Heading to Beantown and looking for a lively and exciting neighborhood to explore? Look no further than South Boston Waterfront! Surrounded by a picturesque waterfront, this bustling district buzzes with museums and art galleries, entertainment venues, excellent hotels, and loads of restaurants.
Also known as Seaport District, the South Boston Waterfront sits just southeast of downtown across the Fort Point Channel. This dynamic and rapidly transforming district encompasses the Fort Point neighborhood to the west and Fan Pier, the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park, and the Seaport World Trade Center to the east.
Once home to historic warehouses and industrial spaces, the South Boston Waterfront is transforming into a creative and entertainment hub with something for everyone. Stylish waterfront restaurants and bars abound in the glitzy Seaport District. Cruises depart outside the trendy Institute of Contemporary Art, while the Harborwalk offers the perfect way to explore the waterfront.
South of Atlantic Avenue, the artistic Fort Point neighborhood is sprinkled with art galleries, excellent museums like the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, and an array of innovative chef-owned restaurants. If you’re traveling with kids, the Boston Children’s Museum and Lawn on D are must-sees.
Ready to hit the Seaport District? Start planning your adventure with this complete South Boston Waterfront guide, including what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in one of the city’s most exciting neighborhoods.
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What to see & do in Boston’s Seaport District
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Experience the rich history of Boston firsthand at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Located in the Fort Point neighborhood, this interactive museum brings the key events that led to the American Revolution to life through an all-encompassing, immersive experience.
Dedicated to telling the story of the Boston Tea Party, this popular Boston museum has incredible exhibits that will take you back to 1773. Enjoy fun, hands-on displays like exploring full-scale replica 18th-century sailing vessels docked in Boston Harbor and throwing tea overboard! Costumed actors portray British soldiers and historical figures like Samuel Adams.
Explore the tearoom, sample different teas, and watch a multi-sensory film depicting the beginning of the American Revolution. You can also take guided tours of the surrounding Fort Point neighborhood.
Institute of Contemporary Art
If you’re a contemporary architecture and art fan, visiting the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is a must. Before stepping into the museum, you’ll be awestruck by the building itself. Designed by renowned architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the cutting-edge museum’s iconic cantilevered design juts out over Boston Harbor, offering spectacular water views and the city skyline.
As you step into the Institute of Contemporary Art’s sleek abode, you’ll again be struck by the vibrant energy and creativity filling the space. With breathtaking views of Boston Harbor, the museum is an unrivaled showcase for global contemporary art and one of Boston’s must-see tourist attractions.
Wander through rotating exhibitions of some of the world’s most exciting and provocative contemporary art. Admire works by emerging and established artists across various mediums, from paintings and sculptures to photography, video, and performance arts.
But the ICA is more than just a museum: It’s also a hub for artistic innovation and community engagement. With a busy calendar of events and programs, there’s always something happening at the museum. You’ll find endless opportunities to connect with art and fellow art lovers, from artist talks and film screenings to workshops and live music performances.
Boston Children’s Museum
Spend the day creating unforgettable memories with your family at the Boston Children’s Museum, where the fun and learning never stop! As you step into this magical world of discovery, you’ll be transported to a place where children can play, imagine, and explore to their hearts’ content.
The Boston Children’s Museum is a wonderland for kids of all ages, with a dizzying array of exhibits and activities. The museum’s exhibits are designed to encourage learning through play, so your little ones will have tons of fun while learning valuable skills and concepts.
From climbing structures and ball pits to science experiments and art projects, there’s something here to delight every child and spark their curiosity. They can pretend to be firefighters, doctors, or construction workers or explore the world of dinosaurs, bubbles, and magnets. With so much to see & do, it’s the perfect destination for a day of family fun and learning.
Fan Pier Park
Pack a picnic, grab a book, and head to Fan Pier Park for a few hours of relaxation. This beautiful waterfront park is an oasis in the heart of the city with beautiful views of Boston Harbor and a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
With its spacious lawns, waterfront seating areas, and picturesque boardwalk, Fan Pier Park offers a variety of ways to enjoy the beautiful Downtown Boston skyline and the sparkling waters of the harbor. You can watch the boats go by, soak up some sun, or simply take in the sights and sounds of the city.
You can also enjoy various community events and activities at Fan Pier Park, from outdoor concerts and movie screenings to fitness classes and food festivals.
Discover a world of hidden treasures and fascinating history with a scenic stroll or bike ride along the Boston Harborwalk. This incredible 43-mile path winds along Boston Harbor, offering breathtaking views of the water, the city skyline, and some of Boston’s most iconic landmarks.
As you make your way along the Harborwalk, stop to explore waterfront parks and visit historic sites like the USS Constitution Museum or the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. Take a leisurely stroll with friends or family, or go for a jog or bike ride along the pretty promenade.
The Harborwalk is a hub for activities and community events, and there’s always something happening along the Harborwalk, making it a vibrant and dynamic part of the city’s cultural life.
South Boston Maritime Park
Another lovely spot to unwind and enjoy the outdoors is the South Boston Maritime Park. Boasting sweeping views of the harbor, this beautiful park has picturesque walking trails and various outdoor activities and events.
Enjoy water-based activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, or enjoying a dip in the cool waters. Hop on a boat tour of the harbor and explore Boston’s famous waterfront landmarks from a new perspective. Cast a line off the park’s charming fishing pier or relax with a picnic on the expansive lawns.
Other interesting South Boston Maritime Park features include a lovely bosque filled with shade trees and two towering pergola structures. The park is dotted with inscriptions and sculptures that highlight the maritime history of the Seaport District. Grab a coffee at the park’s family-friendly café.
Where to eat & drink
Spectacular harbor views and ocean-fresh seafood are the order of the day at most South Boston Waterfront restaurants. You’ll also find outstanding Italian, French, and Mexican food and some great spots for sundowners.
Head to the ever-popular Legal Sea Foods Harborside for superb, sustainably caught seafood and spectacular views. Each of the restaurant’s three levels offers a unique dining experience, but mouthwatering seafood is at the core of each. Tuck into shucked oysters, homemade clam chowder, freshly grilled lobster and shrimp, and all kinds of fish.
Another incredible spot for seafood is Row 34, Boston’s historic Fort Point neighborhood. Set in a renovated Boston Wharf Company textile warehouse, the casual restaurant is excellent for a laid-back lunch or dinner. Hang out at the bar, chill out on the patio, and feast on seafood fresh from the Fish Pier.
Maestro’s Ocean Club is the place to be when you have a hankering for surf and turf. Sophisticated and stylish, this high-end restaurant franchise is known for its outstanding cuisine and world-class service. Classic dishes range from premium cuts of steak, fresh seafood, and handmade sushi, and the wine list is nothing less than stellar!
Make your way through the impressive selection of craft beers from local and regional breweries at City Tap House Boston. Relax on the charming outdoor patio while you sample superb ales and snack on classic gastropub fare. The truffle fries are highly recommended!
Looking for the best place for sundowners in the city? The Lookout Rooftop and Bar on the top of the Envoy takes the cake! You won’t find better city skyline views and Boston Harbor anywhere else. Kick back at the uniquely shaped bar or in one of the cozy seating areas with fire pits and toast the sunset with innovative house-made craft cocktails, microbrews, and world-class wines.
Where to stay
With its central location and lovely harbor views, the Seaport District is one of the most popular places to stay in Boston. The accommodation scene here is varied but leans towards mid-range and luxury hotels versus budget-friendly lodgings.
Just steps away from downtown Boston and the harbor, the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport is an ideal base for a visit to Beantown. Conveniently located opposite the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the hotel has elegant rooms with modern amenities, a luxury spa, and a beautiful rooftop pool with city views. Dining options include three restaurants, two bars, and a casual café.
Exuding a classic New England feel, the award-winning Seaport Hotel® Boston is an elegant and upmarket retreat. Soak up the fantastic city and harbor views from your beautifully furnished room and unwind in the hotel’s indoor heated swimming pool. Enjoy contemporary cuisine at a refined cafe, and a short walk will take you to the Institute of Contemporary Art and Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Set in a former molasses factory just a few miles from Logan Airport, Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Downtown Seaport provides a stylish place to make your base in Boston. Contemporary studios and one-bedroom suites have chic décor, floor-to-ceiling windows, and gorgeous views. Enjoy top-notch amenities like a complimentary hot breakfast, a grocery delivery service, and social evenings with drinks and snacks.