If you are ever looking for a Boston sight that's just a little off the beaten path, the headquarters for the Church of Christian Science is a good place to check out.
The Mary Baker Eddy library (the founder of the Church of Christian Science) sits right on Massachusetts Ave, on the border between Back Bay and Fenway. For just $4 for students and $6 for adults, you can visit the Mapparium, a beautiful 30 ft. stained glass globe, viewed from the inside out. It's a really stunning experience, and it's always quieter and less crowded than the more popular Boston sites.
It begins in the Hall of Ideas...
In this cool, stone room (perfect for a hot day), you wait for your tour guide and then walk through the Mapparium. There's also a Mary Baker Eddy exhibit upstairs to visit afterwards, but between my two visits, I haven't spent more than 15-20 minutes there. The Mapparium is really my favorite part. It's fun and beautiful and strange. Photos not allowed...you'll have to go see for yourself!
And when you're done, it's worth going next door to visit the Mother Church, a huge, domed structure built in the early 20th century.
Tours are free, everything is air-conditioned, and the architecture is massive and impressive.
The final stop is the reflection pool outside the church. There was quite a breeze on the day we visited, so the water was more ripply than reflective. But it was still beautiful, and the open promenade offers a stunning view of the older and newer buildings of Boston.
Seriously, check it out.