Heading to Boston with limited time to explore? You’re in luck because we have some great advice for where to go and what to see if you have only one day in Boston.
From attractions to landmarks, this sample one day in Boston itinerary is designed to showcase a few of the most popular things to do in the city.
This one day itinerary includes:
- The Museum of Science
- New England Aquarium
- Museum of Fine Arts OR Freedom Trail Walking Tour
Save on Attraction Admission
Pick up a 1-Day Go Boston® Card and save off combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Remember, this 1 day in Boston itinerary is just one of many ways to experience the city.
Our pass gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.
Stop #1: Museum of Science
Start your day of attractions and sightseeing with a trip to the Museum of Science. The city’s most-visited attraction is a place where science and technology come to life.
Over 700 interactive exhibits with hands-on activities offer the opportunity for fun and learning for visitors of all ages.
Get an up-close look at the first space capsule, take a virtual tour of Acadia National Park, watch lightning strike a metal cage with a live man inside right before your eyes, and so much more!
The museum also features an IMAX Dome, Hayden Planetarium, and the exciting Hall of Human Life. Don’t miss out on Triceratops Cliff! Showcasing an impressive fossil set found in the Dakota Badlands, this exhibit features one of only four nearly-complete Triceratops on display in the entire world.
You can also enjoy a number of fun family activities, presentations, and talks that go on periodically throughout the day. Be sure to check the attraction website for details on what exciting new stuff is going on during your visit so you don’t miss out.
Insider tip: The museum cafeteria seating area offers one of the best views of Boston’s skyline with the Charles River in the foreground.
Getting In: Boston Museum of Science tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Stop #2: New England Aquarium
Next, head towards the waterfront with a stop at the New England Aquarium.
Upon arrival, playful northern fur seals will greet you from their outdoor tank. Inside, the new “touch tank” takes over welcoming duties–you can start your visit by getting up close to stingrays and even petting them on their backs–they’ll swim right up to you! One of the Aquarium’s knowledgeable staff will be there talking about the animals and can answer any questions you have.
In addition to the interactive touch tank, you’ll get to see a variety of penguin species playfully jumping into and out of the water and/or feeding on fish. The rest of the aquarium is designed around a circular glass, four-story coral reef tank teeming with colorful fish, turtles, and even sharks!
As you make your way up to the top of the tank, where you can watch the staff feed the turtles or divers enter the tank, you’ll pass lots of exhibits along the way with everything from giant octopi to cuttlefish, seahorses, crabs, and more.
Some highlights of the aquarium include a shark and ray touch tank, and of course, a giant ocean tank, which is home to a vast Caribbean coral reef, green sea turtles, sand tiger sharks and Great Pacific octopus.
Getting In: New England Aquarium tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
Stop #3: Museum of Fine Arts (Indoor Option)
Another popular Boston attraction that’s worth a visit if you only have one day in Boston is the Museum of Fine Arts. This renowned art museum boasts a collection of nearly 450,000 works of art, featuring everything from Ancient Egyptian sculpture to contemporary painting.
Their particular strengths lie in their new “Art of the Americas” wing, which contains over 50 galleries that span the gamut from Pre-Colombian art to the end of the twentieth century.
In addition to their impressive permanent collections, the MFA also offers diverse, rotating special exhibits that showcase new acquisitions, items on loan, and important trends or eras in art. Check out their calendar for any unique programming that may also be available during your visit.
Getting In: Museum of Fine Arts tickets are included with the Go Boston Card.
Stop #3: Freedom Trail Walking Tour (Outdoor Option)
While you’re unlikely to have time to fit all four attractions we’ve listed here in your itinerary, you can choose between one of the first three and this delightful outdoor option depending upon what time of year you’re visiting.
This 90-minute, guided Freedom Trail Tour is a quintessential Boston experience that showcases both Boston’s rich history and culture and its beautiful landscapes and greenspaces, starting with the Boston Common where the tour begins.
This legendary path is a red brick line that physically leads you through the city, passing by the most important historical sites of the early days of American Revolution that led to independence from Britain.
Some of the sights included on this walking tour include the Massachusetts State House, the Park Street Church, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall.
Be sure to checkout our guide for tips for taking a walking tour and an overview of the Freedom Trail sites you will see.
Getting In: Freedom Trail Boston Tour tickets are included on the Go Boston Card.
It couldn’t be easier to save big on your one day in Boston.
Remember, when you build your own Boston attraction pass you can save up to 20% off admission prices following this popular itinerary.
The Go Boston® Card is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility during your vacation.