Known for its expansive history, arts scene, and diverse cultures, Boston showcases seemingly countless activities throughout the city.
Only have a few days to spend? Don’t worry—we have the perfect itinerary. Whether you enjoy sightseeing, indulging in local brews, or visiting museums, Boston has something for everyone. Discover how to spend 3 days in Boston via Tripster.
Day 1: Explore the West End
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.
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 tours are available every 30 minutes days from 10 am – 4 pm (extended hours offered during summer).
The Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail connects many of the most significant sites of our nation’s history, all within the city of Boston. Featuring a trail of museums, churches, meeting houses, parks, a ship, burying grounds, and historic markers, each site tells its own history regarding the American Revolution and beyond. 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.
The oldest public garden in the U.S., the Boston Public Garden 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.
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.
Day 2: Sail to the Harbor Islands & Stroll by the Charles River
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. A short car, ferry, and boat ride away from downtown, this is one of the most unique things to do in Boston.
Boston Public Market
The Boston Public Market is an indoor, year-round marketplace showcasing 35 regional artisans and food producers. Offering food, prepared meals, crafts, and specialty items, visitors can find a variety of local, fresh goods. 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 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.
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.
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: 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 are also open to the public, so take advantage in order to see extensive collections.
Other Insightful Tours:
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 is offered multiple times a day.
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. 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.
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 bucket list. 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 enables entry to more than 20 attractions, tours, and museums, so there are plenty of options. Better yet, you don't have to wait in line and pay at the gate.
Go Boston Card
The Go Boston Card allows tourists to explore over 45 attractions with all-inclusive passes. Additionally, you can receive a free guidebook and enjoy unlimited access on the number of attractions you can see each day.
Visit Historic Boston
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 to first?