3 Days in Boston: How to Make the Most of 72 Hours

Known for its expansive history, arts scene, and diverse cultures, Boston showcases seemingly countless activities throughout the city.

Wondering what to see in Boston in 3 days? We have the perfect itinerary. From historical landmarks to hidden gems, immerse yourself in the captivating blend of culture, cuisine, and creativity. Explore Boston’s captivating allure and fall under its enchanting spell. Buckle up for a Boston 3 day vacation to enjoy sun-kissed days and stirring stories!

Whether you enjoy sightseeing, indulging in local brews, visiting museums, or are a fan of the Boston Red Sox,  Boston has something for everyone. Discover how to spend 3 days in Boston!

Day 1: Explore the West End

Planning a trip to Boston? Spend your first day in Boston exploring the vast amount of attractions the West End of the city has to offer.

New England Aquarium

Home to thousands of aquatic animals from around the world, the New England Aquarium features species such as California sea lions, two giant Pacific octopi, northern fur seals, and many more.

Furthermore, guests can enjoy several interactive animal encounters that involve such activities as feeding the animals and going behind the scenes.

Additionally, the aquarium features an impressive IMAX theater as well as an opportunity to go whale watching with Boston Harbor Cruises.

A family leaning over a touch pool tank filler with manta rays with rocks and sticks in the background at New England Aquarium in Boston, MassachusettsUSS Constitution

Fun fact: The USS Constitution is the oldest ship in the world still afloat. Better yet, the public is welcome to visit this historic ship, which is permanently locked in the Charleston Navy Yard. Explore what life at sea was like over 200 years ago with a free tour. Note that museum tours are available daily from 9 am – 6 pm, and ship tours are available Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 6 pm.

The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail connects many of the most significant sites of our nation’s history, all within the city of Boston. Among the walking tour stops along the Freedom Trail are numerous art museums, churches, meeting houses, parks, a ship, burying grounds, and historical markers; each site tells its own history regarding the American Revolution and beyond.

Related Post: Things to Do at Night in Boston: 24 Nightlife Adventures

This 2.5-mile trail features sixteen historic sites from the Boston Common to Paul Revere’s house in the North End. Of course, you don’t need a tour to follow the markers, although tours are available during business hours.

Exterior of Faneuil Hall with crowd of people outside and street lamps on a sunny day in Boston, Massachusetts, USABoston Garden

The oldest public garden in the U.S., the Boston Public Gardens was established in 1837 and presents many lovely meandering walkways, species of flowers and plants, and bird species that populate the area. Guests can ride the Swan Boats, picnic, play sports, and much more.

Boston Common

Founded in 1634, the Boston Common serves as an incredibly historic site with ties to the Revolutionary War, anti-Vietnam War rallies, civil rights rallies, and much more. Now owned by a nonprofit organization, the park contains beautiful walkways, fountains, statues, and play areas. Further, many families go ice skating in the Frog Pond each year.

Pro Tip: Take your trip further and explore the picturesque neighborhood in Beacon Hill, just a few minutes away from Boston Common.

Aerial view of Parkman Bandstand at Boston Common surrounded by trees and building in distance in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
photo credit: AbhiSuryawanshi CC BY-SA 4.0

Day 2: Sail to the Harbor Islands & Stroll by the Charles River

Visiting Boston has never been easier. Begin Day 2 in Boston by taking a ferry to the Harbor Islands in the morning. Afterward, head back into the city to peruse its beloved markets before strolling along the Charles River.

Boston Harbor Islands

The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area presents 34 islands and peninsulas that enable visitors to see historic lighthouses, hike, camp, fish, swim, and more. Further, Fort Warren on Goerges Island offers tours and fun, educational special events.

Related Post: Unique Things to Do in Boston MA – 25 Fun Ideas

A short car, ferry, and boat ride away from downtown, this is one of the most unique things to add in your  spending 3 days in Boston itinerary.

Interior View of Boston Public LibraryBoston Public Market

Head on to the epicenter of culinary delights in an indoor and year-round marketplace, Boston Public Market. This vibrant hub is a food lovers’ paradise offering fresh produce and delectable treats from 35 regional artisans and food producers. Embark on a flavorful journey, discovering the market’s vibrant stalls and specialty items. This community space also presents seasonal festivals, cooking classes, workshops, and tours.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

One of the most significant sites along the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall Marketplace has served as a meeting place since the 1740s. Once a hotspot for hearing speeches during the Revolutionary War, it’s now home to Quincy Market, where visitors can wander through food stalls and dine at numerous eateries to savor Boston’s iconic clam chowder and lobster roll.

Charles River Esplanade

Stroll down the scenic Charles River Esplanade in the Back Bay Area for beautiful views, sun, and exercise. Stretching for 17 miles, visitors can walk, bike, canoe, kayak, rollerblade, and more. There’s even a playground for kids to explore. In addition, visitors can catch free summertime concerts as well as free moving showings at the Hatch Shell. Furthermore, the Hatch Shell features the iconic free Boston Pops concert each July 4th.

an image of a bunch of boats docked
photo credit: Community Boating Inc. Boston, MA via Facebook

Day 3: Tour Cambridge & the Back Bay Area

Take the bridge to adjacent Cambridge, MA, to tour two of the nation’s most prestigious universities that doubles as an attraction: Harvard and MIT

Harvard’s Campus & Museums

Take a tour of the nation’s oldest university. Guests can take student-led tours or self-guided tours around the esteemed campus. Moreover, twelve of the fourteen art, history, and science museums on campus, including the Harvard Museum of Natural History, are also open to the public, so take advantage in order to see extensive collections.

Other Insightful Tours:

Exterior Ground view of Massachusetts Institute of Technology BuildingsMIT’s Campus

You don’t need an introduction for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT. Self-guided and student-led tours are available, although reservations are requested for guided tours. You can also join Historic Tours of MIT.

Boston Public Library

A beautiful work of architecture, The Boston Public Library contains more than 1.7 million rare books and manuscripts as well as a major art collection. Further, because of its vast collection of works, the Boston Public Library is considered one of the five most important libraries in the nation. Guests are welcome to take a free tour to learn more about the library’s history and collections, which are offered multiple times a day.

Pro Tip: If you want to delve into art more, you should check out the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Museum of Fine Arts.

Brewery Tours

The perfect way to end an action-packed day in Fenway Park is a glass of cold brew. The good thing is that the number of breweries in Boston is staggering, so you won’t be able to see them all in one trip. However, City Brew Tours offers quality deals for beer lovers for several of the dozens of breweries within the city. While they offer multiple tours, we suggest their After Hours Brew Tour.

Related Post: Boston Historical Sites: 21 Must-See Stops for History Buffs

Participants sample up to sixteen craft beer styles, gain VIP access at four stops, receive a light dinner and beer pairing, and get City Brew swag as well! More importantly, City Brew takes care of the driving so you can let loose. Approximately five hours long, guests can sample local breweries’ best Monday through Saturday.

a glass of beer
photo credit: Samuel Adams via Facebook

How to Save More During Your Trip

With so much to experience throughout the city, it can feel overwhelming thinking of your budget. Well, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to check off your 3 days in Boston itinerary. Consider investing in one of these options depending on your travel preferences to save and still have a fantastic trip:

Boston Explorer Pass

The Boston Explorer Pass allows visitors to see the best attractions in the city at a discount and even skip the line at most. The pass allows entry to more than 20 attractions, tours, and museums, so there are plenty of options. The best part?  You don’t have to wait in line and pay at the gate.

Go Boston Card All-Inclusive Pass

The Go Boston Card All-Inclusive Pass allows tourists to explore over 45 attractions with all-inclusive passes. Additionally, you can receive a free guidebook and enjoy unlimited access to the number of attractions you can see each day.

Visit Historic Boston

As your three-day getaway draws to a close, you can check off your bucket list and reminisce about the beautiful places you’ve visited in Boston. From charming cobblestone streets and rich history to vivid culture and delightful culinary scenes, be captivated by The City on a Hill. Keep the spirit of adventure alive and explore Boston magic that is yet to be discovered!

Where Will You Go?

No matter what’s on your itinerary, you’re bound to have a good time spending 3 days in Boston. Now that you have plenty of ideas, where will you head first?

Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Sara Berden

Sara is a Content Writer from the Philippines experienced in writing for websites and social media in different industries. She is an introvert...

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