Ah, Massachusetts! The Bay State, the Old Colony State, or simply ‘Mass’ to its residents, this little corner of New England is chock-full of history, beauty, and things to do.
So whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or just someone looking to have a good time, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Massachusetts. So let’s dive into the 17 must-do things in Massachusetts.
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1. Walk The Freedom Trail in Boston:
Step into the shoes of the nation’s forefathers and traverse the 2.5-mile-long Freedom Trail in Boston.
This red brick trail takes you through 16 historical sites, each with its own story of the American Revolution.
Traveler’s Tip: Start early to avoid crowds and take your time exploring each site.
2. Watch a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park:
Nothing screams ‘Boston’ quite like Fenway Park. Home of the Boston Red Sox, this stadium is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use and has a unique, nostalgic charm.
Traveler’s Tip: Don’t forget to try a Fenway Frank (the park’s signature hot dog) for the full experience.
3. Visit the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA):
Nestled in the town of North Adams, Mass MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest centers for contemporary visual and performing arts. Its ever-changing exhibits are always a treat to the senses.
Traveler’s Tip: Check out the museum’s calendar for live performances and special events.
4. Explore the Harvard University Campus:
Experience the awe and wonder of walking around America’s oldest institution of higher learning.
Wander through the sprawling campus, visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and don’t forget to rub the foot of the John Harvard statue for good luck!
Traveler’s Tip: Take a student-led tour for the most authentic experience.
5. Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Cape Cod:
The Cape Cod National Seashore boasts 40 miles of pristine sandy beaches, marshes, ponds, and uplands.
Whether you fancy a dip in the sea, a hike through the woods, or a seafood feast, Cape Cod has you covered.
Traveler’s Tip: Try renting a bike to explore the area at your own pace.
6. Marvel at the Art at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum:
Housed in a stunning Venetian-style palace, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston is home to a fantastic art collection.
The museum’s beautiful courtyard garden alone is worth the visit.
Traveler’s Tip: The museum has a strict no-photography policy, so make sure to take in all the sights with your own eyes.
7. Take a Whale Watching Tour:
Experience the thrill of spotting whales in their natural habitat on a whale watching tour.
Departing from Boston or Cape Cod, these tours offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures up close.
Traveler’s Tip: Dress in layers as it can get quite chilly on the water, even in summer.
8. Explore the Salem Witch Museum:
Take a step back into 1692 at the Salem Witch Museum.
The museum brings the Salem Witch Trials to life through life-size figures, narration, and lighting effects.
Traveler’s Tip: The museum can get quite busy, especially around Halloween, so try to visit in the morning.
9. Hike the Appalachian Trail:
The Massachusetts section of the Appalachian Trail is 90 miles of pure natural beauty.
Whether you’re up for a challenging hike or just a leisurely walk, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Traveler’s Tip: Remember to carry plenty of water and a map or GPS.
10. Visit the Norman Rockwell Museum:
Located in Stockbridge, the Norman Rockwell Museum houses the largest collection of original Rockwell art.
The museum offers a fascinating look at America through the eyes of one of its most beloved artists.
Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas,” one of Rockwell’s most famous works.
11. Take a Brewery Tour:
Massachusetts has a rich brewing history, and you can experience it first-hand on a brewery tour.
Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just curious, you’re sure to enjoy learning about the brewing process (and tasting the results!).
Traveler’s Tip: Many breweries offer free or discounted tastings, so check ahead of time.
12. Visit the New England Aquarium:
Home to thousands of aquatic creatures, the New England Aquarium in Boston is a must-visit.
From the giant ocean tank to the penguin colony, there’s something for everyone here.
Traveler’s Tip: Try to visit during a feeding time for an extra fun experience.
13. Tour The House of the Seven Gables:
This 17th-century mansion in Salem, made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, is a peek into the past.
The guided tour gives you a deeper insight into the history and the literature associated with the house.
Traveler’s Tip: Take advantage of the beautiful gardens for a perfect photo op.
14. Visit the USS Constitution Museum:
Step aboard the USS Constitution, also known as ‘Old Ironsides,’ the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.
The nearby museum is also worth a visit for its interactive exhibits.
Traveler’s Tip: Check out the museum’s website for special events and activities.
15. Stroll Through Boston Public Garden:
Take a leisurely stroll or a Swan Boat ride through the Boston Public Garden, America’s first public botanical garden.
The garden’s beautiful flower beds, trees, and statues are a sight to behold.
Traveler’s Tip: Spring and fall are particularly beautiful times to visit.
16. Enjoy a Clambake on Martha’s Vineyard:
No visit to Massachusetts would be complete without a traditional New England clambake.
Martha’s Vineyard, with its beautiful beaches and fresh seafood, is the perfect place for this quintessential experience.
Traveler’s Tip: Make sure to try the local Chilmark oysters.
17. Explore Plimoth Plantation:
At Plimoth Plantation, you can experience what life was like in the 17th-century Plymouth Colony.
This living history museum offers a fascinating glimpse into our nation’s past.
Traveler’s Tip: The plantation also includes a Wampanoag Homesite where you can learn about Native American history from native interpreters.
And there you have it, folks. A smorgasbord of experiences to be had in the historic state of Massachusetts.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Massachusetts adventure today!