THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PHOTO SPOTS IN BOSTON
Founded in 1630, Boston the capital of the state of Massachusetts and is one of the oldest and historical cities in the USA. Some of the best photo spots in Boston are also some of the best in the country with historical sites galore. You will discover some of the most iconic photo locations in Boston by walking the neighbourhoods, public spaces, and historical trails. Boston is best regarded for its role in the American Revolution and academic scholars as it is home to several prestigious universities and colleges. The most well-known being Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School and MIT (Massachusetts Institute for Technology), Berklee College of Music, and Tuffs University.
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Best Time to Visit Boston
Boston really is an all-season destination and very different in all four of them. It is good to know though that in winter it is very cold, freezing infact. Although with the festivities of Christmas, Boston can look beautiful covered with a dusting of a few layers of snow! Think seasonal winter wonderland vibes.
Summer is a great time but Boston is pretty crowded due to school holidays, however you will be able to spend maximum time outdoors admiring gardens and public spaces as well as enjoying al fresco dining. It can get rather hot in the summer and temperatures can typically reach close to 40°C.
Autumn is a very popular time to visit Boston. The weather is still warm and there are hardly any tourists but most of all the seasons changing colours looks stunning, especially the foliage.
Where to Stay in Boston
Boston has a fine list of hotels to choose from depending on your budget there’s luxury, mid-range and more affordable. Head to the article below for hotel recommendations based on neighbourhood.
The Staypineapple hotel is also very photo-worthy and instagram-friendly with it’s quirky decor, cute touches and bright yellow branding. Note the day bikes on hire as well as the robes and ‘get naked’ slogan. Hit the instagram reel below to watch a quick sneak peek of the hotel..
Related Article: Unique & Quirky boutique hotels in Boston by Neighbourhood
How to get Around in Boston
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA and known colloquially as “the T”) is the oldest public transport system in the US. It’s really simple to use and very convenient, especially if you’re trying to cram in a lot of sights and hit rush hour.
The best thing to do is purchase a Charlie Ticket from a subway station machine, the fares are fixed and will cost you the same no matter where you get off.
Here’s what you’d expect to typically pay:
- Charlie Card (plastic stored-value multiple-use card): $2.40
- Charlie Ticket (paper ticket; you can also add value to it) and Pay on Board: $2.90 – recommended
- Local bus using your Charlie Card: $1.70 (you can also use on the bus if you wish however the T is the best transport if you’re visiting.
It has been said Boston was made for walking and that’s so true. The city itself is quite compact and if you select a hotel relatively central you’ll only be around a half an hour walk to many of the attractions.
If you’re having a late night out or heading for a few drinks, look into the options of taxies in the form of Uber or Lyfts which can be arranged via downloading the respective apps onto your smart phone.
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The Ultimate Guide to Photo Spots in Boston
A few recommended money-saving passes and tour suggestions to help save money and bundle attractions to get the most out of your time in Boston.
The Freedom Trail: 16 Historical Photo Stops in Boston
Walking The freedom Trail in Boston is one of the top tourist experiences and charts historical points of interest that played a part in the American Revolutionary War in Boston. The whole route is 2.5 miles long and takes you to 16 noteworthy locations during the revolution.
The walk will starts at the Boston Common and ends at the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill.
You can book guided tours or just as easily grab a map from the tourist information office (Boston Common) and follow the prompts. The walk is marked by plaque on the pavement with a narrow red brick trail that connects all the spots, for ease. Be sure to stop at Faneuil Hall and Quincy market to refuel.
- The Boston Common – The oldest park in the United States of America, this area was once used to graze sheep and later used by the militia to train. Entry Cost: Free
- Massachusetts State House – This is the state capital building, built in 1798 and serves as the seat of government for the Massachusetts Commonwealth. It’s open 09:00-17:0) during the week and free to visit. Entry Cost: Free
- Park Street Church: – This landmark is the support point of the women’s suffrage movement as well as being the spot where the protests were held for the abolition of slavery. Entry Cost: Free
- Granary Burying Ground – This very old cemetery is where you’ll find a few notable historical tombstones such as Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and Benjamin Franklin’s parents. Entry Cost: Free
- King’s Chapel and Burying Ground – At one time this was thought to be one of the oldest churches in Boston. Dating back to 1686, it is home to the oldest pulpit in the Unites States, which is still in use. Entry Cost: Free
Be-lavie Tip: adjacent to the King’s Chapel is another cemetery and where the first woman to get off the Mayflower is buried, Mary Chilton. Entry Cost: Free
- Benjamin Franklin Statue & The Boston Latin School – As well as being America’s first public school, this was where Benjamin Franklin attended school. Entry Cost: Free
- The Old Corner Bookstore – This Chipotle shop was once a bookstore housing books by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Loisa May Alcott.
- Old South Meeting House – This is where the Boston Tea Party history starts as the meeting house is where the tea tax was protested. Entry Cost: $6
Be-lavie Tip: Look across the street and see 1 Milk Street where Benjamin Franklin was born.
- Old State House – Leading up to the Revolutionary War, many debates occurred and you can enter to visit the museum which has an array of exhibits that tell the story of the lead up to the Revolutionary War. Entry Cost: $10
- Boston Massacre Site – This plaque on the ground is a memorial to a fight that broke out between Redcoats and a large group of Boston residents, resulting in 5 of these residents being slaughtered. Paul Revere, named this a “bloody massacre”.
- Faneuil Hall – This site was where there were further protest against British oppression. The first floor here is now a marketplace and on the second floor is the Great Hall, which is predominantly where the protests took place. Entry Cost: Free
- Paul Revere House – This is the oldest building in Boston and dates back to 1680. When Paul Revere was 33 years old, he bought this house where he resided in 1775, when he was on his famous midnight ride. Entry Cost: $5
- Old North Church – The famous words, “One if by land, two if by sea’ are regarding the signal lanterns on Paul Revere’s midnight ride which started the revolution. The lanterns were hung in the church tower on this night. Entry Cost: Free (donations welcomed).
- Copp’s Hill Burying Ground – During the battle of Bunker, this cemetery was the spot that the British used to fire their cannons from. Entry Cost: Free.
- USS Constitution and Museum – If you’d like to learn more about the warship, then head to this museum, which was made around 1797 during the Battle of 1812. Entry Cost: Free
- Bunker Hill Monument – The last stop and the site of the first notable battle of the America Revolution. You can climb the 294 steps of the granite obelisk to the top and enjoy some great city views as a reward for your efforts. Entry Cost: Free, open 09:00-16:00.
How to get the shot: If you’re doing the trail self-guided, start as early as possible and you’ll get some wonderful, less crowded photography.
The Boston Public Library
(One of The Best Photo Spots in Boston)
Built in 1895, Boston Public Library is spectacular in design and in sight with a dash of Renaissance. Also referred to as ‘palace for the people’ the library encompasses cathedral style high-ceiling reading halls, houses a sizable art collection, tapestries and not to mention millions of rare books, manuscripts and musical scores.
It’s split into two buildings, with the more modern-looking one built in 1972. Marvel the huge archways, ornamental chandelier ceilings of this library that’s hailed to be one of the greatest in the world.
Be sure to walk very quietly through Bate’s Hall Reading Room (names after Joshua Bates, who was the first benefactor of the library), with its high ceilings and old large clock, it feels a lot like the libraries you see in movies.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 700 Boylston St. Boston, MA 02116. Tel. 617.536.5400
- Further Information: The Boston Public Library
- Cost of Entry: Free but donations at the entrances are much welcomed.
- How to get the shot: Head to the back of the Bates Hall for an iconic shot or the courtyard.
Be-lavie Tip: Don’t leave without walking through the ground floor open courtyard, and stop off at the in-house tea-rooms en route for some sustenance after all that reading!
Boston Tea Party Ship & Museum
The museum tells the story including live re-enactments of the events that led up to the American Revolution. Located in the Seaport district, the museum has interactive exhibits, a full restored 18th century ship and immersive tour led by a team of actors dressed in historical attire. Visitors can re-enact the Boston Tea party as well grab some great photo opportunities here.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210. Tel. +1 617-338-1773
- Further information: Boston Tea party Ship & Museum
- Cost of Entry: $31.95 (Adult) $23.95 (Child)
- How to get the shot: For the whole museum and ship, stand on the opposite side of the water.
Boston Public Gardens
Established in 1837, Boston Public Gardens is a beautiful, landscaped park which uses techniques of nurturing plants dating back to the Victorians. There is a beautiful array of plants, trees, shrubs as well as many flower species.
The park has a pretty fountain as well as monuments of notable Bostonians and the famous Swan boats, which have been operated for over 100 years by the Paget family.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 4 Charles St, Boston, MA 02116. Tel. +1 617-635-4505
- Further Information: Boston Public Gardens
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to get the shot: Get some great shots of the pretty footbridge from either side of the lake.
The Charles River Esplanade
(Relaxed Weekend Photo Spots in Boston)
A great example of a public green space right in the heart of the city, the Esplanade is three miles long and is used by joggers, walkers as well as kayakers, paddle boarders and rowers on the river. During the summer months the outdoor theatre space, Hatch Shell, is used for free performances. Weekends sees locals strolling along the esplanade
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: Charles River, Esplanade, Boston, MA 02116. Tel. +1 617-227-0365
- Further Information: The Esplanade
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to Get the shot: Half way down the esplanade, heading towards Boston University, there’s a fantastic view of Back Bay Brownstone buildings reflecting in the water.
(Red Sox Fans Photo Stops in Boston)
If you’re a fan of baseball, you will know Fenway Park as the home of the Red Sox since 1912. Even if you’re not a fan, it’s worth a visit to be a part of the hype. If you are in the mood for a game, make sure you purchase tickets well in advance of your visit to Boston to avoid disappointment.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 4 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215. Tel. +1 877-733-7699
- Further Information: Fenway Park
- Entry Cost: You can take a tour of the ballpark $25 (adults) and $17.50 (children)
- How to get the shot: The exterior makes for a great iconic shot or if you’re watching a game, arrive early and take your seat to get a great view of the inside of the stadium.
(Best Neighbourhood Photo Spots in Boston)
This neighbourhood spanning just one square mile is lined with federal style houses built in the 18th-19th centuries. Walking through the area you will notice the stunning front doorways decorated to suit the time of year or season as well as the leafy florals in front gardens. Beacon Hill is one of the most priciest real estate in Boston with some very prestigious people residing here such as Louisa May Alcott, Robert Frost and Daniel Webster to mention a couple.
Gas lit lanterns line the cobbled stoned streets of this National Historic District and are quite reminiscent of the streets found in England. The area has some great independent eateries and boutiques that line the main street.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: Beacon Hill, Boston, 02108 MA
- Further Information: Beacon Hill
- Entry Cost: Free
- Where to get the shot: head up to one of the cobbled stoned side streets or a pretty shop front exterior.
Be-lavie Tip: One of the best kept secrets of Beacon Hill is the Beacon Anthenaeum, It was founded in 1807 and is an independent library with five floors of rare book collections as well as historic art pieces. It’s very quirky with areas to sit and read and you should look into taking a tour or buying a day pass to experience the library for yourself.
Widely hailed as one of America’s most beautiful streets with cobbled stones, gaslit lamps and pretty window boxes, the street lies on a steep incline.in Beacon Hill. It’s lined with pretty federal-style brick townhouses. This by far is Boston’s most photographed spots
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 1 Acorn Street, Beacon Hill, Boston, MA 02108
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to get the shot: Arrive early morning or late afternoon before the sunshine causes shadows on this shaded street. Stand at the top of the incline and at the bottom for great full length shots of the street.
Be-lavie Tip: if you’re visiting seasonally, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, the street is further aesthetically elevated with the extra decorations and florals. Acorn Street is very residential, be mindful of getting your photos as quickly as possible and keep noise to an absolute minimum so you don’t disturb the locals.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Located in the Fort Point Channel neighbourhood, this is a glass covered gallery space extending horizontally over the waterline of the Boston Harbour. The museum was established 2006 and initiated a renaissance of artists In this former warehouse district and sponsors all kinds of permanent and rotating exhibitions here.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 25 Harbor Shore Dr, Boston, MA 02210. Tel. +1 617-478-3100
- Further Information: Institure of Contemporary Art
- How to get the shot: To get a great shot of the building, definitley head out onto the opposite of the exterior closer to the eater’s edge.
The Reflecting Pool
This cool spot to relax and take in the surroundings, reflects the skyline of Back Bay area and the grounds of the Christian Science Plaza. The area around here is beautifully landscaped.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 93-105 Falmouth St, Boston, MA 02115,
- Further Information: The Reflecting Pool
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to get the shot: So this one takes a little playing around with, work the angles and get your own unique shot
Back Bay & Commonwealth Avenue
Beginning at the edge of the Public Gardens and spanning westward is a residential district showing a change in architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Summertime in Back Bay is beautiful with the magnolia trees in full, it’s reminiscent of streets in Europe. In the evening time, catch the twinkling fairy lights intertwined in the tall trees which frame the long pedestrianised street which is known at Commonwealth Mall. The Mall’s 32 acres were designed in the French boulevard style by Arthur Gilman in 1856.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: Commonwealth Avenue, Back Bay, Boston
- Further Information: Back Bay & Commonwealth Avenue
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to get the Shot: Stand at the centre of the Avenue and capture the tall lined tree street with three storey brownstone houses and apartments.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
(Photo Stops Along The Greenway for Urban Regeneration)
Stretching from the TD Garden all the way up to the North End to Chinatown, this greenway connects the downtown area to the waterfront. This used to be the old tunnel network but has now been transformed into a space to be enjoyed by all. It consists of art installations, an outdoor beer garden, food trucks, weekly markets and beautifully landscaped gardens with eco-friendly spaces to sit and enjoy nature in the middle of the city. There are even great events put up along the park for everyone to enjoy throughout the year.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
- Further Information: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to get the shot: Lots of photo opportunities along the way, watch out for the street art.
(Great Perspectives of varying Photo Spots in Boston)
Named after painter, John Singleton Copley, the square is situated in the heart of Boston, Copley Square is a great spot for entertainment as well as seeing differing architecture. The historic Trinity Church, Boston’s tallest building, John Hancock Tower and the main Boston Public library can all be found here. The area in front of Trinity church sees a daily farmer’s market as well as food stalls. On Sundays there are live performances of hymns performed by the clergy.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 560 Boylston Street. Boston, MA 02116
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to get the shot: Infront of Trinity Church or a great perspective from the Boston Public Library side.
Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum
(The Most Instagram-Worthy Photo Spots in Boston)
Isabella Stewart and her Bostonian husband enjoyed collecting and preserving artwork as well as manuscripts. When Isabella’s husband Jack died in 1898, Isabella bought land in Fenway and hired and architect to construct a building to her own specification and opened the museum to house their personal collection of European, Asian and American art. Some of Isabella’s personal pieces displayed here include, Vermeer’s “The Concert” and Rembrandt’s “Self Portrait.” There are both indoor and outdoor gardens and is a truly photogenic space with the courtyard featuring varieties of different plants and flowers. Throughout the year the museum lays on concerts as well as a variety of community projects for all ages to enjoy.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115, Tel. +1 617-566-1401
- Further Information: The Gardener Museum
- Entry Cost: $20 (Adults), Children under 18 are Free. $13 for students.
- How to get the shot: The courtyard at the centre of the museum is the most photogenic with its beams of sunlight and tropical varieties of plants. Climb to the upper floors to get a great aerial shot.
Be-lavie Tip: If there is one museum you visit in Boston, let it be the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. You will not be disappointed, it’s exquisite.
The Museum of Fine Arts
The museum’s goes back to 1870, with the building having undergone several renovations since then. With over 450,000 art pieces, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts seriously houses one of best collections in the world.
It’s best known for its collections of artworks in Dutch Golden Age paintings, French impressionist and post-impressionist art, and Egyptian artefacts — as well as other world class exhibits. This is the place for art-lovers.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115. Tel. +1 617-267-9300
- Further Information: The Museum of Fine Arts
- Entry Cost: $27 (Adults) and $10 (youths aged 7-17) Free for children under 7
- How to get the shot: The museum is pretty busy inside but you’ll see great photo opportunities inside, however don’t forget to capture the impressive exterior too.
The North End
(Great Photo Stop in Boston For Italian Food)
The North End is also known as Boston’s Little Italy with the first Italians settling here from Genoa in the 1860s. The Genoese were then followed by the Campanians, the Sicilians, the Avellinese, the Neapolitans, and the Abruzzesians. Each group of Italian settlers made a distinct part of Little Italy their home.
Little Italy is a maze of narrow streets, consisting of old buildings such as Paul Revere;s house and the Old North Church. The area is filled with Italian restaurants, coffee shops, pastry shops such as the famous Mike’s Pastries for cannoli’s as well as delis which can be seen on the very lively Hanover Street.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: The North End, Boston 02109 MA
- Further Information: The North End
- Entry Cost: Free but be prepared to spend lots on delicious Italian food!
- How to get the best shot: The main square is a great spot for people watching as well as walking the narrow streets and capturing everyday life in the neighbourhood.
You saw the TV show made in the 1980s and now you can visit the bar and restaurant that inspired the show. Located in Beacon Hill, the pub was called the Bull & Finch in real life. It would be rude not to go and visit what inspired the Boston based Comedy set in a pub.
- LocatioPhoto Spots in Boston Location: 84 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108
- Further Information: Cheers Bar
- Entry Cost: Free but you’ll be spending on food and drinks!
- How to get the shot: The outside of this iconic bar of course!
A great spot to hang out late at night but also the home of Boston’s Chinese community, the area is filled with Asian restaurants, dumpling houses and dim sum spots to seafood speciality restaurants together with upmarket lounges to feed, markets and gift shops. At the entrance of Chinatown neighbourhood, there’s a Park featuring a river-inspired fountain, plants native to Asia and a square that draws chess players.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: Chinatown, Boston, MA 02111
- Further Information: China Town
- Entry Cost: Free but prepare to spend on food, drinks and shopping
- How to get the shot: No better place than the China Trade Gate.
Boston Skyline at Night
(The Most Romantic Photo Stops in Boston)
Head to the waterfront areas, close to the Boston Tea Party Museum, at night to capture the night skyline with twinkling lights and reflections from the water. An iconic Boston shot.
- Further Information: Boston Waterfront
Best Photo Spots in Boston: Day Trips
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
Located across the Charles River and a short ride on the T from Boston, Cambridge Square is situated just outside the gates of Harvard University and is a popular spot to meet. The square is home to a variety of book stores, eateries, music venues and many historians. You may even recognise the square from movies.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel. +1 617-491-3434
- Further Information: Harvard Square
- Entry Cost: Free
- How to get the shot: The Square can get very busy as it’s just off the tube station so be the first on the train before the hoards arrive.
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
(The Most Iconic Photo Spots in Boston)
When in Boston, it’s definitely worth taking the short T ride to Cambridge and having a walk around Harvard University. You’ll recognise the exterior from several movies such as Legally Blonde! Harvard University is a privately owned Ivy League research university founded in 1636 with its first benefactor, clergyman, John Harvard
You can’t enter the university unless you’re a student but you can take guided or self-tour of the grounds.
- Photo Spots in Boston Location: Cambridge, MA, Tel. +1 617-495-1000
- Further Information: Harvard University
- Entry Cost: Free to walk the grounds (no entry for non-students to buildings)
- How to Get the Shot: Statue of John Harvard, The Old Chapel door or the library exterior.
Photo Spots in Boston: Recommended Day Trips
There are a number of great day trips you can take from Boston, which are easily accessible via boats trips, and guided tours. Have a peruse below:
Best Photo Spots in Boston Round-Up
Boston is an incredibly historical city with making for a varied number of photo opportunities including waterfronts, landmarks, dining establishments as well as beautiful parks. Many of the locations can be crowded during the summer months as well as other popular times of travel, therefore plan your trip well in advance and start as early as possible, especially when exploring the Freedom Trail.
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