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Have you ever visited Boston? I haven’t, but it’s on my list of places to see in the next year or so! I am a huge history buff and Boston is one of the best places I know of to see our country’s history in action. I am a firm believer that we should all learn as much history as possible in person and finding historical things to do in Boston isn’t hard at all since it’s such a historic city! It makes having a budget friendly and family friendly vacation super easy. These top 10 things to do in Boston may just be my favorite! Well, my favorite short of the things on my list of things to do in Dallas, that is. I live in DFW. It has to be my fav!
A vacation to Boston is great for both families and couples. With so many educational opportunities, it’s also fantastic if you’re a homeschooling family. While visiting a popular city is usually expensive, the things to do in Boston on this list are all pretty cheap to do. I love to save money and frugal travel is a must for our family. Really, it should be a must for any family, but I digress.
10 Budget Friendly Things to do in Boston
One of my favorite ways to save money on travel is with CityPASS. If you’re not familiar, CityPASS is a program where you can purchase discount admissions to popular attractions in certain cities. You pay one fee for your CityPASS vouchers and use the vouchers to get into the attractions you want. The Boston CityPASS includes admission to 4 separate attractions for just $64.00 for adults or $52.00 for children. You can check out the Boston CityPASS on the CityPASS website HERE.
Things to Do in Boston for Families
If you are flying into Boston, be sure to check Airfare Watchdog right HERE before you book your flights. I always do and they typically help me save money on airfare by quite a bit.
1. Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is probably the most popular attraction in Boston. It’s also free to visit with the option of a paid guided tour. If you would rather walk it yourself for free, download the Freedom Trail App and it will guide you through the 2 1/2 mile trail. The Freedom Trail covers 16 of the most popular historical sites including the Old North Church and Paul Revere House meaning you’ll see the best Boston has to offer. For more information, check HERE.
2. Old North Church
We all know who Paul Revere was and how important his midnight ride was to American History. Chances are good you have heard of the Old North Church without realizing it. The Old North church is where Paul Revere gave his speech before heading to Lexington and is full of historical artifacts from that time period. The church is free to visit but is always accepting donations. You can learn more about the Old North Church HERE
3. Samuel Adams Brewery
If you love a tall glass of beer, be sure to pay attention because one of your favorite things to do in Boston just might become the FREE tours of the Samuel Adams Brewery! The tours are free to take, are an hour long and are offered on a first come, first serve basis. Sam Adams has three sites they make their beer, and this is the smallest of the three. You can find our more about how to take the Sam Adams Brewery tour, tour times and more HERE.
4. Boston Harbor Cruises
Boston Harbor was the home of the Boston Tea Party and is the oldest harbor in the United States. While you’re visiting Boston, be sure to take a cruise to enjoy some whale watching, to take the ferry to Salem or go on “Codzilla – a high speed thrill ride.” You can even take a sightseeing tour of Boston Harbor at sunset! Ticket prices start around $35.00 per person, but you can save significantly by buying the Boston CityPASS. Boston Harbor Cruises is a CityPASS attraction. You will have to choose between the cruises and the Harvard Museum of Natural History with your CityPASS.
5. John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
Anyone interested in US Presidential history will want to make sure they visit John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s birthplace. Not only will you get to see where JFK grew up, but you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about his childhood and what led him to the Oval Office. While you are there, don’t forget to have your kids do their Junior Ranger Books and get their free badge if they are participating in the program. If visiting his birthplace isn’t enough JFK history for you, the JFK Museum & Presidential Library is also in Boston at a different location.
6. Salem Witch Trial Locations
One of my favorite parts of history is the stories held within the Salem witch trials. In fact, I am currently reading a book called The Witches by Stacy Schiff and am loving it. She has done an amazing job at not only researching what truly happened but also recreating it in a way that isn’t simply boring historical drivel that drones on and on.
While this is a time in our history that many would prefer to forget, there is so much history in Salem that it is the perfect day trip! From visiting the witches memorial to the cemetery that has become the final resting place of Mayflower passengers, Salem quite literally has something for any early colonial history buff. While you’re there, make sure you visit the last standing witch house and take the narrated trolley tour. It is well worth it since there are so many things to do in Salem, MA!
7. Harvard Museum of Natural History
While you’re visiting Boston, head over to the campus of Harvard University. Take a drive around campus and follow your drive up by visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History. As shown above, this is a Boston CityPASS attraction and well worth every penny. There is so much to see including a collection of glass flowers, a study of the solar system and how it has evolved and very rare animal specimens! Learn more about the Harvard Museum of National History HERE.
If the Harvard Museum of Natural History isn’t your thing and you want to use a Boston CityPASS, you can substitute the museum admission for Boston Harbor Cruises at no additional cost!
8. Fenway Park
Home of the Boston Red Sox and the oldest MLB park/stadium is Fenway Park. Even if you are a fan of another team, there is so much history to be had here! When you book your visit, you will learn everything from the legendary 1919 “Curse of the Bambino” to Pesky’s Pole. Make sure to book tour tickets a few weeks in advance as they fill up fast!
9. New England Aquarium
Educational and fun, a visit to the New England Aquarium is a must if you’re looking for what to do in Boston. While you’re there, be sure to see the The Trust Family Foundation Shark and Ray Touch Tank where you can literally reach out and touch cownose rays, Atlantic rays and more. After that, you’ll love the Science of Sharks exhibit! The giant ocean tank is four stories tall with over 1,000 sea creatures making this the perfect day out! Find out more HERE.
10. Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
Olmsted was a famous landscape architecture, and honestly probably the most famous one in the world. He is the creator of the landscaping of Central Park, Acadia National Park, Yosemite National Park, The White House grounds and more. Many of his techniques are still used today! When you visit the Olmstead National Historic site, You will get to walk through his offices, see the process he used and even see the blueprints he used on some of the most famous projects.
This list of Boston day trips is by far the end all be all. The truth is that there is just so much in the Boston area to do! There are over 60 museums and over 20 theaters alone! For a full list of what to do in Boston, head over HERE and scroll through. You never know! You may just find your next family vacation idea!