The Most Unusual Things To Do in Boston

Boston is brimming with attractions, including some unusual adventures
Boston is brimming with attractions, including some unusual adventures | © Justin Cliffe / Alamy Stock Photo

With a long list of historical sites, Boston has worthwhile tourist attractions on almost every street. However, Beantown has plenty to offer to those looking for something outside the box as well. From the Mapparium to a visit with Boston’s most famous corpses, here’s a look at the top unusual things to do in the city.
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Loved by over 40s

Visit the Mapparium

Inside The Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a three-story, stained-glass globe that gives you a three-dimensional view at how the world looked in 1935. Originally called “The Glass Room,” the work of art was created to show the global reach of The Christian Science Monitor. Today, it illustrates how countries and borders have changed over the past century. Visitors can view a short presentation here, titled A World of Ideas, that features LED lights and tells “how ideas have traversed time and geography and changed the world.” If you’re more interested in the physical globe itself, a separate exhibit gives an inside view of its history and construction.

Visit one of Boston’s old burying grounds

Scattered throughout Boston are 16 historic burying grounds, including many with graves dating back to the 1630s. Six of the cemeteries are open daily. Visitors can explore the numerous headstones, which have fascinating epitaphs and iconographies that tell the stories and beliefs of different centuries. The burying grounds of King’s Chapel, Granary and Copp’s Hill lie along the Freedom Trail and are among the more popular sites. The Forest Hills Cemetery in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood holds an arboretum, peaceful sculpture gardens and a small lake. Across the river in Cambridge, Mount Auburn Cemetery has a tall lookout tower with amazing views of Boston and the towns beyond. A few of the famous gravesites you can visit include those of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Mother Goose, Mary Chilton, Anne Sexton and Paul Revere.

Measure the smoots on the Harvard Bridge

Marked across the entire length of the Harvard Bridge, which connects Boston to Cambridge over the Charles River, is a unique set of measurements known as a “smoot.” The measurement started as a prank in 1958 when MIT’s Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity had freshman pledge Oliver Smoot lie down across the entirety of the bridge to measure its length by using his height. The smoot, which measures five feet, seven inches (1.7 meters), has become the unofficially official unit of measurement for the bridge, which runs a total of 364.4 smoots plus one ear. Visitors can walk the full bridge, also commonly known as the Mass Ave Bridge, and see brightly painted measurements on the deck every 10 smoots.

Find the hidden Bodega store

Hidden inside a rundown convenience store in the Back Bay is one of Boston’s most popular streetwear and shoe shops – Bodega. The store doesn’t have any markings or advertisements out front. To get in, walk to the back of the corner store and slide open the old Snapple machine, which is the real entrance to the upscale shop. Several celebrities, including Jamie Foxx, Maya Rudolph, Jason Sudeikis and Kevin Durant, have visited.

Check out the Scarlett O’Hara House

The Scarlett O’Hara House, located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, isn’t a house at all. Instead, it’s an optical illusion. From afar, it’s hard to tell the home isn’t real. The “house” was painted in the 1980s to resemble a Greek Revival-style home, one that you might see in the South, to cover up an unattractive brick wall. On either side of the “front porch” are the entrances to two real historic brownstone homes.

Visit All Saints Way in the North End

In a private alleyway between Hanover Street and Battery Street in Boston’s North End, this shine pays tribute to almost every saint canonized by the Catholic Church. Long-time North End resident Peter Baldassari created All Saints Way in the 1990s; he still maintains the alleyway. He lets the public stroll through on occasion and tour the memorabilia and decorations. However, it’s worth a look from the entrance, especially when it’s decorated for the holidays.

Learn about the abandoned tunnels running beneath Boston

Underneath Boston’s City Hall Plaza sits the remains of America’s oldest subway tunnel, the Tremont Street Subway, which opened as the country’s first subway line in 1897. Between new lines and better stations popping up, this subway line was eventually abandoned in 1963. Old structures and relics, including signs of the old Scollay Square station, were discovered in the tunnels when the city temporarily opened it for tours during Boston Preservation Month. While no tours are scheduled in the near future, you can still learn about the tunnels and their history through city historians.

Witness the FIGMENT Boston weekend

For one weekend each summer, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway transforms into an eccentric art gallery. It brings together theater, music, sculptures, dance, interactive art and much more into one space. During the FIGMENT Boston weekend, artists across any discipline (meaning no experience required) can install a piece of artwork or put on any performance on the Greenway, as long as it “somehow engages audience participation.” In the past, projects have included mazes, a “Silly Walk Zone,” interactive dance routines, motion-detected audio soundscapes, water games and more. The event is free.

Indulge in sweet treats at Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop

For food and history lovers, Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop gives visitors a chance to taste and experience what chocolate was like in the 18th century. Located on the Old North Church & Historic Site, the shop is named after Captain Newark Jackson, a mariner who operated a colonial chocolate shop in Boston’s North End in the 1740s. The staff dresses up in period costumes and provide an educational experience on how chocolate was made in colonial times as well as its history in the city. Visitors can sample the chocolate through the tour and also take home American Heritage Chocolate made only from ingredients used in the 18th century.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.