The state of Massachusetts is named after the tribe who once lived in the area. The capital city is Boston, with over 80% of the population living there. Plymouth was the site of the first colony in New England.
The climate in Massachusetts is classed as humid, with cold winters and warm summers. The climate of Boston is representative of the state, and there is frequent rain. In the winter there may be frost, even in coastal areas because of the prevailing winds.
Because of the colder winters, there is plenty of indoor activity. You will find that Massachusetts has more than its fair share of interesting art galleries and museums.
1. The Freedom Trail
This is a 2.5-mile trail which will lead you through various areas of Boston. It was decided in 1951 to construct a trail linking many local landmarks. This is a very popular walking trail, with over 40,000 people walking it every year.
You will pass things like the Old State House, Paul Revere House, and the Old South Meeting House, to name a few.
Depending on how fast you walk, and how often you stop, this may take you a full day.
2. Bunker Hill Monument
This monument was erected to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill. This was one of the first battles between Britain and the Patriot Forces and took place in June 1775.
The obelisk is 221-foot high and the granite came from Quincy. You may note that there are 294 steps to the top, should you want to climb it.
Right next to the Monument you will find some late 19th century houses, and here you can see a statue of the fallen hero. Dr Joseph Warren.
Allow yourself a day for this, as across the road there is a museum you may also visit.
3. USS Constitution
This ship is one of the oldest commissioned naval vessels which still floats. It was launched in 1797, one of six, and built in Boston, at the north end.
You may know the ship for her role in the war of 1812, and also remember her nickname of ‘Old Ironsides’.
You can see the ship free of charge and take the guided tour (also free) on any day of the year. You will find the ship berthed at Pier 1 in the Navy Yard.
4. Fenway Park
If you love baseball, then this should be on your list to see! You will find it in Boston, near Kenmore Square. This is the oldest ballpark in the MLB. The arena also hosts soccer, concerts, and hockey games, so be sure to check what is upcoming.
If you want to see a game, then you should book in advance.
5. Essex Shipbuilding Museum
You will find this museum in Essex. It houses historical displays about the history of wooden shipbuilding in that area. A notable point is that Essex built more wooden fishing boats than anywhere else in the USA.
You will be able to see some intricate ship models, as well as half hulls, antique building tools, and many interesting photos.
Allow yourself at least a half day to see this.
6. Plimoth Plantation
This plantation is in Plymouth, and it is a replica of the original settlement in the Plymouth Colony from the 17th century.
The recreations are based on historical documents and period paintings, with ongoing research and excavations carried on site.
Kids will find that this is a really fun way to learn about earlier times.
You will find that guides are dressed in period costume, and even speak in character, so you may have to speak slowly when you ask a question and listen carefully to the answer!
7. Harvard University
Harvard is the oldest university in the USA and has gained an international reputation for its top class academic research and study facilities. You will find it in Cambridge.
You can take a free tour of the facility as long as you are guided by a current student at the university.
Spend a little time in Harvard Square as there are plenty of coffee shops and book stores. Additionally, you will find several excellent museums on campus which you can visit.
8. Pilgrim Monument
You will find this monument in Provincetown. It was built between 1907 and 1910 and commemorates the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1620. This is also where the signing of the Mayflower compact took place.
The monument is very popular with tourists who come to climb it. The view from the top is spectacular. You can see the town below.
If you are there at Christmas, you can enjoy the lights which are hung from top to bottom and are lit in November.
9. Boston Harbour
This harbour was used in the Colonial period as a shipping port. It was only renovated and made into a harbour in the 20th century.
There is a great walk named Harbour Walk, which is filled with beaches, parks, and many small cafes along the waterfront.
One of the most popular sections to be walked runs from South Boston to Charlestown. Here you will be able to see the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.
Allow yourself most of the day to enjoy the walk and the shops along the way.
10. Battleship Cove
This war museum is in Fall River and features the largest collection of WWII vessels in the world. You will also find the battleship USS Massachusetts here.
Allow yourself a full day to look around the area, there is a snack shop where you can get lunch.
Be sure to wear sturdy shoes as there is a lot of climbing up and down of ladders to get inside the ship.
11. Boston Common
This park marks the start of the Freedom Trail and is also the oldest park in the USA. There are many beautiful green spaces where you can take a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenery.
Look out for the historic burial ground, along with several other monuments.
If you see this in winter, you may be able to ice skate, but the spring is the best time when the park is at its best.
Be sure to check out the adjoining public garden, as this is the oldest botanical garden in the country.
12. Harvard Museum of Natural History
You will find this museum in the University of Howard. The collections comprise exhibits from the University herbaria, the Comparative Zoology, and the Mineralogy museum.
One admission fee will give you access to this museum, as well as the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, making it an inexpensive day out.
13. New England Aquarium
You will find this aquarium in Boston. There are over 20,000 marine animals for you to look at.
Look for the Caribbean sharks and turtles, as well as many crabs, which the kids can touch in the ‘Edge of the Sea’ tank.
You can also book a whale watching tour and pay a visit to the Imax theatre to see short films on nature.
Allow yourself a full day here. There is a café where you can get lunch or snacks.
14. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
You will find this in Boston, on Congress Street Bridge. Prepare to meet actors dressed in period costumes, as well as interactive exhibits and authentically restored tea ships.
Abigail’s tea room is well worth a visit when you need to take a break from the excitement, and the gift shop is crammed with delightful things to see and buy.
If you take the guided tour, it will last you about an hour, and is suitable for all ages.
15. See Cape Cod
This beautiful area has a shoreline of about 500 miles of white, sandy beaches. If you enjoy walking along the shore, then this is a perfect spot.
The beaches get busy in the summer months, but you can always find a secluded area. Because the whole coast is protected by the Cape Cod National Seashore you will find it unchanged since the 19th century.
This is a great place to take an RV and stay a few days while you explore the coastline.
16. The Mapparium
This is in fact the new Christian Science Publishing Society Headquarters which was built in 1930. It is a three story ‘inside out’ stained glass globe.
This is a three-dimensional perspective of the world where you can take an audio tour and see how ideas and geography have changes the world.
The library is also a great place to have a look at.
Allow yourself an hour or two to see the globe, although you may stay longer in the library.
17. Martha’s Vineyard
This is a small island just south of Cape Cod and is known for the affluency of the inhabitants. It is the 58th largest island in the USA.
An interesting point here is that the island was home to one of the first deaf communities in the country.
It is only accessible by boat or plane, and you can get either of these on the mainland.
This is somewhere that you will want to spend a day, although it can be expensive.
18. Witch House of Salem
The Salem Witchcraft trials took place from 1692 – 1693, with 185 people being accused of witchcraft. 59 were tried, 31 found guilty, and 19 executed. They were hanged.
The witch house is so named after one of the judges, also a local civic leader, Jonathan Corwin. The Witch House was his home and is now the only building still standing in Salem.
You may take the guided tour of the house, which is a good idea as you will not be on your own in the spooky rooms!
Perhaps this is not suitable for children!
19. Boston Public Library
The library was founded in 1848 and contains over23 million items in all formats such as CD’s, DVD’s, music scores, manuscripts, books, prints and manuscripts.
The library is free to the public, and you can browse around at your leisure. It is the 3rd largest public library in the USA.
There is a coffee shop where you can get a snack during the day.
20. The Old State House
You will find this historic building in Boston, at the intersection of Washington and State Streets.
This is one of the oldest buildings in the USA. It was built in 1713, and until 1798 was the seat of the General Court of Massachusetts.
You will also see this if you follow the Freedom Walk route as it is along the way. Take the guided tour, as you will learn much more than if you walk around by yourself.
21. Waldon Pond
This is found just outside Concord, which is 15 miles northwest of Boston. There are 1.7 miles of beautiful shore, and while it is not the largest or prettiest lake in the USA, it is a delightful place to take a picnic and spend a sunny afternoon.
An interesting point here is that back in the early 19th century when ice was invented, water from this lake was used because it tasted so good.
The lake is perfect for swimming, and has plenty of fauna and flora around it, so allow yourself a full day here to relax.
22. Forest Hills Cemetery
This is a cemetery with a difference, as it comes with a miniature village! The cemetery winds around a beautiful lake which is the perfect combination of man-made and natural structures.
Even the graves are adorned with sculptures and the mausoleums have wonderful architectural details to them.
The village was added in 2006, with each small building being a replica of the home of the person who is buried there.
Look out for the home of Ralph Martin – he was the wagon driver who died in one of the most unusual disasters in the history of Boston, which was the Great Molasses Flood.
It will take you a half day to look around here.
23. The Minute Man National Historic Park
This park indicates the route taken by the British during the American revolution. In the park you will find the North Bridge of Concord, which was the battle site between the Colonies and the British Army.
There is an excellent visitor’s centre where you can learn more about that era, and also see several artefacts from the war.
You will be able to see most of this in a half a day, although you may want to walk around the park, which is delightful.
24. Six Flags New England
You will find this amusement park in Agawam. It dates back to the 19th century and is the first of the parks in this chain, which you will find in several states.
The most notable ride is ‘Superman the Ride’, which has won every award in the Golden Ticket Awards Publication.
If you enjoy roller coasters and rides, then make sure to include this on your list of things to do.
Allow yourself a full day here, the park also offers two-day tickets, so you can return!
This is one of the most interesting shops in Boston! It is also one of the hardest to find.
The shop front is a convenience store on Clearway Street, and on entering you will think it no more than that. However, you need to head for the back of the shop and around the Snapple machine, when you will enter another world entirely.
Whether you are looking for jackets, shirts, or shoes, you will find the latest fashions here. Shelves filled with the most modern in sneakers and shoes, bags, and coats, this will simply blow your mind!
26. JFK Presidential Library and Museum
This is the library of the 35th President of the USA. You will find it on Columbia Point, in Boston. Here you will find original papers and correspondence from the Kennedy era, along with published and unpublished material.
You are welcome to look around. Look out for some interesting works such as those books and papers by and about Ernest Hemmingway.
It will take you about half a day to look around here.
27. New Bedford Whaling Museum
This museum is in New Bedford, and it focuses on the whaling industry in that region. You will find exhibits totalling over 750,000 including logbooks from whaling ships.
There is also a collection of works by American artists such as William Bradford and Albert Pinkham Ryder, along with a collection of glassware and furniture from that time.
Look out for the half scale model of a whaling ship that was commissioned in 1916, and to date is the largest model whaling ship in the world.
28. Lexington Green
This area is where the first shots of the American Revolution are believed to have been fired. It is also known as Battle Green, and it is in Lexington.
You will find the Minute Man Statue here, which immortalises Captain parker when he said – right before the battle – ‘if they mean to have war, let it begin here’.
If you are lucky, you will be there at the anniversary, and will be able to watch the re-enactments of the whole event.
29. The Old South Meeting House
This is a historical church building at the intersection of Washington and Milk Streets in Boston. It was built in 1729.
This was the place where the Boston Tea Party was arranged at, on December 16th, 1773 when over 5,000 colonists assembled at the Meeting House.
It will not take more than an hour or two to look around here, but the area is worth exploring as there are many interesting things there.
30. Lizzie Borden Museum
You will find this museum, and her bed and breakfast in Fall River. The B&B is reputed to be haunted.
The legend goes that back in 1892 Andrew and his wife Abby Borden were found murdered with their skulls caved in by the blows of a hatchet. Lizzie became the prime suspect as she was the first to find the bodies. Lizzie was in fact acquitted of the murders.
The museum contains artefacts from that horrid night, and there is a gift shop, should you wish to buy any memorabilia. Make sure you see Lizzie’s room as well as her father’s and step-mothers room.
You are welcome to stay overnight in either room – if you are brave enough.
31. USS Constitution Museum
The museum is found in Charleston Navy Yard, Boston. It is housed in a restored shipyard building at the end of Pier 2.
There are several exhibitions and collection which tell the story of the ship and all who sailed in her. Also, in the museum is the Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial Library which contains a good collection of records relating to the history of the ship.
Allow yourself at least a half day for this. There is a snack shop nearby where you can get lunch and refreshments.
32. See the Salada Tea Doors
You will find this amazing pair of doors in Boston. If you study the doors, you will be able to follow the history of the tea trade.
The doors stand 12-foot high and are made of bronze, weighing 2 tons each. You will see that there are ten panels which tell the story of the origin of tea.
Look for the scenes from Ceylon depicting farmers harvesting the leaves, then soring and drying them. Notice the elephants carrying the tea boxes to be loaded onto ships.
It is interesting to note that while the building has been sold many times, the doors have never been replaced.
33. Skywalk Observatory
You will find this in the Prudential Centre, in Boston. You can take the elevator up to the 50th floor where you will have a spectacular view of the city. On a clear day, you will be able to see about 100 miles into the distance.
Look out for such places as Fenway Park and Hancock’s Tower. There is a self-guided tour with a commentary, so you can take your time and look around.
The ticket price includes an audio tour along with a visit to the small theatre to watch four videos. There are even some interactive games for the kids.
You can stay up there up there as long as you like. Try to get there on a day that is not too cloudy.
34. Heritage Museum and Garden
These are to be found in Sandwich. The public gardens cover over 100 acres. You will see the most amazing collection of rhododendrons here, some of which were hybridized by Charles Dexter.
Look for the daylilies, there are over 1,000 varieties of them!
There is also a section on American Automobiles, folk art, and a working carousel from 1919.
Plan on spending a full day here as there is plenty to see, and a small café where you can get lunch.
35. Hammond Castle Museum
You will find this castle in Gloucester. It is the home of a very eccentric inventor, and one of the things that make it such an eccentric home is the weather system inside the castle!
Hammond built his castle complete with drawbridge, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. You can tour the house and see the dining room, round library, and a War room. Not to mention the secret passages and the indoor pool. It is at the pool that Hammond installed his weather system so that if he wanted to swim in the rain, he could.
Be sure to check out the Garden Room which is built from pieces of buildings that Hammond liked. There are pieces from a meat market, wine merchant, and an ancient church.
Allow yourself a full day as not only is the house worth looking at, the garden is delightful.
36. Eat Fried Clams
No trip to Massachusetts would be complete without tasting one of the traditional dishes. You will find the best spot to get fried clams is in ‘Woodman’s’ in Essex. They actually claim to have first perfected this dish.
Your dish of fried clams will be served with a helping of fries and onion rings. Make sure that after you have ordered your clams, you head to the drinks counter and order a beer to go with them.
37. Warren Anatomical Museum
You will find this inside the Harvard Medical School, in the Library of Medicine. It was founded in 1847, and the collection includes some very unusual items.
Among the 15,000 artefacts you will find the first inhaler used to demonstrate ether-assisted surgery. You will also see the skull of one Phineas Gage. Mr gage survived an attack where he had a large iron bar driven through his brain.
This museum may not be suitable for children.
38. Caffe Vittoria
Not only is this the oldest Italian Restaurant in Boston, but it is also the home of a museum of vintage coffee paraphernalia. You will find it in Boston.
You can see the collection of vintage coffee machines and coffee makers, along with a vast collection of mugs and posters – all about coffee.
If you love Italian food and a decent cup of coffee, then this should go on your list of things to do.
39. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
This museum is located in the Fenway area of Boston. There is an interesting collection of art which is from all over the world, notably European, Asian, and American art.
Look for the tapestries which are stunning, and the sculptures. An interesting point here is that in 1990 the museum was burgled. Thirteen pieces of work were stolen, which to date have not been recovered.
It will take you a half day to see this.
40. The Stellwagen Bank
If you want to see whales, then this is where you should go, as it is known as one of the best whale-watching spots in the entire world!
You should be able to pick out the humpbacks who return each summer. Apart from whales, you will be able to see seals and dolphins.
There are many whale watching tours which leave from Gloucester, which you can join for a great day of whale-watching.
41. Mount Greylock
This mountain is located in Adams. It is the highest peak in the state, at 3,491 feet above sea-level.
You can either drive to the top on Notch Road, or hike between May and October. There are several trails to follow, one of them being the Appalachian Trail.
At the top you can see the War Memorial Tower which stands 93 feet high and was built in 1932. You will also find Bascom Lodge up there, which is a hotel built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1930.
An interesting point here is that it is thought that Mount Greylock is the setting for the North American School of Wizardry, from JK Rowling’s books – you decide.
42. Old Sturbridge Village
This living village is in Sturbridge, and it is often used for educational field trips. It is also very popular with tourists.
The village re-creates rural life between 1790 and 1830, with inhabitants wearing period costumes and demonstrating rural farm life.
There is a total of 59 antique buildings, along with three water-powered mills.
This is a great day to take children and you should plan to spend the entire day here.
43. See the Ancient Crypt
You will find this in the basement of the Old North Church in Boston. For a fee, the Anglican Church buried parish members in the crypt. The largest tomb is called ‘Strangers Tomb’, which holds 45 children and adults who perished from Smallpox in 1813.
Look for the plot that holds the bodies of British soldiers killed on Bunker Hill.
The church no longer uses the crypt for burials. You can take a guided tour of the basement for a small donation.
This may not be suitable for children.
44. Southwick Zoo
You will find this zoo in Mendon. It is family-operated and owned and opened first in 1963. This is a great day out for all ages.
Look out for the deer forest, where you will see, and be able to feed fallow deer. You can walk through the forest and will come across turkeys, hawks, and turtles.
Head for the Discover Earth Centre where you will find animals such as bush babies, porcupines, snakes, and bearded dragons to name a few.
Plan on spending the entire day here. There is a café where you can buy lunch and refreshments.
Here you will find what is known as the ‘Singing Beach’. The phenomenon has yet to be fully explained but it is widely thought that the friction between the sand grains makes a ‘singing’ sound.
You will hear the sounds best if you head for the dry side above the high tide lines. Normally the singing happens with three conditions in favour, namely when the sand is round and between 0.1 and 0.5 mm wide, when it contains silica, and when the humidity is just right.
Surprisingly, this is a huge tourist attraction, with crowds gathering to listen, so be sure you arrive early to get parking. Preferably you should be there by 11am.
46. The Bulb River
This is found in Sandwich. It is a river of grape hyacinths which flow down a garden hill. The river is made up of over 35,000 flowers!
If you are fortunate to get there on a day when there is a slight breeze, it will appear as if the river is flowing. Typically, the bulbs are at their best in early May, which is around Mother’s Day in the USA.
Once you have stood and admired the river make sure you head to the rhododendron collection, which covers 100 acres, and holds literally thousands of the plants.
There are 14 historic, preserved homes here which tell the story of the Federal and Colonial periods.
You will find over 27,00 artefacts dating back as early as the 17th century.
Make sure you visit the Helen Geier Textile Gallery to get an idea of not only what the settlers wore, but how they made their clothes.
Stay for the demonstrations of crafts and cookery to learn a little more of that time.
You can easily stay a full day here, there are places where you can buy lunch through the day.
48. Peabody Essex Museum
This museum was founded in 1799 and holds one of the biggest collections of Asian art in the USA.
There are over 1.3 million items in the museum, as well as 22 historic buildings.
This museum is among the top 20 art museums in the country, and in the top ten in terms of footage.
There are over 840,000 works of art and culture, many of them to do with history, American art. Asian, African, and Oceanic art.
Spend some time in either of the two large libraries which house over 40,000 books and manuscripts.
You will be able to look around this museum in a half day, although if you want to stay longer, there is no time-frame.
49. Edgar Allen Poe Square
This square in Boston is dedicated to the poet who was born close-by. Neither the house where he was born, nor the street where he lived are there anymore as the entire area was demolished many years ago. However, in 2009 on the 200th anniversary of Poe’s birth the plaza opened up to commemorate Poe.
Look out for the plaque dedicated to him. It will not take very long to see this, but the plaza and vicinity have many interesting shops to look at, and plenty of cafes where you can get a snack through the day, so you may think about spending a full day here.
50. Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
This park is to be found in downtown Boston. The park is filled with promenades, fountains, art, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Officially, the park opened in 2008.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was the matriarch of the Kennedy family who were born close-by. Edward Kennedy played a large part in establishing the Greenway.
The park is a wonderful place to take a picnic lunch on a summer day and enjoy the surroundings.
51. Forbes Pigment Collection
You will find this in Cambridge. The collection began in the early 20th century, until it grew into a library of thousands of colours.
Some are toxic, while others are rare. Every item is carefully documented and preserved, and while this may not take you very long to see, it is worth looking at, just to see how many Shades of Grey there really are!
52. Paul Revere House
This was the home of the patriot Paul Revere during the American Revolution, and it is now a National Historic Landmark.
The house was built in 1680 which makes it the oldest house in Boston. Typical of the style in Massachusetts, the main part of the house was made up of four bays marked by heavy posts and overhead beams.
The larger room had the fireplace and chimney, while other parts held the kitchen buildings. The style of the house is exactly as they would have been back then.
There is a small fee to see the inside of the house and it will not take you longer than a half day, but it is worth it to see the inside and the artefacts of that era.
53. Institute of Contemporary Art
Often referred to as ICA, this art museum is located in Boston, and was founded in 1936 to exhibit contemporary art.
The museum focuses on the works of up-and-coming artists. Look for the Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall, which is in the lobby.
There is a biannual exhibition for local artists which is worth seeing. Make sure you see the West gallery where you will find individual and group exhibitions such as ‘Super Vision’, and works by Mark Bradford, Tara Donovan, and Anish Kapoor, to name a few.
54. Dr Seuss Sculpture Garden
This garden is found in Springfield, and you will be able to see life-size statues of the author, as well as characters such as the Grinch, Yertle the Turtle, Cat in the Hat, and others.
The garden was built in 1996 by the step-daughter of the author as a tribute to his work. Look out for the many other sculptures scattered around the garden.
Right next to the garden you will find a museum which will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Dr Seuss!
55. USS Massachusetts
This battleship is found in Battleship Cove, Fall River. She was fondly known as ‘Big Mamie’ during WWII. She was the 7th ship to be named after a state, and one of two ships to be donated for use as a museum. The other ship is the USS Alabama.
You can take the guided tour which is very informative, or you can explore the ship on your own.
A point here is that the USS Massachusetts fired the first and the last of the shells in the war.
Allow at least half a day to see the ship, although you may take longer looking around the area.
56. Edward Gorey House
You will find this house in Yarmouth. It is filled with unusual and eclectic collections, interesting artwork, and resident cats!
When the author passed away in 2000, the house was found to be crammed full of over 25,000 books, several cats, and an assorted collection of interesting items. The easiest thing to do was to transform the house into a museum, for the public to enjoy.
Look out for the secret door at the back of a closet which is where he was reputed to have kept his collection of children’s books.
Allow at least a half day to see the house and all the collections.
57. The Emperor’s Garden Restaurant
This is in Boston and is well-known as the best Dim Sum Restaurant in Boston. It is located in the Grand Old Theatre.
Notice the ornate, high ceilings of the old movie theatre. There is always a line waiting for tables between 11am and 2pm, but if you arrive right at 2pm, you will find that you are seated right away as the lunch crowd has finished.
The menu is extensive, with such things as Chicken Foot available most days.
Allow yourself the afternoon to have some of the best Dim Sum in the city!
58. Museum of Fine Arts
This is the 5th largest museum in the USA, containing more than 450,000 different items. You will find the museum in Boston.
The museum is the 55th most visited place in the world, with more than 1 million visitors each year.
You can see such things as Dutch Golden Age paintings, Egyptian artefacts, jewellery, among other things.
There is a huge collection of Japanese works, with over 5000 pieces of Japanese pottery. Look out for the Rothschild Collection of over 130 items from Australia.
Allow yourself a full day to see this museum.
59. Museum of Modern Renaissance
This former Masonic Hall is found in Somerville. The style of work is known as ‘Mystical realism’, with the walls and ceilings covered with fresco-like paintings and mythological scenes.
Be sure to see the focal point which is the Great Hall. The colours which were used for the tiger, and bull totems, birds, and mermaids are of saturated oils for an unforgettable night on the fiord.
Allow yourself a half day to see the museum.
60. Armenian Library & Museum of America (ALMA)
You will find this in Watertown. This museum has the largest collection of Armenian artefacts in North America.
You will see collections of medieval and ancient coins, ceramic items, and prehistoric religious things.
There are over 900 rare books in the museum, and 170 Armenian rugs which were donated in 1992.
You will be able to see the museum in a half a day.
61. Old North Church
This church is in North End, Boston, and is the oldest standing church building in Boston. It is also a National heritage landmark.
You are welcome to look inside the church where you will find a statue of George Washington, which is supposed to be the best likeness to the president ever made.
An interesting point here is that this is where the famous signal about Paul Revere’s ride was sent. It was ‘One if by land, two if by sea’, and you can read all about it here.
It will only take a half day to see this, but it is well-worth it.
62. Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (MoCA)
This museum is to be found in a converted factory building in North Adams. It is one of the biggest centres for performing arts in the USA.
Before it was a museum, it was the Sprague Electric Company, and only became a museum in 1942.
There is an annual festival which includes concerts and music. This is run through the summer months, so if possible try to see one of those events.
If you plan to attend an event, make sure you book in advance.
63. The Arnold Arboretum
You will find this in the Jamaica Plain region of Boston. There are over 14,000 plants as well as a fully stocked nursery. Many are from North America and Asia.
Look out for species of the Acer, Pinus, and Magnolia family, to name a few. There is also a wonderful collection of conifers.
This is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon, looking at the beautiful gardens.
64. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
This is both an art museum, and a research centre, and it is found in Williamstown. You will find collections of European and American paintings here, along with many prints, sketches, and photographs from the 14th to 20th centuries.
This is a very popular place for tourists, with over 200,000 tourists each year.
Allow yourself most of the day here, as there is plenty to see.
65. The Berkshires
This is an area, rather than one place. It is a highland region in the western part of the state. The mountains form part of the Appalachians and are wonderful for anyone who enjoys walking or hiking.
This is also a great place to take an RV as in the summer there are many interesting things happening such as music and art performances.
An interesting point here is that the Berkshires are noted as one of the last 200 great Places in the world.
This music venue is held in the town of Stockbridge and has been the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra since 1937. There are also three music schools at the centre.
Apart from hosting classical music performances, the centre also plays host to the Festival of Contemporary Music, with jazz and pop artists contributing.
Make sure you book in advance if you plan to attend a performance.
67. Newbury Street
If you love shopping, then this is where you should head! You will find it in the Back Bay section of Boston.
Anything, and everything can be found here, from made-to-measure suits, shoes, jewellery, and handbags. Many of the shoes are names such as Cartier and Zara, while often you will see pop-up stores during the year.
Plan on spending a full day here, there are plenty of restaurants to get lunch during the day.
68. Faneuil Hall
Not only is this a marketplace, it is also a meeting hall. You will find it in the Government Centre in Boston.
Many important speeches have been delivered here, such as those made by Samuel Adams and James Otis, along with others.
You may also have heard this referred to as ‘The Cradle of Liberty’ and will see it if you follow the Freedom Trail.
This is one of the most visited sites in the USA, and you may want to spend a full day in the area.
69. DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
This is located on the shores of Flint’s Pond in Lincoln. This is the largest park of its kind in the county, encompassing over 30 acres.
Not only will you be able to see beautiful gardens, but there are over 60 works of art such as sculptures throughout the park.
Inside the museum there are rotating exhibitions mostly on photography, with work by local artists who have connections to the state.
Allow yourself a half day to see this.
70. Children’s Museum
This museum is in Boston and is the 2nd oldest children’s museum in the USA. There are many different areas to see.
The gallery is dedicated to artwork, while the Japanese House is a real house from Kyoto, Japan.
Be sure to visit Johnny’s Workbench where kids can see hand tools and wood carvings in progress.
This is a great place to spend a full day with the kids. There is a shop where you can buy lunch.
71. New England Aquarium
You will find this aquarium in Boston. It is a very popular tourist attraction, with about 1.3 million visitors each year.
Be sure to check out the jellyfish tank, and the harbour seals. There are also three California Sea Lions behind the aquarium.
Kids and adults will enjoy watching the daily training sessions as well as the feeding times, so allow yourself most of the day here.
72. Edaville Railroad
This is one of the oldest railroad operations in the USA. It opened in 1947. You will find it is South Carver.
Note that this is a 2-ft narrow gauge line. There are tours that you can take on the train, make sure that you book then in advance as they are extremely popular with tourists.
73. Copley Square
This is a public square in Boston’s Back Bay area. It used to be called Art Square until 1883.
Within the immediate vicinity you will find many things to see such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Public Library, and Trinity Church.
An interesting point is that this is where the Boston Marathon race finished in 1986, and you will find a memorial to this near Dartmouth Street.
There is enough to see and do in this area for you to plan a full day here.
74. Norman Rockwell Museum
You will find this art museum in Stockbridge. It was dedicated to the works of Norman Rockwell, and is home to the largest collection of original works by Rockwell in the world.
You will also find the Norman Rockwell archives which include a collection of over 100,000 items including fan mail, photographs, and business documents.
Allow yourself a half day here, although you may take longer if you want to explore the town.
75. The Museum of Science (MoS)
This science museum and indoor zoo are located in Boston in the Science Park. You will find over 700 interactive displays and live presentations on most days.
The zoo is home to over 100 animals, many of which have been rehabilitated or rescued. Be sure to check out the Butterfly House where you will see many exotic specimens.
There are plenty of science activities for kids such as the collection of optical illusions, and the room of mathematical exhibits.
Kids will thank you for spending a full day here!
76. Mary Baker Eddy Library
Here in Boston you will find the library which contains all the papers of Mary Baker Eddy. She was the founder of Christian Science.
There are hundreds of original manuscripts and documents which have been preserved here along with original letters from Mary baker Eddy.
It may take you just a few hours to look around here, but you should plan to see the Mapparium at the same time and make a full day of it.
77. The Museum of Bad Art (MOBA)
This interesting collection of art is found in Somerville, with a second branch in Brookline. It is a privately-owned museum whose sole aim is to exhibit pieced of art too bad to be ignored. You will find over 500 such pieces of work.
The museum was founded when an antique dealer found a painting in the trash. Friends suggested he start a collection, and things grew from there.
All the works are original and have serious intent, although they should have serious flaws which preclude them from regular exhibitions.
This is truly an unusual museum which celebrates the artist’s right to frail – gloriously!
78. Tower Hill Botanic Garden
You will find this spectacular garden in Boylston. It is about 8 miles north of Worcester. The garden has 17 different sub-sections, as well as preserved woodlands, and miles of great walking trails.
You will also find the headquarters of the Horticultural Society here. This is the 3rd oldest horticultural society in the USA.
Allow yourself at least a morning here, although if you enjoy walking, then you may stay longer than this.
79. Franklin Park Zoo
This zoo is found in Boston, in the northeast section of Franklin Park. The zoo was first opened to the public in 1912, and since then has opened several new exhibits, including Bird’s World in 1975.
This is a great place to spend a day, especially if you have kids. Try to stay at feeding time.
There is a café where you can get lunch and refreshments.
80. House of Seven Gables
Anyone who has read works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, will know about this house. It is 340 years old, and his novel by the same name was based on the actual house in the city.
For a small fee you can take a guided tour of the house. Make sure you take the option of climbing through the narrow, secret passageway, which was later added to the original house.
You can see many displays of Hawthorne’s works and artefacts from his life there.
Just a few blocks away you will find a statue of the man himself.
81. Bash Bish Falls
You will find this in Mount Washington, and while it may be one of the most scenic falls in the state, it has a history and a grim legend.
Legend has it that Bash Bish – a Mohican woman – lived in the village. Being accused of adultery, she was tied to a canoe and sent over the falls. Her body was never found.
Whatever you choose to believe, this is worth a visit for the beauty of the area. Just take care near the Falls!
82. Glacial Potholes
You will find these on the Deerfield River, at Shelburne Falls, near the Bridge of Flowers. There are over 50 whirling pools from the age of glaciers.
This is the largest collection of natural potholes in the world and is also the site of the largest pothole on record.
The pools range from 6” to 30” across and are best visible at the end of winter when water levels rise.
Years ago, it was possible to soak in the cool waters from the potholes but now you can only look at them as swimming there is illegal and done at your own risk.
83. Harvard Museum of Natural History
This museum is in Cambridge and has more wonders per square inch than most others in the country!
There are over 21 million exhibits, one of them being a full sized assembled skeleton of a Dodo. You will find a collection of human skulls, along with many other oddities.
This museum rates as one of the most interesting museums with some of the best collections of natural wonders of the known and unknown.
It is worth allowing yourself a full day to visit here.
84. Eyrie House Ruins
If you want to see something spooky, then head for this house. You will find it is Holyoke. The ruins of the House/Hotel are on top of Mount Nonotuck.
Legend has it that the house caught fire when the cremation of a horse turned horribly wrong. The only thing that was left were the walls of the understory. Because the owner, Mr Street was not insured, he was unable to rebuild the house. He lived as a recluse until the state bought the ruins and paid him a check for $5000. Being a proud man, Street never touched the money.
It will only take an hour or two to walk around the ruins but look out for Mr Street!
85. Echo Bridge
This amazing bridge is found in Newton. It was completed in 1877 and is a scenic arch which connects the banks of the Hemlock and the Charles Rivers.
Apart from the breath-taking views, the bridge is known for the amazing echoes. There is a platform where you can produce your own echoes. Notice that short, sharp sounds can echo up to 25 times.
Theories differ as to why the echoes are so great here, but the wonderful scenery makes this a worthwhile outing.
86. Lucy Parson’s Centre
This is a bookshop found in Boston. The books are unusual in that they are classed as ‘radical’. The shop was founded in 1969 and used to be called the ‘Red Book’.
You will also fi d that they host many different meetings for activist groups, cultural, and educational events. Often there are book signings and on Wednesdays there are movies which start at 7pm.
You will find this phenomenon in Lincoln. No one is certain how the old hobby horses appear, but there is an assortment of broken-down rocking horses all set in a small field in the town.
Sometime in 2010 some plastic and metal horses arrived anonymously, which led to the name of the field.
No one knows why, but horses and horse figurines began to appear at the site. Often, they have been re-arranged in rows like race horses, and sometimes in circles. Occasionally it looks as if they have all been knocked over.
The peculiar thing is that no-one seems to take them away.
You decide for yourself what lies behind the hobby horses, but it does make for an interesting day out!
88. Metropolitan Waterworks Museum
You will find this museum at the original Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Boston. It was built in 1887 and pumped water for Boston until the 1970’s.
The Waterworks were left to deteriorate until they were taken over by the Friends of the Waterworks Organisation, and lovingly restored to their former glory.
You will be able to see the most remarkable machines here, as well as amazing architecture.
Be sure to check out the Great Engine Hall, where you will see three historic steam-powered engines.
89. Kelleher Rose Garden
You will find this delightful park hidden in the centre of Boston. Residents regard it as their own secret.
The park was founded in 1931 and now has over 1,500 roses of every shade you can imagine!
The garden is not easily seen from the road as it hides behind a tall green yew hedge, but it is in the Back Bay Fens area.
This is a perfect place to take a picnic lunch and enjoy the splendour of the roses. It is particularly wonderful when all the roses are in bloom.
90. See the Glass Flowers at Harvard Museum
You will find these amazing things at Harvard Museum of Natural History. In the mid 1800’s obtaining floral artefacts for museums was a problem as they all died before they were properly preserved.
The unique collection now contains over 4,000 models representing more than 800 plant species. They were designed and created by glass artisans father and son Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, who were from Dresden in Germany.
It will only take an hour or two to see them, but they are worth the effort as the minute details are magnificent.
91. Great Boston Molasses Flood
Most people will have read this heading twice! Yes, there was in fact a molasses flood in which a deadly wave of molasses travelling at 35mph destroyed a neighbourhood and took many lives.
In Boston, at the intersection of Commercial Street and Copps Hill terrace you will find a small plaque in honour of the people who died there.
The tank company had an accident with one of the holding tanks and molasses poured into the town, with devastating results. The area was said to have smelled sweet and be sticky for many years after the clean-up.
It will not take you long to see, but it is worth looking at the location of one of the strangest disasters in the world!
92. Rutland Prison Camp
Here in Rutland you will see the ruins of the prison farm where in years gone by, drunkards were put to work to grow potatoes for the more hardened prisoners.
In 1903 the prison was constructed to house minor offenders and had a fully working farm to keep them busy and productive.
The reason that the prison closed, despite it becoming a very successful farm, was due to the grounds being built on the drainage area for local water supply. The prison was abandoned and crumbled away.
93. Skinny House
This is the narrowest house in Boston and it is hidden between taller houses. You will see that the house is only 10-feet wide and 30-feet deep. Legend has it that the house was built out of rage to block the sunlight from the house behind it.
Whatever the reason, it is still an interesting topic of conversation in any bar in town! The present owners say that they did once have a New Year’s Eve party where they fitted 10 guests inside!
94. Site of the Boston Massacre
You will find this site in Boston. Outside the Old State House, you will see the circular cobblestone design which indicates the place where the fallen patriots lay.
Tragically soldiers fired on a crowd and five people were killed. It was Paul Revere who afterwards responded by creating an engraving of the scene.
It will not take you too long to see this, but you may want to stay a day in the area as there is plenty to see and do.
95. The Tiny Museum
This is undoubtedly the smallest museum in the USA! You will find it nestled next door to a sandwich shop in Somerville. The sign from the shop reads ‘We Bake Our Own Bread’, and right next door you will find the museum.
The owner has used this alley for displaying local art and it is very pleasing to wander up and down looking at this fine display, even if you bump elbows with other people!
96. Polcari’s Coffee
You will find this coffee house in Boston. It is more of an institution than a coffee shop, with bins and jars stacked against the walls. It is on Salem Street.
Not only does the shop sell and stock coffee, but you will find a huge assortment of interesting things such as coffee pots, herbs, pasta, and nuts.
Treat yourself to a cup of the most delicious coffee in the city!
This amazing place is found in North Adams. Two artists called Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger attached two 16-foot long resonating tubes to the base of the highway overpass, then placed microphones at intervals to pick up sounds.
There are speakers encased in concrete on either side of the road and if you stand there, you will hear the hum which is generated by this.
If you are musical you will work out that the hum is in fact a ‘C’, with the sound wave being over 16 feet long.
Locals look on the sound as the ‘noise of the urban world’. It will only take you an hour or so depending on the traffic, to hear this. After that you may want to hear to the town for lunch.
98. Grave of the Boston Strangler
This is to be found in Peabody, and is the final resting place of the mane reputed to have murdered many people in the 1960’s.
During the period between 1962 and 1964 the infamous Boston Strangler raped and murdered about a dozen women between 19 and 85 years of age.
After being imprisoned for six years, DeSalvo was found stabbed to death in his cell, and he is buried in this quiet cemetery. You will notice that there is no tombstone, just a small bronze plaque to mark the spot.
99. Nobska Point Lighthouse
You will find the lighthouse in Falmouth. You will notice the views when you look out towards Martha’s Vineyard.
This is a great place for walking a hiking. This is also a lovely area to take an RV and spend a few days. Be aware that there are no facilities or café here, so you must bring your own provisions.
It is a wonderfully peaceful spot with magnificent views.
100. Try Baked Alaska
This is a part of local culture and will be on pretty much every menu you see. Boston likes to claim this creation as their own.
There are many different ways to fill and serve this delicious dessert, such as filled with passion fruit caramel, and covered with coconut ice-cream, to name just one.
Make sure that at least once on your holiday, you stop for some of this!
Massachusetts has something to offer everyone, whether you enjoy walking, visiting museums or just relaxing in a park. There is just so much to see and do here, you will wonder why you’ve never been before!