Massachusetts is located in the New England region of the United States. Spring months are pleasant, summers are warm, late fall is cool and winters are cold, with considerable snowfall. Major points of interest include the historic capital city of Boston where you can walk the Freedom Trail and visit the Old North Church. The state of Massachusetts is famous for its universities (Harvard and Cambridge). Cape Cod is a well-known, beautiful tourist destination during the summer, and Gloucester is home to America’s oldest seaport. You can get a delicious lobster dinner anywhere along the coast. You could also visit Salem, with its fascinating witch trial history and the House of the Seven Gables. To travel around the state, you will need to book a bus or train ticket. For more information visit: massvacation.com. Also see our custom Google map of our favorite sites in Boston!
Staying in Cape Cod during your program? Download the Cape and Islands J-1 Handbook (PDF).
Historical Sites & Tourist Attractions
Add some local history to your cultural exchange experience by visiting a nearby historical site or tourist attraction when living and working in the U.S.
As a center of many events before and during the Revolutionary War, Boston has many historical sites for visitors to explore. One of the best ways to learn about American history is on the Freedom Trail, a trail of 16 historical sites related to the American Revolution. Sites include the Bunker Hill Monument, Boston Common, the Paul Revere House and the USS Constitution.
The National Park Service runs tours of the Black Heritage Trail, a walking tour about Boston’s African-American community in the 19th century.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site has historical buildings, wharves, outdoor exhibits and tall ships from the Revolutionary War.
Cape Cod Area
Experience the historic maritime culture of the region at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum in Hyannis.
The Zion Union Heritage Museum in Hyannis celebrates African-American and Cape Verde culture and other populations and cultures in the region.
Visit the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster to learn about the natural history and environment of Cape Cod and conservation efforts in the area.
The Highland Light is the oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod. Originally built in 1797, the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1857 and continues to function today.
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum is an interactive museum that shares the story of the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Visitors can see virtual exhibits, live actors, films, historical artifacts and two Tea Party Ships.
The John F. Kennedy Library & Museum honors one of the most popular presidents in U.S. history with exhibits, special events and educational programs. The library and museum looks at his early life, the Kennedy family and his legacy as President of the United States, including significant events like the Cuban Missile Crisis, the civil rights movement and the space program.
The Commonwealth Museum teaches visitors about the history of the state of Massachusetts. The Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Massachusetts Constitution are displayed at the museum along with other important historical artifacts and exhibits.
See more tours in Boston and Massachusetts.
Arts & Culture
The United States offers a wide variety of cultural learning opportunities through the arts. Dance, music, theater, opera, art museums and festivals are just some of the options available to international visitors who wish to learn more about the U.S. and its culture.
- Boston Ballet
- Boston Symphony Orchestra
- The Institute of Contemporary Art
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- Museum of Boston
- Museum of Fine Arts
Cape Cod Area
- Cape Cod Museum of Art
- College Light Opera Company
- Cape Cod Symphony
- Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown
Sports & Recreation
Many Americans are passionate about sports – and not just baseball and football! Get a glimpse into this part of American culture by watching or participating in a favorite U.S. sport or recreational activity in your local area.
The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world and it attracts athletes from around the globe each April. About half a million spectators view the event and an average of 20,000 runners participate each year.
Professional Sports Teams
Many types of professional sports teams are located in the Boston area:
- Boston Bruins (hockey)
- Boston Celtics (basketball)
- Boston Red Sox (baseball)
- New England Patriots (American football)
- New England Revolution (soccer)
College Sports Teams
College sports are a fun, and often cheaper, way to watch favorite American sports in your local community:
- Boston College Eagles
- Boston University Terriers
- Harvard University Crimson
- Northeastern University Huskies
- Holy Cross Crusaders
- University of Massachusetts Minutemen
The Cape Cod Baseball League is a summer collegiate baseball league in the Cape Cod region featuring many top college players.
The United States is home to a variety of landscapes and climates to suit all types of outdoor activities. The courageous traveler can find extreme sports and outdoor adventure tours, while others may want to keep both feet on the ground in a national park or forest. Whatever your interests, take advantage of the many outdoor activities available during your time in the United States.
Many state parks in Massachusetts offer outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking and canoeing, hiking, camping, snowmobiling and sailing. Find a nearby state park by location or name at the Department of Conservation and Recreation website.
Enjoy Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States and a popular landmark in the city of Boston. The 50-acre park is also the start of the Freedom Trail, a walking tour that leads through historic sites in Boston.
Cape Cod Area
Cape Cod has many outdoor activities for visitors and it is a popular vacation destination in Massachusetts. Bike the Cape Cod Rail Trail, go to one of the many beaches in the area, or camp at Nickerson State Park.
See humpback, finback and minke whales on a whale watching tour in Cape Cod and the Islands. Dolphins, seals and other wildlife are often seen on whale watching tours too.
One of the best ways to experience cultural exchange is through food and cooking. Visitors will enjoy exploring the regional specialties and local cuisine during their time in the United States.
Farmers’ markets in Massachusetts are listed on the Mass Farmers Markets website. Search for markets by location, opening hours or services.
For a unique and local perspective on American cultural, be sure to check out festivals and events near your cultural exchange program location. These events are a fun and interesting way to interact with locals and to learn more about American culture by experiencing it firsthand.
Rockport Chamber Music Festival takes place over five weekends in June and July with special performances from classical musicians, including some free concerts.
The Lowell Folk Festival focuses on traditional music from around the country and it is the largest free folk festival in the United States. Live music, ethnic food vendors, folk crafts and other activities can also be found at the three-day festival in July.
Cape Cod Area
The Cape Cod Scottish Highland Festival in August features dancing, traditional music, activities and games to celebrate Scottish culture and history.
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival organizes various film events for children and adults, including a March Festival, a Summer Film Series and special screenings throughout the year.
In Provincetown, the Portuguese Festival in June is a long-running annual event that celebrates Portuguese heritage with music, dancing, food, family activities, and more.
Employers may be able to assist with housing during your time in the United States, but this is not always possible for all participants. When looking for housing during your cultural exchange program, consider the cost of the accommodation, the distance to your work place and the amount of time you will be in the United States.
It’s also important to avoid fraudulent housing. It is highly recommended that you secure short-term housing upon arrival (e.g. in a hostel) and conduct your housing search once you are in the U.S. Never give your financial information to a stranger over the Internet. Browse the Housing Information guides for InterExchange participants below for more tips and advice.
General Housing Information
- Housing information for Work and Travel USA participants
- Housing information for Career Training USA interns and trainees
Massachusetts Housing Resources
Some examples of housing and accommodation resources for Massachusetts participants include:
Public transportation options can be hit or miss, depending on your location in the United States. Buses are a common transportation option for short and long-term travel in the U.S., while some areas will also have trains, subways and other options.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates buses, trains, subway and boats in the Boston area. Visit the MBTA website to see a trip planner, routes, schedules and service alerts for public transportation in Boston.
Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for a complete list of public transportation options in local Massachusetts communities.
Amtrak trains travel to many stations in Massachusetts, including Boston, Amherst, Worcester and Springfield. Amtrak also operates the Acela Express, a high-speed train connecting Boston to New Haven, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Health & Safety
Participants in Massachusetts can use the following resources in case of an emergency or extreme weather event in their area:
Emergency Management Agencies
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) www.fema.gov and www.ready.gov
- Massachusetts FEMA updates on Twitter @femaregion1
Help Your Community
Interact with others and expand your skill set by volunteering in your local community. Volunteer organizations are often looking for short-term volunteers or for individuals to help with a single event, making it a great option for InterExchange participants who wish to add to their cultural exchange experience during their time in the United States.
The United Way of Central Massachusetts has volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups, including on-going work and one-time or short-term projects.
Mass Audubon aims to protect the nature of Massachusetts and needs volunteers at their wildlife sanctuaries for many types of projects.
Volunteer with the Greater Boston Food Bank for a few hours or at one of their special events throughout the year.
Nourish Boston supports the grown of small-scale, sustainable farms in the Boston area. Volunteers can help with farm work, research, design and other tasks.
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