The Best of Boston (Minus the Beans)

Boston is a city with historical pride and beautiful sights. This thriving hub hosts the most famous marathon in the country, thrilling outdoor entertainment, and, the best baked beans known the world over.

This article won’t be about a single Boston-based bean, baked or otherwise. We will not be discussing Beantown, as Boston is referred to colloquially. If you are here solely for bean related information, it’s time to cut your losses and read any one of the dozens of “Top 10 Baked Bean Restaurants in Boston” articles that pop-up when you google the word “beans.”

To be clear, this article is not an attack on beans—I consider myself a bean lover just like anyone else, but when a city has a plethora of entertainment options to fill a book trilogy, some things have to be eliminated. Rather, in this piece, we’ll talk about some of the top attractions in Boston you should not miss when visiting this New England city.

The New England Aquarium

Some parts of Boston are good for couples, others for kids, and still others for families. But some places in Boston are so universally enjoyable, it would be a crime not to suggest them. The New England Aquarium is one of those places.

When an Aquarium has a tank that holds 200,000 gallons of water, you know you’re somewhere special. The New England Aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank simulates the gorgeous conditions of a Caribbean coral reef. We’re talking sting rays, eels, sea turtles, and two types of sharks! With that much to take in, it’s a good thing you can use any of 53 windows on the Giant Ocean Tank to get good views from every angle.

Of course, there’s really no wrong angle to consider the Aquarium’s next exhibit, a 150,000 gallon penguin enclosure. Featuring three distinct penguin archetypes — gruff rockhopper penguins, cute little penguins, and several ever-stylish African penguins. Seriously, do yourself a favor and google African penguin to see how handsome these little guys are. By the way, if anyone in your crew prefers seeing animals on the big screen to hanging out with them in person, they can always hang out in the Aquarium’s IMAX theater.

Boston Public Garden

Like so much of Boston, the Public Garden is well over a century old. And like the New England Aquarium, this is one place that every native Bostonian would recommend. Since the Garden is 24-acres, it’s tempting to call it a park. But this lush landscape is so lovely and quaint that  garden is really a more apt description. In addition to its Victorian style, the Garden has duckling statues, swans, and a fleet of adorable swan boats you can rent and take across the Garden pond.

The best part about this place, sometimes called the Heart of Boston, is that you can make it as exciting or relaxing as you like. If you’re not in the mood to ride the swan boats, you can just find yourself a particularly plush patch of grass and have a picnic. Even if all you’re after is a bit of morning exercise, there’s no prettier spot in Boston to play hacky-sack, practice yoga, or go for a jog.

Museum of Science

You don’t have to be a scientist to have a good time at the Museum of Science. Like the Public Garden, the Museum of Science can be as engaging as you desire. Want to take an in-depth look at the biology of human anatomy and the life-cycle? Go for it! Or, check out the butterfly garden! There’s also a planetarium and an IMAX theater available. When museum exhibits range in complexity from looking at postmodern mathematical theory in “Mathematica,” to considering the various rocks of “Rock Garden,” you can be sure they have something for people from all walks of life. Don’t forget to take the museum’s duck tour, it’s a lot of fun.

Paul Revere’s House

This is the home of one of the American heroes of the Revolutionary War, the one and only Paul Revere. This is the actual home of the Paul Revere himself. Even if history isn’t really your thing, how often do you get to be immersed in a physical piece of the past that dates to 1680? Take a tour of the residence and you’ll enjoy historical presentations, music, and demonstrations of traditional crafts.

With all this house talk, you might be wondering about places to stay near Boston? Maybe you can even stay near Mr. Revere’s home.

Interesting Fact: Paul Revere never actually shouted “The British are Coming! The British are Coming!” On his famous horse ride to warn the minutemen. It was a covert operation, and this would have proven quite counter-productive.

Well that’s it from “The best of Boston minus the beans.” Of cours we could still talk about Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Freedom Trail, and more, but let’s not overwhelm ourselves with too much of a good thing. There’s always room for exploring the capital of Massachusetts!

If you have any questions about visiting Boston, please leave a comment below.

Daréll Lourens

Dee works as a documentary filmmaker, writer and photographer specializing in travel, conflict resolution, human rights and strategic intergovernmental communication. Her travel blog and travel agency - awarded Gold and ‘Best Blog in Africa’ by the World Travel Market at the African Responsible Tourism Awards in June 2015 - shares a collection of hand-picked travel and lifestyle ideas inspired by the very best in authentic and Eco-responsible tourism. Follow her on Twitter @the_goodholiday, Instagram @thegoodholiday or at