While Massachusetts is known for the landing site of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, the state’s history goes well beyond that. As the primary site of much of the Revolutionary War, Boston has numerous historic landmarks along the Freedom Trail, including the Bunker Hill Monument, Paul Revere House, and the National Historic Landmark, the USS Constitution.
But the state has so much beyond its colonial history: extensive art museums, historic buildings, outdoor recreation, food, delicious coffee shops, and seaside fun.
Western Massachusetts is the go-to place for skiing in the wintertime, but it’s a four-season destination. You’ll be in heaven in the beautiful Berkshires if you like theater, live music, or the fine arts. You can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge or see the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.
Cape Cod is a family-friendly destination with lighthouses, beaches, and hiking and biking trails. Just off of Cape Cod, the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are famous for their gorgeous bluffs, glorious sunsets, and stunning beaches.
Central Massachusetts is famous for its many farms, with opportunities to pick-your-own strawberries, pumpkins, and peaches. In addition, families love to visit Old Sturbridge Village, a re-creation of a 19th Century town.
North of Boston, you’ll find whale watching in Gloucester and Newburyport, while Salem is famous for the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th Century. South of Boston in Plymouth County lies Plymouth Rock, some of the nation’s best farms, and quiet beach towns.
Massachusetts offers so much more than American history, with gorgeous fall foliage in the Berkshires, delectable lobster, contemporary art museums, and performing arts. Want more tips on some of the best things to do in Massachusetts? Keep reading for more Massachusetts fun!
Hauntings of Salem is a guided walking tour that takes you on a journey through the city's past. You will learn about its 400 years of history as well as its more recent paranormal events. This stress-free package is ideal for first-time visitors to Salem, who want to explore the city in an easy and fun way.
The Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour with 14 Stops is the best way to see the city. Whether you’re a history buff looking to learn more about the nation’s beginnings and how it all started right here in Boston, or if you just want to see some of America’s most beautiful and historic sites like the USS ‘Constitution,’ Paul Revere House, The Freedom Trail, etc., then this is for you! You can also visit other great attractions at discounted prices when you purchase this ticket.
Boston Duck Tours is the Original and World Famous Boston sightseeing tour company. For more than 25 years, it has always offered a fun, informative, and unique way to experience Boston. Hop on board a World War II style amphibious vehicle that travels both land and water. Explore Boston's historic streets as you splash into the Charles River on an 80-minute tour of the city.
Table of Contents
- Best Things to Do in Massachusetts & Places to Visit
- 1. Boston Tour with Boat Cruise
- 2. Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place
- 3. Pilgrim Memorial State Park and Plymouth Rock
- 4. A Day at the Museums in Boston
- 5. Private Tour of Martha’s Vineyard
- 6. A Trip to Historic Salem
- 7. A Day at the Springfield Museums
- 8. Freedom Trail Tour
- 9. Old Sturbridge Village
- 10. Experience music at Tanglewood
- 11. Plimoth Patuxet Museum (formerly Plymouth Plantation)
- 12. The Essex Antique Trail
- 13. Private Literary History Tour of Concord
- 14. Secret Food Tour in Boston’s North End
- 15. Four-Handed Illusions Magic and Comedy Show
- 16. A Tour of Historic Taverns in Boston
- 17. EcoTarium
- 18. Boston Underground Donut Tour
- 19. Cape Cod National Seashore
- 20. Myopia Polo Club
- 21. Norman Rockwell Museum
- 22. Walden Pond State Reservation
- 23. New England Aquarium
- 24. Six Flags New England
- 25. Boston Duck Boat
- 26. Fenway Park Tour
- 27. Whale Watching Tour
- 28. The Grand Boston
- What is the best thing to do with kids in Massachusetts?
- What is Massachusetts known for?
- What are some fun things to do in Massachusetts for adults?
- Is Massachusetts worth visiting?
If you’re looking for a short list of the best things to do in Massachusetts, it’s right here:
- Most significant landmark – Plymouth Rock
- Best park – Pilgrim Memorial State Park
- Best free activity – Cape Cod National Seashore
- Best activity for kids – Springfield Museums
- Best activity for adults – Martha’s Vineyard Tour
- Best food – Secret Food Tour in Boston
- Best nightlife – The Grand Boston
- Best all-around accommodation – Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort
Best Things to Do in Massachusetts & Places to Visit
1. Boston Tour with Boat Cruise
Address: Pick up is at your hotel in downtown Boston
There are so many fun things in Boston that it’s often hard to decide what to do first! This full-day sightseeing adventure highlights some of Boston’s famous attractions, from the USS Constitution, Harvard University, Fenway Park, and Bunker Hill.
Narrated by a knowledgeable local guide, this small tour picks up directly from your downtown Boston hotel. The first stop is the Bunker Hill Monument, one of the first battle sites in the American Revolution.
Then you will head through the streets of Boston passing many famous landmarks such as Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the famous Fenway Park.
One of the best parts about this tour is the 90-minute cruise, where you can see some of Boston’s historical sites from the water. One of the most famous places to visit during the voyage is Griffin’s Wharf, the location of the Boston Tea Party when Americans protested Great Britain’s tax on tea.
This all-day educational adventure allows you to see many of the city’s top tourist attractions, from the city streets to the water. With such a good overview of local sites, you can scratch many things off your itinerary in one day!
Come back from your day of sightseeing to relax at the spa or indoor pool at the InterContinental Boston, an IHG Hotel. Conveniently located, the upscale hotel is a perfect place to lay your head.
See Related: Most Haunted Hotels in Salem, Massachusetts
2. Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place
Address: 1 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA 02035
Gillette Stadium is a New England treasure, home to the NFL’s New England Patriots and the MLS’s New England Revolution. Opened in 2002, the stadium seats roughly 65,000 fans and is 1.9 million square feet.
The venue also displays a little bit of New England’s heritage with a bridge and stylized lighthouse to greet fans at the Enel Plaza. In addition, the region’s coastal heritage is showcased in a seascape scene that encompasses the players’ entrance to the field.
One of the stadium’s best features is unobstructed views from almost every seat inside the turnstiles. There are also many places to gather with other fans and watch the game, such as the Bud Light Party Deck, DraftKings Fantasy Sports Zone, and the Encore Boston Harbor Terrace.
In addition, with member-only access to the comfortable Putnam Club, and 88 luxury suites available, you can watch the game in style. If you cannot score a ticket to a game while in town, you can always visit Patriot Place, more than 1 million square feet of entertainment, shopping, and dining.
Right next to the stadium, Patriot Place has almost 20 dining options, numerous retailers, a bowling alley, a cinema, and a gaming center.
A trip to the Hall of Fame is a must as it’s easily one of the best things to do in Massachusetts for Patriots fans! It was opened in 2008 as a modern, interactive museum experience that is fun for all ages!
The museum displays the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophies and championship rings, among many other exhibits and artifacts. Stay near the stadium at this one-of-a-kind lakefront cottage with a private dock on Lake Archer.
See Related: Best Breweries in Massachusetts
3. Pilgrim Memorial State Park and Plymouth Rock
Address: 79 Water Street, Plymouth, MA 02360
Pilgrim Memorial State Park is a must-do item for history lovers looking to see the famous Plymouth Rock and the National Monument to the Forefathers. The park was established in 1920 to mark the 300th anniversary of the Pilgrim’s landing.
The waterfront park brings more than 1 million tourists annually. While the park’s main draw is seeing Plymouth Rock, visitors enjoy fantastic harbor views and excellent hiking trails.
From spring to fall, the park has educational programs throughout the day. In addition, there are 30-minute guided walking tours and ten-minute historical talks at Plymouth Rock.
The simple boulder symbolizes the Pilgrim’s voyage to New England, although no historical evidence exists to confirm the rock as the actual stepping stone to the new world. However, a 94-year-old church elder identified this specific rock as the landing place of his father and other Mayflower passengers, 121 years after the Mayflower’s arrival.
Whether the rock is the same stepping stone to the New World as the Pilgrims used is debatable. However, this rock is an American icon and monument symbolizing freedom, regardless of historical accuracy.
In addition to Plymouth Rock, a giant granite statue was built to honor the Mayflower’s passengers. This statue, the National Monument to the Forefathers, is considered the largest granite monument in the United States. Visiting Plymouth Rock is one of the most symbolic things to do in Massachusetts!
See Related: Best National Parks to Visit in November
4. A Day at the Museums in Boston
While Boston may be famous for its historical museums, many museums are dedicated to art, science, and culture. You probably won’t have enough time to visit all of them in one day (unless you’re just amazingly fast!), but it’s worth picking out a couple so you can spend a day quenching your thirst for knowledge.
If you want to explore art museums, you’ll want to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts includes everything from Monet to Mummies, while the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has European, Asian, and American art, dating back to the 21st Century BCE. Interesting fact- the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the site of the largest art heist in the 20th Century!
History lovers will rejoice with the USS Constitution Museum, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
Kids and adults will enjoy the USS Constitution Museum, with two historic ships and interactive exhibits. The Boston Tea Party Museum is another place for families to explore vessels and learn about the beginning of the American Revolution.
If you’re traveling with children, the Museum of Science and the Boston Children’s Museum should be must-do items on your itinerary! They both use the power of play to teach children about science, math, and the world around them.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
5. Private Tour of Martha’s Vineyard
Address: Tour starts at Martha’s Vineyard Airport or Vineyard Haven Marina
Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, is known for its traditional New England-style homes, gorgeous landscape, lighthouses, art galleries, and beautiful beaches. The island is a vacation destination for people throughout New England and beyond. Martha’s Vineyard is only accessible by air or boat, so Massachusetts residents generally take the ferry to Vineyard Haven, the island’s port.
This private tour will let you explore the island by foot and car, visiting Lambert’s Cove, Vineyard Heaven, Gay Head, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs. The tour will stop at the famous coffee shop and bookstore, Behind the Bookstore Cafe, for a delightful lunch.
Oak Bluffs is famous for its iconic carousel, sandy beaches, Carpenter-style Gothic cottages, and eclectic shops. Aquinnah, formerly known as Gay Head, is known for the gorgeous views from the Aquinnah Lighthouse. It overlooks the red clay cliffs, the south-facing beaches, and the Elizabeth Islands.
This 6-hour trip is a fantastic way to see what makes Martha’s Vineyard special, with an excellent tour guide and lunch.
See Related: Most Beautiful & Best Vacations in the US
6. A Trip to Historic Salem
Address: Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970
Whether you are interested in learning more about Salem’s infamous Witch Trials or want to visit the setting for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The House of the Seven Gables, Salem is worth the trip! This small town on the north coast of Massachusetts is full of history, from its early Native American settlers to its maritime history and, of course, the Witch Trials.
Literary enthusiasts may enjoy a trip to The House of the Seven Gables. Although Nathaniel Hawthorne never lived there, he often visited his cousin Susanna Ingersoll who lived at the house. These visits inspired him to write the eponymous novel, The House of the Seven Gables. A guided tour allows entry to the historic home.
Another of Salem’s tourist attractions is the Peabody Essex Museum of Fine Arts, which is famous for being one of the country’s oldest art museums. Visitors to the Peabody will find authentic artifacts from the witch trials, maritime galleries, and a 200-year-old Chinese house.
If you want to see several cool places in Salem, you can do a 2-hour tour that will take you through the cobblestone-lined streets while you learn about centuries of Salem history.
You’ll also learn about the hysteria behind the infamous Witch Trials, and you’ll meet real practicing witches. If you like a little history mixed with a bit of haunting, this History and Hauntings group tour is a must-do item for your Massachusetts itinerary!
7. A Day at the Springfield Museums
Address: 21 Edwards Street, Springfield, MA 01103
The Springfield Museums, located about an hour and a half west of Boston, are a fantastic destination for all ages. Under a single admission, visitors can access five excellent museums, including The Springfield Science Museum and The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum.
The history of the Springfield museums began in 1857 when some of the earliest collections were housed in City Hall. And over 150 years later, this small vision is now a major cultural institution in Springfield’s Quadrangle.
The Museums’ motto is “Come Play With Us!” so children are more than welcome to explore and play at all museums. Many child-friendly exhibits, primarily hands-on and interactive, keep the young minds engaged. For example, the kids love the wonders of the Dr. Seuss Museum, the fun exhibits at the Springfield Science Museum, and the fun sculptures at the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden.
While the museums are fantastic for kids, the exhibits are for all ages. For example, adults may enjoy the Salvador Dali exhibit at the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts or the popular exhibition on the Springfield College Protests in 1969 at the Wood Museum of Springfield History.
In addition to their regular exhibits, the Springfield Museums often have events, special programming, or lectures as a bonus. There is so much to learn, explore, and see at the Museums that you may want to come back for a second day to see it all!
If you want to stay nearby, consider the MGM Casino, which is an 8-minute walk from the Museums and 0.4 miles away. Their sanctuary-like rooms are a treat after all-day sightseeing and with onsite amenities like a movie theater, bowling, casino, and upscale bars, your entire family will be happy!
See Related: Best Unusual Museums in the US
8. Freedom Trail Tour
Address: 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111
The Freedom Trail is easily the best thing to do in Boston for history buffs, with 16 historical sites along the way. Whether you’ve got a day or all week, you can explore as much of the trail as time allows. The historic 2.5-mile route includes churches, buildings, burying grounds, schools, and homes.
The Granary Burying Ground, named for the grain storage building next door, is the resting place for over 2,000 citizens. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the resting place of local artisans, merchants, and craftsmen of the North End. Boston’s first proper burying ground was King’s Burying Ground.
During the city’s early days, visitors to Boston often saw the 217-foot steeple of Park Street Church. Old North Church is known for Paul Revere’s midnight ride and “One if by land, two if by sea.”
The Boston Massacre site is where Bostonians and Redcoats clashed in the streets on March 5, 1770, while the first major battle of the American Revolution occurred on Bunker Hill. A trip to Faneuil Hall will take you back to when the first Town meeting occurred, and a visit to the Old South Meeting House will allow you to see where the Boston Tea Party began.
If you’re tired after a long afternoon of visiting tourist attractions along the Freedom Trail, you can order room service from your bed at The Godfrey Hotel Boston, a mere 600 feet from the Freedom Trail.
9. Old Sturbridge Village
Address: 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA 01566
If you’re looking for a family-friendly attraction, Old Sturbridge Village is easily one of the best things to do in Massachusetts! Located in Sturbridge, just an hour outside Boston, the Village is a living history museum spanning over 200 acres. This museum depicts life in New England from the 1790s to the 1830s.
While visiting, you can tour 40 historical buildings and hear stories from the costumed historians as they play the part of rural citizens. Museumgoers may see a cabinetmaker, blacksmith, or potter “at work” or smell food being cooked over a real hearth.
In addition, you can visit the garden and working farm to see more than 400 plants, sheep, chickens, pigs, and cattle. There is also a pond where you can relax and nature trails for exploration.
Old Sturbridge Village is a family favorite in Massachusetts for many reasons, but there is also a horse-drawn wagon ride!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in a Small Town
10. Experience music at Tanglewood
Address: 297 West Street, Lenox, MA 01240
Located in the beautiful Berkshire Hills in the town of Lenox lies the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood. This beautiful music venue welcomes almost 400,000 visitors yearly for its performances and recitals.
In the winter of 1936, the local Tappan family offered Tanglewood, the Tappan family estate, as a gift to the orchestra. With over 200 acres of gorgeous lawns and meadows, Tanglewood’s first concert, an all-Beethoven program, was held in August of 1937. Since that first concert, Tanglewood has been the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
There is programming for all ages at Tanglewood, with family concerts like Peter and the Wolf. At a family concert, the orchestra welcomes kids of all ages with an introduction to the musicians and instruments.
Although it’s the home to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tanglewood features a range of musical styles. Between the 1960s and 1990s, artists such as Willie Nelson, The Who, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, and Liza Minelli performed. The venue is also famous for its annual live taping of A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. Most recently, artists ranging from the Black Crowes to Julliard’s String Quartet played at Tanglewood.
Whether you plan to see a concert, you can freely walk the beautiful grounds or take a tour. The one-hour free walking tour includes a trip to Ozawa Hall and the Koussevitzky Music Shed while learning about Tanglewood’s history.
Stay nearby at the Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, with an on-site adventure park, restaurant, and hot tub.
11. Plimoth Patuxet Museum (formerly Plymouth Plantation)
Address: 137 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA 02360
The Plimoth Patuxet Museum, formerly known as the Plymouth Plantation, is a fantastic learning experience for people of all ages! This museum tells the complicated history of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans during the 17th Century and beyond.
At Historic Patuxet, visitors will step inside a “wetu” and learn about the home life of the Wampanoag in the 17th Century. You’ll also see a live demonstration of making a “mishoon” or dug-out canoe. There are also opportunities to learn about the Wampanoag diet and see the gardeners at work growing corn and squash.
The 17th Century English Village depicts life as a Pilgrim family, from gardening to games and even a muster drill. Visitors can then watch the miller make delicious cornmeal when they stop at the Grist mill. The Grist mill is an authentic working mill, fulfilling orders for cornmeal, grits, and flour!
Museumgoers can also see the full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower when they visit Mayflower II. This ship is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is where guests learn about the long, challenging journey that started a new nation.
The Plimoth Patuxet Museum is a fantastic learning experience for all ages, whether you’re 5 or 95. There is so much history to learn about the early settlers and the Native Americans, you must put this museum on your itinerary!
See Related: Best Things to Do in Nantucket, Massachusetts
12. The Essex Antique Trail
Address: Howard’s Flying Dragon136 Main St, Essex, MA 01929
Located just an hour from Boston, Essex is an antique lover’s dream. You could easily spend a day in town with over twenty shops to peruse. This north shore treasure is known as the Essex Antique Trail.
Essex has been the antique shopper’s paradise since the 1930s for all of New England. Most shops are located on Main Street, within walking distance, making your antique shopping effortless. In addition, most shops can help you with home delivery, so you don’t have to worry whether it may fit in your car.
The 18th and 19th Century buildings house fine museum-quality pieces, but there are also repurposed upscale items at other local shops. In addition, Essex is the place if you’re looking for unique handcrafted goods made by New England artisans.
One of the many shops is Howard’s Flying Dragon, an old-fashioned antique shop famous for its weekly signage in its store windows. With a shop cat named Beatrice and fantastic vintage finds, it’s worth a visit.
If you enjoy historical maps, stop by The Scrapbook- All Prints and Maps. It has everything you could want, whether you’re a beginner or a serious collector of antique images.
With over twenty shops, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for, but just in case. If the Essex Antique Trail doesn’t tire you, head to one of the many antique shops spread across the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway in Marblehead, Gloucester, Salem, and Ipswich.
13. Private Literary History Tour of Concord
Address: Concord, MA 01742
English teachers and literature lovers will love this private tour of Concord focused on literary history! You will see the real-life places behind the stories you’ve read, including Walden Pond and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.
The first stop is the site of the Revolutionary war’s first battle, the Old North Bridge Stand. You’ll spend 45 minutes learning about the history of the battle, and the “shot heard round the world.”
The next stop is The Old Manse, which housed writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many remarkable women, including Sara Alden Bradford Ripley.
Whether you’re a fan of Henry David Thoreau or not, you will enjoy Walden Pond. It is a deep, gorgeous pond created by a melting chunk of glacial ice. Not only can you see a replica of Thoreau’s small cabin, but you can also walk around the pond to experience the serenity he wrote about.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is the final resting place for Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne, and the Alcott family. The authors are buried in a section of the cemetery called “Author’s Ridge,” where you’ll get to pay your respects.
The last part of this fantastic literary tour is Luisa May Alcott’s Orchard House. The historic home is not only where Louisa grew up but also the setting of Little Women.
This literary history tour is a must if you’re a Thoreau, Alcott, Hawthorne, or Emerson fan!
See Related: Best Day Trips from Boston, Massachusetts
14. Secret Food Tour in Boston’s North End
Address: 136 Blackstone St, Boston, MA 02109
If you’re looking for some of the best dining spots in the Boston area, this small-group food tour is for you! The guided tour begins at the Haymarket T stop, in front of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The tour guide will hold an orange umbrella so you can’t miss them.
The tour includes seven stops and will provide you with a unique Italian sandwich, cannoli, locally roasted nuts, delicious dishes, and even a secret dish. During the three-hour culinary tour, you will learn about centuries of Massachusetts history and eat all the food!
The first stop includes fresh pasta from Little Italy, Boston’s oldest neighborhood. Also known as the North End, this small piece of Boston has almost 100 restaurants!
Another stop is near the Old North Church for a slice of pizza. The shop lies in the shadow of the church’s steeple, making it a unique destination. And, if you’re looking for local craft beer, you’ll be able to enjoy a frosty pint and some locally-made sausages at a local market.
This small group culinary tour shows you some highlights of Boston’s dining scene and over 400 years of history. Who knew history and food could be so much fun together?
15. Four-Handed Illusions Magic and Comedy Show
Address: Library of the Hampshire House,84 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
This 21 and up show is a one-of-a-kind illusion, magic, and comedy performance. Perfect for an evening out on the town with your friends or significant other, Four-Handed Illusions provides a highly-rated show consisting of mind reading and sleight of hand demonstrations.
The 50-seat setting is perfect for an intimate night out, with cocktail attire required for women and a jacket required for men. Magicians Joel Acevedo and Steve Kradolfer present the ideal mix of comedy and magic, with every performance a sell-out.
There is no stage separating the magicians from the audience, so visitors feel like they are part of the live show. Thirty minutes before the show starts, there is a pre-show reception in the Baker Bar and Hampshire House.
When it’s time for the show, visitors will enter the Library, watching everyday objects move across the room, teleport to seemingly impossible locations, or disappear entirely. The magicians also use mind reading, telepathy, and precognition to make you question if what you’re seeing is real.
This unique experience is easily one of the best things to do as adults in the Boston area. So get dressed up in your cocktail attire and watch one of the best shows in the area!
See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends
16. A Tour of Historic Taverns in Boston
Address: 257 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113
If you visit Massachusetts with other adults, you can enjoy this 3.5-hour walking tour, including some of New England’s most historical landmarks, a ride on the ferry, and two of Boston’s oldest taverns. Starting at Modern Pastry, head downstairs to meet your group and tour guide. The tour begins in the North End, Boston’s oldest neighborhood.
Visitors then walk to catch the Boston ferry to the Charlestown Navy Yard. In Charlestown, you’ll see “Old Ironsides,” better known as the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument.
Then you’ll see the actual location of the Boston Stone, a rectangular stone located in the foundation of 9 Marshall Street. This 2-foot stone reads “Boston Stone 1737,” and while there are theories about its significance, no one knows precisely why it’s there.
After seeing the mysterious stone, you see Quincy Market, the Old State House, and Faneuil Hall. Faneuil Hall was a meeting place for Patriots to discuss the “Tea crisis,” Stamp Act, the Boston Massacre, and other grievances with Great Britain.
With your history and architecture lesson, you also get two drinks and snacks included with the tour. One of the stops is at the Bell in Hand Tavern, the oldest Tavern in America, with its first pour in 1795. The second tavern is the Green Dragon, also known as the “headquarters of the Revolution.”
Enjoy your day learning about America’s history and having a couple of pints while following in the footsteps of George Washington, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere.
Address: 222 Harrington Way, Worcester, MA 01604
If you’re looking for a family-friendly experience in Worcester, you will have a blast at the EcoTarium! The three-level museum contains marine animals, interactive exhibits, nature trails, daily science demonstrations, and imaginative outdoor play. In addition, the 45-acre history and science center is just as fun for adults as it is for children, with an awesome planetarium, wild cat outdoor exhibit, and various nature paths.
The Explorer Express train, a family favorite, takes museum visitors on a 12-minute ride around the EcoTarium. If you’re a fan of the local hockey team, you’ll be pleased to see the train station has the hockey club’s blue and gray colors. In addition, the train conductors wear Worcester Railers apparel to support the local team.
One of the more unique things to do at the museum is the Otter Encounter, where you can meet Daisy and Slydell (the EcoTarium’s North American River Otters) and feed them their favorite fish. In addition, they will show off their training skills while the Zoo keepers explain the conservation challenges that otters face.
All ages will enjoy the Alden Planetarium, with 4k technology and state-of-the-art visuals. Visitors to the planetarium can explore the universe and all of its marvels during the daily planetarium shows.
This museum is one of the best things to do as a family, whether you’re in Worcester for a day or an entire week. Your kids will learn about science, animals, and history without realizing it! If your travels take you to Boston, your kids will also love the Boston Children’s Museum.
18. Boston Underground Donut Tour
Address: 90 Oliver St, Boston, MA 02110
The history of the donut is quite storied, with many states claiming the rights to the “first donut ever made.” But, regardless of who made the first donut, or doughnut, it’s no surprise that the northeast is a destination for delicious fried dough.
This underground tour of Boston allows you to sample some of the finest donuts in the area, from Kane’s, Boston’s Public Market, Union Square Donuts, and others. Then, while walking to your next fried goodness stop, you can relish the city’s history while drinking coffee.
You can try fresh apple cider and more donuts at the Boston Public Market, where local artisans and bakers provide various goods. You’ll also have time to look at the other local vendors and learn about the market’s history.
From the public market, you’ll walk through one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods, Little Italy. Here, you’ll experience a uniquely Boston treat at one of the oldest bakeries. The final stop, if you’ve still got an appetite, is Union Square Donuts back at the Public Market.
So, despite the storied history of the “first donut,” Boston has a delectable selection of doughnuts, or donuts, for your eating pleasure. This delicious sugary tour is fantastic for kids and adults, with the right amount of history mixed in with the samplings of fried dough.
19. Cape Cod National Seashore
Address: 99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, MA 02667
The Cape Cod National Seashore comprises over 40,000 acres and has 40 miles of pristine beaches, ponds, uplands, and marshes. President John F. Kennedy established this national treasure along Massachusetts’ peninsula in August 1961 and it is now operated by the National Park Service.
The seashore contains six beaches, many historic sites, and picturesque lighthouses. The Cape Cod National Seashore allows you to do it all, whether you want to enjoy nature, learn about history, see marine animals, go surfing, or read a book on the beach!
The six beaches include Nauset Light Beach, Head of the Meadow Beach, Coast Guard Beach, Race Point Beach, Marconi Beach, and Herring Cove Beach. Coast Guard Beach is often listed as one of the top 10 beaches in the United States, while Marconi Beach is famous for its Cape Cod Strand and good waves. Each beach has its unique qualities, with something for everyone!
Although most people think about the endless miles of beautiful beaches, numerous year-round trails begin at the seashore. However, if you plan to see whales, the best time to visit is from June to September, as it’s their peak migration period. During their migration, it’s likely that you’ll see more than one whale on a single whale-watching excursion!
If you want to experience Cape Cod from the water, you may want to consider a private fishing tour or boat ride. This 4-hour experience is one for the memory books!
20. Myopia Polo Club
Address: 435 Bay Road, South Hamilton, Massachusetts 01982
Attending a polo match in Massachusetts is one of the most fun things you can do! As one of the oldest clubs in the United States, Myopia Polo Club plays at the original Gibney Field. Club players compete every Sunday at 3 pm during the summer for an epic match.
You may have seen Gibney Field in the original “Thomas Crown Affair,” as the polo scenes were shot on site. The historical polo field is also referenced in the book “The Evolution of Polo,” written in 2009.
The season runs from May to October, with games open to the public. This family-friendly event features a player parade, pre-game entertainment, an exciting match, and the traditional divot stomp. In addition, kids can meet the players after the game and get autographs.
See Related: Best Golf Bachelor Party Destinations to Visit
21. Norman Rockwell Museum
Address: 9 Glendale Rd/Rte 183, Stockbridge, MA 01262
A trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum is a must if you love art or history. The museum dedicated to Rockwell’s art, contains almost 1,000 pieces of his original works. Located in Stockbridge, a two-hour drive from Boston, the Norman Rockwell Museum is a year-round cultural attraction.
Rockwell illustrated covers for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for five decades and is famous for capturing the culture of the United States during that time. Known for his paintings and illustrations, Rockwell often used humor to keep people’s spirits up, especially during the war.
Some of his more famous works include Rosie the Riveter, the Runaway, and Freedom of Speech. The museum has almost 1,000 of Rockwell’s original works and contains his art studio, which was moved from its original site to the museum. His studio shows his original art materials, furnishings, library, and personal items.
If you also want to learn more about Rockwell’s life, you will enjoy the archives, a collection of his letters, business documents, personal calendars, and photographs.
Whether you are a fan of Rockwell, a trip to the Norman Rockwell Museum is fascinating and you’ll probably recognize some of his most popular pieces.
22. Walden Pond State Reservation
Address: 915 Walden St., Concord, MA 01742
Walden Pond is best known through the eponymous book Walden by Henry David Thoreau. The author and Ralph Waldo Emerson frequented Walden Pond and the surrounding woods. Some say that the two authors, local Concord Transcendentalists, began the nature conservation movement.
Thoreau built a house on the shore of Walden Pond in 1845 on land owned by his friend and fellow writer Emerson. Although the original house is no longer there, a replica is in its place.
Visitors to Walden Pond can step back in time to the 1800s, connecting to nature and enjoying its peacefulness. While literature fans will undoubtedly enjoy seeing Thoreau’s cabin, you can also swim, walk around a nature trail, or take a boat out on the water.
Walden Pond is unique because it was formed when a massive chunk of glacial ice melted. The bottom of the pond is still in the shape of the ice chunk that melted thousands of years ago. This 102-foot deep pond is perfect for beating the summer heat.
See Related: Most Beautiful Valleys in the US
23. New England Aquarium
Address: 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110
The New England Aquarium should be on any marine animal lover’s to-do list, with four levels of educational and entertaining exhibits. In addition, you can access the Whale Watching tour or famous Duck Tour when you enter the Plaza level at ticketing.
However, before heading to the first level, stop by and look at the Harbor Seal exhibits! The aquarium is easily one of the best things to do in Massachusetts with kids, with so much to do and see.
The first level has a Shark and Manta Ray touch tank, a kid’s favorite! There are also six animal exhibits on this floor, including the Southern Rockhopper Penguin, Pacific Sea Nettle, Northern Fur Seal, Lionfish, California Sea Lion, and African Penguin.
The second level includes a Temperate Water Gallery and a Seadragon exhibit. In addition, you can take a break for lunch at the Harbor View Cafe on this level.
You have the chance to see a Green Anaconda on the fourth level and pet an American Lobster and sea star, among other sea animals, in the Edge of the Sea Touch Tank. You can get your admission ticket here.
The top floor includes a Cownose Ray, Green Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, and Balloonfish, with a Giant Ocean Tank and a Coral Reef Exhibit. And, if you don’t get enough of the marine life at the aquarium, you can watch one of the many immersive nature films at the Simons Theatre located within the aquarium.
If you’re traveling with young kids and would like to stay nearby, you may want to consider the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. Not only is it on the water, but it’s got an indoor pool to wear out the kids after a day of sightseeing!
24. Six Flags New England
Address: 1623 Main St, Agawam, MA 01001
With over 200 acres, 13 roller coasters, over 100 attractions, and a 500,000-gallon wave pool, Six Flags New England is a destination for families and thrill seekers! Although the park has had many names, including Gallup’s Grove, Riverside Grove, and Riverside Park, it’s now Six Flags New England.
Located just outside Springfield, Massachusetts, in Agawam, Six Flags is a premier destination for thrill-seeking fun! In the summertime, you can experience everything that the waterpark, Hurricane Harbor, has to offer, in addition to riding the hair-raising roller coasters and other fun attractions.
As one of 27 locations in North America, Six Flags New England has something for everyone. Not a thrill seeker? No problem!
Hop on the 1909 Illions Grand Carousel for a vintage experience, head to Adventure River (lazy river) and let the water pull you along, or hang out in the park’s wave pool. Of course, you can also spend time shopping and eating while the rest of your adrenaline-seeking crew is exploring the coasters.
However, if you’re seeking a thrilling adventure, you’ll want to check out the Batman ride (upside down and fast!), The Joker (it’s no joke!), or the Supergirl Sky Flyer (note: don’t eat right before this one!). If those aren’t enough to quench your needs, try the Cyborg HyperDrive, at a maximum thrill level, with epic lighting and hologram effects while you’re whirling and spinning through the air!
Whether you’re 3 or 93, Six Flags New England is one of the best places to visit in Massachusetts, a destination for everyone!
See Related: Fun & Best Things To Do in Salem, Massachusetts
25. Boston Duck Boat
Address: Meet-up point at either Museum of Science or the New England Aquarium
If you’re looking for a unique way to discover Boston, this Duck Boat tour is for you! The Duck Boat is a renovated WWII amphibious vehicle that goes on land and water. Fun for children and adults alike, this tour will take you to all the Boston hotspots.
The tour begins in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, with the State House, then goes to Bunker Hill and the Boston Celtics’ home, TD Garden. Next, you’ll see the oldest park in the United States, Boston Common, Copley Square, the Big Dig tunnel project, and Quincy Market.
The amphibious vehicle also takes you by Prudential Center, Arlington Street Church, and Boston Public Market. The Boston Public Market is an indoor marketplace with local artisans and farmers showcasing fresh foods, crafts, and specialty items.
Aside from riding in a large colorful vehicle around the streets of Boston, the biggest thrill for children is the 20-minute splash down the Charles River! Adults will love seeing the sights, smells, and sounds of the city of Boston in the amphibious vehicle tour. This is easily one of the most popular Massachusetts tourist attractions!
26. Fenway Park Tour
Address: Main Ticket Office at Fenway Park, 4 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215
You don’t have to be a Red Sox fan to enjoy a trip to Fenway Park, as it’s famous for being the oldest MLB stadium in the United States. In addition, Fenway was also home to three professional football franchises since it was built in the early 20th Century.
During the hour-long tour, you’ll see over a century of baseball history, the roof deck overlooking the right field, and stadium highlights like the Green Monster and Pesky’s Pole. In addition, the tour guide will teach you about some of the Red Sox’s legends, such as Fisk, Tiant, Rice, Williams, and Yaz.
You’ll also see much of the team’s memorabilia, including awards from their eight World Series wins. In addition, the Fenway Park Living Museum houses various historical exhibits, 170,000 stadium artifacts, and over 150,000 photographs.
Specific artifacts include almost 100 World Series team signed baseballs, 36 game-used baseball bats, and the historic Fenway Park lockers of Ted Williams and Johnny Pesky.
This hour-long guided tour through Fenway Park is a must-do item for any sports fan, but there is a good chance you may become a Red Sox fan once it’s over!
See Related: Best Spring Break Destinations for Families in 2022
27. Whale Watching Tour
Address: 415 Main St, Gloucester, MA 01930, USA
This family-friendly whale-watching tour is easily one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in Massachusetts! The 4-hour tour begins in Cape Ann and cruises around the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
Not only will you see whales, but you can also expect to see porpoises and Atlantic white-sided dolphins. The high-speed catamaran lets you see the humpback and fin whales as quickly as possible.
As soon as the boat leaves the dock, tourgoers will get a harbor tour full of Gloucester’s maritime history. Once the boat gets to the national marine preserve, just 12 miles off the coast of Gloucester, you’ll begin to see the variety of marine life.
The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is named one of the “Top 5 Whale Watching Destinations in the World” by the World Wildlife Fund. This designation is due to the various whale species that migrate to Gloucester’s coast each year.
If you are looking for one of the top things to do in Massachusetts, this one-of-a-kind whale-watching trip should be on your list!
28. The Grand Boston
Address: 58 Seaport Blvd #300, Boston, MA 02210
If you are looking for the ultimate after-dinner nightlife destination in Boston, look no further than The Grand Boston. The Vegas-style nightclub is known for its lineup of famous DJs mixing club music with some hip-hop and electronic dance music.
It’s unlike any other club in Boston, with its grand entrance, glass staircase, and gold accents. In addition, its LED wall and custom lighting system make for an exquisite evening on the dance floor.
The Grand Boston is a mix of modern technology and old Hollywood, with glamour and luxury. This luxury high-tech club offers multiple levels and a capacity of 800 guests, although most of the seated space is reserved for VIP tables. The upscale club’s dress code requires stylish nightlife attire, so if you plan on heading to The Grand Boston, you’ll want to set aside any athletic wear and dress to impress!
Open only on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the club is famous for its bottle service. However, be prepared to spend a minimum of $400 if you order a bottle. If you want the best and most expensive, order the Rémy Martin, Louis XIII, for a mere $9,000. (Don’t worry, they also have buckets of beer and energy drinks for those not wanting to spend a fortune!)
You can purchase general admission tickets through Ticketmaster, but if you plan on reserving a VIP table, you’ll need to book through The Grand Boston. This unforgettable nightlife experience will easily be one of your top Boston memories!
What is the best thing to do with kids in Massachusetts?
There is year-round entertainment in Massachusetts for kids of all ages, whether you want to visit the Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, a working farm at Old Sturbridge Village, or the Boston Tea Party Ships. Some other attractions include a whale-watching tour at Stellwagen Bank National Marine, the Boston Children’s Museum, or a visit to Gillette Stadium for young Patriots fans.
What is Massachusetts known for?
Massachusetts is known for being the landing place of the Pilgrims and is also known for many “firsts,” including the first railroad, subway, public library, and state constitution. Another interesting fact – the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is also the site of the largest art heist in the United States. Visitors to Massachusetts can see many patriotic historical sites, enjoy local food such as clam chowder and apple cider doughnuts, see the beautiful fall foliage, or relax on one of the many idyllic beaches.
What are some fun things to do in Massachusetts for adults?
Some popular Massachusetts attractions include Fenway Park Living Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Freedom Trail, and the Peabody Essex Museum. Other options include visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Walden Pond, antiquing in Essex, or watching a highly-rated magic show at Four-Handed Illusions.
Is Massachusetts worth visiting?
Absolutely! Massachusetts has something for everyone, including large-city Boston fun, idyllic beaches, live music, fine art, delectable seafood, outdoor recreation, and small-town events. History lovers could spend multiple days exploring the state’s historical landmarks, while outdoor enthusiasts can go whale watching at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary or visit one of the many beaches in Massachusetts Bay.