The Getaway
Top-Rated Attractions in Boston and Cambridge

Boston, a city steeped in history and brimming with culture, is a haven for those who love to explore by foot. Known as a "walker's paradise," Boston's layout invites you to discover its blend of historical and modern elements. The limited parking might initially seem like a challenge, but it quickly becomes an advantage, encouraging visitors to immerse themselves in the city's vibrant streets.

As you walk through Boston and its academic neighbor, Cambridge, you'll find a wealth of historical sites that have played significant roles in shaping the nation. From the historic cobblestone paths to the esteemed university campuses, these areas are more than just tourist destinations; they're living pieces of American history. Boston and Cambridge offer a variety of experiences, catering to history enthusiasts, art lovers, and urban explorers alike. Whether you're interested in the revolutionary past or the contemporary culture, these cities have something to captivate everyone. This guide highlights some of the essential spots in Beantown, but it's just the start of what you can discover in these dynamic cities.

Join us as we delve into the heart of Boston and Cambridge, exploring the famous landmarks and hidden gems that make these cities truly unique. Get ready to experience the rich tapestry of American history and culture that Boston and Cambridge proudly showcase.

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01 Feel fancy on Newbury Street

Welcome to one of the most expensive streets in the world. Newbury Street has bougie boutiques in spades, and the 19th-century brownstones enhance the posh factor. But you'll have a rollicking time in this nook of Back Bay where you can get fitted for a tailored suit, buy sustainable products, browse innovative galleries, and people-watch at Stephanie's or whichever cute eatery strikes your fancy first.

02 Engage with the buskers at Faneuil Hall's Cobblestone Plaza

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, AKA Quincy Market, has had a lot going on over the last 250 years or so. Once the site of speeches by Founding Father Samuel Adams, Faneuil Hall's third name is the Cradle of Liberty, despite links to slavery. The markets here are lively, and kids will love the street performers, balloon artists, and carousel, not to mention the candy apples, cannolis, and other candylicious treats.

03 Become a lobster roll expert

Boston is famous for its lobster rolls, and you can get your hands on some of the best at Neptune Oyster near the Paul Revere House and Belle Isle Seafood in Winthrop. Neptune Oyster is popular, so expect queues for their fresh oysters and comforting buttery rolls. Belle Isle Seafood is a seafood shack that serves great haddock burgers as well, but note it's cash-only. When in Boston, you'll want to order clam chowder too.

04 Picnic at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

This museum is a nice little day trip if you're in Boston. Pack a picnic, take your dog for a walk, or take your bike to breeze through the trails and through the doors—entry is free for cyclists. deCordova has indoor and outdoor exhibits scattered throughout the premises, and the Flint's Pond hike is a delightful way to spend a morning or afternoon.

05 See the world From a different perspective at Mapparium

The Mapparium is a huge stained glass sphere that was built in 1935 and represents the globe as it was then. LED lights have long replaced the too-hot electric bulbs. The three-story attraction invites visitors to join a tour and enter the orb to view the 3D map from the center of the world. Places feel much closer than you may have imagined, and the glass results in a whispering gallery. You'll find the Maparium at the Mary Eddy Baker Library.

Get a GoCity Pass and save 50% on attractions throughout Boston.

06 Find nocturnal company at Coolidge Corner Theatre

Insomniacs will feel less alone at Coolidge After Midnite, where the local night owls come to watch weird and wonderful movies at odd hours. This is a weekends-only affair, so you'll need to find another solution to your restlessness between Sunday and Thursday. You can calendarize themed events, and cinephiles will appreciate the 35mm prints.

07 Drink up at Samuel Adams Boston Brewery

Think you know beer? There's room to learn more on an hour-long tour at Sam Adams Boston Brewery. You can sample the goods and offer your opinions on new types in development, and the second best part is you get to keep the snifter or tasting glass as a souvenir.

08 Go bowling Like a Bostonian

Justin "Pop" White invented candlepin bowling in 1880, and the locals think it's a superior game to traditional tenpin bowling. There are no finger holes, so that's more challenging, and the balls and pins are smaller too. Try your hand at this New England tradition and see how you fare compared to your regular scores.

09 Run or spectate at the world's oldest marathon

The Boston Marathon began in 1897, which makes it the oldest annual marathon. It's also one of the six World Marathon Majors, along with major road running events in Tokyo, London, Berlin, New York, and Chicago. Spectators line the streets on race day, and it's a joyous occasion that celebrates human athleticism and endurance.

10 Pick and eat at the local apple farms

New England and leaf-peeping go together like cinnamon and sugar; everyone knows that. But in between all the appreciative oohs and aahs for the fall colors, you can go apple picking at the orchards near Boston. Brooksby Farm is a reliable stop. It has plenty for the kiddos to do, from roaring campfires for s'mores to hayrides.

11 Take in Some Shakespeare in the Park

Come summertime; the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company puts on a two-week production of selected works from the great bard. It's free, it's fun, and it's popular -- bring a chair and get there early, as all of Boston is on its way.

12 Enjoy a baseball game at Fenway

Boston is brilliant, and baseball is America's national pastime. Catching a game at Fenway Park is a pricey affair, but the grounds are largely open to the public, and it's worth the tour. Your guide will detail the stories of Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, The Green Monster, and more as you explore this building that is the heart of Boston. Did you know it opened the year the Titanic sank (1912)?

13 Stroll the lawns of Harvard

If you have kids, this is a must-do. The grounds of America's oldest university are stunning, and Harvard Yard is home to the popular Memorial Church, the Peabody and Sackler Art museums, or ensure you see all there is to see by taking a Crimson Key tour.

jorgeantonio / Getty Images jorgeantonio / Getty Images

14 Explore the Gardner Museum

The Gardner Museum has an absolute wealth of Italian art, old books, and more on display. Its real charm, however, lies in the fact that you're sharing floor space with the thieves who pulled off the two biggest unsolved art heists in modern history.

The Gardner Museum is included with the a GoCity Pass. Save 50% on attractions throughout Boston.

Paul Marotta / Getty Images Paul Marotta / Getty Images

15 Walk the Freedom Trail

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Few cities exhibit their history in the manner that Boston does. From the death of Crispus Attucks at the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party, the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail will take you on a tour of the birth of the United States like no other.

 

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16 Peer out on the observation deck at Independence Wharf

Boston's rooftops and observation sites are a dying breed. That said, this semi-hidden observation deck lets you gaze down upon this fine city and its residents. This is the city that launched a revolution, and much of it is on display from this 14-floor vantage point that puts a few things in perspective.

17 Take a free tour of the Boston public library

Boston Public Library is one of the oldest, opening in 1895, and is home to more than 21 million manuscripts and more. The free tour that runs every Monday to Saturday is worth every minute. The history surrounding this phenomenal building makes it well worth the trip.

gregobagel / Getty Images gregobagel / Getty Images

18 Don't forget the Oysters

One-dollar oysters abound in Boston around happy hour. Whether you pop into The Red House, Bastille Kitchen, the Boston Public Market, La Brasa, or another great establishment, you won't want to miss a big plate of this succulent sealife.

19 Grab a slice or two

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Boston has its own version of the classic pie, featuring a cornmeal crust and a combination of cheeses. The city has many notable pizzerias, including Armando's, Ernesto's, and Posto.

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20 Smell the roses at the Arnold Arboretum

The Arnold Arboretum takes visitors on a truly majestic tour of the city's natural offerings. In the springtime, the Arboretum hosts the largest blooming lilac garden in the world -- an absolute treat to the olfactory senses. The rest of the year, the space remains a lovely break from the quick pace of the rest of the city.

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