Saturday, Jan 01, 2022 12:00p -
Sunday, Dec 31, 2023 12:00a

Surrounding areas
Boston, MA

EventScheduled OfflineEventAttendanceMode

$Varies (mostly FREE)

Boston is an often-transient city, but it has so much to offer. We want to make sure you’re getting the best possible Boston experience while you’re here, down to every last sip of Dunkin. So we’ve rounded up the 50 most essential things to do in the city before you move away.

Created by Kenneal Patterson and Celina Colby

1) Explore the Freedom Trail

Where: Downtown

Info: Some would argue that Boston’s the most historical city in the nation, from Paul Revere’s famous ride to our little tea party by the Harbor. You can travel back through time on the Freedom Trail, which stretches throughout Boston’s most famous 18th-century sites.

2) Check out Bodega

Where: Back Bay

Info: One of Boston’s hidden gems is tucked away in Back Bay and disguised as a convenience store. Bodega is one of the coolest shoe stores in the city and hidden in plain sight. 

3) Watch a game at Fenway Park

Where: Fenway

Info: Go Sox! There’s nothing more classic Boston than grabbing a bucket of popcorn and cheering for a home run at Fenway Park. It truly is America’s favorite pastime.

4) Stroll through the Boston Public Garden

Where: Downtown

Info: In the center of the city lies an oasis. The Public Garden is the perfect place for a swan boat ride, a summer picnic, or just a casual stroll on a sunny day.

5) Marvel at Boston’s “Museum of Trees”

Where: Jamaica Plain

Info: The Arnold Arboretum is one of the largest and oldest havens for plant life. Find a shady spot under one of the hundreds of trees that grow on the grounds, and you’ll be amazed by the natural beauty.

6) Study at the Boston Public Library

Where: Copley Square

Info: Decades of students, researchers, and academics have graced the halls of Boston Public Library. If you need a break from the buzz of city life, this is the perfect place to find a little peace.

7) Visit Boston’s iconic museums—for free 

Where: City-wide

Info: The MFA offers free admission on select holidays, unlocking access to over 450,000 captivating works of art and rich history. Discover the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on the first Thursday of each month—it's not just a museum, but an enchanting old mansion, the setting of a famous art heist, and an almost botanical wonderland. Make Thursdays your artistic adventure days at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Plus, explore the free and open-to-all Harvard Art Museums from Tuesday to Sunday.

8) Dine at one of Boston’s famous food halls

Where: City-wide

Info: Boston is a foodie’s paradise. It’s also home to food halls like the classic Quincy Market, the chic High Street Food Hall, the delicious Time Out Market, and many more.

9) Stare in awe at a Fourth of July Fireworks display

Where: Boston Harbor

Info: Nothing beats summer in Boston, and what’s summer without a July 4 celebration? The City of Boston hosts a spectacular fireworks show each year with dazzling lights exploding over the harbor.

10) Take a day trip to Concord

Where: Concord

Info: Okay, we know it’s not technically Boston, but part of Boston’s charm is its proximity to historical landmarks across the Eastern seaboard. Take advantage of $10 Commuter Rail Weekends ticket and explore the quaint town of Concord– you’ll be walking in the footsteps of famous writers from centuries ago.

11) Sip Boston’s best hot chocolate

Where: Newbury Street

Info: The only thing that’ll warm up a bitter Bostonian is a warm cup of LA Burdick's rich hot cocoa or North End’s own Vittoria Café’s delicious hot chocolate. 

12) Get a free library card and enjoy all of its perks

Where: City-wide

Info: Get a free Boston library card and enjoy monthly free or discounted admission to museums and experiences around the city.

13) Hike at Blue Hills Reservation

Where: Milton

Info: If you’re craving a nature fix, you won’t have to look far: the breathtaking Blue Hills Reservation is only a short T ride away. Here, you can hike through 7,000 acres of wilderness.

14) Hear Shakespearean's sonnets on the Common

Where: Downtown

Info: Each July and August, Bostonians converge on the Common for captivating evenings of free Shakespeare on the Common. From enchanting performances of Cymbeline to the mesmerizing tales of Macbeth, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has brought it all to life. Pack a picnic for an evening showing, all for free.

15) Explore Boston’s concert venues

Where: City-wide

Info: Boston’s music scene is electric, and music lovers of all types can find their niche here. From Cambridge’s cozy Sinclair, Somerville’s gritty Jungle, Allston’s rowdy Paradise Rock Club, Brighton's brand new Roadrunner, or Downtown's historic Royale, smaller venues will give TD Garden a run for its money.

16) Listen to a world-famous orchestra

Where: Back Bay

Info: The Boston Symphony Orchestra puts on shows year-round, where esteemed musicians from around the world perform impressive compositions with string quartets and flute solos alike.

17) Stroll through Forest Hills Cemetery

Where: Jamaica Plain

Info: One of Boston’s most beautiful arboretums is hidden in plain sight– as a graveyard. The Forest Hills Cemetery is the historic resting place of famous Bostonians, and it’s also home to a host of exotic plant-bird life.

18) Visit Boston's independent bookstores

Where: City-wide

Info: Boston has a reputation as a smart city and that’s evidenced in the many incredible local bookstores around the city. At these places, you can pick up a new read, have a cocktail, listen to an author talk, and give back to the community.

19) Grab some soft serve from beneath a giant milk bottle

Where: Seaport

Info: You heard that right. Seaport’s Hood milk bottle has been a local landmark since 1977, and this gigantic canister also serves as an ice cream stand and snack bar for those strolling the harbor.

20) Spend a Sunday at SoWa

Where: South End

Info: SoWa is the go-to shop for art lovers, thrifters, bargainers, and foodies alike. The market serves as a farmer’s market in the summer, a holiday market in the winter, and a vintage flea market and gallery year-round.

21) Stroll through the Kelleher Rose Garden at peak bloom

Where: Fenway

Info: The iconic Kelleher Rose Garden in Back Bay Fens flourishes around June every year, with peak bloom anticipated during the third week of June. And it's a beautiful sight to see.

22) Root for a Celtics win

Where: TD Garden

Info: Don’t be afraid to get loud while watching a Celtics game, and cheer the players on until they slam-dunk.

23) Grab a Guinness at an Irish pub

Where: City-wide

Info: Boston’s Irish roots stretch far back, so the city is home to the coziest and classiest pubs in the country. Listen to live Celtic tunes at The Bebop, Burren, or the Druid as you sip your pint.

24) Taste your way through Chinatown

Where: Chinatown

Info: Chinatown is home to some of the city’s best restaurants. Your mouth will be watering just thinking about the amazing soup dumplings tucked within family-owned stores.

25) Watch the sunset at the Museum of Science's garage

Where: West End

Info: The Museum of Science's garage on the fifth floor overlooking the Charles River is one of the city's best-kept secrets. Even better at sunset. No tickets required.

26) Picnic on the Esplanade

Where: Back Bay

Info: The Esplanade is one of Boston’s most beautiful outdoor spaces. Situated right on the Charles River overlooking Cambridge on one side and Boston on the other, it’s an ideal spot for a picnic.

27) Go kayaking on the Charles River

Where: City-wide

Info: There’s nothing quite like basking in the sun on a kayak along the Charles River. With such a short summer season in Boston, this is one of the best ways to enjoy the nice weather while we have it.

28) Eat at Boston’s oldest restaurant

Where: Haymarket

Info: Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the United States. They’ve been shucking up oysters for Bostonians since 1826.

29) Watch the Boston Marathon

Where: Hopkinton to Copley Square

Info: Nothing says Boston Pride quite like the crowds cheering along the Boston Marathon route. This is an incredible event when the whole Greater Boston community comes together to celebrate our strength.

30) Attend the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

Where: Southie

Info: Like the Marathon, the Saint Paddy's Day Parade in Southie is a classic Boston experience. Over a century of history is packed into that annual cultural celebration, not to mention many gallons of Guinness.

31) Spend a weekday in Boston's Little Italy

Where: North End

Info: If you live in Boston, you know it's almost impossible to secure a seat at the renowned Daily Catch. Here's a pro tip: visit on a Monday or Tuesday, about an hour before the lunch rush. And when you're done, treat yourself to a delectable cannoli and a glass of wine at either Caffe Vittoria or Modern Pastry.

32) Peruse Haymarket and get some cheap produce

Where: North End

Info: This is Boston’s oldest market and shopping the stalls for produce, fresh fish, and cheese is like walking back in time. Plus it’s still one of the cheapest grocery options in the city.

33) Check out Brattle Book Shop

Where: Downtown

Info: The idyllic Brattle Book Shop is known for the carts of discounted used books it wheels out into an alley. The independently owned shop is charming but also packs some incredibly rare volumes.

34) Sample Boston Cream Pie at the Omni Parker House

Where: Downtown

Info: Legend has it the Boston Cream Pie was invented at the Omni Parker House just by the Boston Common. Head back to the source to sample the original delicacy named after our great city.

35) Boat out to the Harbor Islands

Where: Boston Harbor

Info: Boston Harbor is home to 34 islands and many of them can be visited by a regular ferry that runs spring-fall. Go for a hike, experience cool art installations, and bask on the beach, all while overlooking the city skyline.

36) Grab a slice at Santarpio’s

Where: Eastie

Info: Every true Bostonian knows and loves Santarpio’s pizza. A city institution, the hot spot still has the feel of a hometown hub despite its immense fame. Their secret? A cornmeal crust. You’ve got to try it for yourself.

37) See a concert at the Hatch Shell

Where: Back Bay

Info: Boston’s oceanside concert venue, the Hatch Shell, is nestled on the esplanade and makes for an out-of-this-world concert experience. In the summer under the stars, you’ll never want the music to end.

38) See a movie at the Coolidge Corner Theater

Where: Coolidge Corner

Info: Experience the movie-going days of old at the Coolidge Corner Theater, a historic theater showing art house movies and classic films.

39) Shop the by-the-pound pile at Garment District

Where: Kendall/MIT

Info: Garment District is a well-known Cambridge thrift store that serves up fabulous Halloween costumes, unique thrift finds, and a by-the-pound pile where you can dig for cheap sartorial treasure.

40) Party at the annual Donna Summer Roller Disco

Where: City Hall Plaza

Info: Every June the City of Boston celebrates hometown girl Donna Summer with a rockin' roller disco party. Skate it out or just dance to Donna’s hits under the Boston stars.

41) See ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Boston Ballet

Where: Theater District

Info: The Boston Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ is a timeless holiday experience. For decades the company has gone all out in performing this classic tale to Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score.

42) Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd (or just stroll through it)

Where: Harvard Square

Info: Soak up some knowledge with a stroll through the famous Harvard Yard. Bonus points if you grab an ice cream from JP Licks and read a book on the sprawling lawn, or grab a spicy marg and some guacamole at Felipe's rooftop if that's more your speed.

43) Dig for treasure during Allston Christmas

Where: Allston

Info: Every year around September 1st Boston experiences Allston Christmas, when students throw their unwanted belongings on the street for anyone to grab. There are treasures to be found, but bring your antiseptic.

44) Ice skate on the Boston Common Frog Pond

Where: Boston Common

Info: Gliding across the frog pond in the middle of the Boston Common is a magical winter experience in the city. Top off the outing with a cup of hot cocoa.

45) Explore the night sky at the Museum of Science Planetarium

Where: West End

Info: The Museum of Science has a lot to offer, but their planetarium showcases and informs you about the night sky in a very unique way. You can also experience concerts and movies on this immersive screen.

46) Witness a storrowing on September 1

Where: Storrow Drive

Info: Every year without fail a too-tall truck or van gets stuck under a bridge on Storrow Drive during the September 1st move-in rush. Watching a “storrowing” in action is a quintessential Boston experience.

47) Order a Dunkins iced coffee in the dead of winter

Where: City-wide

Info: Let’s be clear, you’re not an official Bostonian until you’ve yelled at a car in traffic (this goes for pedestrians too) and you’ve strolled around the city in the dead of winter with an iced coffee from Dunkins.

48) See cherry blossoms bloom on Comm Ave

Where: Back Bay

Info: One of the telltale signs of spring in Boston is the cherry blossoms blooming on Commonwealth Avenue. But move quickly! They only last a week or two each year.

49) Visit the Fenway Victory Gardens

Where: Fenway

Info: The Fenway Victory Gardens are the oldest continuously operating Victory Gardens in the United States and they’re stunning. Stroll through to enjoy the beautiful blooms, but if you want to garden in one you’ll have to hop on the competitive waitlist.

50) Attend Boston Calling Music Festival

Where: Allston

Info: Boston Calling Music Festival has ballooned from a few acts at City Hall to a nationally recognized festival boasting huge names in music. Jam out to your favorite bands, snack on local eats, and take a ride on the signature Ferris wheel.

Share this event

Add to:

01/01/2022 12:00:00 12/31/2023 00:00:00 America/New_York 50 Essential Things to Do in Boston Before You Move Away <p>Boston is an often-transient city, but it has so much to offer. We want to make sure you’re getting the best possible Boston experience while you’re here, down to every last sip of Dunkin. So we... Boston, Boston, MA false MM/DD/YYYY

Sponsored events