America’s most intimate metropolis, or its biggest small town? Either way, Boston is a charming and classic New England city. It’s home to one of the largest Irish communities in the US, approximately 250,000 college students (one of Boston’s nicknames is “The Athens of America”), and a handful of major league sports teams including the 8-time World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. Boston’s narrow streets and brick buildings give it a more European air than many American cities have, though it also has its share of modern steel-and-glass skyscrapers. There’s another European-style innovation, too, in the form of Hubway, the rent-a-bike scheme that’s reminiscent of similar programs in Holland and France. Boston is one of the oldest cities in America. Puritan colonists settled there in 1630. As the capital of Massachusetts, Boston has seen a great deal of historical events, such as the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. Travel to Boston to see all of these sites for yourself, and design your journey with our Boston travel guide.
Things Not to Miss in Boston
• Faneuil Hall is one of the most exciting attractions in Boston. Explore restaurants and shops while you watch live street performances. Also make sure to check out the famous Quincy Market.
• In the mood for some shopping? Then head over to Newbury Street, where you’ll find eight blocks of boutiques and brownstones.
• Relive history at the Boston Tea Party Museum.
• Take a walk through the stunning Harvard University campus grounds at Cambridge.
When to Go to Boston
The weather in Boston is pretty typical to that of other cities in the Northeastern United States: mild springs, warm summers, and snowy winters. The city’s warmest month is July, when temperatures are in the mid 70s. We recommend visiting during the warmer months so you can enjoy all of the great walking tours that the city has to offer. Furthermore, baseball season is during the summer. You’re definitely going to want to buy some Red Sox tickets if there’s a home game at Fenway Park.
Lingering among the Moorish arches in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s indoor courtyard—especially on a rainy afternoon
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Boston’s hotels are widely varied to accommodate travelers on all different types of budgets. Luxury hotels like the Revere Hotel (named for Boston’s most famous midnight rider) and the Hotel Commonwealth offer premier locations and 5-star amenities, while recognizable chains like Best Western and Embassy Suites start at lower price points. Small bed and breakfasts are also a nice option to look into. One to consider is the cozy, four-room Encore B&B, which is located in the South End neighborhood and within walking distance of Copley Square and Back Bay.
If you’re looking for a low-key hotel in Boston, try A Friendly Inn at Harvard Square. Here, experience the picturesque New England town of Cambridge while still having access to the T (Boston’s metro) that’ll take you into downtown Boston. If you’re planning on sightseeing, The Constitution Inn is a great option. Located in downtown Boston, it’s situated right at the start of the Freedom Trail—a 2.5 mile-long route with 16 historical museums, churches, cemeteries, and meeting houses. With 143 rooms, a fitness center, pool, and convenient location, the Constitution Inn is one of the best hotels in Boston.
Because it sits on coastline, Boston is a seafood city. New England clam chowder (with clams, potatoes, and onions), baked haddock, lobster rolls, and oyster stew are popular surf dishes. New England boiled dinner (corned beef with cabbage and root vegetables), bulkie rolls, and American chop suey are prevalent turf options. If you want traditionally-prepared Boston seafood, get a table at the Island Creek Oyster Bar on Commonwealth Ave. They have one of the best raw oyster bars in Boston and a menu filled with lobster rolls, oyster sliders, fish and chips, and seafood casserole.
Boston, also home to a big Latino population, is just as likely to serve seafood paella and mofongo as they are clams. Orinoco, with locations in South End, Brookline Village, and Harvard Square, has been voted Boston’s best Latin American restaurant for the past three years. Feast on arepas and empanadas over Sunday brunch. Try Formaggio Kitchen for the best selection of imported cheeses and cured meats in town, or the Hi-Rise Bread Company for baguettes and specialty breads. Some other notable foods to try are Boston baked beans (flavored with maple syrup and bacon) and delicious Boston crème pie.
It’s hard to run out of things to do in Boston. With so many historic sites, parks, performance venues, museums, shops, and restaurants to visit, we promise you’ll have no trouble filling up your itinerary. History buffs (and anyone wishing to take a stroll through the city streets) won’t want to miss the Freedom Trail. The 2.5 mile-long walk is dotted with 16 historically significant sights including: Boston Common (America’s oldest public park), Old State House, Faneuil Hall, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Paul Revere House.
Sports fans will also have plenty to see. Catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, or head over to TD Garden if you want to watch the Boston Bruins or Boston Celtics play. In the mood for some college sports? Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University have some top-tier athletic games going on year-round. If you’re a patron of the arts, then get tickets to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Also make sure to check out the Theater District in the south of Boston Common. After a show, experience the city’s nightlife. Boylston Street has plenty of exciting bars, as does the city’s Financial District, which sits right on the Boston Inner Harbor. If you like what you’re drinking, then take a guided tour of one of Boston’s Breweries, like Samuel Adams or Harpoon Brewery.