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6 Must-See Museums in Boston and How to Visit

Boston is home to some of the best museums in the country. Here’s a guide to the best of them.

Downtown Boston at sunset
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Boston’s museums span everything from the key sites along its American Revolution–tracing Freedom Trail to top-tier art and natural history collections. Check out our picks for Beantown’s must-see museums.

1. USS Constitution and Museum

The huge, three-sailed USS Constitution and Museum ship in Boston.
USS Constitution and Museum is housed in an 18th-century ship.Foto: Zack Frank / Shutterstock

For warships up-close.

Berthed at Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard, this 18th-century frigate is the world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat. Explore its decks to see its cannons and living quarters, and chronicle its history at the museum.

How to Visit: Book a hop-on hop-off or city tour that calls here or a harbor cruise that includes time to go aboard.

2. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum on the water in Boston near sunset.
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum at sunset.Foto: f11photo / Shutterstock

For re-enactments of the Boston Tea Party.

Comprising an exhibition building and restored tea ships, this museum lets visitors rewind to the 1773 Boston Tea Party, when colonists dumped British tea into Boston Harbor. Watch and participate in re-enactments, and explore the exhibits and vessels.

How to Visit: Make the museum a stop on a hop-on hop-off tour or prepurchase admission and get here on your own.

3. Old State House

Old State House, surrounded by glassy skyscrapers in Boston.
Old State House dwarfed by modern skyscrapers.Foto: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

For a timelapse of Boston's history.

Central to Boston’s Freedom Trail, the Old State House is the city’s oldest public building. Exhibitions chart its role in the 1776 revolution, and a plaque outside marks the area of the 1770 Boston Massacre—when British soldiers shot and killed five colonials.

How to Visit: Join a Freedom Trail tour including a visit or photo stop, buy a ticket independently, or alight here on a hop-on hop-off tour.

4. Paul Revere House

The wooden facade of Paul Revere House in Boston.
Paul Revere House is part of the Freedom Trail.Foto: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

For the living quarters of Paul Revere.

Once home to American revolutionary Paul Revere, this house was also the starting point of his famous 1775 ‘Midnight Ride.’ Visitors can roam the restored house to see where his family lived, their furnishings, and more.

How to Visit: Take a private or small-group panoramic or walking tour focused on Boston’s Freedom Trail or the city’s wider history.

5. Harvard Museum of Natural History

The red brick exterior of the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
Harvard Museum of Natural History is full of historical finds.Foto: Sergey and Marina Pyataev / Shutterstock

For thousands of diverse exhibits.

Located at Harvard University in Cambridge, this family-friendly museum houses 11,000 exhibits, from wildlife specimens to minerals. Treasures include the Blaschka glass flowers: intricate glass models of plants.

How to Visit: Visit the museum on a Harvard campus walking tour or buy a Boston sightseeing pass that includes entry.

6. Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)

Statues in the courtyard of Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).
Outside Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA).Foto: Jay Yuan / Shutterstock

For artistic masterpieces.

One of the world’s great arts museums, the MFA houses nearly 450,000 treasures, including Native American and revolutionary-era masterpieces, ancient coins, European and Asian galleries, and classical antiquities.

How to Visit: See it on a bike tour; jump off a trolley tour at the MFA’s home of Huntington Avenue; or save on admission with a sightseeing pass.

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