As one of the oldest cities in the United States of America, there's plenty to explore in Boston. The state capital of Massachusetts stands alongside New York and Chicago in terms of cultural attractions, ensuring there's plenty to keep you occupied however long you're in town for.
More than 20 million visitors flock to this city each year, attracted by its historic buildings and world-famous museums, sprawling green spaces and leafy parks, not to mention its celebrated opera houses and ballet troupes. Just the ticket for those after a cultural retreat with all the perks of a modern city, Boston is home to a varied demographic of people. Visiting close to Saint Patrick's Day? Get set to experience one of the biggest parades outside of Dublin and NYC with millions converging on Andrew Square. Planning to cap off your year here? Boston's annual First Night festivities offer an ideal alternative to booze-fuelled end of year celebrations, showcasing the artistic merit of this marvellous city.
Whether you're travelling alone or visiting with the brood, this family-friendly destination ensures you'll never be bored for a single minute of your stay. Stay in the heart of the city or make your base in the leafy suburbs of town before heading out to explore a rich variety of cuisines, attractions and live entertainment in the capital of Massachusetts.
Things to Do
It's the state capital, so it's little surprise you'll have no shortage of things to do when you visit Boston. From its sprawling green spaces and artisan markets to world-class museums and festivals, there's always something to keep you occupied in the Athens of America.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Boston isn't short on green spaces. When you're looking to retreat from city life and unwind, you've ample choice of relaxed destinations. The sprawling acres of the Boston Common are waiting to be explored, with the vast expanse connecting multiple neighbourhoods. Here, you'll find a splash pool for youngsters, a carousal and playgrounds making it a family-friendly choice. Only a short walk away you'll find the Boston Public Garden, a curated botanical garden that's bursting with colourful beds and displays that make it ideal for a leisurely afternoon stroll.
Marvel at Masterpieces
There's no shortage of art museums in this city. If you're after a trip full of culture, clear some time in your schedule for a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, full of impressionist art masterpieces and ancient Egyptian exhibits. Prefer a more modern take on art? The Institute of Contemporary Art hosts all manner of modern masterpieces with striking views of the waterfront. There's also the wonders of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to take in, packed to the rafters with jaw-dropping works all set in a Venetian-style palace.
Bag a Bargain
There's plenty of dream retail destinations in Boston to keep the shopaholic happy. This city has some of the most celebrated farmers' markets in North America, including Boston Public Market. Looking for souvenirs to take back home? Head to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Quincy Market or the Prudential Centre for plenty of choice when it comes to loading up on keepsakes for friends and family. If you're after the biggest brands and familiar designers, make sure Copley Place is top of your list.
Dine in Style
There's plenty of delicious dining destinations in Boston. Cap off a day exploring with a visit to the Financial District for a premier pick of fine dining establishments serving up all manner of cuisine. Looking for a more relaxed atmosphere? In North End, you'll find the city's Italian neighbourhood, with a range of restaurants serving up traditional Mediterranean flavours alongside Italian-American favourites.
Love the Nightlife
Boston has long enjoyed a reputation as a party town. There's plenty of choice of clubs and bars in this town, ensuring you can find the ideal destination to party the night away or indulge in a spot of bar hopping. Boston has a large Irish population, so expect plenty of authentic Irish pubs in this city. You'll likely experience a warm and welcoming atmosphere, a good choice of drinks and live entertainment around the city.
Calendar of Events
As you'd expect from any major city in the US, Boston's annual calendar is packed with popular events and festivals. Aside from the usual yearly festivities, this city specialises in a few you won't find anywhere else, plus a couple of more common events where it really excels.
- Boston Science Fiction Festival. This sci-fi festival started life in 1976 as a simple marathon movie viewing session. Since then, it's gone on to become one of the most iconic festivals of its kind in North America. In more recent years, the festival has been awarded prizes for best new features and short films, encouraging attendees to produce their own science fiction spectacles. Keep your eyes peeled for a host of local personalities and sci-fi legends of the small screen.
Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Considering its high population of Irish people, it's no surprise that Boston boasts one of the biggest Saint Patrick's Day parades in the country. An entire week of festivities celebrates Irish heritage, with delicious feasts and fun-filled festivities providing locals and visitors alike with plenty to keep them occupied.
Gay Pride. Come rain or shine, this gay pride parade is one of the biggest in the USA. Held annually every June, this week-long affair kicks off with a parade launching at Boylston Street and Clarendon Street, followed by seven days of entertainments and attractions that celebrate the thriving LGBTQ community in the city.
First Night. First held in the city in 1975, First Night is an artistic and cultural celebration that brings in the New Year in style. Although other cities in the country have since adopted First Night festivities, Beantown is where it all began. Marvel at ice sculptures and fireworks, live dance performances and contemporary art installations as you countdown to the new year in style.