• Walking on Provincetown Wharf, Massachusetts
    Walking on Provincetown Wharf
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts

City Breaks

Boston is New England’s gateway city, but each New England state offers its own unique city break. The New England cities profiled below are all ideal for a weekend getaway for fun, shopping, great food, and relaxation.

New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven CT steeple

Thanks to 300-year-old Yale UniversityNew Haven is perfect for a New England getaway. On a student-led tour, hear about former students, from actress Jodie Foster to U.S. presidents. Explore two world-class museums: Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art, the largest collection of British works outside Britain. Eat at excellent restaurants; relax in cheerful pubs. This New England city has a major claim to foodie fame: Louis Lunch was the birthplace of the hamburger sandwich in 1900; pizza has been served at Pepe’s since 1925.

Getting there from Boston: catch Amtrak’s Northeaster train. For travel by bus, MegabusPeter Pan and Greyhound go to New Haven. Both buses and trains end at Union Station. Weekdays there is a free shuttle bus (bright green) to the New Haven Green.

Portland, Maine

Portland Observatory with Nautical Flags

Looking over Casco Bay and its islands, Portland is one of New England’s most popular city break destinations. Its waterfront hums with restaurants, art galleries, one-of-a-kind shops and bars with live music. Tour the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; in the Portland Museum of Art, find artists inspired by Maine, such as Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth. And, Portland is one of the top New England cities for its restaurant and craft beer scene. Dine on contemporary dishes featuring fresh seafood. Tour the Shipyard Brewing Company’s microbrewery.

Watch a video of sightseeing in Portland.

Getting there from Boston: a two-hour drive north of Boston. By train: the Amtrak Downeaster train operates five daily round trips from North Station(2-1/2 hours). By bus: Concord Coach Lines serves points in New Hampshire and Maine to Boston South Station and Logan Airport. By air: the Portland International Jetport offers daily service through several major carriers.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Fishing Boats

Past and present merge in this seaport, fast becoming a favorite for a New England city break. Get the lowdown at the new Discover Portsmouth Center; visit the John Paul Jones House (1758) where the “Father of the American Navy” lived. Walk the Portsmouth Harbour Trail, taking in historic homes, Market Square and Prescott Park; enjoy a harbor cruise. The story of four centuries of everyday life in America’s third-oldest city is told at Strawbery Banke Museum. Named after the first settlement, this site features historic houses furnished with antiques and everyday artifacts. Chat to costumed interpreters who cook, make barrels, garden and more.

Getting there from Boston: a little over an hour’s drive north of Boston. By bus: C & J Trailways offers regularly scheduled motorcoach service from Boston’s Logan Airport and the South Station train stop in Boston to Portsmouth. Upon arrival at C&J’s Portsmouth station, COAST trolley service is available to take visitors to downtown stops, year round at select times. Limousine and taxi services are also available for the 5-minute ride to downtown.

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence city skyline

One of America’s leading travel destinations, the state capital offers all the ingredients for a city getaway: riverside walks and art galleries, plus Providence Place Mall, a shopping and entertainment complex. The vibes are provided by students at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Take an audio tour as you stroll past 18th- and 19th-century homes on Benefit Street, nicknamed “the Mile of History.” This New England city was consistently voted in the top five food cities in the USA by Travel & Leisure magazine: you’ll find many Italian restaurants on Federal Hill, and modern American downtown.

Getting there from Boston: An hour’s drive south of Boston. By train: Amtrak leaves from Boston’s South Station with a 35-45 minute ride. The T.F. Green airport is ten minutes from the city.

Burlington, Vermont

Burlington downtown street scene

On beautiful Lake Champlain, Vermont’s largest community (40,000) is lively year round, guaranteeing a great New England city break. The main action is downtown at Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian mall with boutiques, art galleries and cafés. Don’t miss Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center, a showcase for the state’s finest artisans. To appreciate what is in Lake Champlain, visit the ECHO Lake Aquarium, then admire New England’s scenic “West Coast” on a cruise aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen III or the Northern Lights. Thanks to three fine colleges, the nightlife rocks. Or just relax at the waterfront, at the Flynn Theatre, or in pubs and clubs.

Getting there from Boston: a little over 3.5 hour drive from Boston. By bus: a 4-5 hour ride via Greyhound. By air: fly into Burlington International Airport.