Boston Bucket List: 177 Things to Do in Beantown

Quincy Market Boston Massachusetts

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Planning an ultimate escapade to Boston?

Fun fact: The city is nicknamed ‘’Beantown’’ due to its historical association with the production and popularity of the local dish “Boston baked beans’’ in the 17th and 18th centuries, which was a significant part of its colonial heritage.

As Massachusetts’ capital, Boston offers a diverse range of experiences. 

Whether you’re a first-time visitor on the hunt for iconic experiences or a local looking to explore more of your hometown, our Boston bucket list guide has what you need to discover the attractions and activities you can find in the city.

Discover the elegant streets of Back Bay, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Chinatown-Leather District, explore the charming neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, and more.

From the bustling Downtown area to the scenic waterfront, each district offers its own unique charm and attractions. 

To make it easier for you to navigate, we arranged the districts and locations alphabetically with a corresponding list of stuff to do and places to visit for each section.

Visiting Boston on a budget? Check this guide.

For seasonal Boston guides, you may like our list of things to do in Boston in fall, Christmas lights in Boston, ice skating in Boston, and New Year’s Eve in Boston.

If you are from the area, see if your favorite activities make it to our Massachusetts Bucket List!

Free Boston Bucket List

Back Bay Bucket List

Explore the upscale neighborhood of Back Bay, known for its picturesque streets lined with Victorian brownstone homes and high-end shopping on Newbury Street. 

It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for nice things to do in Boston and offers a mix of shopping, dining, and scenic outdoor activities.

  • Admire the architecture of the Boston Public Library.
  • Check out the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center in the library.
  • Wander around Copley Square.
  • Visit the historic Trinity Church.
  • Visit Boston’s tallest building, the John Hancock Tower.
  • Start your day with breakfast at The Friendly Toast.
  • Eat at Mistral.
  • Have a moment of silence at the Boston Marathon Survivor Memorial.
  • Eat a fresh seafood meal from Atlantic Fish Co.
  • Treat yourself to The Spa at Mandarin Oriental.
  • Enjoy the ambiance and a delicious meal at Sorellina.
  • Spend an afternoon shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue.
  • Enjoy the world-famous Boston Duck Tour.
  • Shop the day away at the Prudential Center, also great for Christmas decorations.
  • Shop on Newbury Street.
  • Check out the artwork at The Guild of Boston Artists.
  • Pick up a sweet treat and a cup of coffee from the Thinking Cup.
  • Add some new art to your collection from the North End art galleries like the Galeria d’Orsay.
  • Stroll along the Charles River Esplanade.
Boston Duck Tour in Boston Massachusetts

Beacon Hill Bucket List

Situated just north of Boston Common, Beacon Hill is a picturesque neighborhood characterized by its narrow, cobblestone streets, gas-lit lamps, and Federal-style row houses. 

Visitors can explore the charming boutiques and antique shops, visit the city’s iconic parks, and enjoy the neighborhood’s timeless beauty- making it one of the top places to see in Boston.

  • Hit the Beacon Street shops.
  • Visit the Massachusetts State House.
  • Take a tour of Nichols House Museum.
  • Make the short but picturesque walk along Acorn Street, Beacon Hill’s most popular photo spot.
  • Go on a self-guided tour of the Black Heritage Trail.
  • Indulge your taste buds at Tatte Bakery and Café.
  • Eat at 75 Chestnut.
  • Dine at Toscano.
  • Listen to true crime stories on this walking tour.
  • Enjoy a night of magic and illusions at a Four-Handed Illusion show with Joel Acevedo and Steve Kradolfer at The Hampshire House.

Chinatown- Leather District Bucket List

Located in Downtown Boston, Chinatown is a neighborhood bursting with cultural experiences and delicious cuisine. 

Visitors can enjoy authentic dim sum, and learn more about the Chinese cultural scene while the Leather District showcases historic leather factories turned trendy lofts, adding a unique touch to the area.

This is an affordable place to stay in Boston that is in walking distance to many city highlights!

Find out more in our accommodation guide.

  • See the Chinatown Gate.
  • Check out the Chinese Merchants Association Building.
  • See at a show at the Center Theatre.
  • Bar hop around the old pubs like The Tam.
  • Eat at Hei La Moon or any of the other rated Chinatown restaurants.
  • Explore Chinatown Park, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
  • Take a stroll around Leather District and discover its history.
  • Side-step to South Street Diner, a popular 24 hour breakfast joint.
Buildings in Chinatown, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dorchester Bucket List

Dorchester is a diverse neighborhood offering a nice range of activities in Boston.

Visitors can explore local markets, and museums, or enjoy outdoor activities in parks like Franklin Park where there are walking trails and golf courses.

  • Learn about the area’s history at the Commonwealth Museum.
  • See local history at the Dorchester North Burying Grounds.
  • Eat at the Comfort Kitchen.
  • Check out what is happening at the Strand Theater.
  • Take a stroll through Franklin Park.
  • Play a round of golf at the William J. Devine Municipal Golf Course.
  • Learn about the history of the Shirley-Eustis House.
Aerial view over Carson Beach and M St Beach in Boston on a sunny day

Downtown Bucket List

Get ready to explore the Downtown area.

Discover the city’s rich history, explore iconic parks and landmarks, enjoy shopping and dining options, and take in some of the best things to do in Boston from this dynamic district.

  • Have a pint wiht the cast of Cheers
  • Explore the Boston Public Garden.
  • See the Make Way for Ducklings Statues.
  • Spend some time exploring Boston’s oldest public park, Boston Common.
  • Check out the Boston Common Carousel.
  • Visit Frog Pond in the winter to do some ice skating or in the summer to splash around the splash pad.
  • See the Boston Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
  • View The Embrace Monument.
  • Admire the 200-foot steeple of the Park Street Church.
  • See The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul.
  • Eat at Café Bonjour.
  • If you are a book lover or a lover of antiques, check out the Brattle Book Shop.
  • Watch a performance at the Citizens Bank Opera House.
  • Walk the Irish Heritage Trail.
  • Enjoy some retail therapy at Downtown Crossing.
  • Learn about the history of Boston at the historic Granary Burying Grounds Cemetery.
  • Enjoy a delicious sandwich from Sam LaGrassa’s.
  • Take a tour of the oldest church in America, the King’s Chapel, and don’t forget to visit the King’s Chapel Burial Grounds.
  • Browse the Boston Public Market.
  • Wander around the Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
  • Check out what is happening at Faneuil Hall.
  • Eat at Boston Chowda.
  • Browse the Quincy Market.
  • Connect with nature in the middle of Boston at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
  • Check out the Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway.
  • Enjoy a delicious dinner at Bostonia Public House.
  • Admire the architecture of the Marriott’s Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House, and use the observation deck to get a great view of the city.
  • Hang out at Coogan’s Bar.
  • Enroll in a cooking class at Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street.

More Downtown attractions also feature in our guide to the best parks in Boston.

Trees frame city buildings from Boston Public Garden pond

East Boston Bucket List

Cross the harbor to East Boston and be rewarded with stunning skyline views, waterfront parks, and rich maritime history.

This makes it an ideal location for Boston outdoor activities- whether you’re looking to see panoramic views, or visit local parks, and other attractions.

  • Take a tour of the Nantucket Lightship.
  • Try the ciders served at Down East Cider House.
  • Pick up a sweet treat from SeaBiscuit.
  • Enjoy a drink at the Tall Ship.
  • Take a ride on the ferry and enjoy all the views.
  • Take in the waterfront views from the Harborwalk.
  • Have a picnic at Piers Park and be amazed at the skyline views of Boston’s Downtown.
  • Explore Bremen Street Park.
  • Dine at one of the restaurants around Maverick Square
  • Pick up a pizza from Santarpio’s.
  • See the Madonna Queen of the Universe Shrine.
  • Spend the day relaxing on Constitution Beach aka Shays Beach.
  • Wander around Belle Isle Marsh Reservation.
Skyline of Boston from East Boston on a clear day

Fenway-Kenmore Bucket List

Home to Fenway Park, the oldest Major League Baseball stadium in the country, Fenway-Kenmore is known for its sports culture, lively atmosphere, and historic architecture. 

Catch a Red Sox game, explore the nearby Museum of Fine Arts, and enjoy the bustling energy of this iconic neighborhood- worth adding to your Boston to do list.

  • Take a private or public tour of Fenway Park.
  • Pick up some merchandise from the Red Sox Team Store.
  • Play a game of bowling or try your luck at the arcade of Lucky Strike.
  • Listen to some country music at Loretta’s Last Call.
  • Check out what shows and events are happening at the House of Blues.
  • Eat at Bleacher Bar.
  • Grab a beer and something tasty to eat at Cask ‘n Flagon.
  • Order a burger from Tasty Burger.
  • Enjoy the nightlife at Citizen Public House and Oyster Bar.
  • Try a slice of pizza from Tenderoni.
  • Visit the World War II Memorial.
  • Visit the Back Bay Fens Park.
  • Take a tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
  • Visit the Museum of Fine Arts.
  • Enjoy a live band at Wally’s Café.
  • Watch a show at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
  • Check out what is happening at The Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Jamaica Plain Bucket List

Jamaica Plain, commonly referred to as “JP,” is a neighborhood located just southwest of Downtown Boston.

Explore the colorful and eclectic Centre Street, lined with independent shops, restaurants, and cafes, or immerse yourself in nature at the expansive Arnold Arboretum or the beautiful Jamaica Pond. 

  • Listen to live music, enjoy a beer or fill your belly with a tasty meal at Brendan Behan Pub.
  • Eat at El Oriental De Cuba.
  • Try the beers at Turtle Swamp Brewing and the Samuel Adams Brewery; craft beer tours feature in our Boston date night ideas guide.
  • Stop for lunch at Ula Café.
  • Eat at the Evergreen Eatery.
  • Explore the Jamaica Pond.
  • Try a locally sourced, seasonal meal at Ten Tables.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream from J.P. Licks.
  • Shop at 40 South Street for some eclectic clothing and accessories.
  • Try a vegan sweet treat from Fiore’s Bakery.
  • Wander around Arnold Arboretum.
  • Walk around the Forest Hill Cemetery.
Sam Adams Brewery during Christmastime in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts.

Mission Hill Bucket List

Located southwest of Downtown, Mission Hill is a lively neighborhood known for its student population, cultural institutions, and diverse dining options. 

The following list contains some great additions to your Boston activities from around the area.

  • Sign up for a class at the Diablo Glass School.
  • Enjoy brunch at Milkweed.
  • Pick up some treats from Mike’s Donuts.
  • Admire the beauty of the Basilica of our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.
  • Eat at The Squealing Pig.
  • Grab a tasty lunch at Mission Bar and Grill.
  • Stop for a slice of pizza and a beer at Penguin Pizza.
  • Explore the orchard at the top of the hill.

North End Bucket List

The North End, located north of Downtown Boston, is a historic neighborhood known for its Italian culture and culinary scene. 

Visitors can explore the charming streets lined with authentic Italian restaurants and bakeries, visit iconic landmarks like the Paul Revere House, and discover the history of the area as they walk along the renowned Freedom Trail.

  • Walk around the historic Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.
  • Learn about the American Revolution on a guided tour of the Freedom Trail.
  • Dine at one of the famous Italian restaurants like Regina Pizzeria.
  • Visit the Old North Church and Historic Site.
  • See The Printing Office of Edes and Gill.
  • See the Paul Revere Statue.
  • Admire the cathedrals of St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church.
  • Enjoy a sandwich from Monica’s Mercato.
  • Indulge in cannolis at Bova’s Bakery or Mike’s Pastry’s.
  • Enjoy the nightlife at Stanza Dei Sigari.
  • Tour the Paul Revere House.
  • Enjoy a delicious meal from Bricco Salumeria and Pasta Shop.
  • Have a good laugh at the Improv Asylum.
  • Dine at the Boston Sail Loft.
  • Take a stroll through Christopher Columbus Park.

Also close to North End is Bunker Hill in Charlestown.

Italian flag and sign for the North End in Boston Massachusetts

South Boston Bucket List

South Boston, often referred to as “Southie,” is a neighborhood located on the southern edge of Boston.

See the variety of attractions and amenities you can find in the area and around it.

  • Find out more about JFK at John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  • Catch some rays at Carson Beach.
  • Or L Street Beach.
  • Or M Street Beach.
  • Have a pint at L Street Tavern which features in the movie Good Will Hunting.
  • See city views from Dorchester Heights Monument.
  • Side-step to neighboring Fort Independence.
Tree frames M Street Beach at south Boston in Massachusetts

South Boston Waterfront Bucket List

Take advantage of the following waterfront attractions for all ages.

  • Learn from the live reenactments at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
  • Soak up the sun while eating seafood at The Barking Crab.
  • Take your kids to the Boston Children’s Museum.
  • Go for a drink at Lucky’s Lounge.
  • Appreciate the exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
  • Enjoy a cold beer from Harpoon Brewery or The Trillium Brewing Company.

See some of these attractions featured in our guide to things to do with kids in Boston.

Red building a boat at Boston Tea Party Museum Boston in Massachusetts

West End Bucket List

Located just north of Beacon Hill, the West End is a blend of history and modernity.

Visitors can catch a game or concert at TD Garden, explore The West End museum, or simply enjoy the atmosphere of this neighborhood.

  • Sample the wines at City Winery.
  • Check out the sporting events at T.D. Garden.
  • Visit the Sports Museum.
  • See the Bobby Orr Statue.
  • Compare the Last Tenement in Boston to the new buildings.
  • Learn about the neighborhood’s history at The West End Museum.
  • Dine at the Tip Tap Room.
  • Visit the historic Otis House Museum between the months of April to November.
  • Eat at Scampo.
Last Tenement building up close in West End Boston Massachusetts

Wharf District Bucket List

The Wharf District, located along Boston’s picturesque waterfront, is a must-visit destination for your Boston summer bucket list.

Immerse yourself in the maritime charm as you enjoy scenic harbor views, embark on exciting cruises, or enjoy delicious restaurants located along the waterfront.

  • Explore the Boston Waterboat Marina.
  • Explore the islands of Boston Harbor Islands State Park.
  • See the majestic sea creatures off the coast of Boston on a whale watching Catamaran cruise.
  • Take in the fantastic views of Boston Harbor on a sunset cruise.
  • Splash around in the Rings Fountain.
  • Wander back into Downtown with lungs full of fresh air.
Boston Waterfront sign with nautcal decor

Final Thoughts

We hope this bucket list guide has given you plenty of exciting ideas on what to do in Boston.

Let us know in the comments which activity or attraction you’ve already tried and share your experiences.

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