If you are coming to Boston for one of our programs—and especially if you are coming from some distance away—you may want to extend your stay a few days and explore Boston, Cambridge, and the surrounding area. The Executive Education site provides a helpful summary of some of the top attractions. No matter the season, there are plenty of things to do! Read on for some of our favorite activities.


While Boston's spring arrives late and is fairly short, its emergence is also beautiful after the long, cold winter. Locals love to get outside at the first opportunity to celebrate the changing seasons.

  • Go birding in Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Visit the first rural, or "garden" cemetery in the United States, located on the edge of Cambridge. In addition to famous burials, remarkable monuments, and amazing plantings, this National Historic Landmark is a great place to find migrating birds in early spring mornings.
  • Join in on Patriots' Day Events. If you happen to be at HBS in mid-April, don't miss two Massachusetts traditions. On April 19, 1775, the American Revolution began with skirmishes in Lexington and Concord. Patriots' Day commemorates these events with re-enactments and special events at historical sites. That Monday is also the date of the Boston Marathon. Pick a spot along the route to cheer on the runners.
  • Explore colleges or graduate schools. Is a young person in your family starting to think about the next steps? Many colleges and universities are located in the city or within a short drive, and most offer tours for prospective families.
  • Visit the Arnold Arboretum. A 281-acre preserve in the heart of Boston, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University stewards one of the world's most comprehensive and best-documented collections of temperate woody plants, with a particular focus on the floras of eastern North America and eastern Asia. This jewel in the Emerald Necklace park system was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, America's first landscape architect.


Boston's summer days can be beautiful and mild or hot and humid, but generally, you’ll find blue skies, a gentle breeze, and a lot of people enjoying the outdoors.

  • Choose between gelato and cannoli in the North End. Boston's traditional Italian neighborhood is fun any time of year, but there's something special about enjoying a pasta dinner, getting a sweet treat, and strolling down Hanover Street to people-watch on a warm summer evening.
  • Spend an afternoon on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Take advantage of food trucks, fountains, beer and wine gardens, and an oasis of organically maintained plantings—running right through the center of Boston on the site of the former raised highway.
  • Take in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. This historic baseball park built in 1912 is one of the cathedrals of the sport. You’ll want to get tickets in advance!
  • Visit Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, or Nantucket. If you have time, head east for a few days. All these places have beautiful beaches, interesting sights, and unique cultures of their own. You can drive, or even take a ferry from Boston Harbor directly to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod.
  • Get out on the water. There's nothing like seeing Boston from the water. Enjoy a Boston Harbor cruise or a whale watch—or spend the day at the Boston Harbor islands. Take the ferry to George's Island and explore the Civil War-era Fort Warren, then spend the afternoon hiking and taking in the view from Spectacle Island.


Autumn is a beautiful time of year in New England, with crisp sunny days and cooler nights.

  • Take a walk through the Boston Common and the adjacent Public Garden, the large public spaces in the center of Boston. You can also wander down the center of Commonwealth Avenue in Boston's Back Bay, a beautiful Victorian residential neighborhood marked by a canopy of trees.
  • Take a drive to check out the fall color. Locals and visitors alike often engage in "leaf peeping" to enjoy the riot of changing color that is fall in New England. You can also take in a fall fair or explore antique stores.
  • Wander the Freedom Trail, Boston's historical walking route. The trail includes several historic structures, from Bunker Hill Monument to the USS Constitution, the oldest ship in the U.S. naval fleet, which first saw action in the late 1790s.
  • Go apple or pumpkin picking. Nearby orchards and farms offer an enjoyable experience for everyone. If you don’t want to pick your own, there are plenty of local farm stands.


Boston's winter—effectively lasting from November through March—tends to be cold and sometimes snowy. But that does not stop hardy New Englanders.

  • Go skiing. Whether you prefer downhill or cross-country, good skiing can be found not too far from the city. Good options for novice skiers can be found an hour from the city, or you could head north to larger ski resorts in Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine, just a 3-4-hour drive away.
  • Enjoy theater and music. From the Boston Symphony to the Boston Ballet to traveling Broadway shows to locally produced theater, Boston has a host of top-notch options for art lovers.
  • Visit an art museum. Boston has several art museums with impressive collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. And of course, don't forget the Harvard museums, which also have important and unique art, science, and history collections.
  • Attend a Bruins or Celtics game. The winter season in Boston is all about ice hockey and basketball. Buy tickets in advance.

About the Author

Anita Mushlin is the Assistant Director of Content Marketing for Harvard Business School, Executive Education.