If You Want To See What Makes This City Special, Check Out These Uniquely Boston Attractions
Boston is a big city with small town charm. There are a number of great local neighborhoods that each have their own local sites and attractions. Below are just some of the unique local sites that give visitors a glimpse into the real Boston.
The historic neighborhood of Beacon Hill is famous for its Federal-style brick rowhouses and narrow gaslit streets. The brick sidewalks and historical character give the area a lot of charm and the residents maintain beautiful gardens and beautiful home fronts. There are often seasonal holiday decorations throughout, so it's worth wandering through during the holiday season. This one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and it has a number of historic landmarks including the Massachusetts State House and the Boston African American National Historic Site.
Boston, Massachusetts, 02114-3203
The historic and central area of Harvard University, the oldest in the nation, this large green space is intermixed with University buildings, trees, and the occasional statue. The area is generally open to the public and for tours, although at times the gates may close, so plan ahead.
Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Boston Harbor & Whale Watching
Head to the Boston Harbor to enjoy a number of iconic experiences in the city. The views from the harbor are impressive. This is also where you catch most of the boats for whale watching. Whale Watching is a popular activity in Boston. For the best experience, visit during the summer months from May through October. This is when you're most likely to see whales migrating through the area. There are a number of different tours that leave from the Boston Harbor. They average between two and four hours in length and the boats vary in size, speed, and quality.
Back Bay is a scenic neighborhood in Boston that is famous for its charming apartments and classic Boston style. Wander down Commonwealth Avenue to take in these picturesque scenes, or you can enjoy high end shopping along Newbury Street. The area is popular with the wealthy, who live in Victorian style homes in this quintessential Boston setting.
Boston's famous Freedom Trail is a three mile long route that goes by 16 of the city's most notable historic sites. The trail is marked by red bricks in the sidewalk and there are footprints through the street crossings. There are a number of brochures available in different places, including the city's visitor center (found in Boston Common), that will tell you about the history along the trail. Notable sites along the route include the Old Granary Burying Ground, King's Chapel Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House, and the Old State House. The route begins in Boston Common and ends across the bridge in Charlestown at the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Monument.
Old North Church
This historic church is one of the main landmarks in the historic area of Boston's North End. Surrounded by houses and buildings that are hundreds of years old, the church itself dates back to 1723. Not only is it well preserved, but it has a special place in American history as the beginning of Paul Revere's famous ride to let everyone know that the British were indeed coming. Self-guided tours of the church are available, and additionally visitors can go down into the crypt underneath the church as well. Furthermore, the church is open for services on Sundays if you make a reservation.
193 Salem Street, North End, Boston, Massachusetts, 02113
Black Heritage Trail
The Black Heritage Trail is a 1.6 mile walking trail through Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood that showcases a variety of historical sites focused on the lives of Black Americans from the time periods around the American Civil War. During this time in history, Black Americans in this area of Boston fought to abolish slavery and gain the same freedoms and rights as other Americans. Part of the trail centers on the Museum of African American History while other locations are historic residences, schools, and meeting houses.
Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
You'll feel like you stepped back in time as this museum brings history to life. There are real life actors who portray this notable time in history through reenactments of a series of iconic events that led to the Revolutionary War. Beginning with the Sons of Liberty Meeting that was led by Samuel Adams, following through to the Boston Tea Party and finally Paul Revere's ride, you will experience it all at this historical museum. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this interactive experience.
306 Congress St, Seaport District, South Boston, Boston, MA, 02210
Gibson House Museum
This 1859 house on Beacon Street was designed with an Italian Renaissance style. There are guided tours available that take you through the four floors that are ornately decorated with elegant staircases and Victorian style furniture. A highlight of the tour is seeing the kitchen and bathroom from the turn of the century.
137 Beacon St, Back Bay, Boston, MA, 02116
Museum of African American History
This museum educates visitors on the African American community and the people who lived on the north slope of Beacon Hill during the 19th century. This community actively worked to improve civil rights during this time. The two buildings that make up the museum include the African Meeting House, which is the oldest, still standing black church, and the Abiel Smith School, which is the country's oldest public school for African American children. It later became the headquarters for black Civil War veterans.
46 Joy St, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 02114
Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation
Located at Massachusetts General Hospital, this museum highlights the accomplishments of more than 200 years of research in the medical field. There are exhibits on various medical breakthroughs, as well up frequently updated features on the latest in medical technology. On the third floor there's a roof top garden that offers beautiful views of the Beacon Hill skyline. The Ether Dome is an amphitheater where anesthesia was first successfully used in 1846.
2 N Grove St, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
Rose Kennedy Greenway
This stretch of interconnected parks running through Downtown Boston is a great spot for a walk, run, or even a bike ride - or for just exploring the city. Starting at the north in North End near the Haymarket T station, the connected parks and trails run south through the Waterfront and Downtown areas until they reach Chinatown Park. Along the way, visitors will find smaller parks, interactive fountains, a carousel, gardens, public restrooms, restaurants and cafes, and more. If you're wandering along the path, it's quite easy to make short detours to explore the various attractions and historical spots of Boston.
John F. Fitzgerald Expressway, Waterfront, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110
The Plumbing Museum
Located in Watertown, this unique museum is dedicated solely to the art of plumbing. It has historical plumbing fixtures and a number of unique, if not unusual, exhibits. It's a small museum, but if you're looking for something totally off-the-beaten-path, this is it!
80 Rosedale Rd, Watertown, MA, 02472
Where to Stay in Boston