Top 10 Hidden Gems in Boston

Colonial history, academic legacy, and modern innovation all come together in one of the United States' most famous cities, Boston.

This Massachusetts staple city provides guests with cobblestone paths leading to revolutionary landmarks, Fenway fandom amid Harvard excellence, and a bevy of excellent eateries and bars. Performing arts venues and shopping centers await downtown and historic monuments and memorials await on the outskirts of the city.

While you probably already know about the most popular spots throughout, from Fenway and the Freedom Trail to Beacon Hill and the Boston Public Library, you probably don’t know about these 10 spots, the Top 10 Hidden Gems of Boston!

  1. Museum of Bad Art
    Of course, when visiting a major city like Boston you can always expect some fine art in one place or another, be it an art museum or a popular public art display. You may not expect, however, finding some extremely unfine art, which is exactly what you will find at the Museum of Bad Art or MOBA. ‘Bringing the worst of art to the widest of audiences’, this museum within the Somerville Theater will ask some seriously important questions, like ‘are those ice creams or mountains?’

  2. Winter Street Concourse
    Boston winters can be brutal, so if you are visiting during the cold months you may want to find the mostly unknown Winter Street Concourse. This underground tunnel connects the upper levels of Park Street and the Downtown Subway Stations of the MBTA. This allows commuters direct routes between the Green and Orange lines, preventing possible frostbitten noses and toes during your visit!

  3. Gondola Di Venezia
    For a more peaceful look at the city skyline opt-in for a Charles River Gondola ride, a fairly unknown Boston experience you won’t want to miss. This authentic Venetian gondola will take you down the river on a journey of history and tradition, your experience pleasantly enhanced by musicians and champagne.

  4. Cambridge Center Roof Garden
    Boston’s very own Secret Garden awaits at the top of the Cambridge Center, this hidden spot a true urban oasis. Located in the midst of Kendall Square, this spot is popular with the ‘in-the-know’ locals for picnics, parties, and special events. Enjoy a nice lunch, enjoy the views, and if you are here during the summer, enjoy a Midsummer Dance Party!

  5. Skinny House
    The Skinny House, or Spite House, or, if you want to take it even further, the Origin of Petty House, is one of the most bemusing neighborhood additions in the city. This impressively narrow 4-story home measures out to 10 feet wide, 30 feet deep and has an interesting history tracing back to the Civil War. As the story goes, two brothers went off to war, one returning before the other. The first brother built a large house on land given to them both by their father, and thinking it unfair, the second brother built this house out of spite, to both block the sunlight and the enjoyable views his brother could have had.

  6. Boston Athenaeum
    This is possibly the creepiest attraction in Boston today, the Boston Athenaeum holding one of the only remaining skin-bound books. That’s right, skin-bound. The Hic Liber Waltonis Cute Compactus Est is an 1837 memoir of famed ‘sneak thief’ James Allen, who claimed to be the ‘master of his own skin’. The master requested to be hung, flayed, and bound into his book and delivered to his murder accuser (which was apparently a pretty common thing to do in the 1800s). Plan a visit here at least one week in advance to see the ‘slightly bumpy, soft sandpaper’ like a treasure.

  7. Bodega
    All the cool kids know about this hidden gem, a one of a kind shoe store hidden behind a Snapple machine. Located within a deli/convenience store you will find a false door behind the machine, the door leading to an ‘upscale streetwear store’, the store full of all the latest street and skate fashion essentials. Pick up a new pair of kicks, a shirt, or a jacket, and decide whether or not you want to tell your friends about this place, it’s only promotion being word of mouth.

  8. Drink
    The reviews on how ‘hidden’ this bar is are about 50/50, many people saying it has a hidden entrance, many others saying it isn’t hard to find at all. As a tourist, we are sure it won’t be the most obvious bar, the entrance being a plain door followed by a staircase leading down. Below in the bar, you will find a prohibition-era setting, excellent drinks, and nightly cocktail parties. Be sure to know what you want ahead of time, this is a menu-less establishment!

  9. Mapparium
    While not boasted about on many travel guides, the Mary Baker Eddy Mapparium is an absolute must stop while in the city. This inside-out glass globe allows guests to see the world as it truly is, with no spatial distortion like you unknowingly get on a flat map. From the very center of the 3-story, LED-lit globe you will experience the result of sound waves bouncing off the glass walls, the effect known as a ‘whisper gallery’.  

  10. Uni Sashimi Bar
    This is another hidden gem that probably isn’t hidden to locals, but perhaps its after-hours options are! At the Uni Sashimi Bar guests can enjoy authentic ramen bowls from 11 pm to 2 am each Friday and Saturday night. Whether you need a late-night snack or after-bar delight, this is always a popular and convenient option. The noodles are quite affordable, as well, at just $10 a bowl.

Want more great hidden gem attractions across America? Check out these locations!