20 Places We Love in Massachusetts

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Massachusetts is my home state and I am proud to be a Bostonian and loyal Red Sox- Patriots- Celtics- Bruins fan (although, truth be told, I really only follow baseball). Growing up, my family explored many parts of Massachusetts, but over the past 30+ years many new places have opened. Whenever we visit my family, or my husband’s extended family who lives in the western part of the state, we find a new spot to enjoy. I hope to keep adding to this list over time, and expect to create a list for each New England state (eventually, maybe EVERY state!)

Here are 20 places we have explored since starting the blog and our favorite parts of each location:

1. Legoland Discovery Center in Somerville- We like it so much we’ve been back a few times! There are Legoland Discovery Centers in the world (and some even include amusement parks and resorts!) and each one is worth a visit because each center has its own, local MiniLand with replica buildings and popular sites. Most centers have one or two rides, 4D movie theaters showcasing brief films, virtual reality simulations, and indoor playscapes. There are usually cafes so you can eat on site.
Highlights: Riding Kingdom Quest and Merlin’s Apprentice; building (and racing!) cars on the test track; learning from a Master Builder in a lego class.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here and here.

2. Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum in Boston- An interactive museum! The tour starts in a replica South Meeting House where guests can volunteer to play the part of Sons and Daughters of Liberty who met to protest the tea tax. Then visitors tour a replica ship (either the Beaver or the Eleanor), and explore an indoor museum filled with artifacts including a vial of tea from 1773. Abigail’s Tea Room is a great spot for a snack.
Highlights: Getting a new “identity” and a feather for voting and throwing “tea” over the side of the ship.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

3. Boston National Historic Park in Boston– This National Park has several sites located throughout the city. Learn all about the American Revolution and watch history come alive at sites like the Old State House and Paul Revere House. There are also plenty of ranger guided tours offered each day.
Highlights: Earning a Junior Ranger badge, following the Freedom Trail, taking a guided tour, and guessing various scents dating back 300 years!
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

4. Charlestown Navy Yard & USS Constitution in Charleston- The Nay Yard is part of the Boston National Historic Park, but it’s worth it’s own spot because there is so much to see. Over 200 warships were built in the 130 acre navy yard between 1800 and 1974. Now, people come to explore the museums, visitor center, and two ships the USS Constitution and the USS Cassin Young.
Highlights: Getting a National Passport stamp in the Visitor Center and exploring multiple levels of both ships.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

 5. Massachusetts State House and the Boston Public Garden in Boston- A great, FREE way to learn about the history of Massachusetts, and America. Guided tours are offered several time throughout the week and include the opportunity to step inside the state Senate and House of Representatives chambers, Executive Office of the governor, and the Hall of Flags.
Highlights: Finding the flag of a specific town (there are over 400 hanging flags!) and searching for the wooden cod and mackerel displays in the Chambers- ask why they are the “mascots” of the chambers.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

6. Boston Museum of Fine Arts in Boston- One of the largest art museums in America, it has almost half a million pieces of art in its collection. There are over 100 galleries of painting, sculptures, furniture, drawings, musical instruments, textiles, and jewelry plus four dining options and plenty of daily programs and activities.
Highlights: Grabbing a family a family activity tote to use while exploring and completing various scavenger hunts.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

7. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston- This unique museum is set INSIDE the private home of Gardner, a private art collector who amassed a collection of over 75,000 works of art throughout her travels with her husband in the late 1800s. Today, the museum includes an annex building for workshops, an auditorium for concerts and performances, and a restaurant, as well as access to the three story private home and gardens.
Highlights: Completing one of the “Eye Spy” activity booklets, creating personalized art in the Bertucci’s Education Studio, and reading the room cards to learn more about each item on display.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

8. Boston Symphony Hall in Boston– Founded in the 1880s, Boston Symphony Hall’s current location since 1900 is considered one of the top three acoustically sound halls in the world. It’s home to the Boston Symphony September through early December and late January through early May, and the Boston Pops season runs in December and May, and then the entire orchestra moves to Tanglewood in the Berkshires for the summer.  Free guided tours are offered a few times throughout the week.
Highlights: Peeking through the stage door (there are tons of peep holes!) and listening to the massive organ.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

9. Old Sturbridge Village in Old Sturbridge- This is one of the best “living museums” we have visited. Over 200 acres and 40 buildings to explore, many of which have live interpreters to share the daily stories of a 1830s New England farming village. You can eat on site and participate in daily animal feedings and demonstrations. Plan on spending a full day exploring the village and definitely consider visiting during a holiday for special period decorations and celebrations.
Highlights: Kidstory exhibit in the Visitor Center; riding the Carryall, a horse drawn carriage; playing in a Child’s World outdoor playground.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

10. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield- It’s not just for basketball fans (although fans will definitely be tested on their trivia and dribbling skills!) The museum includes a Hall of Fame, countless memorabilia signed by former players and coaches, tons of interactive practice exercises, and a full size court in the middle. Plenty of quick service and full service dining options within the complex.
Highlights: Seeing how high a hoop you can dunk a ball; finding the jersey of your favorite Hall of Famer; the Honor Rings of Hall of Fame inductees
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

11. Yankee Candle Village in Springfield- this continues to be my most popular post ever on the blog! I love Yankee Candles and couldn’t wait to explore the Village (make your own candle, personalize your label, take a candle maker workshop for home décor), but even if you don’t like candles, there’s still plenty to do . Make sure to check the calendar for seasonal and holiday special events.
Highlights: Walking through the Bavarian Village (it snows every 4 minutes!), visiting with Santa (he’s here all year!), and filling a candle jar with candy (there’s over 20 varieties)
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

12. The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield- We were the FIRST visitors on the first day it opened in 2017 (and our visit was the first post on the blog!). This museum is definitely geared towards the toddler set but who wouldn’t want to pretend to be a kid in the world of the Lorax, Horton, and Thing 1 and Thing 2? Plus, there are 5 other museums located in the quadrangle known as Springfield Museums.
Highlights: Choosing a favorite outdoor sculpture; The Cat’s Corner; the family tree of Dr. Seuss.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

13. Springfield Armory in Springfield Built in 1794, it was used to produce over 4 million weapons starting with the War of 1812. Now it is run by the National Park Service, it is FREE visit from late May through early November. The exhibits are enclosed in glass to minimize safety and preservation concerns.
Highlights: Earning a Junior Ranger badge and dressing up, the Organ of Muskets, and the short film about the Armory’s history.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

14. Minuteman National Historic Park in Lexington and Concord- Like the Boston park, this National Park site is spread throughout two towns and includes many stops (although you’ll need to drive from site to site). The park includes sites significant to the battle that is credited with beginning the American Revolution. Start in the Minuteman Visitor Center which has a comprehensive short film and brief exhibit. Be sure to check the daily calendar for ranger led tours and various demonstrations and reenactments.
Highlights: Completing the Junior Ranger booklet and earning a badge; exploring the Whittemore House; touring the Wayside.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

15. EcoTarium in Worcester- I have not fully explored the greater Worcester area yet, but I did meet a friend and her family here for the day and found this part science museum, part aquarium, part outdoor classroom super fun for all ages! There are both indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits that focus on various STEM activities, as well as a planetarium
Highlights: Learning about dinosaur “poop”; taking a ride on the Explorer Express train; making every imaginable kind of bubbles outside.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

16. Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth (Cape Cod)- It’s the only museum in the country with a full pirate treasure found off the coast of Cape Cod. The Whydah, a slave ship overtaken by pirates, sank off the coast of Cape Cod in a storm in 1717. Each summer, archeologists and divers search through the wreckage and bring new artifacts to the museum to be cleaned and restored (on site) and showcased on the museum.
Highlights: Finding all the items on the “treasure map”; climbing aboard a replica portion of the ship; watching archaeologists at work in the Sea Lab and Learning Center.
Read the full blog post and travel tips here.

17. Seven Seas Whale Watch Tour in Gloucester- Guests are guaranteed to see whales up close or the company will give you a rain check for another tour. Tours, offered from through mid October, are long (four hours) and there’s no leaving early (hahaha!) so make sure you can commit the time. Very knowledgeable staff share the background and narrate parts of the tour. When we went, we saw over a dozen whales, very close to the boat. The staff sells snacks and drinks on board, but you can also bring your own food. Both indoor and outdoor seating are available.
Highlights: Seeing the whales and dolphins!
Read the full blog post about all the places we love in Gloucester and travel tips here. (#7)

18. Peabody Essex Museum in Salem- The Peabody is the oldest, continuously running museum in America. Amidst all of the “witch” related activities and exhibits, the Peabody has dozens of exhibits dedicated to You may think that an art museum may not be the spot to visit with children, but there is a whole floor devoted to activities and workshops for children.
Highlights: The Art and Nature Center for Children, a replica of Cleopatra’s Barge, the main salon of America’s first private ocean yacht built in Salem in 1816 that visitors can walk through, and the light filled Atrium.
Read about all the places we love in Salem here, and our full blog post and travel tips for the museum here.

19. The New Bedford Whaling Museum in New Bedford- This museum is very hands on and the perfect spot for children (and adults!) to learn about the whaling industry. At one time, New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world. Plan on spending at least ½ a day exploring the various exhibits, although admission tickets are valid for two consecutive days, so visitors can take their time. 
Highlights: Climbing aboard and exploring the Lagoda replica ship; choosing a favorite object in the Scrimshaw Gallery; exploring the Casa dos Botes Discovery Center , geared towards younger children. 
Read about the places we love in New Bedford here, and our full blog post and travel tips for the museum here.

20. Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxboro- Public tours of Gillette Stadium (home of the New England Patriots) are not allowed, but visitors can learn all about the Patriots in the three story Hall of Fame, museum, and gift shop located adjacent to the stadium and part of Patriot Place. Patriot Place offers dozens of shopping and dining options, and a movie theater. The museum and Hall of Fame has several exhibits about the history of the team, and NFL, and several interactive activities. 
Highlights: Taking a photo with 6 Vince Lombardi trophies and Super Bowl rings; practicing skills with simulations; sitting inside a DUCK boat used in the 2002 Super Bowl parade.
Read our full travel blog and travel tips here.

If you want more of our City Guides, see our list and links here.  And follow along on our adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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