Known as ‘The Hub’ by its 700,000 residents, this historical mecca has long been a place where history buffs, baseball fans and university students are all together. With several major universities, including MIT and Harvard, within it’s boundaries, Boston was one of America’s first European colonies, housed by Puritans from the 1600’s onward.
It is a city full of history, where it’s capacity to move forward is hindered by the tight streets and brick buildings of colonial Boston. Granted, that century-old feel is what gives Boston it’s New England feel.
The obvious thing to do in Boston is Boston Common, America’s oldest public park and home to some of Boston’s famed memorials and statues, including the Boston Massacre Monument. Boston Common is the cultural and geographic center of Downtown Boston, and perfectly fills that place with it’s history and fun spots such as Frog Pond or Boston Common Playground, perfect for kids.
Just outside of Boston Common on the North-East side is the Massachusetts State House, the most important government building in the state. Located in the Beacon Hill district, probably the most visited tourist area, it is a common stop on the hop on hop off bus tours.
Following Freedom Trail, the most walked trail in New England, is a perfect way to see all of the city’s history. It has stops along all of Boston’s main sites, from the Paul Revere House to the State Building. Located on Tremont Street is Boston’s third oldest cemetery, Granary Burying Ground, founded in 1660. The cemetery is the final resting place of many famous historical figures, including Paul Revere, the five victims of the Boston Massacre and Declaration of Independence signers Samuel Adams, Robert Paine and John Hancock.
After heading away from Freedom Trail, you will come across Boston City Hall on your way to other tourist destinations. With a large courtyard and a great view of surrounding buildings, it also has a huge sign saying ‘Boston.’ What else?
One of Boston’s more modern monuments is the Holocaust Memorial, dedicated to the Jew’s killed in Europe by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. There stands 6 glass towers under which tourists may walk under, all containing quotes by Holocaust survivors.
They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jew’s, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up.
Probably the best place to experience the world inside Boston, go to the North End to see the Italian side of Boston. If only for the gelato, it is a must do. Gigi’s Gelateria has some delicious flavors (Grapefruit is the best.)
Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday is also a local market in the North End, where native Bostonian’s come together for a collection of great food, shopping and a bunch of smiles. Go to the North End to see old men on the side of the road, smoking cigars and speaking their native tongue before going back to a tough day of work, and for the amazing food brought over by immigrants during the 1800’s.
If you have enough time, head to New England Aquarium to touch sharks, go whale watching or experience top of the notch technology in the world of the ocean. If you don’t have enough time for that, Boston waterfront is still a great place to visit, with the fisherman’s home being right in front of you.
After hanging around downtown Boston, take the public bus to Cambridge. Named after Cambridge University in England, it does it’s namesake justice, being home to two top notch universities, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After packing in what you can in the morning, have a healthy lunch in Cambridge at Clover Food Lab, with an electronic ordering system, fully compostable waste and some delicious, healthy and local food.
After Clover Food Lab, head to Harvard Yard, the base of the oldest university in the United States of America, going back hundreds of years. Harvard has hosted 9 US Presidents and several Nobel Peace Prize winners, making it one of the most well known schools in the world.
Although a university, Harvard Yard is a public area, and has a lot of grass, a fountain, and even foosball and ping pong tables. We ended up playing foosball. I won.
We also decided to go to Harvard Law, a graduate school where many politicians and diplomats have graduated from.
After seeing the historic area of Harvard, go see the more modern MIT. Founded in 1868, MIT is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, especially when it comes to technology.
MIT also has a culture similar to Harvard, with an open yard full of students skateboarding, talking, eating or playing volleyball.
Boston is a great place to visit, full of history that I have been learning about for years. Laid back and happy, the city is full of young people, hip restaurants and winding brick roads.