Hoping to experience Boston through the eyes of a local? A guided tour may be just the thing. Factoring in traveler sentiment and expert opinion, U.S. News selected some of Boston’s best tours. Whether you’re eating your way through the North End or zipping around Boston Common on a Segway, you’ll see this New England city in a new light and learn some of its history along the way during these top Boston tours.
Note: Some tour providers on this list may be running more limited operations due to COVID-19 or may impose testing or vaccine requirements. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
The Revolutionary Story Tour
Price: From $65
Duration: 4 hours
Many reviewers call this tour enjoyable and one of the best walking tours they’d ever been on thanks to the engaging guide. Led by a local resident with degrees in history, political science and public policy, the nearly four-hour tour takes visitors through the streets of Boston to chronologically retell the story of the American Revolution. Along the 3 1/2-mile jaunt, you’ll pass by a dozen of the sites featured on the Freedom Trail, and you’ll also hear about the key players in 18th-century Boston, including John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere.
Tours are generally offered Tuesday through Saturday at 9:15 a.m. Tickets cost approximately $65 per person. The company partners with another local guide to provide private tours.
City Experiences by Hornblower – New England Aquarium Whale Watch Cruise
Price: Adults from $65; kids from $45
Duration: 4 hours
Hop on one of City Experience’s high-speed catamarans for a whale watching excursion to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. This area is a magnet for whales, dolphins, sea birds and other marine creatures who head there to feed. New England Aquarium naturalists on board offer their insights on whales, answer questions and explain whale behaviors, a big plus for travelers. During your approximately four-hour trip, you may see several different species of whales, including humpbacks, finbacks, minkes, sei whales and endangered right whales. Tours leave from mid-March through mid-November from Long Wharf, which is located near the aquarium. Tour frequency depends on the month, but there is at least one per day. Cruisers say the tour is fun and report seeing plenty of wildlife.
Tickets start at $65 for adults, $57 for seniors and $45 for children ages 3 to 11. Combo tickets that include admission to the aquarium are also available. The company also offers sightseeing and sunset cruises.
CityView Trolley Tours
Price: Adults from $40; kids from $20
Duration: 1 hour
The family-friendly hop-on, hop-off CityView Trolley Tours offer a convenient and comfortable way to explore the city and visit its top attractions, something visitors (especially those in Boston for the first time) appreciate. Stops at the New England Aquarium, Quincy Market and Old North Church, among others, make it easy to access sites along the Freedom Trail and other neighborhoods. What’s more, guides share fun and informational tidbits along the way. Trolleys run daily from mid-April to October from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
One-day tickets cost around $40 for adults and $20 for children 4 to 12. Note: While you can hop on and hop off the trolley as you please, tickets are only valid for one full tour loop. Two-day passes are also available.
Several of Boston’s tours stop near Faneuil Hall Marketplace.(Getty Images)
Old Town Trolley Tours – Boston Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour
Price: Adults from $50; kids from $30
Duration: 1.5 hours
Explore the top sights in Boston on this hop-on, hop-off trolley tour that makes 18 stops. Along the route, you can hop off and explore attractions like Faneuil Hall, the “Cheers” bar, the USS Constitution and the Old State House, and then hop back on at your leisure. Without getting off, you’ll tour for about 90 minutes. Trolleys frequent stops approximately every 15 minutes. Participants praise the convenience this tour offers and rave about the entertaining, informative guides. Reviewers also say the tour is a great way to see the city without having to do a lot of walking. Trolleys run daily from 9 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m., depending on the time of year.
Tickets for the one-day tour, which allow for unlimited re-boarding, start at approximately $50 per adult and $30 per child ages 4 to 12. Tickets also get you discounted rates for a Boston Harbor cruise as well as discounted entry to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Two-day tickets, as well as the Ghosts & Gravestones evening tour are also available.
Boston Pizza Tours – North End Pizza Tour
Price: From $49
Duration: 2.5 hours
Sink your teeth into some of Boston’s best pizza on this 2 1/2-hour walking tour. You’ll start your stroll in North End, which is considered Boston’s Little Italy. Along the way, you’ll pass by five sites on the Freedom Trail, including the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church. The tour cost includes three full-size pizza slices, water and a cannoli. Tourgoers applaud guides for their positive attitudes and entertaining, educational delivery of Boston history. Reviewers are also complimentary of the food. Tours are generally offered three times daily at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Tickets start at $49 per person. Participants with dietary restrictions can still tour, but will pay $69 for gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan options. Tours are capped at 12 participants.
Fenway Park Tours
Price: Adults from $25; kids from $17
Duration: 1 hour
Baseball fans and history buffs relish the chance to take a behind-the-scenes peek at America’s oldest ballpark. Even non-baseball fans find the tour worthwhile, according to reviewers. The one-hour tour takes visitors to important sites within the ballpark, including the world-famous 37-foot-high Green Monster. The excellent guides, full of Red Sox and Fenway Park trivia, offer an entertaining tour and are a hit with participants. Tours run year-round from 9.m. to 5 p.m. (at 10 a.m. November through March) and start on the hour.
Tickets start at $25 for adults and $17 for children ages 3 to 12. Fenway Park also offers a variety of other stadium tours, including Day Game Premium Tours and Fenway in Fifteen, a condensed 15-minute tour.
The Rose Kennedy Fitzgerald Greenway is a great outdoor space in the city.(Courtesy of Rose Kennedy Fitzgerald Greenway)
Boston Segway Tours
Price: From $69 per person
Duration: 1 or 2 hours
Boston Segway Tours takes visitors on an adventure through the city on one- or two-hour tours. Since it’s faster to glide than walk, you can cover much more ground on Segway than by foot. As you travel from Boston Common to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, your guide takes you by some of Boston’s most famous landmarks while always keeping an eye out for riders’ safety, according to tour-takers. The longer tour includes a visit to Cambridge.
Participants must be 14 or older and weigh at least 100 pounds to ride; additional restrictions may apply. Tickets start at $69 for a one-hour tour and $99 for two hours.
Urban AdvenTours – City View Bike Tour
Price: From $60
Duration: 3 hours
Exploring Boston by bike is a great way to cover a lot of ground in an exciting, active way. Urban AdvenTours’ flagship City View Bike Tour takes participants on a 10- to 12-mile trek through six different neighborhoods in about three hours. You’ll bike through major Boston sites, such as North End, the Boston University campus and Kenmore Square, Fenway Park, the South End, Boston Common and Long Wharf. Along with the comprehensive overview of the city, riders commend the care guides take in making them feel safe. This tour rides daily at 10 a.m., with additional 2 p.m. departures on Saturday and Sunday during the summer months. The tour is best for those comfortable riding on city streets. Children must be age 10 or older.
Tickets start at $60; adults can upgrade to an electric bike for an extra $50. Urban AdvenTours also offers cycling trips through Cambridge and the Emerald Necklace park system, as well as a family-friendly tour for kids 10 and younger.
Off The Eaten Path Tours
Price: Adults from $90; kids from $40
Duration: 2.5 hours
On this 2 1/2-hour food tour of the North End – Boston’s famous Italian neighborhood – owner Paula Noukos promises more than just samples of tasty food. Besides stopping at popular spots, such as Bricco Panetteria and Galleria Umberto, you’ll hear tips on how to shop for the best extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars. You’ll also learn about the history and architecture of this unique neighborhood, a highlight for reviewers. Travelers are also fond of the guide and appreciate her vast knowledge of the neighborhood.
Tours are generally offered Wednesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and are limited to 12 people. Tickets cost approximately $90 per person ages 11 and older and $40 for children 10 and younger.
For many visitors, the highlight of the Boston Duck Tour is when the vehicle dips into the Charles River.(Courtesy of Boston Duck Tours)
Boston Duck Tours
Price: Adults from $48.99; kids from $33.99
Duration: 80 minutes
Quack and splash your way around Beantown with the entertaining Boston Duck Tours, which takes passengers around Boston and into the Charles River on World War II-style amphibious landing vehicles. On the approximately 80-minute tour, entertaining “conDUCKtors” keep up a lively patter, describing neighborhoods, Boston history, architecture and trivia along the way. A highlight for many visitors is when the vehicle heads into the river offering a different perspective of the city.
Tickets start at $48.99 for adults and $33.99 for kids ages 3 to 11; discounts are available for seniors and children 2 and younger. Tours depart from the Museum of Science, the Prudential Center and the New England Aquarium several times a day.
Boston Crawling – Independence Pub Crawl
Price: From $75
Duration: 2 hours
Sip your way through the city at four historic watering holes on Boston Crawling’s Independence Pub Crawl. On this roughly two-hour tour, you’ll visit pubs that have historic significance, drink local brews and hear Boston’s “secret” history as you barhop along the Freedom Trail. Reviewers say the tour is informative and fun and applaud the beer recommendations provided by the guides. Participants can take tours daily at 3 and 7 p.m. and must be at least 21 years old, regardless of whether they’re drinking.
Tickets start at approximately $75, which includes four draft beers of your choice. If you prefer to purchase drinks as you go, tickets start at about $50.
PhotoWalks Tours of Boston – Freedom Trail
Price: Adults from $45; kids from $20
Duration: 1.5 hours
Explore the historic sites of the city and refine your photography skills at the same time on this 90-minute tour. In addition to visiting Freedom Trail landmarks, such as Boston Common, Park Street Church, the Granary Burying Ground and the Boston Massacre Site, you’ll also learn expert tips on how to use your camera or smartphone to take the best pictures – a highlight for many participants. Reviewers are also complimentary of the insightful guides. Tours run Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday year-round at 1 p.m.
Tickets cost approximately $45 for adults and $20 for youths ages 10 to 17. If you’re interested in exploring other neighborhoods or topics, you can sign up for one of PhotoWalks’ other tours, including Beacon Hill and the North End, among others.
Boston’s Freedom Trail tours offer a glimpse into Boston’s history.(Courtesy of the Freedom Trail Tour)
Freedom Trail Tours – Walk Into History
Price: Adults from $16; kids from $8
Duration: 1.5 hours
The nonprofit Freedom Trail Foundation leads the way on this 90-minute tour of the Freedom Trail – a milelong path that weaves past some of the city’s most historic sites. A costumed guide, in character, leads you to 11 sites, including Boston Common, King’s Chapel, the Old South Meeting House, the Boston Massacre site and Faneuil Hall. Reviewers rave about the guides and the characters they inhabit, and highly recommend this excursion over a self-guided tour of the Freedom Trail.
The foundation offers tours daily and tickets start at $16 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, and $8 for children ages 6 to 12. Other themed tours, including tours that focus on the women of the Revolutionary War and African American patriots, are also available.
Boston Foodie Tours – Boston Public Market & North End Tour
Price: From $85
Duration: 3 hours
Boston Foodie Tours explores two of Boston’s famous mainstays: The North End and the Boston Public Market. After enjoying pizza, cannoli and bread in the North End, you’ll wind your way to the market to sample doughnuts and ice cream, among other treats. Your tour concludes with a tasting of clam chowder and cornbread.
The three-hour tour costs approximately $85 and travelers say it’s a great way to spend time in the city. Tours run Tuesday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The company also offers a comprehensive tour of the North End, plus a private foodie outing to Beacon Hill, among other options.
City Brew Tours – Original Brew Tour
Price: From $79
Duration: 5 hours
For an in-depth Boston beer education, City Brew Tours’ five-hour Original Brew Tour is a great place to start. During the tour, you’ll be chauffeured around the city in a comfortable van, visit four breweries (typically including the Samuel Adams Brewery), get behind-the-scenes tours and enjoy up to 16 different local craft beers, including a beer-pairing lunch at Cambridge or Chelsea Station. Tourgoers laud the knowledgeable guides and love that driving isn’t an issue. City Brew offers this tour Thursday to Sunday. They depart at 11:45 a.m., with an additional tour at 11 a.m. on Saturdays.
All-inclusive tickets – which include 16 beer samples – cost approximately $110. Those who want to pay as they go or join the tour but not drink will pay $79. All participants must be 21 or older to tour. A condensed 3 1/2-hour tour is also offered, as are private tours.
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