Boston, Massachusetts, is a city steeped in history and culture, known for its prestigious universities, iconic sports teams, and rich historical sites. But beyond the well-trodden paths and traditional tourist attractions, Boston harbors a quirky and unconventional side that is often overlooked. In this essay, we will embark on an offbeat journey to explore some of the strangest and most unusual activities you can partake in while in Boston.
- The Lawn on D
Imagine a playground for adults, complete with vibrant, illuminated swings, giant Jenga sets, and a glow-in-the-dark lawn. That’s precisely what you’ll find at The Lawn on D, an innovative urban park in South Boston. It’s a place where you can unleash your inner child and enjoy a whimsical and eccentric afternoon or evening.
The Lawn on D hosts various events, from live music performances to art installations, making it a vibrant and unusual destination for visitors looking to experience Boston’s avant-garde side.
- The Ether Dome
Tucked within Massachusetts General Hospital is the Ether Dome, a place that witnessed a groundbreaking moment in medical history. It’s where, in 1846, the first successful surgery using ether as an anesthetic took place. The surgical amphitheater, with its eerie preserved atmosphere, serves as a testament to the evolution of medical practices.
Visiting the Ether Dome is like stepping into a time capsule of medical history, making it a strange but captivating experience.
- The Museum of Bad Art
If you’re a fan of peculiar and unconventional art, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a must-visit. Situated in the basement of a community theater in Dedham, just outside Boston, MOBA is dedicated to showcasing art that is “too bad to be ignored.” The museum features a collection of art that may leave you scratching your head or bursting into laughter.
From paintings with questionable artistic skill to bizarre subject matter, MOBA’s exhibits are a refreshing departure from traditional art museums. It’s a place where you can revel in the strangeness of bad art while enjoying the irony and humor it offers.
- The Mapparium
Located in the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a globe-shaped, three-story-tall stained glass structure. It’s one of the world’s only walk-through globes and provides a unique auditory experience. As you step inside, you’ll notice that your voice carries across the interior of the globe, creating an otherworldly sound.
The Mapparium’s stained glass displays a map of the world as it appeared in 1935, offering a glimpse into the past. It’s a strange and beautiful combination of history, architecture, and acoustics.
- The Warren Anatomical Museum
Within Harvard University’s Countway Library of Medicine is the Warren Anatomical Museum, a treasure trove of medical oddities and curiosities. The museum boasts a vast collection of anatomical specimens, deformed skulls, and other medical peculiarities. You can explore exhibits on unusual medical conditions, historical surgical instruments, and even the skull of Phineas Gage, a man known for surviving a traumatic brain injury.
This museum offers a fascinating and eerie look into the history of medical science.
- The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
While the Boston Tea Party is a well-known event, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum adds an unusual twist to the historical reenactment. Visitors have the chance to don period clothing and participate in a reenactment of the tea-dumping event itself. You can toss replica tea crates into Boston Harbor while actors guide you through the historic moment.
This interactive and immersive experience allows you to become a part of American history, making it a truly unique attraction.
- The Skinny House
Tucked away in the North End of Boston is a peculiar piece of real estate known as the Skinny House. It’s a four-story home that’s only 10.4 feet wide, earning it the title of the narrowest house in the city. The house’s quirky history includes a legend of two brothers who built it out of spite, as well as tales of haunted happenings within its narrow confines.
The Skinny House is a whimsical and peculiar architectural marvel, offering a curious sight for those wandering the historic streets of Boston.
- The Salem Witch Museum
Just a short drive from Boston, the Salem Witch Museum is a strange and fascinating attraction that delves into the dark history of the Salem witch trials of 1692. The museum features lifelike exhibits and narration that transport you back to the Salem of the late 17th century.
While the topic may be eerie, the museum offers an engaging and educational experience that sheds light on one of the most perplexing and tragic episodes in American history.
- The Warren Tavern
The Warren Tavern, located in Charlestown, is one of the oldest bars in the United States, dating back to 1780. While it may seem like a traditional historic tavern, it’s believed to be haunted by several spirits, including a British redcoat from the Revolutionary War era. Visitors and staff have reported eerie encounters and strange occurrences, adding a supernatural twist to this historic establishment.
- The Boston Common Frog Pond
The Boston Common Frog Pond is a picturesque wading pool in the summer and an outdoor ice skating rink in the winter. It’s an idyllic spot for families and children, but it takes on a surreal quality in the colder months. Ice skating under the watchful eyes of the “frog” sculptures in the heart of the city is a uniquely Bostonian experience.
Boston’s unconventional side is a delightful treasure trove of peculiar and fascinating experiences. Whether you’re exploring interactive historical reenactments, wandering through curiously narrow houses, or immersing yourself in the world of bad art, the city has a wealth of offbeat adventures to offer.
While Boston is renowned for its history and culture, these strange attractions add an unexpected layer of eccentricity and humor to the city’s character. So, when you find yourself in the Cradle of Liberty, don’t forget to explore the weird, the wonderful, and the downright strange aspects of this vibrant and eclectic city.