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The 7 Best Boston Tours

BY: Editors | Aug 28, 2017

What can we say about Boston? You know people there love the Red Sox; it's a city with a long, rich history; and it's probably got good seafood. And while all that is true, there's so much more to Massachusetts's capital than baseball, Paul Revere, and oysters. For someone visiting Boston, one of the best ways to really get to know the city is through an expertly guided tour. So with that in mind, we've rounded up seven Boston tours that show off all the city has to offer, from its history to its pop-culture influence to its delicious food and more.

1. Duck-Boat Tour from Boston Duck Tours

Check for Duck Boat Tour deals here.

Duration: About 80 minutes

What You'll See: During a tour, you'll ride along Boston's streets, taking in sites like Boston Common and Faneuil Hall, before splashing down into the Charles River for the tour's aquatic leg.

Why You Should Go: Along with being one of the best ways to see just about all the top sites in city, the Duck Boat Tour is also a Boston icon and one of the top things to do in Boston in general. In fact, the world-champion Patriots even used the amphibious vehicles during their celebratory parade in early 2017. When it comes to Boston tours, that's hard to top.

What the Reviews Say:

"This was a fabulous experience...Not only did we learn many new things and saw places we want to visit in the future, we had a truly fun time." – Deborah E.

"I have lived near Boston for 30 years and never did a tour. This tour opened my eyes to not only the history of Boston, but to the beauty of the city. This tour is a 'do not miss' attraction to anyone's visit to Boston." – Paul R.

2. Freedom Trail Tour from Histrionic Academy

Book now: $16 for two tickets ($29.90 value)

Duration: About two hours

What You'll See: The 2.5-mile-long Freedom Trail Boston passes by more than a dozen locations that played crucial roles in America's fight for independence from the British. You'll take in the site of the Boston Massacre, tour Paul Revere's house, and walk among the headstones in the city's oldest burial ground.

Why You Should Go: Boston is the birthplace of the American Revolution, so seeing these spots up close makes it feel as if you've stepped back in time. Adding to the historical authenticity are the tour guides, who are dressed head-to-toe in 18th century colonial garb.

What the Reviews Say:

"Very informative and the guides' outfits make the experience complete. This is a must do for any Boston trip...Also make sure to bring very comfortable shoes!!" – Freddy V.

"...This was our favorite part of our trip to Boston! Our guide was EXCELLENT and we had so much fun. Great way to see important historical spots, and get a history lesson along the way..." – Jackie M.

3. Boston Movie Mile Walking Tour from On Location Tours

Book now: $35 for two tickets ($50 value)

What You'll See: Covering Boston's "movie mile," this walking tour lets you explore famous backdrops from iconic Boston movies and TV shows. You'll get to check out locations from The Departed, The Town, Good Will Hunting, and more.

Why You Should Go: Being able to grab a beer at the bar that inspired Cheers is reason enough, but the insider info and trivia you'll learn along the way is a nice bonus.

What the Reviews Say:

"...Our guide, Javier, was fabulous. Very knowledgeable about the movies and Boston in general." – Donna L.

4. Scavenger Hunt Walking Adventure from Operation City Quest

Book now: $19 for a two-person scavenger-hunt adventure ($39.95 value)

Duration: As long as you want—games can even span multiple days.

What You'll See: You'll have no idea what you'll see on this tour—and that's the point. There are 140 objects scattered around Boston for you to find, learn about, and document on your phone, so all the sightseeing is up to you.

Why You Should Go: If you like to have a more active role in learning about a city, this is the tour for you. Plus, the more you see and do, the more points you'll earn in a friendly competition against fellow scavenger hunters.

What the Reviews Say:

"Our family lives locally, but we decided to venture around anyway. Our guide Amber was a blast! Exceptionally friendly, knowledgeable, and encouraging! Must do again, here and abroad!" – Cindy H.

"This was one of the most fun things I have ever done. My fiancé and I were totally engaged for 2+ hours and our guide, Zenna, was amazing. I highly recommend this if it's in your city or a city you're visiting!" – Kaitlyn B.

5. Boston Pizza and Taverns Tour from Boston Pizza Tours

Book now: $49 for one ticket, which includes a pizza sampling

Duration: About three hours

What You'll See: Part history lesson, part culinary crawl, this walking tour takes you through the North End and Charleston neighborhoods, where you'll sample authentic Italian pizzas and sip pints in the same bars where heroes of the Revolution made their plans to defy British rule.

Why You Should Go: After the tour, you'll be able to say you drank at the oldest bar in America: the Bell in Hand Tavern. Make sure you get a pint of the signature house ale.

What the Reviews Say:

"My children and I loved this tour! It was great to hear the history of the North End and eat at three different Pizza Restaurants and a couple of pubs...would definitely recommend this tour if you are interested in the history of Boston and the good food in the North End." – Pamela L.

"The pizza was fab and Jimbo was a great guide; informative without being dry. The walk in the early evening was really pleasant and we felt as though we packed a lot into a short time." – Mcgintyjustine

6. Haunted Boston Ghost Tour from Boston Ghost Tours

Book now: $19 for two tickets ($36 value)

Duration: About 90 minutes

What You'll See: While there are plenty of historic sites (Boston Common, the Boston Athenaeum, and others) in this nighttime walk through the city, it's what you'll hear on this tour that's the main attraction. As you stroll past different sites, your guide will fill the 90-minute tour with chilling tales and alleged hauntings.

Why You Should Go: It's common knowledge that the older a city is, the more haunted it is, right? Guides also lead groups down moonlit streets with a lantern, which is fun, and kinda spooky.

What the Reviews Say:

"Megan was...a fantastic story teller and also was wonderful when random questions were asked about her stories. I loved walking around the central burial ground and hearing about all the spooky history..." – Nichole M.

"...I learned a lot about Boston history while hearing the ghost stories. The cherry on the top: I believe I took a picture of a ghost at the Omni Parker Hotel (which is the tour's last stop)." – Amassane

7. Trolley Tour and Harbor Cruise from CityView Trolley Tours

Book now: $49 for a trolley tour and harbor cruise for two ($82 value)

Duration: Since it's a hop-on/hop-off tour, as long as you like over the course of one day

What You'll See: In short: just about everything. The trolley tour passes all the top tourist sites in Boston, including the Old State House, Charleston Bridge, and Boston Common, with guides dispensing facts and history all along the way. Once you're done on land, you'll wrap up the tour with a narrated cruise around Boston Harbor.

Why You Should Go: Ever been on a tour and wanted to go back to a particular building, restaurant, or other site to check it out a little more? With this tour, you're free to do just that, so this is one of the best ways to pack in Boston sightseeing at your own pace. There are nine stops (all within easy walking distance of multiple points of interest) at which tour-goers can hop off the trolley, explore, and wait for another trolley to pick them up.

What the Reviews Say:

"...Great way to get familiar with Boston. We loved the harbor cruise which was part of the package. Fun to see the buildings by land and sea." – Carol K.

"We used the trolley all day and each driver was funny and knowledgeable and made our day in Boston super fun!" - Toni G.