Here are my picks for Boston’s Top 22 Activities to do in 2022. Boston is a great city to visit any time of year. I have lived in Boston now for 20 years and I’m still loving all that Boston has to offer. I have always enjoyed cities but Boston has a special feel all its own. It’s a small city with a big heart.
There are, of course, many jokes about Boston, some are true, some are not. However, I will say the one I definitely agree with is that Boston drivers are crazy. That being said, take the T or an Uber. You will enjoy your time more and a bonus is that you won’t have to find or pay for parking.
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1. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Duck Boat Tour
In my opinion, of all Boston’s Top Activities, the Duck Boat Tour has to be my favorite. Taking a tour of Boston is a great way to get acquainted with the crazy street configuration in Boston. It will also give you a good understanding of the different neighborhoods and feel for the city. You will also get a great overview of the fun historical past Boston has had. After all, Boston did start in Colonial times and some of that history is fun to learn about. My favorite part of the Duck Boat Tour, however, is making quacking noises as you pass the other tour boats and buses.
You can start your Boston Duck Tour from one of three locations, the Aquarium, the Museum of Science, or the Prudential Center. This tour runs only spring, summer and fall so be sure to book your tickets prior to visiting Boston so you don’t miss out on this fabulous tour.
2. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Museums
The Boston Children’s Museum is one of the best in the world. My kids have loved this museum still they were small. If you are traveling with kids be sure to spend some time here. Your kids will thank you and you can relax and even be entertained yourself. Their rotating exhibits are fabulous and their permanent ones continue to capture my kid’s attention. Be sure to check out their construction zone, Arthur World, Kid Power, Bubbles, Raceways, Peep’s World, and Art Lab. The climbing structure in the entry of the museum is also a huge favorite for all kids.
Right outside the museum is the Hood Milk Bottle. In summer plan on getting ice cream there after your day at the museum. If you walk up toward Seaport Blvd you will find Martin’s Park. This new park is named after Martin Richard, the 8-year-old, who was the youngest victim during the Boston Marathon Bombing. The park is a place for peace and play.
Museum of Science
This museum has so much to offer it’s hard to see it all in one day. From butterflies to the hatching baby chicks to dinosaurs to outer space this museum has it all. My family really loves their engineering design workshop. It’s a hands-on design, build and test your creation which my kids can spend hours doing. We also love to catch a planetarium show when we go. They have rotating shows so there is always something new.
Don’t miss their live animal care center or their bird’s exhibit and shell collections. In the shell area, there are drawers with many, many shells in them for you to view and learn about. I love when they cut through the shells so you can see the inner parts of these special animal homes.
Boston Fine Arts Museum
If you are looking for a world-class art museum, look no further than this one. You will not be disappointed with their exhibits. I particularly love spending time with their Impressionist paintings, especially Monet. They also have tons of other artists that are worth your time. From Egyptian to Asian to Persian they have a wide collection to explore.
However, don’t miss their American collection that has more than just paintings. They also have furniture, Native American pottery, Boston-specific art, and colonial art pieces. Another gallery that is quite interesting is their jewelry displays. I hope you enjoy this museum as much as we do.
Isabella Gardner Museum
This museum is quite a find. You will certainly be surprised to see this Venetian home in the middle of Boston. However, Isabella Stewart Gardner had an impressive collection that is now open to the public. Personally, as an architect, I love the furniture throughout the house. However, plan to spend some time outside in the gardens. They are simply lovely and extremely peaceful.
Boston Fire Museum
For anyone that loves fire trucks this small museum, just down the road from the Boston Children’s Museum is a must. My kids have both attended birthday parties at this museum and I have to say it’s a joy for both kids and adults. They even have a few old firetrucks the kids can go on. And hopefully, you will be lucky enough to meet Sparky, their firehouse dog.
JFK Museum and Library and Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
The JFK Museum and Library are located off the Red Line on Boston’s subway system we call the “T”. This is a fun museum to learn about the life and times of our 35th president. There is also an exhibit on our ‘race to space’ during the Kennedy years and a lovely area all about the First Lady.
The next building over to the JFK museum is the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. My kids always get a kick out of this museum. It’s really fun first, finding all the states along the walk up to the front door but also to be on the Senate Floor. Yes, they have a smaller version of the National Senate Building. If you can plan your trip around the events they host, you will have an experience like no other. My kids have taken part in programs about our government in this room and it is something special.
3. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Boston Tea Party & Museum
I had to write about the Boston Tea Party & Museum separately from the other museums because it really is so different from any other museum in town. It is more like walking back in history and being a part of what was happening during those pre-Revolutionary days when the colonists were fighting for their rights with England.
You will attend a town meeting where you can voice your opinion on the taxes England has imposed on the colonists. You will be part of the men who boarded the ship and threw the tea overboard. In part, if you only go to one museum, this is the museum to go to.
4. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Aquarium
The Boston Aquarium is quite special. They had a renovation about 5 years ago and they’ve included a touch tank of stingrays and baby sharks. It’s just to the left of the entrance and it is quite special. Have you ever touched a ray? Well, it’s something else. So super soft.
Pro Tip: Bring an extra shirt for anyone who plays in the touch tanks, even adults. You always seem to walk away wet.
The circular ramp that goes around the tank in the middle of the aquarium is amazing to see. Don’t miss going all the way to the top. You might get lucky and the staff will be feeding the sea turtles.
The penguins that surround the center tank are so fun to watch swim as fast as they possibly can around the pools. Don’t miss going outside where you can see a sea lion show.
5. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Fenway Park
Fenway Park is the oldest ballpark in America. Built in 1912, with its famous Green Monstah, yes that is how Bostonians say it, you just can’t miss a look-see at this park. I highly recommend taking in a game and cheering on the Red Sox as they go for another championship. This has always been one of my husband’s favorite of all of Boston’s Top Activities.
However, if you really are a baseball enthusiast you need to book a behind-the-scenes tour of Fenway. The tours are available year-round as well. Even if you’re not an enthusiast just walking by the outside of this ballpark will show you why Bostonians love it so much. Don’t forget to look for the Citgo sign.
6. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Boston Common & Public Garden
Right in downtown Boston is the ‘common’, founded in 1634 is the oldest park in the country. This common has seen a lot of history, from the Redcoats to Martin Luther King to Pope Paul II, they have all been to this historic park.
“The Common” is the home of the famous Frog Pond where you can wade into a spray pool in summer. The pond turns into a skating rink during the winter where you can try your hand at ice skating. On one side of Frog Pond is Tadpole playground for any kid that needs a good slide. On the other side is the Carousel and yes, everyone needs a ride on this carousel.
The Public Garden is home to the Swan Pond and Swan boats. If you visit during the summer, be sure to take a ride on these idyllic boats around to see fish and real swans.
The garden was the first botanical garden in America. It follows a much more formal design one would see from the Victorian Age. There are quite a few different plants for you to explore as well as one lonely redwood tree, maybe you can find it on your visit.
There are several statues within the garden for you to see. Flanking George Washington on horseback are 2 children playing in water, and my personal favorite is the “Make Way for Ducklings” statues. I’ve had professional photos taken of my kids while they played on these picturesque little statues. If you are lucky enough to visit while they are dressed up for a holiday you will see how much the people of Boston love these little guys.
7. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Freedom Trail
Start your walk on the Freedom Trail right at the visitor’s center in Boston Common. There are 16 stops along the ‘red brick trail’ that we call the Freedom Trail. It will take you from Boston Common into Charlestown to see the USS Constitution and to Bunker Hill. If you want a commanding view of Boston, climb the 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill monument. You won’t be sorry.
There are so many fabulous stops along the Freedom Trail where you can learn about the history of our city and the start of our country. A few places not to miss would be The Old State House, Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market, Paul Revere’s House, The Old North Church, and the USS Constitution.
If you enjoy history, you will also enjoy Marching the Minuteman Trail or just exploring Concord, Massachusetts.
8. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – North End
The North End has always been the Italian section of Boston. Also home to the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s House, this area of Boston is fabulous to explore. To really explore the Old North Church, I highly recommend their behind-the-scenes tour. You even get to go into the bell ringer’s chamber.
Make reservations at one of the many Italian restaurants on Hanover St. or the adjoining streets and I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Of course, no visit to the North End is complete without a trip to Modern Pastry, my husband’s favorite. However, don’t be swayed by him do your own taste test between Mike’s and Modern and see for yourself who has the best cannoli in town.
9. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Christopher Columbus Park & The Waterfront
This open recreation space near the North End is perfect for a picnic or just lounging around on a warm summer’s day. The archway is a great place to take pictures as is the waterfront behind you.
The playground at the top of the park and a more formal park with benches toward Atlantic Avenue. Walking along the harbor from here to Seaport Blvd is quite lovely and you can see out to East Boston. Don’t miss some of the beautiful buildings along the walk as well as some great restaurants.
10. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Harbor Islands
The Harbor Islands is one of the National Parks we have in Boston. There are 34 islands and peninsulas that make up this park. All but a few are accessible by either boat, car, or foot. You can catch the ferry at either Long Wharf North, right beside Christopher Columbus Park, or at the Hingham Shipyard.
Georges, Spectacle, and Paddocks Island are the most popular and all have both a visitors center, bathrooms, and running water. You can explore the beaches and even a Civil War Fort on George’s Island. Spectacle Island boasts great hiking and a lifeguard at their beach, while Paddock Island has Fort Andrews, a WW II chapel, and is great for bird watching.
11. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Castle Island
Although this park is called Castle Island it isn’t an island anymore. The land was filled in during a reclaiming of land for port facilities. It is a park at the far east end of South Boston.
If it’s summer and you have your bathing suit go swimming at Pleasure Bay Beach, or you can take a walk along the Harborwalk and take in some of the best views of the city and harbor.
Don’t miss Fort Independence. The site of a fort ever since the 1600s, you can tour the current fort that was built in the first half of the 1800s. If you are lucky enough to be in Boston for the 4th of July, head out to Castle Island for the USS Constitution sail out from the Navy Shipyard and give a 21 gun salute to honor of Independence Day.
Be in the know and act like a local when you stop by Sullivan’s just make sure to call it “Sully’s” for fried claims and ice cream. They typically open up in late February or early March. Don’t miss this Boston tradition whatever you do.
12. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
Once the dirtiest part of Boston, with the old Rt 93 above it, now with the completion of the Big Dig, this central artery is called the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Stroll along the paths and admire all the flowers and greenery there is. I’ve found multiple bee/bug houses that have been added to the hedges.
Be sure to catch a ride of the carousel by Christopher Columbus Park and let the kids run in the spray park by the Aquarium. There is seating in several areas along the greenway but the covered seating by the north end is lovely. This really is a lovely area to stroll around.
13. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Seaport & The Lawn On D
The Seaport area has had a major renovation in the last few years and is now a vibrant and thriving area of Boston. There are tons of shops to browse, restaurants to try, and activities to enjoy. In winter, the Seaport is set up with curling lanes and swings. In summer The Lawn on D is a magnet for music lovers and everyone who wants to enjoy summer by the harbor.
14. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial is located on Union St. right outside the Bell in Hand Tavern which started pouring in 1795. This memorial is quite moving. There are 6 glass square columns that you walk through along with plaques and statues around this stretch of lawn and trees. On the glass is etched the numbers of the victims of the Holocaust.
15. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Public Library & Copley Square
If you enjoy libraries then the Boston Public Library is a real treat. However, even if you aren’t a book lover the architecture of this building is worth a look. This first free public library was built in 1852 and is on the National Registry of History Places. Either way, the space with the library is quite spectacular.
Opposite the library on Dartmouth St is Copley Square and Trinity Church. During warmer months you can often find craft stalls lining the streets and square as well as live music concerts. I have attended many music concerts here after work and the atmosphere is fabulous. Right in the heart of downtown, the acoustics actually work well. The backdrop of Trinity Church just adds to the ambiance. If the church is open I highest recommend going in and seeing this gem of a church.
16. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Beacon Hill & Black Heritage Trail
Beacon Hill is the oldest neighborhood in Boston and sits behind the State House. Federalist, Greek-Revival, and Victorian rowhouse line these picturesque streets lit by glass lanterns. Bring your walking shoes and stroll through the brick-paved sidewalks to see how it would be to live in Boston in the 1700s. Find Acorn St. and you will be in heaven. This small street is what the area is all about.
17. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Esplanade & The Charles River
This is one of my favorite places in downtown Boston. Walking along the Esplanade is so relaxing and beautiful all year long. The area between the Longfellow Bridge (aka the salt & pepper bridge) and the Harvard Bridge is particularly lively. The Hatchshell is located here as are small islands with footbridges.
In spring the cherry blossoms are out in full force. For the 4th of July, the Boston Pops play at the Hatchshell and this is where the fireworks are launched from.
There is also a lovely playground here. My kids really have enjoyed the zipline at this playground. Normally you will see a lot of locals running, walking or relaxing along the Charles.
18. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – The Back Bay
The Back Bay is the neighborhood just south of the Charles River. It is reclaimed land from the bay, hence, Back Bay. Nowadays this thriving, high-end neighborhood boasts some of the trendiest shops and eateries in the city.
Stroll Newbury Street for fun shops and restaurants and stroll Comm Ave. to be a local. This double-wide street with its park in between is perfect for a Sunday morning.
19. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Catch a Show in the Theatre District
Boston has tons to offer when it comes to the theatre. If you’ve ever watched 4th of July on the TV from Boston it’s the Boston Pops you were enjoying. It’s a real treat to see this orchestra live, indoors or out.
Broadway on Boston is where you can check out all the shows playing in Boston. I strongly suggest taking in a show while you are here. The theatres are just so beautiful that it’s a treat just to be in the different buildings.
20. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Chinatown
If your family is anything like mine, Chinese food is a favorite. Well, walking around Chinatown is so much fun, with the fresh fruit vendors and all the amazing smells. Try your hand at one of the many Chinese, Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, or Japanese restaurants, or go for Dim Sum, my personal favorite.
The official entrance gate to Chinatown is located on Beach Street right off Surface Road as part of Auntie Kay and Uncle Frank Chin Park. Here you can find Asian-themed art pieces as well as a wading fountain and colorful Playcubes.
21. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Haymarket & Boston Public Market
The famed Haymarket is an outdoor market for the freshest fruit, veg, flowers & fish in all of Boston. Located on Blackstone St., Hanover St. & North St. on the south side of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Stop by if you are visiting on either Friday or Saturday but go early as once the farmers are sold out they pack it up for the day. This fun outdoor market where you can haggle on the price reminds me of the open-air markets in Europe.
22. Boston’s Top 22 Activities – Observation deck at Independence Wharf
Although the other tall buildings in town have closed their observation decks, you can still get a great look of the city from the deck on the 14th floor at Independence Wharf. You can see Boston Harbor, the Fort Point Channel, of which the Boston Tea Party Museum Ship is located, and with binoculars, you can see the airport.
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Final Thoughts on Boston’s Top 22 Activities for 2022
As you can see there is plenty to see and do in Boston for 2022. I hope you come and see us in our beautiful city and maybe even learn a thing or two about how our country started. Which activity are you most excited to do?