Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Seaport, Boston

  • Published 2022/11/05

Seaport is a neighborhood within South Boston.

It was previously an industrial area developed into a waterfront commercial district with restaurants, office buildings, and luxury apartments.

Officially named The South Boston Waterfront, Seaport District was developed as the city’s tech hub when the Big Dig was finished.

It was in 2010 when Mayor Thomas Menino laid out plans to revive the district.

1,000 acres of land was developed into a business district, creating thousands of new jobs between 2010 and 2017.

Today, the district has over 200 companies from different industries, such as healthcare, information technology, and media.

Here are the best things to do in Seaport, Boston:

Marvel at the Architecture of the Institute of Contemporary Art

Exterior of the Institute of Contemporary Art

Wangkun Jia /

Located on Harbor Shore Drive, the Institute of Contemporary Art is a unique site on the shores of the Seaport district.

The design of its main building mimics the gantry cranes nearby, with an exterior grand staircase that adds to the drama of its façade.

It was awarded the Harleston Parker Medal in 2007 for its outstanding architecture.

Steps leading to the Institute of Contemporary Art's entrance

Wangkun Jia /

Inside the building are modern and contemporary artworks from leading and emerging artists.

The West Gallery is the largest exhibition space and has featured artists such as Anish Kapoor, William Forsythe, and Mark Bradford.

The Institute of Contemporary Art has also developed a 15,000-square-foot condemned building into the ICA Watershed, which features one artist each year.

Interior of the Institute of Contemporary Art

Photos BrianScantlebury /

Enjoy a Cruise with the Spirit of Boston

View of a docked Spirit of Boston ship

Captain-tucker, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Spirit of Boston is a four-level ship that offers buffet-style dining onboard.

The cruise starts from the Seaport by the World Trade Center and typically lasts for about two to three hours.

Spirit offers lunch, dinner, a holiday-themed menu, and handcrafted cocktails.

There’s also a DJ onboard and interactive games throughout the vessel.

The Skydeck is the topmost level and offers the best views of the Boston skyline.

The first level is home to the Harbor View Deck, with outdoor access and an elegant dining setup.

A Skyline Deck and Esplanade Deck are available on the second level.

Spirit of Boston can accommodate up to 600 guests; you can find it on Commonwealth Pier.

Enjoy Drinks on the Lookout Rooftop

The Lookout Rooftop & Bar is The Envoy Hotel’s premier rooftop bar.

Located on Sleeper Street, the harborside lounge offers cocktails and small plates with scenic views of the Boston skyline.

The bar has an intimate seating layout with fire pits to warm up a cold night.

There are covered seating areas called igloos, which are heated tents perfect for big groups.

The view is especially lovely during sunset, so you might want to make a reservation during those hours.

Light bites are available to pair with your spirit of choice.

If you want to enjoy some drinks overlooking the city, try The Envoy Hotel’s Lookout Rooftop & Bar.

Enjoy Fresh Beer at Harpoon Beer Hall

Exterior of the Harpoon Beer Hall

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Northern Avenue, the Harpoon Beer Hall is every beer lover’s dream destination.

Tasting tours are available on-site and last about 20 to 25 minutes.

The tasting room has servers with extensive knowledge of beers, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

There’s also a 30-minute guided tour where you’ll be taken around the brewery and learn about the process of brewing beers while sampling Harpoon’s products.

Pair your beer with a pretzel with dipping sauces like mustard, bacon ranch, and garlic aioli.

For non-alcoholic beverages, you can get the Polar Seltzer or the cold brew from Boston Common Coffee Co.

If you’re a big beer drinker, don’t miss the Harpoon Beer Hall.

Get Fresh Seafood at The Barking Crab

Aerial view of The Barking Crab

Radomir Rezny /

The Barking Crab is a waterfront restaurant located on Sleeper Street that boasts fresh seafood dishes.

It opened in 1994 and has been a Seaport District landmark with its wood-burning stove that provides heat on cold winter nights.

Start your meal with the creamy New England Clam Chowder or the Lobster Bisque.

The Lobster Rolls are a crowd-pleaser, but the restaurant is famous for serving three types of crabs: Alaskan King Crab, Snow Crab, and Dungeness Crab.

People outside The Barking Crab

2p2play /

Grilled and steamed hard-shell lobsters are slathered in garlic butter or drawn butter and lemon.

A local catch menu also features locally sourced yellowfin tuna, wild salmon, and striped bass.

Drop by The Barking Crab for your seafood fix.

Signage of The Barking Crab

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva /

Drink Taps at Trillium Brewing Fort Point

Located on Thomson Place, just three minutes from the Boston Children’s Museum, is Trillium Brewing Fort Point.

The restaurant and brewery opened in 2008 and features a New England farmhouse-style menu developed by Chef Michael Morway.

Trillium brews beers on-site using both stainless steel and oak barrels.

Enjoy fresh beer from the tap in the first-floor taproom, and feast on delicious food in the second-floor dining area.

There’s also an outdoor patio seating and a third-floor roof terrace.

Free live music is available on select weekends.

Have a pint of fresh beer and farmhouse-inspired dishes at Trillium Brewing Fort Point!

Catch a Show at the Leader Bank Pavilion

Exterior of the Leader Bank Pavilion

Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Northern Avenue, the Leader Bank Pavilion is an outdoor amphitheater with a 5,000-seating capacity.

It was originally located near Fan Pier when it opened in 1994 but had to be relocated to its present location in 1998 because of land rights.

It’s undergone name changes through the years, from its original name Harbor Lights Pavilion to several sponsored names depending on who won the naming rights.

The tensile structure has hosted music acts like Britney Spears, Norah Jones, Diana Ross, and Frank Sinatra.

With its excellent lighting and sound system, the pavilion is a favorite venue for musicians.

If you’re in the area around May to October, try to catch a live show at the Leader Bank Pavilion.

Ride a Boston Water Taxi

View of a Boston Water Taxi

Wangkun Jia /

No trip to Boston is complete without riding a water taxi!

Boston Water Taxi’s terminal is located at Rowes Wharf Ferry Terminal Building.

It provides fast and fun transportation in Boston Harbor, servicing 26 stops in the North End, Charlestown, Seaport, Downtown, and East Boston, including the airport.

The water taxis are enclosed and heated, so you don’t have to worry about the cold breeze.

Boston Water Taxi has three taxis that can ferry 20 to 25 passengers, as well as a 40-seater charter boat.

Travel in style while admiring the scenic views of the Boston harborfront.

Get Spicy Margaritas at bartaco

Located on Thomson Place, bartaco is a taco place that draws inspiration from the beach culture of Southern California, Uruguay, and Brazil.

The restaurant offers freshly squeezed juices, specialty cocktails, and beers that can be paired with flavorful tacos.

The Prok Belly Tacos are a must-try, as well as the Baja Fish Tacos.

If you’re a bit more health-conscious, there’s the Cauliflower Taco topped with a romesco sauce or the Mushroom Taco that uses herbed and marinated wild mushrooms.

For a low-carb option, try the Ahi Tuna Tatako, which uses chilled lettuce leaves as a “taco shell.”

But what people have been raving about is the Spicy Margarita that goes well with tacos.

Get your taco fix at bartaco and enjoy a glass or two of Margarita!

Have Boston Cream Pie at Flour Bakery

Signage of Flour Bakery

HouseOfMan /

Flour Bakery is a local chain of bakeries and café with a branch on Farnsworth Street.

Award-winning pastry chef James Beard and Joanne Change established it in 2000 in the South End, and it has since expanded to nine locations in Boston and Cambridge.

Flour Bakery offers buttery pastries, decadent cakes, chewy cookies, and specialty sandwiches.

Start your day with an Egg Breakfast Sandwich, or go the sweet route with the Sticky Sticky Bun.

A Boston trip is not complete without eating a Boston Cream Pie, so don’t miss it from their menu!

If you want a classic sweet fix, get a slice of the Carrot Cake or the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Follow the Freedom Trail

Marker of the Freedom Trail

Wangkun Jia /

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long trail that goes through 16 locations in Boston that played significant roles in the country’s history.

The stops along the trail are marked with special markers implanted in the sidewalk, while red bricks follow the trails.

The Freedom Trail Tour covers 11 of the 16 official stops in a 90-minute tour that starts from the Boston Common Visitor Information Center on Tremont Street.

Massachusetts State House along the Freedom Trail

Roman Babakin /

Stops include the Massachusetts State House, the Boston Massacre site, and Faneuil Hall.

Learn more about the American Revolution by following the Freedom Trail.

Faneuil Hall along the Freedom Trail

f11photo /

Play Lawn Games at The Lawn On D

Located on D Street, The Lawn On D is a 2.7-acre grassy outdoor space that serves as an urban playground for the Seaport neighborhood.

It hosts arts, sports, and musical events throughout the year.

There’s a giant chess board complete with giant check pieces you can play or take photos with.

Kids and kids at heart especially enjoy the crescent-shaped swings that light up at night.

There are also miniature houses, crawl spaces, and creative tables that will keep your kids busy.

Ping-pong tables can be found throughout the park as well as multiple cornhole stations where you can test your accuracy.

If you’re lucky, you might catch a live music performance too.

Feel like a kid again and play lawn games at The Lawn On D!

Other Things to do Nearby

Take the Kids to the Boston Children’s Museum

Exterior of the Boston Children's Museum

f11photo /

Located on Congress Street, the Boston Children’s Museum aims to educate teachers and students by providing learning materials and new resources.

The Science Teacher’s Bureau established it in 1913 with the help of the Women’s Education Association.

On the museum’s first floor are interactive displays that will pique kids’ curiosity, such as the Investigate exhibit, where all their senses will be activated through hands-on science activities.

Children playing in the Boston Children's Museum

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

The second floor features the Art Lab, where they can try printmaking, clay, and paper arts.

On the third floor is a Japanese House from Kyoto where they can learn about Japanese family life, customs, and traditions.

Bring the kids to the Boston Children’s Museum and teach them about art and culture.

Interior of the Boston Children's Museum

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Watch Live Reenactments at the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Exterior of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

f11photo /

Located on Congress Street, the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum aims to tell the story of the Boston Tea Party protests.

The Sons of Liberty held protests in 1773 against the Tea Act, which allowed the British East India Company to sell tea from China to U.S. colonies tax-free.

These protests had a significant contribution to the American Revolution.

The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum conducts live guided tours through restored tea ships.

Entrance to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

f11photo /

Watch 3D reenactments of the Boston Tea Party, where you’ll find yourself in Griffin’s Wharf the morning after the protests.

Also in the museum is the Robinson Tea Chest, the only known surviving tea chest from the time of the protests.

Learn about the Tea Party through a multi-sensory film depicting the revolution’s beginning.

Interior of the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

Vitalii Biliak /

Learn about Boston’s Firefighting History at the Boston Fire Museum

Exterior of the Boston Fire Museum

Brian-R-Phillips, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Congress Street, the Boston Fire Museum highlights Boston’s firefighting history.

It’s housed in a historic Romanesque-style fire station designed by Harrison H. Atwood in 1889 using light-colored bricks.

It became a museum in 1983 and was registered with the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Today, it features firefighting memorabilia from the Greater Boston Area, including a gallery of Boston’s firehouses and horse-drawn fire apparatus.

You’ll also find information about the Great Boston Fire of 1872 and other notable fires in the city through the years.

Restored suppression equipment is on display in the museum, including one that dates to 1792.

Discover Boston’s firefighting history at the Boston Fire Museum.

Final Thoughts

The Seaport District may be a bustling business district, but its rich history helped shape what it is today.

From museums to local gastronomic finds, the neighborhood has retained its small-town charm despite developments.

Try these best things to do in Seaport, Boston, and see what it has in store for you.

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