One day in Boston, MA | Things to do & Travel Tips

In this Boston travel guide, I tell you the 28 best things to do in Boston and highlights with map as well as the most important travel tips for one perfect day in Boston.

I have been to Boston several times and am fascinated by the metropolis in Massachusetts. Are you as interested in American history as I am? Then Boston is just the right place for you! Here, important historical sites are surrounded by modern skyscrapers – an exciting mixture! It’s so easy: Just follow the Freedom Trail marked on the streets.

You don’t want to miss any of the best places to visit in Boston during your trip to New England? Then JOURNICATION is the right place for you! With the BIG5 checklists, a map with all Boston highlights and my personal experience report with the best activities, photo spots and insider tips in Boston you are well prepared. Let’s start your self-guided tour through this amazing city.

You will see that there are many more things to see in Boston than just the Freedom Trail, Bunker Hill and Boston Common. So you are well prepared for a city trip, weekend or even only 24 hours in  Boston 2023!

What do you need for one day in Boston?

One perfect day in Boston 🇺🇸 – The Best Things to do

Your overview & checklist for one perfect day in Boston – of course best suited for screenshots 📷📝

  1. Freedom Trail
  2. Boston Public Garden
  3. Old State House
  4. Boston Common
  5. Bunker Hill
  6. Faneuil Hall
  7. Little Italy
  8. Acorn Street in Boston
  9. Newbury neighborhood
  10. Chinatown
  11. Quincy Market
  12. U.S.S. Constitution
  13. Fan Pier
  14. Haymarket
  15. Harvard Campus
  16. MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  17. Longfellow Bridge
  18. Boston Public Library
  19. Long Wharf
  20. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  21. Trinity Church in Copley
  22. Granary Burying Ground
  23. King’s Chapel
  24. Massachusetts House of Representatives
  25. Make Way for Ducklings
  26. Custom House Clocktower
  27. Old South Church in Boston
  28. Fenway Park to see the Boston Red Sox

 

This is your personal Boston bucket list to check off all the highlights and best places to visit. This way, you can make sure you don’t miss any of the best things to do in Boston.

The U.S.S. Constitution is now a museum ship

The U.S.S. Constitution is now a museum ship

 

Here we provide you with inspiration on what a perfect day in Boston could look like. You probably won’t be able to do everything. But if you stay in Boston for several days, you can surely check off many of these suggestions 🙂

One day in Boston – Your morning

  • Grab a coffee & breakfast at Tatte Bakery & Cafe
  • Visit Acorn Street in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood
  • See the Boston Public Garden & Boston Common
  • Walk the historic Freedom Trail

Your afternoon in Boston

  • Stop by Faneuil Hall & the Quincy Market
  • Have lunch in the North End neighborhood, also known as Little Italy
  • Visit the Boston Public Library in Copley Square
  • Shop on Newbury Street

One day in Boston – Your evening

  • Eat dinner in Boston’s Chinatown
  • Walk along the Fan Pier in Seaport
  • Unwind at a Rooftop bar in Seaport

 

Haymarket in Boston

Haymarket in Boston

 

So far as a first good overview! Before going to the more detailed suggestions and tips for travel planning for Boston, a few recommendations.

Boston is just one of many highlights in the United States. For the complete overview and additional inspiration, read on here:

Boston in one day: Step-by-Step Guide for the city tour

Experiencing the best things to do in Boston in one day is definitely an athletic undertaking. But with the route and map of JOURNICATION you are well prepared not to miss any highlights or must-do activities of Boston during your city trip.

Things to do in Boston in the morning

To start your day, have a coffee and light breakfast at Tatte Bakery. Tatte is a local cafe chain with over 20 locations across the city! Must-try items include their shakshuka, croque monsieur, and avocado tartine.

After breakfast, stroll through Boston’s most picturesque neighborhood, Beacon Hill. A must-see sight here is Acorn Street. The narrow cobblestone street is the most photographed street in America.

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: The picturesque Acorn Street in Beacon Hill

The picturesque Acorn Street in Beacon Hill

 

Right next to Beacon Hill is the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. Both parks are free to enter and have plenty of bench seating. In the warmer weather, I recommend taking a Swan Boat Ride in the Boston Public Garden’s pond.

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: In the Boston Common Park

In the Boston Common Park

 

Next, walk the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile route that connects 16 historical landmarks in Boston. It starts right off the Boston Common and ends at the USS Constitution Monument in Charlestown. The trail is marked by red bricks in the ground, making it very easy to follow along.

 

 

Highlights along the way are the Granary Burying Ground with King’s Chapel or the Old State House – amazing old sites in the middle of the modern skyscrapers.

 

Things to do in Boston in the afternoon

As you walk the Freedom Trail, stop by the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The historic center was home to the first town meeting in America! It’s now a large outdoor shopping area with stores, pushcarts, and a hall of food stalls inside the Quincy Market. There are plenty of gift shops, making it the perfect spot to get your Boston souvenirs.

 

 

Not too far you will find the Long Wharf. Enjoy a glimpse at the ocean and the harbor area of Boston.

At the Long Wharf behind the Marriott Hotel you stand directly at the ocean

At the Long Wharf behind the Marriott Hotel you stand directly at the ocean

 

One perfect day in Boston: Have lunch in Little Italy

I recommend having lunch in Boston’s North End, or Little Italy. The neighborhood has over 87 Italian eateries to choose from. One of the neighborhood’s most famous restaurants is Neptune Oyster. It’s a quaint raw bar famous for their lobster rolls, clam chowder, and oysters. An alternative lunch option is Carmelina’s. They sell classic Italian fare with an emphasis on pasta.

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: Sign with Italian cities in Little Italy, Boston

Sign with Italian cities in Little Italy, Boston

 

You can’t leave the North End without trying a cannoli. After lunch, head to Mike’s Pastry on Hanover Street. The Italian pastry shop has been around since 1946 and is famous for its wide cannoli selection. I recommend the chocolate chip cannoli and lobster tail for first-timers, but just about everything at Mike’s is delicious.

After lunch, take the MBTA’s Green Line or an Uber to Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Visit the Boston Public Library to admire its grand, Renaissance-style architecture. It’s the first public library in the United States.

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: Inside the Boston Public Library in Copley

Inside the Boston Public Library in Copley

 

Just one street over from the library is Newbury Street. The shopping street is lined with brownstones that are home to upscale boutiques, fashion chain stores, cafes, galleries, and restaurants. Newbury Street is 8 blocks long, so there’s no shortage of things to do.

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: In the streets of Newbury, Boston with typical brick houses

In Newbury Street, Boston with typical brick houses

Things to do in Boston in the evening

You’ll likely be hungry after hours of shopping. I recommend stopping into Boston’s Chinatown for dinner. For authentic soup dumplings and Chinese-Taiwanese food, try Taiwan Cafe. An alternative option is Waku-Waku for Japanese ramen.

After dinner, walk through Seaport’s Fan Pier Park for stunning waterfront views. If there’s still daylight, this is the perfect spot for sunset pictures.

End your night at one of Seaport’s rooftop bars. The best rooftop options are Lookout Rooftop and Deck 12. They both boast amazing city views, great cocktails, and small plates. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day of exploring the city!

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: The Boston skyline reflected in the sea at night

The Boston skyline reflected in the sea at night

 

If you are in Boston on a match day, how about visiting the famous Boston Red Sox in their stadium?

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: Watch a Red Sox match at Fenway Park

Watch a Red Sox match at Fenway Park

BIG5 Things to do in Boston, MA & Travel Tips

You don’t want to miss any Boston highlights in one day? Find all travel tips and helpful trip planning resources for one day in Boston here:

BIG5 Boston – Speed Date

What should you know before your trip to Boston? So let’s go on a speed date:

What is outstanding in Boston?

Boston is famous for its rich history, prestigious universities, and love for sports.

What sucks in Boston?

Winters are bitterly cold with plenty of snowfall.

What you should definitely DO in Boston?

Wear sneakers. Boston is a compact city, so you’ll be doing a lot of walking in between destinations.

What NOT TO DO in Boston?

Skip the seafood here! Boston has incredible clam chowders, lobster rolls, and oysters.

What not to tell your mother about Boston?

Boston has a lively beer/bar scene. Check out one of the city’s distilleries or breweries.

BIG5 Boston – Rapid Fire Q&A

How many days do I need in Boston?

3-4 days is usually enough to cover Boston’s most iconic landmarks and activities.

What events is Boston known for?

Boston’s biggest annual event is the Boston marathon. The 26.2 mile run has been attracting runners worldwide for the last 126 years! Boston also has cultural events including the Saint Anthony’s Feast in the North End and the August Moon Festival in Chinatown.

What are fun day trips from Boston?

There are plenty of day trips close to Boston. Popular summertime destinations include Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. These towns are characterized by quaint villages, beaches, and seafood shops. Both are about 1.5 hours from Boston by car. Salem is another day trip. The town is famous for its 1692 witch trials, making it a must-see destination for Halloween. Salem is about a 30-minute drive from Boston and a 1-hour train ride on the commuter rail.

Are there any outdoor activities in Boston?

Located about 11 miles outside of Boston, the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton is a great hiking destination. Their most popular hike is the Skyline Trail. The moderately challenging hike is about 2.5 hours long. At the top there’s a watchtower with a great skyline view of the city!

Is Boston really expensive?

Boston is quite expensive compared to other cities in the United States, from rent to groceries. Luckily, there are plenty of free things to do in the city! Free activities include the Freedom Trail, Charles River Esplanade, and a tour of Harvard.

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: Gate of Chinatown in Boston

Gate of Chinatown in Boston

BIG5 Boston – Orga & Travel Planning

What is the best travel time for Boston?

The best time to visit Boston is in the Spring or Fall, either between May-June or September-November. That way, you avoid Boston’s hot and humid summers and snowy winters.

How to get to Boston?

Do you need a visa for Boston, the United States? 

Visa: Check here whether you need a visa for the United States with your passport

How to get to Boston by plane?

The arrival airport is the Boston Logan International Airport (IATA: BOS).

How to get to Boston by bus?

The MBTA, which is the city’s public transit system, has a free shuttle service from the airport to Boston’s city center. Get on the SL1 Silver Line bus from the airport towards South Station.

How to get to Boston by car?

The car ride from the airport to Boston’s city center is around 15 minutes without traffic.

How to get to Boston by train?

The Amtrak and the MBTA’s commuter rail travel to nearby cities. There’s no direct train to the airport – you’ll need to get off the train at South Station and take the Silver Line bus.

Next it goes to …. Salem or Cape Cod, Massachusetts

What is the Price Level / Budget for Boston?

What is the currency of the United States?

The currency in the United States is United States Dollar ($)

Can I pay with Euros in the United States? – No, in the United States you pay everywhere with the US dollar.

Withdraw money:  There are ATMs located throughout Boston’s banks, convenience stores, gas stations, and some restaurants.
To save money when traveling, you should use a credit card that does NOT charge additional fees abroad. I have been using the free DKB VISA credit card for many years.

Beer indicator: $7.00 USD

What is the Taxi fare in Boston?  The first 1/7 mile is $2.60 USD and each additional mile is $0.40 USD. Fares quickly add up, so I recommend taking a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft.

Cost for public transport: It costs $2.40 for a one-way ride on the subway and $1.70 for the bus. Charlie Cards are used as tickets.

On Boston's Blue Line, you can ride right into Wonderland....

On Boston’s Blue Line, you can ride right into Wonderland….

Do you need a travel adapter plug for Boston, the United States?

In the United States, F sockets are used with a voltage of 120 V with a voltage of 60 Hertz.

Do you need a travel adapterfor the sockets in the United States? Then I can recommend you SKROSS Pro World travel adapter, which I myself have in my luggage for some time:

What are the best Restaurants, Bars & Cafés in Boston?

The best restaurants in Boston

  • Carmelina’s: a well-established pasta restaurant in Boston’s North End. Their “Crazy Alfredo” dish is a must-try.
  • Tatte Bakery & Cafe: a local cafe chain serving coffees, pastries, & brunch foods.
  • Union Oyster House: this is Boston’s first restaurant, serving customers since 1826! The historic seafood restaurant is famous for its clam chowder.
  • Neptune Oyster: a high-end oyster bar serving raw oysters, lobster rolls, and clam chowders.
  • Lolita Cocina: a trendy, gothic-style restaurant and bar serving Mexican-inspired dishes.
  • Samuel Adams Boston Brewery: a popular brewery with a taproom, tours, tastings, and a gift shop.
  • Offsuit: A hidden speakeasy with an alleyway entrance. They serve small plates and innovative cocktails.

 

Things to do one day in Boston MA Massachusetts highlights travel tips must-see places: The massive monument at Bunker Hill in the shape of an obelisk

The massive monument at Bunker Hill in the shape of an obelisk

BIG5 Boston – The must do Activities

What activities should you not miss in Boston in any case? Here are my BIG5:

  • Walk the historic Freedom Trail
  • Visit Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market
  • Shop on Newbury Street
  • Grab Italian food and a cannoli in the North End (Little Italy)
  • See a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, or a Bruins / Celtics game at the TD Garden Arena.

BIG5 Boston – The best Photo spots

You may be wondering about the best photo locations to take pictures for Instagram or your holiday album. Here we go:

  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
  • Harvard University Campus
  • Acorn Street in Beacon Hill
  • Boston Public Library
  • Newbury Street

 

 

BIG5 Boston – Insider Tips / Things to do off the beaten track

  • Visit one of Boston’s hidden speakeasies
  • Catch a musical at the Citizens Bank Opera House
  • Ride Blue Bikes along the Charles River Esplanade
  • Take a free tour of Harvard University in Cambridge
  • Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or the Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston - absolutely worth seeing!

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston – absolutely worth seeing!

BIG5 Boston – Communication

What language do you speak in Boston?

In Boston, the United States people speak English. 

BIG5 Boston – Culinary Journey: What to eat in Boston?

  • Clam Chowder: a thick, cream-based chowder made with clams, potatoes, onions, and sometimes pork.
  • Lobster Rolls: chunks of lobster and mayo served either hot or cold on a buttered hot dog roll.
  • Fenway Frank: only sold at Fenway Park, this hot dog is first boiled and grilled to retain its moisture.
  • Cannolis: a flaky shell filled with sweet ricotta. This Italian pastry is sold in various Boston bakeries, most notably at Mike’s Pastry, Modern Pastry, and Bova’s Bakery.
  • Original Boston Cream Pie: the Boston cream pie was supposedly invented in 1856 at the Parker House in Boston’s Downtown. Now known as the Omni Parker House Hotel, the restaurant still sells it.
A Boston Red Sox nutcracker

A Boston Red Sox nutcracker

Things to do in Boston – Helpful Websites & Resources

  • Boston Visitor’s Website
  • You don’t want to take care of all the organizational details yourself? Just enjoy your vacation and still not miss the best things to do in Boston? No problem, great tours and excursions are offered on site:

 

  • As an additional source of inspiration and practical travel guide throughout the exciting region, I recommend the Lonely Planet Travel Guide focused on the Eastern USA.

 

What are the best day trips from Boston?

There are so many things to do in Boston and the region – easily too much for one day.

For more than one day in Boston, you should cross the Longfellow Brigde to Cambridge. Here you will have a nice view on the Boston skyline and will find one of the most famous University grounds in the world: Harvard University Campus.

 

 

If you have more than one day in Boston, you should take a day trip to Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard

Boston is also a good starting point for day trips in the region or tours throughout the United States. There are a lot of great convenient tours and day trips from Boston.

 

Conclusion about Things to do in one day in Boston 🇺🇸

Now you know the 28 best things to do in Boston and see what a great destination Boston is. Does Boston stand with the Freedom Trail, Bunker Hill and Little Italy now also on your bucket list? What do you find particularly exciting?

 

Now you know the things to do in Boston in one day with all highlights and important travel tips. Do you have any questions? Feel free to contact us! 📝

Boston is just one of many highlights in the United States. For the complete overview and additional inspiration, read on here:

 

This article is published in cooperation with Sacha! She runs the Boston-based travel blog Sacha Eats. As a life-long Bostonian, she covers the city’s best food and things to do.

Leaving soon for Boston? 

We use these resources ourselves for our travel planning:

  • Compare the cheapest flights to New England on Skyscanner
  • Great hotels and accommodation for all needs can be found on Booking.com
  • The best car rental comparison you have at DiscoverCars
  • Excursions & tours we book comfortably in advance at Get your Guide
  • Receive a SIM card for the US from Holafly in advance and have internet available immediately after landing

If you find JOURNICATION’s tips and summaries helpful, we would be very happy about bookings through our affiliate links. You won’t have to worry about any additional costs by doing so, but we will receive a small commission and can continue to run the website. THANK YOU VERY MUCHFOR YOUR SUPPORT 💙🤗

 

Have a good journey!

 

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