Explore the shoreline of Boston Harbor by taking in these spectacular sites on the edges of the Hub’s downtown
New England Aquarium
This aquatic wonderland (pictured), a staple since 1969, was at the forefront of the downtown waterfront’s revival, and its collection of both exotic and familiar birds, fish and marine mammals—including a shark and ray touch tank, an enormous Caribbean coral reef tank and the ever-popular penguin exhibit—continues to attract more than a million visitors every year.
Central Wharf, 617-973-5206, neaq.org
Named for its semi-circular shape, this is the home of the Moakley Courthouse as well as an ever-growing collection of residences, office buildings and restaurants, including Strega Waterfront, Empire, Babbo Pizzeria and Committee.
Christopher Columbus Park
The North End waterfront’s most picturesque locale, this vibrant green space hosts a spray fountain, relaxing water views, free community events and more.
Atlantic Avenue between Long and Commercial wharfs, foccp.org
Home to the Boston Children’s Museum as well as a seasonal snack bar disguised as a giant milk bottle, this attraction along Fort Point Channel is bordered by the portion of the Boston Harborwalk overlooking the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.
308 Congress St., 617-426-6500, bostonchildrensmuseum.org
Housing the tri-level Legal Harborside, flagship of the Legal Sea Foods empire, Liberty Wharf is where hungry visitors can also find a sports bar, steakhouse, upscale Mexican restaurant/tequila bar and more. Going to a concert at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, located right next door? Dine with a spectacular harbor view pre- or post-show.
220–270 Northern Ave., libertywharf.co
Home of the elegant Boston Harbor Hotel and its distinctive archway, Rowes Wharf is also a berth for tour boats, water shuttles and outdoor summer entertainment.
Boston Fish Pier
Still a working facility used by the local fishing and seafood industry, this historic 1914 wharf also boasts the iconic No Name Restaurant, a cafe and a conference center.
212 Northern Ave.
Find a variety of tour and whale watch boats, historic properties, a hotel, a restaurant and a seasonal outdoor bar at this site that dates back to the early 18th century.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Encased in a gleaming modernist structure along the Boston Harborwalk and adjacent to Fan Pier, the ICA presents cutting-edge art installations, music and dance performances, and free outdoor concerts from Berklee College of Music’s most talented musicians all summer long on Thursday evenings beginning July 6 on its outdoor deck.
25 Harbor Shore Drive, 617-478-3100, icaboston.org
A storied structure once known as Russia Wharf, this renovated edifice boasts a shining new office tower as well as some of the city’s hottest restaurants (including NEBO, Trade and Smith & Wollensky), a bakery and two art galleries.
280 Congress St., 617-603-7180, atlanticwharfboston.com