Take the Road Less Traveled: 8 Boston Hidden Gems

Boston has far more to offer visitors than the quintessential stops, like the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, Faneuil Hall, and Boston Common. While these are great stops (and we aren’t discrediting them by any means), there are some other Boston hidden gems for you to discover, too!

So when you’re in Beantown, really satisfy your wanderlust and take the road less traveled by discovering these eight Boston hidden gems for yourself!

A white and blue gazebo hides behind a frame of orange leaves in the Boston Common
A city rich in history like Boston is bound to have some hidden gems. Photo credit: Amanda Murphy

Take a Speed Boat Ride on Codzilla

When in Boston during the warmer months, you should take to the water–but don’t ride just any old boat. You should speed and whip through Boston Harbor on Codzilla!

Codzilla is a high-speed boat that features a painted bright red and orange angry cod fish. Codzilla is capable of whipping waves at 40 mph, making 360-degree turns, blasting rock music, and splashing excited riders. Don’t be scared: hop on the Codzilla for an unforgettable and thrilling Boston experience!

People on a speed boat that is painted bright red and orange in the fashion of an angry fish.
Have a wicked awesome boat ride on Codzille. Photo credit: Todd Hisgett

Explore and Imbibe in the Speakeasy Scene

If you’re not exactly seeking any thrills at the moment and would rather relax with a craft cocktail in a cool setting, then hit the speakeasy scene. Boston has a number of unique, quirky, and “cool” speakeasies for you to discover and enjoy. A few that you should consider include:

  • Carrie Nation (11 Beacon Street). A 1920’s-inspired bar that has a “normal” bar in the main room, but that’s not all. Keep walking through the bar, climb the steps in the back, and step into an intimate setting with pool tables, a bar, and usually a DJ.
  • Modern Pastry Underground Bar. Modern Pastry is one of the best bakeries in Boston, but also has another unique offering for visitors: an underground bar with a speakeasy theme!
  • Mariel. A lavish bar with a pre-revolutionary Havana vibe that also has a speakeasy club downstairs called Mariel Underground. Note that Mariel Underground is only open Thursday through Saturday evenings and you’ll more than likely need a reservation.
  • OFFSUIT. OFFSUIT is located in the Leather District of the city tucked neatly in Troquet on South’s French bistro. Use the back entrance to enter and you’ll find OFFSUIT, an intimate speakeasy complete with burgundy walls and leather love seats.
  • Brick and Mortar. This quaint, atmospheric spot in Cambridge offers a small menu with both delectable food choices and cocktails.
  • Yvonne’s. A broody boîte conveniently located downtown that is filled with marble and mahogany wood, bound to exceed the expectations of both the hungry and thirsty.
Photo taken through a window of an interior wall decorated with black and white portraits of women at a speakeasy in Boston
The hunt is worth it when you find a speakeasy in Boston. Photo credit: Leslee_atFlickr

Time Travel and Walk Through the Earth Mapparium

The Mary Baker Eddy Library is many things: a research library, a repository for Mary Baker Eddy’s papers, and a museum. One intriguing component of this library you need to see even if you aren’t normally much of a museum enthusiast is the Mapparium.

The Mapparium is a three-dimensional globe that reaches three stories in height that visitors can walk through! This artistic creation provides a view of the world at different moments in history, portraying how countries and borders have altered over time.

A group of people of varying ages in a dome-shaped room with the walls decorated with a colorful map of the world. The Mapparium is a true Boston hidden gem.
Learn about the history of the Earth at the Mapparium, a Boston hidden gem in a world-famous library. Photo credit: Smart Destinations

Step into the Secret Store Behind a Convenience Store Facade

While we are all aware of hidden bars and restaurants (as we touched upon above), but have you heard about hidden stores?

Surprise–those exist too. Uncover Bodega, a hypermarket that’s disguised as a convenience store! Simply step in front of the fake Snapple vending machine and watch as the hidden lair is exposed. Go inside the Bodega store and check out their rare sneakers and deluxe streetwear.

Admire the Skinny House that Was Built Out of Spite

Tucked away in the North End, you can find the narrowest house in Boston. Naturally, this hidden gem was quirkily named the “Skinny House.” The Skinny House (46 Hull Street) stands four stories high and, at its widest point, measures 10.4 feet in width.

According to local legend, the Skinny House was built as a spite house in 1874. Supposedly, two brothers inherited a small patch of land and one brother secretly built a large home on the land while the other brother was on military leave. When the brother returned, he was (quite naturally) enraged and built the Skinny House in order to block his brother’s sunlight and view.

A skinny, three level house painted green with flowers spilling out of window boxes. The house is sandwiched in between two normal sized brick buildings. A house so skinny it's a true Boston hidden gem
When family feuds become local history, the Skinny House is an unofficial stop on the Freedom Trail. Photo credit: ctj71081

Play Video Games and Sip on Drinks at A4cade

If you’re looking for a speakeasy bar with a plethora of games to play, then A4cade is the place to be.

A4cade is unique as it offers visitors a place to be nostalgic and play their favorite old video games. They offer gamers a variety of options, including Pac Mac, Mario Kart, pinball, Tetris, Kkeeball, and even Guitar Hero!

They also offer some delectable and even themed craft cocktails, like their Mr. Stay Puft (from Ghostbusters, of course!), Princess Peach’s Downfall (Mario), and Pretty Fly for a Mai Tai. Feeling peckish? Don’t worry: they have plenty of delicious grub to easily satisfy any craving.

Oh, and added bonus: it’s a speakeasy, too. You have to walk through Roxy’s Grilled Cheese in Cambridge, then head into the walk-in refrigerator and there you are: a speakeasy barcade!

Watch the Sox Play from Bleacher Bar

No, we don’t mean just watch the Red Sox play on a large TV at a common bar. We mean actually see the Red Sox play from a bar firsthand!

Bleacher Bar is located in the stands of Fenway Park and offers an on-field view for bar-goers. The drinks are also not bank-breaking like those inside the park. So pull up a stool, sip on a drink of your choice, save money on a ticket, and watch the Sox from a roomy, comfy location!

And don’t forget to experience the post-game fun outside Fenway afterward!

A view of a Boston Red Sox baseball game through a large window at Bleacher Bar, a Boston hidden gem
Skip sports bars when you can watch the actual sport from the bar! Photo credit: jwalter522

Admire Local Street Art at Underground at Ink Block

Below the knots of South End/South Boston underpasses lies the eight-acre park known as Underground at Ink Block. This repurposed space includes a dog park, boardwalks, and bike paths, but the main attraction is the 150,000 square feet of mural art.

Local artists and artists from LA, New York, and even Puerto Rico have brought color to this nearly forgotten space. There are events on the regular at the Underground, so head on over nearly any time and marvel at mankind’s spectacular creativity.

Detailed street art painted underneath an overpass. Bright red and green backgrounds with figures of powerful black women
Marvel at the beautiful street art tucked away under Boston overpasses. Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Now that you know some of the best Boston hidden gems, get out there and explore them because, as Robert Frost told us, taking the road less traveled makes all the difference!

Want to upgrade your experience by exploring Boston alongside an expert guide? Join our Best of Boston food tour to discover even more local secrets and sample the city’s best bites!