clock menu more-arrow no yes
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

View as Map

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.

Read More

1. Charles River Esplanade

Copy Link

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

2. Museum of Science

Copy Link
1 Science Park
Boston, MA
(617) 723-2500
Visit Website

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

3. U.S.S. Constitution

Copy Link
Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA
(617) 426-1812
Visit Website

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

4. Boston Children's Museum

Copy Link
308 Congress St
Boston, MA
(617) 426-6500
Visit Website

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

5. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Copy Link
306 Congress Street
Boston, MA
(617) 338-1773
Visit Website

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

6. New England Aquarium

Copy Link
1 Central Wharf
Boston, MA
(617) 973-5200
Visit Website

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

7. Institute of Contemporary Art

Copy Link
100 Northern Ave
Boston, MA
(617) 478-3100
Visit Website

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

8. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Copy Link
Columbia Point
Boston, MA
(617) 514-1600
Visit Website

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

9. Castle Island

Copy Link
Castle Island
Boston, MA

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

10. Deer Island

Copy Link

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

1. Charles River Esplanade

Boston, MA
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.

2. Museum of Science

1 Science Park, Boston, MA
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.

1 Science Park
Boston, MA

3. U.S.S. Constitution

Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA
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.

Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA

4. Boston Children's Museum

308 Congress St, Boston, MA
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.

308 Congress St
Boston, MA

5. Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

306 Congress Street, Boston, MA
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.

306 Congress Street
Boston, MA

6. New England Aquarium

1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA
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).

1 Central Wharf
Boston, MA

7. Institute of Contemporary Art

100 Northern Ave, Boston, MA
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.

100 Northern Ave
Boston, MA

8. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum

Columbia Point, Boston, MA
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.

Columbia Point
Boston, MA

9. Castle Island

Castle Island, Boston, MA
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.

Castle Island
Boston, MA

10. Deer Island

Winthrop, MA
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.