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11 Boston Museums for Travelers of All Ages

Boston Museums
by Matador Creators Apr 4, 2023

It’s no coincidence that Boston is one of America’s great museum cities. The Cradle of Liberty, as Boston is sometimes called, is dripping in history. Many first-time visitors head to the Freedom Trail, a walking route that connects historic landmarks tracing back to the American Revolution, a lot of which now stand as museums. But Boston museums aren’t limited to its tributes to its early days. The city is also home to a wealth of art museums, as well as those dedicated to everything from science to natural history to education topics for children. Below is a list of Boston museums everyone should see, whether you’re new to the city or you live there.

Must-see Boston museums, mapped

Museum of Fine Arts


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Boston’s largest art museum, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) has one of the largest permanent collections in the country, representing a variety of mediums and artists from all over the world. In total, it houses nearly half a million artworks and artifacts in more than 100 galleries. Some of the most famous artists to grace the museum’s walls include van Gogh, Monet, Rembrandt, Cezanne, and Japanese painter and printmaker artist Hokusai. Fun fact: The MFA displays the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan.

Address: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Hours of operation: 10 AM-5 PM Sat-Mon, closed Tues, 10 AM-5 PM Weds, 10 AM-10 PM Thurs-Fri

Cost: $27 for adults, $10 for ages seven to 17, free for kids six and under

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum


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Neighboring the MFA near Boston’s Back Bay Fens, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a beautiful museum designed to resemble a 15th-century Venetian Palace. The impressive collection was assembled by philanthropist and patron of the arts Isabella Stewart Gardner and now includes roughly 7,500 artworks and another 7,000 artifacts dating as far back as Ancient Rome. Notable works include Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” and Titian’s “Rape of Europa.” Visitors will enjoy both the museum’s galleries and its gardens, which together feature paintings, sculptures, furniture, and decorative arts from across the world.

Address: 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115

Hours of operation: 11 AM-5 PM Mon, closed Tues, 11 AM-5 PM Weds, 11 AM-9 PM Thurs, 11 AM- 5 PM Fri, 10 AM-5 PM Sat-Sun

Cost: $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $13 for students, free for visitors under 18

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum


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The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is a museum dedicated to one of American history’s defining moments. Located at the site of the original 1773 protest, the museum allows visitors to explore three recreated tall ships while costumed reenactors bring to life stories from the colonial era. Inside, you’ll also find interactive exhibits and multimedia presentations that tell the story of this historic event. Other attractions include a movie theater, gift shop, café.

Address: 306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Hours of operation: 11 AM-5 PM Mon, closed Tues, 11 AM-5 PM Weds, 11 AM-9 PM Thurs, 11 AM- 5 PM Fri, 10 AM-5 PM Sat-Sun

Cost: $34 for adults ages 13 and up ($36 on weekends), $25 for children between 3 and 10, free for kids ages two and under

USS Constitution Museum


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Home to the world’s oldest commissioned warship, the USS Constitution Museum is a must for history buffs, particularly fans of American naval heritage. The museum has been teaching visitors about the origins of “Old Ironsides” — beginning with its launch in 1797 and service through conflicts including the War of 1812 — ever since being preserved in the Boston Harbor since 1907. Exhibits focus on the ship’s design, construction, and operations during wartime. The museum also offers interactive tours and special programs for students and adults alike.

Address: Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA 02129

Hours of operation: The museum is open 10 AM-5 PM daily; the ships is open 10 AM-4 PM Weds-Sun, closed Mon-Tues

Cost: $34 for adults ages 13 and up ($36 on weekends), $25 for children between 3 and 10, free for kids ages two and under

Museum of Science


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Boston’s Museum of Science is one of the most comprehensive science centers in the country, with more than 700 interactive exhibits, daily live presentations, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater. It’s a little slice of history, too, having been founded in 1830. In addition to fascinating exhibits on astronomy, biology, engineering, technology, and more, the museum also conducts important research addressing global issues related to health and the environment.

Address: 1 Museum Of Science Driveway, Boston, MA 02114

Hours of operation: 9 AM-5 PM Sat-Thurs, 9 AM-9 PM Fri

Cost: $29 for adults, $25 for seniors ages 60 and up, $24 for children ages 3 to 11, free for children under three

Boston Children’s Museum


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The Boston Children’s Museum is an interactive, educational institution located on the Boston Harbor. Founded in 1913, it was among the first museums of its kind in the US and continues to be a leader in innovative exhibits and programs for children, families, and schools. Its three floors of galleries create an adventure through art, science, culture, sports, and more. Visitors can explore more than a dozen themed galleries focused on topics such as life sciences, music, global cultures, early literacy development, and mathematics. Additionally, there are live performances, workshops and special events throughout the year.

Address: 308 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Hours of operation: 9 AM-12 PM & 1:30 PM-4:30 PM Weds-Sun (online reservations required)

Cost: $20 for general admission, free for children under 12 months

Institute of Contemporary Art


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The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston is an innovative contemporary art venue located on the waterfront. Founded in 1936, it’s dedicated to promoting and exploring new ideas, forms, and practices of contemporary art. It features rotating exhibits of established and emerging artists from around the world, with exhibitions exploring a variety of media, such as sculpture, painting, photography, video, film, and performance art.

Address: 25 Harbor Shore Dr, Boston, MA 02210

Hours of operation: Closed Mon, 10 AM-5 PM Tues-Weds, 10 AM-9 PM Thurs-Fri, 10 AM-5 PM Sat-Sun

Cost: $20 for adults, $17 for seniors ages 60 and up, $15 for students, free for visitors ages 18 and under

Paul Revere House


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The Paul Revere House is a landmark attraction located in Boston’s North End. It was home to American patriot and silversmith Paul Revere during the time of the American Revolution. Today, it stands as one of the oldest homes in all of downtown Boston, having been built in 1770. Visitors can learn about Revere’s life and times through guided tours offered daily at the museum. The house has been carefully preserved with many original features still intact, such as furniture crafted by Revere himself and numerous artifacts from the Revolutionary War era. The Paul Revere House is also a stop on the Freedom Trail of historic sites in Boston.

Address: 19 N Square, Boston, MA 02113

Hours of operation: 10 AM-5:15 PM daily from April 15 to October 31, 10 AM-4:15 PM from November 1 to April 14, closed Mon January-March

Cost: $6 for adults, $5.50 for seniors and college students, $1 for children ages five to 17

Museum of African American History

The Museum of African American History is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history, art, and culture of Black Americans. Founded in 1969, the museum curates an impressive collection of artifacts that span several centuries. It features a variety of rotating exhibits and interactive programs that explore themes of identity, resilience, and progress through the lens of African American history. The museum also houses a number of permanent exhibitions, such as collections on early Civil Rights leaders, Black Americans in the military, and slavery.

Address: 46 Joy St, Boston, MA 02114

Hours of operation: 10 AM-4 PM Tues-Sat

Cost: $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors ages 62 and up, free for children 12 and under

Harvard Museum of Natural History


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Located on the Harvard campus in Cambridge across the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is one of the older museums in the country. Founded in 1859, the institution showcases an impressive collection of natural history artifacts ranging from dinosaur fossils, to rocks and minerals, to a bird gallery, to exhibits focused on human evolution.

Address: 26 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Hours of operation: 9 AM-5 PM daily

Cost: $15 for adults, $13 for seniors ages 65 and up, $10 for non-Harvard students and youths ages three to 18, free for children under three

Harvard Art Museums


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While you’re at Harvard, don’t miss the Harvard Art Museums, founded in 1891. The museums are composed of three collections: the Fogg Museum of Art, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Together, they cultivate a collection spanning 5,000 years of art from across the globe, featuring works from ancient Egypt to contemporary art. The highlights at these museums include the renowned Van Gogh self-portrait and masterpieces by artists such as Cezanne, Monet, and Gauguin.

Address: 32 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Hours of operation: 10 AM-5 PM Tues-Sun

Cost: $20 for adults; $18 for seniors ages 65 and up; free for students, youths under 18, and everyone on Sundays

Where to stay near Boston museums

From the Boston Harbor to Cambridge, Boston’s finest museums are scattered all over the city. Your best bet for staying near all the best Boston museums is to pick an accommodation near the Back Bay Fens, a local-favorite park; in the North End or on the waterfront; or in Cambridge if you’re eager to see the Harvard campus and its museums. Here are a few nice Boston Airbnbs and hotels that put you in the center of the action.

We hope you love these accommodations near must-see Boston museums! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

InterContinental Boston, an IHG Hotel


Photo: Expedia

The InterContinental Boston is a luxury hotel located near top attractions like Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Boston Common, not to mention the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Plus, there’s an excellent spa and a pool to keep you busy during your downtime.

Price per night: From $474

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Clean and Bright One-Bedroom Airbnb


Photo: Airbnb

In addition to being walking distance from the MFA and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, this one-bedroom Airbnb bridges the bustling Fenway, Kenmore, and Back Bay neighborhoods. You’ll love the natural light that floods in through the many windows, as well as the local feeling that renting an Airbnb in this area gives you compared to a hotel.

Price per night: $275

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Irving House at Harvard


Photo: Expedia

If you want to see the Harvard Art Museums and Harvard Natural History Museum, there’s no better place to stay than the Irving House, located right in the center of the Harvard campus. Staying at a bed and breakfast will evoke the feeling of experiencing Boston’s days gone by, just like visiting its historic sites will.

Price per night: From $265

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One-Bedroom Airbnb by Hanover Street


Photo: Airbnb

Centrally located in Boston’s North End, this clean and comfortable one-bedroom apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen, a simple bedroom, and a cozy living room to make you feel at home. But the real treat is the shared rooftop patio, perfect for sunny summer days.

Price per night: $235

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