The gorgeous city of Boston, Massachusetts is home to some of America’s most historic landmarks, ballparks, stunning parks, museums and some of the best seafood in the region. Boston has also become a very popular city for Business and Special Interest Conventions. Just this year, I attended TravelCon back in June and will be attending the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) convention in October (both in Copley Square). After visiting for the first time this year, Boston quickly rose to the top 5 most beautiful cities in the United States for me. With many others that will soon visit, I compiled the ultimate Travel and Food Guide for 3 days in Boston, including what to do as a tourist and top restaurants and bars.
3 Days in Boston: 6 Major Things to Do
- Tour Fenway Park
- Visit the Back Bay Neighborhood and “Fens”
- Walk around Copley Square
- Walk to Boston Commons and Boston Gardens
- University Tours (visit AREAA’s Convention site to sign up for University Tours on October 17)
- Spend a Day Hopping around Museums
- Museum of Fine Arts
- Museum of Contemporary Fine Arts
- Science Museum
- Children’s Museum
Top Restaurants and Bars in Boston
- Luke’s Lobster Back Bay (Lobster Rolls)
- Dig Inn (Healthy Salad Spot)
- Toro Boston (Tapas)
- Lion’s Tail
- The Salty Pig
- Wink & Nod
- Island Creek Oyster Bar
- Central Café & Restaurant (in Newton)
- Wen’s Yunnan Noodle & Ramen (Chinese & Japanese food)
- Bon Me (Vietnamese Food Truck)
3 Days in Boston: Things to Do
Tour the Fenway Park
Fenway Park is home to the Boston Red Sox, the city’s American League baseball team. The ballpark first opened in 1912 and has hosted the World Series 11 times. The ballpark is also an incredibly popular venue for football, soccer, hockey, and concerts during the summer. Fenway Park is open all year round for tours: a one hour guided tour will take you for a walk around Fenway Park. The tour is available in Japanese and Spanish upon request.
- You may purchase tour tickets and view tour schedules through this link.
- Online tour tickets can only be purchased up to 30 days before the exact tour date.
- Concert schedules may be viewed here.
- If you want to catch a game during your Boston trip, you may purchase game tickets here.
Visit Boston’s Back Bay
Back Bay Fens, also known as “The Fens” is filled with charming historical structures, parks, gardens, and ball fields. Back Bay was established in 1879, a marshland turned into a stunning architectural landscape. The lead landscape architect and the man behind the Back Bay name were Frederick Law Olmsted. This architectural landscape is a part of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, a private non-profit stewardship organization founded in 1998 to protect, restore, and maintain the parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.
There are various athletic fields, a jogging track, and playgrounds at the Back Bay Fens. If you are visiting Boston with children, this is a great spot for you to relax and for the kids to play. You may also visit the Fenway Victory Gardens, the only remaining World War II victory garden in the United States. The Fenway Victory Gardens boast over 500 community gardens, spanning 7.5 acres wide and tended by Boston residents.
The Kelleher Rose Garden at the Back Bay Fens is also a must-visit in Boston. This garden was established in 1931 and is home to over 1500 roses. This is also a popular venue for weddings and other intimate gatherings. While you are already in the Back Bay neighborhood, head down to Newbury Street, a charming street filled with restaurants, boutiques, and salons. Back Bay is Boston’s affluent and absolutely stunning street where joggers, university students and tourists mesh. It’s an area that is diverse, fun, liberal, and a highly educated population.
Walk Around Copley Square
Copley Square is a 20-minute walk from the Back Bay district. The square was named after painter John Singleton Copley, whose statue can also be seen at the square. Copley Square is host to several important structures and landmarks such as the Boston Public Library, the John Hancock Tower, Trinity Church, and the Old South Church.
The Old South Church is the oldest structure in the square, dating back to 1873. This historic landmark is part of the United Church of Christ denomination. The Trinity Church in Copley Square is also one of the oldest structures in the area, dating back to 1877. Trinity Church was designed by world-famous American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. The church is open for tours from Tuesday through Saturday with a general admission of $10USD. A guided tour is offered every Sunday for free. Tour tickets can be purchased at the Welcome Center inside the Copley Square.
The Boston Public Library is considered to be the oldest free lending library in the United States. The library was first opened to the public in 1895 and proclaimed as a “palace for the people”. It is also home to some of the world’s rarest books including some of Shakespeare’s original works and Mozart’s original scores. Boston Public Library offers free public tours daily; view the schedule here.
The John Hancock Tower stands at 790 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Boston. The building was designed by American architect Henry N. Cobb and was completed in 1976. Previously, it had an observatory that boasted a panoramic view of Boston but was later shut down after 9/11. Today, it is topped with a pyramid-shaped roof with a weather beacon that changes color depending on the city’s weather. Next to the John Hancock Tower is the Old John Hancock Tower built in 1947.
Walk to Boston Common & Boston Gardens
Approximately 16 minutes away by foot from Copley Square is the Boston Common, a 50-acre public park in downtown Boston. Fondly called “The Common”, the park is known for its historical role as one of the campgrounds of the British troops and a popular protest venue for the American Civil Rights movement. The Common was founded in 1634 and is considered to be the oldest American park. The park features ballparks and the Frog Pond that turns into a skating rink during the winter.
University Tours in Boston
Your Boston trip won’t be complete without taking a university tour to America and some of the world’s most remarkable universities and colleges. Although technically not part of Boston, I highly suggest you visit Cambridge and check out two of the most notable universities in the United States: Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Head to one of the country’s Ivy League schools: Harvard University. Founded in 1636, Harvard was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard. Harvard is home to over 20,000 students and is considered to be the oldest learning institution in the country. Stroll around the campus and check out the various museums inside the campus.
The next stop is a tour of MIT which was established in 1861. The urban campus features modern structures, underground tunnels, a dome, and an on-campus nuclear reactor. MIT is also a host to one of the world’s most notable nanoscale research facilities, the MIT Nano. And is home to over 11,000 students and over 1,000 academic staff.
Your tour won’t be complete without stopping by at Boston University, a private research university in Boston founded in 1839. The main campus overlooks the Charles River, giving a conducive environment for learning and research. BU is currently home to over 30,000 students and 3,900 faculty members with a student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1.
For your last University Tour stop, head to Boston College in Chestnut Hill. This Jesuit research university was established in 1863 and is home to about 15,000 students. The structures in the campus feature a gothic-inspired architecture. And the school libraries contain a combined total of over two million printed volumes.
Museum Hop in Boston
You can easily spend one of your 3 days in Boston hopping around Museums.
The city boasts several stunning, cultural and contemporary museums that are worth a visit.
Museum of Science
Head down to the Museum of Science at the Science Park near the Charles River, one of the world’s largest science centers. The Museum of Science was first opened in 1864, initially named as the “New England Museum of Natural History”. To date, it features over seven hundred exhibits and interactive displays for both children and adults.
Hours: Saturday-Thursday 9:00am-5:00pm / Friday 9:00am-9:00pm
Admission: General Admission $26, Seniors (60+) $22, Children (3-11) $21
*All prices are for the Exhibit Halls only
Museum of Fine Arts
Also one of the most popular museums in Boston is the Museum of Fine Arts opened in 1876. This museum is one of the world’s most comprehensive art museums with a collection of over 500,000 artworks. It features works from the ancient Egyptian era and different contemporary works of today’s most notable artists.
General Admission $25
Seniors (65+) $23, Students (18+) $23
Youth (7-17) $10, Children (6 under) Free
Institute of Contemporary Art
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in South Boston was founded in 1936. The currents structure bearing the same name is a glass building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The museum features contemporary art in all media including visual arts, literature, film, video, and performance.
Tuesday-Wednesday 10:00 am-5:00pm
*First Friday of every month 10:00 am-5:00 pm
General Admission $15
Seniors (60+) $13, Students $10, Youth (17 under) Free
Boston Children’s Museum
Located along the Fort Point Channel, Boston Children’s Museum was designed for children and families. The museum features exhibits focused on culture, science, education, health, arts, and environmental awareness. And it is dedicated to promoting engagement and learning through experience and play.
Boston Children’s Museum Hours:
Boston Children’s Museum Admission:
General Admission $18
Youth (15 under) $18
Top Restaurants and Bars in Boston
Copley Square and the Back Bay area is just a 10-minute walk from one another,
Where some of the liveliest restaurants and bars are.
Best Lobster Rolls & Seafood Restaurants
Luke’s Lobster Back Bay
You really can’t visit the Northeast without eating at least one (or five) wild-caught lobster rolls. In the heart of Copley Square, Luke’s Lobster Back Bay serves up fresh, delicious lobster rolls. Order the “Luke’s Trio” which comes with a sampler of the Lobster, Crab Meat and Shrimp on buttered buns with mayo, lemon butter and seasoning. Take a glance at their menu here and do order a side of Clam Chowder too!
More Lobster Rolls at: Paulis (North End)
Island Creek Oyster Bar
Island Creek Oyster Bar is a seafood restaurant and bar located in Commonwealth Avenue. The restaurant serves a selection of American seafood favorites such as lobster rolls, scallops, and steamed clams. The restaurant also features a raw bar serving fresh oysters and shrimp cocktails.
More Raw Oysters at: Neptune Oyster, a high-end seafood bar which serves the freshest raw oysters, octopus, scallops and you guessed it: Lobster Rolls!
Best Restaurants in Boston Chinatown
As the weather cools down, Hot Pot is the most gratifying comfort food in Chinese cuisine. Q Restaurant serves the best Hot Pot in Boston in a clean, modern restaurant with a full bar. Hot Pot is meant to be shared, each pot for 2-4 people. For those that love spicy, there is an option for the half clear broth/half spicy broth pot. Try their Wagyu Beef. YUM!
Double Chin is an Asian HK Cafe ran by 2 passion sisters who have fused traditional Chinese food with a modern twist! From innovative salad combinations to glorified comfort food. Open daily from 11am until 11 pm Sunday-Wednesday. And on those party nights of Thursday-Saturday, it’s open until 4 am! Making it popular for the drunken cravings. Best of all, they serve a full bar whether you’re in the mood for a Boozy Brunch or a Nightcap with your munchies!
Healthier Options in Boston
After indulging in some rich lobster rolls, one too many dozens of raw oysters, martinis and steaks in Boston’s many popular restaurants, perhaps you’re looking for some lighter, healthier food options. Dig Inn serves a variety of healthy salads and organic meats/fish in that Chipotle-style, where you can make your own or order one of their suggested salad combinations. Ingredients are sourced from minority-run and small-scale farms.
Toro Boston is a Spanish restaurant on Washington Street which opened in 2005, by Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette. The menu features Barcelona-inspired dishes, classic cocktails, and an amazing wine list. Toro commits to using only sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available at the restaurant.
Lion’s Tail is a food and cocktail bar located on Harrison Avenue. The provision menu features American favorites such as grilled hanger steak, shrimp cocktails, and crispy chicken wings. And the contemporary interior adds to the wonderful ambiance of the restaurant.
The Salty Pig
Located near the Back Bay neighborhood, the Salty Pig is a restaurant and bar created by Michael Bergin. The restaurant features a wide selection of stone-grilled pizza, cheeses, handmade pasta, and Italian entrees.
Wink & Nod
Wink & Nod is a Tapas restaurant in an “evocative lounge” serving handcrafted cocktails and “clubby surroundings”. Seasonal craft cocktails, wines, and beers are complemented with small plate dishes meant to be shared at this adorable Speakeasy.
Central Café + Restaurant
Central Restaurant and Bar is located in the heart of Newton Centre. It’s a gorgeous gathering space for lunch, afternoon coffee, happy hour or dinner & drinks at night. Central Café pleases the palate of coffee and tea aficionados while offering an array of freshly baked pastries, granola, salads, sandwiches + much more.
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Wen’s Yunnan Noodle & Ramen
Craving some hearty, comfort Asian food? If you’re like me, you need your noodle fix, especially within 3 days of traveling. Located in the Back Bay neighborhood, Wen’s serves up traditional Noodle Soups from Yunnan province (south China), Japanese Ramen, Dumplings, Japanese Curry over Rice, Boba Milk Tea and a variety of appetizers like Seaweed Salad and Scallion Pancakes.
There are various food trucks that line Copley Square as well as a lively Farmer’s market. Bon Me Vietnamese Cuisine was my favorite food truck for Banh Mi Sandwiches and Sesame Soba Noodles.