History bursts from nearly every street corner in this city, but the beauty of Boston is that one need not only be a history buff to enjoy all that the area has to offer. From museums to shopping to dining, Boston offers plenty for a variety of different tastes. But if you're starting from scratch, we suggest these 10 destinations in order to get you started.
The Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail presents the easiest way to soak in Boston’s sights and history, while getting some exercise to boot. The two-and-a-half-mile walk passes 16 significantly historic sights, including Boston Common, the Old South Meeting House, and the USS Constitution. Feel free to explore on your own, though tours are offered through the Freedom Trail Foundation.
Most residents consider it a tourist trap, but that doesn’t lessen its pull any on both visitors and natives alike. Part shopping, part dining, Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall Marketplace is always a bustling center of the city. It is just steps from most anywhere downtown, including Government Center, the Boston Harbor, and the North End, making it a perfect – yet busy – spot for lunch.
It’s a car. It’s a boat. It’s…yes, both, a Duck Tour. These World War II-style amphibious vehicles are the perfect way to tour the city. On land, you’ll see the State House, Bunker Hill, and Newbury Street. By sea, you’ll get a picture-perfect view of Boston and Cambridge from the Charles River.
Here you’ll find the city’s Little Italy, with a bevy of Italian restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops lining the cramped streets. Ask any number of people for recommendations, and you’re liable to get different answers from everyone. Truth is, you really can’t go wrong in the North End, particularly on a sultry summer evening, when this neighborhood comes alive.
Can’t score Red Sox tickets? No problem. You can still get to Fenway Park, even when the team isn't playing. The Sox give tours of the nearly 100-year-old ballpark daily, affording you the opportunity to go places in the park you normally wouldn’t on game day. Hint: Try the tour when the Sox are out of town. On game days, the visit can be shorter than normal.
This interactive museum dedicated to science never disappoints. In addition to a number of revolving events, the museum features dozens of time-tested exhibits through its halls, good for all ages. If those don’t grab you, the IMAX Theater will certainly envelop you into the world of science.
Charles River Esplanade
One the most serene areas in the city, the Charles River Esplanade offers great recreation opportunities, including biking, kayaking, and jogging. The Hatch Shell stage plays host to the Boston Pops on July 4, free movies during the summer months, and various other concerts throughout the year.
Museum of Fine Arts
With nearly 450,000 works of art, the Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most comprehensive museums in the world and the largest in New England. Its collection ranges from from contemporary art to textile and fashion art to art of the ancient world.
New England Aquarium
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, this Boston institution is well-known as one of the best aquariums in the country. The highlight here is the central, four-story tank, visible throughout most of the building, and filled with a grand variety of sea life.
Eight blocks filled with fashion boutiques, salons, and trendy restaurants, this is a shopper’s paradise. If that’s not your thing, this Back Bay area still affords plenty of opportunity to window shop, or simply, people-watch.