View of the illuminated buildings along the Back Bay area, one of the best things to do in Massachusetts

33 Best Things to Do in Massachusetts in 2023 (By a Local)

👉 Jump to: Best Things to Do | Sites & Attractions | Museums & Culture | Hidden Gems | Food & Drink | Beaches | FAQ

There are so many unique and fun things to do in Massachusetts. And I’m here to help you discover it all.

I am a Massachusetts local and I grew up in the state. This list incorporates my lifetime of experience exploring the Bay State. I’ve included all the popular Massachusetts attractions and sites, but also a few hidden gems and unique personal favorites.

I hope this list helps you enjoy exploring all that my home state has to offer! 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!

33 Best Things to Do in Massachusetts

Boston Public Library

The most remarkable library in America is a treasure trove of art and culture. 

View of the people inside the Bates Reading Room in Boston Public Library
Bates Reading Room
View of the courtyard of Boston Public Library
The library’s interior courtyard (photo: CO Leong / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 536- 5400 | Website | Monday through Thursday: 9 am – 8 pm, Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm | Entrance: Free

The Boston Public Library welcomes more than 2.2 million visitors every year. It was the first expansive free municipal library in the entire country.

The Boston Public Library has a vast collection of over 1.2 million rare books and documents. These are displayed on a rotational basis. You might even have the chance to see a rare medieval manuscript. 

If you have a book with you, go to my favorite spot: the elaborate Bates Reading Room on the second floor. Head to the third-floor gallery for a treat of John Singer Sargent murals. You can also find some tranquility out in the Italian-styled courtyard. 

Fenway Park

Fenway Park is the most famous and oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. 

The author Claudicet Pena, posing on her way to the Fenway Park
Me entering Fenway Park for a ball game.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (877) 733 -7699 | Website | Red Sox Tickets | 👉 Book a tour of Historic Fenway Park

Fenway Park opened in 1912 and has been the home of the Boston Red Sox ever since. The legacy of this historic ballpark is deeply intertwined with the spirit of Boston. 

You can take a tour of Fenway Park during the off-season. You’ll get to see all of the stadium and get the inside scoop on Boston Red Sox history. You will also enjoy unique views of the ballpark and its iconic green frame that has been nicknamed the “Green Monster.”

I highly suggest you make the pilgrimage to Fenway Park if you can make it for a game during the season. I always enjoy its Boston ambiance. There’s nothing like sitting in the original wooden seats with a cold beer, and singing “Sweet Caroline.” I promise it is one of the most memorable things to do in Massachusetts, no matter how the team plays. 

Salem Witch Museum

This museum tells the tragic story of the famous Witch Trials. 

Exterior view of The Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts
The Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. (photo: Yingna Cai / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (978) 744 -1692 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $17.50 adults, $14.50 under 14, $16.00 senior citizen | 👉 Book Salem History Lovers Walking Tour

The Salem Witch Museum does an excellent job of portraying the story of the 1692 Witch Trials. It’s one of the most famous attractions in Massachusetts. 

The first part of the museum is an audiovisual reenactment of the trials. After that, examine what it means to be a witch in the “Witches: Evolving Perception” exhibit. Upon leaving, you will have a better understanding of what happened at the witch trials. 

You can also book a tour to see one of Salem’s historic houses that is still standing–that of Judge Johnathan Corwin. His home is locally known as the Witch House as it is directly tied to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Cape Cod National Seashore

44,000 acres of untouched Massachusetts coastline.  

View of golden sunset over the pathway leading to the water in Cape Cod National Seashore
A path that leads to the water in Cape Cod National Seashore.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (508) 255 – 3421 | Website | Hours: 6 am – 12 am daily | Entrance: Free

The Cape Cod National Seashore is a sanctuary to diverse wildlife. This busy destination invites visitors to find refuge in its beaches, marshes, dunes, and swamps.

The park can be explored all year round at any time of day. Walking, biking, and horsing trails criss-cross the park. Fun things to do at Cape Cod National Seashore include swimming, self-guided bike rides, and guided canoe trips. 

Boston Children’s Museum

This interactive museum embraces the power of play in children.  

View of the exterior and entrance to the Boston Children's Museum
Entrance of the Boston Children’s Museum.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 426 – 6500 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm Wednesday through Sunday | Entrance: $22 general admission, free for children under 12 months

Traveling with Kids? The Boston Children’s Museum should be on the top of your list. It is a popular Boston museum for crowds aged two to ten. 

All exhibits within the museum are designed to encourage children to explore. Kids love the hands-on engaging exhibits. Parents love that children can play while building developmental skills. 

Plan your visit for a Sunday afternoon and snag $1 tickets. It is only valid for Sunday afternoons from 1 pm to 4 pm. Online reservation is required for date and timed tickets. 

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Shoppers and merchants have gathered in Boston’s historic downtown for almost four centuries.  

View of the crowd wandering around the Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 523 – 1300 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 7 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 am – 9 pm Friday and Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm Sunday | Entrance: Free | 

Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one of the most popular attractions in Massachusetts. It offers a mix of shops, restaurants, pubs, food stalls, and street performers. 

Faneuil Hall is made up of four historic buildings on a cobblestone plaza. This location is the heart of historic Boston. The site is famous for hosting pro-freedom speeches in the months leading up to the American Revolution. 

Today, the marketplace is the perfect destination for shopping and entertainment. It is a social hub for people to gather, relax, and have fun.

Deer Island

Stroll 60 acres on the shoreline path of Deer Island. 

View of the cityscape from across the Deer Island on a sunny day
City views from Deer Island.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 223 -8666 | Website | Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, Daily | Entrance: Free

Deer Island is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. It consists of 60 acres of parkland surrounding a water treatment plant. 

You will find plenty of opportunities for walking, jogging, biking, and fishing at Deer Island. There is a 2.6-mile accessible perimeter pathway. In addition, there are 2 miles of hiking trails on the hills of the island. 

Deer Island is my favorite place to go for a stroll at sunset or sit on the grass for a solo picnic. I also think it has the most stunning views of the city of Boston. 

The Berkshires

The Berkshires promises plenty of outdoor adventures. 

View of the fall foliage around the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts
Autumn landscape of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.

📍 Google Maps

The Berkshires is located in the western regions of Massachusetts. There are so many fun things to do year-round. The region is surrounded by green valleys, crystal clear waters, and picturesque mountains. 

Hike Mount Greylock, the highest point in the state of Massachusetts at nearly 3,500 feet tall. Explore a stretch of the Appalachian Trail that leads to the summit. 

Visitors can climb up to the observation deck at the top of the Massachusetts War Memorial Tower. It offers panoramic views across five states – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. 

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

This museum is home to one of the world’s most impressive private collections of art. 

View of the beautiful Venetian-style courtyard in the Isabella Gardner Museum
Venetian-style Palazzo inside the Isabella Gardner Museum.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 566 – 1401 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Mon, Wed & Fi, 11 am – 9 pm Thurs, 10 am – 5 pm Sat & Sun, Closed Tues | Entrance: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, Free under 18

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is a treasure. The art museum is structured as a Venetian-style palazzo. There is a majestic courtyard surrounded by plants, masterpieces, and architectural elements. 

The building and collection reflect Stewart Gardner’s thirst for travel and bohemian lifestyle. Stewart Gardner meticulously arranged the collection of more than 18,000 pieces of fine art, books, manuscripts, and historic objects from around the world. 

If you can plan your visit in advance, pop by the museum’s monthly Free First Thursday event. The monthly event is a fun way to enjoy the galleries after hours. 

Boston Tea Party Ships

Toss tea overboard at the Boston Tea Party Ships at this hands-on museum. 

View of the docked yellow ship outside the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum in the harbor.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 338 – 1773 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Daily | Entrance: $34 General Admission

Boston Tea Party Ships is an interactive museum offering a look at one of the most pivotal moments in Boston’s history. Exhibits allow visitors to climb aboard replica ships and converse with period actors.

Explore their 3D holograms, talking portraits, and toss (fake) tea overboard. The museum even has the Robinson Tea Chest, an original tea chest from the Boston Tea Party. 

After your visit to the museum, grab some tea and a bite to eat at Abigail’s Tea Room. It offers one of the best views of the harbor. 

Massachusetts Sites & Attractions

Massachusetts has so much history. From national historic landmarks to family attractions, the Bay State won’t disappoint.  Here are some of the best historical sites and attractions in Massachusetts: 

Freedom Trail

This unique tour tells the story of the American Revolution with every step you take. 

View of the Paul Revere Monument in the middle of the pathway
Paul Revere Monument in Boston, Massachusetts.

📍 Google Maps | Website | Guided Tour Times Vary | Entrance: $17 adults, $8 children 6 through 12, $15 seniors, $15 students

The Freedom Trail lets you take an unforgettable walk through 400 years of history. This 2.5-mile stretch is Boston’s most popular tourist attraction. 

Visit historic neighborhoods and 16 important sites to the birth of American liberty. All the Freedom Trail sites are authentic. 

You’ll see historic buildings, famous churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, and a centuries-old marketplace. Learn about historic sites where Paul Revere, Sam Adams, and other Sons of Liberty spied on the Red Coats. 

The Mapparium Globe, Boston

This inside-out globe built in 1935 gives an interesting perspective of the world. 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 450 – 7224 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Daily | Entrance: $6 adults, Free under 17 

The Mapparium is an inside-out globe in Boston. It is made of stained glass, three stories tall, and dissected by a glass walkway.

See the world differently! Appreciate a view of the world from the very center of the globe. Sizes of locations and countries are suddenly unfamiliar to the eye. 

Stand at the center of the globe and listen to your voice in full 360-degree surround sound. The glass walls of the sphere don’t absorb sound waves. They reflect back at you. 

Adams National Historical Park

John Adams’ childhood home as well as his post-presidential farmstead. 

Interior view of John Adams house with an oval table in the middle surrounded by book shelves
Interior of John Adams’ house. (photo: Enrico Della Pietra / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 773 – 1177 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday, Closed Monday and Tuesday | Entrance: $15 adults, $1 under 15

Inside Adams National Historical Park is the house and farm of John Adams, the USA’s second President and one of its Founding Fathers. 

Inside his first home, you can see the standing desk where a young Adams crafted his defense against the British soldiers. On his farmstead, you can see the chair a 90-year-old Adams sat in as he waved at the passing parade on July 4, 1826. 

This National Historical Park tells the story of John Adams’ remarkable life. He surrounded himself with family and books, on a farm of a patriot, in a country he helped create.  

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is home to a Green Sea Turtle that has been fascinating visitors since 1970. 

View of the people looking at the turtle swimming inside the aquarium at the New England Aquarium
Myrtle the Turtle swimming at the New England Aquarium.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 973 – 5200 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Monday – Friday, 9 am – 6 pm Saturday & Sunday | Entrance: $34 adults, $25 children, $32 students, $32 seniors, Free under 3

The New England Aquarium has been an iconic landmark of Boston’s waterfront for over half a century. The star of the show is a floor-to-ceiling, 40-foot-wide, 200,000-gallon saltwater tank. It houses about 1,000 marine animals. 

There is a cylinder walkway that wraps around that tank. Visitors are able to admire the animals from every angle no matter the depth. 

Life comes full circle when I see my daughter marveling at Myrtle the Turtle, the 90-year-old Green Sea Turtle, the same way I did as a child. 

Boston Common

Boston Common is 44 acres of greenery in the center of the city. 

View of the people ice skating at Boston Common
Ice skating at Boston Common (photo: Kwanbenz / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 635 – 4505 | Website | Hours: 6 am – 11:30 pm Daily | Entrance: Free | 

Boston Common offers something for everyone. There is ice skating in the winter, outdoor movies on summer nights, a seasonal carousel, and the first stop on the Freedom Trail. 

Boston Common is sometimes called the “People’s Park” because it has been the meeting spot for protests, rallies, and celebrations. 

When visiting the Common, I always head over to the Public Garden across Charles Street. The Public Garden is home to seasonal plants and my absolute favorite–swan boat rides on the lagoon. The Garden is well worth the visit.

Massachusetts Museums & Culture

Massachusetts has some of the best museums and exhibits to see. Below are some of my favorites and most visited museums in Massachusetts: 

Peabody Essex Museum

The oldest continuously operating museum in the United States is located in Salem.

View of the people at the atrium inside the Peabody Essex Museum
The central atrium inside the Peabody Essex Museum. (photo: Heidi Besen / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (978) 745 – 9500| Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Thursday through Monday, Closed Tuesday and Wednesday | Entrance: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $12 students, Free under 16

Peabody Essex Museum is one of Salem’s highlights. Established in 1799, the museum has hosted some of the country’s most important collections of American and Asian art. Today, it is one of the country’s largest art museums, in terms of endowment and gallery space. 

Culture buffs, art lovers, and history enthusiasts will find something to admire here. The museum’s spacious design creates an atmosphere that is serene and never stuffy.

Its rich collection honors visual traditions and connections to real people or places. This museum demands multiple visits. 

Hammond Castle Museum

A medieval-style castle, complete with a drawbridge, sits on a hill in Gloucester.

Exterior view of Hammond Castle surrounded by greenery in Quincy, Massachusetts
Exterior of Hammond Castle in Quincy, Massachusetts.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (978) 283 – 2080 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Daily | Entrance: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 ages 5 to 12, Free under 4

John Hays Hammond Jr. was a resourceful man and inventor. Between 1926 and 1929, he built his New England home – a medieval-style castle. 

The house sits on a hill in Gloucester, Massachusetts overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Hammond’s home features a Renaissance dining room, library, war room, secret passageways, and even an indoor pool with “weather control” systems.

Today, the museum displays Hammond’s inventions and an immense collection of antiques. Also featured is a skull, supposedly of a sailor who sailed with Christopher Columbus. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

This museum is top of the list in Boston’s art scene. 

view of the entrance to the Claude Monet exhibit in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Claude Monet exhibit inside the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 267 – 9300 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Mon, Wed, Sat & Sun, 10 am – 10 pm Thurs & Fri, Closed Tues | Entrance: $27 adults, $10 ages 7 to 17, Free under 6

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts always felt larger than life for me. I remember feeling so small in comparison to its grandeur when I visited as a kid. The museum still feels majestic now, when I return as an adult. 

The Museum of Fine Arts is home to more than 500,000 works of art. No matter your interests, you can find something that resonates with you. Bostonians are proud of its collections, exhibitions, and programming – from courses to film festivals. 

Check out the gallery devoted to my favorite impressionist artist, Claude Monet. The Museum collected works of the artist during his own lifetime. You can see his work hanging in the European wing. 

Harvard Museum of Natural History

The university’s most-visited museum and a popular destination for global travelers. 

Exterior view of Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge
View of Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (photo: Sergey and Marina Pyataev / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 495 – 3045 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Daily | Entrance: $15 adults, $13 seniors, $10 non-Harvard students, $10 ages 3 to 18, Free under 3

The Harvard Museum of Natural Science is a short eight-minute walk from the Harvard Square T Station. The 150-year-old brick building houses the university’s research. All exhibits are drawn from the collection of Harvard University. 

Explore the dinosaur fossils in the paleontology gallery. You will see the first triceratops skull ever discovered! Find your birthstone in the renovated mineral gallery. Visit the new exhibit – Swimming with Sharks, where you can learn about the biology and behavior of sharks. 

Clark Art Institute

The Clark is a world-class art museum and research center located in the Berkshires. 

View of the glass windows and exterior of Clark Art Institute reflecting on the pool
View of the reflecting pool at the Clark Art Institute. (photo: quiggyt4 / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (413) 458 – 2303 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, Closed Monday | Entrance: $20 adults, Free under 21

The Clark Art Institute offers diverse and ever-changing exhibits. It provides something for everyone with its wide range of world-class displays. 

There are exhibits that feature collections of European and American paintings. They range from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. Observe masterpieces and other unique forms of art. 

You’ll find plenty of picnic tables outside of the museum. After your visit, picnic by its reflecting pool. Enjoy a scenic stroll through the nature trails on campus outside of the Clark. 

Old Sturbridge Village

The biggest outdoor history museum that has preserved the rich history of life in the 1800s. 

A man riding a horse carriage at the Sturbridge Village
A horse carriage going through Old Sturbridge Village. (photo: GCC Photography / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (800) 733 – 1830 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday, Closed Monday and Tuesday | Entrance: $30 adults, $28 seniors, $15 students, $15 ages 4 to 17, Free under 3

Old Sturbridge Village embodies immersive education. As soon as you step foot on the property, you are transported back in time. 

The village is home to historian guides. They work the farms, run the trade shops, tend the homes, and bring history to life. 

Every day, there are interesting demonstrations that entertain and educate. The living history museum is popular with families and history buffs alike. Old Sturbridge Village is definitely worth a spot on your bucket list of things to see in Massachusetts. 

Nantucket Whaling Museum

A history museum memorializing Nantucket’s past as the global capital of whaling. 

Exterior view of the Nantucket Whaling Museum
View of the Nantucket Whaling Museum. (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (508) 228 – 1894 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Daily | Entrance: $25 adults, $20 seniors, $5 ages 6 to 17, Free under 6

At the Nantucket Whaling Museum, you’ll learn that Nantucket was the whaling capital of the world in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The museum’s Whale Hunt presentation details Nantucket’s history in the industry.

Discover the 467-foot sperm whale skeleton inside the museum. It washed ashore in 1998. Look through the museum’s collection of scrimshaw art. Whalers created these carved pieces out of spare whale bones and teeth to pass the time while they were out at sea. 

Before you leave, head up to the rooftop deck for incredible views of the harbor. The roof is completely accessible and a hit among visitors. 

Boston Museum of Science

This institution is one of the world’s biggest science museums. 

View of the Charles River from the glass windows inside the Boston Museum of Science
View of the Charles River inside the Boston Museum of Science.
View of the large air-insulated Van de Graaff generator at the Boston Science Museum
The world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator. (photo: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 723 – 2500 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Daily | Entrance: $29 adults, $25 seniors, $24 ages 3 to 11, Free under 3 | 

Science Park is home to a cherished Boston museum. The Boston Museum of Science spans the length of the Charles River. It connects East Cambridge to Boston’s West End. 

The Boston Museum of Science has 700 exhibits. The museum has three levels. The three floors include a planetarium, a butterfly garden, hands-on activities, an IMAX theater, and more. 

It’s a great destination for families and school students. My daughter’s favorite is the T-Rex model on display found in the lower level.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Locally known as the ICA, this museum sits on the edge of the harbor in the Seaport District. 

View of the displayed artwork inside the Institute of Contemporary Art
Contemporary Art Exhibit inside the ICA.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 478 – 3100 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tues, Wed, Sat & Sun, 10 am – 9 pm Thurs & Fri, Closed Mon | Entrance: $20 adults, $17 seniors, $15 students, Free under 18

The Institute of Contemporary Art (“ICA”) in Boston sits in a contemporary building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The ICA is home to a provocative collection of contemporary art. 

Examine the thought-provoking architecture from the outside. Enjoy viewing the sculptures, paintings, and photographs in the ICA’s collection. There are plenty of opportunities to soak in the harbor view during your visit to the museum.

Hidden Gems in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has plenty of hidden gems that would not typically make the top list of things to do. Here are some of my favorite local spots and hidden gems around Massachusetts: 

Brattle Book Shop, Boston

This is one of America’s oldest and largest used bookstores located in Boston. 

View of the people checking out the outdoor display of books in the Brattle Book Shop
View of Brattle Book Shop in the downtown district of Boston. (photo: Heidi Besen / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 542 – 0210 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday, Closed Sunday

Brattle Bookshop is located close to Boston Common in the downtown district. It’s hard not to miss its iconic large pencil plastered on the exterior. 

The bookstore has three levels of general books and rare books alike. On nice days, the alleyway next to the store is filled with sale book displays. You are sure to find a treasure in one of the hundreds of bookshelves. 

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Escape the city noise and walk the expansive trails of this 281-acre preserve. 

View of the beautiful sunset over the city skyline seen from Peter Hills
Views of the city during sunset on Peter Hills.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 524 – 1718 | Website | Hours: Sunrise to Sunset Daily | Entrance: Free | 👉 Book Boston’s Emerald Necklace Guided Bicycle Tour

The Arnold Arboretum is run by Harvard University and located in Jamaica Plain. It is a living museum dedicated to the study of plants.

There are biking and walking trails that zigzag through more than 16,000 plants. There is a feast for the eyes at every turn with plants and trees. 

There is no such thing as a bad view inside the arboretum. My favorite view is that of the city at the top of Peters Hill, the highest point in the Emerald Necklace. 

Bridge of Flowers

Bridge of Flowers makes a great stop on any trip to Western Massachusetts. 

View of the Bridge of Flowers surrounded by greenery in Shelburne Falls on a sunny day
View of the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. (photo: Alizada Studios / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Open 24 Hours

The Bridge of Flowers is a main draw to Shelburne Falls, a quaint village. It is a great place for a little stroll in the Spring, as the bridge is in full bloom.

It takes about ten minutes to walk to the end of the bridge and back–depending on how slowly you stroll. The flowers are stunning and there are excellent views of the river. 

Grab lunch at The West End Pub located at the end of the bridge. 

Food & Drink

Massachusetts has an ever-evolving food and drink scene. Here are some foodie-approved places to eat and drink: 

Beacon Hill Books and Cafe

Beacon Hill Books and Cafe is Boston’s newest hang-out spot for book-loving friends. 

View of the people dining inside and outside of the Beacon Hill Books and Cafe
View of the outdoor patio from inside the Beacon Hill Books and Cafe.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 945  – 4713 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 9 pm Tuesday through Saturday, 12 pm  – 5 pm Sunday, Closed Monday

Skip the line at Tatte. Check out the adorable cafe of the newest independent bookstore at Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill Books and Cafe is a five-story literary experience. 

Visitors can enjoy a quick pastry and coffee on the back patio, or meet with a colleague during the afternoon English tea service. It can get quite busy so make a reservation for a seated lunch, or end your day with a glass of wine and snacks. 

After a bite, explore the painstakingly curated bookstore. It is overflowing with thoughtful design and detail in every charming nook and cranny for readers of all kinds. Each floor focuses on something different for all types of interests.  


Mariel is a modern restaurant in Downtown Boston inspired by Havana nightlife. 

View of the illuminated LED signage of Mariel
Entrance of Mariel on a girl’s night out.

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (617) 333 – 8776 | Website | Hours: 11:30 am – 1 am Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 am – 2 am Friday and Saturday

Mariel is a Cuban restaurant in Downtown Boston that offers flaming cocktails and dramatic chandeliers. Mariel is a place to come drink, order bite-sized foods, and pretend you are in a nightclub in Havana. In fact, there is a nightclub downstairs. 

Almost everything on the menu is served small plate-style. You must order the excellent yuca cheese puffs or go for the chickpea fritters. 

Mariel also has a menu section devoted to Mojitos. It’s loaded with fresh mint and bright citrus without the sticky syrups. It might have been the best Mojito I have ever had. 

Whether you are looking to dance the night away, or in search of a well-made drink with friends, make a reservation at Mariel for a great evening out.

Beaches in Massachusetts

From famous summer hot spots to a conveniently close beach near Boston, these picks highlight the best beaches in Massachusetts:

Revere Beach

Grab your towel and sunscreen and head to Revere Beach. 

View of the sand sculptures of the dinosaurs on the Revere Beach
Sand sculptures of dinosaurs on Revere Beach.

📍 Google Maps

Revere Beach lies five miles north of Boston. It is a beautiful beach that locals and tourists enjoy. 

Many people head to this beach in the summer months to sunbathe. Visitors love walking along Revere Boulevard, which is parallel to the beach and filled with restaurants.

Their biggest annual event is the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival. Over 1 million people travel to see the sand sculptures on display every August. They make this a family affair with food trucks, vendors, and even some amusement rides. 

Martha’s Vineyard

Let your hair down for a long weekend in Martha’s Vineyard. 

view of the colorful gingerbread houses in Oak Bluff Center
The colorful gingerbread houses in Oak Bluff Center, Martha’s Vineyard.

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Book Martha’s Vineyard Self-Driving Audio Tour

Martha’s Vineyard is a New England paradise featuring beautiful beaches and pristine woodlands. It’s a great destination for a family vacation or a romantic weekend getaway.

Take a tour of the five towns scattered across the island. Each one has its own set of unique characteristics. If you have the chance to visit each town, you will have a great sense of what Martha’s Vineyard has to offer. 

Cape Cod

40 miles of coast makes Cape Cod a tourist hotspot. 

A child walking along the shoreline in Cape Cod beach
My daughter enjoyed the calm waters of a Cape Cod beach.

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Book Cape Cod Self-Driving Audio Tour

Cape Cod is a New England gem where many tourists spend their summers. Quaint fishing villages, glorious lighthouses, and genteel towns – you will find that the Cape is multifaceted.

There are families seeking calm waters for their little ones to splash in. College students are looking to play hard during the day and let loose when the sun goes down. Cape Cod is a paradise for art lovers, whale watchers, and just about anyone. 

FAQs About What to Do in Massachusetts

What is Massachusetts’ number one tourist attraction? 

The number one tourist attraction in Massachusetts is the Freedom Trail. It is a unique collection of historic sites that tells the story of the American Revolution.

What is Massachusetts known for? 

Massachusetts is known for being a progressive state with the highest recorded “firsts” throughout history. It is also famous for its colonial history and role in the American Revolution.  

What are the best things to do in Massachusetts?

The best things to do in Massachusetts are to spend a day wandering through the buzzing Faneuil Hall Marketplace, cheer on the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, and stroll through the city park of Boston Common

What are the best things to do for free in Massachusetts? 

Massachusetts is full of captivating things to do for free, such as grabbing a book at the Boston Public Library, watching planes take flight at Deer Island, hitting up the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum on the first Thursday of the month, and escaping the business of the city with a walk through the Arnold Arboretum


Thanks for going through my list of suggested things to do in Massachusetts. I hope you found it helpful and something you can share with loved ones traveling to the Bay State.

Next up, check out my guide to the best day trips from Boston.

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