What you can see and do with one day in Boston, Massachusetts.

When I visited the East Coast, Boston was high on my list of places I craved to visit.

The history, architecture and food had me sold.

However, we could only allow one day to explore Boston, which isn’t enough but in a day you can see a lot of the city and get a good feel for it.

In this article, I have written an itinerary to show you how to enjoy one day in Boston.

One Day in Boston itinerary

8am - Breakfast in Beacon Hill

Perhaps my favourite neighbourhood in any city. Beacon Hill is a protected Historic District of Colonial Boston.

The neighbourhood is quaint, charming and idyllic. It feels like you are stepping back to Colonial Boston, brownstone houses lined with brick and cobbled sidewalks with gaslights that are lit day and night.

We started our day enjoying a lovely breakfast at Tatte Bakery located on Charles Street. Charles Street is home to Restaurants, Antique stores and Coffee Shops.

We then explored the beautiful neighbourhood of Beacon Hill making our way the Massachusetts State House.

9.30am - The Freedom Trail

If like me, you enjoy learning about the history of a city than the Freedom trail is a must.

The trail itself is 2.5 miles long featuring 16 landmarks that shaped the American Revolution, including the oldest surviving building in Boston; the Old State House.

There are two ways to tackle the trail.

Firstly, you can do it yourself and follow the Red Line with a map and guide which is what we did via Boston Trolley Tours.

You can, however, join a guided walking tour, costing $12 for a Public tour ticket and choose the Walk into History Tour.

There are 5 tours to choose from and this ticket allows you to choose from any tour, on any day. They depart at various times throughout the day and from the Boston Common Information Center which is a couple of minutes walk from Massachusetts State House.

boston itinerary

10.30am The Boston Trolley

We actually only walked half of the Freedom Trail and decided to jump on the Boston Trolley to finish the majority of the rest.

The Boston Trolley is value for time and money.

For $39.56 (when you buy online) you get a one day ticket to hop-on and off 19 stops all over Boston and neighbouring Cambridge and Charlestown as well as discounted admission to historic attractions.

It takes 1hr and 50 minutes to complete a full loop during which a conductor will bestow their knowledge of Boston on you.  

It truly is the best way to get a feel for the city whilst allowing you the flexibility to visit some of the best spots Boston has to offer.

I highly recommend booking tours in advance, the last thing you want to be doing is waiting in line and wasting time when you visiting Boston in a day. Take a look at some of the great tours on offer below:

12pm - Lunch at Quincy Market

 Built in 1826, Quincy Market is a hub of world cuisine, street entertainment and bars.

If you are in the mood to try a Boston staple, Boston Chowda has been voted the best place for Chowder in the city, or Walrus and the Carpenter is rated as one of the best Oyster bars.

Situated Downtown it's in the perfect location to stop for a quick bite to eat along the Freedom Trail or after the Boston Trolley.

1pm - Boston Common and Public Gardens

No matter what time of year you plan on visiting Boston, you must take a stroll and admire these beautiful public spaces.

Boston Common and Public Gardens are located in the middle of the city, so quite hard to miss. The Common has been part of the Revolutionary History and if you would like to know more here is a map and guide.  

The Gardens are particularly impressive with a huge lake which you can hire swan boats in the Spring and Summer, check out the Make Way for the Ducklings statues as well as the friendly Squirrels that inhabit the area. 

2pm - Cambridge

Head over the Charles River to Cambridge a vibrant, artsy, diverse area which has many Squares to explore. It is home to two of the most influential and famous Universities in the world; Harvard and MIT. 

If you are lucky to have a sunny day, a stroll around Cambridge is 100% worth your time. The Squares are full of Coffee shops, Bakeries, Boutique shops, Bars and Restaurants.

You can take a tour around Harvard University too, which I recommend; it is absolutely stunning and reminds me of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Go to the Harvard Information Centre and book a tour, they depart hourly (bar 2pm) from 10 am - 3pm.

5pm - Shopping

Now, I know not everyone likes shopping, especially when there is so much culture to soak up but in Boston it is different. It is worth a walk as the area is characterised by the typical brownstone buildings and wide avenues, be sure to visit Commonwealth Avenue which is based on Parisian Boulevards.

All shopping is located within 8 blocks between the Public Gardens and Massachusetts Avenue.

Luxury Brands can be found nearer the Public Gardens end at Newbury Street as you walk further along to Massachusetts Avenue the shops become more affordable. 

7pm - North End

The oldest residential neighbourhood, full of history and home to Paul Revere's House, Old North Church, oh and it's Boston's answer to NYC's Little Italy.

Join the queue at cash-only Giacomo's, get the best slice of pizza in Boston at Regina Pizzeria or if you are stopping at Paul Revere's house, Limoncello is opposite serving authentic Italian dishes.

Watch a Game

Boston is home to many Major League Sports Teams playing at different times of the year so when visiting, get into the Boston Spirit and support a local team. 

Unfortunately, when we visited there were no games on sadly, hence why it’s not in my itinerary.

Boston Red Sox Baseball team play at the historic Fenway Park. Boston Bruins Hockey and Boston Celtics Basketball Teams play at TD Garden which is in the North End area of Boston.

The Super Bowl Champions, New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium is based around 30 minutes outside of Boston but if you do have the opportunity to see Brady and the gang, do it!

As I said, we absolutely loved Boston and felt we saw the majority of things that were on our list in one day.

Does this sound like an itinerary you’d like to experience? Let me know below

Check out the best deals and book your trip now!


Useful Planning Websites:

Boston.com - for What's On in Boston 

Visiting Boston Guide - A useful tool for extra resources

City Walking Guides - Walking Guides for each Neighbourhood $9.95 for the complete set


I hope you find this Boston Itinerary useful. Anything I missed? Let me know below. 

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