1) Boston Museum of Fine Arts – a world class art gallery which features the largest collection of Monets outside France and a stunning new Americas Wing by architect Norman Foster.
2) Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – a vast palazzo built to house one woman’s extraordinary art collection from the Romans to Rembrandt, now with a beautifully subtle extension by architect Renzo Piano.
3) Boston Symphony Orchestra – rightfully regarded as one of the world’s best orchestras, a visit to Symphony Hall is a core part of the Boston Experience; or visit the BSO summer camp in rural Tanglewood, a beautiful setting in the Berkshire Mountains with a charming indoor-outdoor performance space, allowing for picnics on the lawn.
4) Harvard Art Museums + Peabody Museum – A new state-of-the-art Harvard Art Museums facility designed by Renzo Piano (which unites the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Sackler museums) opens in late 2014, and would be in the “Top 10” in its own right before considering the other main cultural attraction of the Harvard campus – the Peabody archaeology museum.
5) Boston Common / Public Garden – one of the earliest public parks in New England, this delightful space is surrounded by picturesque tree-lined streets of old houses and quaint shops.
6) Institute of Contemporary Art – a striking, brand-new gallery (designed by American architects Diller and Scofidio) cantilevered over the waters of Boston Harbour, a five minute stroll from the Congress venue.
7) Freedom Trail – a 2.5 mile (4km) pathway through Boston’s history and historic buildings, telling the story of the Revolutionary War of Independence from England; you can follow the trail yourself, set into the sidewalk, or book one of the many guided tours.
8) Boston Public Library – America’s first large municipal library, by architects McKim Mead & White, featuring murals by John Singer Sargent and a 1970s extension by Philip Johnson.
9) Whale watching in Boston Harbor – boats leave by the Aquarium at least every hour, and take an hour or two to reach the waters where the whales sport. Magical.
10) John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum – Designed by the architect I. M. Pei, this building is the official repository for original papers and correspondence of the Kennedy Administration. It is located on Columbia Point, near the University of Massachusetts Boston and relatively close to the Seaport.