Are you ready to uncover the hidden gems, the must-visit spots, and the local favorites that make Boston one of the most vibrant cities in the United States? Look no further, because in this Local’s Guide to the Best of Boston, you’ll discover an insider’s perspective on everything this iconic city has to offer. From historic landmarks to mouth-watering cuisine, thrilling entertainment to serene green spaces, get ready to experience Boston like a true local. So grab your walking shoes, bring your appetite, and let’s dive into the vibrant tapestry of Boston’s best!

A Locals Guide To The Best Of Boston

Food and Drink

Whether you’re a seafood lover, a fan of Italian cuisine, someone who enjoys a leisurely brunch, a connoisseur of craft beer, or a cocktail enthusiast, Boston has something to satisfy all your cravings.


Boston is known for its fresh seafood, and there are plenty of places to indulge in this local specialty. From traditional clam chowder to succulent lobster rolls, you’ll find a variety of seafood dishes to tantalize your taste buds. Head to the North End or Seaport District for some of the best seafood restaurants in town.


If you’re in the mood for Italian cuisine, Boston’s North End is the place to be. Known as “Little Italy,” this neighborhood is filled with charming streets lined with authentic Italian restaurants and cafes. Treat yourself to some delicious pasta, pizza, or cannoli and immerse yourself in the warm Italian hospitality.


Brunch is a beloved weekend tradition in Boston, and there are countless spots to enjoy a leisurely mid-morning meal. From trendy cafes with inventive brunch menus to classic diners serving up stacks of pancakes, you’ll find a brunch spot to suit your taste. Be sure to make a reservation, as brunch spots can get quite busy on weekends.


For beer enthusiasts, Boston offers a vibrant craft beer scene. From well-established breweries to up-and-coming microbreweries, you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from. Take a brewery tour, sample a variety of beers, and learn about the craft brewing process. Don’t forget to pick up some local brews to bring back as souvenirs.

Cocktail Bars

If you appreciate the art of mixology, Boston has no shortage of cocktail bars where you can indulge in expertly crafted libations. From hip speakeasies to rooftop bars with stunning views, you’ll find a cocktail bar to suit your style. Sip on a classic cocktail or try one of the bartender’s creative concoctions – either way, you’re in for a treat.

Outdoor Activities

When you’re ready to get outside and explore, Boston offers a wealth of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Historical Walking Tours

Embark on a historical walking tour to immerse yourself in Boston’s rich history. Walk along the Freedom Trail and learn about the city’s role in the American Revolution. Explore historic neighborhoods like Beacon Hill and discover hidden gems along the way. A guided tour will provide fascinating insights and bring history to life.

Biking the Emerald Necklace

Boston’s Emerald Necklace is a network of parks and green spaces that offers a beautiful backdrop for biking. Rent a bike and pedal your way through this scenic route, which includes the stunning Arnold Arboretum and Jamaica Pond. Enjoy the fresh air, lush greenery, and picturesque views as you explore the city on two wheels.

Boating on the Charles River

Take to the water and rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the iconic Charles River. Enjoy a leisurely paddle while taking in panoramic views of the Boston skyline and iconic landmarks. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, you can also take a scenic riverboat cruise and let someone else do the navigating.

Exploring Boston Common

Boston Common is the oldest public park in the United States and offers a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. Take a stroll through the park’s lush green spaces, visit the famous Swan Boats, and enjoy people-watching from one of the park’s many benches. Boston Common is also a popular spot for concerts and events, so be sure to check the calendar for any upcoming happenings.

Picnic Spots

When the weather is nice, picnicking in one of Boston’s scenic spots is a must-do activity. Pack a picnic basket filled with local treats from a nearby market and head to one of the city’s picturesque parks. From the charming Public Garden to the waterfront parks along the Harborwalk, you’ll find numerous spots to enjoy a leisurely picnic with friends or family.

Cultural Experiences

Boston is a city rich in cultural experiences, with world-class museums, historical landmarks, and renowned universities.

Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world. Explore its vast collection, which spans thousands of years and includes works from various cultures and periods. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to Impressionist masterpieces, the MFA offers a diverse and captivating art experience.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to marvel at its stunning architecture and immersive art collections. This unique museum was once the home of Isabella Stewart Gardner, a passionate art collector. Explore the galleries filled with paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, and take a stroll through the beautiful courtyard garden.

Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that takes you on a journey through Boston’s revolutionary history. Follow the red-brick path and visit 16 historical sites, including the Massachusetts State House, Paul Revere’s House, and the Old North Church. A visit to the Freedom Trail is like stepping back in time and offers a glimpse into the city’s role in shaping American independence.

Fenway Park

Sports fans shouldn’t miss a visit to Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Take a guided tour of this iconic stadium and learn about its storied history. Even if you’re not catching a game, you can soak in the atmosphere and snap a picture with the famous “Green Monster” – Fenway Park’s towering left-field wall.

Harvard University

No trip to Boston would be complete without a visit to Harvard University, one of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions. Take a walk through Harvard Yard, the historic heart of the campus, and soak in the prestigious atmosphere. You can also explore the Harvard Museum of Natural History, which houses an extensive collection of specimens and artifacts.

Neighborhoods to Explore

Boston is a city of distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique personality and charm. Here are some neighborhoods worth exploring:

Beacon Hill

Step into the picture-perfect streets of Beacon Hill, known for its historic charm and gas-lit lanterns. Explore the narrow, cobblestone streets lined with quaint brownstones, browse boutique shops, and stop for a bite at a cozy cafe. Don’t miss the iconic Acorn Street, one of the most photographed streets in the city.

North End

Indulge in the flavors of “Little Italy” in the North End. This vibrant neighborhood is filled with authentic Italian restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops. Take a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets, enjoy a cannoli from one of the local bakeries, and soak in the lively atmosphere.

South End

The South End is a trendy and diverse neighborhood known for its beautiful Victorian brownstones and thriving arts scene. Explore the area’s unique shops, art galleries, and boutiques. The South End is also home to a vibrant dining scene, with a wide range of cuisines to choose from.

Back Bay

Back Bay is one of Boston’s most iconic neighborhoods, known for its elegant Victorian architecture and upscale shopping districts. Stroll down Newbury Street, a famous shopping destination filled with designer boutiques and charming sidewalk cafes. Don’t miss the picturesque Public Garden and the iconic Trinity Church.

Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain, or JP as locals call it, is a diverse and eclectic neighborhood known for its green spaces and community spirit. Visit the Arnold Arboretum, a sprawling park with beautiful gardens and walking trails. Explore the neighborhood’s independent shops, art galleries, and trendy restaurants.

A Locals Guide To The Best Of Boston


Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion, unique gifts, or local treats, Boston has a variety of shopping destinations to satisfy your retail desires.

Newbury Street

Newbury Street is a must-visit for fashion enthusiasts and shopaholics. This iconic street is lined with high-end boutiques, department stores, and trendy shops. Browse the racks of designer labels, discover unique local designers, and enjoy a coffee or meal at one of the stylish cafes or restaurants.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Located in the heart of downtown Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a bustling shopping and dining destination. Explore the historic Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market buildings, where you’ll find a mix of national retailers, local artisans, and delicious food stalls. Don’t forget to stop by the iconic Samuel Adams statue.


Cross the Charles River to Cambridge and visit CambridgeSide, a popular shopping mall with a mix of national chains and independent boutiques. Browse the shops, catch a movie at the cinema, and enjoy a meal at one of the mall’s many dining options. With its convenient location near the MIT campus, CambridgeSide is a favorite among locals and students alike.

Prudential Center

The Prudential Center is a shopping and dining destination located in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Browse the upscale shops, including designer boutiques and luxury department stores. Take in panoramic views of the city from the observation deck on the 50th floor, and enjoy a meal at one of the center’s award-winning restaurants.

Copley Place

Adjacent to the Prudential Center, Copley Place is another upscale shopping destination in Boston’s Back Bay. Explore the large selection of luxury brands, including designer clothing, accessories, and home goods. Copley Place also features an assortment of gourmet dining options for when you need a break from shopping.

Live Music Venues

Boston has a thriving live music scene, with venues that cater to a variety of musical tastes. Whether you’re into rock, jazz, or indie, you’ll find a spot to enjoy some live tunes.

House of Blues

Located in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, the House of Blues is a popular venue for both established and up-and-coming artists. Catch a concert in the main hall, or check out the Foundation Room for a more intimate experience. The House of Blues also features a restaurant serving Southern-inspired cuisine.

Paradise Rock Club

The Paradise Rock Club is an iconic concert venue in Boston’s Allston neighborhood. Known for its intimate atmosphere and excellent acoustics, this venue has hosted legendary artists over the years. Check the calendar for upcoming shows and get ready to rock out in a historic setting.

The Sinclair

The Sinclair in Cambridge is a popular venue for both local and national acts. With its state-of-the-art sound system and intimate setting, it provides an unforgettable live music experience. From indie bands to singer-songwriters, you’ll find a diverse lineup of performances at The Sinclair.

Berklee Performance Center

Located in the Back Bay, the Berklee Performance Center is a hub for emerging musicians and performers. This venue showcases the talent of students and faculty from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, as well as guest artists from around the world. Catch a concert or musical performance and support the next generation of musical talents.


Royale is a vibrant nightclub and live music venue in downtown Boston. Known for its energetic atmosphere and cutting-edge sound system, this venue attracts a variety of artists and DJs from different genres. Dance the night away or enjoy a live performance in a stylish and energetic setting.

A Locals Guide To The Best Of Boston

Hidden Gems

Explore beyond the well-known attractions and you’ll discover Boston’s hidden gems – lesser-known spots that offer a unique and memorable experience.

Arnold Arboretum

Nestled in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, the Arnold Arboretum is a hidden gem for nature lovers. This 281-acre park is home to a vast collection of trees and plants from around the world. Take a leisurely walk along its winding paths, enjoy the beautiful landscapes, and learn about the diverse flora.

Mount Auburn Cemetery

While a cemetery may not be the first place that comes to mind for exploration, Mount Auburn Cemetery is a serene oasis that combines natural beauty with historical significance. Take a peaceful walk through its scenic landscapes and discover the final resting places of notable figures, including artists, writers, and politicians.

Castle Island

Located on the waterfront in South Boston, Castle Island is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Explore the historic Fort Independence, which dates back to the 1800s, and take a stroll along the scenic waterfront promenade. Grab a bite to eat at the seasonal Sullivan’s Castle Island, known for its delicious seafood and ice cream.


The Harborwalk is a network of trails that winds along Boston’s waterfront, offering panoramic views of the city skyline and harbor. Walk, run, or bike along this scenic path and discover hidden beaches, parks, and art installations. The Harborwalk is a peaceful escape from the bustling city and a great way to experience Boston’s maritime heritage.

Arnold’s Custard

Treat yourself to some delicious frozen custard at Arnold’s Custard, a local favorite in Easton, just outside of Boston. This family-owned and operated ice cream stand has been serving up creamy custard since the 1930s. Indulge in classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate or try one of their unique seasonal creations.

Sports Fanatics

Boston is a city that takes its sports seriously, and there’s no shortage of teams to root for. Whether you’re a fan of baseball, football, basketball, or hockey, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to catch a game.

Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park is the iconic home of the Boston Red Sox, the city’s beloved baseball team. Join the thousands of passionate fans and experience the electric atmosphere of a Red Sox game. From the famous “Sweet Caroline” sing-along to the crack of the bat, attending a game at Fenway Park is an unforgettable experience.

New England Patriots

If football is your game, don’t miss the chance to see the New England Patriots in action. Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, just outside of Boston, is where this legendary team plays their home games. Cheer on the Patriots and witness the magic of a team known for their winning tradition.

Boston Celtics

Basketball fans won’t want to miss catching a Boston Celtics game at the iconic TD Garden. This storied franchise has a rich history and is known for its passionate fan base. Join the sea of green and white and cheer on the Celtics as they battle it out on the court.

Boston Bruins

For hockey enthusiasts, the Boston Bruins provide an exhilarating experience on the ice. Head to the TD Garden and witness the fast-paced action and fierce rivalries of the NHL. With a dedicated fan base known for their rowdy chants, attending a Bruins game is an exciting and memorable experience.

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious and historic marathons in the world. Held annually on Patriots’ Day in April, this race attracts thousands of runners from around the globe. Join the crowds lining the marathon route and cheer on the participants as they tackle the challenging course. The spirit and energy of the Boston Marathon are truly inspiring.

Family-Friendly Attractions

Boston is a great destination for a family getaway, with a range of attractions that are sure to delight both kids and adults.

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is a must-visit for families. Explore the impressive exhibits that showcase a variety of marine life, including sea turtles, penguins, and sharks. Don’t miss the popular Giant Ocean Tank, a massive cylindrical tank that houses a vibrant coral reef ecosystem.

Museum of Science

The Museum of Science offers a hands-on learning experience for visitors of all ages. Explore interactive exhibits, participate in experiments, and catch a show at the planetarium or IMAX theater. From dinosaurs to space exploration, the museum covers a wide range of scientific topics and will ignite curiosity in visitors of all ages.

Franklin Park Zoo

Take a walk on the wild side at the Franklin Park Zoo. Located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, this 72-acre zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world. Explore exhibits such as the Tropical Rainforest, African Savannah, and Serengeti Crossing. Don’t miss the opportunity to get up close and personal with the zoo’s friendly inhabitants during feeding and enrichment activities.

Boston Children’s Museum

The Boston Children’s Museum provides a fun and educational experience for young visitors. Spark creativity in the Art Studio, explore the Construction Zone, and learn about the natural world in exhibits like “Explore-a-Saurus” and “Science Playground.” With interactive exhibits designed to engage and inspire children, this museum is a hit with families.

Boston Duck Tours

Hop aboard an iconic amphibious vehicle and embark on a Boston Duck Tour. This unique land and water tour takes you on a journey through the city’s historic streets and then plunges into the Charles River for a scenic cruise. Learn about Boston’s history and landmarks while enjoying a fun and entertaining ride that kids will love.

Local Tips and Etiquette

As a visitor to Boston, it’s helpful to be aware of local tips and etiquette to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Use Public Transportation

Boston has a well-developed public transportation system, including subway (known as the “T”), buses, and commuter rails. Using public transportation is not only convenient, but it also helps reduce traffic congestion in the city. Purchase a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to pay for fares, and familiarize yourself with the different lines and routes to easily navigate the city.

Don’t Jaywalk

While it may be tempting to jaywalk in busy areas, especially when trying to catch a train or cross the street quickly, it’s important to follow pedestrian rules and wait for the signal to cross. Boston is known for its historic charm, but its narrow streets can be congested, and drivers may not be expecting jaywalkers. Take the safe route and use designated crosswalks.

Be Prepared for Crowds

Boston is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer months and around major events. Be prepared for crowds, particularly in popular areas like Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Freedom Trail. Consider visiting popular attractions early in the day or during less crowded times to make the most of your visit.

Tipping Culture

Tipping is customary in the United States, including Boston. In restaurants, it is typical to leave a tip of 15-20% of the total bill for good service. Additionally, it is customary to tip hotel staff, taxi drivers, and other service providers. Be sure to carry cash for tipping purposes, as not all establishments may accept credit card tips.

Respect Historical Sites

Boston is a city steeped in history, and many of its landmarks and sites have immense cultural and historical significance. When visiting historical sites, such as the Paul Revere House or the Massachusetts State House, be mindful of the surrounding environment and any signs or restrictions in place. Avoid touching or climbing on artifacts, and be respectful of any guidelines aimed at preserving these sites for future generations.

In conclusion, Boston offers a wealth of experiences for visitors of all interests. From savoring fresh seafood and exploring historic sites to enjoying live music and discovering hidden gems, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a memorable journey through the best of Boston.