These are the places you need to see at least once.

Boston Harbor at Back Bay
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Thanks to its proximity to other major U.S. destinations like New York City, Hartford, and Providence, the historic city of Boston is convenient for any travel exploring the East Coast. Visitors can expect to find all the trappings of a modern metropolis — excellent food and dining, upscale shopping, well-maintained green spaces.

But what sets Boston apart is is deep heritage and respect for tradition. On your first visit to this charming coastal city, don't miss the area's main points of interest and attractions, including classic Italian bakeries and hand-made pastas in the North End, the country's oldest (and one of the most esteemed) universities, and the city's underrated natural beauty.

Freedom Trail

Follow this 2.5-mile red line as it meanders through the streets of Boston, and intersects with 16 major historical sites along the way. Start at the beginning, middle, or end of the trail, and stop at such prominent locations as the location of the Boston Massacre, the Paul Revere House, and the Old North Church.

Boston Common

Located downtown, this public park was established in 1634, and is the oldest urban park in the United States. Originally, the Common was designed to let local livestock graze. But today, the 50-acre space is used primarily for picnicking, strolling, cycling, and people-watching.

JFK Presidential Museum & Library

This presidential library and museum is located on Dorchester Bay, close to the JFK/UMass stop on the red line. The building contains both published as well as unpublished correspondences from the Kennedy Administration, as well as permanent exhibits featuring furnishings from his Oval Office and materials from his 1960 campaign.

Newbury Street

Shopping on Newbury Street
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This eight-block stretch is lined with high-end stores such as Burberry and Tiffany & Co., and is a popular promenade for walking and shopping (or, more likely, window shopping). Grab a seat at a sidewalk patio for dinner at the buzzy Stephanie's on Newbury or for brunch at Sonsie.

Boston Harbor

Filled with fishing boats, whale-watching vessels, sailboats, and fancy yachts, the Boston Harbor has always been the epicenter of activity in Beantown. Stand and look out over the Harbor from the same point that the Boston Tea Party took place almost 250 years ago, or take a ferry to explore the network of Boston Harbor Islands.

Faneuil Hall

Located close to the Boston Harbor, this marketplace and meeting hall has been in existence since 1743. Brave the weekend crowds to visit the interior food hall, or peruse the surrounding shops.

Modern Pastry in Boston's North End
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North End

This historically Italian-American neighborhood is best-known for its classic Italian restaurants and bakeries. Make sure to grab cannolis from both Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry to compare the rival confections, and be sure to visit the New England Holocaust Memorial at entrance to the neighborhood.

Bunker Hill Monument

On June 17, 1775, British and New England soldiers faced each other in a bloody battle that gave New Englanders the morale boost needed to continue their fight in the Revolutionary War. Today, tourists can visit the site of “The Battle of Bunker Hill," now protected by the National Park Service.

Boston's Charles' River at dusk
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Harvard Square

Home to the acclaimed Harvard University, this area is home to an eclectic mix of shops, bookstores, restaurants, and bars. Admire the impressive architecture, and buy an obligatory Crimson sweatshirt or cap from the Harvard Coop Bookstore.

Arnold Arboretum

When locals need a break from city life, they escape to the Arnold Arboretum, located in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston. You don't need to be a horticulturist to appreciate the 281 tree-filled acres. Come spring, blooming lilacs and azaleas perfume the park's network of trails.

South End Open Market

Located in the South End, this art and design district is filled with galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and showrooms. Check out the open vintage and design market that takes place every weekend during the spring, summer, and fall, or visit during the first Friday of the month, when all the galleries open their doors to the public.