The Best Museums in Boston

History, Art, Science, and More

Boston is home to a wide variety of museums, from historic houses of worship to contemporary art galleries. These museums offer visitors the chance to explore the city's past, present and future through exhibits, artifacts, and collections.

USS Constitution
USS Constitution
This famous ship, referred to as Old Ironsides, was named by George Washington. It's a wooden-hulled, three masted, heavy frigate that was launched in 1797. It's also the oldest commissioned naval vessel that's still afloat. The ship is docked at Charlestown's Navy Yard and is part of the famous Freedom Trail. The ship's museum is located across the pier and is privately owned (with a suggested admission donation).
24 Third Street, Charlestown, Boston, Massachusetts, 02128
Old State House
Old State House
Dating back to 1713, the Old State House was the site of the Boston Massacre where British soldiers fired into protesting colonists. This building was the seat of British government at the time, and became a spot where local colonists debated the details about their government leading to the revolution. Now, the building is a museum (combined with the Old South Meeting House) showcasing exhibits from the history of the revolutionary era.
206 Washington St, Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts
Planning a trip to Boston? You might also be interested in The Best Local Sites in Boston and The Best Neighborhoods for Ethnic Food in Boston.
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
This library and museum offers a legacy to the Kennedy family and the 35th president. It's located in a dramatic building made of white concrete and dark tinted glass. There are galleries that feature a timeline and glimpse into the lives of the Kennedy's. This is a successfully done museum and a moving tribute to a respected president.
Columbia Point, Dorchester, Boston, MA, 02125
Old North Church
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
The West End Museum
This local museum is focused on the history of the West End neighborhood in Boston. It's a smaller museum, but it's a fun and unique place to visit that offers a glimpse into the real West End neighborhood, it's history and culture, and everything that makes it special.
150 Staniford St Suite 7, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
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
The Paul Revere House
This simple, two story, wood-frame home offers a glimpse into how Paul Revere and his family lived during the late 18th century. The Tudor-style house is part of the Freedom Trail.
19 N Square, North End, Boston, MA, 02113
The Institute of Contemporary Art
The Institute of Contemporary Art is in the Seaport District by the harbor. From the location you can enjoy impressive views of the Boston Harbor. The beautiful museum features 20th and 21st century work by notable women including Louise Bourgeois, Doris Salcedo, and Eva Hesse. There is also a satellite space that is opened seasonally during the summer months. It's accessible by shuttle but must be booked in advance.
25 Harbor Shore Drive, Seaport District, South Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, 02210
Boston has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Theaters for a Show in Boston and Free Things to Do in Boston.
Sports Museum of New England
Sports are a huge part of the life and culture of Boston and this museum is a great example of how sports bring the city to life. With teams such as the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins, there are many passionate fans around town. The city also hosts a number of sporting events including the famous Boston Marathon. This museum is located in the TD Garden, which is home to the Bruins and Celtics, and it covers many aspects of sports in Boston.
100 Legends Wy, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
Plimoth Plantation
This living history museum is located in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It recreates the first Pilgrim settlement in North America, which dates back to 1620. The small village has an authentic atmosphere with farm animals, basic cabins, simple furnishings that stay true to the time period. There are actors who are dressed the part and have real life roles in the town. They're available to answer any questions you may have.
137 Warren Ave, Plymouth, MA, 02360
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
Old South Meeting Place
This historic church was built in 1729 and is famous for its role in the 1773 Boston Tea Party. At the time, it was the largest building in the city, and the gathering point of more than 5,000 people during the protest. This was the organizing point for the Boston Tea Party, on December 16th, 1773. It is also part of Boston's famous Freedom Trail.
294 Washington Street, Downtown, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110-1301
Nichols House Museum
The Nichols House Museum is located in an old Victorian mansion that was once owned by Rose Standish Nichols. This is a small and unique Boston museum that has a collection of art and furniture.
55 Mt Vernon St, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA, 02108
Museum of Science
The Museum of Science runs between East Cambridge and Boston's West End along the Charles River. This is one of the largest science museums in the world and, with more than 700 exhibits, this museum makes a good tribute to a city known for it's contributions to the field of science.
1 Museum Of Science Driveway, Science Park, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
If you're looking for more information about Boston, read An Art Lover's Guide to Boston and Educational Places and Activities in Boston.
Museum of Fine Arts
The MFA houses an impressive collection that includes more than 450,000 pieces of art and artifacts. It has one of the best collections of Korean art outside of the Korean peninsula. It also has an impressive Egyptian collection as well as a European wing that includes the Claude Monet gallery.
465 Huntington Avenue, Fenway-Kenmore, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115
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
MIT Museum
This interactive museum is perfect for the tech lovers among us. There are exhibits on robotics, oceanographic research, photography, and innovative engineering. The exhibits and programming changes frequently so there's also something new and exciting to check out. Both kids and adults of all ages can have fun exploring and playing at this hands-on museum.
265 Massachusetts Ave Building N51, Cambridge, MA, 02139
Harvard Museum of Natural History
This museum offers a glimpse into the botanical, geological, and zoology research being done at Harvard. Some of the museum's collections date back to the 1780s with popular exhibits including the dinosaur hall, the gem gallery, the glass flowers, and the great mammal hall. With your admission fee you also give you access to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology next door.
26 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA, 02138
Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums include three museums - the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. There are also four research centers included in the system. These are the Archaeological exploration of Sardis, the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art, the Harvard Art Museums Archives, and the Straus Center for conservation and Technical Studies.
477 Broadway, Inman Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138
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
Boston has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: How to Spend One Day in Boston and The Best Art Museums in Boston.
First Harrison Gray Otis House
This 1796 Federal-style house has been fully restored with bright colors, and elegant but timely furnishings. It offers a glimpse at upper class life in Boston during the late 1700s and early 1800s. There's also an interesting architecture museum in the basement.
141 Cambridge Stree, West End, Boston, MA, 02114
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
Boston Fire Museum
This small museum has exhibits on the historical aspects of firefighting. There are hand-operated pumpers from 1793 and a steam pumper from 1882. There's also a ladder truck from 1860. This is a fun museum for kids who like fire trucks and all things related to firefighting.
344 Congress St, Seaport District, South Boston, Boston, MA, 02210
Boston Athenæum
Dating back to 1807, this is one of the oldest libraries in the county. It is a membership library and requires an annual subscription fee to join. The library was originally founded by the Anthology Club of Boston.
10 Beacon Street, Downtown Crossing, Boston, Massachusetts, 02108
How much does it cost to visit the museums in Boston?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $29 to $30. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $29. A few of the best options are below.

Where to Stay in Boston

Budget Your Trip

Budget Your Trip has average travel costs for thousands of cities around the world, all provided by other travelers. You can also register to organize your spending by category and location with graphs, maps, charts, and tables.

Search for Travel Costs

Read More
Planning a trip to Boston? You might also be interested in The Best Children's Museums in Boston and The Best History Museums in Boston.
Share This Page

Some of the links on this website are sponsored or affiliate links which help to financially support this site. By clicking the link and making a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but this does not affect the price of your purchase.