Boston: Things to Do
Here are some favorite Boston activities. Be sure to leave 2-3 days to cover ground in this great city!
Get the Big Picture at the Skywalk
A great way to start a visit is with a bird’s-eye view from the Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Center, which offers a 360-degree panorama, including the harbor, Boston Common, and, across the Charles River, Cambridge, home of America’s oldest university, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Walk the Freedom Trail
Follow the famous Freedom Trail, the 2.5-mile walk that links 16 of the most important sights in the city. Join up with a costumed interpreter to enjoy an easy lesson in U.S. history. Highlights include the Old State House (with its British lion and unicorn), Paul Revere’s House (built in 1680, the oldest home in downtown) and the two-century-old USS Constitution, still the oldest commissioned warship afloat. On the Trail, you will cross the Rose Kennedy Greenway, a glorious parkland that replaced the elevated expressway that once cut through the city.
Dine and Shop in a Historic Setting
Faneuil Hall Marketplace is one of America’s most popular tourist destinations. As you visit the old market halls that have been converted into restaurants and shops, you’ll be entertained by a whole host of street performers. Built in 1742, Faneuil Hall has a rich political history where meeting topics have ranged from independence from Britain to the abolition of slavery.
Cruise Boston Harbor
Boston’s greatest asset has always been its vast harbor. For a different view of the city, take a cruise with an historic theme or, perhaps, for dinner. For the adventurous at heart, hold tight on a high-speed thrill ride aboard Codzilla, or join a fun and informative Boston Duck Tour aboard a WWII landing craft that trundles along the streets before plunging into the Charles River. On the Cambridge side, board a riverboat and take a tour down the Charles River where both Boston’s and Cambridge’s skylines come into view.
Visit the Art Greats
The MFA, as everyone calls the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, houses one of the country’s finest and largest collections of art from around the world. Not to be missed, the dramatic new Art of the Americas wing. A few steps away is the more intimate Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with masterpieces by Titian, Rembrandt, Veronese and John Singer Sargent. The setting is a Venetian-style palazzo, and in spring and fall, the weekend concerts are a special treat.
Head for Museum Fun
There is plenty more for families to see and do. The Museum of Science offers non-stop excitement, from a state-of-the-art planetarium and an IMAX cinema to thrilling scientific demonstrations: think bolts of lightning produced to order by the world’s largest Van de Graaff generator. Down by the harbor and near Fanueil Hall are the New England Aquarium with its new touch tank and the Boston Children’s Museum. Both are captivating for youngsters — and their parents! (Explore a full list of Boston museums.)
Step into Presidential History
If there is one family that is synonymous with Boston it is the Kennedys. In a landmark contemporary building on the water, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum has memorabilia of the late president, his wife and family. As well as Jackie’s gowns, there are video clips ranging from civil rights to the Cuban Missile Crisis. There is even a reconstruction of the White House Oval Office as it was during his presidency.
Eat Your Way through the City
Boston’s chefs have put the city on the international culinary map, using the finest fresh seafood and New England’s farm produce. Whether you fancy lobster and clam chowder, a romantic candlelit dinner or a buzzy pub — all tastes and pockets are catered for. Enjoy fresh seafood city-side, a fine Italian dinner in the North End, or grab a sandwich and head for a park bench on Boston Common. Search for Boston restaurants on the official Boston website or read more about Greater Boston’s top-rated restaurants from Boston Magazine.
Soak in the Sporting Scene
New Englanders love their sports — so to truly understand the region you’ll want to get a taste of it. No city in the USA has a more successful record in the past decade, thanks to the triumphs of the Red Sox (baseball), the Celtics (basketball), the Bruins (ice hockey) and the nearby Patriots (American football). Getting tickets can sometimes be challenging, but don’t fret: you’ll get the spirit while watching the game on the telly at one of the city’s many popular sports bars. The Sports Museum houses thousands of artifacts for sporting fans. You'll find it minutes from Faneuil Hall within the TD Garden complex, home to Boston's hockey and basketball teams, and major concerts.
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