3-Day Local's Guide to Boston: Outdoors, Sightseeing & Shopping

Boston, Massachusetts

3 days

Downtown cityscape
Boston skyline at night
Boston public garden
The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill memorial bridge

About Boston, Massachusetts

Discover the rich history and vibrant culture of Boston, Massachusetts. Walk the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile route that takes you through 16 historically significant sites, including the Massachusetts State House and Paul Revere's House. Explore the diverse neighborhoods, from the Italian-flavored North End to the trendy Back Bay. Visit the world-renowned Harvard University and MIT located in nearby Cambridge. Enjoy a game at Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox. Savor fresh seafood, especially the famous New England clam chowder. Take a relaxing stroll in the Boston Common and Public Garden, the oldest city park in the U.S. Don't miss the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and the USS Constitution Museum. With its blend of colonial charm and urban sophistication, Boston offers a unique travel experience.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1

Exploring the Charles River Esplanade and Beacon Hill

Morning

Start your day with a brisk walk along the Charles River Esplanade, a green space offering stunning views of the city skyline and the river. It's a great spot for jogging, biking, or simply enjoying the outdoors.

Lunch

Enjoy a picnic lunch at the Esplanade. There are plenty of spots to sit and enjoy the view. You can bring your own food or buy from the local food trucks that frequent the area.

Afternoon

Spend your afternoon exploring the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood. Known for its beautiful brick houses, narrow streets, and gas lamps, it's a charming area to stroll around.

Dinner

Have dinner in one of the many restaurants in the North End, Boston's Italian district. The area is known for its excellent Italian cuisine.

Evening

End your day with a relaxing stroll along the Boston Harborwalk, a public walkway that follows the edge of piers, wharves, beaches, and shoreline around Boston Harbor.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Boston Common, the oldest city park in the United States. It's a great place for a morning jog or a leisurely walk.

Lunch

Have lunch in one of the many eateries in the Back Bay area. The neighborhood is known for its Victorian brownstone homes and important architectural structures.

Afternoon

Spend your afternoon shopping on Newbury Street, known for its many retail shops and boutiques. It's a great place to find unique items and souvenirs.

Dinner

Enjoy dinner in the South End, a neighborhood known for its diverse dining scene. You'll find a wide range of cuisines to choose from.

Evening

End your day with a visit to the Skywalk Observatory, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. It's a great way to see Boston from a different perspective.

Morning

Start your day with a visit to the Arnold Arboretum, a beautiful green space with a wide variety of plants and trees. It's a great place for a morning walk or jog.

Lunch

Have lunch in one of the many eateries in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The area is known for its vibrant arts scene and diverse community.

Afternoon

Spend your afternoon exploring the historic Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, home to Fenway Park and the Museum of Fine Arts. It's a great area for sightseeing.

Dinner

Enjoy dinner in the Seaport District, a vibrant area known for its dining scene. You'll find a wide range of cuisines to choose from.

Evening

End your day with a relaxing stroll along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a linear park in downtown Boston. It's a great place to unwind after a busy day.

Attractions in Itinerary (11)

Charles River Esplanade

1
Charles River Esplanade

The Charles River Esplanade is a state-owned park situated in the Back Bay area of Boston, Massachusetts. It's a popular destination for outdoor activities like running, biking, and boating, and it offers stunning views of the Boston skyline.

Parks
Attractions
Beacon Hill

2
Beacon Hill

Historic neighborhood known for its narrow, gaslit streets and federal-style rowhouses.

Neighborhoods
Architecture

3
Boston Harborwalk

A public walkway that follows the edge of piers, wharves, beaches, and shoreline around Boston Harbor. It's a great place to enjoy the city's waterfront, with views of the harbor and the downtown skyline.

Attractions
Parks
Boston Common

4
Boston Common

Central public park in downtown Boston, dating from 1634, it is the oldest city park in the United States.

Parks
Attractions
Back Bay

5
Back Bay

An officially recognized neighborhood of Boston famous for its rows of Victorian brownstone homes.

Neighborhoods
Architecture
Newbury Street

6
Newbury Street

An upscale shopping district in Boston, Massachusetts, known for its many retail shops and dining establishments.

Shopping
Attractions
Skywalk Observatory

7
Skywalk Observatory

The Skywalk Observatory is the only observatory in New England offering a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.

Attractions
Tours
Arnold Arboretum

8
Arnold Arboretum

A 281-acre arboretum located in the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale sections of Boston, Massachusetts. It's part of Harvard University.

Parks
Gardens
Jamaica Plain

9
Jamaica Plain

A neighborhood of 4.4 square miles in Boston, Massachusetts, known for its vibrant arts scene and outdoor spaces, such as Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum.

Neighborhoods

10
Fenway-Kenmore

A neighborhood known for the famous Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It also houses numerous cultural institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts and Symphony Hall.

Neighborhoods
Sports
Rose Kennedy Greenway

11
Rose Kennedy Greenway

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a linear park located in several downtown neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts.

Parks
Attractions

Local Food and Drinks (12)

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

A creamy soup made with clams, potatoes, onions, and bacon. It's a staple in Boston and a must-try for seafood lovers.

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll

A sandwich filled with fresh, succulent lobster meat. It's a classic New England dish and a favorite in Boston.

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie

The official dessert of Massachusetts. It's a cake filled with custard or cream and topped with chocolate.

Boston Baked Beans

A traditional dish made with navy beans, molasses, and pork. It's a staple in Boston and a part of the city's colonial history.

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

A popular dish in Boston due to its coastal location. It consists of battered and fried fish served with fries.

New England Boiled Dinner

A hearty meal consisting of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. It's a traditional dish in Boston and the New England area.

Sam Adams Beer

A popular local beer named after one of Boston's most famous historical figures, Samuel Adams.

Oysters

Oysters

Fresh oysters are a must-try in Boston due to its coastal location. They are often served raw with a side of lemon and cocktail sauce.

Fenway Franks

A type of hot dog that's a favorite at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.

Indian Pudding

A traditional New England dessert made with cornmeal and molasses. It's a unique dish that's a part of Boston's colonial history.

Clambake

Clambake

A traditional New England meal that includes lobster, clams, corn on the cob, and potatoes. It's a popular dish in Boston, especially during the summer.

Harpoon IPA

A local craft beer that's a favorite in Boston. It's known for its strong hop flavor and crisp finish.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Boston, Massachusetts is from June to October. Summer is peak season when the city's parks are green and bustling, and the weather is warm and pleasant. Fall is also a beautiful time to visit as you can witness the stunning fall foliage. However, if you're looking to avoid crowds and get better deals on accommodation, the shoulder seasons of spring and late fall are also good times to visit.

National holidays

Here you can find the national calendar of all public holidays for the year. These dates are subject to change as official changes are announced, so check back regularly for updates.

DateDayHoliday Name

January 1

Mon

New Year's Day

January 15

Mon

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 19

Mon

Presidents' Day

May 27

Mon

Memorial Day

June 19

Wed

Juneteenth

July 4

Thu

Independence Day

September 2

Mon

Labor Day

October 14

Mon

Columbus Day

November 11

Mon

Veterans Day

November 28

Thu

Thanksgiving Day

December 25

Wed

Christmas Day

Please note that during national and public holidays, opening hours for establishments, museums, etc. may vary. Don't forget to check in advance!

How to get around

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operates the fourth largest subway system in the U.S., known locally as the 'T'. It consists of four lines: Red, Orange, Blue, and Green. It's a convenient and efficient way to get around the city and surrounding suburbs.

The MBTA also operates a comprehensive bus network, which complements the subway system. Buses can take you to areas of Boston not served by the 'T'.

For longer distances, the MBTA operates a commuter rail service. This is ideal for day trips to places like Salem, Lowell, or Worcester.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are widely available in Boston. They offer a convenient and often cost-effective way to get around, especially if you're traveling with a group or have a lot of luggage.

Boston's bike share program, Bluebikes, offers a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around. There are hundreds of stations across the city, and the first 30 minutes of each ride are free.

Renting a car can be a good option if you plan to visit areas outside of Boston, but keep in mind that parking in the city can be expensive and difficult to find. Also, Boston's narrow, winding streets can be challenging for unfamiliar drivers.

The MBTA operates several ferry routes, which can be a scenic and relaxing way to travel. Routes include service to the Boston Harbor Islands, as well as commuter service to places like Hingham and Hull.

Taxis are readily available throughout Boston, although they can be more expensive than other options. They can be hailed on the street, picked up at taxi stands, or booked in advance.

Boston is a compact and walkable city, with many attractions located close together. Walking can often be the quickest and most enjoyable way to get around, especially in areas like the Freedom Trail and the Back Bay.

While we strive for accuracy in our "How to get around" section, the information may not always be up-to-date or 100% accurate; we highly recommend cross-checking with local resources before your travel.

Important information

Currency$ USD

Time zoneUTC-5

Driving sideRight

Emergency phone911

Drinking waterYes

Power sockets

Power socket type APower socket type B

Voltage120 V

Things to know about Boston, Massachusetts as a first time visitor

1

Boston is a walkable city, so pack comfortable shoes.

2

The city is known for its unpredictable weather, so pack layers and always carry an umbrella.

3

Boston is a historic city with many cobblestone streets, which can be difficult to navigate for those with mobility issues.

4

The city is very bike-friendly, with many bike lanes and bike rental services available.

5

Boston's public transportation system, the 'T', is extensive and can get you almost anywhere in the city.

6

Taxis and rideshares are also readily available, but can be more expensive than public transportation.

7

Boston is a foodie city, known for its seafood, Italian food in the North End, and diverse international cuisine.

8

Tipping is customary in Boston. It's standard to tip 15-20% at restaurants, bars, and taxis.

9

Boston is a sports-loving city. If you're in town during baseball season, try to catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

10

The city is home to many colleges and universities, which can make certain areas very busy during the school year.

11

Boston is a safe city, but like any major city, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings, especially at night.

12

The city's legal drinking age is 21, and it's strictly enforced.

13

Boston's sales tax is 6.25%, which is added to most goods and services.

14

The city is in the Eastern Time Zone (ET).

15

Boston's peak tourist season is in the fall, when the leaves change color, and in the spring, during the Boston Marathon.

16

Boston's winters can be very cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing (32°F/0°C).

17

The city's summers can be hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching into the 80s°F (27-32°C).

18

Boston has strict parking regulations, and parking can be expensive. Consider using public transportation instead.

19

Boston is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Explore beyond the downtown area.

20

Bostonians are known for their distinct accent. Don't be surprised if you hear 'pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd'.

Packing List

  • Clothing

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • T-shirts

  • Pants/Jeans

  • Sweater or Jacket

  • Pajamas

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Dress shoes

  • Swimwear (if applicable)

  • Accessories (belts, jewelry)

  • Weather-appropriate outerwear (rain jacket, umbrella, sunglasses)

  • Toiletries

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Body wash or soap

  • Deodorant

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Makeup and makeup remover

  • Hairbrush or comb

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Prescription medications

  • First aid kit (band-aids, antiseptic wipes, tweezers)

  • Travel documents and essentials

  • Passport/ID

  • Boarding passes

  • Hotel and car rental reservations

  • Travel insurance documents

  • Emergency contacts and important addresses

  • Maps and guidebooks

  • Cash and credit cards

  • Public transportation cards

  • Electronics and gadgets

  • Smartphone and charger

  • Headphones

  • Laptop and charger (if necessary)

  • Camera and charger

  • Power bank

  • Travel adapter (if necessary)

  • E-reader or books

  • Miscellaneous items

  • Travel pillow and blanket

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle

  • Travel-sized laundry detergent

  • Plastic bags for dirty clothes

  • Notepad and pen

  • Entertainment for travel (books, magazines, downloaded movies)

  • Hand sanitizer and face masks

Weather Conditions

Boston, Massachusetts, is a city that experiences all four seasons, each with its own unique weather conditions. In the winter months, from December to February, Boston can get quite cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. It's not uncommon for the city to experience snowfall during this time, so if you're planning a visit, be sure to pack warm clothing, including a heavy coat, gloves, and a hat. Temperatures can range from 22°F to 41°F (-6°C to 5°C). Spring, from March to May, sees a gradual warming with temperatures ranging from 33°F to 73°F (1°C to 23°C). It can be a bit unpredictable, with some days feeling more like winter and others more like summer. It's a good idea to pack layers so you can adjust to the changing conditions. Summer, from June to August, is typically warm and sometimes humid. Temperatures can range from 60°F to 82°F (16°C to 28°C). It's a great time to explore the city's outdoor attractions, but don't forget to pack sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Fall, from September to November, is a beautiful time to visit Boston. The temperatures range from 39°F to 76°F (4°C to 24°C) and the city's many trees change color, creating a stunning display. It can get chilly, especially in the evenings, so be sure to pack a light jacket or sweater. Regardless of when you visit, it's always a good idea to check the forecast before your trip so you can pack appropriately. Boston's weather can be unpredictable, so it's best to be prepared for a range of conditions.

MonthHi / Lo (°C)Weather Overview

January

4° / -6°

January is the coldest month in Boston, with snowfall common. Dress warmly and enjoy winter activities like ice skating.

February

4° / -5°

February is still quite cold, with snow and ice. It's a great time for indoor activities like visiting museums.

March

8° / -2°

March sees the start of spring, with temperatures slowly rising. You might still need a coat, but the snow starts to melt.

April

13° / 3°

April is a transition month, with both rain and some late snowfall. The city starts to bloom, making it a beautiful time to visit.

May

20° / 8°

May is a pleasant month with moderate temperatures. It's a great time to explore the city and its parks.

June

25° / 13°

June marks the start of summer, with long, sunny days. It's perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the city's waterfront.

July

28° / 17°

July is the hottest month in Boston. It's a great time to visit the beaches and enjoy outdoor concerts.

August

27° / 16°

August is still quite hot, but with more rainfall. It's a great time to visit the Boston Harbor Islands.

September

24° / 12°

September is a comfortable month, with less humidity. It's a great time for sightseeing and attending festivals.

October

17° / 7°

October sees the start of fall, with beautiful foliage. It's a great time to go on a fall foliage tour.

November

12° / 2°

November is a cooler month, with the first signs of winter. It's a great time to visit historic sites and enjoy Thanksgiving celebrations.

December

7° / -3°

December is a festive month, with Christmas lights and snow. It's a great time to enjoy holiday shopping and festive events.

Did you know?

Did you know that Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States, founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England?

1 of 10

Places near by Boston, Massachusetts

Salem

Known for its historic witch trials, Salem offers a rich history and a variety of attractions.

40m
24.1 km / 15.0 mi
How to get there
Lexington and Concord

Lexington and Concord

Historic towns known for their roles in the American Revolutionary War.

45m
33.8 km / 21.0 mi
How to get there
Newport

Newport

Famous for its historic mansions and beautiful beaches.

1.5h
112.7 km / 70.0 mi
How to get there
Providence

Providence

Rhode Island's capital city with a vibrant arts scene and beautiful architecture.

1.2h
80.5 km / 50.0 mi
How to get there
Portland

Portland

Maine's largest city known for its vibrant food scene and historic lighthouses.

2h
174 km / 108.1 mi
How to get there
Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard

A charming island known for its beautiful beaches and lighthouses.

3h
130.6 km / 81.2 mi
How to get there
White Mountains

White Mountains

A mountain range in New Hampshire known for its hiking, skiing, and beautiful fall foliage.

3h
217.3 km / 135.0 mi
How to get there
New York City

New York City

The most populous city in the U.S., known for its iconic landmarks like Times Square and Central Park.

4h
349.2 km / 217.0 mi
How to get there
Montreal

Montreal

Canada's second largest city, known for its French influence and historic sites.

3h
402.3 km / 250.0 mi
How to get there
Washington D.C.

Washington D.C.

The capital of the U.S., known for its iconic landmarks and museums.

3h
633.8 km / 393.8 mi
How to get there