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A waterfront pier is in the foreground. In the distance are a row of attached red brick apartment buildings. Shutterstock

Boston waterfront attractions: 10 must-visit spots

Including museums, parks, and at least one sewage-treatment plant

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Boston’s waterfront teems with stuff to do. Here are 10 attractions to check out, including museums, one long park, and a very old ship.

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Charles River Esplanade

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Sometimes the best waterfront attraction can be just a place to chill.

The 3-mile-long, 65-acre Esplanade is the perfect spot for that. Plenty of benches, just watch out for the geese.

A path with trees on both sides. Some of the trees have pink blossoms. There is a body of water in the distance. Shutterstock

Museum of Science

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This museum, which has roots stretching back to the early 1800s, includes more than 700 interactive exhibits as well as a planetarium and IMAX films.

In the foreground is a body of water. In the distance are various red brick buildings. Shuttertock

U.S.S. Constitution

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The Navy's oldest commissioned ship, "Old Ironsides,” is open for tours.

Visitors can also check out the neighboring museum dedicated to the heavy frigate first launched in 1797.

A large ship docked in a body of water. Tony Hisgett/Flickr

Boston Children's Museum

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The institution dates from 1913, making it one of the oldest children’s museums in the U.S.

It’s also part of a very vibrant waterfront area in general in Boston.

A waterfront with buildings including the Boston Children’s Museum. Shutterstock

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

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Incredibly interactive, right down to costumed performers and a replica of an 18th-century ship, this museum is about all things Revolutionary (capital R).

It’s also part of a very vibrant waterfront area in general in Boston.

A waterfront with the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Shutterstock

New England Aquarium

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A staggering variety of marine life calls the aquarium home, starting with the seals you can see even before you pay admission (hint, hint).

The exterior of the New England Aquarium. There are many people outside. Shutterstock

Institute of Contemporary Art

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The museum itself dates from 1936, but this striking iteration right on the water opened in 2006.

As the name suggests, the ICA is all about contemporary art and design.

A contemporary art museum with gigantic windows and a prominent overhang lighted up at night. Shutterstock

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

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I.M. Pei designed the Columbia Point library and museum, which is a repository for all things JFK-related, including a permanent exhibit on his family.

The complex opened in 1979 and was rededicated in 1993.

A modern building housing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Boston’s waterfront. Shutterstock

Castle Island

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The five bastions of the old Fort Independence dominate this 22-acre state park. There is also plenty of greenspace as well as a long run of the Harborwalk.

Plus, Castle Island connects easily with the JFK library area via Marine Park and Carson Beach.

The exterior of Castle Island in Boston. There is a path along a waterfront. In the distance is a stone building. Shutterstock

Deer Island

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The peninsula is partly in Boston, partly in Winthrop, and is entirely a piece of a national park covering the Harbor Islands.

There is a 2.6-mile pathway along the waterfront and a further two miles of trails on the hills farther inland.

Deer Island also hosts a remarkable wastewater treatment facility, which is open for tours.

In the foreground is a lawn with green grass. In the distance is a large white building. Shutterstock

Charles River Esplanade

A path with trees on both sides. Some of the trees have pink blossoms. There is a body of water in the distance. Shutterstock

Sometimes the best waterfront attraction can be just a place to chill.

The 3-mile-long, 65-acre Esplanade is the perfect spot for that. Plenty of benches, just watch out for the geese.

A path with trees on both sides. Some of the trees have pink blossoms. There is a body of water in the distance. Shutterstock

Museum of Science

In the foreground is a body of water. In the distance are various red brick buildings. Shuttertock

This museum, which has roots stretching back to the early 1800s, includes more than 700 interactive exhibits as well as a planetarium and IMAX films.

In the foreground is a body of water. In the distance are various red brick buildings. Shuttertock

U.S.S. Constitution

A large ship docked in a body of water. Tony Hisgett/Flickr

The Navy's oldest commissioned ship, "Old Ironsides,” is open for tours.

Visitors can also check out the neighboring museum dedicated to the heavy frigate first launched in 1797.

A large ship docked in a body of water. Tony Hisgett/Flickr

Boston Children's Museum

A waterfront with buildings including the Boston Children’s Museum. Shutterstock

The institution dates from 1913, making it one of the oldest children’s museums in the U.S.

It’s also part of a very vibrant waterfront area in general in Boston.

A waterfront with buildings including the Boston Children’s Museum. Shutterstock

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

A waterfront with the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Shutterstock

Incredibly interactive, right down to costumed performers and a replica of an 18th-century ship, this museum is about all things Revolutionary (capital R).

It’s also part of a very vibrant waterfront area in general in Boston.

A waterfront with the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Shutterstock

New England Aquarium

The exterior of the New England Aquarium. There are many people outside. Shutterstock

A staggering variety of marine life calls the aquarium home, starting with the seals you can see even before you pay admission (hint, hint).

The exterior of the New England Aquarium. There are many people outside. Shutterstock

Institute of Contemporary Art

A contemporary art museum with gigantic windows and a prominent overhang lighted up at night. Shutterstock

The museum itself dates from 1936, but this striking iteration right on the water opened in 2006.

As the name suggests, the ICA is all about contemporary art and design.

A contemporary art museum with gigantic windows and a prominent overhang lighted up at night. Shutterstock

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

A modern building housing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Boston’s waterfront. Shutterstock

I.M. Pei designed the Columbia Point library and museum, which is a repository for all things JFK-related, including a permanent exhibit on his family.

The complex opened in 1979 and was rededicated in 1993.

A modern building housing the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum on Boston’s waterfront. Shutterstock

Castle Island

The exterior of Castle Island in Boston. There is a path along a waterfront. In the distance is a stone building. Shutterstock

The five bastions of the old Fort Independence dominate this 22-acre state park. There is also plenty of greenspace as well as a long run of the Harborwalk.

Plus, Castle Island connects easily with the JFK library area via Marine Park and Carson Beach.

The exterior of Castle Island in Boston. There is a path along a waterfront. In the distance is a stone building. Shutterstock

Deer Island

In the foreground is a lawn with green grass. In the distance is a large white building. Shutterstock

The peninsula is partly in Boston, partly in Winthrop, and is entirely a piece of a national park covering the Harbor Islands.

There is a 2.6-mile pathway along the waterfront and a further two miles of trails on the hills farther inland.

Deer Island also hosts a remarkable wastewater treatment facility, which is open for tours.

In the foreground is a lawn with green grass. In the distance is a large white building. Shutterstock