It’s easy to get lost in Boston: with winding cobblestone streets and historic buildings, the city is a history lover’s dream. But it’s also full of plenty of modern surprises, including artistic, cultural, and hi-tech attractions that will leave you amazed and inspired. We’ve put together this list of 10 hidden gems in Boston to help you find your way through this memorable East Coast city. From public spaces you can visit for free to private venues you can rent by the day or hour, you’ll find countless options for photoshoots, performances, parties, and more, all within reach of the city center.
1. The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library
Boston’s Christian Science Center is known for its reflecting pool, and that alone is worth a visit. But even more impressive is the Mapparium hidden inside the library: a three-story glass dome made of stained glass, with a map of the world depicted on it. It’s one of the only places you can get a view of the world from inside a globe, giving you a new perspective on the countries of the world as they appeared in 1935. The exhibit’s shape also creates unique acoustic effects.
2. A gorgeous historic church in Dorchester
Boston is full of historic churches, many of which will make a beautiful backdrop for a wedding, photoshoot, or musical performance. This church in Dorchester is available to rent from a local host on Peerspace, making it easy to arrange for equipment rentals and other add-on services, all with a single booking. The venue also includes a built-in sound system and a grand piano.
3. A quirky loft in the Seaport District
This hidden gem in Boston’s Seaport District is ideal for a photoshoot or birthday party for up to 250 people. It has several spaces available to rent, including two 15-seat conference rooms and a game room that has a pool table, dartboard, and golf simulator. The main room is full of quirky furniture and works of art, ranging from statues and paintings to globes and glassware. You can arrange for catering and bar staff directly through the Peerspace Concierge service.
4. A hidden shoe store in the Back Bay
No longer the well-kept secret that it used to be, this upscale shoe store tucked behind a bodega is still one of the more memorable hidden gems in Boston. From the outside, it looks like any old convenience store, with snacks and household items stacked on the shelves. But if you find the hidden doorway, you’ll end up in a boutique shoe store that sells major brands, including Adidas, Nike, and New Balance — as well as custom collaborations not available anywhere else.
5. A sprawling historic farm in Millis, MA
You don’t have to travel far from the city to enjoy the beautiful Massachusetts countryside. Less than an hour’s drive from downtown is this this historic farm in Millis, MA, set on 217 acres. You can rent this venue for a photo or video shoot, birthday party, wedding, and more. With three homes, two barns, and rolling meadows, it’s suitable for an indoor or outdoor event any time of year.
6. A lovely Victorian home in Nahant, MA
Another beautiful historic venue, this home is located on the tiny island of Nahant, just 12 miles from downtown Boston and looking out onto Massachusetts Bay. Originally built in 1850, it has recently been renovated, and features a kitchen, sunroom, formal living and dining rooms, and a yard with views of the water. Inside, enjoy the hardwood floors and three fireplaces, then head outside for a catered meal or BBQ on the porch, with room for up to 75 people.
7. The Museum of Bad Art
Boston is home to some of the East Coast’s best art museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and… the Museum of Bad Art. This offbeat museum is for more than just laughs. It’s known for its high standards, and will only accept pieces that are made with genuine intent but had somehow failed to live up to the artist’s efforts. Its founders say their goal is to “celebrate an artist’s right to fail, gloriously.”
8. A fascinating plumbing museum in Watertown
This eclectic museum in Watertown features antique sinks, clawfoot bathtubs, and dozens of other artifacts artfully arranged on its exposed brick walls. The unique decor makes this a fun backdrop for a pop-up dinner, corporate event, or cocktail party. The chef’s kitchen makes it easy for you or your caterer to prep the food, while the built-in projector, speakers, and A/V equipment can be used to host a presentation or video screening without any setup.
9. An urban chic art gallery in the South End
This 1500 sq.ft. gallery space is perfect for photoshoots, book launches, music performances, and more. Situated in the SoWa Arts District, you’ll be right in the middle of one of the city’s top neighborhoods for art and culture. There’s no kitchen on site, but you can arrange for a caterer or bartender through the Peerspace Concierge if you want to serve food and alcohol at your event.
10. A swanky clubhouse lounge in Braintree
This stylish venue is a great choice for a birthday party, meeting, or casual gathering for groups of up to 60. The fireplace, stone walls, and chandeliers give it a sophisticated look and feel that could easily pass for a clubhouse from another era. Whether you’re shooting a music video or hosting a social event, this hidden gem in Boston provides a cozy escape from the weather.
Boston’s compact city center and surrounding suburbs offer a wealth of unique attractions and event spaces for groups of all kinds. From farmhouses to art galleries, we’ve covered a variety of locations that will lead you off of the Freedom Trail and into the city’s cultural districts. If you want even more options to choose from, search on Peerspace for a unique venue that meets the budget, location, and capacity requirements for your event or activity.