Planning to spend a week in Boston and wondering how to make the most of your time? We’ve put together a great itinerary for 5 to 7 days in Boston that will show you the best of the city in just one weekend!
From guided sightseeing tours and museums to historical buildings and beyond, Boston has a ton of fun things to do and see throughout the city.
To make the most of your trip, we’ve put together a week in Boston itinerary for first timers that covers a variety of attractions and activities to choose from and build the perfect week-long itinerary or even try to pack it all into 5 days in Boston.
This week in Boston itinerary includes popular activities grouped by neighborhood, including:
- Fenway Park & Back Bay
- Faneuil Hall, the Waterfront, & Noth End
- Cambridge, MA
- Salem, MA
Save on Attraction Admission
Pick up a 5 or 7-Day Go Boston® Card and save off combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Remember, this week in Boston itinerary is just one of many ways to experience the area.
The Go Boston® Card gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.
Fenway Park & Back Bay Area Options to Add to Your Itinerary:
Fenway Park Area
There’s more to do in the Fenway Park area than admire Fenway Park (though you should definitely check that out, too – we’ve included a tour recommendation for any baseball fans). The area surrounding the famously historic baseball stadium has evolved a lot in recent years with lots of apartment developments and all the trendy restaurants, shops, and boutique fitness studios that come along with it. See our favorites below.
Fenway Park Tour
If visiting “America’s favorite baseball stadium” is something that appeals to you, a guided tour of Fenway Park is the way to go.
This behind-the-scenes look Fenway’s features and typically off-limits-to-the-public sites provides an in-depth look at this Boston landmark.
Some of the famous stadium areas you’ll visit on the tour include Pesky’s Pole, the Green Monster, the Lone Red Seat, and more.
Getting In: Fenway Park Tour tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
Boston Red Sox Game
Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have planned your week-long Boston trip to coincide with an at-home game, going to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park is one of the greatest, most iconic ‘Boston’ experiences.
See the Red Sox in action, root for the home team (of course), and save a meal of the day for a famous Fenway Frank. If you get tickets as part of a Go Boston Card, you’ll also get VIP early access to the park, so you have plenty of time to settle in, catch batting practice, and maybe explore the park a little bit.
Getting In: Boston Red Sox tickets are included as an option on 3, 5, and 7-Day Go Boston® Cards. Availability for select games only.
Back Bay Area
Named “Back Bay” because it was once a bay before the city of Boston filled in the bay to create more land, Back Bay is largely considered the cultural hub of Boston with multiple museums, one-of-a-kind boutiques, brick row houses, trendy restaurants, cafes, and more.
Museum of Fine Arts
According to a recent Trip Advisor poll, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is considered one of the best museums in the country.
The MFA is home to 450,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, furniture, and more that span from ancient Egypt to today and is known for their rotating series of temporary exhibits that always offer a fresh take on relevant topics in the Arts and Culture today.
Getting In: Boston Museum of Fine Arts tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Steward Gardner Museum is another popular art museum for Boston visitors.
More than a museum, the building itself was the former estate of Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) herself before she gifted the estate to the museum.
You’ll get to learn all about the fascinating and progressive lifestyle led by Isabella Stewart Gardner, an art collector, philanthropist, and active member of Boston’s high society, as you tour the picturesque mansion, complete with an indoor courtyard/garden and a modern addition, too. You’ll even get to see the tragically blank walls where the pieces of art that were stolen during the infamous art heist of 1990 once hanged.
With more than 2,500 works of art from masters like Titian, Rembrandt, Manet, Degas, Sargent, and more, you’re bound to find a favorite here.
Getting In: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
Head to the Skywalk Observatory for sweeping views of Boston’s skyline and take a walk through some of Boston’s most important historical moments through the informative and interactive exhibitions on display at the observatory.
The entrance to Skywalk is conveniently located in the Prudential Center Mall, where you’ll find no shortage of name brand stores. In addition to the typical food court offerings, the Prudential Center is also home to one of the few Eataly locations in the US–a great place to pop into for authentic Italian cooking souvenirs, a glass of wine, or to sample some authentic Italian eats.
Getting In: Boston Skywalk Observatory tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Mary Baker Eddy Library & Mapparium
Take a walk through this 3-story stained glass Mapparium globe complete with special effects to enhance the experience and highlight how geography has impacted history and the world we live in.
Check out the Library’s exhibits, including Mary Baker Eddy: An Extraordinary Life to learn all about Mary Baker Eddy, a 19th-century woman best known for founding Christian Science.
Swan Boats of Boston
No trip to Boston is complete without enjoying a ride aboard one of Boston’s best beloved historic treasures – the Swan Boats of Boston, located in Boston Public Garden.
If there’s a line, it usually moves pretty fast! Be sure to spend some time walking around the paths that take you throughout the gardens, you’ll stumble upon some beautiful scenery and great photo opps.
Getting In: Boston Swan Boat rides are included with the Go Boston® Card.
Freedom Trail Walking Tour
One of the most popular tourist things to do in Boston is walk along the Freedom Trail of Boston. You’ll can literally ‘see’ the trail winding through Boston, marked by a double brick line (or sometimes red painted line) that punctuates the sidewalk and takes you past major points of historical and cultural interest.
While visitors often walk along the line at their own pace, we recommend taking a guided tour to make sure you see all the major highlights and so you can learn about each stop and its significance to Boston’s history as you go.
Getting In: Freedom Trail Boston Tour tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.
Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library is one of the most architecturally stunning buildings in Boston and worth stepping into even if just for a glimpse of their beautiful reading rooms.
A visit to the library is one of the top things to do in Back Bay.
Getting In: Admission to the Boston Public Library is free.
Faneuil Hall, the Waterfront, & North End Options to Add to Your Itinerary:
Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market
This busy shopping destination is located is a must for Boston visitors. Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market are both historic buildings.
Faneuil Hall was where America’s first town meeting was held and is now home to souvenir shops and tourist information booths.
Quincy Market was once a commercial center and is now home to tourist-centric restaurants and popular shops, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Crocs, Uniqlo, boutiques, and more.
Getting In: Admission to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market is free.
Once a major shipping location in Boston, this waterfront area has seen a significant increase in development in just the last 10 years with an increase in housing, dining, shopping, commercial real estate, and more.
Boston Children’s Museum
If you’re traveling with kids to Boston, the Boston Children’s Museum is a must-visit attraction.
Designed specifically to entertain, engage, and spark curiosity about the world we live in, this museum is packed with tons of interactive and informative exhibits.
Getting In: Boston Children’s Museum tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.
Institute of Contemporary Art
As you might have guessed by its name, the ICA is home to a vast collection of contemporary art pieces and is considered an important epicenter for art in Boston, making it immensely popular with local art-lovers.
The building itself is quite visionary and offers fantastic waterfront views of the harbor.
You’ll get to see pieces from the museum’s extensive permanent collection in addition to whatever temporary exhibit the museum is featuring at the moment. They also have a top-notch gift shop where you can find souvenirs, art prints, and unique goods.
Getting In: Institute of Contemporary Art tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.
Cambridge Options to Add to Your Itinerary
Harvard Walking Tour
Explore the university that some of the best and brightest students from around the world attend, Harvard University.
Get the most out of your visit by taking a walking tour, led by a current student, for a true insider’s perspective on all the highlights and important history behind some of the campus’ stunning architecture, beautifully landscaped green spaces, and famous sites.
Getting In: Harvard Walking Tour tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
If earth science and biology fascinate you, a visit to the Harvard Museum of Natural History is a must-see.
Located on the Harvard University campus, this museum is packed with natural gemstones, fossils, skeletons, artifacts, and more.
You’ll get to see over 12,000 specimens from around the globe – including dinosaurs!
Getting In: Harvard Museum of Natural History tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
Located right next to the Harvard Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is another great museum to visit in the Cambridge area and focuses on exploring ancient world cultures.
From Native American art to Mayan architecture, you’ll find a fascinating range of artifacts and ancient objects on display.
Getting In: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
Charles River Cruise
Get out on the Charles River and explore Boston from its famous waterway.
This guided, 60-minute tour of the river covers the major sites and history of both Boston and Cambridge — the cities it physically divides. Along the way, you’ll get some unique sightseeing and photograph opportunities.
Getting In: Charles River Cruise tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
The MIT Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Cambridge.
You’ll get an insider’s look into the world of technology and innovation right at the source of some of the industry’s most cutting-edge discoveries.
This museum is known for its engaging exhibits that explore the history of technological development around the globe and right here in Cambridge.
Getting In: MIT Museum tickets are included on the Go Boston® Card.
Salem Options to Add to Your Itinerary
Drawn by a fascination with the infamous witch hunts of the late 1600s, most visitors who are spending more than a couple days in Boston try to carve out some time in their Boston itnieraries to explore historic Salem.
Salem Witch Museum
Learn all about the evolution of witches, or the belief in witches, throughout history at the Salem Witch Museum, Salem’s most visited museum.
The museum explores the presence of witches in various cultures with of course a particular focus on the witch hysteria of 1692 in an educational and entertaining way.
Tip: be sure to check out the museum’s gift shop–they sell tons of fun souvenirs, crafts by local artists, and some of the most fun Halloween costumes and decorations around.
Getting In: Salem Witch Museum tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.
House of the Seven Gables
The House of Seven Gables, New England’s oldest wooden mansion built in 1668 and was once home to Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter.
Go on a guided tour of the famous home, stroll through the well-kept gardens, and enjoy the waterfront views.
Getting In: General Admission House of Seven Gables tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.
Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has a fascinating history in itself worth exploring. The museum is home to a collection of 1 million artifacts and treasures that were collected by sea captains who would bring back interesting treasures and rare finds from their adventures overseas to make for a unique representation of world history.
In addition to its permanent collection, the PEM dedicates a lot of resources to their temporary exhibits — be sure to check their site before you go to see what’s going on at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Getting In: Peabody Essex Museum tickets are included with the Go Boston® Card.
So there’s your perfect week in Boston itinerary – tours, museums, cruises, and much more.
This 5 to 7 day Boston itinerary will introduce you to the best of Boston and its surrounding areas (Cambridge and Salem) and give you a taste of what it’s like to experience the city as a local.
Remember, the attractions mentioned in this itinerary are just some of the many options available on the Go Boston Card All-Inclusive Pass. With the pass, you have the ability to create an itinerary entirely based on the sights and attractions you want to see in Boston