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Best things to do / see in Boston?(19 Posts)
I'm off to Boston soon for 10 days. If you've been, what would you recommend doing / seeing? Is there anything that really stood out or anything you thought was not worth the money?
Decades since I was there but I loved:
Faneuil Hall and the Italian Quarter (linguine and crab speciality)
The river - rollerskating and biking and hiking
The Science Museum
Isabella Gardner museum - a gorgeous Italianate house with an internal courtyard garden and fabulous paintings. The sun setting through the reeds on the lake nearby is gorgeous too
When I was there it was buzzing with jazz nights, indie band gigs, poetry slams and book readings in all the shops that are hidden inside the handsome house fronts near Comm Ave. I loved that. If that's your sot of thing.
Harvard is lovely. Allegedly. When I visited it was spookily quiet, even though the semester had started. No buzz, just students scurrying across the quads with eyes down, hugging books. Definitely not like Oxford or Cambridge.
Vermont. We skied there. Very beautiful.
Thanks @MinaPaws. It's really interesting you found Harvard quiet. It's one of the places I want to go but expected it to be really busy. Although I don't know actually when I'm going if it'd still be their summer holidays.
@Minapaws is there anywhere to hire things like rollerskates, bike etc?
I wouldn't know anymore. I was there too many years ago. Sorry,
I remember doing a guided historical walking tour which was really interesting and a good way to see the city. Don't remember the company I'm afraid - sorry!
Boston is great but rather compact so I’d plan in a couple of day trips. Salem is lovely and a very easy ride from North Station.
The Prudential Tower for the beautiful view, go near sunset if you can.
The aquarium is nice but busy.
As it’s summer I’d definitely do a trip to Cape Cod. I went to Boston in the dead of winter so no ferries running but it looked like an easy trip when they are. I also missed out on Plimouth Plantation as closed for the season but would have loved to do that too.
The Freedom Trail and the gardens are good. Definitely visit Salem.
I would struggle to fill 10 days there to be honest. I’m going in a few weeks and planning on 2 days in Boston and then driving around New England for 7 days. Driving in the US is easier than driving here.
Hop on and off trolley tours are good
Whale watching from the harbour beside the aquarium (expensive but good)
There is a small ferry (Charlestown ferry) from the harbour to Charlestown Boatyard where there is a museum - worthwhile
It may also be possible to do a day trip to Marthas Vineyard - get a bus to Woods Hole to catch the ferry there. A really good day out!
Go to Fenway Park and watch the Redsox play
Follow the 'Freedom Trail' from Boston Common to Bunker Hill
Have a mooch around the Harvard campus
Catch the fast boat to Provincetown and spend a night there.
Eat seafood chowder or lobster down by the waterfront
Have several beers at the numerous microbreweries around North End.
Eat oysters at the Union Oyster House
See a stand up show at the Improv Asylum
Hire some bikes and head down the Minuteman cyclepath
Visit Cambridge Antique market
The Aquarium is good, but at this time of year full of poorly organised parties of small children, from there you can pick up the duck tour which is fun. You can also go whale watching which is really worthwhile, but a long day on a boat. I recommend going up the Prudential Tower early in your trip, it’s a great way to get a feel for the city and its districts. Near there is the Mapparium (I haven’t been there yet but my teenage dds have and they loved it). One of my daughters did the guided walk of the freedom trail and really enjoyed it. The Tea party ship is good fun as well. There is loads to do here.
You can get a ferry to Provincetown on Cape Cod, which is a fun town, quite expensive for a day but possible. There is a ferry to Salem as well I think but I found Salem disappointing and tacky.
We are in the process of moving to Boston, it’s a great city.
The USS Constitution is fun for a visit, and it’s free, you need picture ID to get on because it’s still a commissioned warship. The Museun is $15, but I didn’t go in (short of time). The visitor Center, which is free closes early in the afternoon, it was shut when I got there. I went yesterday!
I would definitely go out to see the whales as you have enough time. There are very stable big catamarans so it’s a great trip.
All the museums are good and there are some great brown stone neighbourhoods to explore. I would look at train journeys for days out too. 2 days is way too short to
alleviate Boston. I think 10 days is wonderful. Cape Cod is worth exploring if you can get there.
Agree with The Freedom Trail, Harvard and Salem. We also went to asee the live Shakespeare in the park (free- we hired deck chairs and took a picnic) It was excellent.
A fun day out if you have a car is the polo at Newport RI, bring a picnic and spend the afternoon. It’s very much a family day out. The US vs Ireland is a great match to see loads of Ireland supporters there. Newport itself is also worth a day trip, the mansions are amazing.
Newport is lovely, I would book a hotel there for a night and enjoy the cliff walk and also just mooch around the town. In Boston itself you can do a few ‘free walks by foot’ on various topics, and would recommend the tour of the harpoon brewery for some tasty samples and a warm pretzel!!
There are ride on/ride off bikes all over the city -think you download an app and with Lime Bikes, especially, you can leave them absolutely anywhere once you are finished. Public transportation is pretty good for the places tourists will be going.
I would do:
Freedom trail - there are guides who will help you and a literal red line to follow from beacon hill to north end etc. - see Paul Revere's house in the north end have cannoli. depending on the weekend there will probably be a saint's festival in the north end.
Black Freedom Trail - fascinating.
Newbury Street/comm ave for shopping and walking. There is also a house museum on Comm Ave (possibly Beacon Street) which is an authentic untouched early 19th century house - fascinating if you are into that kind of thing. google
Chinatown is interesting - great dim sum
Cambridge is lovely just to wander through Harvard Yard. Harvard art museum is lovely. Widener Library is lovely and I think main bits are open to the public. Students start going back around the end of August.
Isabella Stewart Gardner and MFA are close by and are wonderful - fab american art exhibition that is relatively new.
If you are into books, do a tour of the Boston Athenaeum - it is right by the state house.
You often get broadway shows in Boston - google the Boston Opera House - think Book of Mormon is playing soon. Cirque du Soleil is also in town. Also some decent theatre here - American Repertory Theater in Harvard Square is excellent.
Concord/Lexington are nice to visit if you have a car (although Concord is actually on the train line). Classic new england towns with loads of revolutionary war connections plus Walden Pond is lovely - near Concord. IF you liked Little Women, Louisa May Alcott's house in Concord is really authentic and interesting.
Walking along the Charles River esplanade is lovely. There are places you can hire kayaks too.
Aquarium and Whale Watching - leaves from near the aquarium.
I would definitely do a day trip to Provincetown. The ferry is lovely and the town itself is amazing - especially at the height of summer.
Boston Public Library has a charming courtyard and some lovely Sargeant murals.
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