12 Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

Non touristy things to do in Boston are many if you’re not into the usual tourist spots in this great city.

Boston is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the US due to the fact that it was established more than a century before the Declaration of Independence.

Additionally, one of the most significant events in American history preceding the fight with the British took place in its waters.

Boston welcomes visitors from around the world each year to experience the city’s historical and cultural landmarks.

One of the most visited sites is the Freedom Trail.

However, in this post, we shall take a different path and explore the less known non touristy spots.

If you’re interested in something unique away from the common tourist spots, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s dive straight into it.

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

Explore the Arnold Arboretum

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

Discover the tranquil and vibrant world of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, an urban oasis brimming with natural beauty and serenity.

Founded in 1872, this 107-hectare hidden gem beckons nature lovers and curious souls alike to escape into its lush greenery.

Stroll along meandering paths, find shade under towering trees, or relax on charming benches with captivating views.

It’s the perfect spot for some soul-soothing and quiet contemplation.

For the inquisitive minds, the Arboretum offers a wealth of knowledge, sharing insights about various plant species, habitats, and conservation efforts. Guided tours and informative signs add to the enriching experience.

Throughout the year, the Arboretum’s charm evolves with the seasons.

Witness the burst of colorful spring blossoms, revel in the vibrancy of summer, marvel at the autumn foliage, or find peace in the winter’s hushed beauty.

Don’t forget your camera! Countless photo opportunities await, capturing the essence of this natural wonderland.

Share your experiences with friends and family, inviting them to explore this captivating destination.

The Arnold Arboretum is a must-see site for anyone looking for tranquil surroundings, a chance to connect with nature, or simply a peaceful getaway from the city’s pace.

It is definitely among the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

Embrace the beauty of Boston’s hidden gem, and let it rejuvenate your soul with its enchanting allure.

Physical Address: 125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130, United States

Contact: +1 617-524-1718

Visit the SoWa Open Market

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

The SoWa Open Market in Boston’s South End is a vibrant and must-visit marketplace for art lovers and foodies alike.

This weekend hotspot brings together local artisans, talented craftsmen, and food trucks, creating a bustling haven of creativity and community.

The market is the perfect place to find that unique, special present or memento because it is filled to the brim with homemade goods, original artwork, and stylish jewelry.

When hunger strikes, the mouthwatering offerings from various food trucks are sure to satisfy any craving.

Live music adds to the lively atmosphere, infusing the market with toe-tapping rhythms and a sense of camaraderie.

Beyond the shopping and dining, what truly sets the SoWa Open Market apart is the chance to interact with the artisans and creators themselves.

The SoWa Open Market has it all, whether you’re looking for a creative escape, a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, or simply a fun weekend adventure.

Gather your friends and family and head to this vibrant marketplace for an unforgettable adventure filled with art, food, and community spirit.

Discover the essence of Boston’s artistic and culinary scene, and support local talent in a warm and inviting environment.

Visiting the SoWa Open Market is definitely among the top non touristy things to do in Boston.

So, mark your calendar and immerse yourself in the exciting world of SoWa Open Market—where creativity, camaraderie, and mouthwatering delights converge.

Physical Address: 500 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118, United States

Visit the Spectacle Island for a Hike

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

Escape to Spectacle Island, a hidden gem in Boston Harbor, for an unforgettable hiking adventure.

This 114-hectare calm haven provides both city inhabitants and nature enthusiasts with the opportunity to take in the breathtaking views and tranquil surroundings.

A short ferry ride of approximately 20 minutes takes you to this picturesque getaway, where sandy shores and lush greenery await.

Hiking trails cater to all skill levels, ensuring everyone can enjoy the experience.

You’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Boston’s skyline, the harbor, and nearby islands as you stroll along the trails.

The Spectacle Island Summit stands out as a highlight, rewarding hikers with panoramic vistas that instill a sense of peace and connection with nature.

The island’s serenity provides the perfect setting for peaceful solo hikes, romantic outings, or fun-filled family adventures.

Bring along snacks and water for a picnic on the island, savoring delicious treats while basking in the fresh sea breeze.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking a new challenge or a beginner looking for a memorable day out, Spectacle Island beckons with its natural beauty and tranquility.

Capture Instagram-worthy moments, escape the city’s hustle and bustle, and create cherished memories in this enchanting outdoor haven.

Hiking on this island is definitely among the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

So, grab your hiking boots, hop on that ferry, and let Spectacle Island’s wonders captivate you.

With every step, you’ll discover the magic of this hidden gem and find yourself planning your return to this idyllic island retreat.

Visit the Castle Island

Castle Island in Boston is a historical and scenic gem that offers a perfect blend of rich heritage and natural beauty.

Exploring the well-preserved fort walls and structures provides an immersive journey into the past.

The 22-hectare Peninsula is located in the Boston Harbor.

Besides its historical significance, Castle Island offers a serene escape with stunning waterfront views.

Visitors can take in breathtaking views of the bay and the Boston skyline while strolling or bicycling along the coastal route.

The fresh sea air and gentle ocean breeze add to the tranquil atmosphere.

For beach lovers, Carson Beach adjacent to the fort is a great spot to relax on the sandy shores or take a refreshing swim in the harbor during warmer months.

After exploring the fort and savoring the beauty of the coast, treat yourself to a delightful seafood meal at Sullivan’s, a local eatery with a storied history.

Their ice cream is a lovely treat, and you must taste their famous fried clams and lobster rolls.

Whether you’re a history lover, a nature enthusiast, or just looking for a calm day by the ocean, Castle Island has something to offer everyone.

It’s a versatile destination that offers something for everyone in the heart of Boston.

Visiting the Castle Island is definitely among the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

So, pack your picnic, bring your camera, and embark on an enchanting journey to this timeless island where history and picturesque beauty converge.

Physical Address: 2010 William J Day Blvd, Boston, MA 02127, United States

Contact:  +1 617-727-5290

Visit the Boston Mapparium

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston
Image Courtesy of Wiki Commons/User DarkNight 0917

Experience the mesmerizing Boston Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, an enchanting journey inside a three-story, stained-glass globe.

This unique attraction showcases a 1935 world map, transporting visitors back in time amid a dazzling display of colors and designs.

The acoustic effect inside the Mapparium is equally captivating, with whispered words echoing clearly across the globe.

Narrated presentations take visitors on a historical voyage, highlighting significant events from the past.

It’s an educational and immersive experience for all ages. Remember to bring your camera to capture the visual spectacle and share the magic with loved ones.

Ideal for solo travelers, families, or friends seeking adventure, the Boston Mapparium offers a blend of geography, history, and architectural brilliance.

It’s a truly magical and unforgettable journey, stepping into a world of wonder and educational enchantment.

So, make sure to add the Boston Mapparium to your must-visit list in Boston.

Prepare to be awed by this architectural gem and immerse yourself in a remarkable exploration of the past.

The Boston Mapparium is definitely among the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

So, step inside the globe of wonder, and let history come alive in a whole new way.

Physical Address: 210 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States

Contact: +1 617-450-7000

Visit the Warren Anatomical Museum

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston
Image courtesy of Wiki commons/doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037454

Discover the intriguing and slightly eerie world of medical history at the Warren Anatomical Museum in Boston.

Housed within Harvard Medical School, this hidden gem takes visitors on a captivating journey into the realm of human anatomy and medical advancements.

The museum’s collection features anatomical specimens, rare surgical instruments, medical oddities, and historical documents.

It only takes approximately 30 minutes to see the Harvard Medical School’s Warren Anatomical Museum, which has a few glass cases.

The collection contains samples that doctors used to educate students about illnesses like degenerative bone disease.

It’s not your typical museum; instead, it presents a thought-provoking and humbling adventure.

The Warren Anatomical Museum caters to medical professionals, anatomy enthusiasts, and curious visitors alike.

Witnessing medical history come to life fosters an appreciation for the dedication and ingenuity of pioneers in the field of medicine.

Prepare to be amazed, inspired, and perhaps a little spooked, but ultimately enlightened by this extraordinary journey.

Explore the wonders of the human body and the progress of medical science at this captivating museum.

Visiting this anatomical museum is definitely among the best non touristy things to do in Boston if you’re not squeamish.

Don’t pass up the chance to visit the Warren Anatomical Museum if you’re up for a distinctive and engaging experience.

Physical Address: Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, 10 Shattuck St, Boston, MA 02115, United States

Contact: +1 617-432-6196

Visit the Brattle Book Shop

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston
Image Courtesy of Wiki Commons/Rob Faulkner

The Brattle Book Shop in Boston is a beloved destination for book enthusiasts and treasure seekers alike.

Established in 1825, this legendary bookstore offers a captivating journey through a maze of used and rare books that span various genres and eras.

Inside, visitors are transported to a literary time capsule, where each book holds its own unique story.

The extensive collection caters to all tastes, from classic literature to contemporary works, making it a haven for bookworms seeking literary gems.

The charm doesn’t end indoors; stepping outside, visitors encounter the iconic open-air courtyard with its affordable used bookshelves.

Beyond the books, the shop fosters a sense of community among book lovers.

Engaging conversations and book recommendations flow freely, creating connections and shared joy over the written word.

The Brattle Book Shop celebrates the love of reading and the thrill of discovering hidden treasures.

Whether you’re an avid book collector or a casual reader, this literary haven promises an unforgettable experience filled with joy and literary wonders.

Indeed, visiting the Brattle Book Shop is one of the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

So, if you’re ready for an enchanting adventure through the realm of books and a chance to connect with fellow book enthusiasts, the Brattle Book Shop is a must-visit destination that will leave you with a heart full of joy and a bag full of cherished literary finds.

Physical Address: 9 West St, Boston, MA 02111, United States

Contact: +1 617-542-0210

Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and culture seekers.

The museum offers a captivating experience that combines art, history, and beauty inside a beautiful palace with Venetian influences.

Isabella Stewart Gardner was a wealthy socialite who traveled the world collecting paintings, furniture, sculpture, and other items.

Then she built a palace to contain it all, which became the museum. Compared to most museums, the Gardner Museum is set out in the style of aristocratic living rooms, with expensive artworks placed on walls and beautiful furniture filling its floors.

Masterpieces by renowned artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Titian grace its galleries, alongside rare books, sculptures, tapestries, and artifacts.

The museum’s enchanting courtyard garden adds to the allure, providing a serene oasis amidst the art.

Visitors can reflect on the displayed works or simply enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

In 1990, it was the site of a daring art heist where priceless artworks were stolen, leaving empty frames as a haunting reminder.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum promises a profound and enriching experience, whether you’re an art connoisseur or simply appreciate beauty and culture.

Visiting this museum is definitely one of the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

So, prepare to be captivated by this unique museum, where every corner holds a treasure waiting to be discovered.

Physical Address: 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115, United States

Contact: +1 617-566-1401

Visit the Charles River Esplanade

Escape the hustle of Boston city life and discover the tranquil beauty of the Charles River Esplanade.

This riverside park in the midst of the city provides a great blend of nature and stunning views.

Stroll along the meandering pathways, and be captivated by the shimmering Charles River reflecting the city’s skyline and lush greenery.

Beyond leisurely walks, the Esplanade is a recreational haven, inviting cyclists and joggers to embrace the invigorating riverfront breeze.

It’s an ideal spot to catch a stunning sunset, painting the sky in hues of pink and orange, creating a serene and memorable moment.

For relaxation, spread a picnic blanket under the shade of a tree and savor delicious treats while watching the world go by.

The tranquil ambiance makes it perfect for unwinding or getting lost in a good book.

Throughout the year, the Charles River Esplanade hosts events and concerts, fostering a vibrant community spirit.

It’s a place where strangers become friends over shared experiences.

Visiting this esplanade is definitely one of the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

So, do not miss the chance to escape to this serene retreat and bask in the harmony of nature and city life.

Physical Address: Charles River, Esplanade, Boston, MA 02116, United States

Contact: +1 617-227-0365

Visit the Boston Public Market

The Boston Public Market is an indoor year-round foodie’s paradise that provides a variety and delightful experiences in the city.

With local vendors and artisans showcasing the best produce, it’s a vibrant and bustling indoor market that tantalizes the senses.

From farm-fresh produce to artisanal cheeses and freshly caught seafood, the market boasts a wide array of goods sourced from local farms and businesses.

It’s a celebration of the region’s agricultural heritage and culinary talent.

Coffee enthusiasts can enjoy freshly brewed local java as they explore the market’s lively ambiance.

What makes the Boston Public Market truly special is the chance to interact with the passionate vendors, who gladly share stories and insights into their craft.

This culinary hub embodies the spirit of supporting local businesses and celebrating regional flavors.

It’s an opportunity to stock up on delicious goodies, discover new culinary delights, and immerse oneself in the city’s rich food culture.

Whether you’re a local foodie or a curious traveler, the Boston Public Market promises a delightful gastronomic journey.

Exploring the Boston Public Market is definitely one of the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

From farm to table and sea to mouth, it’s a delicious experience that leaves a lasting impression and a deeper appreciation for the flavors of New England.

Physical Address: 100 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02108, United States

Contact: +1 617-973-4909

Visit the Boston Public Library

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

The Boston Public Library is a captivating destination with a rich history and stunning architecture, making it a haven for book lovers and history enthusiasts.

Its vast collection of books, manuscripts, and rare documents spans centuries, offering something for every literary taste, from historical artifacts to contemporary bestsellers.

The Bates Hall, an elegant reading room, invites visitors to immerse themselves in the world of books.

Beyond reading, the library hosts cultural activities, such as art exhibits and workshops, fostering learning and community engagement.

The library’s outdoor courtyard provides a peaceful escape for reflection amidst the bustling city.

It’s a place where history, knowledge, and imagination converge, offering a chance to explore the past, indulge in captivating stories, and embrace a world of learning.

Visiting the Boston Public Library is definitely among the best non touristy things to do in Boston.

Whether you’re a passionate reader, a history lover, or someone seeking a literary sanctuary, the Boston Public Library promises an experience that leaves a deep appreciation for the power of books and the library’s cultural significance.

Physical Address: 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116, United States

Contact: +1 617-536-5400

Enjoy Coffee at Caffé Vittoria

Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

Caffé Vittoria in Boston is a charming café that offers a delightful coffee experience. Stepping into this little slice of Italy feels like a coffee lover’s dream.

It’s the ideal place for a peaceful coffee break with its welcoming atmosphere and the scent of freshly prepared espresso.

When Caffé Vittoria opened in the North End of Boston in 1929, it was the city’s first Italian coffee shop.

It continues to provide some of the city’s top cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, and macchiatos in addition to handcrafted cannoli, tiramisu, and a number of specialty drinks.

Their coffee menu is diverse, featuring classic espresso, cappuccino, and signature specialty drinks.

Pairing your coffee with their delectable pastries is a must.

The café’s vintage décor and nostalgic atmosphere create a unique experience, transporting you to a golden era of coffeehouses.

Whether you’re meeting friends or seeking a comforting cup of coffee, Caffé Vittoria is a haven to unwind and savor the moment.

Treating yourself to this coffee lover’s paradise is one of the best non touristy things to do in Boston, where tradition, flavor, and ambiance come together.

A visit to Caffé Vittoria will leave you with a smile and a happy caffeine buzz.

Physical Address: 290-296 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113, United States

Contact: 1 617-227-7606

Final Thoughts on Non Touristy Things to Do in Boston

There you have it. A comprehensive list of non touristy things to do in Boston is you’re looking to engage in something more unique.

Put at least a handful of these interesting places on your list of things to do in Boston whether you’re staying there for a day or much more.

You won’t be let down, I guarantee you. So, book your flight to Boston and experience some of the little-known destinations within this great city!

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