Boston is the largest metropolitan area in New England and famously home to several prestigious universities, including MIT, Harvard, and Boston College. A Puritan colony founded by Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop in 1629, it was the largest city in the American colonies until Philadelphia overtook it. The city was a key player in the American Revolution, and home to such events as The Boston Tea Party, the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Today, visitors are sure to find that Boston is also a beautiful waterfront city with many diverse neighborhoods and fine examples of architecture from a variety of historical periods.
While there are a number of incredible, fun, interesting, and adventurous things to do in this great historical locus, we picked five attractions for a balanced itinerary that most everyone is sure to enjoy, highlighting some of the cities major attractions and claims to fame. Here are 5 awesome things to do in Boston:
Walk the Freedom Trail
For those who enjoy learning about the history of our country, the Freedom Trail is two and a half mile long walk that provides an immersive, interactive experience in the sights of the American Revolution. Along the way, you’ll be able to walk into museums, churches, parks, meeting houses, and even a ship, which all served as backdrops to the scenes of the American Revolution. A guide in 18th century costume can regale you with exciting tales from history as you walk through notable sites like the scene of the Boston massacre, the home of Paul Revere, the Bunker Hill Monument, and the U.S.S. Constitution, and the rich story of the inception of the United States and its early struggles to free itself from colonial status unfold.
While the trail is popular with school trips, it’s also an unparalleled way for adults to experience the story of America’s history in way that’s just not possible to glean from a documentary or textbook. If you feel like doing a self guided tour, or you just want to go back and reflect on the awesome story of the Revolution, historical markers and signs provide ample information and guidance about the various stops along the way. Even those who don’t care so much about history will be hard pressed not to experience the scenes of 18th-Century America. As you walk along the trail, you will see the very sights of the American Revolution, preserved as they have been through the ages to forever memorialize the early colonial days of the United States.
Take a New England Coastal Tour
If you’re looking to escape the urban bustle of Boston proper, this tour can offer you an opportunity to take in the scenery of the New England region, famous for a natural, picturesque beauty that is unique within the United States. In the fall, the trees go through brilliant, fiery colorations of reds, yellows, and oranges, while in the summer, the beaches and seaside towns beckon, offering shopping, great views of the ocean, and of course, legendary seafood. A day trip along the coastline is the perfect way to take in the scenery of the New England Coastline, which is famously punctuated by iconic lighthouses, standing like lonely sentinels against the elements.
From the comfort of a luxury motorcoach, you can view the sights of of seaside villages and rugged shorelines throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. A stop in the oceanside town of Kennebunkport will allow time to purchase lunch and browse the many shops along the quaint downtown of this historic shipbuilding and fishing village, which has been a popular summer colony and resort destination for more than a century. You’ll also get to see one of the most famous lighthouses in the country: Cape Neddick Lighthouse, commonly known as Nubble Light, and drive past Walker Point, a summer home of former presidents.
Enjoy a Game at the “Yahd,” aka Fenway Park
Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, is one America’s most characteristic baseball stadiums, and one of the the few surviving sporting arenas from the early 20th century. Since 1912, Fenway Park is an unparalleled place to take in a game of America’s favorite pastime, with its small size, intimate sightlines, and unique features such as Pesky’s Pole (the right field foul pole named for former player Johnny Pesky) and the infamous thirty seven foot tall Green Monster. Even if you’re not a fan of the Red Sox, you can still enjoy the unique architectural character of the ballpark, although we highly recommend you don’t wear any Yankees gear.
Boston is certainly a baseball town, and most Bostonians are avid (would rabid be a better word?) Red Sox fans…in fact, Beantown has been voted one of the best cities for baseball fans to visit, so if possible, plan on visiting Boston during baseball season (April to early October) so you can come for a game. Visitors can also enjoy an hour long guided tour of Fenway Park, where they can learn about the history of the place and the team, including the legendary curse of Babe Ruth, which until recently was blamed for a lengthy World Series Title drought. Tour tickets can be reserved in advance online, but on game days, tours are offered three hours before the opening pitch, and you will need to purchase tour tickets at the ballpark.
Enjoy a Drink at The Samuel Adams Brewery
This activity can be a perfect way to relax at the end of a day filled with sightseeing, and a good way to punctuate the sights and sounds of Boston with an indoor tour and a relaxing drink of one of the premier breweries in the United States. Samuel Adams is nationwide, brand-name beer brewed, managed, and distributed by the Boston Beer Company, although it’s named after the legendary founding father who was reportedly also a brewmaster, and is famously depicted on each and every bottle holding some foaming brews in hand. Locals and tourists alike are sure to enjoy a visit to the brewery, which is located slightly outside the city.
This location is the smallest of the brand’s three different sites, but it serves as their testing facility for new brews, and is the only location to offer tours and tastings. The one hour tour is comprehensive, informative, and free (although donations are encouraged) giving visitors an insight into the brewing process, along with samples of beer and a keepsake glass. After the tour, you can enjoy the beer garden, where beer in different shades and sizes is served, and can be accompanied by good food and occasional events like release parties, music, and other entertainment.
Get Eye-to-Eye with Some Sea Life at the New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium has an incredible array of sea life that can all be viewed for a decently priced ticket that is currently under $30. Immediately beyond the ticket booth, your interaction with sea life will begin with the harbor seals, and passing into the aquarium itself, you’ll get to see thousands of sea creatures. A four-story exhibit, The Giant Ocean Tank, features a coral reef habitat that houses over a thousand underwater inhabitants, such as green sea turtles, bonnethead sharks, stingrays barracuda, and eels. A freshwater gallery features South American beauties such as anaconda snakes, piranhas, and the slightly less exotic species of Atlantic Salmon. A Northern Waters gallery features a comparison of the ea life between longitudinally similar New England and Pacific Northwest, and guests can see shorebirds, lobsters, goosefish, and octopi (that’s plural for octopus).
There is also a tropical gallery, a penguin zone, and an exhibit showcasing the environmental activism of the aquarium. For visitors seeking a more hands-on experience, the tide pool showcases touchable New England sea life such as sea stars, urchins, snails, horseshoe and hermit crabs. The Aquarium also offers whale watching and an IMAX movie experience. It’s excellent location is right on the water, so that before or after a visit to the aquarium you can also enjoy some of the waterfront shopping, dining, and activities that Boston has to offer, and perhaps enjoy a walk to nearby Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.