The capital of Massachusetts is an invariable hotchpotch of cultural treasures and with over 31 diverse museums and art galleries to choose from, it’s imperative to use your time in the city wisely.
Which of the art galleries and museums in Boston should be on your hit list and why?
From contemporary art and natural science to political history and fine art, whatever slice of culture you are looking for, you can be sure to find it in one of the many art galleries or museums in Boston.
Underground at Ink Block
Edgy, eclectic and intriguing, the Underground at Ink Block is the result of a successful transformation of an 8-acre underpass located between Boston’s South End and South Boston neighbourhoods.
Every year, a new mural is designed and this art area is one of the best examples of street art in the city.
Whilst it’s technically not one of the museums in Boston, this once abandoned car park is a great place to appreciate bold colourful pieces of street art designed by both local and national artists.
There’s also a dog park if you and your pooch want to take a deep dive into street art together, restaurants nearby (including a great Japanese restaurant) and concerts are held regularly here too.
Museum of Fine Arts
Fine by name and fine by nature, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is one of the top things to do in Boston as well as being one of the best art museums in Boston and indeed the world.
The collection includes over 500,000 pieces of art in a striking neoclassical building, from the Renaissance period through to modern day.
There are also some pretty spectacular examples of Native American crafts, Asian art (in particular, the museum houses one of the best collections of Korean art outside the Korean peninsula) and much more.
It also has a superb collection of one of the world’s largest curations of ancient Egyptian treasures too.
Don’t forget to check out their rotating exhibitions which has previously included collections by Turner, Cézanne, Jackson Pollack and more.
SoWa Artists Guild
Not only is the SoWa district one of the coolest areas of Boston to visit and should be high up on your list of things to do in Boston, it’s also home to one of the hippest museums in Boston too.
SoWa is all about grassroots art and the SoWa Art + Design District is an area with more than 20 galleries and 80 artist studios.
You will see an exceptional collection of arts across different mediums and the objective of the collective is to promote the individuality and diversity of the artists working within this amazing flagship space.
As well as perusing the art, you can also meet the local artists and buy pieces directly from them.
It’s only open on Sundays between 11am-4pm, so be sure to book this trip to one of our favourite museums in Boston in the diary.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
With its world-renowned collection of works from Europe, America and Africa, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is one the top museums in Boston.
It’s unique in the sense that it has over 7,000 letters from over 1,000 correspondents as well as some original manuscripts from Dante himself.
Even the architecture, courtyard and intricate horticultural displays are stunningly beautiful and you can truly see the synergy between the exterior and the interior, creating a delightful harmony between the landscape and art.
Why not take in a talk whilst visiting the museum? Artists-in-residence often undertake talks and museums and there are lots of contemporary performances and exhibitions.
Boston Children’s Museum
Not just for the little ones, the Boston Children’s Museum is the second largest museum of its kind in the USA and explores the ‘power of play’.
As well as being a popular choice for visitors to the city, the Children’s Museum is also a much-loved local landmark and one of the locals favourite museums in Boston.
There’s over 50,000 items to peruse from ancient artefacts and natural history specimens and life size dinosaurs. This museum is all about immersive learning and is suitable for children of all ages, there’s even a dedicated area for the under 5’s.
The museum opens onto a glass lobby with a three-story climbing sculpture called the New Balance Foundation Climb which your children will be excited to explore.
Museum of Science
The Museum of Science is another fascinating option for adults and children alike. As one of the most educational museums in Boston, the Museum of Science is a fantastic experience and a must-do on your Boston bucket list.
As well as wandering through the exhibits, many of which are interactive, you can watch an IMAX film, wander around the pretty butterfly garden, marvel at the Cosmic Light exhibition and the Science in the Park room and so much more.
If you head to the museum in the evening, you can learn about the night sky and take a peek through a telescope at their astronomy after-hours program that runs from May through October.
Make sure that you carve out time to visit the museum’s planetarium where you can gaze up into the stars.
The USS Constitution Museum
Well ahoy there! The USS Constitution Museum is located at the Charlestown Navy Yard in a restored shipyard building near the USS Constitution boat and is the last stop on the Freedom Trail.
Here you can take a deep dive (see what we did there?!) into the history surrounding the boat, the people who designed and sailed it, as well as its influential role in the War of 1812.
This is one of the more unusual museums in Boston, but it gives a fascinating insight into the maritime history of the nation.
Sports Museum of New England
Calling all sports fans! We all know that sport is central to the city of Boston and this is one of the museums in Boston to visit if you are hankering to learn more about why.
To be fair, even if you’re not a sports fanatic, this is worthy of a visit and where else outside of the stadiums can you find such stellar examples of Boston pride?
There’s some great examples of sports memorabilia to enjoy and one of the standout pieces is the Boston Garden Theatre, complete with boards and glass and hard wooden seats from the storied old Boston Garden.
John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of America’s thirty-fifth president.
Of course, the Kennedy family was synonymous with the legacy of Boston.
This is an impressive tribute to President Kennedy’s life and is one of the most enlightening museums in Boston.
Its collection of personal papers, art, artefacts, photographs, recordings, and films related to the Kennedy Family which includes 25 moving multimedia exhibits.
Intriguingly, the interiors of the museum even emulate the interior of the White House to really evoke a sense of history.