The capital of Massachusetts and the gateway to America’s New England district, Boston is a city full of surprises. Established as a homesteading community back in 1630, it’s one of the country’s oldest cities.
Today it consists of an enchanting mix of old and new. Once a hotbed of revolutionary debates leading up to the War of Independence (1775-1783), the tradition of intellectual rigour is upheld thanks to a host of universities and colleges that attract students from around the country.
Walking is the most popular form of transport, closely followed by the city’s efficient transportation network, simply known as the “T”. There is lots to see and do in this city: take your pick from parks, history, culture, leafy boulevards and a range of events and festivals throughout the year.
Architecture and history buffs will enjoy the Back Bay area for its urban Victorian residential architecture. Some of the houses are open to the public. For a more presidential trip back in time, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum offers visitors a glimpse into the life of the late president and his work and family life.
The 2.5-mile Freedom Trail is a tour of 16 historically significant sites in the city, including museums, burial grounds and meeting houses that were home to early rumblings of the American Revolution.
For a bird’s eye view of the city, head up to the Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Center. Don’t forget to see the city from its vast harbour on one of the many boat tours on offer, too.
Where to Eat and Drink
You don’t have to go far to find somewhere to eat in this city. From the quick and easy food trucks (at more than 20 locations around the city and serving everything from chicken and rice to waffles or barbecued meats) to pub grub, Mexican and tequila bars, cafes, bakeries, brasseries and fine dining restaurants, making a decision is the main gastronomic hurdle. Be sure to sample some seafood while you’re here.
Choose your lodgings from affordable hostels for the budget-conscious to over-the-top luxury in slick modern hotels, and trip-down-memory-lane stays at historic digs with a story to tell.
Whatever your taste and budget, since the turn of the century (the last one, that is), accommodation options have blossomed in Boston. Downtown, Back Bay, South End and Cambridge are some of the more popular areas for visitors.
Another way this city’s mix of old and new charms visitors is when it comes to shopping. It’s got everything from high-end, designer fashion and homewares outlets to classic, independent businesses showcasing their wares.
You’ll find Macy’s in Washington Street, Downtown, and a host of specialty stores scattered across the city. Be warned, if you’re buying top-end clothing you will pay a 6.25 per cent sales tax on pieces costing more than $US175.
Boston Like a Local
Get into the true Boston spirit by catching a Boston Red Sox baseball game at the team’s home ground, Fenway Park. With 40 per cent of its population aged between 18 and 29, Boston is a happening place. Visit Cambridge, where a lot of the students hang out, to get among the academic crowd.
You’ll find heaps of bohemian, groovy and downright cheap places to eat and chillax. While you’re there, chocoholics mustn’t go past LA Burdick’s, set up by Boston native and French and Swiss-trained chocolatier Larry Burdick, and renowned for its mouth-watering hot chocolates and cheeky chocolate mice.