Massachusetts has a long and storied history.
It is one of the original colonies of America, making it among 13 states to have that honor, and was the landing grounds of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower.
Named after the Massachuset tribe, a name that literally translates to “large hill”, it would go on to be one of the sparks of the American Industrial Revolution thanks to its textile mills.
Known by the nickname “The Bay State”, Massachusetts is relatively small but packs a punch with its many historical, natural, coast, and art-related attractions.
As a commonwealth, it has played a huge role in the culture, commercial development, and scientific advancement of America.
It’s a many-faceted location, famous for everything from its roles in the temperance, abolitionist, and transcendentalist movements to its invention of sports like volleyball and basketball.
With all the Massachusetts attractions available, it’ll be hard to narrow them down to a few for your vacation!
To help you out, here are our picks for 52 fun things to do and places to visit in Massachusetts.
Things To Do In Massachusetts
1. Minute Man National Historical Park
The Minute Man National Historical Park is one of the most interesting places to see in the state of Massachusetts, especially for those interested in history.
Its designation is to mark the route that the British marched that would initiate the beginning of the American Revolutionary War.
Spanning 970 acres, it was established in 1959 and is cared for by the National Park Service.
Aside from just the 5 miles of Battle Road Trail, the Minute Man National Historical Park provides plenty of fascinating locations.
This includes Hartwell Tavern, which is an 18th-century restored tavern that occasionally showcases programs in living history.
There is also a monument at the site of Paul Revere’s capture, a restored colonial landscape, North Bridge where the British and the Colonies battled, and a set of ranger programs that provide education on the war through reenactments, demonstrations, and tours.
Address: 250 N Great Rd, Lincoln, MA 01773, United States
2. Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the very best and most extensive art museums on the planet.
It first opened in Copley Square in Boston, Massachusetts in 1876.
At the time, it only housed about 5,600 works.
Then, in 1909, it moved to a new location in the city, Huntington Avenue, and it has since grown to contain close to 500,000 individual pieces on display!
A popular location, more than one million people visit it every year.
At the Museum of Fine Arts, you’ll find works from all sorts of eras, locations, and genres, ranging from modern contemporary art all the way back to ancient Egyptian works.
Notable masterpieces by the likes of John Singleton Copley, Money, Picasso, and Rembrandt are on display.
The Museum of Fine Arts is always growing.
In 2010, a new wing called the Art of the Americas wing was opened to showcase the country’s art from ancient and modern times alike.
In 2013, galleries specifically for African, European, and Asian art opened, too.
If you’re an art-lover wondering what to do in Massachusetts, you’ll find your haven of fun in this museum!
Address: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States
3. Boston Common
The Boston Common was created in 1634 and has enjoyed a storied history.
In 1768, it became a site for an encampment of the British Redcoats, who remained for eight years, and following that, the likes of George Washington, General Lafayette, and John Adams came here to celebrate the independence of America.
In the 1860s, it was the site of anti-slavery meetings and recruitment for the Civil War.
In World War I, victory gardens were planted, and in World War II, its iron fences were used as metal scraps.
Throughout the 20th century, it was used to promote commercial aviation by Charles Lindbergh, and civil rights and anti-Vietnam War rallies were held here, too.
With all of that history, the Boston Common was deemed important to be enhanced and preserved in 1970 by the Friends of the Public Garden.
It is now one of Massachusetts’ fun and free things to do.
Address: 139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111, United States
4. The Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail of Boston, Massachusetts is a winding, three-mile trail that contains several of the country’s most crucial historical locations and sites ranging from cultural icons to churches and from museums to ships.
It is for this reason that it is widely considered one of the key places to visit in Massachusetts not to be missed.
A total of 16 monuments can be seen throughout the trail, which is easy to navigate thanks to its large marks of medallions and clear red bricks.
The Freedom Trail spans from the Navy Yard in Charlestown all the way to the Boston Common and showcases much of the city, state, and country’s wealth of history.
Address: Boston, MA, United States
5. Fenway Park
Fenway Park is the home of the famous Boston Red Sox and has been an iconic location since its opening date in 1912.
For fun-loving sports and baseball fans, a trip to the renowned stadium is one of the main things to do in Massachusetts.
It is an important part of Boston city and has changed very little since it first welcomed spectators, adding even more to its historic value.
Fenway Park is the oldest major league baseball stadium in the world and is almost a legend at this point.
On a tour of the grounds, you’ll get to see Pesky’s Pole, the 37-foot-tall Green Monster over leftfield, and its huge seating area with a capacity of approximately 38,000.
Even if you’re not big into baseball, the old-fashioned charm of this Massachusetts icon and the fascinating historical knowledge bestowed on its tours makes it well worth a visit.
Address: 4 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215, United States
6. Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard may be one of the most renowned and beautiful places to go in Massachusetts, so it’s no wonder that it’s also considered among the best.
It is an island in the Cape Cod area and is often simply called The Vineyard.
It is only accessible by ferry, but the trip is very much worth it.
It is also the 57th biggest island in America and is often given the nickname Hollywood East.
There are many different spots to explore and check out at Martha’s Vineyard, and almost all of them offer gorgeous views of the sunset.
Unspoiled wild areas are stunning, lighthouses are breathtaking, and the dining and shopping options will keep you occupied.
There are even weekly entertainment options!
One part of Martha’s Vineyard that you shouldn’t miss are its gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs.
They are Victorian-style cottages carefully arranged together in a style that feels like they’re made from candy ala Hansel and Gretel.
There are a total of 300 houses of this kind in the area as well as a fascinating Cottage Museum to peruse.
Address: MA, United States
7. Norman Rockwell Museum
The Norman Rockwell Museum, as its name suggests, is a museum attraction dedicated to showcasing a collection of art by Norman Rockwell.
It is one of the top locations to view these masterpieces, boasting the world’s most iconic and biggest collection of its kind.
With a whopping 998 original paintings and drawings by the artist, all of which are authentic, it’s a fantastic option among Massachusetts attractions for fans of his work.
The museum was opened in 1969 and has grown to showcase art from similar artists to Rockwell and his contemporaries.
It also provides information on his contributions to pop culture and the wider society, as well as his impact on social commentary.
You’ll also get to view Rockwell’s studio, which moved from its original location in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where he worked for 25 years until he passed away.
If you’re lucky, you may get to catch one of the special events that the Norman Rockwell Museum hosts every now and then!
Address: 9 Glendale Rd, Stockbridge, MA 01262, United States
8. Cape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod National Seashore is an absolute must see and is famous as one of the most romantic things to do in all of America.
Each summer, visitors flock to Massachusetts to enjoy the glory and beauty of the 43,607-acre National Park, which hosts more than 500 miles of stunning beaches throughout the coast of Cape Cod.
The Cape Cod National Seashore has ensured the protection of the coast over the years, so you can explore it in its unspoiled, natural form.
Going further into the area, you’ll find numerous ways to spend your time, including dining options, conservation spots, fun nightlife options, and peaceful quiet areas.
It’s a great getaway to check out this weekend!
Address: 99 Marconi Site Road, Wellfleet, MA 02667, United States
9. The House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables is one whose name you may recognize from the similarly titled 1851 novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
That’s because that book is based on the actual house in question, which is known as the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion.
It sits at Salem Harbor in Massachusetts, right on the water, and was built in 1668.
The House of the Seven Gables has a unique construction that includes a dark and atmospheric facade, numerous pointed gables that may have contributed to its name, and several chimneys.
Tours of the house showcase the history of the mansion while providing information on the life and work of Hawthorne, the background of the town of Salem, and the chance to go through a secret passage.
There’s also a softer, kinder story to The House of the Seven Gables and how it became one of the most well-known local tourist attractions.
It was founded as a museum by preservationist and philanthropist Caroline Emmerton who purchased the mansion in 1908 and fully restored it to preserve it for generations to come and provide funding for immigrant settlement programs.
Address: 115 Derby St, Salem, MA 01970, United States
10. Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall, built in 1742, was once a teeming marketplace on the waterfront for 18th-century traders.
It was a common meeting point, a site of many revolutionary protests and speeches, and an icon of Massachusetts history.
Now, it has been renovated and changed many times over, providing a modern glimpse into the past!
As it once was, Faneuil Hall continues to host a market on its lower floor that is perfect for exploration and shopping.
The highest floor of Faneuil Hall is also home to the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Museum, where you’ll get to learn about military history via exhibits of armor, weapons, and artifacts.
The hall also boasts an assembly area, which spans two stories in height and is full of murals of Boston historical moments and political figures’ busts.
As a recreational location, Faneuil Hall is one of the best free things to do in Massachusetts, and it’s a central hub for relaxing.
The fact that it’s steeped in history makes it even more interesting.
Don’t forget to get a good look at the Faneuil Hall weathervane, built when the building was first made in 1742.
It is a huge 38-pound grasshopper of copper that also doubles as a time capsule!
Address: 4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109, United States
11. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Massachusetts began as a location to house the art of Isabella Steward Gardner herself.
A three-floor space, it is home to over 2,500 different artifacts of all kinds, ranging from paintings to textiles and from manuscripts to sculptures, all collected from across the planet.
It is the story of Isabella that has intrigued so many.
After losing her one child to pneumonia and discovering she could no longer have children, Isabella secluded herself in her room and refused to leave, traumatized and depressed by the news.
When her husband finally coaxed her out and took on a trip through Europe, Isabella’s zest for life returned, and she fell in love with beautiful and strange works of art from all the fun locations she visited.
Eventually, Isabella had filled warehouses with all sorts of objects from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and she built Fenway Court in order to house them.
In 1903, she opened the home to the public, where it would eventually take the name of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Her life and times, however, remained very much a mystery, and she burned many private journals and letters before passing away.
Today, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is also famous for a different reason, too.
In 1990, two men pretending to be police officers successfully stole collectibles and art totaling over $500 million in value.
The theft is yet unsolved, remaining the biggest of its kind in history to go unanswered.
Address: 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115, United States
12. Plimoth Plantation
It was established in 1947 by Henry Hornblower II, who grew up in Boston but had been interested in the history of Plymouth thanks to his summer vacations in the area.
The living museum is a recreation of 1627 Massachusetts and showcases the everyday lives of 17th-century Wampanoag and English peoples.
Hornblower performed many excavations in the area where the original colonies lived in Plymouth, and he decided to share his findings through the museum.
At first, Plimoth Plantation’s only things to see were a part of English cottages, but this has since grown.
Now, the living museum includes a replica of a Wampanoag village, a replica of the Mayflower, barns, a water-powered mill, and a whole colonial village!
As you walk through Plimoth Plantation, you’ll meet an array of period-dressed actors interacting with the museum’s buildings and living their daily lives as part of a 17th-century maritime and farming community.
Houses are surprisingly realistic with heritage livestock, kitchen gardens, and old-fashioned objects.
Address: 137 Warren Ave, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States
13. Old Sturbridge Village
Old Sturbridge Village is one of the best places to visit in Massachusetts if you want to truly step back in history.
Here, you’ll get to set foot in a land that recreates the rural life of New Englanders from the 1790s to the 1830s.
It is the biggest outdoor history museum not just in Massachusetts, but in the entire Northeast.
At Old Sturbridge Village, you’ll get to view, enter, and explore more than 40 genuine buildings from the era across 200 acres of land.
This includes homes, trade shops, meetinghouses, a country store, a district school, a working farm, three water-powered mills, and a bank.
Actors in period costumes participate in the daily activities of people living in that era, performing acts like farming, blacksmithing, and working with real livestock.
Address: 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd, Sturbridge, MA 01566, United States
14. Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a marine sanctuary in Massachusetts Bay famous as a location for fun whale-watching.
Spanning 842 square miles, it was once a fishing ground and is now a protected area offering whale-watching tours in a highly diverse environment.
There are many other marine animals that you’ll spot at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
More than 50 of them are recognized and known humpbacks, but you’ll also see dolphins, seals, and more.
As far as things to do in Massachusetts go, a trip here is a wonderful way to experience wildlife in its truest form in a safe and mindful manner.
Address: 175 Edward Foster Rd, Scituate, MA 02066, United States
15. Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex Museum was created in 1799 as a means of promoting art and culture on an international scale.
It celebrates the creativity of artists and cultures by stewarding, interpreting, collecting, and displaying a wide range of different artifacts and objects.
Without a doubt, it’s one of the best points of interest for art aficionados visiting Massachusetts.
The Peabody Essex Museum was also one of America’s first-ever museums to collect international cultural and artistic artifacts and items.
Its collections change now and then, hosting historic and contemporary works alike.
Genres and cultures range from Maritime to Oceanic, from Native American to Asian, and from American to African.
It also boasts historic American and Chinese houses and an archival library.
Address: 161 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States
16. Hammond Castle Museum
The Hammond Castle Museum was once the home of the resourceful John Hayes Hammond Jr.
As a young boy, his wealthy father brought him to visit the laboratory of Thomas Edison himself, and Hammond was fascinated by him and hounded him with questions.
That would lead to Hammond being taken under Edison’s wing, and he would go on to become an inventor with the second most patents for inventions filed, right behind Edison.
Hammond, who would earn the title (that should technically belong to Nikola Tesla) “the father of remote control”, was passionate about history, European culture, and travel.
In 1926, he would begin construction on a home in New England, Massachusetts, a medieval-type castle with a drawbridge, War room, indoor pool, renaissance dining room, round library, and secret passages.
He named it Abbadia Mare and it looked out over the Atlantic Ocean, with a facade inspired by French chateaus and Gothic cathedrals.
Hammond would bring home parts of buildings (or ideas of their designs) from his travels, and they would form unique parts of his home, such as his courtyard garden room.
A wine merchant’s home, a meat market, and more would be collected.
He also filled the home with fun and eccentric items, like a church archway made from Mt. Vesusvius’ carved lava, a skull of a sailor who worked with Christopher Columbus, a nude statue of himself, and an eight-story-tall pipe organ in the Great Hall.
Today, the Hammond Castle Museum is a celebration of the man’s life and times, the unique architecture of the home, and the laboratory where he worked.
It is one of the most fascinating Massachusetts attractions to visit, with stunning artifacts, lovely views of the ocean, and picturesque gardens to explore.
Address: 80 Hesperus Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930, United States
Tanglewood is a key destination for entertainment in Massachusetts.
Located in Lenox, it was once the Tappan family estate, given as a gift to the Boston Symphony and Serge Koussevitzky as thanks for their agreement to holding outdoor concerts for locals.
The festival’s largest audience was collected the following year in 1937, leading to what is now considered the first-ever Tanglewood concert.
Tanglewood remains a site for musical festivities annually, bringing in over 350,000 visitors each time it is hosted.
With many genres and performers putting on incredible shows and numerous events held throughout the year, it’s an absolute must do!
Address: 297 West St, Lenox, MA 01240, United States
18. Nantucket Whaling Museum
The Nantucket Whaling Museum of Massachusetts is housed in a building that was once a candle factory in the 19th century, but the museum dates all the way back to 1929.
It was restored to glory in 2005 and serves as a center for education on the history of local whaling endeavors.
It has been an American Association of Museums-accredited institute since 2008 and has become one of the top local tourist attractions.
There are many fascinating attractions at the Nantucket Whaling Museum, including a sperm whale skeleton spanning 46 feet in length that hangs from the museum’s ceiling, a showing of Ric Burns’ film Nantucket, an 1881 restored tower clock, baskets from lightships, scrimshaw, paintings, portraits of seafarers, and decorative arts.
There is also a unique 1849 Fresnel lens taken from Sankaty Head Lighthouse, some twine that was made out at sea, a chest salvaged from a shipwreck, and a range of documents from the infamous whaleship Essex.
Address: 13 Broad St, Nantucket, MA 02554, United States
19. The Mapparium
The Mapparium is a three-story feature of the Mary Baker Eddy Library, which is a Blue Star Museum.
In the early 1930s, it was the new headquarters of the Christian Science Publishing Society.
The society of the Christian Science Monitor commissioned Massachusetts architect Chester Lindsay Churchill to create the grand building, aiming to rival and one-up the similarly grand building of the New York Daily News.
The result was nothing short of magnificent, and the Mapparium was a part of it.
The globe is an inside-out creation of stained glass, bisected with a glass walkway.
It provides a way of looking at the Earth’s surface without the distortion you usually see on globes due to the spherical shape that shifts perspective.
The Mapparium does away with this, providing a completely accurate and very fun way of seeing the world!
At the time of its creation, the Mapparium was lit up with hundreds upon hundreds of lamps.
Today, those have been swapped with LEDs.
With the relative size of the continents and their positions being correct, you’ll get to truly see the huge expanse of Africa and the close proximity of Asia, Europe, and North America to the North Pole.
Do note that the political boundaries are a little out of date, though, as the Mapparium was finished in 1935!
Another fascinating feature of the Mapparium is its acoustics, created due to the perfect sphere that it is.
When you stand in the middle, your voice can be amplified and reflected back to you in 360-degree surround sound.
You can also clearly hear even the quietest whispers from the other end of the bridge in a whispering gallery effect!
Address: 200 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States
20. The Witch House of Salem
The Witch House of Salem wasn’t always known by that name.
It was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges who convicted “witches” during the 1692 and 1693 witchcraft trials of Salem.
His decisions were based on visions and dreams.
As a civic leader and local magistrate, he had been called to investigate the surging accusations of witchcraft in Salem and communities near it.
He served the Court of Oyer and Terminer.
The macabre, unfair history of the Salem witch trials is very much a part of Massachusetts’ cultural backdrop.
Corwin lived in the home that is now the Witch House of Salem for four decades, and the family would keep the house until the middle of the 19th century.
Eventually, the house was turned into the museum that it is now, focusing on the 17th century and the history of the horrific witchcraft trials.
Address: 310 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States
21. Lizzie Borden House
The Lizzie Borden House is one of the key things to see for ghost-hunters and fans of the strange and macabre.
Located in Massachusetts’ Fall River, it was once the home of Andrew and Abby Borden and their children and stepchildren, including Lizzie, their youngest.
When the couple was found dead, killed by a hatchet, Lizzie was the main suspect, though she was acquitted in the subsequent trials.
Now, the Lizzie Borden House is exactly what it says it is: a bed and breakfast and a publicly open museum.
Inside, you’ll find a recreation of the crime scene, some dismal and bizarre memorabilia recreated from the night, and the rooms of Lizzie and her parents.
The aforementioned rooms are available to lodge in, too, though you must beware – reports say the building, especially those rooms, is extremely haunted!
Address: 230 2nd St, Fall River, MA 02721, United States
22. Forest Hills Cemetery
Forest Hills Cemetery is a Victorian-era graveyard located in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Spanning 275 acres, it is arranged to surround a lovely lake and is a calming mix of natural and man-made features.
Graves are often decorated with sculptures and mausoleums tend to have interesting architectural designs.
Contemporary sculptures dot the grounds, adding more whimsical and fun elements to a normally somber environment.
One of the more interesting features of Forest Hills Cemetery is its miniature village, which was created in 2006 by Christopher Frost.
Each building is designed as a replica of a home of an individual buried in the cemetery.
This creates a very diverse set of mini buildings that is, itself, one of the fascinating places to visit in Massachusetts.
The cemetery is also the final resting ground of many interesting historical figures like Eugene O’Neill, Anne Sexton, and E.E. Cummings.
Address: 95 Forest Hills Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130, United States
23. The Clark Art Institute
The Clark Art Institute is both an art museum and a research location for higher education, and it is one of the only of its kind in the world.
It was created from a founding gift of art collected by Francine and Sterling Clark.
The Clark Art Institute contains a large collection of works from European and American sources.
Drawings, sculptures, photographs, paintings, decorative arts, prints, oil sketches, and even silver are on display, with Renaissance, Academic, French Impressionist, and many more genres.
For those interested in art, this is one of the most engaging things to do in Massachusetts.
Address: 225 South St, Williamstown, MA 01267, United States
24. Bridge of Flowers
The Bridge of Flowers is one of the most unique and one-of-a-kind places to go in Massachusetts.
It was once owned by the Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway, which closed in 1927.
After it closed, members of the community decided to change the trolley bridge into a lovely landmark for all to enjoy.
The railway’s remnants were then largely moved to what would become the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, which you can also visit near the bridge.
The Bridge of Flowers boasts a length of 400 feet and is covered in carefully planted flowers that bloom beautifully and constantly from April to October.
Over 500 kinds of flora, including flowers, shrubs, and vines, hug the walkway’s sides.
They are labeled with their names and make for a romantic walk!
Address: 22 Water St, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370, United States
25. Danvers State Hospital
Danvers State Hospital was used as the inspiration for Batman’s Arkham Asylum and for the horror tales of H.P Lovecraft – which makes it especially fun to know that it is now a complex of condominiums!
Despite its current iteration, the hospital is still one of the chief Massachusetts attractions for fans of the unusual and obscure.
In 1878, Danvers State Hospital was opened as a hospital for mental health.
It was originally a kind place, providing care to more than 600 patients with a compassionate and caring view of mental health.
Unfortunately, by the 1930s, the hospital had become overcrowded, and its intimidating gothic appearance became more and more a reflection of the cruelty, inhumanity, and disrepair occurring within.
Even with expansions, the Danvers State Hospital was only ever meant to hold 1,500 people, but by the 1940s it had more than 2,000 of them.
Inhumane treatments began being used here.
Thankfully, the 1960s saw the introduction of community mental healthcare and alternative treatments that allowed the hospital to see less use.
By 1992, the hospital was shut down.
Though the condominium in its place today barely references this morbid part of Massachusetts’ history, the hospital cemetery remains onsite.
Address: 1101 Kirkbride Dr, Danvers, MA 01923, United States
26. Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
Looking for some must-see cool places in Massachusetts?
Head on down to Salem and check out Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, a movie monster museum!
Inside, you’ll find a spooky gallery that houses pieces of James Lurgio’s private collection of monstrous memorabilia and artifacts.
Throughout the creepy halls of Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, you’ll see numerous creations of the figures of movie monsters, full-sized and made with materials like silicone, resin, and latex.
Approximately 50 characters, arranged chronologically, can be viewed, from Nosferatu to the monsters of Fright Night and from The Exorcist’s Linda Bliar to Alfred Hitchcock’s creations.
Address: 217 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970, United States
27. Ruins of Schoolmaster Hill
Schoolmaster Hill was first the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, then a public park created by Frederick Law Olmstead.
Its initial design included a terrace leading to a shelter, which then connected to vine-covered steps and a multi-use building.
The park structure eventually was redesigned again in order to provide a home for park facilities, and then it was turned into a golf clubhouse.
No matter its iteration, though, it always offered lovely views.
In the 1930s, the building was destroyed by a fire and left in ruins.
Approximately 60 years later, it was partially restored by the Boston Parks Department and the Franklin Park Coalition, and that is how it looks till now.
If you love exploring ruins and are wondering where to visit, the ruins of Schoolmaster Hill are among the best you’ll find in Massachusetts, complete with beautiful panoramas of the surrounding area.
Address: 1 Circuit Dr, Boston, MA, United States
28. The Museum of Russian Icons
Did you know that the world’s biggest collection of Russian icons outside of Russia is right in Massachusetts, right near the Central Park of Clinton?
It is here that the Museum of Russian Icons lives, containing over a thousand icons spanning six centuries of the Russian tradition of sacred paintings, as commonly used in their Orthodox religion.
The Museum of Russian Icons houses the collection of a local businessman and engineer named Gordon B. Lankton, who started the collection in the 1980s.
Houses within a mill building and a former police station building, both dating back centuries, it is the only American facility dedicated to the display of these unique icons.
The icons in question are paintings of religious images, often of scenes from the lives of the saints or of the Mother of God.
Some are covered with silver or gold, most are painted on wood, some have gold leaf decorations, and some use narrative panels to tell a story.
Almost all of them are anonymously painted and a fair few date back to the 10th century.
It’s a unique spot that you must add to your list of what to do!
Don’t forget to check out the Tea Room to sample Russian snacks, drinks, and chocolates.
Address: 203 Union St, Clinton, MA 01510, United States
29. New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium is situated on the waterfront of Boston, Massachusetts.
Spanning a whopping 75,000 square feet, it is a fun location boasting over 550 species of marine fauna totaling 20,000 individual animals.
It is also the biggest aquarium in the New England region, welcoming around 1.3 million guests annually.
At the New England Aquarium, you’ll find small crabs, sharks, turtles, seadragons, stingrays, eels, barracudas, and more.
Exhibits include the Caribbean reef, the Edge of the Sea touch tank, and the huge coral reef-filled Giant Ocean Tank that reaches four stories in height.
There is also an IMAX theater that features all sorts of nature-themed short films!
Address: 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110, United States
30. Adams National Historical Park
The Adams National Historical Park was the home location of two American presidents and their descendants, continuing to serve this purpose until 1927.
The park was created in order to preserve the iconic homes of President John Adams and four generations of his family, with additional goals of fostering patriotism, representing the history of the family and the country, and educating the public.
President John Adams had always dreamed of living a simple life as a farmer, and after his stint as president, he created Peace Field, which was his farmstead.
You can view the farmstead here at Adams National Historical Park, as well as his childhood home.
Both of these sites do an amazing job displaying the complex life and mental struggles of the late president.
The park is undoubtedly one of the best things to see in the city of Massachusetts, especially for lovers of history.
Address: 133 Franklin St, Quincy, MA 02169, United States
31. Mount Greylock
Mount Greylock in Adams is one of the top places to visit in Massachusetts – mostly because it’s the highest point in the whole state at 3,491 feet!
Offering gorgeous views of the surrounding area, including five states that flank this one, you’ll have your breath taken away by the panoramic scenery.
Mount Greylock is also famously crowned by the Massachusetts War Memorial Tower, which hosts a beacon that is lit up every night and can be seen from a whopping 70 miles away.
A hotel also waits at the summit of Mount Greylock, made by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Address: MA, United States
Looking for some high-end fashion fun in Massachusetts?
Seek out Bodega, a carefully hidden location behind a secret door of an unassuming corner store.
From the outside, that corner store just looks like a generic convenience shop filled with non-perishables, household basics, and snacks.
But when you journey to the back, you’ll find an old Snapple machine that you’ll never guess hides one of the coolest things to do in Massachusetts.
Slide the machine and you’ll find out that it’s actually a secret door concealing the true nature of Bodega.
Bodega is filled with shelves that hold skate fashion and street fashion from high-end brands, and it’s a well-kept secret that is advertised by word of mouth!
Address: 6 Clearway St, Boston, MA 02115, United States
33. Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
The Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area is a selection of varying islands and a part of the Massachusetts mainland that is preserved by the National Park Service.
The harbor itself has a lengthy history, used as a shipping port in the Colonial era.
Renovation in the 20th century turned it into an ideal getaway, which is what it can be for you and your family this weekend!
Among the points of interest at the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area are Harborwalk, an interactive walkway that brings you through numerous beaches, parks, and cafes, and a number of hiking trails that offer fishing and picnicking spots.
There is also Boston Light, America’s oldest lighthouse, within the recreational area’s space on Little Brewster Island.
Address: 191w Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02109, United States
34. Aquinnah Cliffs
The Aquinnah Cliffs of Massachusetts, also known as the Gay Head Cliffs, are situated within Martha’s Vineyard on the island’s western side, in a Wampanoag reservation.
The cliffs of clay are millions of years old, created by glaciers.
The result is a mix of orange and red clay merging with sand that produces a stunning rainbow effect.
It’s pretty easy to get up-close to the Aquinnah Cliffs.
Following trails on Moshup Beach will get you right to them, and you can climb to their peak to view panoramas of the Elizabeth Islands and the Gay Head Light.
As one of the protected Massachusetts attractions, you’re advised to abide by any rules in place at the Aquinnah Cliffs!
The Wampanoag tribe that owns the land believes that the red clay of the cliffs is the result of legendary Wampanoag founder Moshup, who is said to have bashed whales against the cliffs to feed his people.
Address: 31 Aquinnah Cir, Aquinnah, MA 02535, United States
35. Bash Bish Falls
A gorgeous waterfall with a backdrop of legends and eerie tales of danger, it falls 80 feet into a shallow creek and pool.
The spot from the peak of the waterfall is one of the state’s most beautiful places, providing a stunning view that stretches all the way into Taconic State Park in New York.
Where does the name “Bash Bish Falls” come from?
Well, a macabre legend states that a Mohican woman named Bash-Bish was tied to a canoe and sent falling down the falls after she was accused of adultery, despite insisting on her innocence.
The legend also says that her daughter, White Swan, threw herself from the falls when she was unable to conceive a child.
Though many consider Bash Bish Falls a must-do, it’s also a location that should be approached with caution.
25 individuals have passed away due to jumping or falling from the peak of the falls to the shallow pool below.
Walkways are fitted with steel cables to try to keep that danger at bay, and many consider the beauty of the natural land to be worth the mild risk.
And it is, as long as you’re careful!
Address: MA, United States
36. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum, located in Cambridge, is one of the state’s chief tourist attractions for those interested in technology.
It collects, preserves, and showcases many different items that are related to its titular university, providing education and historical tales of MIT and its role in modern development.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum is also home to a permanent collection of all sorts of machines made by Arthur Fanson.
Ganson was a former artist in residence at MIT and created several playful, whimsical, and personality-filled machines that perform all sorts of engaging, adorable, and intriguing tasks.
This includes machines that oil themselves, bounce non-stop, drag items, or perform strange and unusual tasks.
Address: 265 Massachusetts Ave, Building N51, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States
37. Brattle Book Shop
The Brattle Book Shop is a fun location for bibliophiles who are visiting Massachusetts!
Situated in downtown Boston close to the Boston Common, it is tucked away between buildings of red brick and is an antiquarian bookshop.
Opened in 1825, it has been selling used books ever since and offers over 250,000 books, prints, postcards, and maps from different eras and genres.
The lowest two floors of the Brattle Book Shop are packed tightly with shelves of general use books.
The passageways between them are narrow, with step stools littered around for easy access to tall shelves.
The third floor boasts collectible and first-edition books that make for fascinating perusal.
And, of course, right outside the shop, you’ll find an open-air sale area filled with cheap books haphazardly filling bookshelves and racks!
Address: 9 West St, Boston, MA 02111, United States
38. Lexington Common National Historic Site
The Lexington Common National Historic Site, also known as the Battle Green, is a National Historic Landmark that is considered consecrated ground.
It is also one of America’s only locations where the US Flag can fly for 24 hours a day, as authorized by Congress.
It is here that, according to George Washington’s diary, the very first blood was shed in a 1775 battle against the British Regulars by the Minutemen, or 77 members of the Lexington militia.
A total of 10 Minutemen here were wounded, and eight lost their lives.
A number of monuments located throughout the Lexington Common National Historic Site make it both one of Massachusetts’ most scenic places and one of the key things to do in Massachusetts for history-lovers.
There is a bronze plaque here that marks the Belfry’s original location, placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1910 as well as a relief of the Battle of Lexington.
The most famous monument at the Lexington Common National Historic Site is the Minuteman Statue Battle Relief, a huge obelisk that was placed in 1799.
It marks one end of the Minuteman line.
The other end is marked by a boulder that is inscribed with an inspiring and famous quote by Captain John Parker.
Address: 1625 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, MA 02421, United States
39. Boston Museum of Science
The Boston Museum of Science is one of the best institutions of its kind in Massachusetts, boasting more than 700 items in its permanent exhibits.
It is one of the world’s biggest centers of its kind and covers subjects such as mathematics, science, and technology through educational awareness programs, exhibits, and reports.
With an engaging hands-on and interactive approach, the Boston Museum of Science is a fantastic location for children but it’s also equally appealing to adults.
It has a planetarium that puts on daily shows, a butterfly garden to marvel at, and even a Dakota fossil which is dated at 65 million years old.
Address: 1 Museum Of Science Driveway, Boston, MA 02114, United States
40. Harvard Museum of Natural History
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a collection of three different institutions merged into one huge facility, namely the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Harvard Herbaria.
If you’re a science and history buff looking for where to go in Massachusetts, this museum is a great bet.
Harvard University has more than 21 million different specimens under its research programs at any given time, and over 12,000 of those specimens can be viewed at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
This includes a fully assembled skeleton of a dodo bird, more than 3,000 different glass flowers used in botany lessons in the 19th and 20th centuries, and even a collection of human skulls on mounts.
Address: 26 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States
41. Museum of Modern Renaissance
The Museum of Modern Renaissance is situated in Massachusetts’ Somerville, on a humble residential street.
It was once a masonic lodge and has been turned into a “Temple of Art” as a labor of love by Russian artists Nicholas Shaplyko and Ekaterina Sorokina.
Since its 2002 makeover, the Museum of Modern Renaissance is a lovely and whimsical space designed to resemble an Incan ruin from the front.
The inside’s ceilings and walls are filled with paintings of mythological and fresco-like nature in a style that the artists refer to as Mystical Realism.
Tours of the Museum of Modern Renaissance are hard to come by and have to be booked in advance, so plan in advance if you want to add this to your list of places to visit in Massachusetts.
Address: 115 College Ave, Somerville, MA 02144, United States
42. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
Pretty much everyone has heard of the Boston Tea Party, so why not learn even more about it at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum?
This huge event in Massachusetts changed the course of American history.
The museum is all about reenacting that event so you can get up-close and personal with it and some full-scale 18th-century ship replicas!
The multi-sensory experience at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum includes interactive displays, historical interpreters, interesting artifacts, and a proper reenactment of events.
You’ll start at the Meeting House, where you’ll get to meet your host, Samuel Adams, and travel back to 1773.
Then, you’ll join a Son of Liberty and storm an 18th-century sailing vessel to join the destruction and overthrowing of tea into the same waters that all that tea was thrown into almost 250 years prior.
You’ll also get to fully explore the ship!
After that, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum will perform a reenactment and debate of the actions following the tea destruction.
You’ll then be able to see and learn about the Robinson Tea Chest, which is the only one that survived the original Boston Tea Party.
Next, you’ll watch an award-winning documentary about the famous Midnight Ride of Paul Revere that sparked the American Revolution.
Finally, you’ll head to Abigail’s Tea Room to try some of the teas thrown overboard and eat some treats!
For a fully immersive experience, this is one of the top things to do in Massachusetts for sure!
Address: 306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210, United States
43. Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum is the world’s second-oldest children’s museum, so it’s naturally one of the places to go with your children in Massachusetts.
It’s also one of the world’s most influential museums of its kind.
It opened in 1913 and was founded by the Science Teacher’s Bureau in order to promote the teaching of science and the fun exchange of ideas.
As a museum for engagement, the Boston Children’s Museum focuses on offering hands-on interactivity that allows kids to learn through play, curiosity, and imagination.
Its many topics include health and fitness, science, the arts, culture, and even environmental awareness.
Multiple programs are also held to promote subjects and themes like visual arts, literacy, math, and health.
Among other things, the Boston Children’s Museum is also one of the very few in the world to have a special collection – and, in fact, it has multiple.
These collections include ones on Natural History, Dolls and Dollhouses, Americana, Native American, Global Culture, and Japanese themes.
More than 50,000 items are on display throughout this collection.
It’s no surprise that the museum is also one of the world’s biggest of its kind with all that it has to offer!
Address: 308 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210, United States
44. Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden
The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden was created by Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, a sculptor who had been chosen to design a series of Dr. Seuss character sculptures and a likeness of the author himself.
The project, which began in 1996, soon grew into one of the most whimsical Massachusetts attractions!
But Dimond-Cates wasn’t just any sculptor.
She was the stepdaughter of Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Ted Geisel.
She made statues out of bronze and set them in a garden in the middle of a quadrangle of the Springfield Museums.
These sculptures include Yertle the Turtle, The Grinch, the Lorax, the Cat in the Hat, and Sam-I-Am, among others.
The garden opened in 2002 and the sculptures are scattered all around it, providing a lovely way to spend a day in Massachusetts.
The surrounding museums, which include a museum dedicated to Dr. Seuss, provide additional enjoyment for guests.
Address: 21 Edwards St, Springfield, MA 01103, United States
45. Boston’s Old Burying Grounds
If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind, creepy, and morbid stuff to do, taking a trip through Boston’s Old Burying Grounds will certainly fill that desire.
The oldest cemeteries in the city use deathly imagery on their headstones, such as death’s heads, skulls, and hourglasses, to remind the living of how fleeting life can be.
The design choice behind these headstones in Boston’s Old Burying Grounds stems back to Puritan times when settlers of this nature arrived in Boston in the early 1600s.
In the early years of their settlement in the area in 1630, about 700 Puritans would call this Massachusetts region their home, but harsh living conditions would lead to many fatalities in those young times.
The Puritan community believed in mortally upright and ascetic worldviews and was focused on hard work, piety, and education.
They banned extravagant forms of religious expression and had harsh, strict views on who they believed would be able to get to heaven.
In order to work with these harsh rules, headstones would use simple messages and generic but morbid symbols.
Over time, these design details would become a little more festive, and eventually, this tradition of careful morbidity would be lost to more elaborate headstones and rhyming verses.
The oldest of Boston’s Old Burying Grounds maintains a lot of the initial morbidity.
Address: Tremont St, Boston, MA 02108, United States
46. Singing Beach
Singing Beach is an interesting option among tourist attractions in Massachusetts.
It is located on the North Shore and is a great spot for relaxation and novelty this weekend.
But why is it called “Singing Beach”?
Well, its sand creates squeaky, creaking noises akin to some form of mildly melodic singing as it is jostled and moved by visitors, especially when it’s dry.
The singing of the sand isn’t entirely understood, but experts believe that it is a result of shear.
Shear is a phenomenon when one sand grain rubs against a layer underneath it.
It’s an extremely delicate process, and any organic matter, dust, or other forms of pollution can reduce sand friction enough to completely kill that singing sound.
Singing sand must be round, be between a width of 0.1 mm and 0.5mm, exist at specific humidity, and contain silica – and Singing Beach has sand that checks those boxes!
Address: 119 Beach St, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944, United States
47. Medfield State Hospital
Opened in 1892, Medfield State Hospital was an asylum for mentally ill patients for more than a century.
It was a self-sustaining community and institution and remained open all the way until 2003.
It stands out among Massachusetts’ Kirkbride asylums designed and built during the 1800s as it willfully avoided the imposing and intimidating atmosphere and went instead for a welcoming “Cottage Plan”.
The Medfield State Hospital was made up of 58 buildings made from brick throughout a big campus.
Its longevity and layout made it one of the best options for asylum treatment in its time.
It is also one of the few that, in this modern time, has not faced demolition or abandonment.
Instead, it has been open to the public during the day, letting curious visitors explore its grounds with no charge.
35 of the Medfield State Hospital’s original buildings remain now, and though entry is prohibited, the paths and grounds are all available as one of the free things to do in the state.
You may recognize some spots from films like Knives Out, Shutter Island, and The Box.
Medfield’s town government purchased the hospital at the end of 2014, and as of now, it’s unknown what plans they have for the historic building’s future.
Address: 1 Stonegate Dr, Medfield, MA 02052, United States
48. Cape Cod Rail Trail
The Cape Cod Rail Trail, as its name suggests, follows the path of what was once a railway.
It is carefully paved and travels 22 miles through multiple different towns in Massachusetts’s southeastern area, specifically in the mid-Cape region from Wellfleet to Dennis.
If you’re looking for what to do that offers exercise while being easy to walk, this trail is a great bet.
The Cape Cod Rail Trail is very popular with joggers, walkers, hikers, horse riders, and cyclists, and it boasts a paved and unpaved section.
When snow falls, cross-country skiers may take to the trail, too.
No matter when you travel the trail, though, you’ll find a nice surrounding view, lots of stops on beaches, facilities, and rest locations, and even bike rental areas!
Address: MA, United States
49. James P. Kelleher Rose Garden
The James P. Kelleher Rose Garden is one of the top hidden gem locations that you’ll find in Boston.
It is neatly tucked away behind and past several more popular parks in the city’s downtown area.
Dating back to 1932, the garden is situated in the Back Bay Fens and is carefully protected by a tall hedge of yew, close to Fenway Park.
The James P. Kelleher Rose Garden creates the feeling of a secret garden and boasts more than 1,500 roses.
It was commissioned in an English Style by the extremely infamous James Michael Curley, a former Mayor of Boston, and was designed by local landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff.
At the time of its opening, the James P. Kelleher Rose Garden actually won an award for excellence from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, but that award didn’t reflect public opinion.
Many locals even considered it gaudy, especially against the more natural, wild, and understated design of the parks of Olmsted.
Eventually (and thankfully), however, people would come to like the garden, and it is now a proud part of the city of Boston!
It is open from the middle of April to the end of October.
Address: 73 Park Dr, Boston, MA 02215, United States
50. Edgar Allan Poe Square
Great author and poet Edgar Allen Poe was born in 1809 in Massachusetts, but his home was sadly demolished along with its street several decades ago as part of an urban development project.
200 years after he was born, a small plaza right across the street from that was renamed Edgar Allan Poe Square.
Since its creation in 2009, Edgar Allan Poe Square has lived at Charles and Boylston streets’ intersection, been marked by a sign and a statue of Poe adorned with symbols from his poetry.
The square also houses a building twenty years older than it which is dedicated to the author.
If you’re a fan of the author, the square and its statue are among the things to see to add to your list.
Address: 176 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116, United States
Ponyhenge is a small part of a large pasture located in the Massachusetts town of Lincoln.
It is a true hidden gem located on private property but open to the public for visits and consists of a strange collection of plastic and metal ponies, rocking horses that are broken and damaged, and all sorts of other horse toys and items.
But how did Ponyhenge come to be?
In 2010, these equine curiosities began to arrive randomly and anonymously.
It all began with one single horse 15 miles out of Boston along Old Sudbury Road, all rusted and strange.
No one really knows for sure where it came from, but it spawned the arrival of more and more horses of all kinds – figures and figurines, hobby horses, rocking horses, and more.
Ponyhenge has only continued to grow, and no one seems to take any of them away.
Occasionally, the horses are arranged in rows, in circles, or in amusing configurations.
Other times, they’re scattered haphazardly about.
However you happen to stumble upon them, there’s no denying that this is one of the most bizarrely fascinating places to visit in Massachusetts.
Address: 47 Old Sudbury Rd, Lincoln, MA 01773, United States
52. Echo Bridge
Echo Bridge is a rather unique option among the things to do in Massachusetts.
Its construction finished in 1877 and it rests across Hemlock Gorge in Charles River, and, back when it was made, it was the country’s second-longest arch of masonry.
At the time, it was also an important part of the aqueduct of Newton Upper Falls and Needham.
Now, Echo Bridge doesn’t exactly bear these same honors, but it offers stunning views, architectural magnificence, and a rather interesting sound effect in its echo.
The anomaly of sound is an echo that provides a large number of reverberations.
A human voice may be reverberated up to 15 times, but something as sharp and loud as the shot of a gun may lead to a whopping 25 reverberations.
These amazing acoustics at Echo Bridge are a result of the sound waves bouncing between the arch of the bridge and the water beneath.
Some believe, however, that the arch is at the perfect angle to repeatedly direct sound back and forth within itself.
Whatever the case, it provides a four echo per second return and there’s a special platform built just for guests to test out the aural phenomenon during their Massachusetts trip!
Address: Newton, MA 02464, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Massachusetts
Massachusetts is a beautiful commonwealth and state.
As one of six New England states and the most populous in that group, it is bustling with life, diversity, culture, and history.
No matter what sort of hotspots you’d like to visit during your vacation to Massachusetts, you’re sure to find many that tickle your fancy!