Sight Seeing in Boston
With a catalogue of crucial events and a roll call of illustrious names from the American Revolution, you’ll discover an immense wealth of history in Boston about the birth of the USA. The best place to begin the story is on the Freedom Trail, a famous red pathway that leads you past a plethora of historic sites in the space of just 2.5 miles.
That includes the impressively grand Faneuil Hall, which stands proud as one of the most visited attractions in all of America. Its enduring popularity lies in the fact that many key speeches in the fight for American independence took place here, such as those from Boston’s very own Founding Father, Samuel Adams, whose statue towers in front of the facade. Later in history, the building still had a magnetism to attract another notable native of Boston – it was the place of John F. Kennedy’s final campaign speech.
The Freedom Trail also takes in more significant sites and monuments of real worth to the making of this mighty country. For instance, the site of the Boston Massacre is marked outside the Old State House, an elaborate orange brick construction that is the oldest public building in Boston. Meanwhile, you can also visit the exact site of the Battle of Bunker Hill and its monument on Breed’s Hill, where one of the first battles took place between Britain and the Patriots during the Siege of Boston.
Away from the Trail, the Boston Tea Party Ships continue the revolutionary theme, where you can get involved in an interactive experience, throwing cases of tea overboard just like what happened in 1773! It’s fascinating to see the weatherworn 18th century merchant ships up close too.
Additionally, the Massachusetts State House proves that not everything has to have a focus on the American Revolution. It’s a delight just to marvel at this imposing building’s glimmering golden dome shimmering in the sunlight - it cost more than $300,000 to coat it in 23k gold!
Fun Seekers in Boston
As a city of enlightenment, Boston is bursting to the seams with arts galleries, libraries, museums and even famous universities.
One of the most famous (and visited) is the Museum of Fine Arts, an enormous gallery housed in a silvery neo-classical building. With almost half a million works in its possession, the standard of art on show here is simply staggering. It spans from ancient Egyptian times to French impressionist masterworks by Manet, Van Gogh and Gauguin. Along with American pieces by Singer Sargent and Singleton Copley, Europe is also impressively represented by Blake, Rubens and Turner.
If you still have a further thirst for artistic inspiration, you’ll be similarly impressed by the Gardner Museum. Its collection also manages to span space and time to incorporate brilliant Renaissance works by Botticelli, Titian and Michelangelo. As a centre for creativity, it also holds original manuscripts from scribes as illustrious as Dante, Henry Adams and T.S. Eliot.
On the subject of great writings, the Boston Public Library represented another first for America, as it was the first public library system in the country. It’s well worth popping in, if only to see the sheer number of books on offer - almost nine million and counting! Conversely, the Boston Athenaeum is a magnificent private library, and you’ll soon see why its grand chandelier-lit halls have caught the eye of many film directors.
For an emotional and educational experience, you should visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a wonderful memorial to one of Boston’s most famous sons. Located close to the University of Massachusetts Boston, you can explore an array of fascinating exhibitions taking you from the days of the Kennedy campaign in 1960 to the space race and the American civil rights movement.
Your day of intrigue will continue if you venture on to Harvard University, just 5km across the glassy tones of the Charles River in Cambridge. Consistently regarded as one of the world’s very best universities, you can take a tour of the beautiful leafy environs and grand columns of the campus, as well as discovering about the many famous people who studied here – including seven US
Family Fun in Boston
Join the St. Patrick’s Parade in Boston! As a city with a rich Irish heritage, especially in Charlestown and South Boston, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are a huge event here, as entire streets are garlanded in green! Vibrant floats, colourful characters and bagpipe players all add to the family fun on show, so fly from Glasgow to Boston with Jet2.com and you’ll be there on 17 March to enjoy the festivities.
The city is certainly famous for its sporting legacy too. It’s all down to Fenway Park, which is the oldest sports stadium in America and the famous home of the baseball team, Red Sox. Based in Boston Downtown, take the kids along and check out the diamond-shaped square of grass, looking out on great views of the Boston skyscrapers in the distance. You’ve also every opportunity to catch a game of basketball, watching the Boston Celtics (one of the oldest and most successful NBA teams) at the huge TD Garden stadium.
You’ll soon discover why Boston is often considered to have some of the best living standards in the world when you visit its Emerald Necklace. The brainchild of Frederick Law Olmsted, it is a belt of expansive green parklands that encircle the city centre. That includes the huge Boston Common, a perfect place for enjoying a picnic or splashing good fun at the Frog Pond, all within America’s oldest public park. The Emerald Necklace is lined with many more jewels for your family to enjoy too, such as its Public Garden with magisterial Patriot statues, giant trees and trimmed flowerbeds.
Back indoors, the Museum of Science is a popular place of inspiration for the young and old alike. An exciting mix of natural history, spellbinding physics and live animal exhibits, the museum is packed with attractions that are bound to wow the kids. For instance, you can step inside a giant Van de Graff generator to see a bolt of electricity shoot from your fingertips! Or how about wandering through a butterfly garden? Or seeing all the weird angles of optical illusions? There’s simply so much here to inspire, educate and entertain.
Romantic Breaks in Boston
The lush greenery and trim, orange brick townhouses of Boston lend themselves well to a romantic atmosphere just perfect for couples.
Perhaps the most idyllic scenes begin by the waterfront, where you can stroll by a charming boardwalk lined with bars and excellent seafood restaurants looking out upon the rippling roll of the Atlantic Ocean.
Walk all the way around the waterfront, then venture across the city to reach Back Bay. One of the most upmarket districts in all of Boston, it is composed of elegant brownstone buildings and offers an excellent array of designer shops. Plus, your backdrop will be made all the more beautiful when you reflect on the views of the mirror-like sheen at Charles River Basin.
Another neighbourhood of real attraction is the charming Beacon Hill. You and your partner will find much to admire here, whether it’s on oak-lined roads glowing in the soft light of gas lamps or at the grand neoclassical columns of the Massachusetts State House. Plus, if you feel like enjoying a well-earned rest after your stroll around town, be sure to visit the Bull and Finch Pub. It is famous for being the original inspiration for the much-loved Cheers TV series of the 80s and 90s.
A spot of shopping and sightseeing is the order of the day at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Set across a large open-air, pedestrianised centre, the Marketplace runs the full range of retail from International fashion brands to upmarket home ware, as well as a huge indoor food market.
Then, enjoy a fine ‘end’ to the day in North End. This historic neighbourhood is lined with many authentic Italian restaurants, reflecting the diverse heritage of the city. Share a candlelit table with your loved one and indulge in creamy carbonara or meatballs in a deliciously rich tomato sauce. Pure bliss!
Distinctly different in its road layout and town planning to almost all of the rest of the USA, Boston’s streets were allowed to grow organically rather than being planned on a grid system like their New York or Los Angeles counterparts. If you plan to hire a car, be aware that driving is a little more European in style.
Conveniently, Boston is well supported by an extensive metro system. Four colour-coded lines intersect the city, so should you plan to get out and explore the city, be sure to pick up a CharlieCard – it will entitle you to discounts every time you travel.
As well as the CharlieCard, there are several more ways to get great value out of your Boston explorations. That includes the Go Boston Card, which incredibly gives you admission to 53 attractions in Boston! As an alternative, the Boston City Pass offers admission to five of the city’s biggest attractions.