It’s hot out.
We’re in the midst of another intense heatwave hits the Northeast and there’s no better time to talk about things to do in Boston on a hot day.
One of the most fascinating things about Boston, especially for tourists, is the extreme range in temperature. Fortunately, no matter the season or the weather, you’ll find plenty to do in the Hub with diverse Boston attractions that cover a wide span of entertainment.
Here are some of our favorite things to do in Boston when it’s hot out:
Go on a Cruise or Whale Watch
It’s no surprise that the Harbor serves as a sort of sanctuary in the summer; the cool breeze comes off the water, you can enjoy watching the activity on the water, or get out end enjoy it for yourself aboard one of the many cruise options available.
At the waterfront, you’ll find a ton of options for getting out on the water – the perfect hot day in Boston activity. A few of our favorites are:
- Take an MBTA ferry out to any of eleven the Boston Harbor Islands, each with their own distinct geographical and historical features.
- The USS Constitution Cruise is a luxurious, fully-narrated 45-minute cruise to the Charlestown Navy Yard. Along the way, you’ll see such sights as the Bunker Hill Monument, the Old North Church, and the Boston Tea Party boat; and upon arrival, you’ll have unlimited time to explore “Old Ironsides” in all her historic glory. This is the perfect option if you’re interested in historical Boston attractions, but don’t want to spend hours walking in the sun.
- A New England Aquarium Whale Watch is a great way to get out on the water and learn about some of the local sea life. From three outdoor viewing decks, be on the lookout for humpback whales, finback whales, minke whales, white-sideddolphins, and numerous other marine creatures that live in the Atlantic.
- The Boston Duck Tour is an iconic Boston attraction in itself. Hop on board near the aquarium and enjoy a part-on-land, part-in-the-water guided tour of Boston – a fun and unique introduction to the city’s history and culture!
New England Aquarium
Located right near the departure point for the cruises mentioned above, the New England Aquarium is another favorite thing to do in Boston on a hot day because it’s right by the waterfront and offers a temperature-controlled respite from the heat.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy the new touch tank feature right when you walk in. Pet stingrays as they glide by the edges of the tank and watch them swim around their habitat. Next, make your way into the main exhibit to see penguins waddling and diving into the waters – you might even catch them during a meal time.
Make your way up the massive coral tank in the middle of the aquarium where you’ll see large fish, sea turtles, and more swimming around. Be sure to peel off from the main path and check out the many exhibits on the way up, including octopi, pirhanas, amphibians, and more.
Tip: use the Go Boston Card to skip the outdoor ticketing line and head straight inside!
Visit an Art Museum
When it’s simply too hot to be outside, visit some of Boston’s world-class art museums (and enjoy the AC!).
- The Museum of Fine Arts is a large museum that houses nearly half a million works of art from around the world spanning several centuries. You could easily get lost in this museum and spend hours exploring the many exhibit halls: American, European, and Asian Art, Art of African and Oceania, The Ancient World, Contemporary Art, Photography, Prints and Drawings, Musical Instruments, Textiles and Fashion Arts, and Jewelry. However, if you only have an hour or two to spare, make sure you head to the all new Art of the Americas wing, featuring 53 galleries of American art from pre-Columbian times through the twentieth century.
- If you’re most interested in contemporary art and culture, head to the Institute of Contemporary Art, which provides an interactive environment where studio art, performing arts, film, music, and just about every type of media intersect. As part of the permanent collection, innovative and influential artists such as Frank Shepard Fairey have full galleries on display. As an added bonus, the Institute’s award-winning architecture features a huge outdoor space that overlooks the waterfront and offers some of the best views of the Boston Harbor and skyline.
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one of the most unique Boston attractions. This 1902 house-turned-art-museum is a work of art in itself and provides the ultimate backdrop for viewing an impressive collection of work from the masters (Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Rafael, Botticelli, Degas, and many more). The galleries surround a stunning courtyard in the center of the house, which is lush with vegetation. If the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum sounds familiar to you, it might be because it’s known as the site of one of the biggest art heists in American history! Back in 1990, thirteen pieces of art were stolen (including a Vermeer and a Rembrandt) by a pair of thieves disguised as police officers. Empty frames still hang in the galleries, in hopes they will someday be found and returned.
Learn a little about Boston’s history and then take in sky-high views of its changing skyline from the 50th floor of the Prudential Center.
You’ll get to explore hands-on exhibits and walk around to see 360-degree views of the city.
Conveniently located in the Prudential Center among lots of popular name-brand shops, it’s a fun activity to add to your Boston itinerary when it’s hot outside because you can poke around the shops of the famous Newbury Street before heading in for some skyline views, a little souvenir shopping, and an Italian-style lunch at Eataly.
Getting in: Skywalk Observatory tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.
Mary Baker Eddy Library & Mapparium
One of Boston’s most unique attractions, the Mary Baker Eddy Library & Mapparium lets you step into the center of the world (literally!) to walk across a bridge through a 3-story stained glass mapparium globe.
Learn about how geography has impacted world history through A World of Ideas, a featured exhibit that visually represents how ideas are shared through special effects like narration, music, and LED lights.
In addition to the mapparium, you can learn all about Mary Eddy’s fascinating life and see the historic Publishing House Lobby.
Getting in: Mary Eddy Library & Mapparium tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
More Boston Attractions
There’s no shortage of things to do in Boston when it’s hot out, and the suggestions above are just some of our favorite indoor activities. Check out a Go Boston Card to see all 40+ Boston attractions, and see what you can do this summer in Boston!