Unique things to do in Boston
Book unforgettable activities hosted by locals on Airbnb.
Travel like a local
Cutting-edge science, 17th-century architecture, political think tanks, and a harbor (hold the “Rs”) crucial to American history—this isn’t your typical US city. Welcome to Boston, where it can feel like a tech-booming metropolis or a small sports town depending where you end up for an after-work drink. For things to do in Boston, embrace its history on the Freedom Trail, take a North End (Little Italy) food tour, and shuck oysters, among other activities led by locals, with Airbnb Experiences.
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Your guide to Boston
What do locals do in Boston?
The seasons (and yes, sports) really do factor into what people do here. In the summertime, if you’re not reveling in Provincetown (P-Town) or relaxing on the Cape, the Seaport District hums with outdoor dining and harborside bars. During the holidays, people get festive with a quick trip over to Salem during the fall months, and a stroll around Beacon Hill just feels that much more special when the leaves turn, or the snow falls. And you’ll always find action at (or near) Fenway, the TD Garden, and Gillette Stadium, depending on the sports season.
Where do locals eat in Boston?
You can’t beat the lobster rolls and chowda, but there’s also an eclectic and impressive dining scene in Boston, where Michelin-star chefs and old-school diner cooks dish out memorable meals.
This part of town is synonymous with Italian food. Heated debates can arise from where to get the best cannoli (you can hear all about it on a food tour), but one thing is always agreed upon: this is an authentic Boston neighborhood, the city’s oldest in fact. The smell of pasta lures you off the cobblestone streets and sidewalks and into the dining rooms of historic buildings, where Italian grandma-approved recipes fill the menus. It’s also where you can catch a glimpse of the Paul Revere House, built around 1681, in between bites.
Not to be confused with South Boston (better known as Southie), the South End is an extremely walkable Victorian-style neighborhood with galleries, brownstones, and some of the trendiest places to eat and drink. It’s as much a place to go for lunch options as it is for cocktails with friends, or a romantic date night. Bonus: It’s not far from Chinatown and Back Bay for even more good eats.
This is Boston’s melting pot, where global cuisine is at its finest, and sometimes still the most affordable. Centre Street is at the heart of it all, a string of independently owned cafes and restaurants where it’s common to see the owners involved in daily operations.
What are the best ways to experience Boston’s history?
Take a Freedom Trail tour (really)
Sometimes, even locals like to play tourist in their own city, and the Freedom Trail is a good example of that. Whether it’s on a jog, stroll, or visit to entertain out-of-town visitors, there’s plenty of reasons to travel along this 2.5-mile path dotted with 16 historical landmarks (just follow the red brick road). Be sure to make a stop at the Quincy Market for fresh fare from local vendors.
Learn Boston’s legacy through its food
Tour Cambridge to see the Harvard campus, with stops at local eateries along the way. Take cooking classes with local families who share their Italian heritage. Eat the lobsta roll how it’s supposed to be eaten (in a hot dog bun). Boston is a city of traditions and history and you’ll be more than satisfied with what you discover through its food.
Explore its academic side
This is an intellectual hub, and you don’t have to be big on poli-sci or mathematics to appreciate what this city has done for the world when it comes to innovation and research. It is a city of firsts: the first school, the first subway, and the first public park — downtown’s Boston Common where you can still explore today. Take a walk with a local expert to see the architecture and history of places like Harvard, and learn the women’s history of Beacon Hill.