25 Famous Landmarks in Massachusetts to Visit

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One of the famous landmarks in Massachusetts is Boston Common, a city park
An Equestrian statue of George Washington in Boston Common, MA

Massachusetts is a populous state in America's northeastern region known as New England. If you are wondering "what Massachusetts is famous for," then you have come to the right place!

Massachusetts is famous for being the birthplace of the American Revolution. It was also the birthplace of many of the country's "Founding Fathers."

The state is full of historical landmarks, from the first English settlement at Plymouth Colony to the famed battlegrounds of the Revolutionary War. Massachusetts is home to the famous cities of Salem, Worcester, and Boston as well.

While many people visiting Massachusetts are eager to see Fenway Park, the New England Aquarium, or the Samuel Adams Brewery, there is so much more to the state!

Below, you will find 25 famous landmarks in Massachusetts to introduce you to the historical side of the state. Continue reading to learn more!

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  • 25 Massachusetts landmarks

25 Famous Massachusetts Landmarks

Massachusetts Landmarks Map

A map of Massachusetts landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Boston National Historical Park

Boston National Historical Park is a collection of several historic sites relating to the American Revolutionary War. The park covers over 40 acres near the Boston Harbor and is one of the most popular places to visit.

Many areas within the park are National Historic Landmarks and part of the famed Boston Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail follows historic battlegrounds and museums outlining the events of the American Revolutionary War. It is one of the top things to do in Boston.

A sandy pathway with grass sprouting on both sides, leading to a body of blue water
The Cape Cod National Seashore is a popular area for swimming and hiking

Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore covers 68 square miles of the eastern shores of Cape Cod. These protected lands are managed by the National Park Service and are full of wildlife, including various species of birds and reptiles. Offshore is a thriving marine ecosystem and home to the great white shark.

The waters off Cape Cod are popular for swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, and boating. Inland, the coastal marshes provide calmer waters for canoeing and kayaking. The surrounding woodland areas have trails for hiking and biking. Cape Cod is especially popular as a family-friendly vacation destination.

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A black boat with white stars along its stern, floating on a body of green water
The USS Constitution Museum is a popular place to view the Navy's historical warship

USS Constitution Museum

One of the most notable stops on the Boston Freedom Trail, the USS Constitution Museum, showcases the Navy's oldest commissioned warship. The ship and other historical maritime memorabilia are located in the famed Charleston Navy Yard.

The USS Constitution first came afloat in 1797 and is still operational. Visitors can tour the ship and learn about its over 200-year history.

A grey rock on the sand with the number 1620 engraved on it
Plymouth Rock is where the pilgrims landed in 1620

Plymouth Rock

Known as the site where pilgrims first landed in 1620, Plymouth Rock has become a historical icon in American folklore. The stories of Plymouth Rock's historical significance began circulating in the 1700s by the grandchildren of the original pilgrim colony.

Over the years, historians fought to preserve the boulder. In 1970, it was officially added to the US National Register of Historic Places and is now officially protected. No visit to Massachusetts would be complete without visiting this landmark.

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A light house with black shutters on many windows adorning it, set amidst greenery
Adams National Historical Park shows the history of the Adams Family

Adams National Historical Park

Adams National Historical Park preserves the history of the Adams Family from 1720 to 1927. It is a National Historic Landmark showcasing a former farm, multiple historic houses, a church, and a library.

Among the historic homes within the park were the birthplaces of two former presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The Adams were known as two of the most influential early leaders in American history.

Statue of a man riding a horse in a park with a red path and buildings at the back
A George Washington monument in Boston Common, MA

Boston Common

Known as "America's oldest park," Boston Common was founded in 1634. This 50-acre park is full of historical monuments and memorials, and it is one of the oldest historic sites in Massachusetts.

Boston Common has been at the center of many historical events relating to the Salem Witch Trials, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and WWI. Visitors and native Bostonians come to this Boston landmark to stroll the lush greenways and learn about local history.

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A red and green boat on a body of water set against a bridge, trees, and buildings
The Boston Public Garden was founded in 1837 and has a large selection of plants

Boston Public Garden

Directly adjacent to the Boston Common, the Boston Public Garden is another of Boston's oldest landmarks. Founded in 1837, the Boston Public Garden was the first public botanical garden in the US.

Today, the garden houses over 80 species of plants and is a highly coveted wedding venue. The garden's lagoon is known for its pontoon swan boats, which have been a popular attraction for over 100 years.

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A domed, red brick building surrounded by large trees and greenery
The American Antiquarian Society is known for its collection of historical literature

American Antiquarian Society

Founded in 1812, the American Antiquarian Society houses the largest collection of American historical literature prior to the 20th century.

The collection features over four million pieces of literature, including books, newspapers, and manuscripts from all across the United States. The American Antiquarian Society is a National Historic Landmark and one of the most famous libraries in the country.

A red building behind a body of water with a ramp leading to a boat and buildings
One of the most famous landmarks in Massachusetts is the site of the Boston Tea Party

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is an interactive museum experience on the Boston Tea Party–the event that famously initiated the American Revolution.

Situated right on the harbor where the event took place, visitors can tour the museum, watch live reenactments, and see full-scale replica ships. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is one of the most famous places to visit in Massachusetts.

A gray house in front of a red brick walkway with a lamppost on the left
The Paul Revere House was built in 1680 and is one of the oldest places in Boston

The Paul Revere House

Built in 1680, the Paul Revere House is one of the oldest historical sites in Boston and showcases the exploits of Paul Revere. He was a Bostonian silversmith turned political activist and became known as one of the nation's founding fathers.

Several of Revere's famed accomplishments occurred in or around this home during the Revolutionary War. This included his gathering of intel on British soldiers and involvement in the Boston Tea Party. His famous "midnight ride" to warn of incoming attacks also happened here too.

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A red building with six white columns in the center facing a gold bell on a pedestal
Harvard University was established during the original 13 colonies

Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the most renowned Ivy League schools in America, with three main campuses in Cambridge spanning 5,000. Founded in 1636, it is also the oldest and has several historic buildings. Harvard was also the first college established in the original 13 colonies.

Harvard is known for its famous alums. Several US presidents attended Harvard, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama.

Other famous alums include notable scholars and philosophers such as Henry David Thoreau and W. E. B. Du Bois. Founding Fathers Robert Treat Paine and John Adams also attended the university.

A brown building with a sign that reads "University Museum" above two doors
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is home to dinosaur skeletons and rare insects

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Located within Harvard University, the Harvard Museum of Natural History houses an impressive collection of plant and animal life exhibits.

The museum has 16 galleries with specimens from their zoological, botanical, and geological research departments. The most popular exhibits are dinosaur skeletons, rare insects, and a 1,600-pound amethyst.

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A stone historic building with columns facing a statue of a man on a horse
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston was founded in 1870

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the most famous landmarks of Massachusetts. It is also one of the world's largest and most renowned art museums.

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston was founded in 1870 and has been an icon of the city ever since. The museum currently houses around 500,000 pieces, including artwork, artifacts, jewelry, and musical instruments.

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A row of different stores with several people walking along the sidewalk
The Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a popular spot for shopping and dining

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace, also known as Quincy Market, is a historic downtown Boston marketplace filled with local vendors, restaurants, and pubs. Many buildings surrounding the marketplace are centuries-old and part of the Boston Freedom Trail.

Visitors and locals alike come to Faneuil Hall Marketplace to walk the historic cobblestone streets while sightseeing, shopping, and dining. It is also a popular spot for Boston nightlife.

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A multi-story courtyard with rows of ornate windows on each level
The courtyard of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was opened in 1903 by famed art collector and philanthropist Isabella Stewart Gardner.

Gardner had been collecting art for many years and wished to share it with the public. Hundreds of notable artists, including art luminaries Rembrandt, Botticelli, and Michelangelo, make up Gardner's collection.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was the site of one of the most notorious and still unsolved art heists of the 20th century. A total of 13 paintings were stolen and remain missing to this day.

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A red brick building with four columns and a statue of John F. Kennedy after it
The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum was created to preserve his legacy

John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum

The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum was dedicated to preserving the legacy of John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy family. John F. Kennedy had strong ties to Cape Cod, and much of the museum's exhibits showcase his time spent there.

Artifacts, exhibits, and archival footage are also on display throughout the museum outlining Kennedy's early years to his presidency and assassination.

A red building with a large gold dome and several stairs leading to it
The Massachusetts State House is known for its architecture and golden dome

Massachusetts State House

Built in 1798, the Massachusetts State House is one of the oldest working state capitols in the United States. The state house is known for its historic Greek-revival architecture and iconic golden dome.

It is a National Historic Landmark and among the top historic sites in Massachusetts. Located right off the Boston Common, the Massachusetts State House is a popular stop on walking tours and is part of the Boston Freedom Trail.

A wooden bridge over water with a monument amidst trees in the background
Minute Man National Historical Park is where the first armed conflict took place

Minute Man National Historical Park

On April 19th, 1775, the first armed conflict of the American Revolutionary War took place. The New England Colonial Militia, known as the "Minute Men," took up arms against British troops on the North Bridge in Concord. This became the first of many battles of the revolution.

The site of this historic battle is now the Minute Man National Historical Park. Today, visitors can tour the battle sites, watch live reenactments, and view artifacts from the war. Gravesites of fallen soldiers are also located there.

A city skyline with a tall white church steeple on the left, behind a city square
The oldest church in Boston is the Old North Church

Old North Church

Built in 1723, the Old North Church is the oldest church in Boston. It was the site of Paul Revere's famous "one if by land, two if by sea" signals. Lanterns were placed in the steeple to warn of British soldiers approaching the area.

Today, the Old North Church is a designated National Historic Landmark. It is also part of the Boston Freedom Trail, showcasing another piece of Revolutionary War history.

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The main glass entrance to a museum on a nice clear blue day
The Peabody Essex Museum is iconic and houses over one million items

Peabody Essex Museum

Another of Boston's iconic museums, the Peabody Essex, features an impressive collection of over one million items. Exhibits include paintings, photography, sculptures, books, and artifacts.

Many of its works date back to the 1700s and include an expansive exhibit on the Salem Witch Trials, which took place nearby. The Peabody Essex Museum is a fascinating art, culture, and history hub.

An aerial view of brick buildings around a harbor with white boats
The Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of many houses from the 1700s

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of nine acres of historic sites along the waterfront in Salem. The historical sites include several houses dating back to the 1700s, a historic ship, a wharf, and a lighthouse. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Salem.

The area was designated a historic landmark in 1938 and was the first National Historic Site in America. Visitors can stroll the waterfront and stop at each site to learn the story behind these historic places in Massachusetts.

Red brick building with a white spire surrounded by taller buildings under blue skies
The Old South Meeting House was built in 1729

Old South Meeting House

Another iconic stop on the Boston Freedom Trail, the Old South Meeting House, was built in 1729 and used as a church and town hall. In 1773, it famously became a place to protest against the Tea Act.

It is believed over 5,000 colonial residents attended meetings here to plan the Boston Tea Party. The Old South Meeting House is now a preserved piece of history on the National Register.

The Flying Horses Carousel debuted in 1876 in New York's famous Coney Island amusement park. The carousel was transported to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, in 1884 and has been a staple attraction ever since.

It is now the oldest operating carousel in the US. The Flying Horses Carousel is on the National Historic Register and is a popular site for weddings and parties.

Plimoth Patuxet Museums

The Plimoth Patuxet Museums are a unique set of living history museums that transport visitors back in time through replica villages and historical actors.

Native American Wetu Houses, a 17th-century English Colony, and a replica of the Mayflower Ship are within the museum's grounds. Historical actors display what life was like back then and provide historical facts and information to visitors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

The Ralph Waldo Emerson house is a historic landmark and popular attraction in Concord, Massachusetts. It was built in 1828 and was once home to famed philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson was known for his literary works and abolitionary and transcendentalist views. The Ralph Waldo Emerson house was transformed into a museum in 1930. Here guests can learn about Emerson's early life and work and view some of his original essays and poems.

In Summary

Whether visiting one of the museums or historical places in Massachusetts, you're sure to gain newfound knowledge about the state. From the bustling city streets to the iconic landmarks of the Freedom Trail, there is much to see and do in Massachusetts!

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Lauren Rey

L_Rey WRITER Lauren might be based in Florida, but she is always plotting out a new road trip route with her partner-in-crime, Pickles. Pickles is a mixed-breed rescue dog that loves hiking, road trips, and Starbucks as much as she does!


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