What to Do With One Day in Boston, Massachusetts, USA

So you’ve got one day in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. When there is so much to see and do and so little time, how do you possibly decide? That was the boat I found myself in when I visited Boston. I had originally gone for the Boston Career Forum, which is a big job fair for people who speak both Japanese and English. I ended up not being at the career fair for as long as I thought, so I was left with some extra time to do some sightseeing before heading home. Here is what I chose to do with one day in Boston.

What to Do With One Day in Boston - Footsteps of a Dreamer


Boston Common and Public Garden

Similar to Central Park in New York City, Boston Common and Public Garden are two parks located in downtown Boston. Personally, I liked Boston Common and Public Garden more than I liked Central Park in New York. However, when I visited Boston, the leaves were changing colors and made the whole area look especially beautiful, so I might be a little biased.

Boston Public Garden

Boston Common

Boston Common was established in 1634, making it America’s oldest public park. Public Garden was established later in 1837. The history of the park is represented in the many statues and monuments that have been erected across the two parks. Some of the statues and monuments include:

  • Soldiers and Sailors Monument – commemorates those who died in the Civil War
  • Boston Massacre Memorial – commemorates those who died in the Boston Massacre
  • Oneida Football Monument – memorializes Boston Common as the site of the first organized football game
  • Ether Monument – the oldest monument in Public Garden, it commemorates the first use of ether as an anesthetic
  • Equestrian Statue of George Washington – constructed entirely by Massachusetts artists and artisans

Boston Common is also one of the major attractions along the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile trail that leads you through various historic sites in Boston.

Equestrian Statue of George Washington in Boston Public Garden

Monument in Boston Common


Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Market

Like many other places in Boston, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market are rather historic. Faneuil Hall was built in 1742 by Boston’s wealthiest merchant, who donated it to the city. Quincy Market was built later, between 1824 and 1826, by the mayor who organized its construction without any tax or debt. Today, both function as large marketplaces full of shopping and entertainment.

Quincy Market, Boston

Some of the shops were for big name brand companies like Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, and more, but others were stores I didn’t recognize. One of the stores we stopped in was called Christmas in Boston, and as you can imagine, they sold Christmas decorations (mostly tree ornaments). The place was absolutely huge. I’ve never seen so many ornaments in my life. You could even personalize many of the ornaments for no additional cost.

It’s also common to find many street performers just outside Faneuil Hall. If you’ve got a few minutes, I suggest staying to watch a few. I thoroughly enjoyed the few performances we were able to watch while wandering around the marketplace.





Downtown Crossings

If you didn’t get your fill of shopping at Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, head over to Downtown Crossings! It’s a very popular shopping area and is considered one of the most bustling intersections in Boston during weekdays.

Downtown Crossings was actually one of my favorite parts of Boston. I was there during the weekend, and while it was busy, I didn’t feel like it was crowded. It’s hard to describe, but I liked the “feel” of the area. There’s so much to do and enjoy. In contrast to New York’s rush, rush mentality, at Downtown Crossings, I could relax and just wander around at my own pace. I felt comfortable.


Walk Along the Boston Harbor

Boston Harbor

As somebody who lives in a rural area, far from any decent sized body of water, I particularly enjoy walking along the water, whether it be on a sidewalk or beach. That, of course, meant that I had to make a stop at the Boston Harbor. It was nice to take a stroll along the harbor and watch all of the ships. I was surprised to find that there were many ships that offered all sorts of tours and cruises. If I’d had than just one day in Boston, I probably would have considered actually going on one!


Skywalk Observatory

I suggest ending your one day in Boston at Skywalk Observatory in the Prudential Center. The observatory is on the 50th, and there aren’t too many other tall buildings around, so you can get some great views of the city. Many of the pictures you see on Boston postcards were taken from the Skywalk Observatory.

I chose to get to the observatory in the late afternoon so I could get pictures of the city when there was still daylight. Then, I hung around until after the sun went down so I could appreciate the city when it was all lit up. If you decide to hang around like I did, you won’t have to worry about being bored. Along with breathtaking views of the city, Skywalk Observatory also shows information videos and has other interactive items to help you learn about the city.

View of Boston from the Skywalk Observatory - Daytime

View of Boston from the Skywalk Observatory - Night time


Other Things to Do with One Day in Boston

Boston has a lot of great things to offer, and I really wish I’d had more time there. If you have more time than I did, you might consider checking out the Museum of Science and some of the harbor cruises. If you do, I would also recommend checking out the Boston CityPASS. It’s worth the price if you plan on visiting more of the major attractions in Boston.


Have any other suggestions for things to do with one day in Boston? Let me know in the comments below!

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What to Do With a Day in Boston - Footsteps of a Dreamer

25 Responses

  1. Esther says:

    Lovely autumn photos! Boston looks like a great place to spend a day!

  2. Lisa says:

    Omg Boston in fall looks just perfect! Your pictures are really stunning!!! Hope I’ll be able to visit next fall. #WeekendWanderlust

    • Kiyoko says:

      I’m glad you liked them! It just so happened that I was in Boston during the fall, but I really lucked out that I was there when the leaves were changing. Definitely made it picturesque!

  3. Great Post. We don’t live that far from Boston and we really need to get there someday. Definitely saving some of these suggestions for that trip. Love the videos. I’d pretty much watch any show that involved someone wearing a kilt. #WeekendWanderlust

    • Kiyoko says:

      I’ve seen street performers in many cities, but I have to say, he was probably one of my favorite. I definitely recommend you go, especially if you can make a day trip out of it. If I lived closer to Boston, I would definitely be making more frequent trips there!

  4. Solmaz says:

    Umm you had me at those fall colours!! How beaut. And that observatory has gorg views. Def want to visit Boston.

  5. Victoria says:

    I always go to Boston for layovers and it’s boring to just sit at the airport. I want to go back and do all of these things including Quincy Market! Thanks for sharing

  6. Indrani says:

    That is a good list of things to do in a day. I too enjoy walk along water bodies. The street performances captured so well.
    Loving the city from these glimpses.

  7. Jen Joslin says:

    There is nothing like Boston in the fall! I love those autumn leaves!! Looks like you fit a lot of fun into 24 hours there. That knife juggler is impressive! 🙂

  8. Ami Bhat says:

    There is enough to do for a day here. I like the Boston park and those autumn colors make it look so gorgeous. A walk around here would be so refreshing and it looks like a photographer’s paradise. Cheers

    • Kiyoko says:

      A walk around Boston Common is most definitely a photographer’s paradise! I wish I’d had more time to talk around the park when I was there.

  9. Claudia says:

    Boston looks like a historic city in so many ways. And the shopping at Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and beyond is certainly plentiful. It looks worthwhile to finish your day at that Skywalk Observatory – what a view of the city!

    • Kiyoko says:

      I agree, the observatory is a good way to end the day, or at least do in the evening. It’s so cool being there to city the city in the daylight and how it changes once the sun goes down!

  10. Aleah says:

    I had a 17 layover in Boston and really really wanted to visit the Boston Common. I know how beautiful it is, and basing on your pic, I would have totally enjoyed going there! I also wanted to visit Faneuil Hall for the historic value. Unfortunately, I didn’t know where I could store my baggage. Oh well.

    • Kiyoko says:

      That’s unfortunate that you weren’t able to visit the various areas! You’ll definitely have to make it there if you are ever in the area again!

  11. Jennifer says:

    I am glad you got to visit a few spots on the Freedom Trail (Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market). I love how you can walk to all the historical sites in Boston and explore the start of the Revolutionary War.

    • Kiyoko says:

      I’m not a big history buff, but it was a little surreal visiting the different areas and knowing what importance it held in history.

  12. Suruchi says:

    The picture of colored leave trees and trail covered with fall leaves is just beautiful. Walking along the harbor & clicking lots of pictures is what we will enjoy. Boston city views from the skywalk observatory are amazing especially the night view. The Juggling knives performance looks scary and equally interesting. This is a great guide for spending a day in Boston.

    • Kiyoko says:

      Glad you like it! I definitely think the fall leaves was one of my favorite parts. I hadn’t expected to be able to enjoy the fall foliage in a big city like Boston.

  13. I was there this past august and september for work. I did all those things except for the skywalk. Boston is such a great town. Do you have any food recommendations? I didn’t really eat well since I was traveling alone.

    • Kiyoko says:

      I’m actually a SUPER picky eater. In general, there just aren’t many foods that I like. For that reason, I tend to shy away from food recommendations (that’s why you won’t see me mention food really anywhere on this blog). I’m sure there are tons of places with fantastic food in Boston. I’m just not the best person to be giving those recommendations. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  14. Cheryl says:

    This is a great way to hit the high spots in a day! Boston Common looks nice in the fall. We visited in summer and unfortunately, it was full of homeless. If you get back, go to the Black Rose Irish Pub. It’s just around the corner from Faneuil Hall. Rated the #1 Irish Pub in Boston. All of the staff are from Ireland. The food and service is amazing. Thanks for the helpful post and gorgeous photos.

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