Page contents

Boston Must See Sites: Guide To Visiting Boston, Massachusetts

If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Boston Must-See Sites

Because Travel Belles will always love to visit Boston, Massachusetts

Be sure to leave plenty of time to wander Beacon Hill, one of Boston’s most historic and chic neighborhoods

The city of Boston has gotten a bad rap lately, leading the pack of GQ’s worst-dressed cities and coming in dead last on a recent study ranking places by the kindness of their inhabitants. But don’t let these lists stop you from visiting Massachusetts’ capital. After years of suffering through the notorious Big Dig and other construction projects, the city is buzzing with energy, especially at up-and-coming areas like the South Boston seaport and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Boston Harbor

So here’s to making the most of your visit to Boston and discovering all that the city has to offer in history, art, shopping and more. Well, to that and not having to ask for directions.

Follow the red brick road

Boston Must-See Sites to Live in the past
Boston has lots of storied places and there’s no better (or less touristy) way to see the ones related to the American Revolution than to follow the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile route marked with red bricks. Along the path, you’ll encounter places like the gold-domed State House, Faneuil Hall marketplace and legendary battleship the U.S.S. Constitution.

You can continue your historical jaunt on the grounds of the country’s oldest college, which lies across the Charles River, in Cambridge. Harvard’s Visitor Center offers free, student-led tours, allowing you to learn all about the renowned institution and get a taste of Ivy League life without having to pay the hefty tuition fees. Afterward, head into Harvard Square to shop, eat and take in the area’s unique vibe, a mix of youth, sophistication, and eccentricity.

Massachusetts State House

Boston Must-See Sites to Explore artistic wonders
Creative work thrives in the Hub, as Boston is known. During your trip don’t miss the Museum of Fine Arts, which opened its new Art of the Americas Wing in November 2010. In the section’s 53 galleries, you can see paintings by local men John Singleton Copley and Winslow Homer, while the rest of the 450,000-piece collection features works from around the globe, including those of Impressionist greats Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh.

[pullquote]The institution’s namesake was an original Travel Belle who journeyed the world and brought its art to Boston during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[/pullquote]If a trip to the MFA hasn’t satisfied your inner aesthete, though, pay a visit to the nearby Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The institution’s namesake was an original Travel Belle who journeyed the world and brought its art to Boston during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Inside the Venetian-style palace, drink in the tranquility of the stunning interior courtyard and the diversity of the artwork, which ranges from Ancient Greek sculptures to 17th-century Japanese ceramics.

Institute of Contemporary Art

Then travel across town and into the present day with a tour of the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), which offers free admission every Thursday night. Located along the South Boston waterfront, the five-year-old building is itself a work of art, with wide-open spaces, ceiling-to-floor windows and panoramic views of the harbor.

Shop ‘til you drop
Sure, New York has Fifth Avenue but it’s not the only east coast city with a street dedicated to fashion. Along Boston’s Newbury Street you’re guaranteed to find something for your budget, as the collection of shops run the gamut from H&M to Valentino. But you don’t have to limit your spending (or window-shopping spree) to the posh street. The neighborhood, known as the Back Bay, also boasts two shopping centers: the somewhat more commercial Prudential Center and the very luxurious Copley Place.

And if you’re looking for something more uniquely Boston, wander over to Beacon Hill, a historically chic neighborhood located adjacent to the Back Bay. Check out all the beautiful, old brownstones and take a stroll down Charles Street, where you can peruse charming antique shops, trendy clothing boutiques and more.

*Editor’s note: In part II of this series about Boston, Briana tells us about where to eat in Boston

Pin for Later

About the author

I’m a writer, editor and educator who is now based in the Boston area after spending several years living abroad in Ireland, Spain and Italy. While I spend most of my time writing and editing for the web (these days you’ll find on, I still love the feeling of holding a newspaper or magazine in my hands. If you’d like to know what I’m up to right now, you can find me at and on Twitter @brianapalma.

4 thoughts on “Boston Must See Sites: Guide To Visiting Boston, Massachusetts”

  1. Boston has always been one of my favorite cities. I grew up about 45 minutes west of the city in a small town. I lived in Back Bay and Beacon Hill from 1999 – 2005. I definitely miss the city, but am fortunate to be able to go back and visit from time to time…

  2. I just came back from Boston a couple weeks ago and I absolutely loved it. I definitely got to check out most of these things: the Freedom Trail, Harvard, MFA, and the Prudential Center. I really wanted to see the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, but I didn’t have enough time. Oh well, next time!

  3. Everyone hates the Red Sox right now!

    I prefer Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum over MFA. The walk behind the MFA is beautiful, as is the Public Garden. -Rose Kennedy Greenway, not so much, but eat in the North End!

Leave a Comment