Things To Do In Boston When We Visited For July 4th

Things To Do In Boston.jpg

So Many Things To Do In Boston When We Visited For July 4th

We found so many things to do in Boston when we visited for the July 4th long weekend. We started our vacation in Ottawa for Canada Day. And got the most amazing fireworks show over the Parliament Buildings. So we did not really visit Boston to top that experience. But we found so much to do as we wandered around the city on the holiday weekend.

We booked an amazing Air Canada points deal for our visit to Ottawa and exploration in New England. Our reward ticket took us from Toronto to Ottawa to Boston and back home to Toronto. The points were the same value as just a return trip between Toronto and Ottawa. This intra-zone multi-hop strategy was just one of the things we learned on our quest for points and status.

Trip Map.jpg

As the plane dipped lower for landing in Boston, we got a great view over the parts of the city we explored on this stay.

From the Air.jpg

We Enjoyed Our Hotel By The Water

Before our travels up the Maine coast, we enjoyed a pampering stay at the Boston Intercontinental by the Boston Harbour. This was a great way to add to our IHG Reward points as we built our points and status.

The Boston Intercontinental was located right on the water close to the Boston Harbour. It was a perfect base as we explored the waterfront area. We booked a Concierge level room for our stay. This gave us a big room with space to spread out. And delivered great customer service in one of the better Concierge lounges we visited.

Boston Intercontinental - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Harbour View.jpg

It was a short walk to the nearest subway station. Perfect when we explored a little further. Overall, it was a good base as we discovered all the things to do in Boston when we visited for the July 4th long weekend.

Tour Options In Boston

We looked at the different ways to do a tour in Boston. We often saw the duck tour boat around the waterfront area. The hop—on-hop-off trolley had several stops close to our hotel. For a tour on the water, we saw several different options.

Tour Options Duck Boat - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Tour Options Cruise Boat.jpg

We were sure we would learn a lot more history if we took a tour. But for this visit, we just wandered and found the things to do in Boston on our own.

Sights Around The Waterfront

As we left the hotel, we checked out the information signs along the waterway. Right by our hotel, we read a bit more about the Boston Tea Party. There was a museum to visit to learn more about this precipitating event in U.S. history.

Waterfront Area Tea Party - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

We continued our walk along the waterway. We found lots of options for restaurants in this area. At the point, we looked across the water at the downtown Boston buildings.

Waterfront Area Downtown and Boats - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Boats of all shapes and sizes sailed past as we watched. Signs along the waterway talked about the marine history of Boston. Interesting signs showed the change in the boats that filled this harbour over the years.

Waterfront Area Downtown and Boats.jpg

Waterfront Area Downtown and Boats.jpg

As we walked along the shore, we saw the USS Constitution motor past. The USS Constitution was also know as “Old Ironsides”. She was the oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat. The USS Constitution formed the centrepiece of the flotilla of boats that followed her along the harbour. Yet another fun way to get a tour in Boston.

Waterfront Area Downtown and USS Constitution - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Wander Along The Rose Fitzgerald Greenway

A long strip of green space ran past our hotel. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway went for over a mile. It was a great spot for an interesting walk.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.jpg

As we strolled along the greenway, we found interesting pieces of street art. The large colourful mural of the birds kept us entranced.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

As we walked along the path, we got a respite from the sun. We saw the buildings of Boston over the tree tops. And caught a view of the Custom House clock tower. Large U.S. flags were everywhere.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.jpg

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. - Things To Do In Boston July 4thjpg

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.jpg

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was a great find close to our hotel on the waterfront. A walk to enjoy the green space was definitely one of the relaxing things to do in Boston.

Feast At The Quincy Market

We left the greenway and headed towards the Quincey Market. As we approached, we saw a large crowd and heard music. The 39th Army Band was set up and entertained the crowd.

Quincy Market.jpg

Quincy Market 39th Army Band - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

We listened for a bit and then headed into the market. This was our first view of the amazing supply of local fresh seafood. But it was not the last lobster bonanza we found on this visit to New England. ‘Lobsta’ was available is such an amazing variety of dishes.

Quincy Market Food.jpg

Quincy Market Food - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Quincy Market Food - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

We finally chose our lunch and found a spot to picnic. Feasting on seafood was one of our favourite things to do in Boston.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth In North Boston

From the end of the greenway, it was not a long walk to get into North Boston. We meandered our way slowly and took some more pictures.

North City.jpg

We knew we reached the Italian part of Boston when we found the narrow streets lined with restaurants and pastry shops. There were a number of options marked on our offline map app to try. But the eat-in spots were busier than we expected.

We were happy we found a table for two at Modern Pastry on Hanover Street. But we then needed to decide from far too many sweet treats! At least we showed restraint and left without a take-out package too.

North City Italian Bakeries Modern Pastry.jpg

North City Italian Bakeries Modern Pastry - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

We wandered further and found Mike’s Pastry. Our local friend Cathy recommended Mike’s for their cannoli. We were amazed at the flavours of cannoli they sold. It was a good thing we already had a snack. After we browsed, we left empty handed!

North City Italian Bakeries Mikes Pastry - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

We definitely found one of the sweet things to do in Boston when we visited for July 4th long weekend.

Wander Along The Charles River Esplanade

We took the subway to the Bay Area and exited at the Longfellow Bridge. There was a great view over the Charles River. Across the water was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And beyond that was Harvard University. On this visit, we never explored that far.

Esplanade Longfellow Bridge - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

We enjoyed a slow walk along the Esplanade. Paths followed the water and went around small ponds. This was one of the perfect spots to watch the July 4th fireworks show.

Esplanade Walkways - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Esplanade Walkways.jpg

We passed by the statue of the musician Arthur Fiedler. And then saw the big bandstand where the Boston Pops played for the July 4th extravaganza. This music was played on loud speakers along the Esplanade during the fireworks show.

Esplanade Walkways Arthur Fiedler Statue - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Esplanade Walkways Arthur Fiedler Bandshell.jpg

The Esplanade in Boston was a quiet spot to explore when the festivities were over.

Explore The Bay Area

We continued our walk in the Bay Area and strolled through the Public Garden. This was another green oasis in the city. And the first botanical garden in America. We watched the swans as they glided past. And were then amused when we saw the swan boat go past.

Public Gardens Pond - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

Our last stop in the Bay Area was at Boston Commons. The large open square was filled with people. Up along the grass we got a view of he Massachusetts State House.

Public Gardens Brewer Fountain with Massachusetts State House - Things To Do In Boston July 4th.jpg

From here we plotted a long meandering path and walked back to our hotel. It was great to see another part of Boston on this trip.

We Found Many Things To Do In Boston When We Visited For July 4th

We liked to visit the U.S. for the July 4th celebrations. The previous year we enjoyed a hotel stay right beside the July 4th festivities in Philadelphia. But in Boston, we miscalculated on our hotel choice. It was not all that easy to get to the show area with many routes closed or jam packed.

We never realized how early some of the best venues booked up. Even our hotel concierge was not able to get us tickets to watch the fireworks show from the Top of the Hub or from the Observatory. And boat cruises were all booked. It was a good thing we started this trip with an amazing Canada Day celebration.

But even without the fireworks show, we found so many things to do in Boston when we visited for the July 4th long weekend. It was a great stop for a few days before we headed north along the Maine coast.

Have you visited Boston? Did you find many things to do in Boston?

PIN To Pinterest:

Things To Do In Boston.jpg

Things To Do In Boston.jpg

Things To Do In Boston.jpg

Things To Do In Boston.jpg

We would love if you could share this!
About TravelAtWill 704 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!


  1. I’ve only visited Boston once, and it was in January many years ago, I think it looks like a much better place to visit when the sun is shining. I think this calls for a second visit! This time around I’m going to enjoy more of the local seafood!

  2. Boston looks like an interesting place to visit. I love the waterfront areas and the bird mural is really captivating. I would go crazy coming across the lobster restaurant – those are my favourite. Would be a wonderful place to spend a weekend.

    • Adele, Boston was a great spot to visit for a few days. We loved just wandering too see more of the city. And eat our way from seafood to Italian desserts. Hope you get to visit. Linda

  3. Boston seems like a great place to celebrate July 4th. With so much history in town, I think if we plan a trip in the future it’ll be for the 4th. Really cool that you worked in both Canada Day and Independence Day into one big trip!

    • Zack, We had a fun dual celebration for the holidays in Canada and the U.S. Boston had so much to offer for a long weekend stay. Hope you get to visit. Linda

  4. I have always wanted to visit Boston! I love all of the history of the city and it seems like such a beautiful place to explore 🙂 Thanks for all these great ideas, I know I will be using these suggestions when I finally visit one day!

    • Kelly, I am happy to provide some suggestions on how to enjoy Boston. We just wandered most days without much of a plan. But we saw a lot too. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  5. Boston is on my bucket list to visit in Fall. However, it looks like a beautiful place any time of the year. I’d have to visit Modern Pastry too, I’m not sure I’d be able to choose though! What a shame you didn’t get to see the fireworks but it sounds like there was still lots to do and see.

    • Wendy, I hope you get to visit Boston in the fall. I am sure that Boston and the surrounding area will be pretty in fall colours. Take your stretchy pants! There is so much great food! Linda

  6. Wow! Seeing the USS Constitution must have been exciting. I have only read it in books so, being able to see it personally is just awesome. Not to mention perfect for the 4th of July.

  7. Haven’t been to Boston or rather even been in the US during 4th of July. Definitely planning it around this time. Also, I think I would head straight to modern Bakery first haha, all those treats look so yumm! I think the Public Garden with all that green on a sunny day would be a beautiful day out, and floating in that swan boat looks so relaxing and fun.

  8. I love Boston and have visited many times. There are many things in your post that we didn’t see during our visit, but I do hope to return. I will add these to the list. We did visit the USS Constitution and had a lot of fun (despite the pouring rain!). The Boston Common was one of my favorite stops to visit, loved the open space and being so close to many of the traditional Boston streets with food/shops.

  9. I had a short layover at Boston when I visited Niagara Falls from NYC and was impressed by this lovely city. First of all, I loved your hotel which is close to waterfront. I would love to take an interesting walk at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway went and would admire those colorful murals. That street art of birds is really beautiful. Wow there are so many sweet delicacies available at North Boston. I never knew there is so much to do at Boston.

  10. I love those waterfronts and also the skyscapes, they looks so beautiful. I have never been to Boston before even though I have been to the US three times. I have never explored that part of the US and I would love to visit it sometime. It surely looks like an amazing city to explore and walk around.

  11. I have never been to Boston before, but I had plans to visit US this year. Boston looks like a great city to visit with so many attractions. The waterfront looks like a good place to roam around. And I would love to visit North Boston to satisfy my carvings for sweets!! The mural of the bird is really beautiful. How is the street art scene at Boston? I love to photograph street art and is usually one of the main reasons on deciding a place to visit.

  12. This is cool. July 4th is celebrated so well all over America and I’m glad to read the Boston celebrations. The waterfront looks nice. Spending an evening sitting on one of the benches here watching the sunset would be great! The Rose Fitzgerald Greenway looks lovely. Green spaces & street art always make me happy. Super glad to see the 2 together!

  13. I think you did good by getting a hotel on the waterfront, the location looks amazing. I’d love to walk there and enjoy views of that amazing Boston skyline. Also, Quincey Market sounds like the sort of place I’d visit, I’m a foodie and would want to try all kinds of foods while there. Love the view of the city from your flight!

    • Medha, I am glad to provide a teaser with our stay in Boston. We love being close to the waterfront. So many spots to wander too. You will certainly find lots of great food options! Linda

We love to get your comments!