1. Take a tour of the Sam Adams Brewery
If you’re a beer enthusiast, then this Boston attraction is definitely a must-see! The guided tour takes place in the factory where you will learn about the history, brewing and operations of Sam Adams. Plus, you get to see the beer actually being brewed, which is pretty cool! And if you’re wondering if you get free samples during the tour, you do! Just make sure that you bring the proper ID showing that you are at least 21. The tours at the Sam Adams Brewery are approximately 45 minutes long and run every day of the week. Tours are free, but donations, which go to local charities, are encouraged. The suggested donation is $2.00 per person.
2. Talk a stroll on the Boston Harborwalk
The Harborwalk is a walkway that follows the shore around Boston Harbor. This is easily one of the most beautiful views on the east coast and the perfect place to spend an afternoon. Along the harborwalk you’ll see sailboats, sculptural artwork and much more. Personally, I could spend all day just watching the ships in the ocean. Along the walk, you’ll also pass the Boston Aquarium and plenty of restaurants, including the famous Legal Seafoods, if you want to stop in for a bite. The best part about the Harborwalk – it’s free!
3. Take a picturesque ride on the Swan Boats
Located in the midst of the Public Garden, the Swan Boats are a unique Boston tradition. They were created over 120 years ago by Robert Paget, who came up with the idea after seeing an opera in which a knight crosses a river in a boat drawn by a swan. A Swan Boat ride is approximately 15 minutes long and takes you through the lush, green lagoon of the garden. Last time I went on one of these, the boat had several children aboard who were all having a blast! With tickets prices at $3 for adults and $1.50 for kids, this is a great family-friendly attraction that won’t bust the bank.
4. Visit the MIT Museum
Most people know that Boston is home to the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but you may not know that the school actually houses a museum. And a pretty cool museum, at that! One of the coolest exhibits at MIT is Robots and Beyond: Exploring Artificial Intelligence, where you’ll learn about surgical robots and get to check out prototypes of humanoid robots. Another exhibit is Views of Contemporary Holography, which holds the world’s largest collection of holograms. The MIT Museum charges $8.50 for adults and $4.00 for kids under 18, but admission is free every Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the second Friday of each month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
5. Check out the street performers at Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall is one of the most unique, fun and crazy places that I have ever seen! Not only will you find unbelievable shopping and exotic foods in the Marketplace, but outside is an almost circus-like atmosphere with all sorts of street performers! On any given day you may see jugglers, mimes, acrobats, magicians, singers and more. This is one of the best places to spend an afternoon, particularly if you have kids, who always get a kick out of the performers.
6. Walk the Boston Freedom Trail
The Boston Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile trail that leads you to 16 historically significant sites and tells the tale of the American Revolution. These sites include the USS Constitution, the site of the Boston Massacre, the Paul Revere House and the Massachusetts State House, which houses the state legislature and the governor’s offices. Inside the State House you can look around yourself or set up a guided tour, which lasts about 45 minutes. The Freedom Trail and all of the sites along it are all free.
7. Take the kids to the Boston Children’s Museum
If you’re traveling with kids, the Boston Children’s Museum is a must! This museum has been around for over 100 years and is considered one of the best museums for kids in the country. Exhibits include an art studio, a construction zone, a bubbles area and even a raceway, where kids can explore the laws of motion by rolling balls along various tracks. The museum is $14 for adults and children over the age of 1, but they have teamed up with Target for Target Fridays, when they offer admission for only $1 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The museum offers a military discount, as well.
8. Talk a stroll through Harvard Square
Home to Harvard University, Harvard Square is a really cool place to spend an afternoon. You can spend a little time checking out the University, which includes the statue of John Harvard, and then head over to the Square where you’ll find coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants and much more. This is a great place to just spend some time people watching and sightseeing. While you’re there, check out the Harvard Co-op Bookstore – a mainstay in the Boston area. Harvard Square is located in Cambridge and has a stop right on the Red Line Subway, so it is very easy to get to. You can pick up a T-Pass for the subway system at the airport (or any subway stop) and a 7-day pass costs less than $20 per person.
9. Visit Chinatown
Nestled between the South End and Downtown Boston, Chinatown is one of the most unique places to visit in the city. As you enter Chinatown, you’ll walk under the traditional paifang gate with the imperial foo dogs at each end. This is absolutely one of my favorite spots for taking photos! As you continue in, you’ll see gorgeous architecture, outdoor vendors and murals all around. While you’re in Chinatown, make sure to try the local fare, which ranges from Japanese to Vietnamese. Chinatown is a great place to spend a few hours without spending much money.