Downtown and in the North End. A stroll around Beacon Hill and the Back Bay takes in the exquisite flowerbeds in the Public Garden. The Fenway is home to the world-famous Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Some Boston attractions close Monday, but most open daily from about 10am to 6pm.

Otis House Museum, Boston. Photo by David Carmack. Courtesy of Historic New England

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Institute of Contemporary Art - Museums and Galleries

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    Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. Photo by Peter Vanderwarker. Courtesy of the Institute of Contemporary Art

    A veteran on Boston's art scene, the Institute of Contemporary Art moved to its new home in 2006, a cantilevered building looming over Boston Harbour in the Seaport district. It focuses on film, video, music, performance and the visual arts.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$15; concessions US$10; children under 18 free; free to all Thu after 5pm

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun and some Mon holidays 10am-5pm (until 9pm Thu-Fri)

    Address

    100, Northern Avenue, Boston 02210

    Telephone

    +1 617 478 3100

    Transport

    Silver Line to World Trade Center subway

    Website

    Institute of Contemporary Art

  2. 2. Museum of African American History - Museums and Galleries

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    Museum of African American History, Boston. Courtesy of the Museum of African American History

    Tucked away on Beacon Hill in a former house of worship and historic school, the Museum of African American History preserves the legacy of Boston's black community. Displays of artefacts, heirlooms, documents and photographs tell a little-known but fascinating story.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free; US$5 donation suggested

    Opening hours

    Mon-Sat 10am-4pm

    Address

    46, Joy Street, Boston 02114

    Telephone

    +1 617 725 0022

    Transport

    Red or Green Line to Park Street subway

    Website

    Museum of African American History

  3. 3. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

    The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, in the Fenway neighbourhood, houses its founder's exceptional collection of European and American art, artefacts and architectural details. The 1901 building, styled after an Italian Renaissance palace, surrounds an enclosed courtyard filled with flowers.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$12; concessions US$5-US$10; under 18s and anyone called Isabella free

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun & some Mon holidays 11am-5pm

    Address

    280, The Fenway, Boston 02115

    Telephone

    +1 617 566 1401

    Transport

    Green Line E branch to Museum subway

    Website

    Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

  4. 4. John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, Boston. Courtesy of the JFK Library

    Films, artefacts, documents and memorabilia create an unforgettable portrait of America's beloved 35th president. Located in Dorchester, 30 minutes south of downtown, the John F Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum was designed by I M Pei and enjoys city skyline views.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$12; concessions US$10; 13-17s US$9; under 13s free

    Opening hours

    Daily 9am-5pm

    Address

    Columbia Point, Boston 02125

    Telephone

    +1 866 514 1600

    Transport

    Red Line to JFK/UMass subway

    Website

    John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

  5. 5. Museum of Fine Arts - Museums and Galleries

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    Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. © Lou Jones 1998, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts

    Eight thousand years' worth of masterpieces fill the Museum of Fine Arts in the Fenway neighbourhood. Collections range from Egyptian sculpture to contemporary photography, with especially notable Impressionist holdings. Construction of a new American Wing is underway.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$17; concessions US$15; children 7-17 US$6.50; under 7s free

    Opening hours

    Mon & Tue 10am-4.45pm; Wed-Fri 10am-9.45pm; Sat-Sun 10am-4.45pm

    Address

    465, Huntingdon Ave, Boston 02115

    Telephone

    +1 617 267 9300

    Transport

    Green Line E branch to Museum subway

    Website

    Museum of Fine Arts

Attractions

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  1. 6. New England Aquarium - Attractions

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    New England Aquarium-Main Tank

    Thousands of aquatic creatures, including sharks, seals and penguins, make the New England Aquarium one of Boston's most popular attractions. The Waterfront landmark houses the Giant Ocean Tank, a re-creation of a Caribbean coral reef, and offers seasonal whale watches.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$20.95; 3-11s US$12.95; under 3s free

    Opening hours

    Daily 9am-5pm (until 6pm Sat-Sun)

    Address

    Central Wharf, Boston 02110

    Telephone

    +1 617 973 5200

    Transport

    Blue Line to Aquarium subway

    Website

    New England Aquarium

  2. 7. Boston Children's Museum - Attractions

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    Boston Children's Museum, Boston. Photo by Les Veilleux, courtesy of the Boston Children's Museum

    Expanded and renovated in 2007, the Boston Children's Museum is a magnet for kids under 11. The Seaport district landmark overflows with activities that blend learning and playing. Entertaining hands-on exhibits include everything from construction equipment to science experiments.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$12; concessions and 2-15s US$9; under 2s US$1; under 1s free; US$1 for all Fri after 5pm

    Opening hours

    Daily 10am-5pm (until 9pm Fri)

    Address

    300, Congress Street, Boston 02210

    Telephone

    +1 617 426 6500

    Transport

    Red Line to South Station subway

    Website

    Boston Children's Museum

  3. 8. Paul Revere House - Attractions

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    Paul Revere House

    The modest North End home of one of the best-known figures of the American Revolution puts a human face on historical events. The wooden Paul Revere house (c1680) contains artefacts of Revere, including silver pieces he created and period furnishings.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$3.50; concessions US$3; 5-17s US$1; under 5s free

    Opening hours

    Daily 9:30am-4:15pm (until 5:15pm Apr 15-Oct 31); Jan-Mar Tue-Sun only

    Address

    19, North Square, Boston 02113

    Telephone

    +1 617 523 2338

    Transport

    Green Line or Orange Line to Haymarket subway

    Website

    Paul Revere House

  4. 9. Museum of Science - Attractions

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    Museum of Science, Boston. Courtesy of Museum of Science

    Hands-on and multimedia exhibits on subjects ranging from butterflies to electricity fill the Museum of Science. Focusing on one subject is a good, manageable way to begin exploring. Also on the premises, in Science Park, are a planetarium and theatre.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$20; concessions US$18; 3-11s US$17; under 3s free

    Opening hours

    Sep-Jun daily 9am-5pm (until 9pm Fri); Jul-Aug daily 9am-7pm (until 9pm Fri)

    Address

    Science Park, Boston 02114

    Telephone

    +1 617 723 2500

    Transport

    Green Line to Science Park subway

    Website

    Museum of Science

Special things to do

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  1. 10. Otis House Museum - Special things to do

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    Otis House Museum, Boston. Photo by David Carmack. Courtesy of Historic New England

    Iconic New England architect Charles Bulfinch designed the beautiful Beacon Hill mansion that later became the Otis House Museum. The informative guided tour of the 1796 Federal-style building tells the story of a family, a building and a changing neighbourhood.Show this on map

    Cost

    US$8

    Opening hours

    Wed-Sun 11am-4:30pm

    Address

    141, Cambridge Street, Boston 02114

    Telephone

    +1 617 227 3956

    Transport

    Red Line to Charles/MGH subway

    Website

    Otis House Museum

  2. 11. Freedom Trail - Special things to do

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    Freedom Trail Marker

    The 2.5-mile (4km) Freedom Trail, a red line on the sidewalk, connects 16 interesting sites associated with Boston's early history. Walking from Beacon Hill to Charlestown can take hours, but even visiting a couple of destinations makes a good introduction.Show this on map

    Cost

    Trail free; admission to some sites

    Opening hours

    Trail daily during daylight; most sites open daily

    Address

    147, Tremont Street (Visitor Information Centre), Boston Common, Boston 02111

    Telephone

    +1 617 357 8300

    Transport

    Red Line or Green Line to Park Street subway

    Website

    Freedom Trail Website

  3. 12. Boston Public Library - Special things to do

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    Boston Public Library, Boston. Courtesy of Boston Public Library

    The central branch of the Boston Public Library is rich with sculpture, paintings and decorative details. Dramatic murals by celebrated 19th-century artists adorn the walls. The Back Bay building overlooks busy Copley Square and conceals a peaceful Roman-style courtyard.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Jun-Sep Mon-Sat 9am-9pm (until 5pm Fri-Sat); Oct-May also open Sun 1pm-5pm

    Address

    700, Boylston St, Boston 02116

    Telephone

    +1 617 536 5400

    Transport

    Green Line to Copley subway

    Website

    Boston Public Library

  4. 13. Harvard University - Special things to do

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    Atmospheric Shot of Harvard Yard

    The oldest college in the US, founded in 1636, Harvard University welcomes visitors to its handsome, sprawling campus. Across the Charles River from Boston in the city of Cambridge, the school is the focus of the lively Harvard Square neighbourhood.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Campus daily 24 hours; Events & Information Center Mon-Sat 9am-5pm

    Address

    Events & Information Center, Holyoke Center, 1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge 02138

    Telephone

    +1 617 495 1573

    Transport

    Red Line to Harvard subway

    Website

    Harvard

  5. 14. Fenway Park - Special things to do

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    Fenway Park, Boston. Courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

    Buying tickets to a Red Sox game is nearly impossible, but the legendary ballpark is accessible year-round on a tour. Quirky and asymmetrical, it's the heart of the Fenway neighbourhood and one of the most beloved venues in American sport.Show this on map

    Cost

    Tours US$12; concessions US$11; children US$10; game tickets from US$18

    Opening hours

    Tours daily 9am-4pm; times can vary on game days

    Address

    4, Yawkey Way, Boston 02215

    Telephone

    +1 617 226 6666

    Transport

    Green Line B, C or D branch to Kenmore subway

    Website

  6. 15. Public Garden - Special things to do

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    The Public Garden in Autumn

    The exquisite Public Garden in Back Bay is the country's oldest botanical garden (1837). Fascinating statues and monuments accent the greenery, and blooms from the city's greenhouses fill the flowerbeds. In season, the park is home to the Swan Boats.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Daily dawn-11:30pm

    Address

    Charles Street, Boston 02115

    Telephone

    +1 617 635 7383

    Transport

    Green Line to Arlington subway

    Website

    Public Garden

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