There is a lot to love about Boston, and we’re not talking about the Cheers bar. With its world-class dining, rich heritage, and quirky obsessions, the Hub is a wonderful place to spend a week, or a lifetime. So before you die (or worse, move) you’ll want to experience the best our fair city (and the surrounding area) has to offer.
1. Get a drink at Top of the Hub
Experience 360-degree views of the city from Boston’s highest restaurant and bar. Go before 8pm to avoid the drink minimum.
2. Picnic on the Common
Established in 1634, America’s oldest park is a fun place to hang out, play "Wonderwall" on your guitar, and watch all kinds of interesting people. In summer, catch the Frisbee dudes, AcroYogis, and student musicians. In winter, ice skate on the frog pond and warm up with a hot chocolate at L.A. Burdick on Clarendon St.
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3. Ride the swan boats at the Public Garden
The swan boats have been a go-to date activity for more than a hundred years, so make a point of taking someone special. When you’re done appreciating the botanicals from the back of a giant bird, check out what the ducklings are wearing this season.
4. Wax poetic at the Cantab open mic
Every Wednesday night there’s a line out the door for Poetry Slam night at Central Square’s Cantab Lounge, which features some of the best spoken word art in the country. It officially starts at 8pm, but you’ll have to get there around 6:30pm to get a seat. Stick around for the featured poet and the slam, or hit 1369 across the street to re-up on caffeine and compose your own three-minute masterpiece for next time.
5. Stuff your face with seafood
Boston is home to some of the world’s most amazing lobster rolls, chowders, and cod dishes. There’s no excuse not to try them while you’re here. Unless you’re allergic to seafood. Then, definitely do NOT try them. We also love our bivalves, which means there’s a great oyster bar on every corner. Locals hit up happy hours (sadly, the only happy hours we have), where the briny beauties are typically a buck each.
6. See a show at OBERON
OBERON is home to some of the most offbeat performances in Boston. Half club, half theatre, it’s an incredible nightlife destination for anyone who’s sick of the same old thing. Go see The Donkey Show (a glitter-drenched disco version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that plays every Saturday night), an original burlesque production, or one of A.R.T.’s amazing artists in residence (Boston Circus Guild, Liars & Believers, and Touch Performance Art).
7. Visit the Coliseum, aka Harvard Stadium
Built in 1903, it’s the nation’s oldest stadium and a miracle of architectural engineering. If you can score tickets to the Harvard-Yale football game, all the better.
9. See the Sox a new way
No Boston experience would be complete without the requisite visit to Fenway Park. Mix it up a bit with a 50-minute tour of the stadium (offered daily) or head to The Bleacher Bar, where you can watch the game from underneath the center-field bleachers -- one of the most unique perspectives in all of sports.
Sure, it’s on every “Things to Do in Boston” list ever, but that’s because it’s cool. Spend your day learning about brewing, then drink the award-winning results.
11. Follow the Freedom Trail
Starting in the Common and concluding at the Bunker Hill Monument, this 2.5-mile walking trail is one of the country’s most historic. It passes through several Boston neighborhoods and includes 16 notable sites, including Paul Revere’s house, the Old North Church, and the USS Constitution. Take a few hours to follow the red brick path through America’s past; you never know who you could meet along the way.
Nowhere else on Earth can you stand inside a three-story-tall, stained-glass model of the world. The Mapparium’s spherical shape makes it more accurate than flat maps and also causes some crazy acoustic effects.
13. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Whether you want to see the world-famous parade in Southie, run the 5k, kick it with the Dropkick Murphys, hit up the Harpoon Festival, cheer on the Celtics, or sip a Guinness at one of the city’s many Irish pubs, there’s no better place to get your green on than Boston.
14. See a boat pass under a train, a car, and a plane
You might have to wait a long time before you do, but the BU Bridge is pretty much the only place it’ll ever happen.
15. Run in the Marathon
Or if that’s too intense, just take the day off and happily day drink with thousands of your new best friends. There’s nothing more Bostonian than partying it up on Patriot’s Day to show your support for the runners.
16. Get back to nature at the Arnold Arboretum
Harvard’s impressive tree sanctuary is a unique spot for nature walks, picnics, and other chill outdoor activities.
17. Drink like a Founding Father
18. Check out the public library
It’s not just a library. You can see some amazing paintings by John Singer Sargent upstairs at the Central Library in Copley Square or attend its bi-weekly courtyard concerts in the summer. On top of that, each branch lends out free day passes to a number of local museums and attractions.
19. Complete a cocktail crawl
Boston is teeming with amazing cocktail bars. Now that the T runs until around 2am on weekends, you have more time to try them. Start with a Red Line crawl (Saloon, Grafton Street, Brick & Mortar, and Green Street, among others) or Kenmore Square (Eastern Standard, The Hawthorne, and Island Creek Oyster Bar).
20. Conquer the Cubio at Anna’s Taqueria
The Cubio is an off-menu giant consisting of three overlapping super-burritos rolled together into a 30in-long, 4lb monster. The local taqueria chain serves it only upon request.
21. Frolic at a Greenway Festival
In summer, Boston’s green spaces are packed with art installations, craftspeople, hula hoopers, and assorted attractions. Find a festival (such as FIGMENT, or the Boston Calling Block Parties) for a guaranteed good time.
22. Browse the Gardner Museum
Isabella Stewart Gardner spent a lifetime traveling the world to create this magnificent private art collection. It’s also the location of one of the most famous art heists in US history. While you may go to learn about the 1990 theft and nod approvingly at some paintings, you’ll stick around for the gorgeous courtyard, the archives, and quirky objects around every corner.
23. Eat the original Boston cream pie
Dig into the official dessert of Massachusetts at the Omni Parker House Hotel restaurant, which claims to have invented the chocolate-glazed, cream-filled cake (yeah, it’s actually a cake) in 1856. If you’re really adventurous, you can even try making one at home.
24. People-watch on Newbury St
It’s picturesque and smack in the middle of one of America’s sexiest neighborhoods.
25. Vacation on the Cape
Whether you want to swim, chug chowder, or soak up some culture in P-town, nothing beats a long weekend on Massachusetts’ best beaches.
26. “Go Fluff yourself” at the Fluff Festival
Legend has it that the first Fluffernutter was invented right here. Naturally, locals have taken to celebrating the event at an annual street festival devoted to all things Marshmallow Fluff. Head to Union Square for Fluff-related performances, games, cooking contents, and of course, all the Fluff you could possibly eat.
27. Dumpster dive during Allston Christmas
On September 1st, Boston’s student population turns over and thousands of people move from their old apartments to their new ones. On this day (and pretty much the week or so leading up to it), the streets of Allston are covered with fantastic finds, from free clothes to vintage sound systems, TVs, and more.
29. Spend Halloween in Salem
The site of the famous witch trials comes alive in October with parades, haunted houses, costume contests, and more. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the town’s official witch.
30. Become obsessed with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
Watch Good Will Hunting and The Town repeatedly. Then take Thrillist’s Boston on the Big Screen Pub Crawl.
31. See The Sports Museum
When you inevitably find yourself at TD Garden (go Celtics!), make sure to swing by levels five and six for a dose of sports history.
32. Get your geek on
There’s no shortage of fun for nerdy types in Boston. Enter hackathons to your heart’s content, take a class at District Hall, go to a lecture at MIT, attend a geeky comedy night at ImprovBoston (the Magic: The Gathering show is phenomenal), play strategy games at Knight Moves... there is just so much geeking to do.
33. Pahk the cah in... oh wait, nope
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