Where can you see the Green Monster, enjoy a tea party, board the “Constitution,” watch a whale, take a midnight ride, tour with a Duck and ride a Swan in the Park? Well, Boston, of course. As one of the world’s best and most popular places to visit, Boston has it all for visitors of all ages.
Aside from all the fun attractions Boston has to offer, it is a living history museum. This is where the American Revolution began and if you want to be a part of it, take the Freedom Trail and go back in time. The Freedom Trail is a red brick path that meanders through the city and takes you to sixteen historic sites. The trail starts on State Street at the National Park Service located across from the Old State House. Guided tours through the park service leave every thirty minutes and take two-three hours. The guides, dressed in 18th century era clothes, portray historical figures and make history come alive with their stories and reenactments. Or, you can do a self-guided tour with a free map from the park service. Just be sure to follow the red brick road! Either way you will be immersed in the history and culture of Colonial Revolutionary Boston. Some of the following sites are not to be missed.
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is Boston’s central meeting place. Faneuil Hall is often called the Cradle of Liberty because this is where the citizens of Boston debated the issues that led to the American Revolution. This unique marketplace includes Quincy Market, which was built in 1826 and is filled with over forty food vendors offering every imaginable and delicious dining experience. The area is a collection of boutiques, restaurants, outdoor vendors and street entertainers. The famous Durgin Park Restaurant is located here where it has been serving New England boiled dinners, chowder and baked beans since Revolutionary days. Part of the fun of dining here is interacting with the wait staff that is famous for their rudeness. It’s all part of the atmosphere.
Cross the street to the North End, the Italian section of the city. Famous for its restaurants and eateries, this is also the home of Paul Revere and the Old North Church. Paul Revere’s house is the oldest building in Boston and it is from here in 1680 that he made his midnight ride to alert the American Troops of the British invasion. Now, “one if by land, two if by sea” is an enduring part of American history.
Next cross the bridge to Charlestown Naval Yard and home of the “USS Constitution,” the world’s oldest warship. Commissioned by George Washington, and launched in 1797, it is still sailed on special occasions. But while at dock, it is a visitor’s delight. Navy personnel attend the ship and serve as on-board guides. When it defeated 4 British frigates, it was nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” because the cannon balls would bounce off the thick hull! From here, you can go to Bunker Hill, where the Bunker Hill monument commemorates the major battle of the American Revolution actually fought on near-by Breeds Hill. The “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes” was the famous slogan of this battle.
Back on the Boston waterfront, visit the site of the Boston tea party where the Revolutionaries dressed up as Native Indians and threw the British tea overboard to protest the stamp tax. Today, you can see a re-enactment of that famous event.
While you’re on the wharf, visit Boston’s world famous aquarium, home to 20,000 animals and 600 species. The aquarium has a central open atrium with a Giant Ocean Tank that contains a Caribbean coral reef. The 200,000 gallon tank is open at the top and has a walkway that winds around the tank allowing views at all levels. The aquarium has seals and penguin exhibits, a newly opened shark and ray touch tank as well as other rotating exhibits. There is also an IMAX theater. For whale watching, you can take the New England Whale watch complete with a naturalist on board. It departs from the aquarium dock.
For a unique and fun view of Boston, take a Duck Tour! These WWII amphibian vessels take you for a guided tour of the historical sites of the Back Bay and Cambridge, with a splashdown in the Charles River for a spectacular water view of the city. These “Ducks” are fun for everyone….but you do have to shout “Quack, Quack” as you travel thorough the streets. The tour lasts 80 fun-filled minutes and departs from the Prudential Center with a pick-up at the Museum of Science.
Speaking of museums, Boston boasts many fine museums for everyone’s taste. The Museum of Science is a favorite for everyone. Here you can visit Dinosaurs, see Mummies and enjoy a Butterfly Garden. Or you can enjoy the 3D Omni Theater and planetarium. The Children’s Museum is a hands-on learning experience. There are many art museums to enjoy as well, including art at the Boston Public library. In addition to having over 6 million books, it has a collection of John Singer Sargent murals.
No visit to Boston is complete without a visit to the Commons and the Park. The Commons was established by the Puritans in 1634 and is the oldest public park in America. Charles Street divides the park into half with the Commons at the bottom and the Park at the top. The Commons has the Frog Pond which becomes an ice skating rink in the winter and the Park has the famous Swan boats. A ride on the Swan boats has been a Boston tradition since 1877.
The Park has Beacon Hillon one side with the Bull and Finch pub, the inspiration for Cheers, and the theater district on the other. At the top is Newbury Street, Boston’s answer to 5th avenue. Newbury Street is lined with old brownstones that have been converted into shops, art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. This is definitely the place to browse and be seen.
For sports fans ,Boston is tops. Whether it’s baseball, football, basketball or soccer, you can find it here. Boston is the home of the New England Patriots champion football team, the Boston Celtics basketball team and the Boston Bruins, the 5 time Stanley Cup Hockey Champions. And don’t forget about the Red Sox. A visit to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and the Green Monster scoreboard should be on every visitor’s list. The Celtics and Bruins play at the TD Bank North Garden which also hosts concerts and the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Every year on Patriot’s Day, Boston holds the Boston Marathon and in October, the Head of the Charles, a rower’s regatta on the Charles River. Both events attract visitors and participants from all over the world.
If you feel like a little music, check out the Boston Pops. They play for free on July 4 at the Hatch Shell outdoor Amphitheater. If you’re lucky to be in town then, take a picnic and enjoy. They end the concert with an exciting fireworks display.
And then there is the Boston Symphony, Cambridge, Harvard and Harvard Square. The list of things to do and see is endless. So what are you waiting for, pack your bags and come to visit. Boston is one fun town!