This post is the second in our Boston Convention Guide. View our first post, about convention events at the Boston Public Library, by clicking here.
Planning a summer convention or corporate meeting in Boston provides endless options for activities outside the convention itself. Many meeting and event planners are drawn to Boston because of its rich history and plethora of attractive things to do for convention attendees and their guests. But letting convention-goers know what the best activities in the city are can be challenging when you don’t know the city well yourself. With our location in the heart of Boston, we at The Catered Affair know a thing or two about the best Boston has to offer. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to the best activities for convention attendees in Boston. From “on your own” exploration to group excursions, the city has something to offer for absolutely everyone.
- Duck Boat Tours: Boston’s famous Duck Boat Tours take advantage of the fact that the city’s got a unique vantage both (to borrow from the Longfellow poem) by land and by sea (and river). The Duck Boats visit all of Boston’s most famous landmarks with a quirky twist to them, and then take a dip in the Charles River aboard the same vehicle to see Boston’s stunning skyline by water. Get a little bit of history, a little bit of humor, and a unique tour experience. This is a great option for group excursions at your convention or conference.
- The Boston Public Garden & Swan Boats: The Boston Public Garden is one of those rare free attractions that rivals anything you can pay for. With beautiful landscaping, flowers, lots of trees that provide shade and the lovely pond in the middle, the public garden is a surprising oasis in the middle of the city. Hop on the famous, pedal-powered swan boats for retro-style fun on a beautiful spring or summer day. When providing your attendees with packets of things to do on their off-time, this attraction is a can’t-miss for tourists to the city.
- The Freedom Trail: Perhaps one of the most comprehensive ways to see Boston’s full Revolutionary history, the Freedom Trail is both an open-air museum and a great workout. (It’s a 2.5 mile, brick-lined trail that leads to 16 of Boston’s most historical sites, and lots of great scenery, dining options and neighborhoods along the way.) Include maps in your welcome bags to encourage attendees to do self-guided walking tour, or reserve a tour with one of the guides in historical garb for a group. Either way, it’s an essential Boston experience for you and your guests.
- The Arnold Arboretum: The nation’s oldest public arboretum, The Arnold Arboretum is a must-see for any convention attendees with an affinity for nature. Yet another free option for those interested in exploring on their own, the arboretum has 265 acres of woods and wildlife that is considered one of the best-cultivated in the world. Provide attendees with maps to explore on their own or organize a group excursion for nature-lovers.
- The Harbor Islands: The Boston Harbor Islands are the perfect summer spot for a group activity. The 34-island system can be accessed by ferry or private boat and provides a variety of activities from boating to fishing to a party on the beach. The islands also provide a beautiful view of the city’s skyline–a unique waterfront experience in the heart of a big city.
- The Harpoon Brewery: Local brewer Harpoon recently opened a new visitor center and brewer’s hall that offers both free public and group private tours. Visitors get an inside view into the brewing process and tastes of what’s on tap when they’re visiting. It’s a unique and fun excursion that can be done rain or shine!
- The Seaport District: Boston’s waterfront Seaport district is an up-and-coming neighborhood that even those who have visited Boston many times might be surprised by. In the midst of changes, the area boasts a number of beautiful restaurants with perfect water views, entertainment at the Bank of America Pavilion and a great area in which to stroll and take in the city’s beautiful summer weather.
- The Rose Kennedy Greenway: Once a raised highway structure, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is now a central artery for pedestrians in Boston. Centrally located, the Greenway boasts trendy food trucks in the warm weather and a variety of street performers, water structures and free classes. It’s a wonderful suggestion for your attendees who enjoy getting out on foot.
- Kayaking or Canoeing in the Charles: For your active guests or a team-building activity, consider taking to the water on the Charles River. Once polluted, the rehabilitated waterway is now a central location for sailing, kayaking and caneoing. Its calm waters and picturesque views make it a perfect excursion for water lovers of all skil levels.
- Bicycling on the Hubway: Boston’s most recent contribution to green-friendly initiatives is the establishment of the Hubway, a system of bike rental kiosks around Boston and its surrounding neighborhoods. Affordable (in fact, the first 30 minutes of the rental is free) and user-friendly to newcomers, the Hubway allows you to pick up a bike at any location, bicycle around the city or to the sights you’d like to see, and return your bike to any other Hubway kiosk. Bicycling in the city is not for the faint of heart, but those conferences with a green or eco-friendly aspect to them will want to point out this mode of transportation that leaves no carbon footprint behind.
When you’re creating your suggested list of activities, excursions or team-building exercises for your summer meeting or convention in Boston, remember to be creative and give your attendees the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather that brings Bostonians outside during the spring, summer and fall months.
Tell us: what’s your favorite Boston activity to recommend to convention-goers and out-of-town guests?