When some travellers think about visiting and exploring the US, the “Big Apple” and California’s west coast are some of the first areas that spring to mind. However, if you prefer cities with more colonial history than glitz and glamour, there’s a better destination – Boston.
This corner of Massachusetts is one of the oldest cities throughout the United States, playing a key role in the long-term foundation of country. Its heritage oozes from every street in the city.
Are you looking for a more ‘wholesome’ experience of America? We’ve got eight reasons why Boston is the city that ticks all the right boxes for you:
Make your way along the Freedom Trail
If you consider yourself to be relatively mobile, a three-mile walk along the city’s Freedom Trail is the perfect way to start your Boston vacation. Along the Freedom Trail, you will get to experience as many as 16 of Boston’s most historic sites and monuments. The city has made it very easy follow. The sidewalks are lined with red bricks to make it clear you are on the right path.
Some of the headline sights along the Trail include the State House and Old South Meeting House, before culminating in the Bunker Hill Monument.
Explore the North End and the Old North Church
One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Boston is the region known as the North End. It evolved as a hub for Italian immigrants and has since evolved into a neighborhood with plenty of Italian flair and charm. You’ll enter the North End at some point during the Freedom Trail too, with the Paul Revere House located along the way, which pays homage to a leading activist at the time of the American Revolution.
The nearby Old North Church is also very symbolic for the city. It was the place used to alert Paul Revere and the rest of his activists that the British troops were en-route to Lexington. Today, the church retains much of its quintessential charm, including its box pews.
Boston is a treat for those fanatical about sport
Sport plays a huge role in the lives of Bostonians. Its teams have a strong presence throughout all levels of sport, from major league to college, from the New England Patriots to the Boston College Eagles. The former being the winners of last year’s Super bowl and the latter not enjoying similar highs as the underdogs for their upcoming games.
Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox have won nine World Series titles in the MLB, and the New England Patriots have bagged an impressive six Super Bowl victories since 1960.
Speaking of the Red Sox, their ballpark, Fenway Park, is considered America’s “most beloved ballpark”. It’s also the smallest ballpark in the MLB, so tickets to watch the Red Sox are exceptionally rare – and pricey.
Discover the oldest higher learning institution at Harvard
When people think of universities in the United States, the first place that springs to mind is usually Harvard. You might not know that Harvard is located right here in Boston. It was established way back in the early 17th century (1636 to be exact) and is considered by many to be a world-leading academic center. There are free walking tours offered across the campus. If you want to get a feel for student life, explore Harvard Yard, with its bars, and stores creating a young and vibrant atmosphere in Harvard Square.
Unwind along the regenerated Boston HarborWalk
For many years, Boston was one of the USA’s biggest colonial shipping ports. Although the city’s port entered something of a decline throughout the last century, the city’s officials sought to create a new identity for Boston’s waterfront. A blend of commercial and residential developments has since been built along the waterfront, connected via the stunning HarborWalk.
Take some time to meander along the HarborWalk in the good weather, soaking up the atmosphere of the local cafes and parks, as well as the magnificent artwork contributed by Bostonian artists. It’s a great way to blow away the cobwebs at the start of a crisp, sunny day.
Catch up with 550 species of fish and aquatic animals at the New England Aquarium
In close proximity to Boston’s waterfront you’ll also discover the New England Aquarium. There are a whopping 550 species of fish and aquatic animals here, totalling well over 20,000 in the aquarium. The organization has developed its own Caribbean-esque coral reef which has become a thriving ground for tropical fish.
Meanwhile, visitors can also get up close and personal with some of the smaller invertebrates, handling things like crabs and sea urchins in the Edge of the Sea area. The aquarium also operates boat trips out of Boston Harbor for those keen to watch whales in their natural habitat.
Hop aboard the USS Constitution
Set foot within Boston National Historic Park and you will soon set eyes on the oldest commissioned ship in the US Navy. The USS Constitution is open to the public, but still always has Navy personnel on board. You can go above and below deck on the USS Constitution, while the on-site museum also provides fascinating insight into what life was like on a US Navy vessel two hundred years ago.
There’s also the World War II destroyer, Cassin Young, which is also situated a stone’s throw from the USS Constitution.
Within the Boston National Historic Park, you’ll also find a 221-foot-tall monument to the “Battle of Bunker Hill”, the first official battle of the American Revolution.
Sample the acoustics of Symphony Hall
If you like the idea of some light relief of an evening, Boston’s Symphony Hall is revered throughout the city and around the world for its orchestral concerts.
Opened in 1900, Symphony Hall is the spiritual home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which has welcomed some of the most celebrated conductors in recent memory, namely Serge Koussevitzky, Pierre Monteux and Seiji Ozawa. The acoustic design of Symphony Hall is said to offer some of the most flawless orchestral productions on the planet. The Boston Pops Orchestra also calls Symphony Hall home, and specializes in classical interpretations of more contemporary music.
Visitors who are lucky enough to experience all of the above attractions can get a real flavor of Boston’s culture and heritage. View-seekers should also head up to the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower and enter the Skywalk Observatory, which offers expansive panoramic views of the city skyline on a clear, sunny day. We love you, Boston.