If you’re living in the US, or just passing through on your travels, and you’ve decided to pay a visit to the historic hub of Boston, you’re in for a treat. However, it’s worth noting that it can be easy to get caught up in the time-honored allure of Boston’s well-known landmarks and tourist hotspots, but there’s so much more to the city than immediately meets the eye. From quirky museums to unconventional attractions, Boston has plenty of offbeat spots that can offer you a fresh perspective on the city’s rich history and culture.
Can’t wait to see what lies beneath the surface? Prepare to discover some of Boston’s lesser-known but equally captivating destinations that will add a dash of uniqueness to your itinerary.
The Warren Anatomical Museum
If you’re heading to Boston from New York City with the help of cheap and convenient NYC to Boston bus tickets from Wanderu, you’ve probably already had your fill of highly popular tourist hubs and world-famous cultural attractions. As a result, you’re probably in need of a tourist-trap ‘palate cleanser’ – and the Warren Anatomical Museum will certainly provide you with one!
Tucked away inside Harvard University’s Countway Library, this slightly macabre hidden gem offers an unforgettable glimpse into the history of medicine and pathology. Packed with all kinds of eye-opening medical artifacts, curiosities, and remarkable anatomical specimens, the Warren Anatomical Museum is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in the human body.
Among its most noted exhibits, you can come face-to-face with the skull of Phineas Gage, the unfortunate railway foreman who famously experienced having a tamping iron shot into his skull at close range (the tamping iron is on display too!). While he survived this tragic fate, his personality altered dramatically as a result.
During your stroll through this deeply fascinating museum, you will also be able to admire the inhaler used in the very first surgery accomplished with the use of ether, as well as conjoined fetal skeletons, and the controversial hip of Robert Lowell.
Located in the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a breathtaking three-story stained glass globe that allows its visitors to experience a visual and auditory journey like no other.
Created in 1935, this one-of-a-kind attraction offers an accurate depiction of the world as it was during that time. Take a gentle stroll along the 30-foot bridge that traverses the Mapparium as it showcases the political boundaries and geographical features of the continents, in shimmering color. As you walk, an engrossing audio presentation will talk you through global issues and historical events from the time.
This unique and decidedly offbeat creation provides a mesmerizing combination of geography, art, and history, all bound up in one immersive experience.
The Gibson House Museum
If you’ve always wondered what it was like to live during Victorian times in Boston, you need wonder no longer once you pay a visit to the Gibson House Museum.
Named for the family who occupied the stately four-story townhouse for 150 years, this museum serves as a meticulously preserved time capsule that offers a snapshot of the Victorian era in the city’s Back Bay neighborhood.
As you explore the opulent rooms, filled with original furnishings and décor that have occupied their positions for well over a century, knowledgeable guides will share tales of the family’s unique history, as well as the social customs of the era.
For anyone intrigued by the refined elegance that characterized Boston’s upper classes during Victorian times, the Gibson House offers a unique opportunity to experience their way of life first-hand.
Take A Gander At The Skinny House
Some kooky attractions are as interesting for their backstory as they are for the attraction itself, and the Skinny House on Hull Street is definitely a prime example of this.
The story goes that the plot of land it stands upon was inherited by two brothers. While one son rode off to fight in the Civil War, his brother remained behind and built a sizeable home for himself that occupied almost the entire plot. Upon returning from the war, his sibling was enraged, and to spite his brother for his betrayal he constructed the Skinny House to block the light from reaching his treacherous brother’s property. And there it still stands today, tiny but obstinate, a monument to the lengths a man will go to when he’s been wronged.
Admire The Saints On All Saints Way
Whether or not you have an interest in religious iconography, you should definitely pay a visit to All Saints Way if you want to experience a unique attraction. Peter Baldassari created (and still maintains) this colorful and quirky shrine, which occupies a formerly dingy North End alleyway off Battery Street.
Featuring literally hundreds of images and ornaments depicting Catholic saints, this self-made tourist attraction is an undeniable marvel, even if you have no religious leanings. Peter has lovingly assembled his creation over the last few decades, and now it’s a bona fide tourist attraction that draws visitors from all across the globe, including destinations as far-flung as Poland and Iran. Why not add it to your itinerary and experience his one-of-a-kind display of devotion for yourself?