Boston is well known for its fickle weather, but with a bit of planning, you can make your trip a success without weighing down your suitcase. Renting a vacation home offers a certain selection of comforts that make you feel like you’re at home while you’re on vacation. With that said, you’ll still have to pack some essentials to take with you before you set off.


What to Pack For a Boston Vacation

Whether you’re off to a Red Sox game, or going to visit one of the many science or fine art museums, our Boston essentials packing list will help make sure you’re prepared for every situation this city could throw your way.

Good Walking Shoes

One of Boston’s many charms is that it’s a highly walkable city. Take advantage of the many opportunities to explore neighborhoods and pack a good pair of walking shoes. Take an afternoon perusing the shops at 500 Washington. After that you could go for a stroll through beautiful Boston Commons. Make sure your footwear is comfortable and as ready to go the distance as you are.

Whatever you do, take care of your shoes.


Comfortable Clothing

If you’re going to spend your days walking around the city, you want to stay comfortable. Bostonians are usually stylish, so any outfit that blends fashion and function is ideal. If you’re looking for some fresh digs to wear around BeanTown, check out Covet for gently used trendy consigned clothing.



Boston weather can change at the blink of an eye, so you should be prepared for anything. Since temperatures can drop or rise with little notice, wrap yourself up in layers that you can take off or put on as needed. Wearing thin base layers of merino wool will keep you warm during the evening while seeing a concert at Boston Pavillion.

Making sure to bring a wind breaker for those breezy Boston afternoons can be a total game changer!


An Umbrella

While Boston isn’t the rainiest city around by a long shot (looking at you, Portland), it is common to see quick bouts of rain in the city, especially in the fall and spring. Pack a compact umbrella that you can easily stow in your bag in case an unexpected shower hits. Alternatively a thin rain shell jacket will keep you dry and warm.

Swing through Mountain Warehouse for all your rainy weather and outdoor gear. You can also find disposable rain ponchos at most tourist shops around town.


A Jacket

The right jacket will always come in handy, even if you’re visiting the city in the summer. Evenings are on the cooler side, and summer rain isn’t unheard of. Packing a light jacket just in case is always a good idea. If you’re going on your Boston vacation in the colder months, be sure to pack an appropriate winter coat. New England is known for getting down well below 0 degrees fahrenheit, so a thick jacket is a must for those freezing days.

If you are shopping for a new winter coat, swing by Arc’terx Boston for the highest quality winter clothing.


Water Bottle

Wandering city streets by foot is a lot of fun, but can be tiring, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Pack a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day and you’ll never go thirsty. While Boston has some water fountains around the city, if you have any trouble finding a public water source, don’t hesitate to pop into a local restaurant or deli and ask them to fill your bottle. Boston is a very friendly city and you’ll find that many people are happy to help out.

If you need a new bottle for your day of exploring, Marathon Sports has all your hydration needs covered.


A Day Pack

Between water bottles, snacks and layers of clothing, you’ll probably find yourself carrying lots of stuff while you explore Boston. A comfortable backpack or cross-body bag can help you pack everything you need for the day without sacrificing comfort. As an added bonus, a good day pack can also double as a carry-on bag on the plane. We recommend a pack that has a cross chest clip, which can really help out your shoulders on those long days with your pack. Consider getting a waterproof bag to keep your important things protected if any inclement weather arises.

Patagonia’s Boston store should have some nice day packs in stock in case you need a new one.



Just like it can rain at any moment, you never know when the sun might appear. Keep the glare at bay with a pair of sunglasses with UV protection, even if you’re visiting in the winter. Eye protection is especially important when you’re visiting a new city, as you’re likely going to spend some time looking up, admiring the beautiful buildings. For a new pair of shades, Oakelys store carries the best of the best when it comes to eyewear. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can find a pair from one of the vendors at Boston Public Market, which also has a great selection of eateries to grab lunch from.

Get some shade for your eyes on those bright Boston sunny days!


A Good Lotion

Wind is a common fixture in the city, especially when you’re wandering close to the harbor. The whipping cold winds take their toll on your skin. A good moisturizing facial lotion helps keep your skin from drying out. A thicker oil based product is better for your hands, which often see the worst of the cold dry damage. In the summer, look out for a product with added sunscreen to keep those UV rays at bay.

Bluemercury is a local boutique shop that carries a wide variety of lotions and products to keep your skin protected and healthy.


Seasonal Clothing Items

There are plenty of beaches around Boston, so a swimsuit is a must for a summer vacation in the area. Be sure to also pack light breezy clothing for those warm summer days in the sand. Don’t forget to bring a towel! In the colder months, be sure to pack scarves, gloves and warm socks alongside your winter coat. It helps if your accessories have your team’s logo when you catch a Bruins or Celtics game at TD Garden arena.


Being prepared has its perks!

Whatever surprises The City On A Hill throws your way, you should be ready for it after reading our packing list of Boston essentials. Whatever you have planned for your trip to Boston, you should be ready for a variety of weather and any situation that may arise. We hope our list has helped you feel fully prepared for your next Massachusetts vacation.