Planning a weekend in Boston, but unsure what to do to make the most of your time? We’ve put together a great itinerary for 2 days in Boston that will show you the best of the city in just one weekend!
From sightseeing tours and museums to historical buildings and beyond, Boston has so much to offer that we know you’ll love your trip.
This weekend itinerary includes:
- Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Trolley
- Museum of Science
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Skywalk Observatory
- New England Aquarium
- Faneuil Hall & Quincy Marketplace
- Old State House
Save on Attraction Admission
Pick up a 2-Day Go Boston® Card and save off combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Remember, this 2 days 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.
Stop #1 – Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley
A Boston Trolley ride is the perfect way to start off your Boston vacation. You’ll see all the best sights of the city and feel better oriented when you start to go off on your own to explore.
Best of all, you can board and disembark at your leisure, so you don’t need to ride the full loop if something interests you! Your pass is good for two days, so you can hop on and off at any time to explore during your entire weekend trip.
Remember to get your trolley ticket in advance at one of the designated pickup locations. There are 17 stops in total, so the full loop could take up to an hour and 45 minutes.
Getting In: Hop-On Hop-Off Boston Trolley Tour: 2-Day Tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Stop #2 – Option 1 (indoor): Museum of Science
There are few cities as scientifically inclined as Boston. Home to MIT, Harvard, and many of the best research labs in the world, Boston knows what it’s doing when it comes to science.
That’s why a visit to the acclaimed Museum of Science is a no-brainer! Kids and adults alike will enjoy their award-winning exhibits (more than 700 of them!), interactive displays, and special programming.
Some of the highlights include the landmark Hall of Human Life, which features the biology of the human body, and the Charles Hayden Planetarium, the most sophisticated digital planetarium in the entire region.
Getting In: Museum of Science tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.
Stop #2 – Option 2 (outdoor): The Boston Common & Boston Public Gardens
If it’s a nice day, hop off the Trolley Tour at the Boston Common and explore this beautiful urban park in the heart of Boston. Here, you’ll find people and animals enjoying the green space, gardens, and water features throughout the park.
Come here to people watch or to take photos of the beautiful flowers in the Public Gardens. A visit to these charming green spaces is a great way to see a different side of Boston.
If the Swan Boats are operating, get in line for a quick, relaxing cruise along the lagoon powered by pedaling (but you can just sit on one of the benches!)–it’s one of the most quintessential Boston experiences.
Getting In: There’s no fee for entering either the Common or the Public Gardens, but there are Swan Boat rides that operate seasonally. Admission to the Swan Boats of Boston is included in the Go Boston Card.
Grab Some Lunch
The Trolley enables you to essentially get all around the city very easily, so take advantage of it.
There are plenty of great neighborhoods to explore with great dining options all around you. A few places nearby are the Theater District, Chinatown, and the Back Bay.
Some of our favorite places to eat nearby are:
- jm Curley: serving up what’s arguably the best burger in Boston and other innovative and delicious options
- Legal Crossing: an offspring of Legal Sea Foods, this location serves up old and new seafood favorites
- Tatte Bakery & Café: pastries, sandwiches, and other grab-n-go options with a seat-yourself atmosphere
- Cheers: an attraction in itself, the location near Boston Public Garden is the one with the iconic facade of the bar from Cheers, the hit TV series
Stop #3 – Museum of Fine Arts
After lunch, hop back on the trolley towards the Museum of Fine Arts. This prestigious art museum has something to appeal to every taste, from their extensive collection of early colonial art and furnishings to their beautiful modern art selection and beyond.
Don’t forget to stop in the gift shop! The MFA shop is one of the best places for unique souvenirs in all of Boston.
We recommend reserving at least 2 hours for the MFA, although you may want more time if you’ve got some big art-lovers in the family. Check their site to see what temporary exhibits they’re featuring during your visit–they’re known to host scores of well-known artists, from centuries-old to modern-day.
Getting In: Boston Museum of Fine Arts tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Stop #4 – Skywalk Observatory
We can’t think of a better way to end your first day in Boston than with a trip to the top of this must-see attraction. Located 50 floors atop one of Boston’s most popular shopping areas, the Skywalk Observatory provides unparalleled, 360-degree views of the city below and the iconic Boston skyline.
During certain times of year, you can even catch the sunset! Don’t forget to leave a little bit of time to explore the shops below, too.
We recommend leaving about an hour for the Skywalk, to give yourself enough time to explore the exhibits and take pictures.
Getting In: Skywalk Observatory Boston tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Dinner on Newbury Street
Since you’ll be in the heart of the Boylston / Newbury Street area, there are tons of dining options for you to choose from. You’ll find everything from pizza and pasta to boutique cupcake shops and cute little cafés.
Stop #1 – New England Aquarium
The whole family will love a visit to the renowned New England Aquarium. From Caribbean coral reefs to bustling penguin colonies, the Aquarium contains marine life from around the globe.
You’ll encounter those loveable penguins, seals, sharks, jellies, sea turtles, tropical fish, and many more species on your visit. Don’t forget to stop by the Shark & Ray Touch Tank exhibit for a chance at “hands-on” fun.
We recommend saving between 1-2 hours for the Aquarium, perhaps more if you have kids.
Getting In: New England Aquarium tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Stop #2 – Faneuil Hall & Quincy Marketplace
After visiting the aquarium, take a short walk to Faneuil Hall and devote some time to exploring this historical center. Faneuil Hall was once a meeting place in colonial times, but today is filled with shops and dining venues.
You can also find tons of musicians and street performers near Faneuil Hall – so stay a while and listen before heading to lunch!
Getting In: Both Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market are open to the public, but you may want to purchase souvenirs or food. Leave yourself 30 minutes to an hour to explore.
Lunch on the Waterfront
If you’re going for the authentic experience on your Boston weekend getaway, then you can’t leave without trying some real New England clam chowder. Available at various restaurants all along the waterfront and into the North End, this Boston classic is a must-try meal.
Not a fan of seafood? Then venture a little bit further, into the North End, for some authentic Italian meals and pastries.
Stop #3 – Option 1 (indoor): Old State House
Visit one of the most important historical sites in downtown Boston – the Old State House. Here, you’ll learn all about the history of colonial Boston and Revolutionary America through artifacts (including recovered tea from the Tea Party!), exhibits, and tours.
Roam through accurately decorated period rooms – many with real historic furniture and artifacts! – and see important spaces in the building, like the recently-restored King’s Council Chamber.
It’s a stop along the Freedom Trail, but you can certainly come here on your own anytime to soak up the atmosphere and peruse the exhibits. Keep an eye out for John Hancock’s bright red velvet coat!
Getting In: Old State House tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.
Stop #3 – Option 2 (outdoor): USS Constitution Cruise
Continue your waterfront adventures with a cruise of Boston’s Inner Harbor to visit the USS Constitution, aka “Old Ironsides”.
The cruise highlights the waterfront’s other historical and contemporary landmarks, including Old North Church, and Charlestown’s Bunker Hill Monument.
This cruise is sold on first-come, first-served basis. March 28–November 22: Daily, every hour on the half hour 10:30 am-4:30 pm. Hours change seasonally. Please check attraction website for exact schedule.
Getting In: USS Constitution Cruise tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Dinner in the North End
Even if you’ve ventured up here around lunchtime, you can never fully explore the rich and delicious North End dining scene.
From award-winning, innovative dishes to seemingly simple, but authentic, and classic Italian dishes, you’ll find a wide variety of dining options to choose from.
Don’t leave without a dessert from Mike’s Pastries (although beware of their legendarily long lines!).
So there’s your perfect 2 days in Boston weekend itinerary – tours, museums, cruises, and much more.
This two-day itinerary will introduce you to the best of Boston and give you a taste of what it’s like to experience Beantown as a local.