Boston is a historic city, with old colonial buildings, a long history, and a strong link to the founding of the country. Bostonians are very proud of their city and show their Boston pride any chance they can. I grew up in this city and even with all my world travels, Boston is still one of my favorite cities in the world. Though one of the biggest cities in the country, it has more of a large town feel to it than that of a metropolis. In this college town, you’ll find friendly locals, die-hard sports fans, great bars, good restaurants, and a ton of American history. Don’t miss out.
Top 5 Things to See and Do in Boston
1. Walk Boston’s Freedom Trail
2. Stroll the Museum of Fine Arts
3. Museum of Science
4. Take in a game at Fenway Park
5. Boston Public Gardens
Other Things to See and Do
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1. Visit Coit Observatory at Boston University
You can pick out your favorite constellation at the Coit Observatory at Harvard University. They offer free stargazing Wednesdays after 8:30 pm throughout the spring and the summer, pending clear skies, of course.
2. See Bunker Hill Monument
There are 249 steps to the top of Bunker Hill Monument. I’m certain that this is the best view of the Boston skyline so don’t miss it. It’s at the end of the Freedom Trail so you can do one and knock out both!
3. Enjoy a picnic at Boston Common
One of the nation’s oldest existing parks, Boston Common is nearly 50 acres and was once used as pasture land by Puritan settlers.
4. Shop or eat on Newbury Street
Newbury Street is Boston’s classy shopping street. Here’s you’ll find expensive designers mixed with great boutiques. *It’s not a cheap place to shop.) However, the street is lined with some of the best restaurants and cafes line in the city and, if the weather is nice, you’ll see people crowding the streets eating outdoors. Stephanie’s is good for both food and emptying your wallet. Snappy Sushi has great lunch specials, and Kashmir has delicious (and spicy) Indian food.
5. Hang out at Faneuil Hall
Faneuil Hall is a popular place for locals to hang out. During the day, a lot of people go shopping. At night, the restaurants are filled with people and the spot is one of the big bar destinations in the city. The cheap Irish pubs that fill the area are widely popular. Make sure you eat at Quincy Market, an indoor food hall with over 20 types of food.
6. Check out Beacon Hill
This is a neighborhood that’s filled with history. This area was home to the likes of John Adams and John Hancock and resembles parts of historic Philadelphia. You can also find the statehouse building here.
7. Visit Castle Island
Castle Island is located in South Boston, and is famous for the fort located on it. The island extends into the harbor and has excellent beaches as well as running trails that are popular with the locals. There is a picnic area here, and you can explore the old fort for free.
8. Hang out in Copley Square
Copley Square is a great little park where you can buy discount theater tickets, listen to musicians, and gaze up at the Hancock Tower. You can also go into Boston’s Trinity Church, which is one of Boston’s oldest and I think most beautiful.
9. Visit Harvard University
Harvard University is the first and oldest university in the country (pre-dating even the founding of the United States). The campus offers free one-hour tours through the grounds and buildings. Afterward, go grab a coffee and people watch in the alternative and arty Harvard Square.
10. Walk around the Back Bay
Boston’s Back Bay is our version of New York’s SoHo and West Village. This is where Boston’s elite and wealthy live and nearby Newbury Street is our Madison Avenue, with lots of expensive shopping. The pretty brownstones and tree-lined streets make for a peaceful, leisurely stroll.
11. Drink at Sam Adams Brewery
Sam Adams is a major brewer in Boston and locals drink it widely and frequently. Tours and tastings are held on Monday-Saturday from 10am until 3pm, with extended hours on Friday afternoon. Tours start every half hour. The tour is free (suggested donation is $2 USD).
12. Visit the New England Aquarium
Boston’s aquarium is one of the better ones I’ve been to. It’s really well done, the fish aren’t all clustered into a few small tanks, and there’s a lot of information about how to protect the oceans. Admission costs $27 and it’s open daily from 9am-5pm with extended hours on the weekend.
13. Explore the North End
The historic North End is the heart of Boston’s Italian community. You’ll hear just as much Italian as you will the Boston accent. In the morning, you’ll see little Italian grandmas shopping while the grandpas have their morning espresso. It’s almost like being in Italy. You’ll find the best gelato outside of Italy here.
14. Arnold Arboretum
Over 260 acres of free public space are open from sunrise to sunset. There are running trails, gardens, open lawns, and tons of flowers from all over the world. Relax among the plants and take a step back from the fast pace of the city. This place is much quieter than the Public Gardens and offers a wider variety of plant life. They also have a great bonsai tree collection.